Filtering by Tag: building a timber kitchen

Week 19: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been embellishing necklaces this week. Her daughter, Rachel, is getting married soon and they've been out shopping for bridesmaid dresses together. Rachel has also been draping her belongings around the house to see what she really wants to take with her into married life, so there's been lots of cleaning and sorting activity too. The downside of this is that Telena's studio is now quite full! She plans to remedy that in the coming week.

Telenas Dreadlocks
Telenas Cat

In the meantime, she's taken some of her dreadlock necklaces and added felted balls to create another dimension of interest. The autumn toned neckace is going straight to Telena's private collection, I'm told. Telena has also shared photos of some of her other bead necklaces, and there's a picture of her special studio helper too - just what you need when you're trying to sew knitted squares into blankets. As you can see, Hazel (the cat) has claimed them as her own. Who's a nice, warm kitty, then?

Telenas Felt Beads

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 delightfully creative in her kitchen again.

Her masterpiece this week is an innovative sage pesto, which she served with a roasted garden butternut, fresh out of her garden. Trish's sage is going crazy at the moment and her first butternut was ready for picking yesterday, so she was determined to find a way to combine the two.

She often fries the sage leaves but, after the success of her recent tarragon pesto, she wondered if sage pesto would also be good. As it turns out, it was delicious.

Trishs Sage

Trish took two loosely packed cups of sage leaves and blended them with about a cup of olive oil. She then added six cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and blended that. She stirred in around two handfuls of chopped walnuts and another two handfuls of ground almonds - thinking that the powerful sage needed this degree of taming - along with two handfuls of mixed grated cheese. She added a couple of teaspoons of honey, and served the pesto with slices of roasted butternut. Do visit Trish's fabulous food blog for more news of her food adventures.

Roasted butternut with sage pesto

Dinner wasn't served until about ten o'clock, however, because Trish was multi-tasking - arranging a bookcase that she'd moved into the living space from their ex-writing room. This, of course, turned into a bigger project than intended and the photos here are a work in progress as she didn't have time to move all the books. Looking good, Trish. Love the paint job.

Bookcase renovation

Kanen Breen

Kanens Gold Shoes

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has effected a five minute shoe transformation this week - a crazy work week for him - and he says he's very happy indeed with the results.

He bought these ultra-conservative shoes last week and wore them to rehearsals where he was roundly mocked for his 'plain Jane' footwear (people can be so cruel). Until then, he hadn't intended to mess about with the shoes but, upon reflection and with a little bit of a nudge from his friends, he decided that they weren't very 'him' after all and something had to be done. Five minutes with his So Soft gold paint and he now has just enough razzle dazzle to satisfy the naysayers and put a smile on his face as well. He says his creative output this week is hardly groundbreaking, but the best his schedule and energy levels would permit. I'm just glad to see him back in the shoe game. Flamingos are all well and good, but I'd definitely being missing his ultra glam shoes. Perhaps a well shod flamingo for next week?

Kanens Shoe Transformation

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has delighted us with another culinary delicacy this week. Always keen to make new things, she had a go at a German Apple Cake and the results, I think, speak for themselves - yes, it tastes easily as good as it looks. To serve, she invented an apple and blackberry sauce using fruit freshly picked from our garden and the combination couldn't have been better. It was a wonderful dessert.

Georgia hasn't done any recordings this week, but she's been prolific with her song writing. She has four new pieces to add to her repertoire once she's refined them to her liking, and we'll hopefully get to hear them in the coming weeks. Keep 'em coming, Georgia.

Georgias German Apple Cake

Stephen Bennett

Grandfathers Chest

Stephen Bennett has had a busy week attending meetings for a new job as choirmaster at Canberra Grammar School, so his creative work this week has been somewhat curtailed.

He inherited an old chest from his grandfather and has been intending to turn it into a bedside table for at least 25 years, so he got on with the job and now can't figure out why he took so long to get around to it. It looks fabulous, doesn't it?

