Week 16: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had scant creative time this week, but even so she's managed to produce something gorgeous. She experimented some more with her new drum carder (a Christmas gift she showcased last week) using yarn in contrasting hues.

Keen to create a chequerboard pattern, she made a light pre-fleece with each contrasting colour. She then cut the prefelts in wavy lines and wove them together, before placing a piece of black tissue silk on the back. She felted the fabric, taking care to make sure the pieces didn't come apart.

The resulting collar is a colourful piece that Telena will use to liven up a dark coat. If she wants a muted effect, she'll show the reverse side. Telena loves how the cut fibres form an edge through the silk and make a relief pattern, and she's already imagining possibilities with this technique on a larger scale. How much sleep does she need, she wonders?

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 a busy creative person indeed.

Trish and Richard have a cottage on their property that they rent out, and they've been busy this week preparing it for a new tenant. Trish has sent us some photos to show us the results of their hard work. The transformed cottage looks absolutely gorgeous, and I love the colour scheme.

The previous tenant left behind an enormous quantity of spices and Trish wanted to clear them out because they were consuming much of the grocery storage space. She decided to integrate them into her own spice collection, which posed something of a challenge because her spices were badly organised and spread over three different areas in her kitchen. She needed an instant solution, so she pilfered a rather useful little filing cabinet from the office and transformed it into a spice cabinet with a lovely urban industrial look. Nice.


After a very successful couple of hours planting Swiss chard, coriander, radish and bean seeds, as well as tomato, cabbage and parsley seedlings, Trish dashed into the kitchen to create something with her modest garlic harvest. She's blended the garlic cloves together with olive oil and she'll store the garlic puree in a jar in the freezer. Her research suggests that it won't freeze solid, which means she'll be able to scoop garlic puree out with a teaspoon to use as needed. I'll be interested to hear how this turns out because, if it works, I'll do the same with my next garlic crop. What a great idea.

To see more of Trish's fabulous food adventures, check out her blog.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been flat out with performances this week, but he's managed to find time to fool around with a few birds.

Kanen bought two trashy flamingos from K-Mart for the princely sum of $12 each. New, they were a darker pink and, according to Kanen, unpleasantly pristeen. Over time, one of them weathered nicely with some good, even colour fade and tiny rust patches along the edges. The other, for reasons best known to itself, went a hideous putty colour with major rust issues that Kanen says made it look like an ibis on crack. He was going to throw it out when he suddenly thought...creative challenge!



Kanen has gone to town with left over paint and glitter to give this little birdie her glam back. He's deliberately left it outside to weather because the pink is too dark, but he says it's already fading well, and the glitter is looking older and less 'clean', which he likes. Fabulous, frivolous fun. Thanks for the bird's-eye view, Kanen.



Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is still preparing to move to the other side of the country. She's therefore continued her 'moving chic' creative trend. To use up the ingredients in her pantry, she made an asparagus and sour cream tart and a batch of her famous red velvet cupcakes. I say famous because she won a bake-off with the cupcakes at the law firm she was working at until recently. She says, 'it's not often you steal the prize from under the noses of lawyers so I consider this my finest moment of 2014. Which says quite a lot about the year, actually.'

Keryn took the cupcakes on her Christmas visiting rounds. And the pie, she reports, was absolutely delicious.

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has long been passionate about the ethical issues involved in the production of food. She only buys vegan fair trade chocolate and she keeps a close eye on the things we buy for the rest of our household too.

This week, she decided to try her hand at making raw, vegan, organic, fair trade chocolate from scratch. We couldn't for the life of us find plain chocolate molds - Santa molds are still the flavour of the moment - so she made a plain chocolate slab that we can break into chips for baking, and she also used this ice cube tray to make bite sized chocs. She dipped some strawberries in the left over chocolate and these were devoured within seconds of being set. Her chocolate is delicious and the recipe is posted at the end of this blog. Virtuous decadence at its best.

Making Chocolate
Raw organic chocolate

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has had a busy week. He processed some photos from his pre-Christmas trip to the south coast.

Not a keen cook, he was obliged to make some fruit leather because the fruit on our plum tree ripened while I was away visiting family. This delicious offering is plum and banana, and it's seriously yummy.

He also took advantage of a relatively empty house to do some more work on our kitchen - finishing the internal cupboards, fitting the bench tops, and finishing the tiling. All in all, a great week's creative work.

Scarlet Bennett

I've been away visiting for much of the past week, so I've had a mad scramble to make something in time for this blog.

Continuing with the dried nigella flowers from last week, I've made a flower pendant using copper, hardware store materials, a dried nigella flower, and resin. There are a lot of reflective surfaces on this pendant, which makes it hard to capture with a camera, but I like it a lot. Cyberpunk with a twist, perhaps.

Flower Pendant

Vegan Raw Chocolate

Georgia's chocolate was based on a recipe in Going Raw by Judita Wignall.


1/2 cup cacao butter; 1/2 cup cacao powder (not cocoa powder); agave nectar to taste (Georgia used 4-6 tablespoons); 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; pinch sea salt.


Melt cacao butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Take the saucepan on and off the heat to keep the temperature low. You should be able to touch the pan and cacao butter without pain. Once melted, stir in the cacao powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and salt and combine well. Pour into molds and set 30 minutes in the freezer before removing. Enjoy