How To DIY Heat Neck Pillows, Hand Warmers & Other Heat Packs To Keep You Warm & Cosy!

orange-fall-leaves-wallpaper-76076

So Autumn is most definitely here and in a ideal world, it should be something like this:

giphy101

Instead its usually more like this:

79fdc2fdd3826a7ded146a85754f30aa

So if your autumn is more like mine with long damp days and dark chilly nights, we could all do with a little warmth and cheer. Solution, make your own fabulous heat packs to stay toasty all the year long! πŸ™‚

be680e16945cc69d4660092871e8c641.gif

There are a number of choices for what to use as filler for the heat packs, from rice to wheat to cherry stones to flaxseed.

937647c08def87fbff95382c05f0d65b--therapeutic-pillows-rice-bagsYou can also add herbs and flowers such as lavender, chamomile, mint…As well as your favourite essential oils but remember a little goes a long way, as when the heat pack is heated, the scent will be much more intense.

After much research, Flaxseed seems to be the most popular choice for stuffing your heat pack.

images
WHY FLAX INSTEAD OF OTHER GRAINS?

Flaxseed provides a gentle, moist heat which promotes healing.

  • Flaxseeds are flower seeds, rather than grains, so they contain 30-40% oil which remains inside the seed to be warmed again and again. Other products lose their ability to retain heat as the water cooks out of them over time.
  • When heated, flaxseed pillows retain half their heat after an hour. Under covers (think about those toes…) the pillow will still be warm hours later.
  • Flax never has that β€œcooked grain” smell other grain based products have when heated over and over again.
  • The weight of flaxseed is gentle and comforting.
  • Flaxseed pillows can also be chilled in the freezer to sooth fevers or slight inflammations, though they don’t get cold enough to provide the numbness needed for things like sprains and back injuries.

9210481d3945292d3d97e23cbceeb812--diy-heating-pad-heating-padsMethod

  • Choose your fabric. Something heavy but not too stiff, like brushed canvas or cotton ticking, works well.
  • Its best to use 100% cotton if possible as artificial materials are more likely to burn in a microwave.
  • Decide what size you’d like your finished pillow to be. Customize it to suit your needs, but a rectangle about 6 inches by 18 inches is a good place to start. (This is long enough to drape around your neck.)
  • Cut your fabric. You can cut two pieces of cloth, adding about half an inch for a seam allowance all around. Or you can cut one piece of cloth that’s twice the width you want the finished pillow to be plus half an inch seam allowance on each side. (In this case you’ll fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew three rather than four ends closed.)
  • Place right sides of the fabric together and sew, using a half-inch seam allowance on each side. Leave one short side open for filling.
  • Turn your pillow right side out.

eye-pillow

Fill your pillow about two-thirds to three-fourths full of flax seed.

Add about 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers. Don’t overdo the flowers, because the scent will become stronger when heated. And don’t overfill the pillow or the seeds won’t be able to move around and the pillow won’t drape comfortably.

acbfa49b74dd818ae2763313e414a016Sew the last end closed. (You can fold the ends in and sew by hand or by machine.)

fec52a09bcdea9a77ac0961ac8385213--rice-heating-pads-diy-heating-pad

Use

867275p

To use your pillow, warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Shake and warm for another 30 to 60 seconds, until the desired warmth.

To warm it in the oven, place in cold oven and turn heat to 200 degrees. Shake pillow after five minutes, then replace for another two to five minutes, testing often.

Note: Be careful not to overheat the pillow! It can get hot enough to burn you or even start a fire!

af6d23e941f1e54ddd02d9218340d2f5--diy-heating-pad-heating-pads

Other Options

  • Design your pillow in the shape of a “U” to fit around your neck. Or make a muff to put your cold hands in.
  • Make a no-sew version using tube socks. Just fill with flax and lavender and knot the end
  • Sew a liner to fill with flax and lavender and a removable cover for washing. Simply make the cover just a bit larger than the liner, for easy removal. And be sure to prewash and preshrink your outer fabric. (You don’t want it to shrink so that it no longer fits over your liner.)
  • cd51fedb53d5b39e5163a4870408aaec--diy-heating-pad-heating-padsChoose a liner fabric that’s lightweight and a bit open weaved but tight enough to hold the contents.
  • Use dried rose petals, mint, or other dried herbs that you enjoy for scent in place of the lavender flowers.
  • Use your pillow over your forehead, or under or over your feet, too.
  • Try chilling your pillow in the freezer when you need to cool rather than warm an area.

