Hey Mom - **Spoiler Alert** Do not read this. Your gift is in the mail :)
I had to make Mother's Day and Teacher's Appreciation gifts this weekend. I looked all over the Internet for your good ideas. I decided on rice heat therapy wrap and cooling eye pillow sets. If you are a sewer, you probably have everything you need to make these. I looked at patterns HERE at Sew, Mama, Sew and HERE at Amy Butler Designs but really did my own thing. My tutorial isn't very thorough (but the links above are - or if you have questions I would more than happy to answer them).
To make the rice insert all you do is sew a sleeve (sew three sides of your rectangle - however big you want it), flip it right side out, fill it 3/4 full with rice, and sew it closed. I used a cotton scrap material I had. So the rice evened out a bit, for the longer pillow I sewed a line down the center after flipping to the right side but before filling both sides 3/4 full of rice. You can mix an essential oil such as lavender with the rice for a nice, relaxing scent. You could even add some dried lavender flowers with the rice.
To make the covers, again you make a sleeve about an inch and a half longer than your rice insert (I embellished mine a little by sewing a few different colored fabrics to the front), flip it right side out, fold it over the added inch and a half and sew it on the sides (shown above). Open it up to insert the rice insert. The heating wrap and the cooling eye pillow are made the same, just different sizes.
As a SUPER NICE BONUS, Sew, Mama, Sew had a pdf file for nice gift instruction tags. They look very put together.
Honestly, if you are able to sew straight lines, you could make a set of these in a half hour. If you were to have to buy the fabric ($2.00), rice ($2.00) and thread ($1.00) you still can make a nice looking gift for $5.00. This frugal, yet practical gift works for me!