{Tree}household: Sewing Seeds

Treehousehold series

When the hibernation habit gets a little blase and the bottoms of your feet become a little itchy for remembrance of their bare-naked grassy days, I feel like the “wet seed wild in the hot blind earth,” of Faulkner’s imagination—caught in the hopeful tandem between winter and spring. If nothing else is ripe, at least the time is ripening for sowing seeds of futures, dreaming dreams, and planting wishes.

The Greek goddess of vegetation, Persephone, is the spring herald of seeds and fresh growth. The pomegranate seeds she ate, while banned from food, are said to have been the reason she was shunned and absent from her duty as fertility mother, thus creating the barren season of winter. We are teetering on the edge of this cold season and the turnover of new growth, so we shall celebrate the seed!

The year is new and I needed something lovely to write on and plant—why not combine the two forces into plantable paper? My seeded stuff ended up looking curiously edible. It somehow achieved the consistency of oatmeal (the brown and cream paper mush) and raisin (foxglove seeds) cookie bars. To make your own write-on granola-esque notes, do this!

(Oatmeal Raisin) Seeded Wildflower Paper

Material and Tools

  • 10-20 sheets of recycled paper (you can use newspaper, old book, junk mail, etc…) and keep in mind the color will be a result of the dye of the paper you use
  • 1 or cups of lukewarm water
  • natural dye or tissue paper (optional)
  • 1-2 packs wildflower seeds
  • a hand towel
  • a cookie/baking sheet
  • a mug, cup, or rolling pin
  • a blender

I started off with black/cream sheets of paper from a discarded 1950s atlas, a handful of newspaper, some junk mail, and a brown paper bag. Rip all the paper you’re going to use up into thin shreds. The smaller, the better, but don’t go too crazy! Put the paper shreds into the blender until it’s almost full. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water and blend, starting with the lowest setting and gradually vamping it up to full power. Blend until the individual pieces have become a watery mush and are indistinguishable, adding water as needed. This process took me 10-15 minutes, and lots of patient alternating between stirring and blending, but eventually did the trick. When the paper has returned back to its pulpy state, you may add a bit of natural dye or square of (dyed) tissue paper to kick it with some color. I chose to leave mine its neutral shade of oatmealy-beige.

Remove the pulp from the blender and place it in a bowl. Add whatever seeds you are inclined—I used foxglove, shasta daisy, and zinnia, for lots of variety and potential. Stir well until the seeds are distributed evenly throughout. Take a small handful of the “dough” and ball it up in your hands, squeezing most of the water out but leaving enough so that it clumps together. Spread the ball out into your desired shape on the baking sheet, flattening it until it’s as thin as it will go. Thin it out even further with a rolling pin, or by using a mug to roll it out. Soak up the excess water with a towel. Repeat this until all the pulp is used. You can make whatever size/shape of paper you desire, but know that the thicker and larger the size, the longer it will take to dry.

Bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes, or until mostly dry. Alternatively, leave in the sun to dry, dry with a hairdryer, take a hairdryer to it, or use your breath for the most hands-on experience. 🙂

When you’re ready to bury it, soak the paper for about an hour before placing it lightly (about 1/2 inch deep) in the soil. My foxgloves, zinnia, and daisies will spring up to life in a few weeks.

Get fancy with your paper! I used a sheet of mine to make a hand-sewn Valentine. Simply use thread (usually 3 strands is plenty for this) to make your own design and sew it as you would anything else.

From {Tree}HouseHold, and the promise of spring, sew your seeds of wild oatmeal today!

About the contributor:

Heather Buzzard is a freshly hatched graduate of Emory University, where she studied creative writing, sociology, religion and environmental science. Her time is spent frolicking as a musician in two Atlanta bands, dressing up for silly photoshoots, inventing recipes, and drooling happily over her Indie Fixx work.


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