Filtering by Tag: felt bird nest

Week 46: Creative Challenge 52

Stephen Bennett has taken some fabulous photos this week, starting with this gorgeous shot of a turnip, that Hannah grew in our vegie patch. Here it is in all its glory, before it was transformed into the world's most delicious turnip soup.

We went to Mt Stromlo yesterday, to the site of the old burnt out observatory, for a photo shoot that you'll hear more about when I tell you about my contribution. Steve took some surreal looking photos of some of the buildings.

It was a bleak day - very cold (about 8 degrees, I think, when we were there), blowing a gale, and the rain started soon after we left. The only upside of the bad weather was the opportunity to photograph the moody sky.

Mt Stromlo

Steve also took a photo of me, hard at work with my portrait subjects. I'm dressed to the nines and looking ultra glamorous as you can see.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is busy trying to get young Xander into his own bedroom at night, but Xander has confessed that he doesn't like the wallpaper Kanen slavishly applied over three years ago in anticipation of his arrival. He says he won't be able to sleep looking at it. The ingratitude!

Kanen admits that the wallpaper he and Jacqui chose is pretty 'out there', but is made sense when they did it, although he wonders now what they were thinking.

They went to reverse garbage this morning and bought a few cheap frames, a dog calendar from 2008, and a Dr Seuss book (Xander's favourite). When they returned home, they spent a few hilarious hours watching Xander pick his favourite dogs and illustrations, and helping him put some of the images in frames.

The best part, Kanen says, was letting him pick where he wanted to place them on the walls. It looks terribly random, but he was insistent upon this arrangement, including the felt robot sticker Jacqui bought him a while back. Kanen thinks it all looks rather ghastly really, but the little tacker loves the new look and he claims he'll be much happier attempting the transition now. Good luck with that!

Kanen's wallpaper

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best (very successfully, if you've been following this blog) to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has had some incredible concoctions coming out of her kitchen this week.

She found some apples at one of the moorings they stopped at on their narrowboat, Patience, and she had some strawberries that needed using up too. Then she spotted a jar of Sichuan pepper in the supermarket and, voila, her creation was born. Trish has made a strawberry, apple and Sichuan pepper jelly. Yum!

Trish's apple and strawberry jelly

Trish also made a flat frittata using mushrooms, togarashi seasoning, honey and garlic.

Trish's mushroom frittata

Do check out Trish's blog to see more of her fabulous food adventures.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, had an enjoyable meeting with her felting group this week. She describes the get together as a place of encouragement, and show and tell, where they share their latest creations and eat lots of yummy food.

Telena showed her eco-dyeing and one of the bird nests she's recently made. She also felted another while she was there using white fleece. The following day, she fired up the camping stove and boiled up a dye pot of cinerea and vinegar. She bundled her latest bird nest, along with one she made a few weeks ago, into the pot with eucalyptus leaves from her favourite trees. She boiled them for an hour while waiting impatiently for the results.

She has them stuffed with bubble wrap while they're drying, so they retain the desired shape.

Telena thinks they're gorgeous and she's hoping some discerning birds will make their nests in the warm, dry, artistic surroundings come spring.

Telena's bird nest

Scarlet Bennett

I've had quite a creative diversion this week. I used to do a lot of photography, helping Steve when he had his wedding photography business, but it's been a long time since I've picked up my camera.

I pulled it out of moth balls this week to help Lucy, Hannah and Georgia with a project they've been working on.


They went to Supanova together in June, dressed in Marvel costumes that Lucy put together (many items sewn from scratch with patterns she created herself). Lucy went as a fem Bucky Barnes, Hannah as a fem Captain America, with Georgia dressed as Natasha, the Black Widow.

Cosplay photos

Having gone to so much effort with the costumes, they decided that a photo shoot would be great, to capture what they'd done. I took hundreds of photos, and Steve took plenty too, but here are a few of mine - some of Lucy's favourites. Don't they look fabulous?

Cosplay photos

Week 44: Creative Challenge 52

Author Scarlet Bennett

I don't often lead with my own stuff, but since so much of my creative output over the past couple of years has come to fruition this week, I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate it - because it's back to work in a serious way tomorrow. Striking Out was released on Tuesday and now the pressure is on for the sequel.

As befits a published author (skip the snippy messages - it's a joke), I even have a black and white publicity photo these day. Crikey! I could almost pass for someone literary. But don't be fooled. My writing contains bad language, earthy humour, and sex. What's not to like about that?

Striking Out is available from all major online retailers in print and e-book, and direct from the publisher (print only). Check out the customer reviews that are coming in on Amazon. Happy to see these!

Striking Out by Scarlet Bennett

I released a suite of online courses for writers and performers on Tuesday. Please check these out and share with people you think might be interested.

