Category Archives: Creativity

Charity begins at home: an alternative giving guide to help ‘save the world’

Charity Begins at Home. Blog Post Talina Edwards Architecture Sustainable design Ballarat

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ ANNE FRANK

Well as the year draws to an end and with the smell of Christmas is in the air already, it engages our spirit of generous giving to loved-ones… But I do hate the over-spending and over-consumption of so much non-ethical and non-sustainable “stuff”!  But this post is not a gift guide (you can find one of those here or here), THIS is about extending our generous spirit beyond our loved ones, to our wider community… to help out others at this time of year too.

Here’s some little ways that don’t have to cost much (if anything!) that might just make a big difference to someone, and if that doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, then perhaps you’re missing the point of the Christmas season. ;o)

Show Gratitude

This is the cheapest and easiest one! Just taking the time to say thank-you and letting someone know they are appreciated. You can tell them face to face, send a gift-card, post a comment publicly on social media… Taking this time to be thankful not only brightens someone else’s day, it will improve your wellbeing too!

Partake in Random Acts of Kindness

One of my favourite films of all time is Amelie! If you don’t know it (I highly recommend it!), it is a quirky art house film set in France, about a woman who does cute, odd little things to help influence the lives of the people around her, for the better.  If everyone was a little more kind, imagine the world we could be living in! Some like to see this as “Pay it forward” – or Good Karma – that the kindness you show others now, will be returned to you in a time of need. Maybe you could pay for a coffee/meal for the person in the queue behind you at the cafe, or fill up a parking metre as you leave, donate blood, let a car in front of you in a traffic jam, offer babysitting to parents, walk a friend’s dog, pick flowers from your garden to take to an elderly neighbour….  there are hundreds more ideas online if you’re stuck.

Volunteer Your Time

More than a third of Australian adults are already involved in voluntary work – are you? It also happens to be International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 on December 5th, and the theme for this year is “Make change happen: volunteer“. Helping make a difference in your community at a grassroots level is what it is all about… just by helping in a small way, you are in fact helping to change the world! Often giving your time, is more valuable than giving your money.

Donate with ‘Shout For Good’ App

I first heard about the ‘Shout for Good’ App at the Big Hearted Business Conference, and thought it was such a fabulous idea  – by changing the way we donate to charity in the age of the smart-phone. It is so easy – when you shout yourself lunch, how about donating the same amount to a favourite charity. With a tap on our phone it is that easy! No more being hassled by cold-callers asking you for your bank details for recurring monthly donations to the big charity organisations. Check it out here.

Support a Crowdfunding Campaign

I must admit, I’m quite a fan of supporting these. It is a very different feeling to say, giving money to the Guide Dogs or Oxfam – and please don’t get me wrong, of course each and every charity is worth supporting and I have given to these organisations many times, but I do love that with “Crowdfunding” you are supporting a person or a cause or a big idea that you feel more connected with. You can support, and share in their journey,  and more often than not, you  also get a “reward” because you’ve helped kick in the funds upfront toward capital for their project – so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. I’ve loved receiving some artwork, a CD, or knowing that a tree’s been planted all due to some very worthy ‘pozible’ campaigns. Two that are close to my heart at the moment, and still really need your help, are firstly, a local art and design collaborationCollidescope  where a total of 22 Ballarat visual-artists and fashion designers are working together to create wearable-art as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival – but this is much more than just ‘fashion’! It is about celebrating creativity, community and collaboration! I’m fortunate to know many of the amazing creatives involved in this project, and I can’t wait to see the outcomes. Please see more here.

The other fabulous initiative that you may have heard about isThe Nursery Project‘ by two inspiring local creatives: blogging-royalty and author Rowan Anderson (Whole Larder Love) and his partner – photographer/blogger/cook “the lunch lady” Kate Berry. You may know that they are passionate about simple, wholesome, healthy, down-to-earth living, eating sustainable, and growing your own food and making it from scratch. I love their philosophies and share *most* of them (but, err, as someone who eats predominantly vegetarian, I must admit,  I’m not quite so fond of the raise/hunt/butcher and eat the WHOLE animal – as sustainable as this scenario is!). They “want people to get their hands dirty, minds thinking and bellies and hearts full”. They’ve chosen the Daylesford area for the location, noting “We’re also basing The Nursery Project a short drive from one of the unhealthiest regional cities in Australia – Ballarat – where food and lifestyle choices are at their worst. It’s here that we hope to encourage some positive change.” If you can, please do something to help change this fact, by finding out more here.

