Sepia Saturday 275: Cables, Wires, Ladders, Workers

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Today’s Sepia Saturday brings us a prompt image of men working on electrical lines.  It’s a really unique image, I think, and not something I had a perfect match for, but it does open the door to men working which lets me post a really neat series of photos my grandpa Leon Kitko took in 1959.  A train had derailed and he, being much like a nosy neighbor, went down to check it out and possibly get a glimpse of some neat new machinery he might not have seen before.  From the number of photos with the same date stamp, he took (and kept) 8 photos of the event out of a roll of film and filled the rest with random shots of the countryside, his home, etc.  If I assume that he wasted no time getting the film developed and photos printed, the most likely news story I could find was one about a coal car derailment on June 25, 1959 at 10:29am in Lumber City, Pennsylvania.  The event even made the front page of the newspaper!  In their haste, the newspaper didn’t quite complete the caption under the photo either (linked below).  As the story reads, six coal cars were involved in the incident, caused by a coupler being pulled out of one of the cars, dropping to the rails, forcing the cars off the track and tearing up 150-200 feet of the track as well.  Luckily, there were no injuries and it was only coal (not some sort of chemical) so cleanup was somewhat easier, being completed by 9:30 that night.

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The photos my grandpa took are really interesting for many reasons.  He’s captured a newsworthy story from a bunch of angles as well as showing the working man at his job.  In one photo, you can see the piles of coal spilled out of the cars.  In another, shovels and buckets lined up along the rails while a man reaches to grab a plate that sets the rail in place.  In two photos, you can see a large piece of equipment rolling in to help remove the cars too damaged to continue on and set right those that could still roll along.  It’s really a rather complete picture of the accident, and I’m glad he was that nosy neighbor who wanted to check out what I’m sure was a big topic of local gossip that week.  As far as working cables from the theme into my post, that last photo of the crane should fit the bill!


Kickstarted – Espionage Cosmetics


I thought it might be time to start reviewing Kickstarter rewards/projects on ye olde blog since I’ve funded a bunch of them recently and have so far been pretty pleased with the experience!  I know it’s a risk, but it’s a wonderful way to support local or awesome businesses and get a little something in return.

The first one is Espionage Cosmetics’ Nailed It! But Wait… There’s MOAR! campaign.  Their first campaign helped them expand their line and hire new employees (job creators!), and this new campaign was an extension of the first campaign with new nail wraps, fun designs and rewards.  I missed the first one and had never tried a nail wrap, but loved the designs and couldn’t wait to jump in.

My Pledge: Zoe Washburne, $150 level (I initially pledged at a lower level and upped my pledge last minute as more rewards were unlocked)

The Goods: Goodie bag (bag, sticker, pin, humidor), t-shirt, 12 u-pick wraps, 1 random wrap, 5 Baker Street Wraps, 5 Lunar Phase wraps, digital wallpaper, add-on access, 1 month Nerd Makeup Box.  (Image at top shows all but the Nerd Makeup Box)

Review: SUPER happy with how they handled everything.  Communication was timely, the use of Backer Kit to manage selections made things REALLY easy and I never had a problem once during the process.  Everything arrived in a shiny silver padded envelope, packed with a sweet thank you card signed by the team members which was a nice personal touch.  There were regular updates on instagram and email about the shipping process so I knew when to expect everything.  The last part, the Nerd Makeup Box, arrived just this past week and now I’m wishing I had signed up for more months.

This is already an established business with a solid customer base, so I wasn’t worried about the project not getting funded or items not arriving as promised.  If anything, the value of the rewards far exceeded the cost, so I’m VERY happy with that (each nail wrap is $10-$12 on their website, so the nail wraps more than cover my pledge).  The nail wraps are thicker than I had expected and pretty easy to apply.  They peel off easy enough when you’re done with them (I can get a little over a week of wear on a wrap before they start to chip/wear off, but I’m a colossal klutz), and seem to do no damage to my nails.  Each wrap set has 14 individual wraps to fit all sorts of nail shapes and sizes.  The extra can be saved in the humidor (basically a waterproof, air proof bag) to be used later for accent nails or for an eclectic mix and match.


