October's Sunday Supplement.


October: Autumn is at it's most illustrious and beautiful. The sun's warmth just about lingers, bathing us in her golden light, whilst the trees begin to wither and shed their jewell coloured leaves. Autumn celebrations begin in earnest this month meaning parties and dressing up and delicious autumn food. Hurray! *throws leaves in the air*. Here are 10 Wonderful things to make, do and celebrate in the month ahead.

October | Seeds and Stitches blog
  1. Celebrate all Hallows eve. Make little edible treats to go inside paper bags for trick or treaters and start to decorate too. Host an orange themed halloween dinner party, or start a 'boo' tradition with your neighbours (more info on that here)
  2. Host a scary film night. If you don't have kids (or even if you do) organise a vintage scary film night. Hannah and Dave do this every year and make an autumn-ie (totally a thing) stew to go with it. 
  3. Soup, Soup. More soup. Nope, still not sick of soup. We've been cranking up the slow cooker too and are currently loving slow cooker pulled pork. Yum!
  4. Forage.  There is plenty still to forage in October! Blackberries and elderberries are coming to an end but if you're lucky you might be able to find some (make elderberry syrup to ward off colds). Reships (for syrup), Haws and rowan berries, Beach nuts, Hazelnuts and chestnuts should be around too. Recipe's here. 
  5. Knit and crochet. We both start hankering after our crochet hooks in October, so are hoping to start some simple projects for winter. 
  6. Prepare the house for winter. Hopefully you're stocked up on logs and the heating system is ready. Keep it off as long as possible by layering beds and sofa's with blankets and stocking up on candles, and hot water bottles. 
  7. Make garlands out of acorns (glue their little hats on!), conkers, and leaves to hang around the house. Press leaves for a week or so first to flatten them, and you could paint the tips too. 
  8. Go to the woods. Just go. They are utterly magical at this time of year, and bursting with colour. 
  9. Have an autumn picnic. October is often quite mild in the UK and what better way to enjoy the woods in their most magical incarnation than to pack an autumn picnic? Pack extra blankets and flasks of soup and tea to keep warm 
  10. Give yourself some photography time. Whether you have a big camera or a camera phone, try to give yourself some time to capture Autumn's magic: golden (and early!) sunsets, misty early mornings, foggy evenings.
October | Seeds and Stitches blog

This is just a small snippet of our Sunday Supplement which gets sent out on the first Sunday morning of every month. We have a new feature this month; what we're reading/wearing/eating/listening too which includes links to a brand new Autumn playlist (partially crowdsourced from readers over on our Facebook page). You can sign up to receive the full newsletter over there on the right >>>>

P.s we are LOVING all the #embracingtheseasons posts on Instagram, look out for an exciting new giveaway next week for our favourite image in October. 

October | Seeds and Stitches blog

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plants and Art

Urban Jungle Bloggers, Plants and Art

Hannah here. I have admired the Urban Jungle Bloggers hashtag for most of the last year; always meaning to join in and show off my beloved plant gang but never quite managing it. Until this month. Yes I am one day late but, pah.  I found time over the last few days to snap some of my plants with art around the house. 

Quick backtrack: There was a time when we lived in London that we were only just able to keep one rather tired and thirsty Crassula alive; so busy and black-thumbed were we at the time. We were hardly ever in the house, and when we were, our minds were not on the health of my lone plant. Miraculously it survived and with a little attention, has since spawned two babies and is finally happy alongside a lot of new friends. My black thumb has turned green and I have now kept plants alive in my house for over two years, mostly by making sure the pots can drain and not over watering;  basic, but major lessons in my plant-mother career. My lovely thriving family of house plants proves that it is indeed possible to green your black thumb and symbolises the very different life we now live (something I've talked more about here); one that enables time to care for and faff with plants. The simple act of watering them is in itself a meditation, a quiet few moments spent nurturing these little lives that give so much back. As well as purifying the air which is pretty amazing, I like that they bring a bit of wild inside our house. They also look flippin great. When I'm shooting houses I always recommend the homeowners have plants. They add life and texture to a room in a way that a static, lifeless object just can't. 

Urban Jungle Bloggers, Plants and Art | Seeds and Stitches blog
Urban Jungle Bloggers, Plants and Art | Seeds and Stitches blog
Urban Jungle Bloggers, Plants and Art | Seeds and Stitches blog

To the plants:

In the study (top pic) I have plants on the desk, and the odd leaf or flower from a walk knocking about too. The black and white poster behind them is by an unknown illustrator, I've had the print since I went to uni in London and it originally came in a Don't Panic club pack that used to be delivered to halls of residence (anyone else remember those?!) The mountain poster is a test; it's a photocopy of one of my photo's of a walk in the lake district, but it's not quite right yet. 

