A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Category: Adventures (page 2 of 4)

Mittens in Trees

They hung mittens in trees at 7:30am on a Saturday morning.

It only takes a little bit of light to chase back the darkness… it’s common knowledge and repeated all the time. Sometimes we forget to focus on that bit light, and then all the dark feels like it’s overwhelming. The thing is though, you need to find a way to only keep your attention on the light. If you can somehow find light in other people, the darkness doesn’t seem so big and impossible anymore. More than that, suddenly there are just more people in your life putting out light. They gravitate towards other “light” people maybe. And maybe you can’t fight the darkness on your own, but when you’re surrounded by people who pour light into your life, it’s much harder to get swallowed whole.

If today, you can’t find any light, I’ll remind you of this example. Dunnville is a really small town, and although the poverty is apparent, the homelessness isn’t always. A lot of people are barely getting by, and even those who are, maybe just needed a little something to warm their hearts. A good friend of mine, Sharon, and her daughter Anita, decorated Dunnville with mittens and hats and scarves last weekend, just for anyone to take. They had acquired over 200 pairs of mittens.

They started out knitting them themselves, along with Sharon’s sister in Holland, but when people heard about what they were going to do, they gave. They donated money and mittens because they wanted to contribute.
070102 03 04 0506 08 sweetest-ladiesThey asked me to tag along with them, and they were doing it before people started coming into town, so early morning. I really love my sleep, but I decided to go anyway. We had the whole town decorated with woollen goods within half an hour, then they treated me to coffee and muffins.

People who found the gloves later in the day, during the Santa Clause parade, were genuinely moved by such a simple gesture, (plus I’m pretty sure people with cold hands were also very grateful). Sharon and Anita worked hard gathering and knitting and planning, and people were just so happy about it and volunteered money and support to help them do it again. The thing is, maybe the mittens won’t end homelessness or poverty, but it brings light and unites people, and I think that’s really amazing. I’m so blessed to have people who shine so brightly in my life.

Look for light, give light when you can. You don’t know who is watching, who needs help fighting off darkness. It’s never too small of an act.

 

Hamilton Flea

Hamilton Flea was this weekend. It moves around each year, and this time it was at the old Lawson Lumber building at Dunsmure and Gage. My understanding is, they pick a different historical venue each time, and decorate according to a theme. Then all kinds of talented local vendors and vintage clothing sellers show up and sell their wares. It’s a pop-up flea market, which I think is a really fun idea.

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I knew a lot of my favourite shops and artists had reps there, so I went. I also really wanted to see the Petal to the Metal and try another Donut Monster donut. I loved both for the record. But of course, how can you not love a mobile flower shop and gourmet donuts?  My other favourites are Girl on a Wing, White Elephant, Jelly Brothers and Jenna’s Doodles.  If you’re looking for fun accessories, clothing and art that’s locally made (Hamilton), check them out. There were other great vendors too, but I tend to stick with my first loves, and ended up buying a few vintage photos from White Elephant, without even realizing I was buying from them. You know what you like I guess.  I ended up dragging one of my friends who described the event as looking like an underground scene for “white hipsters”, but then he went and bought a whole box of donuts, so I feel like the review was a bit pre-mature.  In any case, I loved it, and would definitely go again!

Exploring a new, old city

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There are perks to working in the city, especially a cool city, like Hamilton. Everyday there is something new to see, and so many interesting faces. I haven’t done a lot of street photography lately, but I really should. Hamilton is such a diverse place and “characters” are everywhere (and sometimes they are the people with whom you’re photo walking!) Most of these photographs were taken during the 500px Global Photo Walk. We got a lot of rain that day, but the sun came out for the last hour, just not while we were along the waterfront.  The down side to so many adventures (and a new full time job working with photos!) is that I never get time to blog anymore.  This post is only happening because I slept in too late to make a workshop I signed up for, so I had a few spare minutes. Hamilton is such a fascinating city. The more time I spend, the more I love the old buildings. I’ll have to schedule a post just on my favourites, although it’s not always easy finding out information about them, without hitting up the land registry office (and I work in the Archives).
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I’m currently obsessed with the Jackson Square Roof, actually, I always have been. Lunch times up there are so peaceful, and the light changes every day, so the window reflections in the nearby skyscrapers shift constantly. You meet different people than you normally would, and you take photos of them, even though it’s sort of out of character for you to even ask someone. So you have to let them take your photo in exchange.  Plus photographs taken from that vantage point (roof tops) make the world look like tiny dioramas. It’s weird, because you feel more like you are observing than participating.