Finished Chest

The tapestry stand he made for Hannah needed a re-design and a few modifications, followed by staining and varnishing, and he completed that job too (not bad for a curtailed week).

Hannah's tapestry stand
Doors in progress

The kitchen re-build is still hanging around his neck like a noose, so he tried to make some progress there. He cut all the rails and styles for the door frames, and when the panel raising router bit arrived in the mail from the USA, he raised the first two panels. He's also gluing up the next panel to be routed. It will be a slow job but he swears he'll get there by next Christmas. All in good time, I'm sure.

Kitchen Panel Doors

Scarlet Bennett

I could take a photo of my computer to show you all the writing I've done this week, but that wouldn't be very exciting, so you're going to have to take my word for it. My fingers have been flying across the keyboard with pleasing fluency, and long may that last is all I can say.

Determined to create something visual, however, I tinkered with some polymer early in the week, making a rose using a few different shades of red. I then added some wire and resin to make the piece a bit more interesting. It's an unusual design and I must say it's growing on me. It looks striking on and the steel wire stops the flower from looking too girly. An industrial passion theme, perhaps, and you've gotta love that.

Scarlets Red Rose

Week 17: Creative Challenge

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, abandoned her kitchen in favour of other creative pursuits this past week.

Trishs Landscape Panorama

She's been holidaying with family in Magaliesburg, and she took the opportunity to take some awesome photos of her surrounds. You may remember that developing her photography skills was one of Trish's goals when we embarked on the year-long creative challenge. She's certainly succeeding on that front.

Trishs Sunset Diptych

Trish had a problem to solve when she returned home to Johannesburg. Richard needed to use their newly renovated office for meetings and the weather was unpleasantly hot. No problem for a creative like Trish. She whipped up this impressive awning in the blink of an eye. She says she was tempted to take a leaf out of Kanen Breen's book and paint stripes on it (note that she didn't go as far as sequins, glitter and seed beads), but it was too hot to faff about with decorations. They needed a cool office and they needed it fast. Nice work, Trish!

Trishs Awning

As the office window faces out onto their vegetable garden, Trish took a few quick snaps in her garden too. She often throws some marigold and nasturtium seeds into the garden when she's planting cabbages in the hope that they'll deter some of insects that love chewing away on her cabbage crops. This year they've self-sown in an attractive line at the base of the passion fruit and are flowering and looking beautiful. She also reports that her gem squashes are flourishing and that she's got enough tomatoes to regularly enjoy tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salads. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Trishs Garden

Kanen Breen

On the rebound from another two sell-out cabaret performances at The Vanguard in Newtown, opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has renewed his passion (or should I say, fetish) for shoes.

He bought these converse sneakers because he liked the zipper effect, but they were originally a camouflage design which had no appeal, so he painted them green with his trusty fabric paint. He never really liked the colour he chose (too forest green and he has nothing to wear with that colour scheme), so he rarely ever wore them.

After a couple of years in Jacqui's garage where nature took its course with damp as its ally, and they went even greener - mould green to be exact. Kanen made a half-hearted attempt to resuscitate them, but the paint started coming off and he was going to consign them to the bin when he suddenly thought...'Now come on, don't give up, get creative!' Fabric glue, glitter and masking tape later and we have a re-born pair of shoes just gagging to get grooving. Kanen has a feeling these little lovelies won't have any time to gather moss as they stride out with pride and just a hint of gay abandon.

He says, 'I'm back, baby. How I've missed the shoe transforming caper. More to come, methinks...'

Brace yourselves, people.

Kanens Shoes

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is on the move tonight, at a farewell function before she flies out of Perth at 5am tomorrow morning to her new home in the Gold Coast. Safe journey, Keryn, and we look forward to seeing you back in full creative form next week.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had a painful week in more ways than one. She's been unable to create new textiles - ouch! - because she took a slice out of the middle finger on her right hand on a rotary cutter (with the blade protector in place).

