Week 12: Creative Challenge 52

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 had a myriad of projects on the go this week. She's been knocking down walls, editing and re-editing films, harvesting vegetables from her prolific garden, and finding all manner of reasons to put off doing her taxes - and haven't we all been there!

She's been working a lot with Andy (her Left-Eye Productions business partner) this past week, and a side benefit of that was that she came into some plums from Andy's ancient plum tree. While Andy shot off to New York with their completed films, Trish got busy in the kitchen with the plums. She's going to post a blog about plums shortly, so I won't pre-empt the details here, but suffice to say that I'm salivating at the prospect. Keep an eye on Trish's fabulous blog if you share my passion for her gorgeous culinary adventures.

Trishs Preserved Plums

Keryn Clark

South African born florist, writer and cake whizz, Keryn Clark is offline this week - and maybe next week too - because she's flown to the Gold Coast to try and find a new house and, as if that wasn't enough, suitable premises for the shop she and her business partner Remy will open as well. Their house in Perth has sold and they're moving to the Gold Coast to launch their stylish new floristry business. First step...somewhere to live and a shop. I know I speak for the entire creative challenge team in wishing Keryn and Remy every success in securing exactly what they need. We're looking forward to your creative come-back, Keryn.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is claiming a creative disaster this week. He says that in spite of a hugely busy week, he still found time to utterly ruin this lampshade, a lampshade he found in someone's junk pile (has he made a habit of skulking about in dumpsters at night, I wonder?). He's chalked this one up to a happy failure, saying that he used all the wrong colours and did it free hand, resulting in a messy, ugly creation (his words!) that makes him laugh. At least he'll have something to rectify when he gets back to Sydney. He's sure he can make something out of it eventually but for now, Kanen says it's a shocking rush job that speaks volumes about his lack of creative reserves at the pointy end of the year. Kanen, we share your pain. It really is that time of year.

Kanens Lamp Before

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has finished her experimental scarf this week and she's excited about the results and possibilities. Without further ado, let me show you exactly why.


You may recall that Telena had tied glass beads into the fabric at an earlier stage, and she's also stitched in a few pleats. She boiled the garment for about an hour, gently moving it around to keep it submerged, aiming to achieve a felted look with a lovely draping quality. She cooled it in cold water and then squeezed it as dry as possible before waiting... waiting... waiting for it to dry. If untied too soon, the shapes wouldn't hold. Telena was grateful for the heat because, draped around a black plastic dummy in the sun, the scarf dried much more quickly than she'd expected. She clipped the threads to remove the glass discs and then pushed the shapes inwards to make little craters. The end result as you can see, is both stunning and innovative.

Telena has also made some felt flowers to give to a friend who's had a nasty health scare. She says she really enjoys felting flowers and she loves the unpredictability of the final shapes.


Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, performed one of her own songs at her high school graduation this week. The gymnasium was far from aesthetically attractive and the acoustic was abysmal, but she did a brilliant job. Matthew Cooper from Hands like Houses was there - he gave the inspirational speech - and he said afterwards that he thought she was awesome. Georgia was relieved to hear it because knowing that he was in the audience hadn't exactly made her feel relaxed. Steve took a shot of her in action...


Georgia has made a number of great things out of wood over the years and in January she helped Steve install a tricky floating timber floor in our back family room. This weekend she's done the final sand on our new jarrah bench top (more about this to follow in Steve's creative contribution). It's smooth as silk to touch now.


And she's brushed on the first coat of varnish now that Steve's cut out the hole where our new sink will go.

Varnished Benchtops

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has had an enormous few days. A week or so ago he discovered that we had a bad water leak in our kitchen. The leak seemed to be coming from behind the splash-back tiles above the kitchen sink and he had no option but to knock out the tiles in order to find it and stop the flow of water. When he did, he discovered that we'd had a slow leak for some time before the big leak emerged, and the whole cabinet area was disintegrating and covered in mould. Yuck!


The kitchen was very old - it had been installed when the house was built in the early 70s - and we knew it needed replacing, but that wasn't high on our financial priority list. Functionally, it was a very good kitchen and we've been more concerned with investing in our kids. As it turned out, circumstances have forced our hand.

Steve's creative contribution for this week is the complete demolition of our kitchen and he's flat out building the new infrastructure to install in the coming week. Our plumber is going away on holidays on Thursday so Steve only has until Wednesday to get the job done so the plumber can finish his work before he goes on leave. On the plus side, it's good to be working to a tight deadline. Living without a kitchen is challenging.

I must make this point. Without Steve's skills, we'd most likely have been without a kitchen for Christmas. Getting a new kitchen whipped up by someone else at this time of year would have been nigh on impossible. So who says creativity is impractical, then?


Scarlet Bennett

I've been making Christmas gifts this week.

I've always loved pearls and, if you've been following this blog, you'll know that I also love flowers. Floral themes have woven their way into a number of my recent jewellery creations, and this week has been no exception. For my contribution this week, I present my Heart of a Rose Pearl Set. That's really all I've got to say about it because pearls, I think, speak magnificently for themselves. I hope you like this set as much as I do. The old fashioned romance just warms my heart.


I've also had some unusual creative challenges this week - trying to create food for my family without a kitchen, for example. My friend Khatira helped me out with some delicious baked goods and a yummy Afghan curry yesterday, but now I'm on my own. I'm pleased to report that I've just made Zucchini Fritters  - with a zucchini picked fresh from my garden - in an electric frying pan in the laundry. And I've served our fritter lunch on paper plates because there's already a pile of dishes in the laundry tub awaiting attention. Maybe later for the dishes. I feel quite sure I've performed enough heroics for the time being.

Zucchini Fritters