Monday, December 26, 2016

CATalphabet! It's here!!

Soooo, drum roll please.... At long last, I would like to introduce you to CATalphabet!!
My first children's book! I am very happy with it and know you will enjoy it too! There was a giant learning curve to getting this accomplished. I self published it and am still learning the ins and outs. Now the marketing starts:)
CATalphabet! is a storybook book full of cats and letters of the alphabet. Jonathan Mills and I had a TON of fun writing the verse. We tried to make it super entertaining to read and full of interesting words and concepts to spark conversation and learning opportunities. Some letters of the alphabet were just written for the joy of reading it aloud, like the letter R!
There are twenty-six beautiful full colour illustrations each one featuring cats. Every letter of the alphabet also gets it's turn:) Some of my favourite paintings are included. 
Here are some Amazon.com and Amazon.ca reviews!

"Fun for kids big and small. HIGHLY recommend!
Lots of fun with alphabetical alliteration and Shelagh's fantastic cat-themed folk art!! I'm a fan of Shelagh's "folk art" cat paintings (the one for D is one of my favs) and this is great way to get a collection of her work along with a "bonus" teaching tool (or a teaching tool with "bonus" artwork)."

"Shelagh has deftly captured cats at their whimsical best through her vibrant illustrations. As a teacher, I know this book will be a welcome addition to any Primary levelled reading program. Kids will want to read it again and again to experience the delightful alliteration that makes reading this book to and by children a joy. Handy for car rides and great for memory work too, as you can query what cat did which activity. This book is sure to become a treasured work of art, beloved by readers of all ages. Kudos to the author and artist!"

"What a beautifully illustrated witty and whimsical book to have fun reading out loud to kids and the young at heart. I plan to gift a few of these to some cat lovers I know! For those that love art and quality illustrations, you will really appreciate the work that went in to this book."

"Ms. Duffett's lively illustrations are well matched with the book's whimsical prose; a great buy for cat-lovers of all ages!"

"Fun for kids big and small. HIGHLY recommend!
Lots of fun with alphabetical alliteration and Shelagh's fantastic cat-themed folk art!! I'm a fan of Shelagh's "folk art" cat paintings (the one for D is one of my favs) and this is great way to get a collection of her work along with a "bonus" teaching tool (or a teaching tool with "bonus" artwork)."

This book is available across many online book platforms (Amazon,Indigo, Barnes noble etc) as a Kindle, Kobo,tablet download and the paperback copy is available too. It says out of stock but that is because it comes from another printer as a "print on demand" book. If you order, you WILL get one.

BUT...if you would like a SIGNED copy with two postcards from the book, and FREE SHIPPING... you can order a copy here from my etsy store! Thanks so much!
http://www.AliceinParis.etsy.com or email me at Shelaghduffett@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions... xo

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Allow Yourself the Uncomfortable Luxury of Changing Your Mind...

This has been a very hard year for me. For many people.
I am happy to see the end of it.
It is a struggle to stay in the present, work on change, make positive constructive choices.  KNOWING what the right choice is be can be a struggle. Do no harm. To who?  Myself, people in my life, the world, the future? What is most important? How can choices I make have only positive impact all around? What is most important?

I play tricks with myself. Self talk. I talk myself into something, I talk myself out of something. I think and rethink, and overthink. I get tangled in knots.

"Regret, remorse, guilt, sorrow, grief — whatever the emotional residue may be, we go there.  We go there again and again, even though going there changes nothing" -Dani Shapiro.  Going there changes nothing, and yet why do we do it? We want to see something that we missed that will turn everything around.... 

What I have to do is move forward. Move towards a brighter future. One day, one thought at a time. Starting here in the present.

From Maria Popova 
Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, a situation, an ideology, or, above all, yourself. 

So here's to moving forward, where ever it might take us .... XO

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Begins......

 
FIRST SNOW by Mary Oliver
The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence
such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creek bed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain- not a single
answer has been found -
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Shelagh Duffett Winter Painting Class Schedule is here!

PAINT DAYS!

(Perfect gift for someone:)

January, February, March 2017

ALL SUPPLIES AND LUNCH INCLUDED! 
Classes........
 

Where:  
 Fruition Cafe, Coburg Professional Centre 
6389 Coburg Rd, Halifax. (Corner of Oxford and Coburg Road.)
 A bright sunny space with lots of room. It will be closed for the day.
Wheelchair accessible, with gender-neutral and accessible washrooms on-site.
What:
A day of painting , chatting, good music and lunch!  We will be recreating this painting! 
BUT you can make it your own:) add three houses and a bird etc.... 

We will use ACRYLIC paints on an 11 x 14" wooden canvas with painted sides. Ready to hang. You can use as much artistic license as you please to make it yours. I will guide you through it step by step:) No experience needed but if you do have experience and want to join us for a fun day, all the better!

We will stop around 12 for a lunch break. Soup and a grilled wrap, quiche or sandwich. You choose when you get there. Tea and coffee available but only dairy free milk options. 

Please bring an apron or wear something an errant drop of paint might enhance. Casual comfortable,crafty clothing encouraged.
TESTIMONIALS
" Thank-you Shelagh, I learned so much. You are an excellent, patient teacher and a wonderful artist. "
"Wicked fun class! Thank-you!"
"Just a blast!~ Off to buy paint! Amazing results for the whole class!"
"Great day! I am thrilled with my painting!. The venue was nice and bright and the tunes were inspiring:)"
"Shelagh this was wonderful! The energy was so positive and I am feeling very accomplished. I can't wait for another!"
"Thank- you so much Shelagh, this was such a fun relaxing and inspiring day away from the regular routine"
"I will definitely like to do another one and would highly reccommend to anyone to do!"
"Loved the whole day! Will definitely come to another workshop. Thanks so much!"


