Petal & Pins

Month: October, 2012

A Fiori

patchwork tunic© Sandra Alcorn 2012

I love hedges and there are some great old ones in my neighbourhood – some with crisp lines and some overgrown in undulating curves. My front garden has a patchwork hedge, it changes with the seasons but at this time of year is a riot of colour – peachy orange japonica, white and mauve lilacs, crab apple blossom, magenta beauty bush and blousy creamy pink roses rambling through it. Reminds me of New York fashion designer Anna Sui’s clothes -a little bit romantic nostalgia and a little bit rock and roll glam.

Ode To Chanel

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012


Coco Chanel’s signature flower was the camellia.  Friends generously offered up a basketful of blooms from their garden. Merci beaucoup David et Margot!

Faded Glamour

waratah gown for blog

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago a friend dropped in for afternoon tea with the gift of a waratah  – such a majestic flower – upright and boldly red. I enjoyed its beauty in a vase on  the mantelpiece and over time it revealed a palette of not just red but also purple.

I have a memory of a picture of a 1980’s YSL dress in red and purple – he was a master of the bold colour combination – and it inspired this garden fairy’s gown.  I waited until the base petals started to droop and brown at the edges before I could bring myself to pull it apart.

I was surprised at how delicately the gown evolved, so different from the bold shaped flower. I thought about those favourite pieces you have for years and how over time after lots of wears and umpteen washes they turn into something else, their faded glamour infused with memories. You might not wear them often but occasionally slipping them on brings a certain joi de vivre.


Rhubarb & Rhododendrons

Yesterday daylight saving began which seems to put everyone in a good mood. The weather was perfect for afternoon tea in my friend Amanda’s garden and she had baked a delicious cake with gin and lemon syrup for the occasion.

With that extra daylight in the late afternoon we felt inspired to tackle dividing the rhubarb. Last summer from a recipe in Skye Gyngell’s book “A year in my kitchen” I made some rhubarb ice cream, the recipe’s photo shows a lovely delicate pink vanilla bean speckled ice cream, mine turned out a vivid pink but the flavour was amazing.

A gin & tonic followed to toast the coming summer and then I left Amanda to finish the task, but not before requesting a spray of her beautiful rhododendron blooms for my garden fairy’s wardrobe.


© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

Macarons, Memories and Momentoes

My June trip to Paris continues to inspire ideas for work and plant seeds for various projects.

One that I have started is filling an empty Ladurée macaron box with handmade silk ones. I can never bring myself to throw out an exquisite box and I have a collection of special boxes that once contained chocolate or champagne and now are full of handwritten letters, cards and trinkets whilst also being a reminder of the occasion their original contents were part of celebrating.

The Thai silk I frequently use in my studio is the perfect texture and lustre for the macaron so I have been rummaging in my scrap boxes and matching up the colours with the flavours on the Ladurée selection card which is like a miniature paint chart of delicious colours.

Jean-Paul Hévin was actually my favourite shop for macarons in Paris, particularly the fig and chocolate ones and the orange gingerbread. But on the last day I just had to buy some from Ladurée to bring a bit of Paris home to share … and have one of their beautiful boxes!

Update: You can see how this project has progressed in the post Spilt Wine.

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