Friday, November 28, 2008

it's finally friday

Enjoy the weekend everyone! Here's hoping for some long overdue sunshine.
Image from here.

finders keepers

Next weekend The Finders Keepers Markets are on at The Carriage Works in Sydney's Redfern. These markets are full of independent designers and artists. They sounds like they will be great! They are on the 5th and 6th of December and go into the evening. Another great thing about the markets are their location. The Carriage Works is an amazing place and space and well worth a visit. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

introducing... The Katolo Project

It was very exciting news when Kimberley and her film company Ariella Pictures decided to jump on board the bricks + cartwheels wagon! After embarking on documentary projects in Australia, Israel, Holland and Germany, Kimberley has found her next project. Fostering a deep passion for human rights and education, Kimberley's inspiring vision to capture The Katolo project; its journey for both the bricks + cartwheels team, and the community of Katolo, has taken off.

With a degree in Film Production and 8 years experience in the media behind her, Kimberley is excited to be combining her passion with a project that is sure to change the lives of a community forever.

Kimberley will be heading over with us in January to start the filming from the very beginning. We are excited at the prospect of this and cant wait to see the first footage!

As you can imagine this lengthy filming process needs funding to get it off the ground. Anyone who is wanting to support The Katolo Project can do by purchasing a pack of christmas cards.

These cards are just what is needed to brighten up your christmas this year! Not only is each one hand made, each one is a beautiful piece of photographic art as well. A pack of 5 = $30. Some of the stunning images taken in Kenya are featured on the cards below.

To purchase your cards email

All money raised will go towards the realisation of the documentary The Katolo Project, a project which i am sure will be a beautiful tale of the Katolo community, the construction of the secondary school for girls and most importantly the role of education in rural areas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

green thumbs

I suddenly have the urge to join a local community garden. After picking up the real (food) handbook with the SMH a couple of weeks ago, i have a real hankering for a little bit of digging!

This little handbook for those who didn't manage to pick one up, was packed full of interesting tidbits and buzz words such as locavore: someone who only eats food produced locally. There was info on where to go to join your closest community garden.

If you would like to join a community garden and don't know where to find them take a look at this list and put that green thumb to work!

Our resident Jamie Durie-esque friend has also alerted us to the square foot garden. This is great for those who have limited space. This is a great "how too" link if you are interested in this method. Conceived by Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, the techniques have been enthusiastically adopted by gardeners all over the world! Have a go!

Friday, November 21, 2008

weekend project

a Christmas wreath! I've been wanting to make a wreath for my front door for a few years now and this year is going to be the year! I've been having a good scour around all our favourite blogs to get some inspiration..... 

The first photo is from the lovely Pia, she used a wire base and pussywillow. She adds flowers and berry's during the year, very versatile! 
This next one I really love! It's Sara's effort from last year (you have to scroll to the bottom of the page), so very pretty...... she used grape vines as her base... not sure I'm up for that yet!

The final one is from a blog that is new for me blomsterverksta, this lady makes wreaths for a living. Sophie also blogged about a pretty one she found here.
As Pia suggested I think I'm going to keep it simple and see what I can find in my garden.... maybe some eucalyptus leaves, flowers and berries. Hopefully it will be a fun and successful weekend! Next up christmas cake, anyone have a good recipe?

friday again!

Thank goodness! It's been a long week! I do believe we only have five Fridays left in Sydney before we will all be in Katolo to continue community consultations and begin construction for the Secondary School for Girls. Woo hoo!

Tonight we're heading to our alma mater, The University of Sydney to check out the final year architecture students' exhibition.

[in]form Graduate Exhibition 2008 is on at the Wilkinson Building at The University of Sydney, 148 City Road, Darlington from 6pm. Hope to see you there and if not have a lovely, sunny weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

garbage warrior

Now this is one amazing guy. Anyone seen this documentary? A friend who is in the know about all things waste has watched it. I am yet to, but just visiting the website and watching the trailor was enough to inspire.

