A Halloween Treat

We had a great time tonight, handing out candy to the kids, and taking our daughter trick or treating in our neighborhood.  It brought me back to when I was just a kid with a pillow case and a dream!  I remembered the excitement I felt running from house to house collecting candy.  Our little butterfly seemed to get the hang of the art of trick or treating easily and was happily carrying her bucket which seemed to fill up rather quickly!

Trick Or Treat

 

Hope everyone had a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Looking for some fun Halloween crafts?  Check out: Kitty Cat Halloween Candy Tray and Decorative Black Cat Halloween lamp.

A Frugal Feline: Make A Cat Bed In A Pinch

About 2 months after the birth of our daughter, I noticed a stray cat hanging around the neighborhood that I hadn’t seen before.  He was very thin and unusually friendly.  I saw the sad state he was in, took pity in him and began feeding him.  He would stay in the backyard lounging on our outdoor chairs, and greet us at our front door when we arrived home.

Summer Stray

After a few months, and the threat of winter approaching, we scheduled a visit through our local animal shelter’s Spay Our Strays program.  He was vaccinated and turned out to already be neutered a sure sign that at one time, he was someone’s pet.  I searched the local lost animal websites, and checked with shelters, but no one seemed to be missing him.  My husband and I decided to take him in.  He was great, but my younger male cat did not approve and started picking fights with him.  Until I could find him a suitable home, he would have to stay in our basement.  I created quite the feline bachelor pad for him.  A cat tree in front of the window, complete with futon bed,  private litter box and a never-ending supply of food and water.  He continues to thrive, after many attempts at finding him a permanent home and attempting to integrate him into the household have failed.  He resides in our basement laundry and remains sweet and content with his life.  He comes upstairs to visit and then goes back down to the basement where he is king and lives in peace by himself.  Just look at him now and how much weight he has gained! It is hard to believe this is the same cat that showed up in our yard on the brink of starvation!..

Nucky

Recently, we were forced to discard the futon in the basement. Removing this piece of furniture removed precious lounging space for our poor “Nucky” (named after the character in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.) I searched the house for suitable items that I could repurpose into a cat bed.  I came across a large wicker basket that I had stored in our attic.  I found an old couch pillow as well as an old pillow case.  I stuck the pillow in the case, and tucked it inside the basket.  I used some fabric scraps to add some detail to the basket handle.  Cat bed in a pinch was born!  A much less expensive and greener alternative to purchasing a new cat bed.  Nucky loves it and has been sleeping in it every night since it was quickly thrown together!

DSC_0933

You had me at “Half Table” Yard Sale Table Rescue

I was excited when a friend of mine from work approached me about a table she had spotted at a yard sale.  She had arrived toward the end of the sale and the family was packing things up that hadn’t sold.  She informed my friend that she was taking most of what didn’t sell and was placing it out on the curb for the trash collectors.  She was nice and asked my co-worker if she wanted to take anything at no charge since it would end up in the trash anyway.  This is the part of the story I am truly thankful for!  She spotted a little half-moon table and thought of me and how much I love to upcycle.  She thought it would be a perfect candidate and that I could “do something” with it.  I was so excited when she brought the table to me. She had no idea the love I have for these little tables!  I had come across a half table previously at a thrift store and snatched it up! That post was called Crazy for Half Tables! so you can see she had me at half table!  I snatched this table up happily and decided to use the table in our living room.  I decided to match the table design to our damask black and white chair which is one of my favorite upcycled chairs to date.

Yard Sale Half Table Before

The table finish was rough and ready for priming.  I cleaned the table and placed it upside down on to the fabric I was going to use.  I traced the table surface with a black felt tipped marker.

DSC_0942

I carefully cut out the tracing and placed the fabric aside.  I primed the table with a white latex primer and allowed the table to dry,  If you are working with a dark piece of furniture and lighter fabric  it is especially important to prime it because the darker color will bleed through the fabric from underneath and may appear darker than desired.  I learned this myself in the past the hard way!

Apply fabric and Mod Podge

I applied Mod Podge to the surface of the table, applying the fabric slowly to avoid and wrinkles or air bubbles.  Once the fabric was smoothed out, I applied Mod Podge over it with a foam craft brush.  Allowing it to dry.

