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Put A Sock On It

About six weeks ago I placed a big order with Mountain Rose Herbs, gathering a fair amount of dried herbs for various lotions and salves I was making for the family. One of the herbs I needed was dried lavender buds, so I ordered a bag. And since the medium-sized bag is always, like, a quarter more than the small-sized bag, I upsized it. A week later, I realized just how big a medium bag of lavender buds really is.

I’ve been casting around trying to find some uses for the dried lavender buds before they completely lose their smell and potency; I know I have around six months, but still, I want to make them count and get my quarter’s worth. I’m that cheap.

At the same time, I was wrestling with Cora having trouble getting to sleep at night – she kept complaining of growing pains. And as I searched for ways to help her out that didn’t automatically involve a shot glass of ibuprofen, someone mentioned to me the idea of hot packs for the little legs.

And I figured out how to kill two birds with one stone’s weight of lavender buds. I made sock buddies.

Sock buddies are filled with rice and (completely optional here) lavender buds. Sock buddies use up your leftover, mate-less socks. Sock buddies can be microwaved to act as a heating pad, or kept in the freezer for a soothing chill across a bad headache. Sock buddies rock.

Wanna make one? Of course you do, you stingy, DIY-kinda gal.

First, find some socks. I used two unmatched kids’ socks, the kind you can fold over. The short little athletic socks aren’t quite long enough. Feel free to use a small grown-up’s socks. And please, use cotton-only socks. One of my socks is actually cashmere –ooh, warm – but it’s still a natural fiber. Don’t plan on sticking a sock with metallic thread in a microwave. Get it?

Second, get some rice. Most of what I’ve read on the internet recommends instant rice – I don’t know why, but perhaps the instant rice gives off less water in the microwave? At any rate, my mom’s a post-partum doula and makes something similar for her new moms so she had instant rice lying around and generously gave me some. And, if you’ve got it (or if you want to order it – I promise you’ll find other uses for it!) get down your bag of dried lavender buds.

Toss together the rice and lavender buds – say, an equal amount each. Then fill your sock. Remember, you don’t want to stuff the thing: you want to leave enough room in the sock for it to conform to your body. So start with half full, hold it shut and imagine it draping over a leg or your eyes. I’d say ours are a good ¾ full.

Sew the sock shut. I just did it with needle and thread hand-sewing, but you could run a seam across the end on your machine if you’d like. And in all honesty, I should say here that when I say “I” sewed it, I mean my four-year-old daughter Cora. She sewed it shut.

Yes, it is really that easy.

Cora sewed under Gamma’s supervision, so the stitches are nice and tight and no rice escapes while it’s tossed around. If you’re feeling extra-lazy, you could just tie a tight knot around the end with a piece of cotton string, I suppose. Seriously, it’s hard to mess this up.

We’ve got one sock in the freezer at all times – it’s the official “cold sock buddy”. It never freezes solid like an ice pak; it’s just a nice chilliness that, as I mentioned before, works exceptionally well on closed eyes for a headache, or on a fevered brow. The other sock goes in the microwave – start at 20-30 seconds, and increase gradually until it’s where you’d like it. Keep in mind that heat is felt more keenly by children, never stick a burning hot anything on bare skin, use this at your own risk, et cetera et cetera et cetera. I have heard of people adding essential oils to the mix, but I wouldn’t if you’re planning on microwaving them – fire hazard.

Now, I have big plans for the sock buddies. Don’t get me wrong –we use them regularly now, and the non-cold one has helped me several times with imminent migraines. But hear me out: I want to take another, larger sock, and put some Velcro on the end of it. Then I can microwave the original “buddy”, slip it into the velcro’d sock, and fasten the whole thing around a sore leg muscle or ankle. Fancy, right? I’m thinking I could even put a few dabs of essential oil on a cotton ball and slip that inside the Velcro sock when the lavender scent starts to wear off.

But even if I don’t get all fancy on this, we still love our sock buddies. And you can too.

C’mon! Who’s with me?


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