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Blue Ombre Flocked Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Christmas Tree

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This year’s Christmas tree is very different, and I’m not talking about the flocking.  My hope for today is to not only inspire you with a pretty tree and cute ideas, but to bring awareness to a dreadful disease that over 300,000 children suffer from, which most folks are not even aware of.  Unfortunately, I know this because our daughter, has it.  Nine years ago our daughter, Daphne (who was 10 at the time) came down with a nasty virus that kept her home from 5th grade for over 2 weeks.  She had a high fever on and off, severe joint pain that made it almost impossible to walk down the stairs, and the Dr.’s could only tell us by her blood work that she had some sort of mystery virus.  All we could do was treat the symptoms, watch Daphne closely, and pray she felt better soon.  Welcome to this year’s very special tree…the “Blue Ombre Flocked Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Christmas Tree”…

 

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

Before I explain further, I want to first give a big thank you to my blog friend Carrie, from Lovely Etc. who invited me to her popular “Very Merry Christmas Tour”, and said she loved the idea behind my “JIA Christmas Tree”.  This lovely Christmas tour also includes some of my dear blog friends including Kristi from Chatfield Court.  If you happen to be stopping over from Kristi’s blog, welcome (I invite you to subscribe). You can also find all of the blogs included in the tour at the very bottom of my post.

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Getting back to the story, Daphne did get better.  She carried on just like a normal 5th grader until strange symptoms appeared that we didn’t realize may have been related to the original virus.  For years, Daphne’s symptoms seemed to come and go with no diagnosis.  Symptoms included a slightly raised non-itchy rash that looked like hives, periodic joint pain, exhaustion, low grade fevers, and night sweats.

NOTE: Not all JIA patients experience things the way Daphne has.  Please research Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis for more specific information and talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

 

After many years, many blood tests and Dr. visits near & far, Daphne was diagnosed with Poliarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis after her wrist and a few fingers began to give her pain, swelling, and stiffness- consistently.  Note the key word there is “consistently”.  We realized that the before-mentioned symptoms Daphne experienced for years can in fact be early auto-immune arthritis related symptoms.

What most people do not understand (and really frustrates us JIA families) is that Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is NOT the osteoarthritis we get as we age.  I’m not qualified to get into specific arthritis descriptions, but I have learned JIA is an auto-immune disease where the immune system over reacts and attacks healthy joints.  At first, Daphne would only feel the joint pain when she was ill and the immune system was on overdrive.  Now a days, Daphne’s immune system is always on overdrive and her main problem area is the middle finger on her left hand.  Daphne is an artist in college and runs her own “slime” company, so this affects her life immensely.

 

I didn’t realize how common Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis was until I began researching it,  and joined a parent support group (please contact me privately if you need a JIA support group reference).  Some children suffer far worse than Daphne and it effects their ability to do day-to-day activities such as walking.

For me, the most difficult aspect as a parent, aside from the obvious, is the treatment options and medicine.  There is no cure for JIA and treatment involves calming down the immune system with very strong, sometimes risky medicine.  Most patients begin treatment with a common chemo therapy drug that causes severe digestive issues, exhaustion, and flu like symptoms 2-3 days out of every week.  Can you imagine being 16 years old and sleeping away your weekend?  In addition, it can cause weight loss due to no appetite.  Lastly, some of the drugs are taken by injection, or intravenously.  That can be scary and difficult on anyone.

What I have also witnessed as a Mom with a child with JIA, is that when I tell some family members, friends, or acquaintances about Daphne’s illness, they have completely no knowledge (or empathy) of how serious Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is.  People automatically assume that Daphne has a few sore joints.  They think popping a few ibuprofen, and some stretching exercises will ease the pain.  They sometimes make me feel as if I’m over reacting.

 

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

To make a long story short, the “big deal” is that if we don’t get Daphne’s JIA under control, which sometimes can be challenging, then she could be on harsh medicine the rest of her life, lose the use of affected joints, the arthritis could last into adulthood and turn into rheumatoid, or worse.  By worse, I mean the “risk in suppressing the immune system” which can make it difficult to fight off infections and even cancer for some at higher risk.

The good news is there is hope for medicated remission, and then possibly remission.  That is our goal!  Daphne has been unable to successfully achieve either, but our entire family never loses hope.  Tenacious Daphne is one of the bravest, strongest individuals I have ever known.  She continues to fight Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis with all her might, and although she should without a doubt be frustrated because of her repeated painful flare-ups, and continued medicine changes, she continues to have hope, and never complains.

Daphne is not alone and I asked parents/patients to contribute to our JIA Christmas tree with a homemade ornament. I only received 1 ornament so far, and it literally brought me to tears.