Sincere thanks to Lucy Bennett for the awesome banners she made for each course. Lucy has just completed a Masters of Publishing degree at Sydney University, and she's in her final week of an internship at Allen & Unwin. Message me if you need banners, copywriting or professional editing, as Lucy is now accepting free lance work and she does brilliant work.

The video we made to promote my Goodbye Stage Fright course is my contribution for this week. I can't say I'm über-thrilled with my performance on it, but it's the best I can do at this point in time. I've got more videos to make yet, so I'm sure I'll get better as I go. In the meantime, at least I'm wearing awesome jewellery.

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is making a return guest appearance this week.

Things were quiet at the centre where she and Remy have their florist shop last week, so she went looking for some happiness. She found two budgies in a small cage of the back of a pet shop, squeezed between the fish tanks and the fridge, with only a single neon strip for lighting. She didn't go looking for birds. She just wanted to look at fish, pets - anything but the empty courtyard at the Emporium.

These were the only birds in the shop and because Keryn has a general aversion to birds in cages, it took her another three trips to the shop that afternoon to decide that she could give them a better life and at least surround them with flowers.  Once they were installed at the shop in their temporary quarters, a normal birdcage, Keryn went looking for something bigger.  She found this old cage on Gumtree. It's at least 4 times bigger than their temporary home, and she and Remy spent the week turning it into a Parisienne apartment. Ooh la la!

Keryn's bird cage

The birds are loving their new home in the sunshine. Keryn wheels them into the shop every night, where they settle down quite happily. They love their new life, and if the kissing is anything to go by, they love each other too. In fact, Keryn has been told by enthralled passers by that she needs to get a nesting box. Keryn loves listening to them chirp and fly around their new home, and these lovely new friends have outperformed expectations on the 'bestowing happiness' measure.

Keryn's budgies

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, is back teaching again, with student exams looming, so she's had less time to play around in her studio this past week. Nevertheless, she altered the pattern for her hanging nest and felted one using a wool batt. These are similar to the batts used to insulate ceilings, except they're made of fleece. The wool fibres are coarse and coloured, so they don't need dyeing. Telena laid two layers out at right angles to each other around the resist, then felted strongly to create a dense felt. She likes the way it turned out, but thinks she'll make further modifications next time.

Telena's felt bird's nest

Telena also undertook the tough job, this week, of further culling her wool collection, as she thinks she has enough for two lifetimes. She's had real trouble with this and she thinks a trip to woolaholics anonymous may be in order. On the plus side, she was able to give some wool to her mum, who was delighted. Telena did a fun arrangement on her dining table to commemorate this poignant parting of ways.

Telena's wool collection

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has a stylised, gothic makeover and an opening night to contribute this week.

It was the opening of Sweeney Todd last night, and Kanen delivered 'a scene stealing act as the Beadle' - check out today's review in the Sydney Morning Herald (sorry, Kanen, when I stumble across a review like this, of course I'm going to share).

Kanen says he was as anxious, terrified and self-doubting as he's ever been, but he managed to pull himself together, breathe deeply and apply the brakes on rapidly approaching hysteria, which was an incredibly creative act in itself.

Kanen did his own make-up for this show, and even in this photo you can see that he nailed it. He says he'll have some close-up photos to show us next week. Bring it on.

Kanen Breen as the Beadle

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 producing delicacies left, right and centre this week and, even better, she's sharing some of her recipes. Trish made togarashi peaches and cherry jam, and now you, too, can share the joy.

Trish's Togarashi Peaches

Take four peaches, halve and stone them. Place in a baking pan. Mix together a teaspoon of togarashi seasoning, a teaspoon of vanilla paste and a tablespoon or two of honey. Drizzle this over the peaches. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped Brazil nuts. Add a splash of water to the pan and bake at a high temperature until nicely browned, adding a little more water if needed. You want some sauce to form in the pan. Serve with Greek yoghurt.

Trish's togarashi peaches

Trish's Cherry Jam

Trish's cherry jam

Weigh the cherries and add 1/3 of their weight in sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of whisky and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Cook in a frying pan until the cherries are thick and jammy, and then pour them into a sterilised jar.

Cherry jam is delicious with cheese on oatcakes, on oat porridge, and with fried haloumi.

Trish's cherry jam

Check out Trish's fabulous food blog to see more of her wonderful food adventures.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett decided to spruce up his music computer area with a custom made rack for various electronic items this week.

He can now organize his toys in a more compact and functional manner, and he's quite chuffed with the result. See the before and after shots.

Also, he did it all for nothing. All the bits he used had been previously clogging up the garage.

You've gotta love a good salvage operation.