Week 35: Creative Challenge 52

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has created a sexy shoe makeover this week. 'Pinch me!' he says. He searched high and low across Melbourne's cobblers and shoe repairers this week for the lovely Glitterlites that he showcased in a recent shoe transformation but, alas, nobody had even heard of it. Nobody, that is, until his last port of call - a shoddy little shopfront run by the Rekaris family who were delightful and quite caught up in the passion of his search (he wins hearts everywhere he goes, our Kanen. The folks at Specsavers adore him.).

Kanens red shoe makeover
Kanens red shoe makeover

The Rekaris family hadn't heard of Glitterlites, but they advised Kanen to ring a leather wholesaling group in Flemington called Leffler, who supply most of Melbourne's shoe repairers and makers with their products. He rang them. He described. He held his breath. They said yes, they stocked all the colours of the rainbow with such casual indifference that Kanen almost thought he'd dreamt it. An hour later, he was standing in their warehouse trying to decide which colour in the spectrum he most desired. He says he was like a frat boy in a whorehouse for the first time. Oh dear.

Kanen ultimately decided that red was his top priority because he needs it to make a pair of shoes for Daryl, the Bedfellows' pianist. Daryl now wears, in their shows, the red sequined jacket Kanen made previously, so it only seemed right to queer him up even further, to match the Bedfellows' own peculiar brand of gildedness.

Next stop was the ZU shoe warehouse in Richmond to spend further $$$. He managed to pick up six pairs of shoes - $900 worth - for $120. 'Very me to go for one pair and come out with six,' Kanen says, 'but I'll live on two minute noodles for a month if I must!'

Daryl's brogues are a darker charcoal than the before photo suggests and, of course, the true magic of the glitter can't really be captured in its full sparkly magnificence, but Kanen says they look a treat in real life. He could have stopped at the 'undercoat' stage - not as shiny as his previous pink pair because he's painting on suede rather than leather - but the sparkles beckoned and won the day. One pair down, five to go.

Kanen's still in Melbourne and he says that shoe transformations are a great creative challenge option for hotel living, so watch this space. He says he planning something outlandish and sparkly next. Just for something different.

Keryn Clark

I write with sad news for flower fans. South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is working so hard at the moment that she's decided to opt out of the rest of our year-long creative challenge. She's indicated, however, that she may return briefly to show us how her backyard transformation ends up. Something for us to look forward to. If we're lucky, she might even throw in a flower arrangement or two.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been obliged to keep off her ankle again this week, and she's taken the opportunity to finished an unfinished knitting project.

This pullover started its life as a sleeveless vest for Telena's father, but remained unfinished when he passed away. She's attempted to finish it several times, but the timing somehow wasn't right.

The pattern had a pullover option and Telena found that she had enough wool to extend the project, so she busily knitted the sleeves and sewed the garment together. She says it's rather large on her, but she feels warm and cosy in it.

Telena's pullover

Last night, Telena and her husband went to a 1920s party, so Telena adjusted one of her long, black concert dresses to transform it, temporarily, into a flapper dress. She folded the extra length up on the inside and sewed it loosely to the lining. She then sewed some long black fringing to the now shorter hemline. She says it looked quite the business with a red feather boa, long red gloves, and a headband with feathers and a rose.

Telenas flapper dress

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 indulging her passion for togarashi seasoning. She bought a huge bag of cashew nuts from an Indian supermarket in a town they passed through this week on the way back to London on their narrowboat, Patience. She roasted the cashew nuts on a very low heat with olive oil, togarashi seasoning and salt, and then ate them as a snack while writing this blog post.

Roasted togarashi cashews

Trish has also included a travel photo she took from Patience last night. How's the serenity?

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett promises that this is the last instalment of photos from his Easter photographic trip to the Snowy Mountains. He's finished processing and scanning all the films and here are the final fruits of his labours - a highly productive and satisfying trip. When's the calendar coming out, I wonder.

Steves high country triptych

Scarlet Bennett

I started this week's blog with shoes and I'm finishing with shoes - sort of, in a sublime to the ridiculous kind of way. Where Kanen wins the style award, I'm hoping to win the comfort award. Well, daggy actually. I'm not too proud to admit it.

But the truth is, in winter, I get very cold feet, and I'm a relentless 'fixer' of problems, no matter how trivial.

I've been tinkering away with these slippers for a couple of weeks now. The crocheting took me no time at all. And the rest of the tinkering would be more accurately described as procrastination, because stitching up and cord plaiting are the jobs I least enjoy. At last, however, my masterpiece is complete. Do try to contain your envy.