The last bit of the rewards, like I mentioned above, was the Nerd Makeup box, a new initiative launched with this Kickstarter campaign.  This is a special trial before they go live to the public, so it was really fun to be included in this Beta test.  They go into detail about the cost of the subscription for later months, but you always get four nail wraps which will ALWAYS cover the cost of the box regardless.  The first box included these lovelies, my favorite of which is the cherry blossom one since we’re finally starting to see spring around here.  Also included is a lip serum and mixing palate with instructions on how to mix your lip serum with mineral eye shadow to create fun colors.

Final Verdict: A+++++++++ would kickstart again.  The company is amazing, they’re organized, run by women, and support and encourage fandom and nerdery of all sorts.  While my kickstarter rewards will undoubtedly last me a long time, I can guarantee they’ve gained a new loyal customer as a result of the kickstarter campaign.


Sepia Saturday 274: Coal, Power, Horses, Carts

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Another theme involving coal mining!  This Sepia Saturday theme is neat because the prompt image comes from the same state where most if not all of my ancestors lived.  There were a number of coal miners in the family around WWI, and while I’ve already used my best image for that time period in Sepia Saturday #253, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a ton more waiting in the wings.  In the two photos at the top, we have my grandpa, Leon Kitko (1933-2011), playing with a steam shovel toy he built himself as well as a photo of other home-made shovels.  The photos were taken around 1946 (one is dated) and Leon would’ve been 13.


This photo is of an actual shovel in use at an unknown mine somewhere in Clearfield County, PA.  The machine is a Bay City shovel – the company is still in business, though doesn’t make this particular machine anymore.  Based on the photo type, this was probably taken around the same time as the others (maybe a year or two later than the first two).  You can see the machine is pretty beat up and had probably seen better days, something I’d pretty much expect for a coal mine.  This is likely one of the many machines Leon based his toys on, having seen his uncles and neighbors go to work in various mines.  The most common type of mining done in that area is Strip Mining, in which the ground is stripped away from the coal deposit, leaving behind what looks like a large inverted cone shape in the earth.  Driving around, you can still identify old strip mines based on shape alone – any perfect, unnatural slope with trees planted at even intervals was likely once a strip mine.  Between the physical scars, the environmental scars, and the emotional scars (families who saw the loss of loved ones from accidents, black lung, etc), coal mining leaves behind a pretty dark legacy throughout Pennsylvania.  For my grandfather at the time though, it was a thing of wonder to see machines that large move the earth with such ease.


Goodebox April 2015

April’s box is here already!  It actually arrived on April 2nd, but I’ve been so busy, I haven’t found the time to blog about it yet.  March disappeared so fast, and suddenly it was April and there was another fun box in my mailbox.  The box is about gearing up for Spring and celebrating Earth Day this month with some eco accountability.  They also talked about their beauty product container recycling program in conjunction with Terracycle which is something I hadn’t heard about before!  Really a neat program and a great way to encourage recycling.  We’re lucky enough that our program at home takes all kinds of plastics, so I can recycle almost everything and almost always fill the recycling bin before the trash bin.  Anyway, onto the box!

  • Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen – 50 mL / $45 – (Sample is .25 oz, 7.39 mL, value of $6.65 by volume, or sample tube on website is $4.95)  I am all about what this sun screen stands for!  Physical blockers vs chemical blockers, absolutely!  However, I would prefer it just being a sunscreen instead of being a BB cream as well.  I still haven’t found a BB/CC cream I like since I don’t use foundation practically ever and don’t like the way it feels on my face.  If it were just a sunscreen, I’d be fine with that, but all the extra functions that I don’t need/care for are lost on me (I’m usually running around getting dirty and have no need for a BB/CC cream on a daily basis – I pretty rarely wear makeup anyway).  The tint I was given was “Light” which matches really well with my skin tone, but, it still feels bizarre on.  I’m SO picky about what goes on my face if I’m using it all over because anything that feels like it’s there bothers me to no end, and at this point, I’d still stick with my SPF moisturizer over a BB cream like this.  It just feels too thick and plasticky much like other creams that do the same thing.  I am glad it was included as a sample though in my quest for a good everyday face cream, but it misses the mark.  Make this in a moisturizer without the tint and I’d be far more interested!
  • Portland Bee Balm – .15 oz / $2.99 – (Product is full size, full value!)  LOVE the formula, don’t like the mint (but I don’t like mint in general, so..).  It’s a thicker balm and really sticks around for a while which is what I like about beeswax based balms.  I definitely prefer natural beeswax over mint, so I might have to try that out.  Still, this will get used up in short order since the mint isn’t too overpowering and seems to fade away quickly, and I love the fact that they support beekeeping and beekeepers.
  • Preserve Razor – 1 razor & 2 blades / $8.50 – (Product is full size, full value!)  My first thought was, “Wait.. a razor?  Weird..” But that quickly changed into, “Hey, a razor, made of recycled yogurt cups that can be recycled too!”  Really a neat product to include in the box this month!  It’ll no doubt be used, and I’ll probably end up keeping this in my travel bag since the packaging doubles as a case to keep it clean and dry.  I didn’t get a chance to try them on my legs yet, but I can see this getting a good bit of use over the summer.  Such a smart product all around.  It looks like refills run around $5 for four cartridges which isn’t too bad either.
  • Modern Minerals Mineral Eye Shadow – .17 oz / $12.50 – (Sample is .035 oz, value of $2.57) I’m already a fan of Modern Minerals eye shadow from another box, but this color, Starry Night, is out of this world!  It’s an amazing metallic blue-purple that seems to change colors depending on the light and I cannot wait to use it for a nice evening out.  I’m actually a big fan of the smaller container since I go through eye shadow pretty slowly, this is the right size to try out fun, wild colors without having too much hanging around.
  • Gressa Treat Renewing Polish – 50 mL / $38 – (sample is 7.5 mL, value of $5.70)  I already love Gressa for their lip colors, and the second I opened this container, I loved them for their skin products too because this smells AMAZING.  I had to try it out right away and it’s amazing.  Between the oils that smell so good, the coarseness of the scrub that REALLY exfoliates well, I’m impressed!  A wee little bit goes a long way, so I can see this being worth the cost.

Overall value comes to around $25 depending on how you count the Suntegrity sample.  It’s a rather low value for the box, but I’m happy with the contents and it still more than covers the $19 cost of the box.  I’ll try everything for sure and will definitely use up the Gressa Treat in short order, plus the eye shadow sample that REALLY knocked my socks off.  What’s really best is being introduced to new products I wouldn’t have found otherwise.  I’ve been able to recommend products to friends who are looking for better alternatives, and that’s great – even if something doesn’t work perfectly for me, it might be just the thing for someone else.

Sepia Saturday 273: Bicycles, Long Skirts, Newspaper Cuttings

Hitting one out of three isn’t bad, right?  And I get to post another one of my favorite photos from the trunk.  I’m a little behind the schedule with this post for Sepia Saturday, but better late than never!

Scan10121bPictured above is Earl William Powis Jr. (1922-2010) with a bicycle on August 24, 1930.  A very exact date, and I actually know quite a bit about this photo!  I presume it was taken by his mother, Anna (Plansky) Powis, who at that point, per the 1930 census, was divorced and living in Illinois with “Junior” as he was referred to on the census.  She kept in close contact with my great grandma Olga Powis who was Earl Jr’s aunt, sister to his father, sending along many photos of Earl Jr. over the years.


Anna wrote on the back of the photo (shown at left), “This is not so good of him, but he likes it, said he liked it best even if the bike has a flat rear tire.”  Kids, huh?  The 8 year old Earl was more concerned about the state of the bike than how he looked in the photo!  Olga likely added the identification at the bottom of the photo in pencil.  There are MANY photos of young Earl in my great grandma’s collection so it seems like she and Anna (and Earl) corresponded frequently over the years even though Olga’s brother later remarried.  Short and sweet again to wrap up another Sepia Saturday Tuesday!