miniature view

A couple of months ago I had my second major camera tragedy of the year.  I broke my second and only other lens for my digital SLR.  Cringe. Gawd I know! Who does that? I took this as a sign (ahem or cough-excuse) to get a new camera that was more compact, easy to carry and one of those cool old skool looking, hybrid type blends that has SLR features but isn’t bulky and doesn’t weigh 10 lbs.  I ended up purchasing a Canon Power Shot G12 after my friend Vern’s tried and true recommendation. It has some cool features.  For example the miniature effect, which makes images like the fall Hamilton cityscape below look like a little miniature model of downtown Hamilton.  So cute. A little tiny Hamilton. Who wouldn’t want their own little miniature model Hamilton cityscape for the attic (kinda just like in Beetlejuice)?

Hamilton downtown, fall leaves, foiliage, cityscape,

in the nick of time (i hope)

I know that garlic is supposed to be planted in mid October but since the weather has been so mild I hope that it’s alright that I just planted our garlic last weekend!  Last fall when we went to Tregunno Seeds for some bulbs, garden supplies and garlic. Unfortunately we saw the last bunch of garlic walk right out the door 2 minutes before we had a chance to buy any.  It took me a little while to figure out that you can buy any good sized organic garlic from the farmer’s market and just plant that.

So last year was my first time planting garlic.  By the time I had my garlic ready to go it was so late into the fall that the ground was frozen.  I had to do some serious soil thawing and maneuvering to get the cloves in the ground.  As a result this year we harvested tiny miniature garlics (but man they were potent!).

Lesson learned garlic goes in the ground before the ground freezes!  I hope that I was still in time for a better garlic harvest for next year.  Can’t wait for the garden again in spring!

whole garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, plant 2 inches from the top, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

planting garlic mid fall, garlic stick marker for garden

early morning riser

Waking up early on a Saturday morning isn’t something that happens often for me.  I like to sleep in, lounge around, and take as much time getting out of bed as possible.  So on the rare occasion when I do wake up fully rested, and it’s still nice and early, I like to make the most of the day.

Since the weather was so gorgeous and sunny, Steve and I decided to take a leisurely, morning walk on the Bruce Trail.  One of the many things that I love about where we live is the easy access to nature and trails.  We hiked the back trail over to Locke St., where our reward of coffee, tea and pain au chocolat, (which by the way was amazing; crispy, buttery, flaky and accompanied by the perfect amount of dark bitter sweet chocolate), awaited us from Bread Bar.

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, between Queen St. and John St., forest, November

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, November, frost

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, November, frost, Saturday morning hike, walk

*Bread Bar, 258 Locke St. south, Hamilton, 905.522.2999

c’est l’halloween

My first DIY Hallowe’en costume was a success!  I feel pretty proud for putting it all together. It wasn’t as hard or tricky as I had thought, and I actually enjoyed the whole process.

DIY Halloween costume, bird wings, sewing, process

DIY Halloween costumes, homemade, wings, bird costume, blue bird or peacock

In preparing for going out for the Hallowe’en festivities and parties I contemplated making a bird mask, but ran out of time and energy.  So I opted instead for makeup and Hallowe’en facepaint but I feel like it might have been too much. A plain old masquerade mask would’ve probably done the trick.  Lis was La Calavera Catrina of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the dead.  Her costume was pretty much a traditional scary costume.  It was easy to throw together and yet still awesome.

DIY bird, wings, feathers, peacock, blue bird, blue jay, day of the dead, dia de los muertos, easy Halloween costume, makeup, roses

costume inspiration

Halloween is rapidly approaching and as usual I am scrambling to put together a costume.

Luckily I came across some easy DIY inspiration!

I cut out the wings today, and tomorrow will start working on the feathers made from random scraps of left over fabric.  Crossing my fingers it will all work out, as this will be one of few attempts for some basic sewing on my part.

costumes, bird wings, easy to make wings, DIY

DIY, wings, easy costume, kids, scrap fabric, halloween costume

These bird wings are pretty adorable aren’t they?

schools out forever

What is up with all the downtown Hamilton schools that have been sold off, boarded up, and demolished?  It seems like there are more schools sold and closed than I can count on my two hands.  There’s the Stinson Street School, coincidently bought and recently redeveloped by Harry Stinson, who by the way developed the infamous Candy Factory Lofts, which spearheaded the urban revitalization on Queen west in Toronto way back in 1993.  For the most part I’m happy to see when gorgeous buildings in Hamilton, like the Stinson School, remain intact and are simply refurbished for their new life as lofty living spaces.

