The Genealogy Series: The Plummer’s Of The Weald: A Butler And A Gentleman.

I admit, I have been a bit distracted lately.  Life has taken over and it has been very hectic, which has interrupted any hopes of completing crafting projects.  In the midst of all the chaos, I made a huge break through when it comes to my British ancestry.  Through various Google searches, I discovered a website called The Weald.  The Weald is named after an area in England, South of London that encompasses the counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey. The website focuses on this heavily forested, historic area and includes genealogical information on British families from the region.  I reached out to the webmaster via e-mail and he was gracious enough to provide information on relatives going back several generations for the surnames Plummer and Long.  Both of my families surnames originated in the Sussex area.  Today,  I focus on the Plummer surname and family line.  The Plummer’s originated in ancient Anglo-Saxon culture.  It was a surname originally bestowed upon someone who worked with Plumes, or feathers.  It is my Great-Grandmother’s maiden name on my Mother’s Father’s side of the family.

There are very few items around our house that I would call “priceless” As a family historian there is nothing more precious than old family pictures, and documents. One of the most precious documents is my great-grandfather and great grandmother’s wedding certificate and photo album.  My great-grandparents married in The Christ Church in Tunbridge Wells in November of 1905.  This document was passed down in my family and offered many clues that helped me get started with my family research.  It listed the names of my Great, Great Grandfather’s and their occupations.  Henry Long a Coachman and William Plummer a butler.

Plummer, Long Wedding Cert 1905

William Plummer was born in about 1835 in Shottisham, Norfolk England to parents William Plummer Sr, and Mary Plummer (Maiden name currently unknown) Not much is known regarding William’s childhood.  On November 1, 1859 he married Martha Flood in Norfolk, England.  They went on to have 12 children: William, Laura, Maria, James, John, Ruth, George, Benjamin, Ellen, Ethel, Alice, and Daisy.    William supported a rather large family as a butler.  In England wealthy and even some middle class families had servants.  The butler was the most prestigious occupation among servants and was often considered a position of “respect”.  Although the traditional role of butler was to tend to the wine cellar, they had many other responsibilities around the household and oversaw the Servant staff.  Traditionally the butler and master had a solid relationship and friendship, and would often share a drink at the end of the evening.  The butler was the most trusted of all household servants and carried the most responsibility.  In many cases, entering a life of servitude was a decent opportunity for the working man in England due to the class system.  Servants if placed in the correct household,  had decent living accommodations not otherwise afforded to the common man.  As with many instances in England at the time,  a hierarchy even existed among servants with the roles of butler and coachman among the most prestigious.

According to the 1881 English Census, William Plummer and his family lived at The Priory on Parsonage lane in Lamberhurst  The property was owned by Arthur M. Brookfield, a war hero, diplomat, and author. He was also a conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1903.  My great-grandmother Daisy was born soon after the 1881 English Census was taken, in December 1882.

1881 English Census

Pictured above the 1881 English Census featuring the Plummer family residing at The Priory in Lamberhurst, England.

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Pictured above: My great-grandmother Daisy (and dog) with sister’s Alice, Ethel and Ruth posing in Tunbridge Wells, England

Pictured Below:  Daisy with brother John Plummer

Daisy and Brother John H Plummer

My Great Grandmother was close to her brother John and her sister’s.  Even after immigrating with her husband Harry Long, an electrical engineer and family in 1925, she still visited England regularly.  My Great Grandmother lived to be over 100 years-old and resided in Vermont during her later years and is said to be buried there.  I remember her son Vincent (my grandfather) showing me a form letter from then president Ronald Reagan, congratulating his mother Daisy for living past the age of one hundred.   Harry Long her husband passed away in 1946 from a heart attack while on their way to their vacation home in Putney, Vermont and is buried with his daughter Eva Long in Englewood, New Jersey.

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Pictured above: Harry Long and Daisy Long during happier times, pictured prior Harry’s death in 1946

Pictured Below: The only picture that exists of my great-grandmother Daisy (Plummer) Long and me.  

Taken when I was 3 years-old in 1978 Vermont.  I actually have some memory of this day.

Danielle and Great Grandmother

What was your biggest family research break through?  Have you had success researching your British ancestors? What was your greatest family discovery?

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A Decoupage Trilogy: Vintage Suitcase Number Three

I love vintage suitcases!  That may seem surprising coming from someone like me who doesn’t travel much.  The truth is suitcases aren’t just for “packing your bags”  They are also a wonderful way to store keepsakes and other items.  I was lucky enough to find three vintage blue suitcases for $5.99 at Goodwill.  This was an incredible deal, and I have not seen a suitcase purchase worthy since. My first attempt at restyling a suitcase, Travel The Old Fashioned Way I used fabric I purchased from Joann Fabric.  I chose a blue and white floral pattern, and it turned out great for a first attempt.   For the second suitcase,  Pack My Bags Fun And Easy Decoupage Vintage Suitcases I found a great pillow case with a floral red, white and blue color scheme that was perfect.  That left the smallest of the three.

decoupage vintage suitcases with fabric and Mod Podge

This suitcase is special, because inside the lid it has a built-in mirror.  The lining inside is also in perfect condition, another plus! (Please excuse the reflection of the mirror in the photograph)

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For this suitcase I decided to use blue and purple floral sheet that I found in a thrift shop.  I initially wanted to use a scarf, but the material was too thin and I was afraid the blue color of the suitcase would show through the material.

