Herbal Interests // DIY Herbal Dream Pillow

It's been a while since I last talked about herbs, their constituents, and how they can be used for more than just adding a little spice to your chicken dinner. Like all great things, herbs wear more than one hat, and their best one (in my opinion) is how they can be used to enhance our health and beauty. The food enhancing part is really great, too, though! Another great thing? Sleep! How many hours of sleep do you think you get a night? For me, I think I get about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is technically pretty decent for sleeping with a near-constant restless toddler every night. He, however, sleeps like a little rock let me tell you. So I thought I would put some of my herbal knowledge to the test. I've written it before, but I am not a huge fan of tea. I KNOW. Who are you and why are you even talking about herbalism, nasty woman? (; Well, let me tell you, herbal tea isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's not usually the thing I crave right before bed. I want something more like... coffee. But not the caffeinated part. You know? Coffee is just so... filling. And though there are many herbal tea blends on the market to help enhance sleep (which we can discuss at a later date), I thought I would show you how to make something much less time consuming in the long haul, as you won't have to consistently measure your blend - herbal dream pillows.

Herbal dream pillows have been used for centuries to help cure sleeplessness, enhance dreams, and even aid in dream memory. Originally used to protect against evil, calm bad dreams, foresee the future, or bring a lover into one's life they have been agreed to be most effective way to bring about peaceful slumber. There are several different recipes which you can follow, to sleep better or spark vivid dreams, for yourself, your children, and even your pets. Crazy, right?! Who knew pets needed better sleep. Probably people with pets aka not me. Essentially, you want to add herbs that you personally enjoy smelling, along with those that can help to calm your mind and nerves depending on what kind of sleep you are wishing to receive. Below, I have put together two lists of herbs, one for sleep and one for dreams. You can add or subtract herbs to your pillow to your liking, and I suggest using ground herbs for better release of scent. 

Herbs for Dreams // 

  • Catnip - relaxing + helps bring deep sleep
  • Chamomile - calming, relaxing, and can keep bad dreams at bay
  • Cloves - brings warmth and an exoticness to dreams (only add a few to your pillow)
  • Hops - relaxing and brings peacefulness
  • Lavender - relaxing, soothing, calming, and eases headaches
  • Lemon Verbena - can add a lightness to dreams
  • Mugwort - enhances lucid dreaming and helps with dream memory
  • Peppermint or Spearmint - enhances clarity and vividness in dreams
  • Rose Petals - helps to evoke romance in dreams
  • Rosemary - brings deep sleep and keeps bad dreams at bay

Herbs for Sleep // 

  • Catnip - relaxing + helps bring deep sleep
  • Chamomile - calming, relaxing, and can keep bad dreams at bay
  • Hops - relaxing and brings peacefulness
  • Lavender - Relaxing, soothing, calming, and eases headaches
  • Lemon Balm - Can relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia, stress, and headaches
  • Rose Petals - Brings love and feelings of warmth
  • Rosemary - Brings deep sleep and keeps bad dreams at bay
  • Sweet Marjoram - Calms restless nerves and nervousness

SUPPLIES // 

  • Natural Material to create your pillow (linen, cotton, or wool felt)
  • Herbal Mix 
  • Embroidery Thread or Wool Yarn
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors
  • Essential Oil (optional)

HOW TO MAKE // 

  • Measure out a square around 6"x6" on your desired material. I made my pillow out of wool felt. Cut out two squares of material; these will become both sides of your pillow. Using either a pencil or a fabric pen, create a design on one side of your pillow. Of course, this part is entirely optional, especially if you are not comfortable embroidering your pillow. I wanted to make my pillow a little bit decorative, so I opted for a botanical design on my own. 
  • If you do opt for a design, begin to embroider your pillow using your thread-like material of choice. Since I was already using wool felt, I thought that a wool embroidered design might look best. If you are wishing to embroider but are unsure of which stitches to use or how to begin, you can check out my basic embroidery tutorial here. All of my yarn was naturally dyed by me with chamomile, turmeric, tea, and spinach. Would y'all be interested in a natural dye tutorial? Let me know in the comments!
  • When you have finished your embroidered design, you can begin to stitch the edges of your pillow. Because I used felt, I knew that I would be able to hand stitch the edge, with my stitches purposely visible and more decorative than if I had used a machine. If you wish to use a lighter material (which would probably enhance the scent of your herbal blend), then you may want to use a sewing machine for a much more precise and tighter held stitch along the edges of your pillow. Make sure to leave a small opening to fill the pillow up with your herbal blend. It may also be a good idea to make a sort of sachet with different material to place inside your felt pillow. That way you could interchange the herbal blend!
  • When you have decided which dried herbs to use, in a small bowl, mix equal parts of each herb gently. Once they are mixed, scoop them into your pillow and stitch the opening closed. If you want, before you stitch it up, you could add a few drops of essential oil to add a deeper effect to your blend. 
  • You pillow is finished! For optimal results, place the tiny sachet in your pillow case and under your pillow. You could also let it rest next to your sleeping pillow or let it hang near your head. You want to be able to smell the herbs.* If your pillow becomes a bit scentless to you, squeeze the herbs inside to release their essential oils and liven them. Sweet dreams!

*Some herbs are not suited for dream pillows and can be potentially harmful to your health if not used properly. Please do research on any and all herbs you wish to add to your pillow to discover any unforeseen side effects or inconsistencies. As I have stated before, I am not a professional herbalist nor am I a medical professional. This is merely a hobby! 

This was such a fun project to work on! When I came to the realization that my little pillow would be used so often, it was wonderful to sit and spend some time working on a piece that I knew would be floating around my room for several years. It will be a lovely memory to sit back and think on whenever that little pillow turns up. I also love a project that is adorable and functional. If you have any questions about other herbs you might want to add, or if you are having trouble finding an embroidery design, feel free to let me know in the comments or send me a message. I would love to help you out! (: Happy making!!

xoxo Kayla