Week 15: Creative Challenge 52

Having abandoned all pretense at moving on from my flower obsession, I dried some love-in-a-mist flowers from my garden recently to use in some jewellery pieces I've been working on. Embracing the sense of nostalgia evoked by cottage garden flowers, I've gone for a Victoriana look with the experimental piece I've posted today. I made a classic choker using olive jade and sterling silver, and a mixed media, experimental pendant featuring my beautiful, dried love-in-a-mist bloom. The pendant is attached to the choker with a sterling silver bolt ring, which means it can be easily removed and replaced with a different pendant for maximum versatility. Classic jewellery with a twist. The old world charm of this piece just warms my heart.

I've also been experimenting in the kitchen, trying to make delicious food using ultra healthy ingredients to get us all in top shape to welcome in the new year. I've made lots of different things, but for today I'm showcasing my raw vegan cheesecake with blueberry sauce. Sinful on the tastebuds, nutritionally virtuous everywhere else. You've gotta love that. I've posted the recipe at the bottom of this blog in case you're tempted to try it yourself.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been a very good girl this year and, consequently, Santa has obliged with just the right gift. He's delivered a drum carder, an impressive looking gadget that will enable Telena to blend yarn to create just the right colour combinations for her textiles.

Telena's drum carder is a 'Wild Drum Carder' which apparently has deeper teeth so she can add fancy yarns and blend a variety of different colours and textures. She can darken or lighten the hue by adding black or white, creating subtle gradations between colours. Telena hasn't had time to do much with it yet, but she's blended a few colours to get a feel for the results she'll be able to achieve. Telena's new drum carder adds a whole new element to her textile work as she'll no longer be reliant on dyeing her fabrics. Now she can add blended yarn either before or after felting. I think we can expect to see some interesting creations in 2015. Bring it on is all I can say.

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been creating wonderful images rather than cooking up a storm this week. She, Richard, and her sister Penny, drove from Cape Town to Johannesburg, travelling through mostly remote locations and taking three days to complete the trip. Trish took these photos with her phone - hard to believe when you see the quality of her images - with some photos even taken through the window of their moving car. The trio drove through Sutherland to Calvina and Carnavon, with Trish capturing the flavour of the area en route. These photos make me want to pack up stumps and head on over.

In other news, the sexual and gender based violence documentary that Trish and her Left-Eye Productions partner, Andy, made is now up on the HIAS website. Do check it out here. Gorgeous cinematography to support a very worthy cause.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has embraced a millinery theme this past week. He's gussied up a really plain hat that has been lying around Jacqui's house for the past six months just waiting for him to notice it. This effort is both creative and necessary because Kanen says their darling stylist, Dynae, is unavailable for their next two Bedfellow  performances and he's been in a spot of bother without her. While Jacqui has her wig to fall back on, Dynae makes Kanen's hair look slick and fabulous. When he tried to replicate the style himself, he says he looked old and bald - hence the hat innovation. After a quick trip to Daiso, where all the flowers and jazzy bits cost the princely sum of $2.80, Kanen now has a very nifty hair hider for all future stylist-free ventures. He laments that it's not his finest creative hour, but in the absence of day-care, he has about nine minutes a week at the moment to get his bling on. Hats off to you, comrade. Nine minutes well spent.

Oh, and just to whet our appetites, Kanen has given us a sneak preview of a flamingo that's currently undergoing something of a transformation. Watch this space...

KanensHat

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has given us a glimpse of her Christmas this year and what a busy bee she's been. Flat out packing for the move to the Gold Coast, she's still found time to cook up a storm. She made a delicious Christmas cake and a gorgeous zucchini pie. She also arranged some lovely flowers for her Christmas table. Note the packing paper table cloth - art that grows out of life. Love it.

NB. Santa liked her packing paper table cloth so much he even wrote on it.

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and songwriter, Georgia Bennett, has recorded the song she performed at her high school graduation. It's her own composition - one of my favourites - and it's wonderful to now have a recording of it. You go, girl.

CoastPhotos

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett took Georgia and Henry for a pre-Christmas holiday in Narooma. Unfortunately, poor Henry came down with a cold and spent the first couple of days in bed. They stayed in a cabin at Handkerchief Beach, just two minutes walk to the water. Sadly there were lots of bluebottles in the water, so it wasn't safe to swim, but it was lovely going for walks in the sand and enjoying the salty air. Georgia took a guitar down to the beach every day for a spot of song writing, and came up with some new material to develop. Steve had fun with his camera as usual, photographing along the coastline and inland at Central Tilba, a beautiful heritage town from the 19th Century. He still has a few rolls of black and white film from the trip to develop, but these digital photos are ready to go.

Cheesecake with blueberry sauce

This recipe came from a book called Deliciously Raw by Carmella Soleil, which came free with my Optimum Blender. You can see more of Carmella's recipes here.

Crust

1 cup almonds; 1/4 cup soft dates; 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; pinch salt.

Process the ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. The mixture should stick when pressed together between your fingers. If it's too dry, add a little water or some agave nectar if you want a sweeter base. Press into the bottom of a pie plate or 7-inch springform pan.

Filling

First: 2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour; 1/2 cup water; 1/2 cup raw honey or agave nectar; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

Second: 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil; 1 tablespoon lecithin powder.

Process the first 5 ingredients in a powerful blender, pausing to scrape the sides, until smooth and creamy.

Add the melted coconut oil and lecithin and blend briefly, just to incorporate. Pour the flling  onto the crust. Chill in the fridge or freezer for a few hours or until firm.