Springing! {simple spring decorating ideas}

Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: After all my mindfulness in embracing Winter, Spring hasn’t arrived for me in a rush of golden waves and sunbeams just in the nick of time for me to lift my emaciated form and shed a tear of relief. It’s been like that in other years… oh yes… but this year, it just…is.  These early Spring days have been lovely;  almost-warm spring sunshine on our faces in the day, log fires at night. 

Frankie and I have been really enjoying ‘springing’- gardening, making carrot cake, and hanging our wooden eggs around the house. This has coincided nicely with a timely let up in the horrendous amount of work Dave and I have been doing. This time last week I couldn’t have even looked at a wooden egg, never mind spend half an hour faffing with them on my mantle piece. We’re not hosting an easter do this year (unlike last years mega meal) so I’m free to potter and faff until my spring-joy-filled-heart is content.

Repotting joy. 

Repotting joy. 

Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog

Some simple Spring decorating ideas:

  1. Find a large branch and hang egg (or feather/bunny etc) decorations from it. Davina and I both have branches in our homes that we decorate through the year. We have a tutorial here for salt dough egg decorations that are perfect to make with kids. You could use bunny or flower cookie cutters.
  2. Display hard boiled, dyed, or wooden eggs in a large vases or jars. (I have been collecting my Pysanka eggs for a couple of years, they’re mostly from eBay)
  3. Pot narcissi bulbs in jars or other pretty bowls
  4. Pick up as many locally grown daffs as you can! Large bunches look better than small ones. If you’re lucky enough to have spring flowers growing in your garden then bring a few indoors. Display them in lots of different vases and jars- variety is the key. 
  5. If you happen to have other Spring-ish ornaments around the house (/are a massive hoarder)- in my case, a bunny and some wooden mushrooms, then gather them for the mantle. 
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog
The #stickofdreams

The #stickofdreams

Easter branch, Spring decorating | Seeds and Stitches blog

This is also my submission for Styling The Seasons, a monthly styling challenge from Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots, that encourages participants to celebrate each season in their home.

Easter inspiration from Elfie's Kindergarten

Davina here - We celebrated Easter last Friday at Elfie's Kindergarten (pre-school in a Steiner school) as it was the last day of term. We had such a lovely time that I thought it would be nice to share some photos that I quickly took on my phone. As soon as I got there and saw all the beautiful decorations I wished I'd taken my camera but with two kids now there is so much to do before leaving the house at 8am that I can't remember everything!

Parents were invited in to the Kindergarten for the whole morning of the Easter celebration. This is a rare occasion as normally the kindergarten is a special space just for the children and parents are not allowed in. We drop them off and collect them from outside the classroom and every time I secretly wish I could go in and watch Elfie's morning so its such a treat on the last day of term when I can. Nick came too on friday so it was extra special for him to witness the morning as he didn't go to a Steiner school like I did so its all new to him.

The morning involved a welcome song followed by an easter egg hunt in the woods (they have a woods as their play ground!). Next we had a small easter meal together and circle time, in which parents could join in! (This  took me right back to when I was in Kindy myself). The morning was concluded by a story about the Easter Hare by the class teacher. I loved the story so much I looked it up to share with you:

 

The True Easter Hare

Once there was a father Easter hare and a mother Easter hare, who had seven children, and they didn’t know which of them was to become the Easter hare. Then the mother Easter hare took a basket with seven eggs, and the father Easter hare called the seven children and spoke to the eldest. “Take an egg out of the basket and carry it to the garden by the house where the many children live.”


The oldest hare took the golden egg, carried it through the wood and over the stream, came out of the forest, hopped across the meadow, and came to the garden of the house. There he wanted to jump over the gate, made one leap which was much too large and mighty, and the egg fell and broke. He was not the true Easter Hare.

Now the second one had his turn. He took the silver egg, carried it through the wood and over the stream, came out of the forest, and hopped across the meadow. There the magpie called, “Give the egg to me, and I’ll give you a coin.” Before the hare saw what was happening, the magpie had taken the silver egg into her nest. He was also not the true Easter hare.


Now it was the third one’s turn. This one took the chocolate egg, carried it through the wood and over the stream, and came out of the forest. Just then the squirrel came running down from the tall fir tree, opened his eyes wide and asked, “Does it taste good?” “I don’t know, I want to bring it to the children” ” Oh just let me taste it!” The squirrel licked it and because it tasted so good, the rabbit licked and tasted it with him, until the whole egg was eaten up. When the third hare came home, his mother pulled at his whiskers, which were still covered with chocolate, and said, “You are also not the true Easter hare”.


Now it was the fourth one’s turn. The fourth one took the speckled egg. With this egg he ran through the wood and came to the stream. As he was running across the stream on a tree trunk, he stopped in the middle  and looked into the stream as if in a mirror. As he stared at himself, the egg fell helter-skelter into the water. He was also not the true Easter hare.


