I dream of being more creative than I am. In fact, I have piles around our office, awaiting my moments of creativity. However, those moments are far too few in the busyness of this season of life.
The reality is I am just too practical. If there is a need to be creative, I will seize the opportunity, but if that need does not arise, the creativity piles before me often collect dust and then sadly retire to a Rubbermaid storage bin.
A few months ago, my practicality had the opportunity of merging with creativity. I had purchased a 25 pound bag of buckwheat from our local co-op at a great deal. On our pick-up day, I was so excited to get it and begin to prepare pancakes, bread, etc… but then found out upon opening the bag that I had purchased unhulled buckwheat.
I love my grain grinder as it is incredibly versatile, but I am unable to produce extremely fine flour with it, so my unhulled buckwheat became undeniable waste, or possibly chicken dessert, unless I could grind it at a friend’s house.
Being frustrated and not liking to waste money, I tried it in my grinder. It spit out coarse flour with black hulls still attached. I played with the coarseness of the grind and found that a somewhat coarser grind separated the hulls in a cleaner fashion and left me with part of the buckwheat that I could re-grind on a finer setting.
I put the sifter on top of my bowl and spent a half hour babysitting the buckwheat spewing from my grinder — sifting all of the hulls out from the coarse flour. At the end of that time, I had: two gallon zip lock bags full of black buckwheat hulls and two bowlsful of coarse buckwheat. The hulls found their way to my creativity cemetery in the office, and the coarse buckwheat later became some very hearty pancakes adored by all big and small in our home.
Well, those hulls sat and collected dust until summer came and a bit of time freed up. A friend invited me to sew with her; we would also teach our girls to sew. We had just enough time to go over some sewing basics, as well as make a pillow pattern for our girls to practice sewing. That was all that time allowed — we never made the actual pillows.
After forgetting about the project for awhile, on a rainy day, we remember and brought out that pattern. We sewed the pillow and pillow case, but were stumped what to use for filling.
My dear husband reminded me of the hulls collecting dust next to his bookshelf, and I excitedly grabbed them. The girls were a bit confused at my joy over the brown, crunchy hulls, but played off my excitement and proceeded to funnel buckwheat hulls into their pillows. My practicality had won and my mistake turned into a great blessing. I should have realized it could from the very beginning.
In the realm of parenthood, and real food adventures, I thank the Lord for natural alternatives to commercial “needs”. I also thank the Lord that He turned my mistake into a beautiful, inspirational, rainy day of sewing with my girls, and discovering a bountiful harvest of creativity within the walls of our own home.
Buckwheat Hull Pillow
Note: It is my understanding that you do not want to get the buckwheat wet. That’s why chose to make both a pillow and pillow case. To make a case, too (if you don’t already have one to match the pillow you’re making), just use the pattern below but make it a bit larger and don’t close the end. 🙂
1. Grind buckwheat coarsely as mentioned above. Multiple times, sift the hulls to remove the coarse flour. Do this several times to get them nice and clean.
2. Make a simple pattern for pillow. Our pattern was small for little heads: 14” length by 7” width. I didn’t add extra for seam the allowance, but you can add extra if you’d like. Mark one long end as “fold” as shown in the photo.
3. Fold fabric in half with the salvage edges parallel to the fold (or however you want to do it — think about how the fabric pattern will look on the finished pillow). Lay the pattern on the fabric, lining up the fold edge of the pattern with the fold of the fabric. Cut out.
4. Right sides together, sew 2 sides of the pillow, leaving one short end open, for filling the pillow.
5. Turn right side out, fill with buckwheat hulls. Fold the open ends inside and stitch closed by hand or by machine.
6. Slip buckwheat pillow into pillow case. Then take a nap with your sweet little one, enjoying the comfort of your new pillow, and the smiles that follow from it.
Viola! You have a buckwheat pillow and quality time spent with some wonderful little ladies in training!
Have you stuffed your pillows with anything unconventional and lived to tell about it? Please share!
...without giving up the foods you love or spending all day in the kitchen!
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