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I’m sure you’re already giving generously to others in your own unique way, I just thought I’d put a few more ideas out there. I think this is especially important to set a good example for kids at this time of year – that it is not about receiving gifts from Santa, it is about giving to others.

And in this spirit of giving, I want to show my gratitude to all of you – my wonderful family, friends, clients, colleagues, consultants, supporters, readers, fellow-bloggers, creative tribes-folk, followers and “likers”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Without all of you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing! 

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder


Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!

Creative Cubby Project – Ballarat Show 2014

You probably know by now that I’m not “just an architect” (nor just a mother), but that I also love sharing my passion with others about sustainable design, often by writing and speaking about it, and being involved with the local community.

I’ve been involved with a fabulous project with a great team that brings a lot of my interests together – it’s a Creative Cubby Project – to teach and inspire (and be inspired by!) our future generations about sustainable living. How much fun?!

Creative Cubby Project Ballarat Show Flyer

Our flyer… it’s all about FREE, fun and family-friendly!

Our first event was at the Ballarat Show, this past weekend. Three full days of creativity, fun, play, innovation, inspiration and learning a bit about sustainability, whilst building a giant cubby house out of recycled materials! We were very fortunate to receive a “Community Impact Grant” from the City of Ballarat to help fund the project. Most of our materials were donated – including some very large boxes, or purchased from the fabulous recycled collection at Reverse Art Truck (formerly known as Reverse Garbage). These included boxes, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, card, bottle tops, synthetic grass, timber dowells, ribbons, magazines, straws, cork, pipe-cleaners, fabric and more!

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Just some of our materials… we had LOADS!

We were a spin-off from an “Eco-Cubby House” event at last year’s show, and were also very inspired by “Caine’s Arcade” – a 9yo boy who built an entire games-arcade from cardboard! Check out the heartwarming video about him, and the “Imagination Foundation” that resulted… We even joined our project in their Global Cardboard Challenge (which is all about engaging kids all over the world in creative play – over 46 countries are currently involved)!

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Our little makers (and some big ones too!) were so busy creating!

I loved the imagination and creativity that the kids displayed – and their parents too! We had a rule of “no glue and no paint” so everything could be dismantled and disassembled at the end of the project and then reused or recycled. This meant more innovation and creativity was involved with the building and making! Instead of glue, our fixings included: masking tape, pegs, string, rubber-bands, twist-ties, paper-clips, bulldog-clips,  pipe-cleaners, pins and staples.

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Our eco-cubby house and garden!

Our main cubby house was built over the three days and included tunnels, towers, secret rooms, openable windows and doors, skylights, peepholes, curtains, flyscreens, wind turbines, solar panels, ceiling fan, roof garden, green wall (with flowers), letter box, chimney, welcome mat and more! Our main garden area included a large tree (complete with leaves, birds, insects, swing, lantern, nest and more), a sky (including sun, clouds, rainbow and plane), our rooftop garden (full of trees, plants, flowers, scarecrow, caterpillars, rabbits, pig, birds and butterflies),  stepping-stones, a fish pond, and a patchwork shade sail!

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Look at some these fabulous creations!

The kids had free reign over what they wanted to contribute to the project.  Some of their ideas were fabulous! Check out the welcome-sign for the door, the barbecue complete with kebabs(!), the upholstered armchair, the stick insect and spider, and the fish pond complete with water-feature! We had a radio, a tv, a clock, all made out of cardboard! There was also a garage – as we had some truly inventive tractors, trolleys, cars and trains… all run on fuel from renewable resources of course!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Kids

How much fun is a big box with a hole cut in it?!

I think our favourite thing was seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they explored and discovered the ins and outs of the cubby, and then felt some ownership as they contributed. It was so gorgeous to see! We had such lovely feedback from both the kids and adults – many visited more than once, or stayed for quite a long time, and many said it was their favourite thing at the show! We especially loved hearing that our zone was a calm haven amongst the crazy, busy, noisy, expensive and instant-gratification of the rides/carnival-games/junk- food/showbags outside our pavilion. We had repeat comments about the value of ‘quality family time’, free-family-friendly, space to recalibrate, calm haven for kids, creative craft time, easy to replicate at home, held their kids attention, learning more about sustainability and reduce/re-use/recycle… and the words “slow cubby movement” were heard a number of times….

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Our Creative Cubby Project team!

