DIY Heat and Cold Packs

Allergy season is upon us. Depending on where you live, the grass, tree or weed pollen counts can fluctuate from day to day.

PollenCast
PollenCast from Weather.com

For some reason, this past Saturday, my face was so sore. Sinus pressure started under my eyes and as the day went on (and while I was at the On The Run concert), I got worse and worse. My head, my teeth even were giving me fits. I’d taken a OTC sinus pain reliever that day, but it only dulled the pain until it wore off. I didn’t have a back up. I suffered all night.

Kelly and Scooter at the On the Run Tour
Smiling through the pain
On The Run Tour
On The Run Tour

 

Fast- Forward to the next day, here comes the pain again. Annie Lennox, watch out! . Another OTC and warm wash cloths to ease the pain. I thought to myself, I wish I still had that microwave heat pack again. Not sure what happened to it it, but needless to say, I sure did miss it right now.

Then the juices started flowing. My orthopedic surgeon had suggested to me in the past to warm up a bowl of rice and use it to heat up my finger before doing my home physical therapy. Eureka! I have rice and I can just make a heat pack for my face.

Using some scrap fabric from a maxi skirt I’d made the day before (post coming soon), I made a heat/cold pack.

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  • (2) 10″ x 6″ pieces of scrap fabric (feel free to interface them)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of rice
  • Essential oil (6-10 drops)
  • Needle & Thread or sewing machine.
  • Ruler
  • Tailors chalk or pencil
  • Bowl & Funnel

With right sides together, using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew up your ‘pack’, around one side, across the bottom and up the other side. If on a machine, backtack for sure.

Sew the top closed about 2 inches in.

Turn right-side out. Use a chopstick or turner to push the corners out.

Fold the raw edges inside and press.

To keep the rice in place so it’s not falling all to one end or the other, measure the pack into thirds and stitch 2 lines starting and finishing 1 inch in from the seam. If hand sewing, the running or back stitch works.

ruler

Pour your rice into a bowl and drop some essential oil into the rice. I used lemongrass. Be careful, A little goes a long way.

Mix up the rice so the scent is infused throughout the bowl. Using your funnel, pour the rice into the open end of the pack and allow it to settle into the bottom and middle compartment. Fill the last compartment only 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. You’ll need room to tuck in the raw edges and close the pack.

Hand stitch or machine stitch the pack closed. If hand sewing, the slip stitch works.

When heating up the pack, 1 minute & 30-40 seconds is sufficient. Place a small bowl of water the microwave when you heat it to keep the pack moist and so the rice doesn’t burn.

Make several, some for the freezer, some larger for sprains and cramps or smaller ones for hand warmers in the winter.

 

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~sidenote~I hear flaxseed works as filler too

DIY Shea Butter Hair and Body Souffle

Since beginning on that natural hair journey, I’ve read more on this topic than I’ve read for studying for the LSATs (sike). Well, pretty close to that much reading. I’ve been all over the Internets (yes, with an S); YouTube, Blogs, Amazon, Facebook, locker room chats, all of it. There is a lot of information about natural hair, but the common thread I found is, it depends.

It depends on your hair type, your hair needs, your hair length, your hair care regimen, your time, your skill, your patience, your diet, your fitness regimen, how you care for your natural hair all depends on YOU!

Now that we have that out of the way, I stumbled upon shea butter mix recipes several times on my journey. Since many naturalistas are also part-time chemists, making their own hair products seems like the norm. Well, I decided to give it a whirl.

For my first batch, I order a pound of shea butter from Amazon and raided my oil collection, then purchased some essential oils. Then I got to mixing. My first batch was half a tub and it was very stiff. I didn’t have enough supporting oils in it. I took the dud batch to the gym locker for after shower moisturizing. It’s too stiff for my hair as it leaves a thick haze in it. I took the other half of that batch and added some more oil. I was moving in the right direction. My huzzband even started using it and he liked how it felt on his shaved head and dry skin.

For the second batch, I purchased a pound from a Muslim stand near Broad and Girard Avenue and this time I made sure I added an ample amount of oil. This batch turned out PERFECT!

Here is my recipe for my second attempt at it:
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  • 1 pound of shea butter
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2-4 tsp avocado oil
  • 1-2 tbsp jojoba oil
  • 2 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • Any essential oil 20+ drops

Mix with a hand blender until butter softens and blends. Add more oils to soften and mix until it’s light an airy. Add essential oils until you’ve reached your desired scent.
20140210-144749.jpg

This will yield twice as much butter than you started with.

I keep some everywhere:

  • bathroom
  • car
  • purse
  • gym bag
  • nightstand
  • desk

It can be used in your hair, body, lips, hands, feet, elbows.. EVERYWHERE! This batch is like a fluffy heavenly balm. You can even by some really cute containers, make some awesome labels and gift some to your fellow curlfriend. She’ll love you for it.