For 30 years, renegade architect Michael Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony.
Based in New-Mexico, Michael has come up against many critics, so much so that he was stripped of his architecture licence. These earthships defy state standards and Reynolds has continued to lobby for the right to create a sustainable living test site.

It was when the Tsunami struck that Reynolds was able to use his pioneering skills to rebuild communities such as the Andaman Islands. He was able to teach the locals how to recycle cans, bottles, tyres and collect rainwater off these structures for clean drinking water.

He looks to be a wild character, a one of a kind and as some put it a hero of the 21st century! I will be heading out to grab my copy of Garbage Warrior for sure. To watch the full length trailor visit here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

World Toilet Day

It is World Toilet Day today! It is really important for everyone to take a minute to think about the 2.5 billion people in the world who do not have a private, safe or healthy place to go to the loo. I can't believe how big this statistic is and I am definitely very grateful for my toilet!!

To find out 5 things you can do today to show your support go to the World Toilet Organisation website.

Brisbane's local design and artistic community have designed 100 toilets to be put on display in Queen Street Mall. Hopefully the rain hasn't disrupted the day! More information on insanitation and the 100 toilets Exhibition can be found here. We can't wait to see the photos!

bricks + cartwheels is going to be working with Practical Action to develop an appropriate water and sanitation plan for the secondary school for girls project in Katolo, Kenya.

Sand-bag Architects win top prize!

South African architects MMA have been awarded the inaugural Curry Stone Design prize of $100,000 for their ingenious solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 low-cost housing challenge.  established this year by the university of Kentucky College of Design through a very generous gift from architect Clifford Curry and his wife H. Delight Stone.  The prize recognises breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.  The 10x10 housing project initiated by Design Indaba paired 10 teams of South African architects with international designers to pioneer new affordable housing systems.   The objective of the competition was to come up with affordable, attractive, innovative responses to the urgent need for housing the urban poor.  

MMA were awarded the Curry Stone Design prize for their pioneering design and innovative pilot project to build 10 affordable houses using a sand-bag construction system.  

Thanks to The Architects Newspaper for posting this great story with beautiful images and a great interview with the architects. 

Luyanda Mpahlwa, who shares the firm with Mpethi Morojele, s
aid that a key component of the house was to provide not only shelter but also social justice and pride.  The house was originally a house for 50,000 rand ($6,200), which required some unusual thinking.  In addition to utilizing inexpensive and locally accessible building materials, which required not even a single electrical outlet to put together, the designers turned to the community to build the houses.  Mpahlwa said that this approach saved not only the cost of labor but gave the community an added sense of ownership and provided work for the community riven with unemployment.   

It is great to hear that Mpahlwa is planning to use his prize money to build more 10x10 houses and sponsor underprivileged kids to attend architecture school.  These architects are fabulous inspiration!! 

gala dinner snaps

oh and check out some more of the great snaps taken by the lovely Zoe (mentioned here) from the special night. Thank you Zoe!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

bricks + cartwheels gala dinner 2008

went off with a bang! We were amazed, excited and overwhelmed with how well the inaugural bricks + cartwheels gala dinner went last Saturday night.
After spending the day organising setting up and generally running around 260 guests arrived at the Red Box in Lilyfield to the sounds and beats of exotic african music. The evening kicked off with Drum Beats leading everyone in a group drumming sesison and conga line. The evening was hosted by the amazing Liz Jackson, 5 time Walkley award winner and ABC journalist.

The food was great, the wine flowed and the speeches by Sam Crawford and Linda Hume were inspiring. The bricks + cartwheels team updated everyone on the Katolo school project and Kimberly's little film was a heart breaker! There was even a special guest appearance by one of Australia's musical treasures..... Kamahl!

