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Membership growth, new events focus of latest Fashion Group International Pittsburgh meeting

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

FGIOctober

An end and new beginnings were among the talking points discussed Thursday evening at Ross Park Mall during the latest general meeting of the Fashion Group International of Pittsburgh provisional chapter.

The group has been meeting and inviting the public to attend for months as a way of educating the Pittsburgh community about the mission of FGI, a non-profit that seeks to unite and promote fashion communities across the globe. But in order for FGI's headquarters in New York City to approve Pittsburgh for a full-fledged chapter, the city needs to demonstrate that it can hold a series of successful fashion-focused events.

In 2015, FGI Pittsburgh plans to organize six events: a panel with industry professionals from some of the city's major retail corporations (e.g., ModCloth and American Eagle, among others) in February, a discussion with local boutique owners and a trend report in April and a designer showcase in June. Dates, times and locations are yet to be determined, along with the rest of the events for the year. The board also is striving to book a major designer from New York City to be featured at one of the events -- something the group would like to make an annual affair, chair Stephanie Taylor said. Events will be open to group members and the public but will be ticketed, with discounts for those who belong to FGI Pittsburgh.

The goal of the events will be to familiarize Pittsburgh's fashion scene with what's happening locally and beyond.

"Part of our job as FGI is to educate the fashion community about things that people may not be aware of," Ms. Taylor said.

Moving forward, FGI Pittsburgh will no longer hold monthly public meetings while it shifts its focus to prepping for these events. The board will continue to meet each month, and those who've applied and have been accepted into FGI Pittsburgh membership are welcome to attend those meetings.

Twenty-three people have been approved so far for membership. The board's goal is to have 40 members paid and approved by the end of the year. Attendance at the public meetings has remained steady at at least 40 or 50 people each month, with the lowest attendance at about 25 in the summer while many of the group's regular participants were on vacation, Ms. Taylor said. On Thursday about 30 people turned out, with rush-hour traffic and a new meeting location possible factors for the slight dip in attendance, Ms. Taylor said.

Those interested in learning more about FGI Pittsburgh or applying for membership can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit pittsburgh.fgi.org.

Photo: The FGI Pittsburgh provisional chapter board members, from left Janey Cink,Wadria Taylor, Miyoshi Anderson, Stephanie Taylor, Vanessa Fellers, Marissa Zimmerman and Renee McCafferty, address attendees at the October general meeting on Thursday at Ross Park Mall. Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette

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Garlic rules! Enjoying raw cloves on TV!

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog garlicNothing can compare to home grown garlic. Photo by Doug Oster

It's garlic planting time. This week's segment of Pittsburgh Today Live breaks down just how to plant it. Then I enjoy a raw clove of garlic with Jon Burnett and we both breathe on Kristine Sorensen, to her horror!

“It would be a sad world without garlic,” says my friend Johno Prascak. The Pittsburgh artist shares my obsession with garlic from the garden.
This is the perfect time to plant.
The first step is to start with the right garlic. It needs to be hardy for our areas, so farmer’s markets, local nurseries and garlic farms will well you the right thing. Most of the grocery store garlic isn’t hardy and is treated to retard sprouting.
I know for sure Hahn Nursery and Chapon’s Greenhouse has garlic for sale. But you’re favorite nursery might too.
Bob Zimmerman from Bobba-Mike’s Gourmet Garlic Farm in Ohio told me he has lots of ‘Music’ left. That’s my favorite variety, I’ve been ordering from Bob for over 15 years. The folks at Enon Valley Garlic have plenty of garlic left to order too. We’ve also become friends and they sell locally at the Sewickley, Ellwood City, Market Square and Chippewa farmer’s markets.
Once you have the right garlic, separate the head into cloves. Plant the biggest cloves three inches deep, six inches apart in good soil. I save the smaller cloves for the kitchen.
These garlic seeds are tasty. The only way to get any is grow your own.
In my garden, I mulch the bed with straw. Now all we have to do is wait until spring. Garlic growers get four harvests, not just one.

