Filtering by Tag: Refurbished drawers

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.

Week 26: Creative Challenge 52

Keryn's Roses

We're half way through our year long creative challenge now, and South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has come up roses, as always.

She's been playing with the last of the Valentine's Day roses - 'It's not true that they don't last,' she said, 'these have lasted 5 weeks.' - creating a mignon, a tasting plate, and some gorgeous arrangements in mini cubes. The mini cubes were actually an order for cubed vases gone wrong, but what a happy accident. They're gorgeous!

More Roses
You can never have too many roses

Telena routh

Telenas felted brooches

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had a festive creative week. She's been felting lace wraps for her daughter Rachel's wedding. You may recall that she was working on this project last week and was unhappy with the results of her first dyed purple wrap. She therefore decided to make a new one, leaving it a paler shade of purple. Telena particularly loves the cream wrap, which she says will look very elegant with a bridal gown. The wraps will keep the bride and bridesmaids warm as the evening cools. Telena also made felted and beaded brooches to pin the wraps together.

Telenas bridal wraps
Telenas felted wraps

As if that weren't enough, she entertained about thirty friends for a fun garden/kitchen tea on a glorious autumn Saturday afternoon. There was lots of laughter, conversation and, of course, delicious food. Telena's contributions were some delicious mini chocolate mud cake muffins and some rather flat looking macarons that sadly looked more like brandy snaps but were nevertheless very yummy.

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 living up to the title 'seamstress extraordinaire' this week.

She's made a skirt from an old Indian quilt, and as well as being absolutely gorgeous, it's reversible. Trish saw a skirt like this in the UK some years ago, and when she saw similar quilts, she knew she had to make herself one. She bought the quilt with her friend Merle and they each took half. Trish has worked wonders with her half.

Trish and Richard will be traveling to the UK shortly for a sojourn on their narrowboat, Patience, and Trish thinks the skirt will make a nice addition to the fairly monochromatic capsule wardrobe that she'll be taking with her. My view is that this skirt would make a fabulous addition to any wardrobe - monochromatic or otherwise.

Trishs quilt skirt
Trishs reversible quilt skirt

Trish's other creative achievement this week was to get the short story book (see Week 23, Creative Challenge 52) to the printers. The formatting and proofing process was a nightmare that took hours and hours. Trish published the Kindle version first, and she's kindly provided us with the link. Check it out here if you're looking for something to read.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, remains undecided about how to further embellish his jacket of last week. For the time being, he's implemented a temporary solution with this brooch - a good stop gap measure if notably light on sequins.

Kanens Jacket

Kanen and Jacqui are in the process of building a dreaded IKEA wardrobe for Jacqui's bedroom, which has necessitated the removal of the chest of drawers next to her bed. She needed something small to put her lamp and phone on, so Kanen ventured back into the garage or horrors and pulled out this little piece, which he found sitting, abandoned, on the nature strip.

It sat by Jacqui's bed for a full 24 hours before Kanen snapped and went in search of his paints. He tried to match the colour to her fancy bed-head, but it came out a little darker, which looks fine. Kanen then took a trip to Wallcandy on Crown Street, Surry Hills, which he swears has the best wallpaper he's ever seen, and he spent $10 on a couple of metres of off-cuts, which certainly beats their usual prices.

The results look cool for very little effort, and what was an interim measure may just become a permanent feature of the boudoir.

Kanens bedside table reno

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has decided to jump off the creative challenge at the 6 month mark. Her workload is very heavy and she's really struggled over the past couple of months to fit everything in. So we'll bid her farewell at this point, but she may return with an occasional cameo appearance from time to time in the coming months.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has been processing some photos this week. The first is a panoramic shot of a landscape at Hartley Vale. The second is a series of photos he took in the gardens at the Norman Lindsay Gallery.

He's also taken a few shots of some of our garden produce. Here are some of the chillis we harvested this week, resplendent in their red fieriness.

Scarlet Bennett

I've been meaning for ages now to make some earrings to wear with the sterling silver wire flower pendant I designed last year. This week I finally made it happen.

sterling silver wire flower earrings

And then, without further ado, I wore my creations...

Week 24: Creative Challenge 52

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, is always up for a challenge. She's thrown herself, this week, into a Food Bank Challenge, a real boon for us because of the delicious recipes she can showcase here.

Trish's challenge was to buy a recipe from Food Bank South Africa for 40 Rand, cook the dish, and then tweet a picture of the dish to #FoodBankRecipe, with a prize of two business class trips to London on offer for some lucky entrant.

