Week 6: Creative Challenge 52

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries very successfully to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has whipped up a veritable sensation in her kitchen this week.

Her first masterpiece was a stunning low-carb breakfast for Richard, who's been up working at 5am for the past few weeks. She made him Green Eggs, modifying a recipe she pulled out of Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, a cookbook she picked up recently at a second hand book store.  The Green Eggs are made with silver beet (Swiss chard), feta cheese, free range eggs, spring onions, tarragon, lovage and tomato jam, and Trish has kindly posted the recipe for this incredible creation to her food blog. Enjoy!


Having catered for Richard, Trish then set her mind to making something special for her children, Maria and Jamie. In the end, she treated them to Halva, Almond, Mocha Brownies, and Trish has posted this recipe to her blog too. Maria and Jamie were delighted with the brownies (contain your surprise), and somehow Trish managed to find it within herself to only have a nibble. I wouldn't even have attempted that trick like that myself.


Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been taking part in an online Slow Fashion Style course over the past few weeks and, as a result of that, she's taken the every day art of mending to a whole new level. She was intrigued by the idea of  making mending visible and decorative, as she'd wrecked her favourite pair of comfy jeans with superglue. She tried everything to remove the hardened patches of glue, short of actually cutting it all out, to no avail. Using the techniques in the course, however, she was able to restore the jeans to a form of pseudo hippie glory.

Telena bravely removed the offending sections and placed some fabric underneath the holes. She'd sourced the fabric from a pair of low rise jeans that she liberated from the local op shop before they could commit any further fashion crimes. Using sashiko stitch, she happily stitched away, finding the whole process surprisingly relaxing. The origin of sashiko stitch is somewhat unclear, but it's thought to have evolved a few hundred years ago as a practical mending technique where layers of fabric were added to reinforce tears, holes and rips. Perfect for Telena's jeans! Today it has evolved into a decorative embroidery stitch.

While wearing her newly mended jeans, Telena found another small spot of glue on the other leg, so she enthusiastically cut it out and made another repair, this time using a more subtle, grey/blue thread.


Telena has also managed to create another stunning felt lace garment this week, making this one a little longer than last week's. She varied her technique slightly, as she's still experimenting with this process, and her adjustments made it easier to manipulate the wet fleece. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm loving the blue.


In musical news, Telena bought herself a saxophone yesterday, and she's had lots of fun attempting to play it. While her first attempts sounded like someone was dying, she can now play two octaves and she blitzed Summertime on day one. She thinks her inner rock/jazz chick is about to be unleashed, an alter ego to the well trained classical oboist. You go, girl.

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist, and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, had a creative order to fill this week - cakes and flowers for a 60th birthday celebration. And celebrate her clients must have done after receiving this incredible collection of goodies.

Keryn made 24 of her award winning red velvet cupcakes (she won a trophy for these), a dozen chocolate cupcakes, and a dozen carrot cupcakes. I now know exactly what I want for my 60th birthday.


She also created a gorgeous arrangement of flowers - lisianthus, hypericum, berzelia, flexi grass, and dodda vine - which are displayed here on her antique French kitchen table. Who knows, maybe the French Revolution was discussed around it. Either way, Keryn's flowers are bound to have been a talking point.


In other news, Keryn's Bloom in Design logo has been designed and is up and running. Keryn worked with a Sydney based graphic designer to create the logo, starting with an image of a flower that crossed Keryn's Facebook news feed. She asked the designer to do something opaque with it in the background and the rest, as they say, is design history.


Kanen Breen

In its original condition

In its original condition

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been building on his found objects theme this week, although I'm pleased to report that this week's adventure didn't require any unsavoury fossicking around in dumpsters.