I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be part of this fabulous community art engagement initiative!
A big thanks to the fabulous project co-ordinator, Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling, (POD Design) who is a local Visual Artist, who creates intricate, whimsical drawings often with bright, bold colours. She regularly runs art-workshops with school children, encouraging creativity and artistic expression of imimaginative thinking.  And a big thanks to the lovely Liz Cummins, Ballarat Landscape Architect of ‘Bricolage Design‘ who specialises in play spaces and children’s landscapes. Liz also has a background in early childhood education – how lucky were we to have her wisdom and experience! Liz also wrote a great wrap-up of the weekend here. And for those who don’t know me, I’m Talina Edwards, of Ballarat-based sustainable design studio ‘Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design‘, and also a mum to two creative young lads. I think together we made a great team, and please stay tuned for further news about where our Creative Cubby Project might pop up next!

Find out more:
Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeCubbyProject
Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/creative_cubby
Email us at: creativecubbyproject@gmail.com

And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “eco – cubby”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! ;o)

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Do you value creativity in kids? What’s your creative outlet? What do you do to “slow” down? (Please reply in the comments box below).


 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!

 

Creative garden wonderland for Ballarat kids!

I wanted to share with you a few photos of a gorgeous art exhibition/installation/experience that is currently on in Ballarat. It is called “Emily and Margie’s Marvellous Magic Garden“…. and it truly is magical!

Local designers, artists and mothers, Margie Balazic and Emily Van Der Molen (Bunty and Sars) both spent many months putting this together! You can see their attention to detail and love of design, nature and the wonder of gardens. 99% of the installation is hand-made, and they also had the help of many local schools and pre-schools. The exhibition is very interactive, and encourages children (and children-at-heart) to engage with the art; including a chalkboard inside the cubby house, wall-murals to colour in, neon-coloured spots to decorate the house, a mini clothesline to colour in and hang up paper-dolls-clothes, a giant nest to read in, and a craft table with loads more activities! We could’ve stayed for hours! It is open until the 26th Oct, so I encourage you to pop down to experience it in person.

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Open Thurs-Sun 12noon-5pm at Backspace Gallery, Camp Street

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My boys exploring! How amazing are the origami clouds?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A fluorescent tree! (So clever!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The attention to detail is truly amazing. Most of it is made from paper, card, straws…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gorgeous hanging vines of colour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My youngest chilling out in the nest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More teeny tiny flowers, and lush green leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love the re-use of packing cardboard, and cotton-tips, and drinking straws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And complete with a miniature fairy toadstool house…so sweet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think the daffodils were my favourite flowers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neon-fairy perched on the roof tiles.

 

 

 

 

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Kids enjoying being involved in the art – decorating the house with spots and dots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I love supporting the local creative community, and often share the love for all sorts of amazing events through social media, but not so often on the blog. But I wanted to this time, as it was such a lovely idea and outcome (and these women are rather fabulous!), and also because  I am excited to announce that I too will be involved in an artistic community event especially for children, “The Creative Cubby Project“, supported by The City of Ballarat, as part of this year’s Ballarat Show.

The project co-ordinator, Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling, (POD Design) is a local Visual Artist, who creates intricate, whimsical drawings often with bright, bold colours. She regularly runs art-workshops with school children, encouraging creativity and artistic expression of imaginative thinking.  The other member of our team is Ballarat Landscape Architect, Liz Cummins of ‘Bricolage Design‘, who specialises in play spaces and children’s landscapes, and she also has a background in early childhood education. And of course myself, as an architect who loves sustainable design, and a mother who loves creative kids projects. I think we’ll make a fabulous team, and I’m really looking forward to it!

Talina Edwards Architecture POD Design Bricolage Design

 

We will be working with local children and their families to create an enormous eco-cubby house incorporating sustainable elements such as passive-solar design principles, solar energy, water tanks, vegie gardens and chooks. The Creative Cubby Project is FREE with show entry on Fri 7th, Sat 8th, Sun 9th November 2014, 9:30am-5pm in the Youth Pavilion. Please come by and say hi!

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To find out more, follow us on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/creative_cubby

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeCubbyProject

Email: creativecubbyproject@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

I love encouraging creativity and imagination in kids! And getting them involved with thinking about nature, gardens, buildings and their relationship to them. Do your kids love the outdoors too? What about your memories as a child – what did you love doing? Would love to hear in the comments below!

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Do what you love, make money, and save the world. #BHB2014

Wow! What a weekend I’ve just had. I’ve just attended Clare Bowditch‘s AWESOME Big Hearted Business (un-)conference for the second year…and to think that both times I almost didn’t go! Last year I wasn’t sure that I (or my new business) was “creative” enough, until I kept getting signs front the universe that indeed I was and I was meant to be there…and if it wasn’t for last year’s event…this blog would not have been born (read more here), and I might never have started my own architectural practice. This year I honestly thought that as I’d had my turn last time, it was now time for someone else to have a go, as there were limited tickets. However when they initially announced that it was not sold-out, a friend’s grandmother’s wise words would not leave my head…”What’s for you will not pass you by“, and I jumped and bought a ticket for this year’s event. BEST. DECISION. EVER. (Twice now!)