COST:
$99+tax 

HOW:
Registration in advance is required, space is limited. Please sign-up by dropping me an email to shelaghduffett@gmail.com or purchase your tickets online at links above.

If you have any further questions, please email me: shelaghduffett@gmail.com

Creamy Butternut Squash Tomato Soup with Coriander and Lentils

What's for lunch you ask? Why Butternut Squash Tomato Soup with loads of coriander and ginger! I had these ingredients on hand and did some creative combining ....  The secret? A heaping tablespoon of ground coriander....with a bit of tumeric, ginger and nutmeg.
 Simple Creamy Butternut Squash Tomato Soup

3/4 butternut squash, coarsely chopped
1 box of veggie broth ( 4 cups)
2 chopped onions
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 big can of diced tomatoes 
3/4 cup of red lentils
1 T ground coriander
1 t Tumeric 
1 t Ginger 
1/2 t Nutmeg

Squeeze of lemon juice and a squirt of hot sauce at the end to taste! 

Plop it all together in a pot and cook until squash tender. Puree with hand blender et voila!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Coincidental Connections

This is my art on the cover of Lesley Crewe's latest book! 

Totally cool happenstance. I sell my work on a few "Microstock" sites and pretty much forget that I have art and images out there that are selling worldwide. I never know where they go. Well, sometimes I have stumbled across one or two, most notably one on Jamie Oliver's   website and the Philadelphia International Flower show used one on their poster, Oh and one was published in a book on Fashion through the Ages....and then there was a journal company in Brazil that used one, and one was used in a school textbook published in Hong Kong. (hmm I guess I know of more than I realized)  I get a check every few months and that is great, and I go back to my forgetting..

A couple of months ago I got an email from the Art Director at Nimbus which is an Atlantic Canada based publishing company. She told me she had picked my art for the cover of Lesley's' new book and not to be surprised when I start seeing it in bookstores and ads. She had chosen it from a Microstock site where images can be from anywhere in the world, liked liked mine  a lot and purchased it. She decided to research the creator and was delighted to discover I was a LOCAL artist!!  What a nice surprise to discover I was just down the street!

So I now have a copy ready to read thanks to Heather Bryan the art director. Lesley Crewe found me also as a result and now is a facebook friend and has some of my prints to brighten her wall! Happy all round.... 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Second-Hand Bookstores & their Treasures

Books. Used book stores = magic. I can happily spend unknown quantities of time browsing, reading, and looking for the perfect book. One that suits my mood or an unexpected treasure I did not know I wanted:)
There's a really special shop in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. Opened in 1951.  Tumbled towers of books and nooks and crannies stuffed with interesting titles and papers. 

I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations. —George Whitman 

One day, after tea with its eccentric owner George, and a great chat, I left my cookbook with him, which would be stamped with their special mark and added to his shelves.
He gave me a book written by a friend of his from Nova Scotia which was a nice twist:)
I then went downstairs to browse and purchase something that caught my fancy.  I liked the look and sound of "The Museum Guard" and took it away with me...... only to discover the story was set in Halifax, N.S.! I was in Paris leaving a book written in Halifax and accidentally purchased one about Halifax!
But that is not what I wanted to tell you....
It is the hidden treasures occasionally found in used books that excite me even more than the book itself. 
In "The Museum Guard", I found two train passes, probably used as bookmarks!  A return fare from Paris to Epernay, the centre of the Champagne district.
This book, now mine, was once a travelling companion to someone who left Paris at 5:50pm on Dec 31, most likely on their way to a New Year's Eve celebration!  Return was January 2.
I then noticed the name...Peter Slade.....
Well Mr. Slade, was it a fun evening? Did you get kissed at the stroke of midnight? Did it snow? Did you enjoy this book? Where are you now? ..... So many questions.
Mysterious bits of flotsam tucked between the pages and forgotten. Clues to a life lived that I can only imagine...
Another recent discovery was tucked into a second-hand book of Christopher Pratt images given to me by a good friend. He uncovered the addition when first poking through the pages and left them there for me to find:) Old stamps!  When a letter in Canada cost 43cents to post. Fun to find. The unexpectedness. The thrill of surprise
They were tucked into to a page with "stamps as art" that Mr. Pratt had created as a large installation for his dad's office. His dad loved stamps.

Just two weeks ago, I was in a favourite thrift shop and found an interesting book on Chinese medicine and women. Not what I was looking for but intriguing.... 
Once home, inside the pages I discovered a beautiful pressed lily!
It was a real gift. I was feeling quite sad that day and this flower felt like a message from a mysterious stranger crossing barriers of time and space. Once upon a time, that flower was bathed in sunlight and danced in the breeze.  Again questions.... What was the occasion? Why? What prompted the previous book owner to save the flower? Did they press it and forget? Tangible evidence of a memory, lost to them now but bequeathed to me, creating a new story.
Used bookstores and their treasures. Not all of them are the literary kind:) Oh, and check out this photobomb of a couple reflected in the mirror. My back was to them. I did not see them in this picture until now! They look wonderful.  Were they really there?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Kindness......


The other day I found myself deep down the rabbit hole that is the Internet and came across these words.....To touch someone with kindness, is to change someone forever.
Hmmmm.

Because for everyone you touch, you also reach everyone they will ever know, and everyone they will ever know, and everyone they will ever know......and so, your kindness will be felt, in waves that will spread, long after you move on. 

When you are kind to someone, you shift something in them.The positive energy you direct their way lodges deep inside.It stays there like a tiny ember that glows in the dark for their lifetime. It can never be taken away. That energy is carried forward in all interactions they have from that day on. Your kindness has become part of who they are, whether they are aware of it or not.    

Do something kind today. Say something thoughtful. Reach out.....