I’m a little late with my first blog post for 2019, our January trip to exhibit at Top Drawer London S/S had us on the go from day one.
But as February starts to disappear the beginning of a new week has spurred me to dive back in and what better inspiration for a post than participating in Cathy from Rambling in the Garden’s In A Vase On Monday!
I have a small clump of Amaryllis belladonna growing in my garden but this big bunch I was given by my neighbour.
These lillies are a bit ‘now you see me now you don’t’ – with warmer than average weather this summer and everything looking a bit dry and a little jaded, suddenly in gardens and paddocks up pop the ‘naked ladies’, prettiness that belies hardiness.
This time last year we were excitedly planning our trip to Japan and on the weekend we finally hung the beautiful drawings we bought at the Oedo Antique Market in Tokyo.They are actually technical drawings – designs for obi, the sash worn with a kimono. The market seller had a large pile of them with other trinkets laid out on a cloth. I hovered rather impatiently as someone before me went through cherry picking a lot of the most beautiful ones!
Of the two we chose I had thought the other one – a lush arrangement of peonies and chrysanthemums was my favourite but now hung, one each side of the fireplace, the simplicity and serenity of this one beckons me to pause, imagine myself on a river bank, glance through the over hanging branches and watch the ripples dancing on the surface of the water.
With several warm December days in a row the magnolia outside our studio window has been a mass of blooms. I glanced out at this one last week and it was perfectly open for photographing but a little high up for a good shot without the step ladder.
I hesitated for a moment and told myself not to get distracted from all the work I had to do that day and take a photo later…of course when I did go back outside the petals had started to close up and I’d missed the moment.
The next day the flower was less than perfect but a buzz with bees – so I grabbed my camera and the step ladder.
First there was one bee, then two, then three gathering pollen before flying off to another flower. No sooner had they left a bumble bee arrived and burrowed into the stamens.
We’ve been busy as bees in the petal & pins studio these last few months with Christmas markets, orders to get out the door and preparations for our first international trade show in the new year.
The ‘To Do’ list is finally starting to feel like it’s decreasing not increasing but as any small business owner knows it never stays that way for long.
I’m looking forward to a few days over Christmas doing nothing at all – hopefully the weather will be agreeable to lying on a blanket in the garden with a book!
As one of the earliest blooms of the season lilacs symbolize spring & renewal. It’s heady fragrance is unforgettably sweet, spicy and intense and it’s a cause for celebration when it returns to my garden.
“The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.”
Margaret Millar (1947) Experiment in Springtime:A Novel, New York:Random House
One of the things I love about stepping out in a big city is the fabulous window dressing you see.
When I was in Tokyo this mens shoe store display caught my eye, it’s deceptively simple but carefully and artfully arranged.
The suspended writing (a play on pinstripes?) gives a sense of movement and the nonchalant lean of the umbrella is positioned just so that you can almost sense an imaginary hand resting on the handle.
I photographed a Melbourne window display back in 2014 that also used script in a clever way, appearing in reverse you needed to look at the shadow to read it.
Anyone care to have a go at deciphering what the scribbly man says?!
For Spring/Summer I’ve created a brand new card collection with pretty colours and whimsical designs with apple blossom, jonquils, sea shells and Flemish butterflies!
I’m also delighted to introduce a range of linen tea towels and new designs to our popular Love Letters & Christmas Collections.
You may have seen some sneak peeks on the petal & pins instagram of these new designs and I’ll be showing the full range including our signature collection the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe® at Life Instyle Melbourne next week at stand 2249.
If you are retailer you have a chance to win $1000 to spend at the event by registering to attend here.
The ultimate destination for all things in style.
“Life Instyle is a boutique trade event for leading buyers with a discerning eye for quality and style. With a strong focus on creative excellence and innovative design, Life Instyle has become a highly anticipated and sought after event within the retail industry and a centre of activity for buyers with their finger on the pulse.
Explore a mix of beautiful designer brands featuring premium homeware, giftware, lifestyle and kids products all within an inspiring and fresh sourcing environment.
With two shows per year, visitors, including leading local and international buyers, interior designers, stylists and the media, all come from around Australia and beyond to source from the most exclusive brands in the country and enjoy the relaxed ambience and open floor plans that have become the trade mark of Life Instyle.”
I’ve been procrastinating writing about our trip to Japan – where to start? A place of contrasts and beauty couldn’t be contained in one post.
There is intricacy and simplicity.
A riot of colour and then a tonal quietness.
This morning I decide to start with the leaf sweepers at Meiji-jingū, Tokyo’s largest and most famous Shintō shrine. The sprawling forested grounds contain some 120,000 trees collected from all over Japan.
I was facinated by the simplicity and make shift look of the brooms, they reminded me of the ones I’d seen street sweepers using in Venice, Italy.
They obviously do the job they’re designed for well – perhaps a reminder that sometimes we can over complicate things.
Besides they have such charm don’t you think!
Here is a link for making a Japanese broom for sweeping your own cobblestones, gravel path or moss garden.
I was excited for our lapel pins to arrive, just in time to wear at our upcoming trade fair in Melbourne!
Have you heard of the Just A Card Campaign? It came about when British artist & designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote “If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card‘ we’d still be open” by store keepers who’d recently closed their gallery.
This prompted a call to action! Designer/Makers and independent shops and galleries needed a voice and so in 2015 Sarah started the wonderful Just A Card campaign.
Sarah says “when you buy JUST A CARD, just a book, just a gift etc from an independent shop or creative business you’re not just buying a card…you’re supporting passion, skill, creativity, originality and community” – I couldn’t put it better myself!
Many of the shops that sell my work are small independent stores with passionate owners, so my sucess is also linked to their sucess.
While the Just A Card Campaign started in Britian it’s message has resonated globally with designers, makers, and independent shops and galleries and next week is a 3rd Birthday celebration of just how far it’s come.
Coming from a small island off an island (my old atlas doesn’t even name it!) by necessity gives me a “there’s a whole world out there” focus on where I’d like petal & pins to be so I’ll be participating in their Five Day Instagram Challenge and I invite you to follow along – @petalandpins
How can you get involved?
And finally as Sarah says – by all means compliment people, it makes the world a far sunnier place, but if you can, please, buy ‘just a card‘!