Petal & Pins

Tag: Paris

Renegade Luxe

Jean Paul Gaultier catalogue prêt-à-porter S/S 08Some fashion collections stay with you long after the season has past and the designer has presented others.

It could be the silhouette, the fabrics or the combination of colours – which is what it was for me with Jean Paul Gaultier’s prêt-à-porter Pirate Collection from Spring/Summer 2008.

We were in Paris that Spring and went to the Gaultier boutique on avenue George V.
I lingered at the pieces that caught my eye to drink in the details and gently run my fingers over the cloth. Khaki, brown and olive green in plains, stripes and camouflage prints were given a touch of renegade luxe with the combinations of fabrics and embellishments.

This summer, while looking out my sunroom window down onto the plum tree and the ripening elderberries that memory was stirred by the similarity in colours and contrasting textures.

I pulled out the catalogue brought back from Paris to revisit the collection and was also inspired to design some plum leaf and elderberry dresses for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.

plum tree foliageelderberriesinspiration from Jean Paul Gaultier's prêt-à-porter collection S/S 2008petal & pins Garden Fairy's Wardrobe dress

Parisienne Opticien

Two years ago in Paris I bought myself some lafont sunglasses.

The sales assistant popped my details in their database (one is allowed to at least dream of getting back one day).

Since then a lovely surprise has continued to drop into my letterbox.
Seasonly inspired postcards from Paris – marketing yes but also a lovely reminder of my holiday!

Lafont postcard 2013

I love the illustrations and another just arrived today. The stamp is pretty too.

Lafont postcard

french postage stamp

The lafont postcard will find a home in one of my empty macaron boxes along with the others and my elf.

Yes you read correctly – my very own elf! – it too arrived in my letterbox.

Read about it here.

April In Paris

peonies on a flower stall in le Marais

© Sandra Alcorn 2008

© Sandra Alcorn 2008

© Sandra Alcorn 2008

As an antidote to waking up to it pouring with rain I’m listening to Count Basie & His Orchestra – April In Paris – and reminiscing about strolling around “La Ville-Lumiére”.


Spilt Wine

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

My silk macaron project isn’t complete but it has progressed.

The Ladurée box I brought back from Paris that sparked the idea for the project had a little mishap with a glass of red wine.

By way of explanation, evenings in the winter months are usually when I work on projects like this – free of my work deadlines that fill summer and spring – a bit of fireside stitching and a glass of red are very complementary – as long as you don’t bump your glass!

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I think La Belle Miette in Melbourne is the closest thing  to a Parisian macaron experience I have found in Australia and their boxes are just gorgeous so I’ve swapped to using one of theirs.

It’s a smaller box but I do have a larger one for when my collection – or should that be selection grows.

So when the last of this season’s brides is complete I’ll dive back into my silk scraps and boxes of beads….and be careful where I place my glass.

A Pansy Gown & Velvet Petals

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

I have made several attempts to establish a pansy patch in my garden. Finding a spot that gets enough sun but doesn’t attract my dog to sit on it has been the challenge and finally I seem to have succeeded, planting them around the foot of my dogwood tree and getting more than enough to pick some for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.

I particularly love the rich purple and burgundy ones – the petals look so velvety.

My earliest memory of pansies is actually of a small bunch of faux ones made of velvet that my sister and I played with at my grandmothers house. I am not sure if they originally adorned a lapel or the waistline of a dress or of what vintage they would have been.

From La Droguerie on rue du Jour in Paris I bought these gorgeous flowers they’re not really pansies but they did remind me of that vintage posy I was so fond of as a child.

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

Montmartre Memento


I have just made a shirt for Mr Petal & Pins from fabric bought on last years trip to Paris.
He has several shirts made from fabric bought on our travels – they make a great memento and back home when I start cutting the cloth i’m taken back to that place and time.

The ‘Paris’ shirt is in a pure cotton from Tissus Reine in Montmartre
and the print reminds me of the tin paint boxes I had as a child.


The colours remind me of Chagall’s painting on the Palais Garnier ceiling.


I’ll enjoy seeing Mr Petal & Pins wearing the ‘Paris’ shirt and reminiscing about strolling around Montmartre stopping for lunch at Le Gascon and drinks at our (temporary) local – Le Refuge.


I also bought these Eiffel Tower scissors – aren’t they cute!


Peonies and Chinese Dragons

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

The other Sunday morning there was a stall at the local farmers market laden with bunches of peonies in an assortment of colours and it reminded me of the flower stalls I photographed in the Marais on a trip to Paris.

Several varieties grow in my  garden including a white with just a hint of pink towards the centre of the blooms and a rich crimson red one which this year produced enough flowers to fill a vase. After some unusually hot days the cut flowers started to dry out emphasising the jagged edges of the petals. I almost threw them out, but thought of Faded Glamour so I decided to create a garden fairy’s dress for the festive season.

It was suggested to me that it evokes a chinese dragon – what do you think?

Aquilegia, Agapanthus & Sugar Flowers From Paris.

dress made out of Aquilegia flowers

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

It’s a year to the day that I created my first Garden Fairy dress so it seemed apt to do another using the same flowers. The aquilegias in the garden are in lots of shades of pinks and purples. They line the garden path to my front door and have self seeded into the cracks in the paving down the side of the house. In the first dress a year ago I also used the leaves but this time I combined the flowers with some of the seed pods that have already started to form.

One of the pleasures of having a garden is sharing – so this week I swapped some grape hyacinth bulbs for some agapanthus. Another pleasure is the surprises they bring – the colour of the agapanthus are unknown so time will tell if they’re white or blue!

Well, a year on the fairy’s wardrobe has grown considerably, found a home in this blog and I’m pleased to say the first edition of the gorgeous Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe cards are now available through my Petal & Pins shop.

There are two collections in the first edition – ‘High Tea’ which includes chrysanthemum, lilac, aquilegia leaf, fuchsia and violet dresses and ‘Spring Gala’ which features rhododendron, plum blossom, iris, paper daisy and peony gowns – only a few of which you will have seen on this blog.

How will I mark the occasion? I’ll plant the agapanthus and bake a cake – perhaps decorating it with the tiny sugar flowers I bought in Paris.

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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