Petal & Pins

Butterfly Wings & Other Things

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I have been wanting to do a post about butterflies for a while now.

Ideas and inspiration swirled around gathered momentum and somehow got away from me – just like a butterfly flitting, just beyond reach.

There are silk butterflies from Paris pinned on my notice board that were given to me several years ago. Occasionally I ‘release’ them from the cellophane bag to contemplate a myriad of possibilities.

The teacups I bought for my serendipitous friend and I are adorned with flowers and butterflies.

I stumbled on this quote -

‘Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued,is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you’

And I photographed some real ones in my garden.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

One summer many moons ago my cousin was given a butterfly net. I don’t remember catching any when my sister and I trailed along but I do remember the ones he’d already caught pinned and displayed.

Years later, visiting a National Trust house in Sydney I was mesmerized by a picture of a floral arrangement which was created out of butterfly wings on black velvet.

I wouldn’t advocate butterfly collecting now and I feel very lucky they visit my garden and simply delight in the random moments when I get to observe one.

I reminded my cousin of his butterfly net and it elicited a smile – he’d completely forgotten about it. The hobby I suspect only lasting one summer. We pondered whether there are less butterflies about these days and I said I thought we are less inclined to stop and notice such things as adults.

Soon after that conversation I heard a fascinating interview with a butterfly farmer on the radio.

And then butterflies seemed to be everywhere – from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2014 Haute Couture collection shown last January, ‘ Miranda Kerr for Royal Albert‘ tea sets, to fabric prints and an invitation to a birthday party.

I decided it was time to finally do my butterfly post before the moment escaped again.

Spring is tantalisingly close in Tasmania so picking from some of the early arrivals I made a flower arrangement inside my teacup and set the silk butterflies free.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Are there butterflies in your garden?

Botanical

embroidered fabriccutting fabricembroided fabric detail© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Time & Tide

There was wild weather all around Tasmania last week and it was still pouring with rain as we headed off for a few days up the east coast on Friday for some time out and to celebrate Mr Petal & Pins birthday.

We arrived at Rocky Hills Retreat pleased to find the wood heater already lit and we could enjoy watching the brooding atmosphere outside while cosily tucked up on  the couches with a glass of champagne.

The Retreat has an old weatherboard church relocated from Hobart which has been turned into a creative studio for guests so on Saturday morning we wandered up after breakfast to explore and play.

Mr Petal & Pins dusted off his musical skills and found a spot to sit where the sun was streaming in to strum a guitar while I chose to sketch him with charcoal.

Sunday we woke up to blue sky and sunshine, perfect for a drive further up the coast to Friendly Beaches in the Freycinet National Park.

I made this Garden Fairy’s dress in situ and then left it for the tide to take.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I went a little crazy taking photos on the beach and I thought I’d share a few since you might not be familiar with this part of the world.
It is a beautiful place, the colours magical on a sunny day…and as you can see we had the whole beach to ourselves!

Friendly Beaches Tasmania

Friendly Beaches Tasmania

Friendly Beaches Tasmania

Friendly Beaches Tasmania

beach flora

rocks east coast Tasmania

rocks east coast Tasmania

Friendly Beaches Tasmania

view from Cape Torville

all photos © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Memory & Myth

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I can picture exactly where the Salvia Leucatha grew below the window of my parents bedroom in the front garden of my childhood home.

Drawn to both the colour and the texture I loved the purple spires of velvet flowers on silvery stems – perhaps an early hint of a vocation with the tactility of textiles.

Family myth is purple was one of the first words in my vocabulary and it’s still a favourite colour.

When I walk past the patch of salvia that spills onto the pavement down the road and  lightly touch the velvet flowers it immediately takes me  back to childhood days in that garden.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

 

 

Daisy

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

It seems whatever the season there’s a daisy to be found!

These ones grow near my front door and although the bush is not covered in blooms it was just too tempting not to pick some this morning to play with.

Do you like the result?

A Thank You Bouquet

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Recently one of my brides dropped in for morning tea and gave me this gorgeous bunch of ‘thank you’ flowers. It had stems of pretty brassica that also featured in my posts Mon Petit Chou and Petit Chou#2.

The process of designing and creating a wedding dress means spending quite a bit of time with a bride and during the journey from sketch to toile, through fittings to finished gown there are many varied and interesting conversations.

Some are about plans for the festivities – their excitement is contagious and I often help with suggestions for flowers or other details. Occasionally my garden offers up a welcome supply of Cécile Brunner roses for adorning hair or cake.

This last season, a bride’s mother came and picked some of my Perle D’or roses to add to the bridal bouquet and a collection of tiny pine cones I gathered from a picnic were perfect for the men’s buttonholes of my Autumn bridal party.

There was a third gown for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe that I created with them last June, so I thought I’d share it today.

It is one of the designs in my Haute Couture Collection along with roses,hellebores and peony. AUS$24.95+pp for a 5 card set available here.

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

Jewelled Webs

misty morning

I woke up this morning to a view of fog and only the tops of the bare branched trees visible. Walking down the street the city and river were also blanketed in white.

After raining most of the night everything glistened with raindrops and I decided when I returned from my morning walk I would go looking for ‘raindrop beaded’ spiderwebs in the garden.

cobweb series

cobweb series

cobweb series

cobweb series

spiderweb series

On the weekend I discovered snowdrops in flower and one or two early blossoms on the plum tree but this morning’s fog showed there is more winter to get through yet.

snowdrops

And beauty to be found in the garden whatever the season.

birds in cherry tree

cobweb in the lilac treeAll photos © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Lavandula

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I’ve been bolder this year in pruning the lavender bushes back in the half circle garden bed that follows the path to my front door.

Over summer they were taller than me and a buzz with bees. The ants seemed to like them too which made me less inclined to pick it for vases.

But as the days grew cooler, the ants moved on and I harvested the flower spikes to dry.

My mother took some back to Sydney along with some pretty lace scraps to make lavender bags.

There are now new shoots appearing  on the bushes and I await with interest how tall they will be come Spring.

Garland & Crown

paper cut garland

Agnes

Agnes

paper cut garland

S

Agnes

out the sunroom window

all images © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Cut & Paste

Marigold Garland

The Fairy Cordwainer’s Wares

Boot © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Garden Fairy’s boots © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Garden Fairy's shoes © Sandra Alcorn 2014

Garden Fairy’s shoes © Sandra Alcorn 2014

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