Monday, 31 August 2015

LIFE: Photo an Hour, August 2015

Another photo of an hour join up for 2015 has just rolled around. You might have caught me sharing my Saturday if you follow me over on twitter or Instagram. The day was pretty unplanned, uneventful and I was somewhat in a grumpy mood for whatever reason, but here's my day either way.

PhotoAnHour

9 am // starting the day poking around my veg patch - checking to see if my brocolli seedlings planted out earlier in the week were still alive (they are yey), picking some hot peppers (double yey), the norm.

10 am // from poking veg patches to poking estate sales, shifting through old boxes of someone's old, unwanted family photographs

PhotoAnHour

11 am // driving under the hazy skies of Detroit, colder more like October days earlier in the week merging with more normal August conditions means crazy humid hazy skies 

12 pm // popped into Target, new shoes, new bed sheets and new notebooks. Happy times.

PhotoAnHour

1 pm // the weekend always calls for bacon, for lunch a yummy BLT.

2 pm // took a drive to get some more of the weekly shopping chores done, getting stuck in traffic and hitting all the red lights.

PhotoAnHour

4 pm // (missed 3 pm shopping oops) on a whim Joe brought some scratch cards, I lost, he made up the $5 spent on them.

5 pm // tea made up of warmed up leftovers from the night before. Classy.


PhotoAnHour

6 pm // finishing off the final rows of stitching on Mr Dinobot cross stitch - eventually I'll get around to explaining the whole piece once I get it framed and photographed.

7 pm // final book of my library haul is due back this week, better get it finished!

So that was pretty much my day, how was your Saturday?

Blogger Tricks

Friday, 28 August 2015

LIFE: Small Things

small things

The death of my netbook while upgrading itself to Windows 10 (it decided to do said upgrade just as they released an update that messed up and makes it just constantly start rebooting) perhaps casts a shadow of this weeks small things, it's certainly put blogging on the back burner a little. But hey, it's letting me crack on with the gardening and crafting. 

But on the up side;
  • Checking out more tasty eating places down in Hamtramck - this time Aladdin Sweets & Cafe - the cities first Bangladesh restaurant. 
  • Dutch Girl Donuts - enough said.
  • Picking the last of the cilantro seeds, one of my kitchen is full to bust with row after row of paper bags of seeds drying out.
  • Planting out the first of the fall crops - lots of little broccoli seedlings.
  • Getting a new (to me bike) and feeling like a big kid biking around the block.
  • Designing and stitching two of my own cross stitch pieces - a Detroit cityscape (more on this to come) and a gift for some friends buying their first house. Really loving designing my own charts, it's taking cross stitching to a fun new level for me.
  • Speaking of crafting, for the first time in months, picking up a crochet hook and starting a Christmas tree skirt. Fingers crossed it'll be completed in time for Christmas 2015, it's not stitching up quickly.
  • After a whole lotta waiting, lack of communication and even more waiting, our hand selected by Anthrax bottle of Knob Creek finally turned up. Mighty tasty too. 
How's things with you?

Monday, 24 August 2015

VINTAGE: The One Golden Arch of McDonalds

McDonalds

America is a great place if, you're like me and love nosing out of the car window at random business and road signs. Neon, huge, spinning, flashing, America has them all. When some of them are on your doorstep you take them a little bit for granted, and I thought it was high time I got around to working out why two of the local McDonald's restaurants signs only had one of the arches in their signs. Plus they look rather vintage - double winner. I got a couple of questions about why the single arch was used when I shared the above photograph across social media, so I thought, why not blog about it. Why not indeed.

To back up a little, the golden arches we associate today with the fast food chain is known globally. But that hasn't always been the case. in 1948, eight years after brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened their barbecue resturant, the Speedee character was launched, a character reflecting the Speedee Service System of their production line principles. He was later replaced with Ronald McDonald. Sadly signs featuring Speedee are even harder to find than the single arch, but you can stumble across one in the automotive section of The Henry Ford Museum over in Dearborn (shown below).
HenryFord

So between Speedee and the golden arches during one short interval in 1962, the single arch came about, many featuring a crest design upon the red advertising space. Here in Metro Detroit we are rather spoiled in being home to two (one in St Clair Shoes - pictured, and Warren) of the few remaining. This modernist transitional sign is own back lit (very popular in post World War II USA) and constructed of plastic panels upon a metal frame with the red advertising space midway. 