Painted legs

While the Mod Podge was drying,  I used acrylic paint going with the black and white alternating theme.  Once the piece was completely dry I used a coat of polyurethane sealer to “seal the deal”  Now the piece was allowed to dry overnight.

Restyled Half Moon Table using Mod Podge and Fabric

Thanks again to my awesome like-minded friend who saw the possibilities in this piece! Someone’s trash truly is to another a treasure!  Now my damask chair has a friend and my living room is all the better for it!

Upcycled chair with half moon table

Calling all Upcyclers: Projects Needed for The Second Edition Of The Green Crafts Lifestyle!

A few months ago, I was honored when “On The Upcycle” was featured in the very first edition of the Amazon E-book The Green Crafts Lifestyle.  The author of that book the lovely Mahe-Zehra-Husain is gathering new submissions for the 2nd edition of the Green Crafts Lifestyle.  If you like to craft green, this is a great opportunity to get your work published and increase readership to your blog. Be sure and check it out!

Altered Upcycling

Purrific Candy Cats: Upcycled Halloween Candy Tray

While I was out thrifting yesterday, I picked up this great little wicker tray with a hard unfinished wooden bottom, and two handles. This tray was stamped underneath as made by Corning.  It was a bit of a mystery as to what this tray was used for in its current state.  It was certainly priced right and stamped with a red tag marked 50% off and cost only $1.00.

Mystery Wicker Tray

I had an idea since it is close to Halloween to repurpose this item into a Halloween candy tray.  Using a flat tray instead of a deep one, enables the kids to pick the candy that they like best.  I had some great left over Halloween themed spooky black cat fabric I purchased at Joann Fabric.  The same fabric I used for DIY Upcycled Decorative Halloween Lamp.  I gathered the materials needed for this project.

Wooden Tray

Mod Podge

Black Acrylic Paint

Spooky Halloween Fabric

Paint Brush/Fine Tipped Marker

Foam Craft Brush/Scissors

First, I painted the tray areas that would not be covered by fabric with a medium-sized paint brush,  I used a couple of coats and allowed it to dry thoroughly between coats.

Painted Tray

Once dry, I traced the bottom of the tray on to the back of the fabric with the black fine tipped marker.  I carefully cut the fabric out with a pair of scissors.  I placed the fabric aside and applied Mod Podge to the tray surface with a foam craft brush.  I carefully placed the fabric on the tray surface and smoothed out any wrinkles with my hands.  I allowed this to dry and then applied Mod Podge over the painted areas, and the fabric surface.

Upcycled Halloween Candy Tray-Black Cats

Now the hubby and I can pass out candy in spooky black cat style! This can also be used as a serving tray for ghastly goodies. What crafts do you have planned this Halloween?

Halloween Tray made with Mod Podge

My First Conference: 2013 Mid Atlantic Genealogy Conference Wrap Up.

Yesterday, I attended my first Genealogy conference and it was packed with information! It was hosted by the LDS Church and admission was free!  It was an all day event 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.   I took advantage of some of the classes offered such as Irish genealogy, Immigration, Forensic Genealogy as well as local record resources, (Just to name a few!)  Many classes offered handouts with great informational website links. Vintage photo expert Maureen Taylor gave the key-note address on photo preservation and disaster preparedness planning for your priceless photos.  An especially important point due to recent local catastrophe’s such as Super Storm Sandy.

Lecture on Photo Preservation by Maureen Taylor

My favorite part of the show hands down was the New Jersey Chapter of The “Genealogy Roadshow” PBS airs a new show by the same name and it based on a similar premise.  On this day It allows the opportunity to sit with a professional Genealogist for 15 minutes to discuss a piece of research that is stumping you.

New Jersey Genealogy Roadshow

I eagerly waited in line and enjoyed a conversation with a fellow genealogist as eager to get an appointment as I was!  Due to child care issues my husband stayed back and watched the little one so I could attend, but I had to go alone.  The great thing about those interested in Genealogy is they are friendly and eager to share information with you.   I talked to a lot of great people who are passionate about family research!  I booked my appointment and returned at 12:15 to sit with Rich Venezia a Professional genealogist in the New Jersey area.  I brought to him just one of my biggest road blocks: The elusive Uncle Ted.  It was rumored on my maternal grandfather’s side that an uncle worked for the BBC when it was first founded in 1922 as the Station Director in Nottingham England. Inside my Great Aunt’s autograph book is a BBC document on letter head signed by “Uncle Ted” right before she sailed to the United States in 1925.