Throughout the evening guests bid on silent auction items, bought up big on raffle tickets and cleaned out the goody bag stash. The live auction was a HUGE success, and was excellent entertainment for all in the Red Box! The night ended with everyone having a big boogy on the dance floor!
The Gala Dinner raised $37,000.00 for the Katolo Secondary School for girls, which completes the fundraising for stage one of the project. The bricks + cartwheels helpers were amazing, a huge thank you goes out to all you lovely people! This is a major milestone for bricks + cartwheels and the community of Katolo!

green school

The world's first green school has just opened in the riverside jungles between Denpasar and Ubud. Constructed entirely of bamboo the Green School's goal is 'to prepare students to become responsible global citizens in a world offering challenges and opportunities that can not be imagined at this moment'. Most students are children from all over the world with some local Balinese students offered scholarships to attend.

And with classrooms that are as spectacular and beautiful as these, the journey from pre school onwards will surely be one to remembered.

It's enough to make me want to go back to school! If you're in Bali - the school is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am sharp. Bookings are required.

Monday, November 17, 2008

if all the world was paper...

Our friend Fliss sent us this link to pingmag. Shigeru Ban's banlab is responsible for the amazing work in Sichuan Province where a massive earthquake in May ripped through reaching a magnitude of 8 on the richter scale.

The banlab research centre in conjunction with the Keio University has used cardboard tubes to build temporary school buildings. The article discusses the importance and role of architecture after disasters.

As a material paper is cheap, and more importantly, it uses materials that are available anywhere in the world. It is also structurally sound, so you do not have to worry about safety issues. Shigeru Ban has already used paper tubing for rebuilding after earthquakes in: India, Turkey and Kobe.

This excerpt particularly inspired me on this particular Monday:
People tend to think that architecture is only about building skyscrapers and homes. And sometimes, architects let that kind of attitude go to their heads. Architects have to think about what they can do for society. The answer to that is doing something for people who need help. That’s an obligation.

Check out the article to see the finished paper school! And check out Fliss's stuff too... she is one talented lady. Thanks for the heads up Flissy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

it's Friday........

Everyone must love Fridays, right? It's going to be a lovely weekend, with summer well and truly on its way how could it not be?
We are looking forward to Avalon Market day, on Sydney's northern beaches. It's always a fun day, lots of great stalls, people and music.....and for me a great chance to catch up with lots of old friends. This lovely lady is having a stall selling these. Hope that everyone has a lovely weekend wherever they are!

Photos from here.

mac-o-ram-a in the Maasai

We're on the cusp of welcoming two b+c directors to the cool Mac owners club! After Kirstin's pc gave up the ghost and Harriet simply needing a laptop to keep up with us when she heads to London next year- the purchases are imminent!

And apart from being easy to use, super cool to look at and generally just great- have a look at the Apple article here. It's from a little while ago, but how great to see technology available in parts of the world that have previously been out of reach. Here's hoping that we can do the same in Katolo at the Secondary School for Girls!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hamish gregory

Stumbling across this photo gallery has made my day... and has made the desire to get over to Kenya even greater!

Hamish Gregory was a past volunteer of Hands of Help (who we have mentioned here) and what a talented photographer he is! His Mzungu in Africa series is breathtaking, a must view.

Thanks hamish!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

we're so excited...and we just can't hide it...

We're heading to Kenya soooooo soon! We've raised the cash, are finalising the masterplan and preparing for Stage 1 construction of the Secondary School for Girls which will kick off when we're in Katolo in January.

On Sunday at AfroFunk we met Sarah from Hands of Help who will be in Kenya in January too. Kisumu will be the party capital of Kenya on the 20th January when Barack Obama is inaugurated as President. We'll most likely be celebrating with locals at the Jomo Kenyatta stadium in Kisumu or creating a party of our own with anyone who might be in Kisumu too? Let us know if you will be near by!

Meanwhile, how cute are our gorgeous friends Toyi and Scorvel - we can't wait to see them!

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's MOvember time again! The month formerly known as November is upon us again and some of our nearest and dearest are growing and grooming their mo's to raise money and awareness for men's health - specifically prostate cancer and male depression.

It's a great cause and a great fundraising event for the whole month. So if you can: grow your mo, and if you can't: make sure you sponsor someone who is, or donate here!