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The inspiring, generous, loving Clare Bowditch – the brains (left and right!) behind this whole shebang!

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What AMAZING speakers! Clare with Danielle LaPorte, Joost Bakker and Beci Orpin.

I went along last weekend trying NOT to have any expectations…but that is very difficult when the inaugural event was such a life-changing moment for me (and everyone else there!)…does the sequel EVER live up to the original? Not usually…but thankfully I was wrong. This year’s BHB was every bit as inspiring, motivating, engaging, encouraging, emotional, funny, educational, connecting, etc., as the first, but more importantly for me, it was a very timely reminder of just how far I’ve come on my journey this last year, and it reaffirmed that I’m on my right path.

My head and my heart are so full after the weekend, so I cannot give justice in this one post to the all the words of wisdom by trying to summarise them now. (I might go into some more detail in future posts). But the real secret (SHHHHHH!) of the Big Hearted Business (un-)conference is that it is NOT really about “business” at all! The essence of whole event, is that it is really about life, happiness & fun, dreams & goals, values & purpose, ethics & truth, emotional wellbeing and not just a focus on finance, ….sounds pretty good, huh?! “Do what you love, make money, and save the world” is their tagline. And really, this stuff should be taught in schools, to everyone, everywhere! How many business conferences do you know where you get to laugh and cry, sing and do “bo-ga” (Bogan-yoga), meditate, and hug your frentors? (No “schnetworking” here people!).

 

Do what you love, make money, save the world! Gorgeous lettering by BHB alumni Carla Hackett

Do what you love, make money, save the world! Gorgeous lettering by BHB alumni Carla Hackett

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Big-hearted goody-bag!

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Such a gorgeous idea – The Giving Tree. Sharing the love by sharing some skills – creative bartering at its best.

Talina-Edwards #BHB2014-Clare Bowditch sings Amazing Life

Clare brings the room to tears by singing “Amazing Life

Talina-Edwards #BHB2014 mindmap notes #BHBnotes

An attempt to organise my thoughts (and pages of notes!) with a mind map.

So what does this all have to do with my business as an architect with a passion for green buildings, sustainable design and healthy homes? Well, it’s confirmed that for me to be creating my sustainable architectural practice in a non-mainstream way, and on my own terms, is not only “acceptable”, it is absolutely VITAL. Want to why I became and Architect? See here. And what about my philosophy? Try here.

The speakers that I engaged with the most, were the ones who were able to tell their story in such a simple authentic way –  pure communication that made their message appear SO SIMPLE, made it FEEL SO RIGHT. That is part of my vision, to tell “elemental” truths, to practice “elemental” design, and to lead by example like these inspiring big-hearted people do….and I’ve just figured out WHY these speakers such as Joost Bakker, Danielle La Porte, Fabian Dattner, Pip Lincolne, Missy Higgins & more were so able to connect with their audience on this level. They have such a strong belief in themselves and why they do what they do, that we instinctively want a piece of the action too!  We all over complicate things and have lost touch with what really matters. But things are changing. Revolution is a BIG word, and not one I’d use lightly, but if you were there on the weekend you’d feel it too….watch this space and look out for the rise of these big-hearted businesses!

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PS A huge THANK YOU to Clare Bowditch and the Big-Hearted-Business team and to ALL the big-hearted attendees who are now part of my tribe…If you’d like to read more about the conference from others who were there, I highly encourage you to check out these blogs and support these amazing folk!

Pip Lincoln from “Meet Me At Mikes” http://meetmeatmikes.com/2014/05/stuff-i-learned-on-the-weekend/

Dorothy K http://www.dorothyk.com.au/big-hearted-business

Martine (Vintage Prints) http://viewsfromtheredbrickroad.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/deciding-to-rise/

Helen Edwards – no relation to me! (Recycled Interiors) http://recycledinteriors.org/2014/05/07/big-hearted-business-conference-2014-good-fail-happy-dance-feeling-way/

Amanda Dziedzic (Glass-blowing artist) http://littlebirdbigchip.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/big-hearted-business-and-my-crush-on.html

Amy Feldtmann http://amyfeldtmann.com/2014/05/03/big-hearted-pearls-of-wisom-bhb2014/

Tahlee Rouillon (The Attitude Revolution) http://attituderevolution.net/big-hearted-weekend/