Now it was the fifth one’s turn. The fifth one took the yellow egg. He ran through the wood, and before he came to the stream, he met the fox, who said, “Oh, come home with me into my cave and show the lovely egg to my children”. The little fox children began to play with the egg, when it hit a stone and was broken. The hare ran quickly to his house, with his ears hanging down. He was also not the true Easter hare.


Now it was the sixth one’s turn. The six one took the red egg. With the red egg he ran through the woods. Along the way he met another hare. Then he laid his egg on the path and began to wrestle with the other hare. They just went plop-plop with their paws. Finally the other hare run away. When the sixth one searched for his egg, he found it broken into tiny bits. He was also not the true Easter hare.


Now it was the turn of the seventh one, the youngest and smallest hare. He took the blue egg. With it, he ran trough the woods. Along the way he met another hare. He ran past him and went on. Then came the fox and our hare made a few long leaps and went further. He came to the stream and with a couple of hops, he jumped across the tree trunk. The squirrel came, but he kept running and came to the meadow. When the magpie shouted, he just called, “I must keep going, I must keep going!” Finally he came to the garden of the house. The gate was closed. He made a great leap, not too big and not too small, and laid the egg in a nest which the children had made for it. He was the true Easter hare.

Every kindergarten table has a seasonal centre piece

Every kindergarten table has a seasonal centre piece

Close up of seasonal tree

Close up of seasonal tree

The Easter baskets were filled with the children's Easter craft including egg bunting, free standing paper Easter hares for the table, chicken egg warmers and egg stand and of course the chocolate eggs that the children found in the woods. I felt very proud of Elfie and will keep the chicken egg warmer and egg stand for every Easter in the future. 

Hannah and I would love to hear your Easter plans - we are always looking for inspiration. 

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3 years of Frankie-Rose

3 years of Frankie-Rose | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: I record sweet moments with Frankie on a note on my phone. It was started initially due to my hideous memory with the idea that I’d print them out some day to prompt my ailing mind. I haven't (YET!) printed them but I treasure scrolling through them, marvelling how i’d totally forgotten something she said, or did only 6 months previously. They are also invaluable to read on The Bad Days.

I use a note on my phone because I always have my phone on me and it’s consequently easy to record those “I need to write that down right now or I’ll forget it” moments. Because, man, there are so so many of them. And they are shockingly easy to forget in the next wave of “omg she just said this” moment. Wave after glorious wave. There’s an argument to just get soaked in those waves (one analogy too far?!), trust that you'll remember the important stuff, and not fret about recording it all, an argument I totally get. But I know my memory is a bit crap, and I already appreciate my recordings of her new born days, days that now seem generations ago. So I continue to tap away, a sentence or 2 a week. 

If you’ve always intended to write those things down, It’s never too late to start, and it doesn’t matter if you record 4 a day or 2 a year. Even if you only end up with 2 notes of 2 sentences each year, I’m sure you’ll love reading them back when your kids are grown, it’s amazing how quickly you forget. 

I’ve shared a few of these memories on the blog since I was pregnant, then a couple of times a year hence, to record Frankie growing up.  Here is the latest instalment, all taken from the last 6 months or so.

She is 3! 

She is like a Catherine wheel fizzing around the house, always moving, sending sparks of joy wherever she goes. 

“Look mama the cars are nice and meat! “(Neat)

She was staring out of the window and telling me a long protracted story that involved the following nugget: “Dadu came out of Father Christmas' bagina” .

She teaches me so much. How to state clearly what I need. How to simply ask for help when I need it. Knowing when to stop and sit under the blanket and read a story. The joy of stopping and admiring the leaves. How to not care about what I'm wearing. How to not care what anyone thinks about my behaviour! How to listen; How to enjoy finding the exact pitch of the whistling Kettle, the noise of the coffee grinder or the correct note of a ‘lorry reversing’ warning beep. I now know the joy of stopping EVERYTHING you're doing to dance. 
She has taught me to go slooooow. (A hard but necessary lesson for me)
She has taught me to always stop and show empathy and care for others. "Why is that kid saddin?"

‘B’coz' in every sentence at least twice. 
“I need you to get me a biscuit b’coz I'm hungry b’coz you need too”

Gah! Her tiny face and massive eyes and blond curls! Her baby soft kissable cheeks! I STILL WANT TO EAT HER CHEEKS. 

Dave- 'please don't pull my beard'
F "waaall, I need too bcoz ozzerwise it will get mouldy"

I’m reminding myself constantly that she hasn't woken up with a mission to wind me up and test my boundaries. Everything she does is communication. THIS REALISATION HAS CHANGED MY PARENTING. If she is being wild or waking through the night- I’m no longer just royally pissed off and exasperated (welllllll, ok, a bit) but concerned- what is going on for her? What need is she trying to get me to meet? From Playful Parenting; rather than thinking about their wild mood changes, think about their 'cup' being at varying levels of ‘full’. I have found this analogy always works. If Frankie is being sad or wild, its always because she is either sick, teething or her ‘cup’ is empty and I need to spend some time with her.  

