Petal & Pins

Category: beach

Rock Pools & Moonflowers

I’ve recently been up to Sydney for a holiday.

I don’t normally use the word holiday when I make trips to Sydney as it’s my original ‘hometown’ so in a sense it feels more like returning.

But this trip Mr Petal & Pins and I played tourist with a visit to the Botanical Gardens, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a day exploring the coastline in the Royal National Park.

Knowing that when we got back to Hobart the cooler nights and crisper mornings of autumn would have set in, we were determined to take advantage of Sydney’s still summer like temperatures to spend lots of time at the beach swimming and lazing in the sun.

We spent several afternoons exploring around the rocks and venturing as far as we dared to watch the waves breaking. I’d forgotten how wonderful the rock pools in Sydney are with their miniature sea gardens. It brought back memories of exploring them as a child, eyes on the lookout for red centred sea anemone, crabs and the notorious blue ringed octopus.

Sydney rockpoolssydney rockpools Sydney rockpools

With Blackwoods Beach on our doorstep, we wandered down at dawn for me to draw in the blank canvas of sand left by the tide while Mr Petal & Pins took photographs. We were treated to a colourful sunrise and a double rainbow.

sunrise Blackwoods Beach Sydneyrainbows over South Cronullasand drawing
It was so much fun we decided to do it again the following morning, inviting a friend to join us. Marg turned up with a rake as her drawing implement and a bunch of Moonflowers that had opened the previous night for me to turn into Garden Fairy dresses.
Collaborating with her on the beach drawing proved to be even more fun. Our activity piqued the interest of early morning walkers on the cliff top path above and Mr Petal & Pins photographed our progress.

dawn at Blackwoods Beachsand drawing at Blackwoods Beachsand drawing at Blackwoods Beach

Our Day Of Flowers

Mr Petal & Pins, Agnes and I took a little road trip last week and ventured up to Stanley which is in the far North West of Tasmania in a region aptly called ‘The Edge of The World’.

Stanley Tasmania

It was incredibly windy during our stay which we weren’t expecting but was not surprising since this neck of the woods gets the brunt of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds known as the Roaring Forties. Luckily we had both thrown scarves in at the last minute when we packed.

When we toured the historic Highfield House which was built in the 1830’s I took a photo of some sheet music thinking the name of the hymn would make a lovely title for a blog post.

sheet music 'our day of flowers' hymn

Highfield House

We called in to The Brown Dog Stanley which stocks my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe cards to meet the owner Maddie and finally see the gorgeous shop for ourselves.

It’s a treasure trove of lovely and stylish things and a cafe as well so we bought some takeaway sandwiches and parked on the foreshore to have our lunch. Agnes got her promised and eagerly awaited frolic on a beach and then because of the persistent wind we decided on going for a drive to Smithton.

Agnes loves the beach!

Agnes on the beach

Over breakfast, Mr Petal & Pins had read about Allendale Gardens at Edith Creek and suggested we take a detour to see them on the way back.

In the Autumn of 1980 Loraine and Max Cross started to plant the gardens in a grassy field. They wanted their garden to be “first and foremost a place of peace and tranquility – in tune with nature” and they have certainly achieved that, there are now 6 acres of landscaped gardens and 65 acres of rainforest.

As you will see ‘our day of flowers’ was to be the perfect title for a post about our little adventure north.

And I suspect it might have a part two with all the photos I took!

Allendale Gardens

Allendale Gardens

Allendale Gardens

Allendale Gardens

Allendale Gardens

Florence & The Fairy Dress

kapok flowers

My September trip to Magnetic Island was coincidentally timed when the native kapok were in flower. They remind me of magnolias with their bare branches adorned with showy blooms.

There were many on the drive down to Florence Bay scattered through the bush and in between the dramatic boulders that punctuate the island landscape.

It was a blue sky day, the ocean glistened.

My sister and I swam, explored the beach and created a portrait of ‘Florence’ on the sand.

native kapok tree Magnetic Island
Florence Bay
'Florence'

Two days later on our return to the beach Florence was still there, still smiling having escaped the tide’s ebb and flow.

And the kapok flowers provided inspiration for another tropical flower dress for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.

kapok flower fairy dress

A Tropical Ballet

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

On my recent trip to Magnetic Island a dip in the ocean was high on my to do list. It was 28 degrees every day I was there and the island has more gorgeous beaches than there are days in the week.

At Radical Bay I not only blissfully frolicked in the sea but I created this design for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.

It could almost be a costume for a ballet don’t you think?

Unable to identify what the flowering tree was I turned to sleuthing on the internet and discovered the most wonderful website – Some Magnetic Island Plants.

Donald Simpson is the author and his website is fabulous!
You can search by botanical name, common name or colour palette. He has photos, botanical information and tells you where on the island you can see a particularly good specimen of each plant.

Delightedly  I got to meet Donald the following day – such is island life!
His website is a true labour of love and  I encourage all plant lovers to have a look.

And the flowering tree on Radical Bay Beach that Donald kindly identified for me?
Barringtonia Asiatica.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Barringtonia Asiatica at Radical Bay  © Sandra Alcorn 2014

It’s a night flowering tree and by morning the blooms have fallen to the ground  – I think the scene is set for my beach ballet.

A Fleeting Moment

Sitting on Picnic Bay Beach Magnetic Island

Sitting on Picnic Bay Beach Magnetic Island

I’m back from a Queensland holiday with lots of photos and inspiration for several blog posts and a whole new collection of tropical flower dresses for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.

I bought a new camera before I went – more sophisticated than I had previously so I am still figuring out how to use it (meaning I’m a bit bamboozled by it all!)

I stuck mostly to the auto setting since I couldn’t go wrong with that but I did discover it has an ‘art’ setting for fancy effects hence this picture.

If you’ve been following my blog you will know from my recent post Butterfly Wings & Other Things I’ve been having a bit of a butterfly moment so you can imagine I was pretty delighted when I found the butterfly adorned sandals I’m wearing in a little shop in Ingham.

And this adorned the entrance to Paronella Park at Menna Creek.

butterfly scupture Paronella Park

I don’t know if I’m just tuned in to seeing all things butterfly or the universe is bringing them into my orbit but on Sunday, my last day on Magnetic Island I came across a boy probably only 7 or 8 years old with a butterfly net. He had just caught the most amazing butterfly I’ve ever seen – large iridescent green.

I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo as I’d been fixated on photographing the flowers of a jade vine. He was literally jumping for joy at his discovery and I was pleased to see he let it go after he took a picture.

Back home I pulled out a Vintage Shell Project Card Album Butterflies and Moths to see if I could identify it.

Shell project card album

It was a Cairns Birdwing.

Lucky me for a fleeting moment to share the excitement of seeing it too.

Cairns Birdwing butterfly

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

Seaweed Siren

Beach combing on the east coast has inspired a very different design for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe – I discovered a variety of beautiful coloured seaweeds, fine and lacy, washed up amongst the shells and pebbles.

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

 

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

 

Slightly Defiant & Carefree

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

Nasturtiums make me think of Sydney, summer and lazy days.

Growing up, a patch grew by our front fence, the bright orange flowers a happy exclamation mark amongst the wonderful round green leaves.  My mother would often arrange some in a vase that was like a large white shell, an apt choice since you often see them rambling on the fringes of beaches on Australia’s east coast.

I recall a friend telling me of her summers filled with days at the beach where they would take fresh buttered bread and make wild nasturtium sandwiches for lunch.

I love how you find them growing in unexpected and unintentional places – slightly defiant and carefree – a colourful reminder not to be too rigid and to celebrate the simple joy in the everyday.

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