Fortunately, she has a very impressive body of work to draw on while she's incapacitated, and she's showcasing some garments from her own collection this week.

The good news is that even with her injured finger, Telena is still able to knit, so she's planning to mass produce squares and blankets for Wrap with Love. Perhaps there really is a silver lining in every cloud.

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has been in Sydney this week, enjoying her last holiday away from home for this summer. Inspired by the gorgeous clothes she bought while she was away - shopping mostly in Newtown's alternative boutiques - she came home determined to create a sewing nook in her bedroom that she can leave set-up and ready to go. Her first project is to make a pattern from this cute little fitted skirt, and then to make another skirt in stretchy black fabric.

Georgias Sewing Nook

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has had a fiddly week organising (and ordering) tools to finish the kitchen re-build. He's finished the painting this week and properly installed the range hood. He's fitted skirting boards behind the stove and put up architraves around the door. So, nothing glamorous, he says, but lots of necessary finishing up. His next task - once the router bit he's waiting on arrives - is to build the timber cupboard doors.

Kitchen Before
Kitchen After

In the midst of building our kitchen, he also found time to set up a portrait shoot for me. I needed a new head shot for my work, and I'm fortunate indeed to have a live-in photographer at hand. One man, five minutes. Sorted!

Scarlet Bennett

Scarlet bennett

I've been busy on a number of creative fronts this week. I finished a necklace that I started last week. The choker is made from blue sky jasper, all the findings are sterling silver, and the pendant is a mixed media creation featuring a dried nigella flower from my garden. If you look closely you'll see a subtle industrial edge - the border embellishments on the pendant are star washers from the hardware store.

Blue Sky Jasper Nigella Pendant

I've also been drying flowers for use in future jewellery creations.

Scarlets Dried Flowers

I've been flat out in the garden, getting rid of summer weeds, planting fresh batches of lettuce, beet, radish, silverbeet, chia, celtuce, sugarbeet and basil. And I've been harvesting, harvesting, harvesting... You can't imagine how much produce my garden is currently producing. The sample below was just what I picked for today's lunch, and it's an understatement to say that this didn't make a dent in my available produce.

Summer harvest

I was fortunate enough to receive a Sedona food dehydrator for Christmas (just in time to turn our ripening stone fruit into delicious fruit leather), and I've been experimenting with lots of different recipes using this extraordinary machine. A particular highlight this week was my homemade muesli bars. Full of nothing but pure, life-enhancing ingredients, these bars have to be tasted to be believed - so much better than anything you can buy at the supermarket. Here they are half way through the drying process on a Sedona tray, and served with a nice cup of tea at the end of a busy afternoon in the garden. Just the ticket.

Scarlets Muesli Bars
Muesli bars with tea

Week 16: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had scant creative time this week, but even so she's managed to produce something gorgeous. She experimented some more with her new drum carder (a Christmas gift she showcased last week) using yarn in contrasting hues.

Keen to create a chequerboard pattern, she made a light pre-fleece with each contrasting colour. She then cut the prefelts in wavy lines and wove them together, before placing a piece of black tissue silk on the back. She felted the fabric, taking care to make sure the pieces didn't come apart.

The resulting collar is a colourful piece that Telena will use to liven up a dark coat. If she wants a muted effect, she'll show the reverse side. Telena loves how the cut fibres form an edge through the silk and make a relief pattern, and she's already imagining possibilities with this technique on a larger scale. How much sleep does she need, she wonders?

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 a busy creative person indeed.

Trish and Richard have a cottage on their property that they rent out, and they've been busy this week preparing it for a new tenant. Trish has sent us some photos to show us the results of their hard work. The transformed cottage looks absolutely gorgeous, and I love the colour scheme.

