July 11, 2010 |
Wirt L. Thompson Jr. was an inheritor of a 55-acre nursery and three dozen of its nearby homes. He was a teacher, an amateur pilot, a piano player, and the inventor of a seamless brassiere. But daughter-in-law Pamela Thompson said that in the 1930s he was an outstanding pole vaulter. "He had enough gold medals," she said, that as a gift to his wife, "he had some melted down to make the door key for his first house. " On Thursday, June 24, Mr. Thompson, 99, owner since 1971 of Upper Bank Nurseries in Moylan, near Media, died of congestive heart failure at his home there.
July 2, 2010 |
When Derek Miller moved to New York from Florida in 2008, he did the usual thing: He tried to start up a conversation with every girl he met in a bar. Only Miller wasn't on the make, really. The guitarist and producer was looking to hook up with a female singer to collaborate with on a new project he conceived of as being "confrontational, but not macho. " "I grew up playing hard-core, and I really love the incredible excitement that comes with that in the live setting," says Miller, who's one half of the pulverizing Brooklyn noise-pop buzz band Sleigh Bells, talking on the phone this week.
March 25, 2010 |
Like many academics, Ligia Rav? turned to writing fiction after a career as a professor (teaching architecture at Penn and Tulane). Unlike many, however, she developed a new expertise along the way: Sephardic Jewish food. Rav? developed her culinary expertise while researching her debut novel, Hanah's Paradise, a family saga recently published by Philadelphia's New Door Books. The book centers on the Ravayah family and its mystical Galilean homestead, known as Hanah's Paradise.
January 3, 2010 |
In 1989, Caroline West moved to a Mount Airy twin with her 21-month-old daughter Hannah in tow and another baby on the way. The house was identical to the one her grandmother lived in just four doors away. "It was a house with great potential," says West, a chief compliance executive with Shire Pharmaceuticals who travels worldwide for her job. But raising children and establishing a career put realizing that potential on hold: "Big old houses can involve time to make them what they can be. " So West did some Band-Aid projects early on, such as a minor kitchen redo that got her through almost two decades of family life.
August 12, 2009 |
The textiles go by names such as "ecoKashmere," "Bamboo Comfort," and "Pure Bamboo. " Products made with them - baby clothes, women's leggings, sweaters - tout a variety of environmental benefits, such as that they are nonpolluting, biodegradable, and retain some of bamboo's natural antimicrobial properties. But yesterday the Federal Trade Commission said that at least four companies' versions of bamboo clothing have been marketed with claims made out of, well, whole cloth. It said the material is nothing more than rayon - a fiber made from cellulose in a process that involves harsh chemicals and releases hazardous pollutants.
August 28, 2008 |
A self-confessed perfectionist, Sebastienne Mundheim built the dome for Sea of Birds three times. Each time, she cut about a hundred bamboo poles, each 24 feet long, then drove them to the Crane Arts complex's Ice Box, where her Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe show will open tomorrow. She was building the container she had seen in a dream - a dome that is "head, womb, shelter, a fragile, organic place. " And, if a bamboo pole "was gesturing in the wrong direction, it had to be moved.
January 11, 2008 |
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Jonelle Raffino found herself suddenly out of work. So did her husband, mother and father, who, like Raffino, had been consultants in the telecommunications industry. When the stock market plunged, their jobs simply disappeared. Desperate for a way to turn around their bad luck, Raffino and her mother, Jonette Beck, saw a possible solution. "We turned to an old family friend," Raffino says. "Knitting. " Yarn can be created from soy fiber, a byproduct of tofu manufacturing, the pair learned.
August 10, 2007 |
In the second half of the 19th century, Japan emerged from political isolation and began exhibiting its traditional arts and crafts at well-attended world's fairs in major European and American cities. The result was a greater appreciation for Japanese culture and a pop passion for its style - witness the success of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta The Mikado in 1885. But even as fine arts such as painting and calligraphy were being celebrated, it was hard not to notice the artistry used in making everyday objects such as baskets.
January 19, 2007 |
Everywhere you look these days, bamboo stuff is for sale - cutting boards, pizza paddles, paneling. And bamboo flooring is all the rage. But bamboo in the backyard? Whoa! Where'd everybody go? A lot of gardeners run for cover when the word is mentioned. But Phil Schumacher, a true bambusero, just grins. "They're kind of mystical plants," he says. Mystical and lithe and lush in a way that other plants just aren't. Their canes sway in the slightest breeze, creating dancing shadows and a whooshing sound that hints of paradise and serenity.
January 7, 2007 |
If you cook healthful food, it stands to reason that you would want a healthful kitchen. Which means avoiding plywood and particle board, which give off gaseous formaldehyde, and steering clear of PVC and vinyl, which leach lead, cadmium and phthalate plasticizers. When they burn, they give off dioxin. But let's skip the bad news. The good news is that healthful kitchens are easy to come by, as demonstrated by Jennifer Roberts in her excellent book Good Green Kitchens (Gibbs Smith, $29.95)