Week ten of our year long creative challenge is already upon us and 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 pulled a miracle rabbit out of her hat this week.
The lead up to Christmas is a busy period for many of us and Trish is no exception. She worked seventeen hour days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get some films finished. Two films have now been dispatched to the USA via courier and the remaining three are almost finished.
Trish also managed to finalise plans for Allaboutwriting's Venice Writing Retreat next September. There are some lucky writers out there with a fabulous experience coming their way.
Needless to say, with all this on the go, Trish hasn't had much time to create in her kitchen this past week. In fact, she says she's barely managed to put a piece of bread in the toaster. To stave off potential withdrawal symptoms, she's made a last minute dash for the finishing line with some preserved ginger in syrup. She's also used the ginger to make an invigorating ginger tea. Recipes for both these creations are posted at the bottom of this blog, and you can see more of Trish's exciting food adventures here.
Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been busy all weekend with the North Shore Craft Group's Boutique Christmas Sale, packing, labelling, setting up and then sitting back to enjoy the result and hopefully be kept busy at the sales desk.
This week she felted some beautiful scarves that can also be worn as wraps. They're very light-weight and floaty. She made them with silk chiffon and many different colours of fleece, which she cut into squares and laid out on the chiffon, which was then wet down and rolled around a pool noodle and then onto itself. The fleece felted through the chiffon, with one side vibrant and colourful and the reverse side revealing more muted tones. Telena loves the versatility of these two different effects. This form of felting with fleece on fabric is known as Nuno felting.
Telena also made some more dreadlock necklaces - I've included a photo of these that I neglected to post last week - along with beading some more of her felted Christmas baubles.
Telena finished her arrangement of the Queen of Sheba for two oboes and two cor anglais, and the piece will be performed at a school concert this week. Having accomplished that, she's now thinking about her Christmas cakes...
South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has been flat out this week with a variety of different things while also juggling ongoing issues with her health. She's put this week's contribution in the 'season of small things' category, which by no means reflects its quality. Good things really do come in little packages in this case.
These first flowers are a mystery waiting to be solved - does anyone know what they are? Keryn's business partner, Remy, collected them while pruning a hedge. Four days later, they're still going strong.
Keryn has never seen blue roses before, so when she spotted these at the markets, she snapped them up. They've obviously been dyed somewhere along the line, and while Keryn doesn't usually go in for flowers that have been artificially enhanced, these are striking and they go well with her blue mirror. I reckon that's something of an understatement. What do you think?
Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been gilding the lily rather than having a full-blown creative seizure these past seven days. He's been working to a tight deadline to get his uniquely embellished robe and hot pants ready for a Strange Bedfellows photo shoot, squeezing his creative activities in between a full week of Falstaff rehearsals in Melbourne.
He reports that his fully amended robe and hot pants came up a treat in the shots, and he draws our attention, in particular, to: the fab chunky lace on the cuffs, to which he's added sequins; the red sequin trim on the inner front adorned with further lace to disguise his sloppy craftsmanship; plus the audacious pom-pommery and sparkles on the shorts.
Where creative bling is concerned, it just doesn't get much better than this.
Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has had another enormous week. She had two drama performances this week along with her usual stream of commitments. It would be very fair to say that she's looking forward to the Christmas break.
In the meantime, she recorded an Ed Sheeran cover yesterday - a song that she performed live at a gig a couple of weeks ago. It's a great song with a challenging guitar part, and her live performance went down very well indeed. It's always good to impress the punters and she had that thoroughly covered.
Stephen Bennett has enjoyed some woodworking time this week. His creative output was to finish a tool tote he started making some months ago. He had already made progress with some of the pieces cut out and shaped, so it was just a matter of continuing the process through to completion. His tool tote is made out of Western Red Cedar and he used hand tools only for the whole job. The challenge for this project was to learn to cut compound joints by hand, and he's quite happy with how it turned out. He now has a handy way to carry tools from the garage to whichever part of the house has fallen apart and needs fixing. Sadly, we've had a string of such minor domestic disasters in recent times, and it's fair to assume that his tool tote will get plenty of use.
I've made a few more pieces for my Bunnings Collection this past week. I started with a copper pendant made with aged copper, a zinc washer, a star washer and some galvanised steel wire. It's simple but it looks striking on.
I also made another cyberpunk pendant with a polymer red rose, galvanised steel wire, and a couple of washers. I set the piece on brass that I finished with red enamel and resin. I really like the flecks of brass that I've scraped back around the edges.
You really can't have enough flowers in your life, and I finished the week with a pastel painting to go with my rose pendant.
- Weigh your peeled ginger - and set aside an equivalent amount of sugar for use later.
- Slice into even sized pieces, disc, little nuggets or strips, put into a pot and cover with water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or more until softened, topping up the water as needed.
- Once the ginger has softened, boil vigorously until the water is reduced and then lower the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Simmer the mixture until the liquid is syrupy. Could be for as much as an hour. I am at about 50 mins so far and it doesn't look ready. Hoping the result won't be toffee...
- Pour into sterilised jars
- Enjoy with cheese, use in baking or add to stir fries.
I boiled all the peelings with water and now have some very powerful ginger tea in the fridge. To serve, mix a quarter of a cup of the intense ginger tea with boiling water or pour it over ice and add cold water and mint.