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Sunday, 2 September 2012

The calming powers of lavender

So last weekend, the biggest girl was given a lavender bag - my friend Sarah made it for her. 

This was a huge hit - and when I explained to her that lavender is often used to help people feel relaxed at bedtime, the biggest girl took it to bed with her and slept with it on her pillow.

She awoke the next day, claiming she had enjoyed the best night's sleep she had had in ages. (Yes, this is a six year old we are talking about.)

Needless to say, it was not long before the other residents were piping up for their own lavender bags. A quick text message for the instructions from Sarah, and we were ready to get making.

 Still in our pyjamas, armed with scissors and bowls, we trotted out to the front garden. Lavender is something even the laziest of gardeners can grow.

Extremely happy girl - wouldn't you be if you had discovered a scrap of fabric that matched the dress you were wearing? Because every two year old likes to coordinate their lavender bag with their outfit, daahling...

Sometimes your children surprise you, and, remind you that even the most simple of things can be hugely enjoyable. They all  loved picking the lavender, pulling it apart so there were no stalks left in the bowls, and mixing it in with the rice. So much so, that as I looked up from the quick job of sewing the bags for them to fill, I realised they were as happy as could be, playing with lavender and rice.

"I think that lavender is definitely having a calming effect on them," I said to my husband, as I went upstairs to get a couple of things I needed to finish off the little lavender bags.

I returned a couple of minutes later to find chaos. The idyllic scene of children gently tipping lavender and rice from one bowl to another, and into the little newly made sacks I'd given them had vanished.

The sacks were all empty (they were full when I'd left the room) and the kitchen table and floor covered with their contents. A lavender fight had broken out, and they were all full of glee about it.

"I hope you're going to sweep that up," I said. 

They did. And loved that just as much as they had loved filling and emptying the lavender bags. 

And then, when they'd disappeared off in search of their next act of destruction, I swept up. And, calm restored, I sat down with a fresh cup of tea and fiddled about with ric rac to finish the bags. It wasn't until later that night (in front of the TV) that I finished the bags - the hand sewing took a while, but I quite like a bit of relaxing hand sewing.

If you want to make some of these sweet little bags, with or without children, just cut a couple of 10cm squares of fabric, sew wrong sides together along three sides. Turn the bag out the right way, fill with 1 tablespoon of lavender and 2 tablespoons of rice, adjust and hand sew the remaining edge, and find some pretty trim to finish the bag off. 


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