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Week 48: 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 made a plum tart tatin this week and she's shared her recipe too. Read on!

Trish's plum tart tatin

Trish's Plum Tart Tatin Recipe

Melt some butter, sugar, star anise and cassia bark in a pan until it bubbles and is caremelised. Arrange the cut plum halves in circles in the pan and continue cooking until heated through. Remove from the heat.

Place a circle of puff pastry over the plums, tucking in around the sides. Bake in a hot oven until the pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from the oven. Allow to stand for ten to 15 minutes and then loosen around the edges and invert onto a serving dish. Serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche.

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

Trish's plum tart tatin

Trish has also done some landscape photography this week, working with a sunset theme, and her shots are gorgeous.

Trish's sunset photography
Trish's sunset photography

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, managed to carve out some felting time this week, in spite of a busy teaching and examining schedule.  She felted a purple felt lace scarf for a friend, while she was waiting for a student to arrive. She then managed to finish the piece after his lesson, while a curry was simmering on the stove. Telena wins the multi-tasking prize this week!

A few days later, she enjoyed some felting in the sun, making small shapes into brooches, while enjoying a nice cup of tea. 

Telena's felt scarf and brooch

Telena also finished the eco-printed top from last week, leaving it to soak for a few days in the iron water, then washing it out and drying it to reveal the final colours.

Telena's eco-dyed t-shirt

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is back in the tie game again this week, inspired by our illustrious PM and his draconian stance against marriage equality.

Victorian Opera asked Kanen to sing the national anthem at some basketball matches last night and he quickly decided that a glitter rainbow tie would be a fitting and fabulous protest whilst singing about the glories of our 'fair' and 'free' land.

He says the tie was straightforward if slightly time consuming to create (endless waiting for one color to dry before embarking on the next, and multiple coats required for even coverage), and the results most pleasing to his eye.

Kanen's rainbow tie

Kanen sang the anthems twice - first for the women's match and then two hours later for the men's. Both times were televised. The first time, the cameramen very artfully filmed him from the back and side, almost as though deliberately avoiding his fashion flair- most annoying, he says. The second time, however, they captured his full-frontal flamboyance, which prompted a redneck in the crowd to hurl homophobic epithets at him. Kanen says he expected this and couldn't have been less fazed. In fact, he found it strangely gratifying, because it meant that his tie must have been sparkling extra bright.

How gorgeous does he look is his finished creation? (The fans on Facebook were swooning).

Kanen's rainbow tie

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett’s offering this week is threefold.

Firstly, he found another unusual vegetable to photograph, and thinks he might try a series of root vegetables. They're bound to be gob-smackingly popular with the punters.

Steve's root vegetable photography

Secondly, he hauled his bones out to the front porch and weeded the little garden next to the front door that has been in serious disrepair for months. There's still work to be done as he plans to fertilise and touch up the paint work, but it looks heaps better now than it did.

Steve's garden diptych
Steve's camera renovation

Thirdly, he’s making slow progress with his 8x10 camera, but progress nonetheless. This week he managed to get the old bellows off the front and rear bellows frames, and clean them up ready to receive the new ones. He’s a bit nervous about this as he doesn't feel that fabric related activities are quite his bag, and he doesn’t want to ruin the new bellows. He also prepared a couple of new lens boards for his two 8x10 lenses. He had to cut bigger holes in the aluminium, clean them up, spray with matt black, and then mount the lenses and tighten them up with the lens wrench. They are both ready to go now and just awaiting the new bellows, at which point the whole apparatus can be reassembled.

Steve's camera renovation
Steve's camera renovation

Scarlet Bennett

I've been a busy little author again this week, churning out nigh on 15,000 words, while carrying a full-time workload. I've drafted two chapters for my crime fiction novel - and it's just reaching the point in the story where some seriously bad stuff is going to happen, so that's kept me interested all week - a complete module for one of my online courses, and a few articles for my Psychology for Writers program too. One of my articles is about how you can tell when people are lying, and I really enjoyed researching and writing about that topic. Don't try to get anything past me now! My beta readers have given it a big thumbs up, too, so there are a few new lie spotters in the world these days.

The demand for my online courses has been really pleasing and I want to take a moment here to thank all you kind people who helped spread the word. I'm delighted to be working with the fine people who've signed up for my programs, so thanks for letting people know about them.

