Having planned your sowing for this year if you have some over and these are not to be kept for future use, do not throw them away. The wonderful variety of size, shape, colour and texture in seeds is a treasure house for creative design. Early in the year with bad weather keeping us indoors is also a good time to sort kitchen cupboards where you may find herb and spice seeds that are over date. These also offer a store of possibilities. They can range from anise, dill fennel, coriander and caraway to cumin, star anise and cardamom. Out of date powdered spices such as paprika and cayenne might also be incorporated into your design.
Seed and spice collage pictures is one idea but some seeds such as coriander, anise, chia and alfalfa are perfect for adding paths, either to miniature gardens made with dried herbs set into a medium on tiny stems, or when designing scenery for a model railway. They can decorate cards for birthdays or other occasions, be added to gift tags, or the front of a notebook with added protection from a decoupage glaze. Seed collage will keep children quiet for hours, encouraging their creativity. Seeds used only in cookery will be a safety factor to consider for younger children, choosing those with a taste which will discourage them from eating too many.
The joy of seeds for crafts however can be indulged in at any age and begins with searching among those seeds available for contrasts of colour and texture. Variations in size may be considerable, yet areas of tiny seeds such as wild celery, poppy or mullein can still be placed to good effect contrasting with those much larger, honesty, star anise or marshmallow.
For colour in tiny seeds, a rich brown can be added using alfalfa, red clover or rosemary, mustard seeds come in different colours, while chia seeds offer a random mix of grey and white. Tiny lettuce, and larger melon, pumpkin and sunflower have light colouring, which deepens towards gold with golden linseed and then darker fenugreek.
Shapes can be from the very long, with black sweet Cicely, and almost feathery Tagetes to shorter creamy melon, and milk thistle contrasting with the round pearls of gromwell or sandy coloured coriander. The half moon shapes of Calendula seed cases are brilliant for rounded edgings and exploded open cases of broom of any kind with their dark twisted forms add amazing stems if you are using a flower pattern. Seeds which are deeply ridged, adding character include nasturtium and angelica.
When thinking of ideas for patterns using natural leaf shapes such as the lemon or rose geraniums which you may have as house plants in winter can be very effective. Others which come readily to mind are trees such as the Tree of Life which is detailed in Herb Sufficient with a trunk of cinnamon quill fragments and standing on a hill of powdered and small pieces of calamus root. A simple butterfly shape can be a small project which inspires many more slightly different variations. An owl only requires a simple circle for the head which is then elongated for the body. The owl can be very effective using Tagetes and Sweet Cicely for feathers and small dill seeds for the speckled breast with honesty seed eyes and parts of star anise seedheads for the beak and feet which cling to a small piece of cinnamon stick as a branch. Have fun!