The previous tenant left behind an enormous quantity of spices and Trish wanted to clear them out because they were consuming much of the grocery storage space. She decided to integrate them into her own spice collection, which posed something of a challenge because her spices were badly organised and spread over three different areas in her kitchen. She needed an instant solution, so she pilfered a rather useful little filing cabinet from the office and transformed it into a spice cabinet with a lovely urban industrial look. Nice.

TrishsSpiceCabinet

After a very successful couple of hours planting Swiss chard, coriander, radish and bean seeds, as well as tomato, cabbage and parsley seedlings, Trish dashed into the kitchen to create something with her modest garlic harvest. She's blended the garlic cloves together with olive oil and she'll store the garlic puree in a jar in the freezer. Her research suggests that it won't freeze solid, which means she'll be able to scoop garlic puree out with a teaspoon to use as needed. I'll be interested to hear how this turns out because, if it works, I'll do the same with my next garlic crop. What a great idea.

To see more of Trish's fabulous food adventures, check out her blog.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been flat out with performances this week, but he's managed to find time to fool around with a few birds.

Kanen bought two trashy flamingos from K-Mart for the princely sum of $12 each. New, they were a darker pink and, according to Kanen, unpleasantly pristeen. Over time, one of them weathered nicely with some good, even colour fade and tiny rust patches along the edges. The other, for reasons best known to itself, went a hideous putty colour with major rust issues that Kanen says made it look like an ibis on crack. He was going to throw it out when he suddenly thought...creative challenge!

Before...

Before...

Kanen has gone to town with left over paint and glitter to give this little birdie her glam back. He's deliberately left it outside to weather because the pink is too dark, but he says it's already fading well, and the glitter is looking older and less 'clean', which he likes. Fabulous, frivolous fun. Thanks for the bird's-eye view, Kanen.

After...

After...

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is still preparing to move to the other side of the country. She's therefore continued her 'moving chic' creative trend. To use up the ingredients in her pantry, she made an asparagus and sour cream tart and a batch of her famous red velvet cupcakes. I say famous because she won a bake-off with the cupcakes at the law firm she was working at until recently. She says, 'it's not often you steal the prize from under the noses of lawyers so I consider this my finest moment of 2014. Which says quite a lot about the year, actually.'

Keryn took the cupcakes on her Christmas visiting rounds. And the pie, she reports, was absolutely delicious.

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has long been passionate about the ethical issues involved in the production of food. She only buys vegan fair trade chocolate and she keeps a close eye on the things we buy for the rest of our household too.

This week, she decided to try her hand at making raw, vegan, organic, fair trade chocolate from scratch. We couldn't for the life of us find plain chocolate molds - Santa molds are still the flavour of the moment - so she made a plain chocolate slab that we can break into chips for baking, and she also used this ice cube tray to make bite sized chocs. She dipped some strawberries in the left over chocolate and these were devoured within seconds of being set. Her chocolate is delicious and the recipe is posted at the end of this blog. Virtuous decadence at its best.

Making Chocolate
Raw organic chocolate

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has had a busy week. He processed some photos from his pre-Christmas trip to the south coast.

Not a keen cook, he was obliged to make some fruit leather because the fruit on our plum tree ripened while I was away visiting family. This delicious offering is plum and banana, and it's seriously yummy.

He also took advantage of a relatively empty house to do some more work on our kitchen - finishing the internal cupboards, fitting the bench tops, and finishing the tiling. All in all, a great week's creative work.

Scarlet Bennett

I've been away visiting for much of the past week, so I've had a mad scramble to make something in time for this blog.

Continuing with the dried nigella flowers from last week, I've made a flower pendant using copper, hardware store materials, a dried nigella flower, and resin. There are a lot of reflective surfaces on this pendant, which makes it hard to capture with a camera, but I like it a lot. Cyberpunk with a twist, perhaps.

Flower Pendant

Vegan Raw Chocolate

Georgia's chocolate was based on a recipe in Going Raw by Judita Wignall.