I whipped up some earrings today, mostly so I'd have something visual to share for my creative contribution. I've never made hoops before, and I'm very pleased with how these have turned out. And I made the turquoise flower earrings because they struck me as just the ticket for an out-and-about Saturday. Flowers, after all, go with everything

Scarlet's handcrafted earrings

Week 34: Creative Challenge 52

Stephen Bennett has produced some wonderful landscape images again this week. His tetraptych is of a ruined cattleman's cottage that he found at Shannon's Flat on the back road from Canberra to Adaminaby. There was no fence in evidence so he bowled up to discover he had the place to himself and then spent a happy hour exploring with his Hasselblad. It's just as well he did, because it's wet and windy in Canberra today - not a suitable photography day at all.

Cattleman's hut landscape photos

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is apologetic about this week's creation. In fact, he claims it's his weakest effort to date which, given his extraordinarily high standards, is hardly discouraging.

He's in Daylesford for Mother's Day where his sister also lives. He hadn't yet come up with any creative plan of note, so he was delighted to find that his uber creative sister, Keele, had fashioned a lamp together out of old bits of other lamps and light-fittings but had yet to tackle the plain, boring lampshade atop her masterpiece. He says he's not kidding when he tells us this dreadful effort (his words!) took him ten minutes.

The fabric is an old skirt of Keele's that he's stretched into place without cutting and then sewed in with the hideous bobble trim she bought for her daughter. Kanen says, 'it aint pretty, but I'll sneak over the line with it and aim for a more considered contribution next week.' I think he's being too modest by far. A Breen original is still a Breen original and this lampshade has a charming retro feel.

Kanens lampshade makeover

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has been frantically busy this weekend with Mother's Day flowers. Aware that she had no chance of contributing anything today, she submitted some photos earlier in the week, documenting her history in Perth.

This little house is where she first encountered her business partner, Remy, nearly twenty years ago. His twin brother is a hairdresser who used to work out of the house and Remy had his art works on display there too. That meeting set in motion a creative partnership that has lasted ever since.

Keryns house
Perth in transition - a photo journey

Keryn wanted to capture Perth in transition in her images. When she first arrived in Perth, Beaufort Street near the art school was undeveloped, but now the city has started to swirl around it. The little grey vintage shop is where Keryn had her first poetry framed, and Wall Candy was a source of inspiration, not to mention an endless source of furniture. Keryn has included a photo of her signature flower, the bougainvillea, even though she says that roses run a close second. Finally, the terrace houses have been overtaken by McDonalds and Officeworks. Keryn says she knew the person who owned one of them and he bought it years ago for $480,000. Imagine what it would be worth now.

Perth in transition - a photo journey
Perth in transition - a photo journey
Perth in transition - a photo journey

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been continuing her exploration of eco-dyeing this week. With all the recent storms, there's been an abundance of kerbside branches in her street, so she's had some fun foraging for suitable plant matter.

Telena has made a lightweight off-white felted wrap comprised of two fine layers of fleece over silk chiffon. After felting, she soaked it for a few hours in a bath of alum and water. She then layered it with leaves and gumnuts and rolled it around some dowel. She tied it and boiled it in a large saucepan with the addition of some bits of rust. She left it in the solution for four days to let the colours develop. As you can see, the foliage has left clear imprints - gorgeous.

Eco-dyed wrap

Telena has also made a felt lace wrap this week for the friend who was responsible for all the beautiful flowers at Rachel's recent wedding.

felt lace wrap

With winter approaching and several friends expecting babies, Telena has been knitting some gumnut hats. She's very fond of this pattern and the yarn is very soft and warm. They don't take long to knit so she now has quite a collection. Telena has damaged a ligament in her ankle so she says it's time to put her feet up and do some more knitting. Anyone expecting? There are hats to spare.

knitted baby hats

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 is still cooking up a storm on Patience, their recently refurbished narrowboat. She's written an erudite blog this week, featuring impressive words like revictual and gongoozler. If these words are as foreign to you as they were to me, check out Trish's blog here. You'll be able to impress the punters silly with your new words, and Trish's travel photography is awesome too.

Trish has also filmed a moody time lapse video from the boat. There's water, clouds and trains and a tangible sense of chill in the air. Love it.

Scarlet Bennett

My friend Kayleen came over for a jewellery making lesson yesterday and I taught her how to make a gorgeous silver cuff, which I then forgot to photograph. Just as well I'd made a small something extra - some cute sterling silver earrings to liven up a cold, grey weekend.

Sterling silver spiral earrings

Week 18: Creative Challenge 52

Kanens shoes

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been getting creative with shoes again. Jacqui had some $5 shoes that they'd both declared revolting but, happily, the shoes were potentially garish enough to be put to costuming use in their cabaret capers - with some added sequins, of course. The shoes are still very much on trial, but Kanen says he wants to see them on-stage and under lights before they get sent to God.