Selina Braine (I Can Draw) http://icandrawwithselina.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-bhb-un-conference-has-brought-me-here-what-a-weekend/

Rebecca Jee http://rebeccajee.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/big-hearted-business-unconference-part-1.html http://rebeccajee.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/bhb-unconference-part-2-keywords.html

Lisa Miller (Multiples of Two) http://multiplesoftwo.com/you/big-hearted-business-unconference-2014/

Always Josefa http://www.alwaysjosefa.com/pieces-of-me/big-hearted-business-2014/

Gill Stannard (Naturopath, Health and Happiness coach) http://gillstannard.com.au/2014/05/13/what-missy-higgins-knows-about-wellness/

Kat McNally http://www.katmcnally.com/2014/05/rearranged.html

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Happy 1st Birthday to our blog!

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. 

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Blog-First-Birthday

Hey, Guess What?! It’s our birthday! Yes, its been one year whole since this blog began! So to celebrate, I thought I’d share a few stats, and a recap of the posts…you never know, you might’ve missed out on something you’d like to go back and check-out. Grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbly (or a cuppa tea!), and settle in for some reading!

So this post is our 28th. Which means on average, a new post goes up about once a fortnight. There are 15 main categories for the posts: Architecture, Ballarat, Creativity, Design, Environment, Folio, Food, Gift Ideas, Green Building, Inspiration, Musings, Newsletters, Recycling, Sustainability, and uncategorised. According to the site statistics, there’s been over 4000 views of the blog, and 130 comments, which sounds pretty good to me, for a “new kid on the blog” ;o)

Here they all are (in chronological order):

The first day of the rest of my (amazing) life! (The reason behind why this blog began in this first place, or what kicked my butt into action!)

“You are what you eat” (In answer to a question I often get asked)

When I grow up, I want to be… (the answer is obvious, isn’t it?)

The self-doubting creative soul… sound familiar? (You too? Or perhaps not)

“So, what is your blog about?” (An old fave)

Transform: Altering the Future of Architecture (Review of Women in Architecture seminar in Melbourne)

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day (Relevant for every day!)

The secret recipe for great buildings! (Do you know what it is?)

What is democracy? Visit M.A.D.E. to find out (Review of one of Ballarat’s newly renovated public buildings)

The future is ‘green’ for big roofs (Review of Ballarat Green Drinks event + more)

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio” (A little project we did last year)

Spring has sprung! (Seasonal musings)

5 Ways To Celebrate World Architecture Day! (Or if you’re at all interested in Architecture and Building Design, take a peek!)

Design is not a dirty word! (Truly, it’s not. But it has does have a bit of a bad reputation!)

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle) (Love some recycling tips!)

5 Architecture Gift Ideas for Kids (For christmas or birthdays, these are for all kids to encourage creativity!)

5 things to buy an Architect for Christmas…(*hint hint*) (Hmmm, this was a very popular post, yet I didn’t receive ANY of these gifts last year…?!)

My big-hearted tribe (A shout-out to Big Hearted Businesses)

Our *first* Newsletter! (Well, we wanted to share it here too)

A Creative Conversation (Review of a fabulous workshop I attended here in Ballarat)

Season’s Greetings! (The obligatory Xmas Card)

Talina Edwards Architecture February Newsletter (Another update from the studio)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (Felt like I needed to!)

World’s Biggest Green Drinks Ballarat (Review of local event and insightful speaker)

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern (Still love this house!)

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help! (Review and some pretty pics)

WHY do sustainable design? (Why do you think?)

So I’ve covered some local Ballarat (and Melbourne) events, talked about design and creativity, given advice in the form of “top five tips”, showcased some folio projects for Talina Edwards Architecture, written about seasonal events, talked a bit about who I am, and of course the posts are always somewhat related to architecture and my practice, sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.

The future of the blog is going to take a slightly more focused path for a bit as I concentrate on the “Sustainable Design” series of informative articles where I aim to help answer your questions, starting with our recent post on WHY do sustainable design?  I’ll of course also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…plus much more detail into the “what” and how sustainable / eco / green / energy-efficient design can benefit you and your home. (I’ll still continue to post some other topical news too).

Looking forward to sharing some of this with you all – as this is what I’m passionate about, as an Architect who specialises in this field.

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PS I LOVE reading your comments, and responding to your queries…so please, say something in the comments box below. Do you have a favourite post of ours? Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’d just like to say hi, and happy birthday! Just you stopping to by to read is THE best birthday gift of all – so a big thank you – I really appreciate it! x