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Isn’t this little alley way perfection? I love the colours and butterflies.14567575_10157501520590557_6626905078291348970_o paint people pretty-building rainbow roof skyline street-photography-fav unahppy-couple where-i-fell-in-love-with-you window york-blvdReally this post is just to share what I see each day, a rather beautiful world. It’s easy to believe the worst in people, and just see the garbage and smog, but try to look with a different lens this week. Explore a new or old place, simply because you can.

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A photo of me on a rooftop, by my good friend, James Allen Shepherd.

July James Street North Art Crawl

The August James Street North Art Crawl  is coming up this Friday evening so I thought I’d finally post my photographs from the July Crawl to get everyone in the mood. I’ve been a few times now, and although there are the regular features, there really is something new to see every time. I just love it. shop windown street super cool text love artist at art crawl Love at Mulberry Street little red building James Street North collecting hearts bookstore hamilton store art vendor hamilton store art crawl henna ice cream sign 04 03

There are always buskers and live music everywhere at Art Crawl. We found in July there were fewer of them out and about, presumably because it was calling for rain. The Mulberry St Porching Band was really good though, and we stood and listened to them for a bit. I’ve never heard them before, even though they frequently do these front porch gigs right behind the Mulberry Street Cafe. I try to sneak in there every time I’m down there, because I really enjoy their raspberry mochas, and they also have a gallery space that’s a little more accessible than some of the other places, I think.
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I never did figure out what the stray pieces of clothing with chalk words and arrows was all about, but I assume it was something interesting.  Artists definitely invent creative marketing techniques. 01

I really loved this bunting, so much so, I photographed it, and not the rest of the booth, which I feel a bit bad about but the sidewalk WAS quite crowded. It always is. That’s the main perk of the September Super Crawl. They stop traffic so there’s more space for walking around. Art crawllers the rest of the year are confined to the sidewalks and narrow shops and galleries, which is fun in one way. In another way, it’s a bit tight and difficult to see everything you want to see. The point of all this is, if you love artists and art and the creative lifestyle, you’ll love this event. Try it out!

 

Mudcat Festival Part 2 – The Stotts

It’s Canada Day, and I haven’t even posted the rest of my Mudcat Festival photographs. I’m not doing any Canada Day events today, in part because last year I went to the Falls and it was so busy and so much waiting for a very brief firework display that I needed a year to recover, (kidding, I’m just really lazy today!) Canada Day people typically gather in parks to listen to music and catch up with people, so we can pretend these photos are from today.

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I really enjoyed the music in the park on the Thursday night of the Mudcat Festival, and not just because I’m friends with the band. The Stotts put on a really great show; it was lively, catchy, and just good music. James Favron has a great stage presence and the other James and Matt are just super talented. The park was full of younger families and friends of the band, as well as a whole ton of teenagers (friends of the drummer), but people weren’t drunk like at the other younger demographic events. James has a two year old and baby himself, who were out there dancing with James’ wife, and also trying to run onto the stage, so the concert was kid friendly. In fact, the park was full of kids running through, so it wasn’t exclusive in that sense. It was just a really fun night. We had perfect weather, and the Mudcat organizers sold coffee and t-shirts. I ran into more people that I’m friends with now than I did the whole weekend. I realize this is basically just a post full of pictures of people you don’t know, but they’re photos that document the event for me, so please try to enjoy them anyway!

I only made a few cell phone videos of the show, so I won’t post them, because the sound quality isn’t great, but here’s a video so you can here their sound. Also check out these photos by SGWills Photography.  And for those of you who don’t know, a mud cat is just a cat fish, and also Dunnville’s mascot and hockey team. It’s a weird creature to have a festival for, but that is Dunnville.

Dunnville Mudcat Festival

If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls, you have a pretty good idea of what small town life is like. Not in the sense that small towns are quaint and idealistic, but in that small towns are full of unusual people and quirky happenings. When you go to a festival, you will run into dozens of people you haven’t seen since high school, other than when you ran into them at the festival the year before. Nothing really makes sense, particularly the parade, which definitely has quite a few tractors, but if you watch it for the kitsch factor or you’re a very small child, you’ll enjoy it. The parade actually runs the Saturday of the Mudcat festival, and although it’s not the first major event, I’ll start there, because I laughed a lot. Honestly, most of the people who turn out put a lot of work into their floats and so forth, and that is too be applauded, but no matter what, it’s Dunnville and I love it, but it’s weird.