Early BBC Document

I haven’t been able to confirm uncle Ted is an actual uncle as I have never been able to link him to either side of the family.  He suggested an interesting concept I hadn’t thought of before: Research the neighbors and try to find clues.  He also suggested I contact someone in the BBC (I had tried before and had no such luck) because he believes someone such as a BBC historian would be interested in such a document and historical information. I also have an unknown photograph of the BBC Riding the “Magic Carpet”  I am assuming this is referring to a radio show at the time.   As luck would have it, this morning I came across a BBC Historical site seeking artifacts from BBC history,  I jumped at the chance and sent an e-mail with information.  Fingers Crossed!

Here are some great Informational websites for genealogy research I learned of at the conference.

One of my favorite speakers was Deborah Large Fox.  If you are as stumped as I am when it comes to Irish Genealogical research this is the blog for you!http://irishfamilyresearch.blogspot.com

Others of interest:

http://www.italiangen.org/  If you are interested in researching family members who lived in any of the five New York boroughs this is the site for you!

National Archives and Records administration: http://www.archives.gov/

Search old photos and find lost family members at http://deadfred.com/

Wish me luck as I am going thrifting today!  I have been “striking out” lately on finding good Upcycle candidates, but am hoping my luck will turn around today!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend my lovely readers!

The Genealogy Series: The Curry’s Of Richmond County: Part One

Recently, I took a trip to Staten Island, NY to visit some relatives and stopped by St. Peter’s cemetery where my ancestors and family members are buried.  It is a large Catholic cemetery not far from Silver Lake Park and located directly across the street from The Staten island Zoo.  My Grandparents, Great Grandparents and Great Uncles are buried there.  My Maternal Grandmother’s parents and brothers rest together in this cemetery.  I visited each ancestor, and left a small, handmade floral to pay my respects to each of them.

I would like to focus now on my Grandmother’s brothers.  My grandmother was the only girl in a family of five very larger than life brothers (seven if only two brothers had survived to adulthood.)  Today, I honor three of my great uncles: William, Joseph, and Edward.

William C Curry

William Charles Curry born October 13, 1896 “Uncle Willie”was the oldest child of Charles Curry and Julia O’Reilly.  As a young man he worked for a company called Gillespie Brothers 11 Broadway, NY, NY According to his WWI Draft Card Record.  His Eyes were brown and his hair was black.  According to family lore he was a talented amateur boxer.  He worked for years for the Staten Island Advance a local newspaper in Richmond County New York. He married Rose Zinicola born in 1909 and together they had three children, Mary, Joseph and Margaret.  William passed away in 1985 at the age of 89.

William C. Curry WWII Draft Card

WW2 Draft Card

Joseph Andrew Curry

Uncle Joe Curry

born November 29, 1905 was a decorated World War II veteran.  He was a radio operator for 20 years for the Exxon Corporation.  He worked on tankers and traveled the world.  He was a technical sergeant for the Air Corps from 1942-1945.  He received two distinguished flying crosses and two Air Medals for his service during World War II.  He never married, and in 1982 passed away after a six-day illness.  He was 77 years-old.  Joseph is buried with his brother Edward.

Joseph and Edward Curry

Edward Joseph Curry “Uncle Pie” was born June 18, 1899.  Family lore says he gained his nickname for winning a pie eating contest.  My great-uncle was a larger than life character known for his sense of humor and personality.  He worked as a dock hand for Viking Company in 1920, and Lived at 103 Monroe Avenue Tompkinsville, (Staten Island, NY) He was described on his draft card as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. He is rumored to have had a child, but he and the women never married.  Edward passed away in 1978 at the age of 79.

Prayer card

Edward “Pie” Curry’s Prayer card 1978

Thanks for reading about my maternal New York born Irish ancestors with the surname Curry,  More on the Curry’s to come!

Also looking forward to the Mid Atlantic Genealogy Conference coming up this weekend!  Hope to learn a lot at my first ever genealogy conference!