Winter Solstice 2017

At 5:23 EST today, the sun will reach its Southern destination and turn Northward again creating longer days, and for a few months cold weather will reign. Winter starts. Yet it is a day for celebration!  Yule, Yalda, Dongzhi, are just a few of the many traditional ways it is marked. We love to celebrate and the arrival of light back into our lives is a darn good reason to make merry:)

It is one of my favourite dates. I like”turning points”, they are like commas, a chance to stop and pause. Review, reset and renew my intentions for how I want to live my life, what I want in my life, who I want in my life, where I want my life to go, what I want my life to look like, who I want to be….All that good stuff.

As Mme de Saltzmann said, “One must begin again and again” We try we fail, we start once more. That’s the wonderful thing about life. We can keep attempting until we get it right or realize that being right might not be what we thought it was. That’s another great thing about life….we can allow ourselves the uncomfortable (sometimes) luxury of changing our minds.

As I sit here and type, I have a small candle burning near me. Entrancing, full of energy and magic.They need oxygen to survive like we do….just realized that. (I knew it of course, duh, but never connected it to myself:)  We breathe together. I make a point of lighting one every December 21, gratitude made manifest for lengthening days and as focus for my thoughts. It is a busy time of year for most, with Christmas and Holidays taking front stage, but this day is a good one to stop for a few moments and take some quiet time to reflect and reboot.

One of my thoughts for this turning of the season is that I resolve to get outside more often and enjoy the brilliant sharp beauty of Winter. I tend to hibernate inside, looking out the window and saying “Brrrrrrr” As someone once said, there is no bad weather…. just bad clothing! That said, I have to improve my exterior cladding:)  It will also help my mood. I love being outdoors but deprive myself because of the brrrrr factor. We shall see…….

I also want to create more! I have some painting classes coming up in the new year. Stay tuned! these will be a bit more free flowing and creative. I have some ideas I am excited about! Working harder so I can play harder. Carving out more time for me.  How do you celebrate this time of year?

all photos: Shelagh Duffett


Dec 6, 1917, 9:04 am

It is a rainy foggy day today….. but one hundred years ago the day dawned sunny, cold and crisp. The Halifax Commons, seen here, was soon to become a tent city for thousands of displaced, injured and homeless people.

The Mont Blanc and Imo collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour and the largest man made explosion the world had ever experienced occurred. 1 in tweny-five people who lived in Halifax were killed. The entire North end of the city was flattened in a second. White-hot shards of iron fell down upon Halifax and Dartmouth.The Mont Blanc’s forward 90 mm gun, its barrel melted away, landed approximately 5.6 kilometres  (3.5 mi) north of the explosion site near Albro Lake  in Dartmouth, and the shank of her anchor, weighing half a ton, landed 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) south at Armdale. Houses that weren’t flattened by the explosion were burnt to the ground by toppled wood stoves.

The Halifax harbour floor was momentarily exposed by the volume of water that was displaced. A tsunami was formed by water surging in to fill the void left by the blast and it rose as high as 18 metres (60 ft) above the high-water mark on the Halifax side of the harbour. The Manhattan Project scientists came here to Halifax years later to research the effects of the Halifax Explosion. Hiroshima was the next largest man made blast:(

Thousands of people were blinded by glass windows that imploded. Barely a window in Halifax was spared. The South end was mostly protected from the shock wave by Citadel Hill. This is a window in the Halifax City Club, founded in 1862.The crack from the blast has never been repaired as a memorial to those who perished.

Babies whose mothers had not been located and children injured in the Halifax Explosion on Dec. 6, 1917, were cared for in the YMCA temporary hospital. There were also many new births as the shock wave pushed women into premature labour. The city has survived, the young children grew old and we learned again about the resilience of the human spirit and that no matter what…. people will always rise to the occasion and do what needs doing…

CBC has put together a fascination 360 degree view interactive video of the Explosion, worth watching HERE

It Snowed!

We woke up to flurries and Monty found a box:) I immediately called to get an appointment for my winter tires as did 357 other people this morning and have an appointment on the 27th. Procrastination is my middle name. Alas, external triggers seem to be my motivating force! Now fingers crossed for mild weather the next two weeks:)

Halloween 2017, Boo!

And it rolls around again….. I love Halloween. All manner of spooky and mysterious and hilarious “things” abound. Today is cool and sunny with bit of cloud. Perfect! Neighborhoods are festooned with decoration and delight. Celebrating all that is scary and heralding the arrival of November and darker days. I’ve got a pumpkin to carve and candy to buy! Dusk comes early these days and before I know it, little footsteps will be dancing outside my door. “Trick or Treat!”

Today’s view from my computer…. very October 31st trees……

Paint Days in a Hidden Cottage

Paint Day in a hidden city cottage….

Join me for a relaxing day of painting, chatting and listening to music with kindred spirits. We will be spending the day in a charming cottage over one hundred years old, tucked in a lovely garden. We will break at noon for soup and a delicious vegetarian meal. Tea and coffee provided also. Byob if you would like wine with your meal.

If you wish, you can take a stroll along the water or through the pretty neighborhood.

We will be painting with acrylic paints on 11 x 14′ birchwood “canvas.” 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!

Please bring an apron or wear something an errant drop of paint might enhance. Casual comfortable,crafty clothing encouraged. To see what we will be painting and to register.. click on Sunday November 12  or Saturday November 18  Space limited to 10 people per class.

ALL materials and lunch included!


” 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!”

November 12 registration page:

November 18 registration page:


Some days are more beautiful than others…..

I decided that Sunday would be my summer vacation!  Ive been working really hard for months and really needed a break. I’m lucky to have a friend who lives in a beautiful place.

 The sun and sky co-operated to create a perfect setting…. I need more of this in my life!

We went out in a paddle boat and saw seals,sailboats and spectacular cloudscapes

It was a perfect little escape….

Sometimes a day in an idyllic setting can seem like a week.

 Now it is back to work!

Thank-you Prospect, Nova Scotia

7 years ago….

Illustration by Janet Cleland

( A reminder on FB told me that this happened on this day 7 years ago… Thought I would repost! I had forgotten all about it!)

That picture illustrates how I felt all day today!

I got a delightful surprise this morning! A wee book in the mail and this note!



How did this happen?

Well………I have been a huge fan of Dean Koontz since reading The Watchers, years ago. Often when reading a book of his I will come across a passage that really speaks to me or an insight of his that resonates and sometimes something that just makes me laugh really hard. I have wanted to contact him for years. In the back of every book of his, there is mailing address.

Finally, a month ago, after reading his latest book in which there is a hysterically funny scene with a sweet bun and the consumption of it, I decided to sit down and pen a short letter. I also sent him one of my prints as a thank-you for all the years of reading pleasure he has provided me with. I thought he would enjoy it and that was that. Never in a million years did I expect to hear anything back. This man gets 10,000 letters a year.

The book he sent is called is called I, Trixie Who is Dog and it is wonderful fun. What you might not know about Koontz is that he has an abiding soft spot for dogs. Trixie a beautiful Golden, and a retired companion dog was their loveable family pet. She sadly died at twelve. This book, a few others and a new one in October, Trixie and Jinx, are his tribute to her love and faithful companionship.
100% of the proceed of these books go to
Canine Companions for Independence.

and look….. he personalized it:) I’m thrilled.