Here are a few of the good and bad moments of the parade. I didn’t capture all unfortunately. I was too enthralled, then I was like, “oh no! I’m missing preserving this!”, and started snapping, even though there were people standing in front of me and I’m short.

 

Mudcat Parade 2016

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The Mudcat Festival also has a Midway, Street Dance, Fireworks and Live Music. The fireworks are always really good. The park on the river is jam-packed with people and that’s always fun, although sometimes it’s tricky to get good seating.

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I’ve just realized how photo heavy this post is, so I’ll break it into two posts! I’ll save the photos from my favourite event until last. What other small town festivals are good? Are there events that are different? Maybe I should try to hit up a few for comparison.

 

Hamilton Art Crawling

This is an out of date post. That’s how behind I am on everything. On a positive note, in part it’s because I’ve been adventuring more and not sitting editing at my computer.

I love the Hamilton Art Crawls. They take place on James Street North on the second Friday of every month, and they’re ideal for people watching. All the artists, hipsters, hippies, and gypsters show up in full force and full-fashion, and it’s wonderful to mingle in the crowds on a warm summer evening.

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I took less photos this time, I’m not sure why. I do remember I was really tired. For more Art Crawl scenes, see my post here and check out the big art event Super Crawl too!

The Garden of Proof

Springtime makes it difficult to feel negative about earth and humanity, at least for me.

We live in a world where flowers grow on trees and in the cracks of cement sidewalks and somehow I am supposed to believe that our world is somehow flawed? It’s hard to focus on “evil” when all you can see is the triumph of beauty over decay. It is true that humankind is determined to destroy all of this beauty, for gain and wealth and progress, and it’s good to remember that although nature and the earth can flourish without humans, we cannot progress without it.

God, as our creator envisioned a beautiful world for us, and made humans in his own image. It’s silly to believe that He didn’t design us (and our world) for good things. Even though we, in our own strength, our flawed and imperfect, that doesn’t mean we were designed to be evil or mean. We were created to be beautiful and to love and that’s what I see when I spend time in the garden. Dirt, dusty walkways, and fresh blooms growing towards the sunlight.

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St. Jacob’s, Ontario

If I lived in another country, and was visiting Canada, I would want to know about these kinds of places. That’s how I justify thinking of my blog as a travel and adventure blog even though I rarely go further than a few hours from my hometown. I’m preparing myself for when I can take bigger adventures. You’ll be the first to know.

I love exploring this Antique Shop. It has so many random items and fun kitsch. There are legitimately nice antiques too, but I don’t really care about that stuff. The building is divided into stalls, and an assortment of vendors rent the space, so you may see an over priced mason jar in one section that is much more affordable a few units down. Often times the stalls are decorated or styled, so they’re interesting to look at even if you don’t purchase anything. I always check out the vintage cameras.

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I didn’t go into the town of St. Jacob’s this time, but I checked out the Farmer’s Market. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and people were EVERYWHERE just enjoying the day, chatting and eating at a leisurely place. There is a great variety of food. There are other vendors too, but I never feel the need to purchase anything from them. They tend to sell more assembly line type products rather than real handicrafts. I can purchase tupperware and cell phone cases anywhere, you know? But check it out for the food, definitely!

 

 

Adventures in Tick City

I finally got a new bike, and it’s actually a really old bike, and a really ugly colour, but it rides better than the old bike, so all is well. I really wanted to take it for a long run, and Joe had a free day (he and his fiancee are planning a wedding, so that rarely happens!) so we set out around the town. I saw a pile of junk off the side of the road, so naturally I wanted to check it out. (Who doesn’t want to look at old piles of garbage?) The piles of garbage lead to a trail and two really dead and flattened and dismembered opossums but I thought we should still check it out. Joe sent photos to Trina, who is usually the voice of reason in situations and she didn’t seem alarmed, so we set out. It was really pretty and for the next two days, random ticks kept appearing in our lives. One climbed down his suit jacket at Church. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to explore creepy junk piles, be prepared for ticks. The junk piles were cool though. See below.

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Joe happily texting Katrina, oblivious to the ticks clinging desperately to his clothing.

 

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