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To see a full tutorial on how to decoupage a suitcase Click Here

Now I have a wonderful set to use for travel or a decorative storage option.

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The search for more luggage continues….

The Happy Card Project: Put A Little Love In Your Art

We all know how wonderful it feels when you have a chance to brighten someone’s day.  Sometimes, it is a simple gesture, lending a hand to someone in need, or a few words of encouragement when someone around us is feeling down.  Although many of us would like to contribute to those in need financially, there are times when this is not possible.  That doesn’t mean it is impossible to give.  One of the most precious gifts you can give is time.  This past July 4th weekend, the toddler apprentice and I put aside some time between bbq’s, fireworks and swimming, to sit down and make cards together.  I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook who brought a positive movement to my attention.   It was started by her daughter Corinne Mattia.  Corrinne is a psychology student and describes herself as an animal lover, and eternal optimist.  The idea is called  The Happy Card Project.

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The Happy Card Project’s mission and message is simple:  We brighten our own lives through brightening the lives of others.  They aren’t looking for money or donated goods.  Their motto? Some pursue happiness while others create it.  The Happy Card Project want your homemade, or store-bought cards you may have around the house.  These cards can then be personalized with encouraging words, stories, or anything  intended to brighten someone’s day.   Donated cards are then delivered by the Happy Card Project Team to local hospitals, pediatric facilities, homeless shelters and senior living homes.  Their goal is to simply brighten the spirits of others.

The first 200 cards collected will be donated to the Homeless Bus a charity based in New York City.  The  Homeless Bus, Inc. has made over a 1000 trips to Manhattan providing immediate needs to the homeless from a passenger bus every Saturday night since 1992.  To learn more about this wonderful example of what just a few people can do to make the world a better place, and for ways you can help please visit: The Homelessbus.org

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Continuing to follow along with the “On The Upcycle” tradition, I decided to recycle some old greeting cards.   The little toddler apprentice and I sifted through an enormous amount of craft scraps, old cards, stickers and scrap-book paper.  She enjoyed going through these items, and chose a few cards that she liked.

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This was my first attempt at making handmade upcycled cards.  I have seen some beautiful examples of card making on the web and in the WordPress community.  One such artist resides at  The Cobweb Emporium.    These cards are well crafted, elegant and detailed.  Please be sure and stop by and pay Cob Webs a visit.  Trust me, my card crafting skills pale in comparison!

The apprentice and I worked together using the hand over hand technique. She helped me cut the images we planned to use from the old greeting cards with her safety scissors.  I had some unused card stock and it fit the envelopes I had perfectly.

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We then decorated each card and added the words Hope,  Cheer and Love. She especially enjoyed gluing the various pieces on the card stock and applying stickers.   Once the glue on the cards was dry we wrote notes of encouragement inside.  The more “adult” cards we signed from the family, and for the others we told a brief story from our three year-old’s point of view.  On the back of the cards we wrote “Made with love and little hands helped.”  We created a total of six cards using materials we already had available at home.  The cost was minimal and consisted of the postage needed to mail the cards.   I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon with your kids then doing crafts, and at the same time brighten someone’s else’s day!

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If you would like to spread some good cheer and encouragement to those in need, The Happy Card Project will continue to collect cards going forward for various charity organizations.

You can follow The Happy Card Project on Facebook Here.

If you would like to get involved and have cards you would like to donate to the cause, please send them to:

The Happy Card Project

PO Box 3802

Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

We mailed our cards today!

On The Upcycle Restyle

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This weekend I decided to give “On The Upcycle” a much-needed reboot.  I felt the old blog layout was getting a bit stale. Last night I experienced an evening of insomnia, and decided it was the perfect time to explore new ideas. I hope you all like the new look!  Happy 4th of July weekend everyone!

 

Car Part Art: Turning Scrap Into Sculpture

I am always intrigued when I  find art in unlikely places.   This past weekend I made an appointment to have front brakes installed on my car.  I planned my day accordingly and woke up bright and early. Meineke is currently having a sale on brakes, and although I had never gone there before for repairs, the allure of saving $50.00 compared to a previous quote I had received was too good to pass up.

When I arrived at the shop I was greeted unexpectedly by a piece of upcycled art.  Of course I had to snap a picture of this pleasant little door greeter and his loyal pup.  This little man and his dog were made from recycled car parts, mufflers, brake parts and the like.  Of course I fell in love with them instantly.

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It seems that one or more of the mechanics has a creative side! Apparently, this is not a new concept as upcycling car parts into works of art is more common than one might think.  Roadside America an online guide to offbeat tourist attractions has a great article featuring some of these so-called “muffler men” who populate the auto shops and roadsides of America.  You may have already seen some of these sculptures on your travels already!

There are also some truly amazing upcycle artists in the world and they take this art form to a whole new level!  One such artist is Australia’s James Corbett.   He has been creating sculptures from spare auto parts and junk since 1999.  Below is an example of his work.  Look at all those spark plugs!

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Below is James, pictured with one of his many creations.  The eyes are made of headlights…genius!

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To see more of his work visit the Crimson Reason Blog.  They feature several of Jame’s intricate creations.

Another talented scrap artist is Frenchman  Edouard Martinet.  As a young student he became somewhat “obsessed” with insects.  Later, he chose to incorporate his love of insects and other animals in sculpture.  The detail and artistry here is off the charts!

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Check out this interview with Edouard Martinet below.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
― Edgar Degas