Friday, November 7, 2008

newtown festival 08

The b+c team possesses two Newtown residents, so if you get down there this Sunday 9th to Camperdown Memorial Park from 9.30am - 6 pm, you are bound to run in to them...

It’s Newtown Festival’s 30th birthday bash - so string those pearls and get your twin sets ready to celebrate Newtown Festival’s ‘pearl’ anniversary, its going to be one very big day...

It is an event jam packed full of entertainment, great stalls and more.... see here for the full program.

For those of us who are into this like we are, don't miss the demonstration sustainable greenhouse - see what you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your home. The walk-through building is made entirely from recycled products and materials, and features a vertical garden, energy and water efficient fittings, solar panels and much more.
We will be there soaking up the atmosphere, so get on down!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

national holiday for kenya

Kenyans took to the streets early on Wednesday morning to celebrate Barack Obama's election to the White House as the nation's president declared a national holiday!

In downtown Nairobi and in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums, people dressed in suits on their way to work joined those who had stayed up all night watching the election to dance and chant Obama's name.

Kisumu residents take to the streets

Former South African President Nelson Mandela wrote a letter congratulating Obama, saying, "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.''

Obama's connection to the western Kenyan village of Nyang'oma-Kogelo near Lake Victoria comes through his father, also named Barack Obama. After winning a scholarship to study in the U.S., the elder Obama enrolled in the University of Hawaii, where he met and married Obama's mother, Ann Dunham.

Obama's 87-year-old grandmother, Sarah Obama, and her family ran out of their house in Nyang'oma-Kogelo and started dancing when they heard the news of his election. In unison they began chanting in the Luo tongue: "Obama biro! Yao neyo," or "Obama is coming! Clear the way!"

Sarah is already planning what to serve him when she next meets him as the leader of the free world: Asian-style bread, called chapati. It's his favorite, she said. "I am so happy that I don't know if I will die of happiness,'' Sarah Obama told reporters at her homestead. "It will not only change our lives but the whole of Kenya.''

A historic day, Congratulations Obama! Exciting times ahead...!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

recycle time

This is a cool idea! Join in Sydney's biggest free swap party event at lunchtime on Monday 10 November.

From 10:00am at Martin Place enjoy a range of stalls and exhibitions from Planet Ark, The Watershed, The Bower, Reverse Garbage and Visy and find out more about how to "recycle right." On side note if you haven't taken a trip to either Reverse Garbage or The Bower it is a must. We at b+c make frequent trips, most recently to pickup decorations for our Gala dinner!
The Swap Party starts at 12.30pm-1.30pm. Bring up to 3 easy-to-carry, quality items you would like to swap, such as books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, and bric-a-brac. Exchange them for tokens and then simply browse, choose, swap and enjoy. And if two people want the same item, the decision will be made by a sudden-death game of rock, scissors, paper. Recycling has never been so much fun!

Bring in your old mobile phones, printer cartridges, and batteries for recycling at collection stations located near Martin Place station on the day.

This is a free event run by the City of Sydney and the Planet Ark Environmental Foundation.
National Recycling Week runs from 10 -16 November 2008 across the country. For more details visit here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

afro funk @ cafe lounge - November 9

The lovely Kimberley, who is coming to Kenya with us in January to film our progress, has organised this awesome event to be held this Sunday, 9th November from 3pm til 9pm!
So bring your AFRO WIG and AFRICAN STYLE and join us for an AFRICAN INSPIRED event at one of our favourite places, the unique Cafe Lounge. There will be amazing food and cocktails too...
The Lounge Funk DJs - Louis Love, JRDynamite and Mr Rick are gearing up for summer to help RAISE THE ROOF for the bricks + cartwheels Katolo Project. Ariella pictures invites you personally to get down and funky and show your support (and throw your hands in the air) for a good cause.

There will be a fun raffle on the night!! Prizes include: ipod shuffle, jb hi fi vouchers, facial - supplied by The Beauty Room, wine + more... Be there!!
There is a $10 Donation. The b+c team will be there with bells on!!