The first happens early in the spring when the greens sprout. They can be harvested lightly, remember the greens provide energy for the bulbs. But those early fat little sprouts sharing their show with the crocus signal the start of the season are delicious.
In early June a seed head called a scape will emerge. It must be removed so the bulb can reach its potential. They are a delicacy, I use them for pesto or grill them.
I leave some of those scapes in the garden. Even though they are no longer attached to the plant, the seed head will continue to swell and grow little bulbets that are a clone of the bulb.
When more than 50 percent of the greens turn brown in July it’s time to harvest the bulbs. They can be pulled out or gently coaxed with a garden fork. If you’re growing bulbs to store all winter they will need to be cured in a warm dry place for three weeks. Garlic lasts longer if the stalks are left attached.
There’s nothing like garlic from the garden, the fresh stuff is filled with oils that will make any recipe special. I even know a gardener who eats raw cloves out in his garden, guess who?

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The last rose

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog the last roseThe last rose bloom of the seasonf rom 'New Dawn.'. Photo by Doug Oster

Last winter laid waste to climbing rose which had thrived on an arbor for 15 years.

I replaced it with 'New Dawn' an heirloom climber with a long bloom season of fragrant flowers. Eventually it should reach nearly 20 feet high and seven to 10 wide. This season it started to climb, but won't reach maturity for a few more years.

One pink bloom is all that's left after its first year in the garden. It represents the ephemeral nature of gardens.

The entryway to the vegetable garden is flanked by the arbor and I had always dreamed of it covered with the flowers of climbing roses. That dream came true only a few short season after the initial plantings. I would sit in the garden on warm summer nights and marvel at the prolific plants covered in blooms.

On one side was 'Seven Sisters' on the other 'Zephirine Droughin,' which also bit the dust at the hands of the polar vortex. I found another at Hahn Nursery and it's doing well too.

Seeing that last rose, ready to bloom as November looms, reminds me of a "unique" season, filled with challenges brought on by a tough winter and a wet summer.

Both roses are on their own for the winter, no extra protection except some crossed fingers.

Their fate is with Mother Nature, just like everything else in the garden.

Hopefully spring will bring with it new buds and fast growth to cover the arbor again.

 

 

 

 

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Leaves equal compost, don't throw them away

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog red leavesFall leaves are a great resource for the garden. Photos by Doug Oster

A soft breeze is all it takes to separate deep red maple leaves from a tree. When it falls to the ground it will eventually decompose and feed that tree, it's the cycle of life and something gardeners can mimic in their own gardens.

blog more leavesMaple leaves will decompose quicker than oak.In the old days we did everything we could to get rid of leaves, burning them and sending them to the landfill. Today, most municipalities will collect leaves and make compost out of them. That's a great way of recycling, but it can be done at home too.

Since I live in an oak forest I understand the challenge of getting the leaves off the lawn, garden, patio, deck, driveway and every other conceivable place. But if you can find a place to pile them up, the leaves turn into a pH neutral compost which plants love.

Someone has been throwing leaves over a hill at my place since 1939 and when I need compost, I'll just dig down in one of the big piles to get the good stuff.

I leave a big pile of shredded leaves near my compost pile. Whenever I add things from the garden or kitchen, a layer of leaves are added. Building those different layers helps the compost decompose and has the right balance of ingredients too. Mixing the leaves with other organic matter speeds up the process too.

Leaves can be run over with the lawnmower or can be thrown into a trash can and shredded with a string trimmer.

The smaller the leaves are, the faster they will decompose. Shredded leaves make a great winter mulch too.

Don't throw your leaves away, use them as a resource for the garden. Mimicking nature works!

blog beech leavesSaving leaves and composting them mimics nature.

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Fashion world takes to Twitter to remember Oscar de la Renta

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

OscarRunway

On Monday night it wasn't Oscar de la Renta's clothes that were trending.

News of the fashion designer's death was a top topic on Twitter and other social media platforms. 

Messages from those who knew him, as well as from those who admired him from afar, regaled readers with quotes, photos and tales from the 82-year-old's personal and professional life.

A sampling of them are curated below. #RIPOscar

(Photo: Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. Mark Mainz/Getty Images for IMG)

 

 

 

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