04ae05bb282e6068d3bc00909b36f44e--eye-masks-eye-mask-diy

Flax pillows make wonderful gifts. Choose fabrics that are appropriate for the recipient, and tie with a pretty ribbon or raffia. Include a little card with directions.

You can even make them into stuffed animals or incorporate them into slippers but I will be talking about that again in the future.

il_340x270.1056921972_s3rtIf you have Sore wrists and spend a lot of time in a chilly office, you can make simple Keyboard and Wrist Support Heat pads.

Or if you you have a old flannel shirt, it would be perfect for making some seasonal hand warmers…diy-flannel-foot-warmer-gift-idea-05

In Conclusion

I have made one neck pillow, one heavy pillow for sore tummies and one comforting hand warmer and have tested them all in the microwave with success! Hurrah!

These were made from material I had on hand, heavy denim from a old pair of jeans and a lighter cotton from too long summer trousers.img_20171006_225137.jpg

I plan to make a lot of them in the coming weeks, as I hope to have a stall at a local Christmas market for the first time, so lot of work to get ready for that!

In the meantime, if you try making a heat pack yourself, curl up in bed and enjoy the many days and nights of warmth and comfort you will have from your very own fabulous DIY Heat Pad πŸ™‚

Xxx

tumblr_mlj7l6Mb7h1s8wwdro1_400

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Insomina:Why I Totally Identify with The Princess and The Pea & Other Tales of No Sleep

img_20170910_003156.jpg

You might be familiar with the story of ‘The Princess and The Pea‘ by Hans Christian Anderson? It was one of my favourite fairytales growing up, the story of how a prince searched the world over for a real princess and then one stormy night, a girl half drowned, turned up at the castle door claiming to be a real princess.

His mother, the Queen had a bed made up for her of twenty mattresses and many feather beds and at the very bottom placed a pea. Long story short, the poor girl didn’t sleep a wink all night and so,the next morning was proclaimed a real princess, married the prince and lived happily ever after, without any more peas in her bed to disturb her sleep…

I have spent most of my life trying to get to sleep…and have lost count of the nights I’ve tossed and turned until the red sun rises in the east…

tenor

I have lived with the constant exhaustion, that numb feeling of unreality…when the lines between the waking world and that of sleep start to blur…

tumblr_njdneimZ1I1u8o8qyo1_500

9ac360o5aa9d257c4429d16oc65239dl

 I cannot tell you the amount of times I almost fell asleep during school, college, work, concerts….

2823e4dd6607090efd27f831daa33bb7--insomnia-funny-math-skills

At night, almost every night, my brain just wont switch off. My mind goes into overdrive and thinks about everything and I do mean EVERYTHING!!

insomnia causes

I’ve tried Yoga with some limited benefit. Yoga is wonderful for calming a person down, for helping you feel more present in your body and more able to live in the current moment but the ability to stay in the moment is not one of my strong suits, so something to work on!

332f590e56d520013555eaa88b0900da--insomnia-remedies-sleep-therapy

I’ve tried Herbs such as Valerian Root [kept me awake for days], PassionFlower, Wild Lettuce, Chamomile…you name it, I’ve probably tried it and while they all helped make me feel calmer, I still can’t sleep…

canineinsomnia

I have never drank coffee or tea so alas, giving up those before bedtime wont help me but did you know that green tea has just as much caffeine as ordinary tea, so best to stick to herbal tea.

cd482caaabb6f68a199e67717a9622d2--health-remedies-herbal-remedies

A hot cup of Goats Milk [I’m lactose intolerant so grow up on goat’s milk] will sometimes help me in the winter months to put me to sleep.

A hint of cinnamon is supposed to also enhance the restful effect of hot milk.

1519e1e481f207ffad516479cb093bf6--boba-drink-winter-drinks

A warm bubble bath is a personal favourite of mine but alas where I currently live with my husband, there is no bath so that’s not a option sadly… 😦

07-home-remedies-insomnia

I have tried Aromatherapy using Lavender Oil on my pillow, my skin, in a diffuser, oil burner, rub…smells great but still no sleep!

727a0d15a8cefadb2ba1e011641b9f97.jpg

I have tried making our bedroom a sanctuary with gentle lights, calm colours, soothing water bubbling in a little fountain outside the window, plants, natural fabrics…and it helped a little…

tenor (1)

I have tried Mediation and since I have listened to Louise Hay, [first on tape, then cd, then digital]since I was very young, my brain is hard wired to relax, listen and follow her directions.

Her voice is without a doubt one of the best sleep aids  I have ever used and I can’t recommend her enough.

There are still the nights that sleep will not come, no matter how hard one tries to relax but for the nights, sleep does come…it is bliss.