Dear Carson: Thank you my little friend for contributing to our beautiful JIA Christmas Tree!  This tree symbolizes the hope we all have for finding a cure one day for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis!  Never stop fighting.

Before I get to the “JIA Christmas Tree” decorating tips, I wanted to invite you to donate whatever you feel comfortable with to the “Arthritis National Research Foundation” today because Facebook & PayPal are matching our donations.  Our hope is that there will be a cure for JIA one day and our children will no longer have to suffer.  These donations help scientists find that cure, and help them find better treatments in the process.  Thank you in advance for your donation!

DONATE HERE

 

 

 

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

Decorating the Flocked Blue Ombre Christmas Tree

The inspiration for this year’s “Blue Ombre Flocked Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Christmas Tree” obviously comes from the love I have for our daughter, Daphne.  Be that as it may, I don’t think hanging little D’s or little baby pictures of Daphne all over our Christmas tree would really grab my readers attention, or would it 😆 .  Therefore, I searched my creative soul for an idea that truly is naturally beautiful.  I happen to come across this photo I took last year of our new Christmas tree in our yard.  I fell in love with the way the snow nestled onto the branches of the tree just like it was frosting.  Boom…inspiration from Mother Nature strikes again.

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

*** Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.  Read full disclosure policy here

But how was I going to flock a tree to make it look so full of snow and natural?  I mean I’m from Buffalo, so I do know my snow, but come on.  My first thought was white tulle, but then it lead me to pillow filling I had left over from a pillow I had made.  POLY-FIL to the rescue.  I had no idea if this would work, but boy did it ever.  It was extremely simple, too.  Just pull a handful out of the box, and place it on the tree limbs so it looks like it’s falling down.  You can alway use the photo above for inspiration.  I used 2/3 of the box for this 7.5 ft. tree.

PET TIP:  I was concerned for my cats so I first tested the Poly-fil out before I snowed all over the tree.  Both my cats sniffed the Poly-fil and then went back to chewing on the tree like always.  They could care less.  Be sure to test it out first and do not use if you think your pet will consume it.

SAFETY TIP:  Do not use Poly-fil next to an open flame and read packaging for further information on fire hazards.  It is also not meant for small children.

 

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

As for the rest of the tree decor, I decided on blue ombre ornaments to represent the different types of arthritis.  Blue is the color of choice most arthritis organizations use to represent it.  Most of the ornaments I had in my stash, or found at local craft stores.  I incorporated clear iridescent ornaments that reminded me of bubbles (can you believe I found those at a thrift store?) just to add a little bit of “ice”.   The ribbon went on after the snow, but before the ornaments.  The star floats, rotates, and yodels (just kidding) cost $2 and the tutorial for that is found here.

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star! How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis journey.  You’ll find more Christmas inspiration below including from my friend Tara, from Lehman Lane!

 

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

How to create a Blue Ombre Flocked Christmas Tree with floating star!

Candy Cane Christmas Tree

 

 

 

All Things With Purpose * Lovely Etc. * Love and Renovations * Thrifty & Chic * Up to Date Interiors * Casa Watkins Living

Green With Decor * Boxy Colonial * Bigger Than The Three of Us * Our House Now a Home * The Navage Patch

Chatfield Court * Lehman Lane * Redhead Can Decorate * Designing Vibes * A Brick Home

House by Hoff * Create and Find * Making it in the Mountains * Twelve on Main * What Meegan Makes

Amber Tysl * The Striped House * Houseful of Handmade * Little House of Four * Avenue Laurel

 

Sharing here: Shabbyfufu

& Southern Hospitality 

 

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38 Responses

  1. dad says:

    love to all, Mom and Dad in NY.

  2. Kaycee says:

    Good morning Julie,
    What a beautiful Christmas tree! I love the ombre and of course your flocking it is ‘Buffalo perfect” indeed! Carson, your ornament is just fantastic!

    What a wonderful family you are to bring awareness to JIA in support of Daphne! I appreciate the information that you shared, as I was not familiar with this childhood disease. I pray that a cure is found soon for Daphne and all that suffer from this debilitating disease.

    (fyi, I sent you a DM on Instagram this morning, I figured it was probably the fastest)

  3. Kaycee says:

    Hi Julie,
    Well the internet Is just not cooperating today! I guess my first comment never showed up here?
    What a gorgeous and lovingly supportive Christmas tree! It truly is a beautiful tree to bring attention to JIA!
    I appreciate the information you shared about this horrible disease which strikes children. I was not aware of it. You’re ombré style ornaments and the “Buffalo perfect” flocking is outstanding!! Carson your ornament is fantastic and well done!

    Julie, I sent you a DM on Instagram this morning, seems our package didn’t make it to you?? The USPS has some ‘splainin’ to do! Lol

    • Julie says:

      Oh no!!!! I can check my PO box again. When did you mail it?

