Author Archives: Jennifer

the bread

This year for my family Christmas dinner, I wanted to try something a little different.  I decided to bake bread.  And not just any bread.  My Grammie Johnson’s recipe.  I recall the many hours I spent with her as a child, watching her knead, punch and bake the yummiest bread ever!  Now, normally I’m a whole grain-flax seedy-sprouted-really healthy and good for you kind of bread girl.  This recipe has none of that and is simply white bread in all it’s carby goodness. The recipe paper was so well used and folded over, that it was translucent in parts and held some strange directions – boil water, then cool to warm, then add sugar and yeast to proof.  I’m guessing that’s a carry over from the “get the water from the crick” days.  But I did it anyway.  I didn’t want to change a thing from her recipe that’s been handed down.  I loved the whole process… deciphering the seemingly bizarre instructions, kneading the dough, seeing it rise and the best part – punching down the giant mound of dough.  It made me feel connected to my grandmother, even though she lives far away in New Brunswick.  I liked how slow the process was.  No microwave.  No rushing the rising.  Just many hours dedicated to creating something connected to my family’s history for people to enjoy around the Christmas dinner table.  And the bread – it turned out to be quite delicious if I do say so myself.

Posted in Uncategorized

Manicotti, Music and Celebrations for no good reason

This week has been a bit all over the place.  Intense conversations. Silly laughs. Stress. Forced relaxation. Work.  Sleep.  On Monday, I lost a coin toss with my sweetie and was bound by the code of the coin to make supper for us.  Having a lot of veggies left from my good food box, I made up some salad and manicotti…and threw in a couple of glasses of whiskey for us as an aperatif for good measure.  Did I mention that we had been participating in a spiritual fast that day?  So no food  all day + whiskey made for a very giggly Jen. Then it was on to The Commons to make some music and practice some original material by the commons collective.  So fun!  Yet, still challenging for me as I continue to re-learn how to play and try to strengthen my sound.  Things are still forced, but in time, the natural cadence of the music will come through.  I will learn to trust my instincts and feel the music more and more, rather than clumsily remember which notes go where.  When life gets hard and really, really sucks at times, I cling to that knowledge that though tough now, in time, the soul of the music of my life will one day be played with ease.  I just need patience and practice. And sometimes whiskey induced giggles help it along too.  The challenge is to find the laugh along the way. Like today for example.  It’s 12:12:12.  ‘So what?’ some might argue.  ‘Not a big deal.’  I know it’s not really,  but we should take any opportunity we can get to celebrate.  So make sure you do something to mark today and celebrate for no good reason.

Posted in fun

Pilgrimage

Today, I needed to get out of here.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t sit still ONE.  MORE.  MOMENT.  You need adventure!  Any kind – even just a road trip.  So today, after dropping things off at various friends places, I hit the road.  Not too sure of a destination, I set out waiting to see what I would discover.  On this grey, drizzly day, I vaguely set out in the direction of Elora. I didn’t even make it that far.  As I was driving along, I saw a sign for Crieff.  Remembering that name from a spiritual retreat a few years ago, I quickly changed lanes and followed my instinct to drive up there.  I saw some beautiful light falling across bronze leaves still attached to trees, so I pulled over reveling in the freedom to just meander and stop at will.  I took some random pictures, just cause I wanted to.  It was bliss.

Pilgrimage -1.jpgPilgrimage -11.jpgPilgrimage -13.jpgPilgrimage -3.jpgPilgrimage -6.jpgPilgrimage -7.jpgPilgrimage -8.jpg

I then discovered that I had unknowingly parked right next to Crieff Hills.  Recognizing the opportunity before me, I turned up the lane and wandered around there for a bit until I found my old friend, the Labyrinth.

That’s right folks, I broke into a Labyrinth.  Not sure if that defeats the purpose, but I kinda liked the secretive nature of trespassing to encounter God.  It was so quiet, with just the wind and the birds.  I liked the solitude.  I think Labyrinths are best experienced alone.  Sigh.  I love the Labyrinth.  Right now in my life there are so many questions! So many choices to make and fear creeping in that I’ll make the wrong one.  It was very soothing to have a path mapped out in front of me where I could bare my soul and ask all the questions I needed to.  No, I didn’t receive specific answers with giant flashing arrows, but did get a feeling that regardless of what happens – God is here.  At the centre.  At the edges.  With the stumbly rocks in the path.  With the unknown dark tunnel at the exit of the path – He’s there.  And there is adventure to be had.  After lingering for a few hours in the Labyrinth, I finally left as I got too cold.

Pilgrimage -15.jpgPilgrimage -17.jpgPilgrimage -19.jpgPilgrimage -23.jpgPilgrimage -26.jpgPilgrimage -29.jpgPilgrimage -30.jpgPilgrimage -31.jpg

I realized that my phone was dead and I had no idea how to get back to Hamilton.  So, I just went on instinct and guessed the general direction I needed to go. No map. No one telling me where to turn.  No one reassuring that I was going the right way.  Just instinct, hope and reassurance that I had a full tank of gas and emergency oranges if I needed them. I saw some amazingly beautiful homes and farms along the back roads and finally saw a signpost to confirm I was headed in the right direction. The risk had paid off.  Once I knew where I was, I stopped for some coffee and a delicious fritter.  I think all pilgrimages should end with warm apple cinnamon fritters and dark roasted coffee.