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter; 1/2 cup cacao powder (not cocoa powder); agave nectar to taste (Georgia used 4-6 tablespoons); 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; pinch sea salt.

Method

Melt cacao butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Take the saucepan on and off the heat to keep the temperature low. You should be able to touch the pan and cacao butter without pain. Once melted, stir in the cacao powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and salt and combine well. Pour into molds and set 30 minutes in the freezer before removing. Enjoy

Week 13: Creative Challenge 52

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has really outdone himself this week. He's been working for months on this creation and he finally finished it this week, just in time for his opening night next Tuesday. He ran out of time to stitch sequins on the back - hardly surprising when you contemplate the amount of work involved in stitching them on the front - so he says he'll be performing front-on like a cardboard cut-out when he cranks out this little lovely. I shudder to think.

Kanens Jacket

The original colour is inside the lapel and Kanen's provided a photo so we can fully appreciate the extent of the transformation. He hastens to point out that it's his mum's arm we can see in the photo, reassuring us that he really hasn't had his nails done. Truly. And we all believe him, don't we?

Jacket Lapel

In the flesh (pardon the pun, the Bedfellows' performance is called Under the Covers and the joke was irresistible), the metallic red fabric paint is an amazing deep red and it's given the wool an almost paper-like feel which looks both derelict and fabulous at the same time.

This is an extraordinary achievement and it augurs well for the Bedfellows' performances next week. With this little beauty, Kanen has taken the concept of dressing for success to a whole new level. What an achiever. I'm applauding already.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been away on holidays this past week, leaving her felting studio unattended and idle at home. Undeterred, she's picked up needles and knitted countless squares. A veteran knitter, she knits in the car, she knits in the cold, she knits in the heat, she knits anywhere, any time.

This week she's made squares to sew into blankets, and she also started work on a vest that she'll put together using mitred squares - the perfect weight for autumn.

Telenas Knitting

With the sea gurgling away in the background, she played her saxophone to her heart's content while her husband entertained himself with his guitar. Holidays really don't get much better than this.

Seascape

It's just as well Telena managed to squeeze in a break, because she has Christmas and three birthdays to get through before the New Year fireworks explode, and an Easter wedding to prepare for as well. Holiday? What holiday?

Trish Urquhart

TrishsSarahBernhardtCakes

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 made a dish this week that's going to make you salivate your socks off. She celebrated Sinterklaas with her nephew and his Dutch girlfriend and sweet things were her contribution to the party. She made a plum tarte tatin using the preserved plums she shared with us last week, but she didn't get a chance to take a photo before the dish was devoured in its entirety. Hardly surprising. She's promised us another tarte tatin - complete with photos - in due course.

Trish also made Sarah Bernhardt Cakes from a recipe on Mimi Thorisson's blog. You really should check this recipe out. The cakes are quite incredible. And do check out Trish's blog to see more of her exciting food adventures.

SarahBernhardtCakes
CakesInProgress
TrishsDuo

In other news, Trish has been busy with some renovation projects and she's given us a sneak preview of some work she's been doing to make their office space more attractive and livable. Looking good, Trish. Bring on the next instalment.

TrishsOfficeReno

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, had another live gig this week. She played a mixed set of covers and originals at West Wodenfield Beats on Friday evening. As usual, her performance was awesome and she looked the business too.

GeorgiaWodenBeats

She christened our new oven today with a delicious batch of chocolate chunk cookies. These really have to be tasted to be believed. They're just perfect.