There's a little bit of glue clean up to come, but that has to wait for a day or two until the glue is properly dry. Kanen says it's hard to tell from the photos, but the larger sequins have a kind of holographic sheen that is quite vile but well suited to the hideous shoes. It makes them flash under the light, apparently.

Don't despair at this tantalising arm's length view. These shoes just might be coming to a venue near you very soon...

Jacquis Shoes

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, is preparing to show some of her felted bags and, with her injured finger still on the mend (but not quite up to textile work again yet), she's opted to showcase some of the bags this week.

Telenas bags 1

Telena has used a variety of techniques to make these bags. Some were knotted and then felted. Others were knitted to a very large size and then shrunk in the washing machine. Still others were made to a pattern with layers kept separate during the felting process, and one was free-machine embroidered.

Telenas Bags 2

Telena is hoping that her finger will be sufficiently recovered in the coming week to allow her to resume felting again. Either way, she's not going to be short of things to do because she still has a wedding to prepare for, oboe lessons to give, and a spare room to prepare for guests. It's good to know that she's keeping out of mischief. And her bag exhibition will really be something to see.

Telenas Bags 3

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 creative with her camera as well as in the kitchen this week. She's been taking portraits of her vegetables - a very fine way to honour them before putting them into the pot - and creating her usual array of culinary delicacies.

Trishs herb and cucumber harvest

She turned an early morning garden harvest (5 cucumbers, mint, tarragon and lovage) into a delicious raw lunch time soup. She served the soup with the remains of her parmesan ice cream (you can find the parmesan ice cream here on Trish's fabulous food blog), which has been in her freezer waiting for another outing.

Raw green soup with parmesan ice cream

The potatoes Trish picked were combined with onion and served as a potato bake for supper. Yum! It's all been happening at Trish's place.

Trishs garden potatoes

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has been impressively creative this past week, as always. She's made a new Tumblr blog, Rhythm Runway, to post about two of her favourite things - music and fashion. And she designed some images for the blog, which she then got Steve to photograph. How good does her theme look?

Rhythm Runway Images

Everyone in our family sings, and we often improvise harmonies and mess about with songs. Georgia, Hannah and I have a version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy that we sing together sometimes when the mood takes us. We trotted it out yesterday to create something different for this blog. It's a live recording featuring Georgia singing the solo and the bottom ensemble line, Hannah is singing the top line, and I'm sandwiched in the middle. Stephen Bennett gets credit for his sound engineering skills. We'd be lost without his various talents.

I'm absolutely crazy about Georgia's solo. She never sings it the same way twice and she's a real one-take wonder. She nails it every time.

Stephen Bennett

As I mentioned, Stephen Bennett has been kept busy with other people's creative projects this week. Always quick to spot an opportunity, however, he snapped this wonderful portrait of Georgia when they were working on her Rhythm Runway shoot.

Georgia Bennett

He's also been making panel doors for our new kitchen cupboards and we may get a glimpse of his results next week. Bring it on, I say.

Scarlet Bennett

Giant Russian Sunflower

My writing output this week has been really good but that means I've been sitting a lot. To compensate, I've been taking breaks in our urban farm, which is absolutely flourishing. Our giant Russian sunflowers have started to morph from flowers to seed producers, which is exciting to watch, and the purely decorative Italian sunflowers alongside are a joy to behold. I defy you to feel grumpy when you look at these cheery blooms.

Italian Sunflowers
Zucchini Flower

The summer glut is upon us and I joked at breakfast that we may need to think about a book - Creative Ways with Zucchinis - since I'm inventing new ways to serve these prolific producers on a daily basis. Today's exciting kitchen adventure, after picking another mountain of ripe produce, was two different varieties of zucchini bread - golden zucchini and sweet corn, and zucchini and chive. They're very nice indeed.

Scarlets Zucchini Bread

The passion Kanen Breen feels for shoes, I reserve, I'm afraid, for eggplants (tragic, isn't it). I just adore these black velvet friends and I've got quite a few different varieties fruiting at the moment. I should have photographed my harvest this week, but I just couldn't wait to eat them. Never fear, however, there are plenty more on the way.

Scarlets Eggplants

I haven't had much time to spend in my jewellery studio this week, but I did make these cool sterling silver earrings. This design reminds of King Neptune's trident and evokes nostalgia for the stories of my youth. They look fabulous on.

Scarlets Trident Earrings