Sweet Dreams Xxx

636010895487642046135587363_1456421739-107875-little-mermaid-gets-in-bed-gif-wmtg

Aiming for The Moon, Otherwise known as TTC, ‘Trying To Conceive’ Over 35

 

tumblr_n72qa9SsZN1tznjcgo1_500

Another month, another period. Yet again, not pregnant.

Nothing. Not even a flicker of hope.

Sometimes it feels like I must have been Genghis Khan in a past life, life has been such a struggle, every small victory paid for dearly, in blood, tears and heartbreak.

After the miscarriage in 2016 and a million scans, tests and being poked and prodded until I felt like a pincushion, it was a shock to hear, that since I’m 35 years old with PCOS [Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome], my chances of conceiving are slim and the older I get, the more the odds fall against me.

ezgif com-resize_1438764622

Yet, there is still hope. If Bella from Twilight can conceive after marrying a vampire, who is technically undead, then surely there is hope for me??

Okay she is a fictional character in a very unlikely scenario but as even the most cynical of people, Hamlet says ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…’

7c6369fc-e9a9-4a2f-8782-fe61a97286c3

I have struggled to be patient with myself, with life…but sometimes I’m just so tired of waiting for my life to start, of waiting for my dreams to come true.

I don’t need a big house, fancy car, or designer clothes, all I want is a child of my own. Just one is all I ask.

So we have decided, that its time to take our fate into our own hands and do everything in our power to increase our odds of having a baby.

I had no idea that trying to have a baby was so complicated…I often feel I need a Masters degree in Biology to even understand what I’m reading!

tumblr_inline_mmnhc2TjMc1qz4rgp

Ive talked to my doc, bought books, researched, studied and studied some more.

cat-studying-gif.gif

In the coming days, weeks and months, we shall be changing our diet, getting more fresh air and exercise, trying to destress more, stop drinking alcohol, detox…you name it, we shall be trying it.

If its ‘Legs up the Wall’ yoga pose, drinking water blessed by the moon or tea brewed by monks in Tibet, I will try it! πŸ™‚

yoga-legs-up-wall

Here is the link to the Youtube videos I’ve saved so far on how to get pregnant naturally.

57edd53f71925e65a30912fbd71bf093--moon-child-moon-magic

The moon is full on Tuesday the 5th, so I shall be leaving out water for the moon to bless and hopefully in no time at all, I shall be holding my own child in my arms.

Blessed Be. Xxx

giphy

 

On The Importance of Good Friends & Six Other Ways I Stay Grounded in a World that Won’t Stop Spinning

4cb9e2ed022de1fef0f6618048eaf4ef--vintage-humor-retro-humor

Does anyone else feel like the world is spinning too fast, that the day is gone in an instant and you don’t remember what happened yesterday, much less today? Do you feel as if you are on a constant rollercoaster and you just want to get off? Do you feel snowed under, overwhelmed, lost or that everyday is a struggle?

I often feel this way and suspect others do also. We live in a world of 24 hour live News Coverage. We are bombarded with information every second of everyday. The world has never been smaller or more connected, you can communicate instantly with anyone anywhere and yet isolation, depression and suicide continue to rise.

It is so terribly easy to lose sight of who we are really are but if we don’t take time to reflect, to breathe, to dance, laugh or just sit still, we will all be lost.

b31b790e22b4b9f2130e7e572ac7c164--connecting-with-nature-wiccan

I have been thinking about what helps me stay grounded, brings me back to my fundamental truths, to freedom, joy and peace.

In the hopes this may help another find their way, here are

My Seven Ways to Ground Yourself

1) Friends

anigif_sub-buzz-601-1487186451-8

I am very fortunate to have a few close friends and one BFF or Boo, as I like to call her. When things get crazy and the world becomes too much and I don’t know how I will cope or get through this, my BFF has always been there for me. She is the sister I never had.

I know, no matter what, she is at my side, my rock. She is the keeper of all of my secrets. The first person I think of when I have news to tell or need advice or just want to spend time with, whether that be on great adventures exploring foreign lands or just sitting together on the sofa at home, it doesn’t matter what we do, the main thing is we do it together.

tumblr_mrbkpbFmam1rggtjlo1_500

Countless hours talking on the phone, talking through the night, sorrows and joys shared, so many years of wonderful memories. Many of the best moments of my life have been with her.

xena-gabrielle-lovewins

She helps be me more then I am, to be more me. So many times, amidst great change and dizzying turns of events, I felt uncertain & unsure but she brings me back to reality and always, always keeps me grounded.

Apart, the journey is long and often scary and confusing but together, the impossible becomes possible. I cannot express my gratitude enough for having her in my life.