Alice Street in Newtown is apparently a bit of dumping ground, and Kanen found two stained and damaged chairs lying in the gutter. He liked the slightly gothic shape to them, so he lugged them back to Jacqui's long-suffering garage, gave them a desultory sanding, and painted them gloss black with the left-over paint from his recent screen project. He made a quick trip to Bondi Junction to pick up the fabric paint so dear to our hearts, and then transformed these tarnished throw-aways into fabulous props for his forthcoming Strange Bedfellows performance. He'd originally planned to do a dodgy re-upholster, but once he'd painted them, the original pattern still came through and he changed his mind, pleased that you can still glimpse the original filth and staining underneath his colourful refurbishment. So the chairs are finished, crooked, grotty and absolutely perfect for the Bedfellow's slightly shop-soiled glamour.

One down, one to go.

One down, one to go.

All done!

All done!

And just in case, like me, you're currently suffering withdrawal symptoms from Breen sequins, never fear, the sequins may yet return to his repertoire. Kanen is heading off to Melbourne for six weeks in about a week's time and he'll be back to creating in serviced apartments once again. Aren't we addicts fortunate that sequins are so delightfully portable.

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, is very popular in our household at the moment on account of the superb dinner she cooked the other night. She's always been very partial to pizza and it's one of the foods she's missed most since she switched from a vegetarian to a vegan diet a year or so ago. So she decided to see if she could make a vegan pizza that wouldn't disappoint. This was a tall order because to be considered a worthy substitute, the pizza would have to be good.

I made up a vegan bechamel sauce a few years ago that's so tasty my carnivorous friends sometimes ask for the recipe, and Georg got to thinking that with a few modifications, the recipe might make an acceptable substitute for cheese. As it turned out, she was absolutely right. The only compromise was that she put the 'cheese' under the vegetables instead of on top because that was the best way to handle the texture. The pizza was a sensation. We all loved it and we've declared it a 'must have' regular meal. It's so wonderful to have pizza back on the menu. Georgia served her pizza with bruschetta topped with home made tapenade.


Georgia has also recorded another video this week. One of her own compositions - Reverie. She's had an awesome creative week and I hope you'll like this song as much as we do.

Stephen Bennett

Creek steps

Creek steps

Stephen Bennett has been busy in his darkroom. While he was in the Blue Mountains recently, visiting his parents, he took Georgia and Henry to Blackheath to do the delightful walk along the Walls Cave track. It winds down and across some open scrubby bushland into a grotto and a large open cave full of ferns. It was a hot day to be walking - about 27 degrees Celcius - and they were glad to reach the cool of the cave where they could rest and enjoy a drink of water. A week later, Blackheath was covered in snow. Bizarre.


Steve took his trusty medium format film camera along, with a single lens, and shot his images on black and white film. He developed the two films in his darkroom yesterday and scanned the negatives today. He's shared his favourite pics here.

Lights, cameras, action.

Lights, cameras, action.

It's all happening here.

It's all happening here.

Walls Cave

Walls Cave

The canyon

The canyon

Scarlet Bennett

I don't want to over-work a theme, so I'm going to move on from flowers next week, but as a last hoorah before I do, I've had a blooming wonderful time this week creating new floral designs.

I tinkered with some copper wire to create a large flower that I turned into a pendant and a smaller one that I soldered onto a sterling silver ring shank. I love this set. It's just the sort of thing I like to wear. I wore it out to see a friend early in the week and she couldn't take her eyes off the pendant. Then I wore it when I flew to Melbourne on Wednesday night and the air hostesses were gushing. My hairdresser commented on it yesterday so I think, as designs go, it's probably a winner. The funny thing is, Steve saw it before anyone else and he declared himself not a fan at all. Perhaps it's a girl thing. In any case, I'm crazy about it.

The copper flower pendant

The copper flower pendant

I tried the design with brass wire too.


And, I had a go with a new material, something I've never worked with before, to introduce a new line I'm developing. I've decided to have a go at an 'industrial' style using materials that I either find or buy at the hardware store. I kicked the project off with a trip to Bunnings, where I picked up a variety of bits and pieces that will hopefully feature in my creations in the coming weeks. This week, I've made a flower pendant with galvanised steel wire. It was a bugger to make, let me tell you, because I opted for 2mm wire, and steel is much stiffer than copper and brass. But it was worth the effort. I like the steel flower a lot and I'll be making more of these.