Petal & Pins

Tag: vintage

Unexpected Colours

vintage flower dress

We were sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of May and I put them in the hallway to enjoy in passing and to avoid the rapid decline that a vase of flowers can have in a room that is heated during winter.

I try to remember to change the water and snip stems regularly but sometimes it’s easy to forget in the bustle of life. I also like to let a vase linger past its prime – there is beauty in decaying flowers – shapes change and unexpected colours appear.

Ahead of the weekend I decided to empty that hallway vase and another, but not before turning the aged beauty they contained into a Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe dress.

In my Meet The Maker interview I spoke about my childhood ‘dress up box’ and my inspiration for this particular Garden Fairy’s dress was the idea of it coming out of such a box or an old suitcase – transformed with age and time into something quite different with a special beauty.

There are bergenias, lilies, proteas and gerberas in the mix, can you imagine it brand new!

floral decay 1
blue tinge

Books & Botanicals

books and botanicalsI’ve been enjoying looking through the instagram hashtag #booksandbotanicals and occasionally creating a tableau of my own.

These minature shoes have teamed up with a few volumes of the New Hamsworth Self-Educator before on the petal & pins blog, notably in my post Minarets & Lion’s Tail  – take a look to find out more about these facinating books and just what a minaret and a lion’s tail have to do with each other!


vintage flower basket with hydrangeasAgnes the labradoodle with flower basket

Subtle Shading

The japonica is just starting to flower in my garden and I picked a few sprays to put in a vase with the buds still closed.

japonica sprays

In the warmth inside they opened into lovely tones of cream and peachy pink instead of the usual bright colour that punctuates the bareness of my patchwork hedge in winter.

japonica flowers
The colours remind me of a hat that once belonged to my grandmother. I think the delicate layered feathers would have once been a more uniform tone but I like the subtle shading created by the passing of time.

vintage hat

That faded glamour also inspired me to create this dress for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe with the japonica flowers.

japonica flower dress

Changing Hue

I let my vase of roses linger…I like the petals fading hues they remind me of my vintage velvet jacket the fabric bruised with wear and time only adds to its beauty.

The petals spill on the mantlepiece and I let them linger too.

As in Faded Glamour I’m inspire to turn them into a garden fairy’s gown.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

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

Sultry & Stirred

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014


I photographed this Garden Fairy’s dress made from Bergenia flowers with my iPad. I like the unexpected effect – a grainy vintage sultry summer feel.

I imagine her standing outside in the late afternoon sun with the heat radiating off the buildings, the sun casting long shadows. Martinis being stirred, palm trees and a poolside location.

Maybe she was swimming earlier in the day in her St Tropez style ‘forget-me-not’ bikini..

Miami, Florida. Photographer unknown circa 1950

Miami, Florida. Photographer unknown 1950

Or perhaps I’ve been daydreaming a little as I start to think what to pack for going to Magnetic Island later in the week!


An Imaginary Journey

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Last winter playing with scraps from something I was cutting out I made this felted wool ‘flower’. This morning I stitched a safety pin on the back to adorn my vintage coat lapel.

When I returned from walking Mademoiselle Agnes I decided to create a vignette.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

With a posie of bergenias, daisies and ivy.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

A scarf I made decorated with vintage buttons.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

Some old suitcases and my ruffle trimmed umbrella.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

An Imaginary Journey.

What is the destination? Who are the flowers for?

Perhaps it might inspire a story from the writers amongst you!

Real & Imagined

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I’ve loved purses since I was a child and have a fondness for vintage ones.

This is a lino-cut I did inspired by the shape of a black Cornnelli embroidered one I have with an imagined floral tapestry pattern.

Minarets & Lion’s Tail


© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

This morning I wandered into the garden to choose some flowers for ‘In a Vase on Monday’.

Some of the things I picked for this arrangement are Kahili Ginger Hedychium gardnerianum, Lion’s Tail Leonotis leonurus, Iris foetiidissima seed pods and Bergenia leaves.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

The dark chocolaty brown leaves are from a bush that perhaps someone can identify for me – I don’t think it’s a particularly attractive bush – but I must say it is very effective in a vase.

When I was picking the lion’s tail I liked the stems with just the sculptural trio of green ‘balls’ as much as the ones with the burst of orange petals. In writing this post I discovered they are also referred to as ‘minaret flowers’ which is easy to see why.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

The still life was arranged on my lounge room mantelpiece and includes some of my vintage wooden cotton reels, the petite shoes bought on my last day in Paris and several volumes of the New Harmsworth Self-Educator that belonged to my grandfather.

It was published circa 1913 and there are some interesting and eclectic topics. Since my blog is called Petal & Pins I found something with a ‘pin’ theme to share with you.

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

‘In A Vase On Monday’ was started by Cathy from Rambling In The Garden – take a look at hers and perhaps one Monday you might like to share yours!

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