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Pizzazz to bring holiday shopping to Fox Chapel

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Many holiday items will be offered this year at the annual holiday fundraiser Pizzazz held at the Fox Chapel Field Club.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Many holiday items will be offered this year at the annual holiday fundraiser Pizzazz held at the Fox Chapel Field Club.

Autumn leaves have just started to turn but one local garden club already is planning for holiday shopping.

From organic jewelry and European glass Christmas ornaments to whimsical neckties and blissful brownies, the Lower Valley's premier shopping boutique, Pizzazz, returns Oct. 16 to 18.

The Fox Chapel Golf Club will feature more than 30 vendors selected for their emphasis on the unique and unusual, said Publicity Chairwoman Ellen Urda.

“This year, the variety of vendors is so unique,” Urda said. “There are high-end items and some with low price points. There's something for everyone.”

Hosted by The Garden Club of Allegheny County, the event has brought in close to $1 million to help fund environmental projects in the region.

Some that have benefited are the Allegheny Land Trust, which used a grant to create informational brochures for Sycamore Island along the Allegheny River in Blawnox; the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, where money supported the Fort Pitt Tunnel Garden; and St. Margaret Foundation, which bought plants for its new Garden of Hope.

Longtime volunteer Cindy Tilson said the grants project the course of the garden club into the future, “setting long-range goals that will keep us one step ahead in maintaining our dynamic and unique character.”

She said the grant committee, which she oversees, strives to be responsible and responsive.

“We process proposals in terms of desirability and feasibility based on community needs, membership interests and availability of resources,” she said.

Founded in 1914, the Garden Club of Allegheny County has grown to include 160 members. Its goal is to promote an interest in conservation and boost environmental education.

This year's Pizzazz event will include several new vendors, including:

• The Carson Bag: Inspired by the paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Patricia Smith of Connecticut started The Carson Bag when her son began a one-year deployment in Iraq.

The fashionable handbags were inspired by the idea of an infantryman's parachute. In bright pink hues and trimmed with hardware, the bags are meant to endure everyday rigors, while expressing individuality.

• 1000 Jobs Haiti, by Buck and Lucy Close of Rhode Island, is the representation of hard work by Haitian villagers.

Goods include kitchen towels, baby clothes and bracelets, made by hand by people in towns such as Port Au Prince and Hinche. The Closes have spent five decades fighting poverty in Haiti by helping to create jobs.

“Here, you're doing double good,” Urda said. “It's supporting the group that's putting people to work in Haiti, and you're able to purchase these unique items at a low price point.”

• Fleurs, a garden club member booth, will sell fresh flowers in made-to-order combinations. Urda said the beauties are picked from members' gardens that bloom across the Fox Chapel area.

“The presentation is beyond compare. You feel like you're walking into a French flower stall,” she said.

And because Pizzazz is a member initiative, 100 percent of the proceeds go to grants.

Returning favorites include Janet Egan silk designs, interior decorator turned jewelry designer Janet Gregg and Sara Oliver Handbags. A second member booth, Timeless Treasures, will feature antiques plucked from members' homes.

Lunch by the club chefs will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and 18. There also will be a morning cooking demonstration, “Entertaining with Ease,” from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18 by Gaynor Grant.

For a complete list of vendors, visit

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or

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