Trish bought four recipes and has made three of the dishes already. First cab off the rank was Dominic Pain's non-stirred seafood risotto. Trish says she'll definitely be making this dish again and she'll keep it in mind for when she's short on cooking time too - it was quick and easy as well as delicious.

Seafood risotto

Trish's next creation was tamarind chutney followed by chicken breasts in ginger tamarind chutney with cauliflower tabouleh, both of which came from Ishay Govender-Ypma. The tamarind chutney and cauliflower tabouleh were so popular in Trish's household that she's declared them future staples. A ringing endorsement indeed.

Chicken in ginger tamarind chutney

Trish has included a photo of daughter Maria's caramel toffees (see the first photo on this blog) to give us a glimpse of the wonderful petits fours project that has consumed their household over the past few weeks too. Yum!

Do follow Trish's fabulous food blog for recipes and news of Trish's exciting food adventures.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has sworn off shoes for a full week now. Instead, he's been overhauling a set of drawers in an afternoon of paint, glue and wallpaper.

He loves the shape of these drawers, but he felt that they needed a splash of high-gloss (high-stink) off-white paint to get them looking schmick. He's also fond of the drawer handles but, alas, the same could not be said for the faux wood formica drawer fronts. They had to go.

Ever the tech wizard, he managed to delete the "before" shots from his iPhone. 'But,' he says, 'trust me. They weren't very me!'

The paper Kanen used is not actually wall-paper, but an unusually thick wrapping paper from a gorgeous shop on King Street called Pentimento. It didn't wrinkle at all when Kanen slathered on the wallpaper glue, which is always a risk with flimsier stock.


Kanen is quite chuffed with the outcome, and he says he has quite a few more pieces of boring furniture sitting in Jacqui's garage awaiting his attention in coming weeks. These are going to be something to see.

Keryn Clark

The biggest challenge for Keryn this week involved the transformation of her personal living space into something that wouldn't depress her the moment she walked in the front door. Keryn has always lived in character houses, so her new modern townhouse has provided something of a culture shock.

She was sitting in her lounge/dining and kitchen area - the "white box" as she calls it - having a "what have I done?" moment, when the idea of a green feature wall sprung to mind. Everything else flowed from there.

The biggest challenge with Keryn's new living space is the size of her couch, which completely overpowers the room, but with the help of a few of her favourite collected pieces (and some roses), she thinks it all came together well. Keryn still can't walk out the back door to look at her cement box of a back yard, but that's a challenge for another day.

Keryn also made two particularly fine floral arrangements during the week. One came home with her - don't you hate it when that happens? - and the other sold within an hour. So, all in all, Keryn has had a pretty good week. So good she's thinking of heading into the kitchen to bake...

Telena Routh

With a car full of felting equipment, much more fleece than needed, and her freshly dyed swathes of silk, Telena set off last weekend with great excitement for a three day felted garment workshop with a wonderful felter, Pam de Groot.

Her first challenge was to turn her dyed silk into prefelt, and after making about five metres in a single sitting, she turned in for the night, barely able to move her aching limbs.

The next morning, revitalised and ready to take on the world, she formed the fabric into a rough dress shape, while quietly muttering about future diets! Further construction of the dress took careful planning because you can never completely predict what will happen during the felting process. Sounds a bit like life, doesn't it?

Telena has not yet decided what to do with the loose silk left draping around the dress, as she thinks it's too much on such a short person, so the dress is still a work in progress.

On a musical note, she managed to get up early enough to practise for an upcoming quintet concert each morning before setting off for the workshop. What discipline!

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has taken a well earned break this week. She caught the bus to Sydney on Friday night for Soundwave. It's been a hot weekend in Sydney, but that hasn't dampened her enthusiasm. She's out in the sun (hopefully decked out in hat and sunblock!) as I write, enjoying the music, and I'm sure to hear all about it late tonight.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has found some time this past week to process some of the photos he took in Narooma during his brief summer sojourn. Always a fan of black and white, he's started with these landscapes of Handkerchief Beach. These are going to be hard to trump when he decides to process the rest of his Narooma collection.

Scarlet Bennett

I've been sick with a heavy head cold this week - one of those tedious bugs that just won't budge - and I've had a lot of work commitments too, so I've been much more interested in the call of my bed than in doing anything creative.

I made a silver cuff yesterday to get my weekly challenge across the line. Cuffs like this are quick and simple to make, and always a pleasure to wear. They look good with everything and they never go out of vogue. And they're terrific emergency creations for sick people, as it turns out. Timeless elegance. You really can't beat it.