Reading back to my one year post, I described the love as almost like a tangible object: a solid husk sitting in the pit of my stomach. Still true.   

The concept of adultism is transforming our parenting. The radical notion that kids are people! That they have as much right to get their needs met and their desires fulfilled as us. That just because we don't understand their desires doesn't mean they’re not valid. That forcing clothes on their bodies or coercing them to eat or bribing them to sleep just isn't cool (still guilty of lots of that- but working on it!)

Aubergine= b'gene
Frustrated- ustwated 

This girl still loves dancing. I love her moves so much! Asks for music frequently at home and at friends houses and then just goes for it. 

Lots of “come and see my tiny little baby” (x a million every 5 mins) “He's smiling at you!” in the strange effected voice of a granny. Makes me wanna poke my eyes out with a spoon but I smile and say for the millionth time, “Yes! isn’t he so cute!”

I’m in the process of culling her toys in the name of simplicity. She hasn't noticed. 

We were talking about a photo of my mum, and I told her she isn’t here anymore, that she died. (we want to be totally open and honest about death- there is a lot of it in our families)  She looked at me quizzically and asked:
F: ”Do you love her very much?”
Me: “Yes. Yes I still do”
F: “Would you like to go to her house to see her?”
Me: “...well, actually, yes I would dearly love to do that, but…” (sudden lump in throat)
 F: “Ok. well, lets go to see your mama, come on!”
(I had to go upstairs to sob)

"Good my gaseous, the book fell off!” (Goodness gracious. Bahahaha!)

I wish I could record the sound of her eating an oat cake and make its timbres into a symphony.

F: “I’m sorry mama, for jumping on your hair lots of times. Shall I kiss it better?” (Just started with sincere unprompted apologies)
“I’m sorry mama for spitting in your ear. I’ll wipe it off.”
“I’m sorry for wiping my bogeys on you….. Haha! Look mama, there’s millions of bogeys on you!!”

F: "A dog barked and it gave me a fright! It was not not my best favourite."

F: “I don't want you to go, you're my best favourite mama!” 

Me, shopping in Frankie’s shop. 
“How much does that cost” 
F ”a hundred a milk" (the price of everything, apparently)
Me: “Hmm ok. Thanks.”

When any 2 things are stuck together "aww look! They're giving each other a cuggle!”

Me: “Frankie, ok now I really need to go,  I need a shower” 
F “Why?!”
Me: “Because I'm smelly smelly” (true)
F *big sniff* “No you don't, you smell of mama! Play with me!”
Errrr….

Eye cuddles are totes a thing. As are chin cuddles, ear cuddles and, err, bottom cuddles.

I try to keep calm when she’s really angry with me, honour her feelings, and talk to her about why she feels sad (I kinda hate the word ‘tantrum’) but, for all my efforts to be respectful and calm, I can’t help guffawing when she shouts at me “GO OUTSIDE, IN THE BIN, IN THE TOILET”.  (“Oh baby! You feel so angry” *hides face behind book*) 

Mid baking, she looks at me seriously and says:
F “So, how was work?”
Me, a bit taken aback: “Fine, thank you very much, thanks for asking. I sent some emails last night when you were in bed and did some writing this morning when you were with Sophie. How was your work?!”
F: (without missing a beat, 3 going on 30) “Oh, yeah, fine, thank you very much. My baby was just so sad and so she booshed her head! So I kissed it better and then we rode on a horsey and did loadsa dancing.”
Me: “Wow, that sounds productive.”

——

All the photo’s were taken on her birthday, a day in which all three of us went to our local farm to eat cake and see the just that minute born lambs (amazing! Pretty visceral too) and smell the apparently honey scented (according to F) daffodils. Oh man. Spring babies. The best. (not biased at all!)

All photo’s by lovely mister, aka Wild Fox Portraits. , who would love to come and take similar pics of your family, if you'd like. 

P.S If you want, you can catch up with the rest of the pregnancy/parenting blogs here:  My first trimester pregnancy post second trimester updatethird trimester updateIntroducing Frankie-Rose6 months, one year, 18 months, and 2 years.

On wearing feminist goggles and WOW festival 2015

WOW Festival | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: Wow festival , a couple of weeks ago on The Southbank in London was brilliant, as always. Bright sunshine, blue skies, some of my besties, a few tears, a lot of talking, and a hell of a lot of mind changing. We were honoured this year to have our names in the programme as we ran a craft session on Sunday. We met some really lovely people, some of whom are readers (HELLO!).

