Week 42: Creative Challenge 52

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been pressed for time this week (ah, the trials and tribulations of a veritable cabaret legend), but he came up with a solution for a black satin shirt that he bought online, which arrived with sleeves way shorter than indicated. He took the shirt with him to Melbourne because it's perfect for the suit he wants to wear to his opening night performance of Sweeney Todd, knowing full well it would fall under the banner of Creative Challenge fodder.

Kanen's embellished glove

A quick trip to Lincraft, a quick and easy sewing job later, and we have the illusion of greater length if not the reality. Kanen notes that it's not a solution that would appeal to most chaps, but he's happy with a fringe or two to add a touch of interest.

Kanen's sleeve solution

He also found a glove with attractive lace-up detail in the gutter during the week (just the one, sadly), and he thought he'd glam it up a bit for some bedfellows action down the track. He says it's not his finest work, really, but it will look alright under lights and it kept him out of the pub, which is probably a good thing given his schedule during the week.

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 touring the UK on a narrowboat for the past couple of months, and they've really been seeing the sights. She and Richard left Oxford yesterday, and travelled as far as Thrupp village on their way to Cambridgeshire, via Braunston, on the Oxford canal.

Veg van berries

On Friday, Trish walked a couple of blocks from the boat to shop at a gorgeous veg van than moves to different locations in Oxford on different days. She bought some lovely berries - strawberries, tayberries and blackcurrants amongst other things. Trish and Richard had friends coming over for supper, so Trish made a blackcurrant marscapone sauce to go with the strawberries and tayberries. Here's her recipe:

Trish's Berries

Ingredients

250g blackcurrants, 100ml water, 50g sugar, 2 star anise, 4 bay leaves, and about 10 crushed black peppercorns, 250g marscapone.

Method

Place all ingredients except the marscapone in a pot and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the fruit is pulpy and the liquid has reduced and is syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Push the mixture through a sieve. Discard the solids and beat the blackcurrant syrup into the marscapone. Serve with strawberries and tayberries.

Trish also made a roasted cauliflower. She rubbed the cauliflower with olive oil and paprika, and roasted it in a hot oven until it was a deep golden colour. Yum! To see more of Trish's fabulous food adventures, check out here food blog.

Trish's Roasted Cauliflower

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been flat out this weekend at the North Shore Craft Group exhibition and sale. 

This week, she made some skinny scarves with beautiful sari silks embedded into fleece.

Telena's felted scarves

She made another waistcoat, this time using a lovely rich colour palette against the black fleece to create a stained glass window effect. Telena also made a collar using layers of felt and fabric in purple tones. And she found time to finish a felt lace dress that she'd started previously too.

Telena's felted waistcoat and collar

On Thursday, Telena spent the day putting together equipment and arranging all the beautiful creations of jewellery, pottery, leatherwork, studio glass, and an array of textiles, which included bags and woven and felted garments. Her plan was to find somewhere, after all that, to sit in the sun and enjoy a good book. Sounds like a plan to me.

Telena's exhibition photo

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has created a photo essay for this week's contribution, from photos he took along the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. A few years back, he was working regularly in Adelaide and he took every opportunity to go exploring with his camera.

Fleurieu Penisula

These photos were taken at Second Valley, the sort of place where you wish you owned a little shack you could stay in through the winter each year. His photos have all been shot on film, scanned, and tweaked in Photoshop for your viewing pleasure. Nice.

Fleurieu Peninsula
Fleurieu Peninsula

Scarlet Bennett

I've had a complete Creative Challenge wipe-out this week. It's not that I've been slack. In fact, I've done plenty of creative things. It's just that my creations have either a) been an utter disaster or b) fallen into the 'to be revealed soon' category.

In terms of future revelations, with Stephen Bennett as my trusty videographer and tantrum resolver, I've made two videos in the past week to promote some online courses that I'll be adding to my website next week. Steve's editing the curse words out of the videos as I write.

Mirror compacts

As to the disaster, well, that's still a painful subject. Having had such a successful pilot run making book-themed mirror compacts, I tried to make a sizeable batch yesterday for giveaways when my novel is released (only 9 days to go now!). The problem is, it's been bitterly cold in Canberra - a string of -7 degree nights followed by days with a top of 10 degrees - and, even with the heater powering away next to me, it's turned out to be just too cold for the resin to move and set smoothly. And the heat gun doesn't make up for the cold ambient temperature, either. So I now have a large pile of unusable mirror compacts that will have to be thrown out - I'll be lucky if there's a single good one amongst them. The consequences of this are:

  • wasted money and resources (which irks me no end)
  • time pressure to make more giveaways
  • and a complete Creative Challenge blowout

I was relying on those compacts!

Wandering around the house lamenting the fact that I'd become a Creative Challenge desperado at this late stage, with the finishing line emerging on the horizon (it's just ten weeks until our year-long challenge comes to an end), I was wracking my brains for a solution. What to do?

That's when my black sense of humour kicked in. Having scarcely sung a note in anger over the past decade, here's my contribution (one woman,  5 minutes - quite literally, I'm afraid), and you'll have to give me points for working the theme because that, I think, is its best feature. On the one hand, my current form is disappointing. On the other hand, I've always rather envied the clapped out rock chick sound. At last, it seems, I've arrived.

Back in the day, for the record, I made some half-decent recordings, and here's a link to prove it (the recordings are on my website to show that I've walked the talk when I launch my Goodbye Stage Fright online course next week).

'The years teach much which the days never knew.'

- Ralph Waldo Emerson