Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Soups and Scents

     Our household has been pulsing from chaos to mess, chaos to mess, chaos to mess. For the last week we (with the wonderful help of friends) have been shuttling everything we own, including our two dogs, seven chickens and massive piles of wood, across our neighborhood with Sylvan and Ivory in tow. Figuring out where to sleep, where to wash laundry and how to cook dinner on top of the mess. The washer and dryer are finally hooked up, and while many small piles remain everywhere, I am beginning to see our new house become a home.

     All through this process I keep thinking of someone I love very much, who is day after day taking care of someone she loves very much, as he is fading away, and wishing I didn't live thousands of miles away. I have no words to offer. I know nothing of death and dying except that it is inevitable, and I often wonder what exactly we talked about in that Death and Dying class I took in college. Why is it of no aid to me now?
     I have had a flat rate postal service box laying on my bedroom floor for weeks, and now it is laying on the floor the living room of this house. I have thought and thought and thought about what to put into the box and I have finally come up with a way to package the only thing I think might briefly lighten the difficult situation: food, warmth and soothing smells.
     So, I measure and scoop, cut and sew, measure and scoop, and finally have a neat little pile of things to put in the mail only to realize that I am missing a crucial element: an up to date mailing address. So I grudgingly place all the content in a bag and hang it up, hoping it will remain out of reach of the vortex of stuff that is my living room, to be mailed first thing tomorrow morning.

Care Package Content
  1. Evening in Missoula Tea - because it is my favorite, caffeine free and tastes like a good dream
  2. Dark Chocolate with Mint - because chocolate makes everything better for a moment
  3. 2 soup mixes (I added dried onion flakes, so you don't even have to chop an onion when it is cooked)
  4. Herbal Neck Wrap - to ease pain and provide relaxation

DIY: Herbal Neck Wrap

I looked at page after page of different types of herbal neck wraps, I finally gave up on finding good instructions and took what I thought were the best features of many and attempted my own neck wrap design. Here is what I came up with:

  • scissors
  • thread
  • pinking shears
  • pins (if you want them), sewing machine, iron
  • 1 piece of cotton fabric 21” x 11
  • 1 piece of flannel fabric (one color or pieced together from scraps) 21” x 11”
  • 2 pieces of ribbon ½ ” x 11” or doubled up strips of flannel 1” x 11” and stitch together and cut edges with pinking shears
  • 3 or 4 cups of rice
  • ½ cup of flax seed
  • ½ cup of lavender flowers

1.  Fold the cotton fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew (leave half inch seam allowance) along the long and one short edge. I sewed a second seam between the first row of stitches and the edge, just to be safe.

2.  Turn, press.
3.  Mix the rice, flax and lavender in a bowl.  Pour into the fabric bag.  Use a funnel for ease.

4.  Sow the open short edge of the bag shut.  Fold over the end once, sew, fold and sew (again just in case).
5. Take the flannel piece of fabric.  Fold one of the short edges over 1/4 of an inch, press, and then fold over 1/4 of an inch again and press. Sew to create a finished edge. 

6. Fold the flannel in half lengthwise and sew along the long and short (un-hemmed) side of the rectangle. Turn and press. 

7. Add one tie to center of each side of the open end. 

8.  Slip the inside rice filled bag into the flannel sleeve and it is done. 

How to use the neck wrap:  Microwave for 30 seconds, redistribute the rice and microwave for an additional 30 seconds, repeat if necessary.  Store in a plastic to maintain the lavender scent for a longer time. Slip off the cover and wash if needed. 

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