Week 37: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been knitting up a storm this week, and she has a new striped jumper to prove it. She started knitting this pullover a few years ago before putting it aside and she's happy to find that it still fits.

telenas knitted pullover

Telena says she loves knitting and creating but finds the stitching up boring, so after all her hard work some creations take a while to reach their finished form. In this case, the colours were singing to her and she could hardly wait to get this piece off her knitting needles and completed. You won't miss her wearing this, she says. No boring beige for Telena.

Telena has also raided her rather large stash of wool and she's picked out some colours in a different palette for her next project. The weather's certainly cold enough for lots of woollies now.

telenas wool stash

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is back in Sydney for all of six days before heading west to Adelaide - ample time to gussy up this rather plain IKEA found object, he says.

kanens cupboard makeover

Kanen had borrowed Jacqui's car a year ago to drop something off in Potts Point and he came across this piece in his apartment building's communal dumping ground. He squeezed it into the boot and dumped it in the garage of horrors from whence it was plucked a couple of months ago to replace a rather gorgeous vintage sideboard in Jacqui's kitchen that had finally succumbed to age.

IKEA furniture is cheap, hardy and practical, but not really to either Kanen or Jacqui's taste aesthetically, so it's been a prime target for some creative challenge magic ever since.

Kanen never needs much of an excuse to go and visit the Wallcandy wallpaper shop - and, in particular, its El Cheapo off-cuts section - so he says it was lovely to spend an hour or so there during the week with the gorgeous girls, discussing all things paper and thumbing their amazing sample books. They all agreed, apparently, that they're better than porn!

The actual 'doing' on a job like this is minimal. A bit of measuring, a bit of blade and ruler work, and a bit of wallpaper glue and you're done. Kanen likes the fact that, due to the reflective nature of the paper, the rather gaudy pattern becomes lessened under light (natural or electric) so that from certain angles you don't see it at all, yet from other perspectives it proudly declares its full 1970s appallingness.

You may notice evidence of Jacqui's birthday celebrations in some of the photos. Kanen says he did the measuring and cutting while drunk, so it's miraculous it came out as intact as it did. That man can pull a creative rabbit out of his hat rain, hail or shine.

kanens cupboard makeover

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 had a hugely busy week. Exploring the British canals in a narrowboat is not all beer and skittles, you know.

trishs cooking

Trish and Richard left Paddington Basin yesterday, and after a six or seven hour journey, are now docked in Limehouse Basin. It was a grueling day after a stressful working week, and Trish was grateful to look out over the inky black water at the reflected lights at the end of it.

Nevertheless, ever the creative, Trish still managed to exercise her artistic spirit. Firstly, she made a fabulous raw courgette pasta. It's based on last week's togarashi recipe and she's calling it her three step, low carb, raw pasta. If you'd like to make this yourself, here's the recipe:

Step 1: Microplane the courgette and marinate it in a dressing of lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and garlic.

Step 2: Make a cooked creamy sauce. Trish used shallots, bacon, aubergine and cream.

Step 3: Add goat's cheese coated with togarashi.

Trish's other culinary creation was rhubarb with sugar and togarashi and served with creme fraiche. Yum! Never one to blow her own trumpet, Trish observed that both dishes were sublime. Coming from her, that's high praise indeed.

Trish has also indulged her passion for travel photography this week and she's shared some pictures of Limehouse, which she took on her phone.

Oh, and she'll be cross with me for mentioning this, but it's her birthday today, so please send her your birthday regards!

trishs travel photography

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has been busy with some woodworking this week. He's been working on a job that he's been meaning to get to for a while.

steves new music stand

His singing teaching set-up needs constant tweaking, and the music holding facilities above his keyboard have been somewhat inadequate. This week he devised a music stand with greater display capacity along with an improved retention strip along the bottom to accommodate thicker scores, and with hinges attached to the CD shelf so he can lift the stand back when he wants to gain access to the keyboard control display.

He says his new set-up is a big improvement and he's very happy with the result.

steves custom made music stand

Steve also went out with Georgia today and did the videography on her latest You Tube clip. She sang while he recorded and their biggest challenge was traffic, which kept passing and interrupting them at inopportune moments. It took a few takes, but they got there. I'm so pleased she recorded this song. I love what she does with it.

Scarlet Bennett

Continuing on with the project I started last week, I've been working on some jewellery giveaways for my forthcoming book blog tour. I made a few new pairs of earrings this week and Steve has kindly photographed them for me. The Heart of a Rose earrings below are one of my all-time-favourite designs. I sometimes make them with pearls. This time I made them with sterling silver and rose quartz.

Heart of a Rose earrings

I also made some earrings with amethyst, rose quartz and sterling silver. They're long and dangling and not what I usually make, but I quite like them.

amethyst and rose quartz earrings

I embarked on a project yesterday to make something special for a friend. She's never worn pearls before and I wanted to introduce her to the sheer joy of wearing them. I started by making her a necklace with freshwater pearls and sterling silver, and I added an adaptable centrepiece for maximum versatility. The silver centrepiece will allow her to switch pendants around depending upon her mood. I gave her a gorgeous silver heart to wear when she only wants pearls, and I've called this design Pearls with Love.

Pearls with Love necklace

I also made her a black onyx pendant for days when she wants more of a vintage look, and in this iteration I'm thinking of it as Pearls with Everything.

Pearls with Everything

I'm working on a smaller pendant to complete the set and I'll have that ready in time for next week's creative challenge.

In the meantime, I'm absolutely loving this pearl design and I'm thinking I'll have to make some more. Pearls are like flowers. You just can't have too many in your life.