Posted in nature

That time of year…

It’s that time of year when everything starts to get a little cheerier, a little more covered in lights and a lot busier! Earlier this week I was down sick with a stomach bug that knocked me out for a day. Thankfully, I received excellent care in the form of gingerale, crackers, soup and hugs from my friend that sent me back on the path to recovery quickly. Now I just have to get caught up! There’s so much happening! Tonight I am hosting a JustOne gathering where my friends Sarah and Krista will be showing off the fair-trade wares that they’ve just brought back from Uganda and Kenya. Can’t wait to see them and hear their stories and see the beautiful items. Then tomorrow is my first Christmas dinner of the season. Followed by the Maker’s Market on Saturday down at the Cathedral on James St N from 10-6. It will be great! 40 vendors this year along with the food trucks for lunch. I’ll have some prints, postcards and gift certificates available for sale. Come on down and check it out!!

Posted in art crawl

Organ Cathedral Sound Installation

Recently I was fortunate to be able to document my friend Randy’s art installation at the New City offices during Art Crawl.  It was amazing!!  He’s put together a video of the sound installation along with the images that I took, to create a whole new experience for the viewer.  So happy to be able to support his fantastic work.  Check it out.

Posted in art crawl

Red Tent Event

Have you heard about this?  I think it’s a fabulous idea!  Women sharing their birth stories with other women, partners, birthing community members to talk about their unique experience.  How great is this?!  As a part of the Red Tent  work, this event joins with a global initiative to create spaces for women to share their birth stories and for others to listen to birth stories. It’s being held this year at Shanti Yoga Studio. 344 Main St. W. (at Locke St. N), Hamilton, ON from 2pm-5pm.  It’s a free event, but donations will be collected for Savethemothers.org who do great work.

Posted in Uncategorized

Focus

The past few days have been a bit of a challenge for me… I always get a little down in November and this year with the roof leaking, the car needing fixing, a sad farewell to an allergy inducing kitten, and general tightness of finances, I’ve been a wee bit stressed.  OK.  At times, I’ve been a downright miserable weepy mess.  But today is a new day.  I love that every day is a chance to start over, refresh and renew.  Today, I take stock of all that I am grateful for:

  • For honest roofers who tell me that my roof that does not, in fact, need new shingles.  Just a repair that a gracious friend will be doing for me.
  • Shooting a new art installation tonight, and two family shoots tomorrow.
  • A car that runs better today than it did yesterday (even though I had to pay for that!)
  • Being inspired by friends who are starting a new business with women in Uganda.  I get to host the Hamilton home party of  JustOne  and showcase these gorgeous, unique pieces at my place on November 29th.  So proud of Sarah and Krista for doing this, and I’m so happy to help in any way I can.  The stories of the women that you are partnering with remind me of just how good I’ve got it, and help bring into focus what is truly important.

 

Posted in Events

A different kind of birth…

Over the weekend I was privileged to shoot a different kind of birth for an old friend… the birth of their family through adoption.  What a joy to be able to capture the first family photos of their 3 year old twins who have now found their forever family!!  Due to privacy concerns, I won’t post any of their photos – but believe me -those twins are cutie pies!  I have a few friends who were adopted themselves and a few who have adopted internationally and locally.  It’s so beautiful to see the relationships form and families be born.  Not always an easy road, but immeasurably worth it.  Congrats you guys!!

Posted in adoption birth, Birth

Last Crawl!

Tomorrow is the last outdoor maker’s market art crawl of the season… it will be chilly, but I’m looking forward to chatting with people and showing off some new Hamilton prints.  So many schools are being slated for closure and I thought it would be good to document some of these old, but beautiful buildings that hold so many memories for the people of Hamilton. While out picturing I stumbled upon an abandoned chair just sitting by a garage.  It reminded me so much of the time I was in New Orleans, post hurricane Katrina, and saw the same sort of welcoming chair amidst rough surroundings.

If you are on James N tomorrow night for the art crawl, pop by the Cathedral and say hi!

Hamilton Schools (10 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (14 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (19 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (16 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (2 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (6 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (24 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (5 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (33 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (37 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (38 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (40 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (43 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (41 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (46 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (56 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (59 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (66 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (68 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (72 of 79).jpgHamilton Schools (75 of 79).jpg

Posted in art crawl

Fall Family Photos

At Christmas Grandma got a gift – the promise of family pictures! And now many, many months later we finally found a time to make her gift a reality.  Thanksgiving worked out to be the perfect time to capture the family when everyone is all together!  Beautiful leaves, cute kids running around in the sunshine.  We had a great time down at Battlefield park in Stoney Creek.  Everyone was in great spirits.  Well, except maybe Tobias who was done with it all at the end! His big brother was so helpful in trying to keep him going – so sweet that he was wiping his tears away.  Here are a few photos for you to enjoy as you take time to be thankful this weekend.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Agnew Shoot (25 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (132 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (154 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (19 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (126 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (204 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (205 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (244 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (253 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (246 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (267 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (274 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (295 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (300 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (315 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (320 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (337 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (343 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (345 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (348 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (352 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (367 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (375 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (377 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (48 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (68 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (86 of 377).jpgAgnew Shoot (96 of 377).jpg

Posted in family