Georgias Cookies

Georgia has also recorded another clip for her You Tube channel - this time, a cover of The Veronicas' Let Me Out. She had no end of trouble with her video camera, and it's still not working properly, but she persevered and got something usable in the end. I'm so glad she did. I love the way she sings this song and I'm very happy indeed to add it to the collection.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has created an extraordinary kitchen transformation this week. He's not finished yet, but we have a working kitchen again and that's something to be incredibly grateful for (preparing food on the washing machine was a perspective-altering experience, I can tell you). You may recall that last week our kitchen was gutted in response to a water leak behind the tiles. Depressingly, it looked like this:

GuttedKitchen

This week has seen an incredible transformation - the result of lots of blood, sweat and, yes, the occasional tears. Our plumber and electrician have both done their thing, and the dishwasher and cooker are now installed. Steve has almost finished building the internal cabinetry and the jarrah bench tops are now in place. What a sight they are to behold. They've come up beautifully. Steve still has to make the cupboard doors and the panels that will conceal the internal melamine structure. Plus, as you can see, there's some tiling to do. But the kitchen is operational again and that's an enormous relief, especially at this time of year. We'd never have achieved a turn around this quick if Steve hadn't done all the work himself. Three cheers for clever, creative people. Hip hip...

StevesKitchen

Scarlet Bennett

We've been in survival mode this past week as a result of our kitchen re-build, and that hasn't left much time for creativity. I've been determined to make some progress with my Christmas preparations, however, and when the weekend arrived, I scurried into my studio to make a gift for a friend. You may remember a recent flower design that I made using galvanised steel in the first instance (to add to my Bunnings Collection) and then in copper and brass (see my Flower Collection). Well, I wanted to have a crack at making the design in sterling silver to surprise my friend at Christmas. I'm very happy indeed with how it turned out, and today I'm going to have the pleasure of wrapping it up.

SilverFlower

With Hannah's help, I also got creative with the dogs. It's getting hot in Canberra and their haircuts were overdue. I don't even know how a professional dog stylist would do their hair, but we don't care how they look. They've been clipped, bathed and coiffed. They're cool and comfortable and I reckon they're cute as buttons. What more could you want? Obedience? Perish the thought. Give me intelligence and imagination and bold ideas any day. These adorable rascals have those qualities in spades.

Scarlets Dogs

Week 12: 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 has had a myriad of projects on the go this week. She's been knocking down walls, editing and re-editing films, harvesting vegetables from her prolific garden, and finding all manner of reasons to put off doing her taxes - and haven't we all been there!

She's been working a lot with Andy (her Left-Eye Productions business partner) this past week, and a side benefit of that was that she came into some plums from Andy's ancient plum tree. While Andy shot off to New York with their completed films, Trish got busy in the kitchen with the plums. She's going to post a blog about plums shortly, so I won't pre-empt the details here, but suffice to say that I'm salivating at the prospect. Keep an eye on Trish's fabulous blog if you share my passion for her gorgeous culinary adventures.

Trishs Preserved Plums
Plums

Keryn Clark

South African born florist, writer and cake whizz, Keryn Clark is offline this week - and maybe next week too - because she's flown to the Gold Coast to try and find a new house and, as if that wasn't enough, suitable premises for the shop she and her business partner Remy will open as well. Their house in Perth has sold and they're moving to the Gold Coast to launch their stylish new floristry business. First step...somewhere to live and a shop. I know I speak for the entire creative challenge team in wishing Keryn and Remy every success in securing exactly what they need. We're looking forward to your creative come-back, Keryn.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is claiming a creative disaster this week. He says that in spite of a hugely busy week, he still found time to utterly ruin this lampshade, a lampshade he found in someone's junk pile (has he made a habit of skulking about in dumpsters at night, I wonder?). He's chalked this one up to a happy failure, saying that he used all the wrong colours and did it free hand, resulting in a messy, ugly creation (his words!) that makes him laugh. At least he'll have something to rectify when he gets back to Sydney. He's sure he can make something out of it eventually but for now, Kanen says it's a shocking rush job that speaks volumes about his lack of creative reserves at the pointy end of the year. Kanen, we share your pain. It really is that time of year.

Kanens Lamp Before

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has finished her experimental scarf this week and she's excited about the results and possibilities. Without further ado, let me show you exactly why.

