May 31, 2013

Fighting Juvenile Arthritis & Uveitis with Gavin

This adorable little boy is our cousin Gavin Smith. 
In this photo, he's supporting his Mom, Julie, a guest speaker at the 
Arthritis Foundation's kick-off luncheon for the 2013 Tampa Arthritis Walk. 

Here's Gavin's story.

As a 21-month-old toddler, Gavin woke up one morning with a swollen knee, and ended up in a cast for 4 weeks. The cast came off, but he had even more swelling and pain. The next day he saw a pediatric rheumotologist. "I had never heard the word 'arthritis' and 'kids' in the same sentence before," Julie shared, "so when the rheumetologist said that Gavin has Juvenile Arthritis, I was in shock! I did my research and cried & cried."

Treatment began with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, plus weekly Chemo injections. After 6 months of treatments, it was discovered that Gavin had developed Uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, often association with JA. Monthly remicade infusions were now required.

Here's an example of when his arthritis flares up. I can't imagine the pain he must feel.

Gavin's parents are active in raising Juvenile Arthritis awareness and support.
They've created a Facebook page called Fighting Juvenile Arthritis & Uveitis with Gavin.

Here's a photo of Gavin at the 2012 Arthritis Walk.

Julie said, "Gavin has had the chance to meet other amazing kids who have JA as well. The Arthritis Foundation does so much for kids and their families outside of the hospitals to make them feel special!"

Here's Gavin and his brothers at Legoland Florida for JA Family Day.

"There are camps, conferences, walks, and monthly meet-ups with local families. 
Being able to connect with other families has been great for us and for Gavin!"

Here's a photo of Gavin at Camp Boggy Creek, founded by Paul Newman.

Gavin is blessed with a wonderful family.
Tyler & Julie Smith, with their 3 handsome sons. Brigham, Cole, & Gavin!

One of Gavin's favorite things - fishing!

Gavin is now 8 years old. His Uveitis and JA are still fighting to break down his little body, but Gavin is tough, and is fighting harder to stop it! He now has infusions every 2 weeks.

Visit these websites for more information on Juvenile Arthritis and Uveitis:

To join the Smith Family's efforts to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation, click here.


May 30, 2013

Anthropologie - Philadelphia


Twenty years ago, the first Anthropologie opened in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
I recently visited their flagship store, located at the corner of Walnut and 18th Streets,
on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

They're known for their ever-changing interior merchandising and innovative exterior displays.
A perfect example of this was their fun vegetable garden theme. Eye-catching for sure!




I walked through the door, and this place "had me at hello"! 
Its 4 floors offer not only fabulous designer clothes and accessories, 
but also artsy items for entertaining, gifting, and home decor. 
Unique Bohemian chic!

Now, I'm wowed by any store that you can "explore". 
I love to meander through and find new delights around every corner. 
The ambiance of this Beaux Arts mansion lends an air of old society glamour and sophistication.


Here's some intriguing background on the place. Sarah Drexel was the daughter of Anthony J. Drexel, financier and founder of Drexel University. A philanthropist and socialite, she was first married to John Fell. Following his death, Sarah had this magnificent Philadelphia mansion built in 1898. Shortly thereafter, she married Alexander Van Renssalaer, and the home became known as the Fell-Van Renssalaer House.


Although the mansion was gutted in the 1960's, many of the wonderful architectural details remain. 
The floorplan is open and roomy with loads of natural light.


A modern steel and concrete spiral staircase replaced the original one. 
Alongside the staircase, you'll see an exposed fireplace stacked to each floor. 
Here's a mantelpiece that graces one of the landings. 
I loved that feeling of being enveloped in a sense of history!


Don't forget to look up! 
A gorgeous Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass dome is directly overhead. 
The dome had been covered over in preparation for WWII. 
Imagine the thrill of uncovering it years later during the refurbishing! 
A priceless treasure!




An exquisite fireplace mantel and ornate mouldings.


In what was referred to as the "Doges Room", 
framed oval portraits dramatically cover the vaulted ceiling! 




Don't you think the young ladies who once lived here would have loved knowing 
that one day their home would be such a fabulous place to shop?

There are 175 Anthropologie stores in the US, UK and Canada.
Here's the Anthropologie website.

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

May God bless these United States of America
as we celebrate Memorial Day!
With appreciation to the men and women who
loved their country and made the ultimate sacrifice
for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Decoration Day
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

May 25, 2013

Tangy Coleslaw


My sister Jan shared this coleslaw recipe with me a few years ago. 
It's a delicious alternative to traditional mayo-based versions. 

Tangy Coleslaw
1 bag shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
2 carrots, shredded
2 C thinly sliced bell peppers
1/4 C thinly sliced onions

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, & onion.

1/3 C sugar
1/3 C cider vinegar
1/4 C canola oil
2 t celery seeds
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Combine dressing ingredients, pour over vegetables.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours.


For this dish, I like to use a colorful combination of red, yellow, orange & green bell peppers.





May 24, 2013

Felted Flower Brooches by Roltinica


Elena Roltinica, of Naberezhney Chelny, Russia, 
creates felted floral brooches that are exceptionally beautiful! 
Fabulous, attention-getting accessories for a lapel, hat, belt or purse. 
She owns a hand-crafted business called Roltinica
I've interviewed her and "picked" a few of her flowers for you to see.
Each one is more lovely than the last!



Elena, how did you start making these lovely felted flowers?
It all began with my daughter Tatiana, who came across a felted purse tutorial online. I made one for her, and she was overjoyed! Through that experience, I fell in love with felt! I eventually tried making flowers and became completely absorbed in it. 



They look so real!
I do felting every day, and I'm always experimenting. I've come up with my own technique so that the fluffy wool becomes smooth and soft, yet firm. I try to make my flowers look real and the only thing that's lacking is their fragrance!



Tell us more about your experiments.
New techniques and fibers offer possibilities that let me create different and unique items. In addition to wool, silk is a fiber that is great for felting. By mixing wool and silk, I can create interesting textures for more exotic flowers.



What are your plans for the future?
I wish there were more than 24 hours in one day! I plan on writing a master class for flower felting. People are often curious to learn how I make petals and stamens that look so real. I'll be happy to share my knowledge with other felt-loving artists!


In addition to brooches, hair clips and rings are available.

Find Roltinica on Etsy and Facebook.

Images used with direct permission from Elena.

May 22, 2013

All Vintage Man

1940's Silk Bow Tie

Looking for an extraordinary gift for the special gentleman in your life? Something unique, with pizzazz?
Be it for Father's Day, his birthday, or just to say you care, an item from All Vintage Man is sure to be a memorable one. They specialize in antique to mid-century hardware, industrial items, office supplies, razors,  tins, fishing gear, and more.

Here are some classy gift ideas that captured my attention:

1930's - 1940's Clothing Brush

Art Deco Brass Cuff Links

Eames Era Shaving Brush

Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses

Brass Drawing Compass - 1920's

Art Deco Wooden Stapler - 1920's

1800's Antique Game Boards

Fly Fishing Lure

1940's Fishing Hooks

1930's Celluloid Handle Mini Corkscrew

Check out All Vintage Man's Etsy shop.

Here's their Facebook page.

Photos used with direct permission from Lorri of All Vintage Man.