Sadly with McDonald's popularity, growth, redevelopment, finding early signs is growing increasingly tricky with some suggestions of only around 11* still used for their original advertising intentions, the majority lost to scrap yards or incorporated into private collections.

So there you have it, a little bit of history about that infamous branding you might just happen to pass every day.
  





* The 11 "known" single crested arches can be found in Lancaster, PA, Magnolia, NJ, Green Bay, WI, St Clair Shores and Warren, MI, Huntsville, AL, Independence, MO, Winter Haven, FL, Velleville, IL, Muncie, IN and Pine Bluff, AK.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

PITTSBURGH: The Point

Point Park Point Park

If you're ever in Pittsburgh and fancy grabbing some fresh air among great history, you'll do well to head towards Point State Park, or if you're down with the locals, the Point. Located at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers which go onto form the Ohio River - you'll find the outlines of two of Pittsburgh's oldest buildings, the oldest building still standing, some gorgeous views of the city and a lot of old British (and French, Native American and colonial American) history.

Before redevelopment during the 1950's the Point was the hub for industry and transportation particularly in the 1930's. Warehouses, railroad yards and two bridges intersected the area. But the Great Depression and World War 2 resulted in an area heavily blighted. Through the war years local authorities set out to redevelop the site. While plans for a civic center fell through, the area was turned into a park which opened in 1974. A park fully noting it's recreational and historical importance. 

Point Park

You could get knee deep in the historical details of Point Park, but I'll try and keep it short. The confluence of the Ohio river was the center for river based travel, trade and ultimately war for the British and France. With France constructing three forts within Western Pennsylvania by 1753 the Governor of Virginia sent a young George Washington to instruct the French to halt construction on their territory. Rightly or wrongly the French refused to stop on what they considered to be their land. Virginia's response at the start of 1754 was to build a small fort at the Point called Fort Prince George. But due to the advancing French army, building stopped and they surrendered in April 1754.

Point Park

On their arrival the French built Fort Duquesne (pronounced du-kein) to oversea the forks of the Ohio River, yet the British tried twice to regain control. With the sounding of the French and Indian War (part of the wider Seven Years war), it wasn't until 1758 that the Brits made another attempt. William Pitt, the British Sectary of State outlined a three pronged attack upon the French including the capture of Fort Duquesne. Knowing they were outnumbered, days before the arrival of the British, the French burnt and fled the fort.

Point Park

Now under British control, plans were made to build not only the largest, but the most elaborate fort in North America. Completed in 1761, the Fort was named for the aforementioned William Pitt by British Army Officer John Forbes. Moreover - the area became known as the Point and it's wider surroundings, Pittsburgh.

Point Park

For a Fort it had a relatively peaceful existence witnessing only one attack - a siege by Native American Indians as part of Pontiac's War in 1768. Yet by 1772 the fort was falling into disrepair - no longer fit for purpose and flood damaged. Decommissioned and sold to save money and to help strengthen relations with Native Americans it did became the Continental Army's headquarters during the American Revolution. Still by 1792 it's official Fort life came to an end - replaced by a new and smaller Fort Lafayette further upstream. Sold off piece by piece, by 1854 all that remained was the Fort Pitt Block House (below) the tale of which I'll be sharing in more detail in another post.

Point Park

Today the Fort Pitt Museum which I'm hoping to wander around on another visit, explores the history and role of the region making of not only Pittsburgh but American history and within the part itself the outlines of the forts are both marked in the grass with paved footpaths. It's actually surprising to see just how small the forts were and always interesting to see the location of not only American but British history to boot.

Point Park

At the furthest tip of the Point you'll find a huge fountain one that sprays water over 46 meters into the air (somewhat weather dependent I hear). It's located at the intersection of those two bridges I mentioned and now offers the visitor an outstanding backdrop to look back at downtown, out along the Ohio River to the north shore attractions like the Carnegie Science Center and Heinz Field. It's also often the home of a festively huge Christmas tree once that season arrives.

Point Park

We were saying as we wandered back to catch the T how if we ever happen to have a spare $300 dollars for a one night stay, we'd book ourselves into the Hotel Wyndham (that huge yellow building) for a room with a river view. One day, one day.


Fancy some fresh air & history? 
You'll find Point State Park at the intersection of Commonwealth Pl and Liberty Ave in down town Pittsburgh. 
Entry to the park is free.