Of the downtown Hamilton schools that have closed there’s Scott Park, 220 Dundurn, Allenby, Tweedsmuir, Robert Land, Gibson,  and Fairfield schools, all of which were sold by the public board since amalgamation in 1998 (and those are just the ones downtown!).  I know that this partially reflects the declining enrollment that many school boards across Ontario are seeing, but I also think it has something to say about the expansion of new subdivision continued urban sprawl, and flight to the suburbs, which are now all part of the larger amalgamated Hamilton.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of these schools after their sale from the board, while they’ve been in transition between owners.

One rainy day I visited the old Gibson school.  It was a little eerie walking into all the empty classrooms, many of which had little reminders and remnants of its former life as a full on school.

I love the old school buildings in Hamilton.  I have a sentimental feeling associated with them, mostly because they are beautiful but also because I feel like they just don’t make buildings as grand anymore.

It can be really sad to see such beautiful old schools emptied, abandoned and boarded up.  I really hope that this school gets put to good use, and some life gets put back into it.  Smashed and boarded up windows really does nothing for the moral of a neighbourhood and city.

*Old Gibson School, 601 Barton St. east, Hamilton

 

33 ain’t bad

For a really long time I had been wanting to go to South Sea Chinese restaurant on Ottawa St.  Usually I can’t make it past the South Sea signage without stopping to peer and sometimes even gawk through the front windows.  The restaurant is stuck in a majorly wicked time warp.  Chinese taverns like this really bring me back to Chinese restaurants from my youth (they have the Chinese zodiac paper placemats and everything!).  This particular restaurant has been around for 28 years and probably has not changed much since the day it first opened.

As a special treat for my 33rd birthday we decided to indulge in a nostalgic  culinary and atmospheric journey of  true Chinese Canadian cuisine as it would’ve been circa 1983.  If you want chicken balls, egg rolls, fried rice, honey garlic spareribs, and chow mein; just some good ol’ classic North American Chinese you can’t go wrong with South Sea.  Who knows how long restaurants of this era will stick around for?  I feel like they’re quickly becoming vintage relics of their own kind.  If you’re interested in learning more about the unique history of Chinese restaurants in small towns across Canada (there’s basically at least 1 Chinese restaurant in every town no matter how small!) then you should pick up Eating Chinese: Culture on the Menu in Small Town Canada.  Author Lily Cho can give you the real historic low down.

 

What girl doesn’t love sparklers on their birthday!?  After South Sea Steve suggested we have a tea out back, and then he busted out the sparklers!  This was still during the lovely and unusually warm fall nights from about a week back, so it was just about the most perfect and beautiful way to end the celebrations of my 33rd birthday. Thanks Steve!

 

*South Sea Restaurant, 282 Ottawa St. north, Hamilton, 905.545.0352

art crawl tonight!

October’s art crawl is on tonight from 7-10pm!

I wanted to share some photos of the last art crawl before the Supercrawl, which was a busy one too.

The Friendship building was a buzz with the Beehive Craft Collective’s Craft Fair, and the galleries were packed and filled with hot summer air,  the streets were full and everyone was enjoying a gorgeous summer night.  It seems so long ago, now that the weather has really turned to fall.

Beehive Collective, Summer Craft Fair, old Friendship Gift Shop,
Beehive Craft Collective Summer Craft Fair window display
You Me Gallery Exhibit August, 2011, 330 James St. north, art crawl

You Me Gallery Exhibit in August

mini colourful hand windmills, You Me Gallery, exhibit James north art crawl, August 2011

 

fall fairs

We went to the Rockton World’s Fair over the weekend.  It was my first experience at a small town agricultural fair, and I absolutely loved it!  This year marked the 169th year of the Rockton Fair with its first fair ever held October of 1852.  The 169th year of the fair brought with it some robust livestock from sheep (of multiple varieties) to baby chicks, beehives, cows, horses, ducks, geese and other fowl.  The day was a surreal picture perfect fall day with sunshine, blue skies, square dancing, apple cider, candy apples, homemade deep fried donuts, demolition derbys (I can’t believe I missed the mini van mash up derby!) and the classic midway.

Agriculture is the highlight of the fair and education of agriculture is our objective.

The objective was accomplished. There were many blue ribbons to be awarded to the livestock owners; ranging from preteens to old breeding pros and legends from the surrounding area.

Rockton World's Fair ground, maple tree, fall, leaves changing,

Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair, dairy, cow,

sheep, livestock, turkey, wool, Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair,

judgin sheep, livestock, Rockton World's Fair, fall fair, agricultural fair

Rockton World's Fair, midway, fall fair, ice-cream truck

Rockton World's Fair, midway, fall fair, ferris wheel,

We made for an early start to the fair and by the time we were headed back the streets and highways leading to the fairgrounds were jammed and at a near standstill.  If you plan on going next year beware of lots of traffic and parking madness especially if you’re heading in time for the lunch time rush.  You could also opt for the multiple free shuttle buses that leave from downtown Hamilton heading straight for the fair.

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