In the lounge (middle pics)these little pots are works of art themselves. Aren't they splendid? My friend jenny McNally made them for me for my 30th birthday last year and they induce deep happiness in me. My little Pilea on the left has been grown from a tiny baby and makes me an immensely proud plant mama.

In our dining room (pics at the bottom), there's a gorgeous Philodendron on the sideboard that I am willing to grow in to a big gnarly beast of a plant. It's next too a framed David Shrigley poster, one of my favourite artists. The candle holder is a new addition, it's Muuto from Houseology. Gorgeous eh?! I requested it as a press loan for a house shoot then couldn't bring myself to send it back (thanks lovely Hsuseology people!) Love the little cactus in the tea cup too. 

There are many, many more, but i'll save those for future Urban Jungle Blogger posts. Are you black or green thumbed?! as obsessed with plants as me? 

Baking Harvest Loaves with kids - Embracing the Autunm

Davina here - Its Harvest Festival tomorrow and to celebrate it Elfie and I have been baking some mini harvest loaves for friends, which we delivered on our new box bike yesterday afternoon, which Elfie now calls our Bread Box Bike!

Harvest festival is an annual celebration, which occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Harvest festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. 

In Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. Since wheat is one of our biggest crops we grow it has become a tradition to celebrate Harvest Festival by baking bread with newly reaped wheat and these loaves are called Harvest Loafs. 

Harvest is from the Old English word hærfest, meaning "Autumn". It then came to refer to the season for reaping and gathering grain and other grown products. The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon. Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon (normally around the 22 or 23 September). 

I had an idea that we'd make perfect mini loaves but of course Elfie was too excited to do that and was busy making shapes using scissors and her bare hands. This one above is a giant star and below you might spot a heart. 

We didn't have much time to wrap as it was getting close to bath time by the time the bread was ready so we quickly wrapped the loaves in greaseproof paper and old tea cloths and used twine to secure. We added an autunmal leaf to each parcel to decorate it - I knew these leafs I collected from outside Elfie's school on Thursday would have a purpose!

Will you be celebrating harvest festival this weekend? If so please do share images with us - we'd love the see some Harvest loaves!

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September's Styling the Seasons.

September Styling The Seasons | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: I love being in the woods at this time of year. On first appraisal, the woods are luscious and green; a dense heavy canopy of leaves above us. But look a little closer, and the first few rust coloured leaves scatter the ground, the first few prickly conker shells appear and many of the trees sport leaves with a slight hint of decay to them. We’re right on the cusp!

September in the woods | Seeds and Stitches blog
September in the woods | Seeds and Stitches blog
September in the woods | Seeds and Stitches blog
Love heart leaf!

Love heart leaf!

I’ve tried to capture that sense of being on the cusp in my Styling The Seasons’s post for September. There is still some green around, but things are starting to dry, wilt and decay. I’ve saved a couple of dried Alium heads and sweat pea seeds for next years planting; the album heads are so beautiful dried. We recently celebrated the Hop Festival; an annual beer and music festival in Faversham that celebrates the mass harvesting of hops that is happening busily in fields all around us, hence the hop wreath on the wall. Rain has been a rather permanent fixture around here too, so it felt appropriate to get my clay raindrop mobile out; a wonderful present from my sister in law.

Saving Sweat Pea seeds | Seeds and Stitches blog
Septembers's styling the Seasons | Seeds and Stitches blog
September Styling The Seasons | Seeds and Stitches blog
Styling the seasons September | Seeds and Stitches blog-6.jpg
Styling the seasons September | Seeds and Stitches blog-3.jpg

I’ve displayed my treasures on some of my favourite vintage items; which was the theme for this months Styling The Seasons. The reason for this is The Bloggers Vintage Jumble on the 4th October, something I’m going to be having a stall at. Come say hello! All the details are here in Katy’s post. The little vintage books were from Faversham Antiques Market for £2 each, and I pick up the old ceramic bottles wherever I can; eBay, car boot sales etc. I always have scented candles around the house, and this one is by Bee Fayre, a company campaigning to protect bee’s, bought from a local gift shop. It smells divine; delightfully floral. The Feathers are an ever growing Frankie-orginated collection; her penchant for collecting 'treasures' shows no sign of waning, and I wholeheartedly encourage it.  I'm loving September so far and am pretty pumped about Autumn. How's September treating you?

