Lavender harvest is in full swing! Plants are blooming like crazy, so if you're ready to get crafty with those potent little flower, grab your scissors and let's get to some really easy work.
The aroma of lavender is said to have many benefits, but most people consider it to be a calming and soothing scent. It can help relieve stress, inflammation, tension, and even assist with sleep. Lavender oil has potent benefits for skin as well, being high in antioxidants to help reduce skin stress and signs of aging, plus it has antibacterial and calming properties to help reduce skin irritations like eczema and acne. Use it on bug bites too!
One of my favorite ways to use lavender is in eye pillows that I use both for sleeping and when I have tension headaches. You can make a low-budget version with a sock, or a little bit fancier of a pouch with two rectangles of a nice, soft fabric. Fill with dried grains, ground rice, lentils, quinoa, or whatever you have on hand, plus a hefty amount of lavender buds with potent lavender oil. I've had mine for over two years, and you can pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to release more of the aroma. For headaches, place the lavender pillow on top of your head or across the crown (while laying down). Again, you can heat, or even chill, your lavender pillow for relief of your choice.
Lavender buds can also be steeped in body, hair, and face oils (steep in a sealed jar for a few days - in sunlight if you can - for more concentrated lavender oils). They can be added to your bath or body scrubs, or simply place them in a bowl in open air to release their fragrance. Dried lavender stalks, even with the buds removed, can make some nice decorative pieces as well and can hang on to their scent for quite a while, so they don't necessarily have to head to the trash.
To easily harvest lavender buds, place freshly trimmed lavender stalks inside of a large bag and shake. The buds will fall away, especially if you let them dry out for a day or two. You can also remove them with your fingers by gently rubbing them in the opposite direction of growth. Dried lavender should hold its scent for a few months, and lavender oils should last for up to 6 months if properly stored. Now go make something pretty!