TelenasScarf
ScarfDetail

You may recall that Telena had tied glass beads into the fabric at an earlier stage, and she's also stitched in a few pleats. She boiled the garment for about an hour, gently moving it around to keep it submerged, aiming to achieve a felted look with a lovely draping quality. She cooled it in cold water and then squeezed it as dry as possible before waiting... waiting... waiting for it to dry. If untied too soon, the shapes wouldn't hold. Telena was grateful for the heat because, draped around a black plastic dummy in the sun, the scarf dried much more quickly than she'd expected. She clipped the threads to remove the glass discs and then pushed the shapes inwards to make little craters. The end result as you can see, is both stunning and innovative.

Telena has also made some felt flowers to give to a friend who's had a nasty health scare. She says she really enjoys felting flowers and she loves the unpredictability of the final shapes.

TelenasFeltFlower

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, performed one of her own songs at her high school graduation this week. The gymnasium was far from aesthetically attractive and the acoustic was abysmal, but she did a brilliant job. Matthew Cooper from Hands like Houses was there - he gave the inspirational speech - and he said afterwards that he thought she was awesome. Georgia was relieved to hear it because knowing that he was in the audience hadn't exactly made her feel relaxed. Steve took a shot of her in action...

GeorgiasHighSchoolGraduationPerformance

Georgia has made a number of great things out of wood over the years and in January she helped Steve install a tricky floating timber floor in our back family room. This weekend she's done the final sand on our new jarrah bench top (more about this to follow in Steve's creative contribution). It's smooth as silk to touch now.

JarrahBenchtop

And she's brushed on the first coat of varnish now that Steve's cut out the hole where our new sink will go.

Varnished Benchtops

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has had an enormous few days. A week or so ago he discovered that we had a bad water leak in our kitchen. The leak seemed to be coming from behind the splash-back tiles above the kitchen sink and he had no option but to knock out the tiles in order to find it and stop the flow of water. When he did, he discovered that we'd had a slow leak for some time before the big leak emerged, and the whole cabinet area was disintegrating and covered in mould. Yuck!

KitchenBefore

The kitchen was very old - it had been installed when the house was built in the early 70s - and we knew it needed replacing, but that wasn't high on our financial priority list. Functionally, it was a very good kitchen and we've been more concerned with investing in our kids. As it turned out, circumstances have forced our hand.

Steve's creative contribution for this week is the complete demolition of our kitchen and he's flat out building the new infrastructure to install in the coming week. Our plumber is going away on holidays on Thursday so Steve only has until Wednesday to get the job done so the plumber can finish his work before he goes on leave. On the plus side, it's good to be working to a tight deadline. Living without a kitchen is challenging.

I must make this point. Without Steve's skills, we'd most likely have been without a kitchen for Christmas. Getting a new kitchen whipped up by someone else at this time of year would have been nigh on impossible. So who says creativity is impractical, then?

KitchenAfter

Scarlet Bennett

I've been making Christmas gifts this week.

I've always loved pearls and, if you've been following this blog, you'll know that I also love flowers. Floral themes have woven their way into a number of my recent jewellery creations, and this week has been no exception. For my contribution this week, I present my Heart of a Rose Pearl Set. That's really all I've got to say about it because pearls, I think, speak magnificently for themselves. I hope you like this set as much as I do. The old fashioned romance just warms my heart.

PearlNeckalse
HeartofaRosePearlEarrings

I've also had some unusual creative challenges this week - trying to create food for my family without a kitchen, for example. My friend Khatira helped me out with some delicious baked goods and a yummy Afghan curry yesterday, but now I'm on my own. I'm pleased to report that I've just made Zucchini Fritters  - with a zucchini picked fresh from my garden - in an electric frying pan in the laundry. And I've served our fritter lunch on paper plates because there's already a pile of dishes in the laundry tub awaiting attention. Maybe later for the dishes. I feel quite sure I've performed enough heroics for the time being.

Zucchini Fritters