My Season of Parenting (young children)


Davina here -  You may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. Well when I say lately I really mean for the last 9 months since Bonnie was born and in particular over the school holidays during which I’ve had both girls full time.. The main reason for the lack of posts is of course time. I have none. Or at least none to myself except for that drizzly evening time when all my energy disperses like rain drops from a cloud and I am left empty and craving chocolate and TV. I know it’s not good for me I know I should be using that time wisely and pursuing my interests and blogging but I am just too tired most evenings and I have been taking our own advice and listening to my body  (although I’m not suite sure my body is right with the chocolate addiction! I’ll work on replacing that sugar hit with something healthier!) 

I have been feeling a lot of guilt about not blogging enough but the truth is even if I did have time I feel I don’t have much to share as so much of my time is taken up with the practicalities of parenting - getting kids from A-B, feeding them, resting them, cleaning them, dressing them - you know the list goes on and they both have such different demands and needs that its all consuming. And of course in many ways thats the easy practical stuff; the true parenting and energy consuming bits are the nurturing and playing with and at times dealing with challenging behaviour and difficult emotions. 

The other day I was talking to Hannah about all of this;  about how overwhelming I was finding parenting two and was expressing how much I want to start making more seasonal inspired crafts and do seasonal activities like she does but how I don’t know how to find time.  She said something really relevant - that I am in a season of intense parenting and that’s ok, something to be celebrated in fact,  and that I should talk about that. 

This concept of a Season of Parenting really struck me. It made my think about this time in my life in a very different way and I thought it would be helpful to share this with you incase any of you are going through the same as me; struggling with the fact that you can’t do much else other than parent.

The first thing that struck me about it was a strong realisation that if parenting young children is a season it is not forever - that it will slowly morph into another season as summer does into Autumn. This is important because it helps me remember how short-lived this time is and how I must try to enjoy it as much as I can because before I know it they will be big and not want me to cuddle them when they fall over. 

Grow a Child like you would grow a Vegetable

The second idea that I found useful was thinking of a season of parenting like a season of growing any vegetable or fruit - this may sound strange but hear me out. Vegetables and fruits need firstly to be planted as a seed, they need to be planted somewhere where there is a good foundation of soil and sunlight and watered regularly and of course in the end harvested and enjoyed. If we translate this into a season of parenting than we need to:

  1. Plant Seeds - well this can be seen as conceiving our children or we can look at it more metaphorically as planting seeds of ideas, values and beliefs in our children for their future lives. I really like this idea and it makes me want to talk to my husband in more depth about what seeds we are choosing to plant. 
  2. Choose a good Foundation - Like plants need good soil children need a secure functioning home that provides as much nutrients as possible - we all need to keep on adding compost to their soil otherwise it risks going stale.
  3. Provide Sunshine- Vegetables can’t grow without sunlight and neither can children - This can be interpreted in two ways - one simple but oh so important - get them outside in the sun shine!!! Give them fresh air - we need it too - and I often forget and spend the whole day inside. Another way to provide sunshine is to provide moments of joy. Simple ones - they don’t need to cost anything. Sometimes I find myself going through the day and not having really had a joyful moment with one or both of my daughters - even if its only for 5 minutes tickle them alive or dance with the or so whatever you know breams a smile to their faces and to yours. 
  4. Water Regularly by feeding them good food and you too so you can look after them well.
  5. Harvest - Reap the reward for all your hard work and enjoy your children as you enjoy watching them grow and turn into adults with hints of the seeds you planted showing and plenty of sunshine in their lives. 

When I look at this I know how much I am dong and what an unbelievable job it is to parent and it makes me feel less guilty about doing less of everything else. It is but for a short time.  

I am writing this as Bonnie is with her childminder for the first time settling in. Its the first time I have had to myself during the day (when I am not exhausted at night time) for over nine months. It feels good. It feels good to reflect and have a break from it all but motivational at the same time. 

I am feeling better about the season I’m in, embracing it in fact, but that means I may not be around here quite as much as I’d like to be. Now Bonnie has started a little bit of childcare we’ll see how that goes; I may be able to blog a bit more. Here’s hoping!  

Have any of you had a season of intense all consuming parenting? How did you  get through it? How did you make time for yourself?

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