Day 22: Creative Challenge

Steve's film photo

Steve's film photo

Remember Kodak and film cameras? Well, Stephen Bennett had an old fashioned photography day today. He decided to satisfy his creative urge with a film adventure, an interesting trip down memory lane. He went exploring around north Canberra and shot a roll of 120 black and white film. He beetled back to his dark room, put his chemist's hat on, mixed up all the foul smelling chemicals, and processed the film. The film was scanned once it was dry and...voila! Now there's a blast from the past.

Steve's darkroom developments

Steve's darkroom developments

Opera singer and strange bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is going to be irresistible at work tonight dressed, as he is, in this glamorous Pick-up Artist t-shirt. You may remember stage one of this t-shirt transformation, which was faithfully reported on day 20. It involved some of Kanen's ultra soft fabric paint. Today he's transformed the tee into a ritzy, glitzy, eye-catching, seductive masterpiece. If you've never sewn a sequin, you really can't appreciate the time it would have taken him to do this. Hand sewing sequins is not a task for the impatient!

Kanen is quite pleased with this creative transformation, although he says it's ironic that he would have Pick-up Artist emblazoned across his man-boobs since he's the lousiest smooth talker on the block. Proclaimed this fabulously, however, he's prepared to try and live up to the title. He thinks that anyone who's suffered through one of his attempted seductions will smell a rat, though. I suspect he's being way too modest. He's that kind of guy.

Work continues on his mask commission with all the razzle and dazzle we're accustomed to. Where on earth would Kanen be without his sequins? And how would the creative challenge team survive?

Kanen's mask, along with his sequined, seductive, pick-up sensation

Kanen's mask, along with his sequined, seductive, pick-up sensation

This creative challenge is extra challenging for Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries very hard to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, because of the time difference between Canberra and Johannesburg. With Canberra 8 hours ahead, Trish has to get her creative contribution to me by 11-11:30am her time to spare me the pain of blogging into the wee hours. That's a challenge.

Ever the valiant creative, she leapt out of bed with great plans this morning, debating whether she'd make clementine curd or a clementine cake, but made the mistake of sitting down at her computer first. You don't need me to tell you how that worked out. She then had to rush off to a meeting with the editor of the gender based violence film she's been producing, and the rest, as they say, is history. She still wins the beta-carotene gong of the day, however, with her rushed but delicious beetroot, carrot and clementine juice. Just the thing to keep her creative energy powering.

Trish's quick-fix energy creation

Trish's quick-fix energy creation

Talented, skilled people make hard tricks look easy. I've had a few reminders of that this past week. Inspired by Kanen's impressive efforts with his dye pots and fabric paint, I started looking at my wardrobe with a whole new sense of possibility, casting my creative gaze over all the items I rarely wear. I selected three items and soaked them in a bucket of rich, royal blue dye, excited by the prospect of some new blue garments in my wardrobe. That wasn't quite how things turned out. My pink lacy over-shirt turned a dark shade of purple and the two white tops - a white camisole and a long sleeved shirt - turned the most revolting shade of mauve you could imagine. They're so hideous, I wouldn't even give them away. I've ordered some black dye from Lincraft and when I take delivery, I'll have another go. Watch this space...

I had a similar experience today. Trish very generously shared her three potions recipes in the blog she posted overnight. I was so excited, I decided to have a crack at her black pepper syrup this morning. It looked like something a common garden cook like me could manage. Not so. And this is what I mean about highly skilled people making challenging tasks look easy. My black pepper syrup is...well...not actually syrup at all. Anyone for black pepper toffee?

Undeterred, I decided to try again with a variation, which is more my usual (wayward) cooking style. I'd picked all the remaining chillies off my last fruiting chilli bush the night before our first heavy frost in June (unbelievably late for Canberra). They'd then sat, neglected, in a tub, awaiting my time and attention. Today turned out to be their lucky day. I used Trish's black pepper syrup recipe, but replaced the black pepper with chopped chilli, and the result is quite delicious. I debated whether or not to leave the lovely red chilli pieces, along with the seeds, in the completed syrup, but since the syrup itself is plenty hot, I strained them out. Now all I need are some ideas about what one actually does with chilli syrup. Trish? Help!

Scarlet: The last chillies of the season and my chilli syrup, recipe courtesy of Trish Urquhart

Scarlet: The last chillies of the season and my chilli syrup, recipe courtesy of Trish Urquhart