The fragrant aromas of pine and evergreen, cinnamon and apple, and wonderful herbs and spices will let us dreamily recapture memories of holidays past and bring smiles of happy contentment. There are quick-to-sew projects that can be enhanced by the scents of the season.
Coiled mug mats and trivets
Cut fabric 1 and 1/2" wide by approximately 1 yard long. Fold right sides together, sew across one end and down the long side using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the now sewn tube of fabric right side out, fill with a mixture of scented rice and securely hand-stitch the end closed. Beginning at one end, fold back about one inch of the filled tube against itself and hand stitch closely together; continue coiling and stitching until the end.
Scented rice: In a glass Mason-type jar pour a teaspoon or slightly more of potpourri-type fragrance or essential oil, swirling the jar around to coat the insides. Add nearly a pound of uncooked rice. Place a coffee filter over the top and screw the lid on tightly. Shake well to coat the rice and place the jar on its side. Over the next few days, roll the jar frequently until the rice has taken up the scent of the oil. Cinnamon, apple, cloves, lemongrass, lavender, lilac, orange blossom, honeysuckle, rose, sandalwood, bergamot – the scent choice is yours.
Microwaveable therapeutic neck or back pillow
Heated, scented neck or back pillows can provide welcome relief to adult stiff or sore neck or back muscles. You can even tuck one between the covers to pre-warm your bed on those crisp, cold winter nights. The small pillows are surprisingly inexpensive to make if you use 1 cup, or less, of scented rice for the filling. When heated, the warmed rice bags are soothing and give off a pleasing, restful fragrance. Use muslin, printed holiday cottons, cotton flannel, or terrycloth for the heated bags. The warmed rice-filled bags can be reused over and over.
For the neck pillow, cut two lengths of fabric, 24 by 12 inches. The two lengths will be used as one, placed one on top of the other, to double up for extra strength. Fold so that the doubled fabric now measures 24" x 6". Sew the one long end opposite the fold using a 1/2" seam allowance – curving the seam slightly as you sew around one short end, leaving the other short end open. Clip carefully at intervals at the curved end, turn, press, and fill the tube firmly or as desired with a mixture of mostly plain rice mixed with 1 cup or less of scented rice. Hand stitch the open end closed using small stitches, curving fabric in as you stitch the open end closed so that both ends of the bag will match.
For the back pillow, cut two pieces of fabric 16” by 24”. Fold both pieces together so that the doubled fabric now measures 16” by 12”. Sew around open edges using the same ½” seam allowance leaving a small opening in which to add the scented rice mixture. Loosely fill the pillow with the scented rice. Hand stitch the small opening closed. (Note: a purchased, thick terrycloth hand towel folded in half can be used for the back pillow as well.)
Use with care. Not recommended for use with infants or very young children.
Trace any holiday cookie ornament onto plain paper. Simple, shapes work best - star, heart, stocking, and bell, for examples. Enlarge the tracing using a copier so that the ornament shape is approximately 6 by 6 inches or size desired. To make scented ornaments: cut two of one shape from holiday print fabric, shiny red, green, gold or silver lame, plaid flannel, or colorful felt. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam around the shape, leaving a small opening to be hand-sewn later. Clip where necessary, at inner or outer curves, turn and press. Fill with potpourri herbs or spices, and a small amount of poly fiberfill as needed for softly padding out the shapes. Hand sew the small opening closed using tiny stitches. Sew small jingle bells to star ends if desired, or at the bottom of bell shape. Hand stitch or fabric glue a small amount of lace to heart or stocking. Sew a ribbon loop at top of the ornaments for hanging.
Simple-to-sew hanger covers with a handy pocket to hold a sachet pouch are easy to make. Choose a seasonal holiday fabric. Trace the hanger shape on tissue paper or newspaper to make an easy to use pattern template. Add one inch to all dimensions. Transfer to your fabric choice and cut two. Sew around the sides of the hanger shape, leaving a small opening at the top to insert the hangar. The bottom can be hemmed and left open. Add a small enclosed pocket to one side of the finished hangar cover, fill with lavender or other dried potpourri. Embellish as you wish.
Sew happy, sew inspired.