There is so much to say, but I fear I won't do it justice, so I will just say this. Once you start to read and think and talk about the many ways Patriarchy is screwing us all over- in the division of childcare and domestic duties, pay inequality, rape culture, diet culture, women everywhere hating their bodies- basically, once you put your 'feminist goggles' on, you start to see sexism, racism, and inequality everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Its both liberating, rage inducing and depressing. And also sometimes uncomfortably close to home. I  have included a few of our highlights and favourite talks below. 

Abi Wade played at WOW on Saturday- we loved her and have been playing her ever since.

Abi Wade played at WOW on Saturday- we loved her and have been playing her ever since.

Frankie's god mother on the right  being brilliant in a talk about fantasy and sci fi

Frankie's god mother on the right  being brilliant in a talk about fantasy and sci fi

Gemma Cairney's session made me cry and made me deeply angry all at once. All about young girls. 

Gemma Cairney's session made me cry and made me deeply angry all at once. All about young girls. 

Some pics from our session. 

And some of our favourite talks. (In preview they all seem to be illustrated by Cailin Morans face- weird!)

The below talk blew my mind- SO interesting to learn more about the importance of intersectionality. 

I am hideously late with this, but on International Womens Day itself, an email was sent to all women signed up to receive Pinterest notifications (gadzooks!) containing links to my favourite feminist boards on Pinterest. It was an honour.  I say honour because I am totally addicted to Pinterest and have boards on everything from storage, roast dinners, and raising girls. Pinterest isn't perhaps primarily known as a radical online space, and sometimes the content, which is generated mostly by white middle class women, is overwhelmingly food, decor, exercise/"thinspo" and wedding related. It's come under fire for this in the past, but actually, if you follow the right people, and strategically unfollow too (you'll get an immediate unfollow from me if you post anything "thinspo". The word itself makes me want to gauge my eyes out), your feed can be filled with awesome inspiring images that don't make you feel like a failure for having a normal body and house. 

It was an achingly difficult decision, but here they are. Go follow them to fill your feeds with inspirational, affirming and bolstering pins that will make you feel proud to be a woman (or angry enough to want to start a revolution ; )

My Love yo'self board was on there, as was my Because I am a Feminist.  board. 

I also included The Penguin Books Heroines board

The Reel Lives Bechdel Film test board

The Moon Cup (You've heard of it right?! I'm a believer!) 's board about body positivity. 

The best of A Mighty Girl

Annie Hayfords board of awesome feminists

A joint board called Feminism: A Community

A brilliant board from Miss Representation called Not Buying It (calling out hilariously sexist marketing)

And lastly a board all about Comix, animation and women

THAT WAS A LOT OF FEMINISM IN ONE BLOG POST WAS'NT IT. *fist pumps*  Happy Wednesday to you!

DIY Easter salt dough Decorations for kids

Davina here - We have a seasonal tree in our house, which is basically some branches in a vase that we hang homemade seasonal decorations on - super simple but we love it. We have had a seasonal tree since Elfie was a baby so for four years now and at first I made decorations for it, then I used Elfie’s drawings and paintings (well mark-makings really) and as she got older we made decorations together. This year for the first time Elfie has made decorations all by herself for our Easter themed tree and has made salt dough eggs.

She poured the flour, salt and water herself and mixed them up. I helped a little getting the dough right but then she rolled it out and cut out her egg shapes. Once they were dry she drew on them with wax crayons and painted some glittery PVA over the top. I helped her thread the twine threw the holes and she hung them on the tree. I had to stop myself from trying to help her make them neat as I really wanted her to have ownership over them.

Salt Dough Egg Ingredients and Equipment:

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of basic table salt
  • 1/3 cup of water - you may want to add a little bit more once you start mixing
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters (we had a egg shaped one)
  • Baking trays and greaseproof paper
  • Twine

Instructions: 

  1. Mix together four and salt and add water and mix it in. Add more water if too dry to knead but only a little bit at a time. At this time you may choose to add food dye to colour dough.
  2. Knead well so consistency is nice and soft like play dough
  3. Roll out and cut out shapes
  4. Using a straw cut out holes to thread twine through to hang on tree
  5. Either leave to dry for 1-2 weeks or bake on the lowest setting on your oven for 4-5 hours (I did this in the evening)
  6. Once dry decorate wither with crayons, felt tips or paint

Notes: You can also rubber stamp impressions or ink onto salt dough but its best to do this when still damp. 

P1019815 copy.jpg

As Elfie was hanging her decorations she kept on picking out a few eggs and saying they were for friends so we saved those ones and stuck them to Happy Easter cards with some washi tape.

Next I need to find time to make an Easter Wreath using willow and buy ingredients to make Easter Bread Ring. What will you be making this Easter? We'd love to hear any ideas for hand crafted Easter Decorations.

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