Week 22: Creative Challenge 52

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has some very exciting news this week. The new Gold Coast florist shop that we've been hearing about, Bloom in Design, is open for business! Here, for your enjoyment, is Fourteen days in the life of Bloom in Design.

Keryns Finished Shop Fit-Out

What started out as a vague idea as Keryn sat at her computer in Perth a mere four months ago, suddenly took shape and became real. Today's photo journey starts with a blank room on the Gold Coast, after Keryn and her business partner, Remy, took ownership of this space on 1 February.

Keryn had analysed the specs from the plans she'd received by email and she knew what needed to be done when they moved in - after five days they opened their doors.

Keryn's job is concept, planning, promotion and knitting things together, and for the last few months she felt like she was pushing a cart up hill. Then suddenly the shop came together and it was Valentine's week. What a great time to open a florist shop.

At the beginning of the week, they didn't even have a flower supplier. In desperation, Keryn found a grower in Sydney on Facebook and phoned to ask if he shipped to the Gold Coast. The answer was 'yes', so she ordered a shipment of flowers two days later, which he promptly sent to Brisbane, a hundred kilometres away from Bloom in Design. One courier and $300 later, they had flowers.

Keryn made a You Tube video, which she had to learn to do very quickly, to promote the opening...

Their website, which is currently just a placement page, comes from an arrangement Keryn photographed before they left Perth. She liked it so much she sent it to their graphic designer for use as part of their brand. Next came set-up of the social networking sites, which Keryn has linked to the website. She's been bombarding them with photographs ever since, trying to establish a social media presence.

But the real joy in this project came for Keryn on Valentine's Day when four out of five of her own arrangements sold within a couple of hours. She hasn't historically been known for her floristry skills, although she has trained as a florist. Remy, her business partner, usually gets the accolades while Keryn hides in the back room doing something essential but boring. She was allowed to play on Valentine's Day and was very happy to sell her arrangements.

Keryns Valentines Day Flowers

Keryn also did flowers for two restaurants as a marketing exercise, which netted them four customers.

And finally, realising that they were overstocked as a result of not yet knowing their market, she drove to their local supermarket, which had been under-supplied with flowers, and sold twelve assorted arrangements which were gone within thirty minutes. All this from staring out of her window in Perth, playing with arrangements on her kitchen table, and taking photographs of them because she was bored.

Keryns Flowers

Congratulations Keryn and Remy. It's a beautiful shop.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh's week began with the promise of some spare time for felting, but everyday life somehow got in the way. She started the week by making some felt balls to be used in future jewellery projects.

Telenas Felt Balls

Having seen one of her felting friends felt around a teapot several years ago in a workshop, she's always thought it would be a fun thing to do, with a beautifully insulated teapot a further attraction. Telena cut strips of prefelt in different colours and wove them around the teapot. After wetting down with soapy water, she gently rubbed the surface. This proved more difficult than expected as some areas were awkward to felt around. With much perseverance, the fleece began to felt and shrink around the form of the teapot. She felted a little cap for the teapot lid (how cute is that?), and she thinks she'll felt the teapot cover further in the coming days. For now, she's off to make a nice hot cup of tea.

felting a teapot
Telenas Felted Teapot

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 sharing her culinary talents with her daughter Maria this week.

Maria has secured a job making petit fours for a restaurant in Johannesburg, and she was due to deliver her first batch this week. Trish pulled an all-nighter (with other family members also forgoing sleep) to act as kitchen hand and assist with the preparations. Maria's petit fours were a big success and now that Maria has fully developed her recipes, Trish thinks she'll manage the workload independently in the future.

Trish and Richard are in Magoebaskloof in Limpopo this weekend, staying with their friend Merle of Barok, and Trish has taken some nature photos for her contribution. They make me want to down tools and head straight outdoors.

Trishs Lichen Photos

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has given in to temptation and declared his creative challenge The 52 Week Shoe Challenge. And it's just as well, because his amazingly glitzy shoes just keep coming.

He needed these shoes, he said (and we all believe him), to go with the opening night shirt he purchased, but in the absence of any craft store that he could locate, he's pleased to present his first Zara/reject shop creative hybrid. The original Zara shoe was $20 down from $90, and only had appeal because of the silver leather around the edge.

Shoe makeover

The transformation was achieved with craft paint and glitter, all secured with hair spray. The shoes were quite a hit on opening night, although Kanen expected them to be trashed by evening's end. He was wrong. They're rock solid and can now happily take their place in his regular rotation. So now he has new shoes and a new technique up his sleeve. Expect to see more hair spray spectaculars in the future.

Kanens shoe transformation

Georgia Bennett, Stephen Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, enlisted Stephen Bennett's help for her creative contribution this week. You may remember from last week that Steve has embarked on a project to develop his video production skills. And Georgia has been keen to improve the quality of her You Tube recordings. They joined forces this week to see if they could improve on the results Georgia's been getting with our very basic set-up. They've achieved a great result - far and away the best yet.

Georgia also made some stunning treats by playing around with the raw, organic chocolate recipe she posted a few weeks ago. This time, she made peanut butter cups and also some delicious mint chocolate. The chocolate was very rich last time, so we added blended macadamias to the basic chocolate recipe to give a creamier result - a trick inspired by reading the ingredients on a variety of raw, organic chocolate bars - and it's a real improvement. Neither of these creations is going to last long around here.

Georgias Chocolates

Scarlet Bennett

People who know me well know that I'm far from a last minute wonder. I always like to prepare for deadlines in advance. But this week, that turned out to be impossible and I had a real scramble to the finishing line. I woke yesterday morning with no creation even underway, and the obvious solution was to attempt something with a Valentine's Day theme. I made this bold heart using polymer, black onyx, a dried flower from my garden, and resin. It's not finished yet - I'll make the edges sharp once the resin is properly set, but it's an interesting piece that will look really good with the right outfit.

Valentine's Pendant

As is always the case when you're incredibly busy, all sorts of other things demand attention. We're absolutely drowning in garden produce at the moment and I'm determined not to waste a morsel. So this weekend's cooking output has included: pumpkin soup, crumbed eggplant, Afghan eggplant curry, Italian tomato sauce, and fig jam. I also made a double batch of banana, walnut and cinnamon muffins and some delicious nut loaves for the freezer. A nice, productive weekend all round.

cooking with garden produce