2) Hugs

anigif_enhanced-buzz-29214-1393172559-4

One of the most wonderful and simple ways to ground yourself is to hug another, whether that be a family member, a friend, a colleague, a pet or a tree. The benefits of hugging cannot be emphasised enough.

article-2332853-1A0E4C03000005DC-283_634x418There is a lady in India called Amma The Hugging Saint, who brings joy and happiness around the world through hugs. She came to Dublin last year but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it there but definitely next time.

Amidst all the terrorist attacks of the last few months, a young muslim man blindfolded himself and stood on a street in Paris with a sign, saying ‘I’m Muslim, I trust you, Do you Trust me, Give me a Hug’. This brave young man wanted to show the world that love is the answer, not hate and war. He was quickly surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to give him a hug. A simple gesture with profound ripple effects throughout the world.

 

289dbeb05f87bcd15fbfd944443d994e

In Ireland, we are not the best for hugging, we can tell a story, dance up a storm or bring the house down but not so good at hugs. However times are changing and I am determined to hug more, one person at a time, so remember, hug often! πŸ™‚

3) Going on Adventures

4524b5a1886b81f0f66e1983b6214097

There is nothing like the joy of going on an adventure to remind you what its like to live fully in your skin, to remember who you really are and why you want to be.

You don’t have to climb the highest mountain or travel the seven seas or leave Earth’s orbit and step on the moon to find adventure. Adventure can be found in a turn of the road or a path you haven’t gone down before, a view never seen before, a glade never walked in before…

2ad142bfc53e3e87451c58fee6552176

The very best adventures are the ones that are unexpected, where strange and wonderful things happen and you meet people you will never forget, experiences that change you forever and all because you decided to take a slightly different path.

The heart delights in new horizons and in this case, I cannot recommend going adventuring enough, as when you come home, you will not just be refreshed and energised but you will also be grounded.

4) Take off your Shoes, your socks and Dare to walk on Bare Feet

980c4f7a26c095274efb0867e2d5051c--inspirational-nature-quotes-water-features

There is nothing like the sheer pleasure and tactical sensation of bare feet on sand, almost all my best memories are when I was up to my ankles in the cold Atlantic sea, walking across a summer meadow full of wild grasses that tickle, sinking my toes into warm sinking sand the colour of moonlight or feeling the silver cool bark of my favourite Ash Tree I used to spend countless hours in growing up.

To touch the earth is to literally ground ourselves, to reconnect with the great earth mother, to be renewed and to instantly be in our own body again. The power of bare feet to instantly transport you into the present moment is truly wondrous. Give it a go and see how it makes you feel.

5) Dance

a3e8f213716d299f59ebd232a7ea7ca2.gif

One of the greatest pleasures in life surely most be locking the door, turning off the phone,  turning the music up loud and dancing your heart out. In dance, I find a place, a way of being, that allows me to express things I could not express in any other way. I lose myself in the music and it is only then that I find myself.

So many people are afraid of looking silly or feel they have two left feet but the benefits of dancing are so numerous I urge you to be brave. It is true what they say, dance like nobody is watching and you will become one with the music. In the centre of the dance floor, when you can feel the beat drumming in your chest and feeling becomes movement, let yourself go.

Two of my favourite dance videos are below if you would like some inspiration:

6) Yoga & Meditation

1375755_621298114589588_1049700233_n

I’ve talked about yoga and meditation before and all of their the wonderful health benefits but one of the most rewarding aspects of yoga & mediation is how your thoughts can be chaotic and all over the place at the beginning but gradually you become calmer, your breathing slows and you remember what it is to be in your body, to be present, how that feels and how to let it go.

10cdd20b7fa9b84decfeaf4c4ea547ce--background-images-inhale-exhale

Mediation and yoga can both seem daunting or even intimidating practices to learn and even if you don’t want to go to local classes, with so many books, dvds, cds and youtube videos, there has never been a better or easier time to start.

I find it difficult to allow regular time for these things but even a 15 minute video practise can be incorporated into our hectic lives.

7) Laughter

download

My last recommendation is laughter and lots of it. There is nothing like laughter to lift the spirits, to bring back joy into ones life, to share a connection with another person. I came across this video of a man laughing on a train and how quickly his joy and laughter spread to the whole carriage even though they were all strangers and did not know what the man was laughing about. It didnt matter what caused him to laugh but the infectious nature of joy and laughter can bring us all together.

So these are seven of the ways I ground myself, I hope you find them useful or at least thought provoking. There are so many ways you can ground yourself, I wish you a fabulous journey discovering them πŸ™‚

Xx

1_stay-grounded-main