      • KAYCEE says:

        Hi Julie,
        I mailed the box of ornaments that me and my family made for your tree on 11/13/2018. According to the U.S. Postal Service tracking it was delivered on 11/15/2018 at 10:13 a.m. (p.o. box 855 Lake Orion, MI 48361. I left the tracking number and information for you on the DM and just sent you an email, hopefully that is easier than IG for you to access.

        I am thankful I saved the post office receipt with the tracking number on it, AND that I was miraculously able to find it, lol We’ll find it!

        • Julie says:

          Kaycee I will go to post office tomorrow! I think I just missed it!! I am on it girl and how incredibly thoughtful this is!!!

          • Kaycee says:

            Fingers and toes crossed that our little box is patiently waiting, up on a shelf, in a cozy corner of the Post Office! Keep me posted girl, sorry about this extra trip you have to make.

  4. Vikki says:

    Your tree is beautiful and what a good idea with the poly-fil. It really does look like snow!! Best wishes for your brave daughter and all of your family. I hope they come up with some answers and solutions for her soon.

  5. Kim says:

    Hi Sister! This is so inspiring. I hope others share this story and information about JIA with others. I’m also very proud of my niece Daphne. Her persistence and drive is not only amazing, but truly heroic!! LOVE YOU!!!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Kimmer! Daphne is a fighter for sure!! Thank you so much for coordinating the fundraiser at your coffee shop!!!

  6. What a beautiful Christmas tree Julie! Love the idea of using Poly-fil for the faux snow and what a fabulous idea to raise awareness to JIA. Your daughter sounds like an amazing strong young woman. I am so sorry she has to fight this terrible disease and I hope that your daughter will find lasting relief soon!

  7. Thank you for posting about JIA.
    My son was initially diagnosed with it at 4 years old. BUT he was missing the rash. And it didn’t come and go with the fevers and night sweats.
    We did eventually get diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.
    But I do understand the severity of it a little bit!
    Love the tree, love the awareness!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you for your support, Trisha! I am so sorry to hear about your son’s diagnosis. Sending him prayers, hope & healing through this post!

  8. Linda C Johnston says:

    Needless to say, this post was most well written and full of informative. I am going to share this every way I can to make more people aware of this dreadful disease. Thanks for taking the time to do this and for sharing your hard earned knowledge and experience.
    I pray for Daphne and all the kids with this condition and that they will ALL lead wonderful fulfilled lives. Merry Christmas to all.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Linda! It was a difficult post to write, so I worried it wouldn’t be clear. I struggled with emotions/information on this one where I’m usually just being funny and describing the home decorating ideas. Thank you for those prayers!

  9. Bette Querin says:

    Morning Julie:
    Just read your post about your daughter Daphne’s Juvenile Arthritis and can relate to how you must feel. My daughter @24yrs was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and as a Mom I feel for you as well. I don’t know if you listen to any programs regarding other methods of healing, but I found this site, http://www.interconnectedseries.com/episode1sct. It is a 9 part series and deals with microbiomes in our gut, which has a lot to do with autoimmune diseases and many more. You might want to look into it and maybe there will be some info that would help Daphne.

    Your tree is outstandingly beautiful, what a lovely way to display this and for a good cause.Glad you liked my lantern and yes we like the same blue ornaments.

    How do I send you an ornament? I will be giving to our Arthritis research in my city, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

    Thanks for caring,
    Cheers, Bette

  10. What a lovely tree to bring awareness to an important cause!

  11. Beth says:

    This is such a beautiful tree, for a beautiful cause. As a nurse I am familiar with the condition process, but I’m always trying to further my understanding of how those diagnosed and their loved ones are affected- it helps me be a better nurse. Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s story to bring awareness to JIA and your beautiful flocked tree. Wishing your entire family a happy Christmas and prayers for better treatment and relief.

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  15. carol bittner says:

    Julie, Love the tree; love the story. You are the strongest Mom; to be able to sit down and tell Daphnes story. Life can’t be easy for your family, but you make it looks so beautiful; no one would ever suspect a problem. I know you do that for her. You want her life to be as trouble free and ‘normal’ as possible. You are an angel-hero! Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas.

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  18. Erica says:

    I think it is great that you took this opportunity to educate us about this horrible disease. I have actually never heard of it, but know it must be heartbreaking to watch your child have to suffer like this. Sending your daughter healing vibes. I love your ombre tree!

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  20. meegan says:

    So beautifully written and expressed, Julie. What a strong and talented girl, Daphne is. I love that you decorated a tree to honor and raise awareness too those that struggle with JIA. They will continually be in my prayers.
    Your tree is absolutely gorgeous and inspiring!
    Merry Christmas my dear friend.

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