While Tasmania based artist Sandra Alcorn began her career as a designer in the fashion industry, she traded fabric for petals when she established …Floral Couture by Sandra Alcorn of Petal & Pins
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!
I must confess I had to google Galentine’s Day to know what exactly it was when it started popping up in my instagram feed and on the artwork of fellow card designers.
Was it a fancy pants way of saying Valentine’s Day? a Galician or Gaelic tradition?!
Having never watched the television show Parks and Recreation I was in the dark to the 16th episode of the second season (first aired in 2010). Amy Poehler‘s character Leslie throws her annual “Galentine’s Day” party for her female friends, celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day.
Like so many things Galentine’s Day has apparently transcended from the television screen into everyday culture. While it started out with the character Leslie going to brunch with her female friends, the unofficial holiday is now not just celebrated by fans of the show, it has turned into an optimistic celebration of friendship to be celebrated on the 13th February.
Yesterday I received a Valentine’s card in the mail from an admirer – a fabulous female friend, I doubt she’d heard of Galentine’s Day either and I love that over the years we’ve found our own ways to celebrate friendship with no popular culture prompts needed.
So happy days of love and friendship to you, whether you’re choosing to partake in old traditions or new or blissfully ignoring them!
This beautiful porcelain vase was a gift from a friend and it’s sensuous form is deceptively simple.
There is the finest line of handpainted gold around the top of the neck and when not showing off a flower is far more objet d’art than just simply an empty vase.
The peony with its hint of pink and ruffled petals is dreamy and romantic just like the Solstiss lace for haute couture Gaultier Paris from fall-winter 2005 -2006 featured in the book Solstiss: The seduction of lace by Ann Kraatz.
I don’t often bring these peonies inside because they are highly attractive to ants for some reason and indeed this morning I had to give this one a good shake to avoid bringing any inside.
But they won’t be flowering for long with the warm weather we’re getting and seemed the perfect pairing with this vase to share for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday.
Hello! this is me in our Life Instyle trade fair stand at the beginning of August.
In a few weeks it will be five years since I began this blog – I would never have thought then that I would be showing my designs at a trade fair (or sharing a photo of myself!)
Some people start a blog with a pronouncement of what it will – or won’t – be. I didn’t really have a plan but I knew it was about taking the seed of an idea that was playing in my head and letting it take shape and grow.
Of course writing this blog has done that and more – loosely around the themes of my garden and design work with a bit of life, loss, friendship, and travel thrown in.
And now here we are. I’ve spent the last two weeks sleeving cards and packing orders to send to stockists and Mr petal & pins has made multiple trips to the post office and is updating the online shop with our new collections (all while juggling the start of a new job!)
So thank you for following along, I’ll continue to write and share snippets from my garden and studio here but I also invite you to subscribe to our petal & pins newsletter to be the first to hear about new releases, design markets where we can meet up and special VIP offers (Subscribe now and receive 15% off your first order!)
petal & pins stationery and art prints
‘Our stylishly playful stationery and art prints are designed with flowers and foliage from our Tasmanian garden.
Sandra draws on her background as a fashion designer to create ephemeral artworks that she photographs for the petal & pins collection including our signature range the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe®.
Established in 2012, our studio looks out onto the rambling garden that inspires our designs and a ‘live in the moment, find joy in the things around us ethos.
petal & pins stationery and art prints are imaginative, unique and always enchanting.
We invite you to share our story…’
Sandra & Simon X
When winter is at its greyest the bergenias add a much needed spash of colour in my garden and the rusty coloured stems make a striking contrast to the dusty pink petals.
Massed in a bed on a gentle slope in the middle of the garden, come spring the odd jonquil will poke its way up. Most things have been flowering late this winter – I only noticed the first of my violets today and not many at that but I can always depend on the bergenias to show up as a pretty visual antidote to the cold and grey.
Winter skies are always beautiful in Hobart around dusk with pink hued clouds alluminated by the setting sun.
The aptly named flowering Shrimp Tail Salvia echos the colours of the evening sky and the leaves turn to patches of burgundy and green like an exotic camouflage print, perfect for the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.™
I once mistakenly picked this flower for a floral arrangement, the strong scent becomes more intense inside and is not at all pleasant – definitely a flower to simply admire in the garden.
Last year we went to the Hobart Dahlia show and I shared some photos in my post Darling Dahlias of the wonderful blooms on display.
Having written down some of our favourites I waited until October to see what ones were available to buy from the dahlia society to plant in our garden.
Three on my list arrived but enough time had passed for me not to be too sure exactly what had taken our fancy and the names weren’t particularly descriptive (well at least for a novice dahlia grower!)
I was a bit late in getting them in the ground and must confess rather lax at following the information sheet on tips and care so they were rather left to nature with little nurture.
Two of the three survived and flowered – the first Granite Be Ready reminded me of the pom pom adorned hat on a doll my grandmother brought back from her travels when I was a child (from just where I can’t recall and indeed if it was mine or my sister’s although I remember always being rather taken with that hat!).
A week later the pretty pink Maggie Hannaford revealed herself!
They look a little lonesome on their own in the garden so I’m planning to have a bigger patch planted later in the year and give them a little love & attention.
Of course watching all the dahlias that have been popping up in my instagram feed I’m now enamoured with the soft pink and cafe au lait ones!