observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    "If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" ~ Shel Silverstein

    This online photo journal is ad-free; commercial-free; linky & link party-free; Facebook-free; ... it's pure and simple an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Colourful toes to chocolate cake

    “The most wasted of days, is one without laughter.” — e.e. cummings

    I don’t know yet about today, but I can guarantee that we laughed enough the other evening to last us at least a week of those days. We attended an incredible Pirate Party where everyone (all were retirement aged) was dressed up as pirates, some so realistic you’d have thought it was a theatre production! The hosts, the most creative of us all, had themed food and signs but even moreso were their props. A giant patio storage bin became an oversize treasure chest complete with (real) anchor, ‘jewels’, ‘gold’ and such spilling from within. There literally was a plank that had to be walked (with a threat that anyone arriving without pirate attire might have to walk said plank). Even the prizes were all pirate needs (rum anyone?) or ‘gold’ cannon balls. Two ships, carefully anchored to the bottom of their pool, rode the waves all evening long. There were boat races (on the pool), water fights — oh my, were there water fights! Some of the pirates needed a change of pirate clothes after all that. All in all, it was such a fun evening. If only our adult kids (or grandkids) could have seen the antics.

    2nd pair of hand knit socks || www.dianeschuller.com

    Let the bells ring and the banners fly. Feast your eyes on my second pair of socks! I love these ones. Perfect fit, cute colour, and I made them:-) I was tickled pink when I discovered that Andi of My Sister’s Knitter actually linked to my first hand knit socks in her recent blog post. Thank you Andi — between you and my lovely neighbour Michele, you two are the inspiration for me finally making socks.

    I’m already on to the next project — a Nordic Wind shawl for the upcoming chilly winter days. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to keep it for guests to snuggle with or if I’m going to gift it. I’ll decide once it’s finished. Speaking of which, I’m amazed how quickly a project knits up when using large needles and bulky yarn, especially after using fine yarn and tiny needles for several projects.

    Alafoss Lopi yarn for Nordic Wind shawl

     

    Nordic Wind shawl || dianeschuller.com

    With every single item that I knit I’m learning something new with each project. I’m also so pleased that I made the switch to Continental style knitting. It’s more efficient, easier on the shoulders, and a bit faster. Not that knitting fast is something I aspire to. Besides, I enjoy the pleasure of knitting — it’s calming and contemplative. Plus, at the end I’ve made something someone can wear.

    My husband is deeply involved in learning and playing bridge in his retirement. With each of the groups he plays with, they take turns either hosting or bringing a “lunch” to share. We’ve made a bargain that I feel is more than fair so I am still free to do the things I am involved in. That compromise is that he is responsible for making his own “lunch” (it’s really an assortment of cut up snacks, mostly savoury). But there are times when he’d like to have something sweet, other than fruit, to offer. So I don’t mind making the occasional batch of cookies or cake for him. Yesterday I made a chocolate cake for him to take. This is a recipe I’ve been baking for decades (originally from my mom) and it’s so moist that it’s always a hit. It’s also been decades since I’ve made icing to top any of my cakes. You’re likely saying to yourself, “How weird is that!?” The only exception is when I make carrot cake or ginger cake — both get a smooth cream cheese icing. Because I realize so many people are used to icing on cake, I compromised and made an apricot glaze to coat the cake. Hardly anyone tried the cake that John took with him to bridge — I guess they can’t imagine cake without gobs of sugary icing. Their loss; our gain (gain in calories too!). Here it is before adding the apricot glaze.

    rich moist chocolate cake

    I’m leaving you with a glimpse of a busy little bee I captured by camera a few mornings ago. It would slip inside each little hosta flower and emerge with pockets full of pollen including all over its fuzzy little back end.

    bee in hosta flower, Parksville || www.dianeschuller.com

    Finale to this post: I may be the last person on earth who has seen this. But, just in case you too have not yet seen the Theatre Group from Hungary known as “Attraction”, I want to share their amazing art with you:
    Attraction Shadow Theatre performance
    And, if you wish to skip all the preamble, move the red slider bar to the 1:00 minute mark. Enjoy.

    May you enjoy a productive week/weekend enjoying the simple pleasures life has to offer.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Mary Braun - August 2, 2015 - 1:45 pm

    Hi Diane,

    Your friend’s Pirate Party sounded like such fun. What did your costume look like? What a wonderful group of friends. A lot of creativity put into such a party and well worth it.

    I never ice cakes either except for birthdays–then just for the pictures. Yours looks delicious.

    May I say congratulations on your socks. That is my next “adventure” too. I try to learn one new thing with each project. I normally make shawls, lap blankets, hats for my church where they are given to different agencies and groups. For some reason, I think socks would be hard. Did you find them hard to do?

    Wishing you a most enjoyable week with no “walking the plank” involved; although, maybe a swim in the pool!

    Mary

    currently, in my garden

    “Have you ever seen a flower down
    Sometimes angels skip around
    And in their blissful state of glee
    Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.” –Terri Guillemets

    Datura unfurling | www.dianeschuller.com

    Mimosa/Silk tree bloom ©Diane M Schuller

    Gorgeous Lily www.dianeschuller.com

    Lily in Qualicum Beach garden www.dianeschuller.com

    Calla Lily seedhead in Qualicum Beach Garden

    Crocosmia seedhead www.dianeschuller.com

    Hibiscus in Qualicum Beach garden www.dianeschuller.com

    Datura (moonflower) unfurling || dianeschuller.com

    “A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.” –Terri Guillemets

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Candace - July 26, 2015 - 12:07 pm

    Stunning, Diane. I especially love 3rd and 4th to last.

    K&B by the Sea - July 28, 2015 - 8:11 am

    Diane, your flowers are beautiful! I especially love the lilies. Much to my surprise, we have some lovely lilies in the backyard of our rental house. I’ve never seen burgundy & orange tiger lilies and bright yellow & red lilies before! I’ve also never seen lilies like yours – so pretty :-)

    Gabriele - July 29, 2015 - 4:56 am

    seriously beautiful….

    Lisa Gordon - July 29, 2015 - 5:53 pm

    Diane, these are just beautiful!
    I especially love the last one.
    I hope you are having a wonderful week. xo.

    Jennifer - July 30, 2015 - 1:47 pm

    Lovely flower portraits. I have seen that particular salmon colored Oriental Lily in person and it is a gorgeous flower.

    Steve - July 30, 2015 - 4:12 pm

    Exquisite flower images!

    Toffeeapple - July 31, 2015 - 7:52 am

    I recognise Lily and Hollyhock, but am mystified by the other images. They all look lovely though.

    First socks

    “I find people interesting. People trying hard are interesting. People with a passion are interesting – whether it’s old cars or taxidermy or knitting.” — Clare Balding. (I agree with you Clare)

    I did it. I made my own socks. I’ve held off making socks because I’ve been intimidated by the many knitters who grumble about doing short rows (for the non-knitters out there, that’s basically how you shape the toes/heels). I buried those intimidations and dipped my toe into sock making. This was a project filled with firsts for me: First pair of socks; first pair made toe-up; first pair socks made two-at-a-time (although I’ve made mittens two-at-a-time); first short rows; first eye-of-the-partridge heel; first time using the seamless Judy’s magic cast on.

    two-at-a-time socks || www.dianeschuller.com

    I think they turned out not half bad and there are no mistakes — at least none that I’m aware of! I’ll admit they are a tad loose but I’ll use a smaller needle next time and that will make a difference. Since I strongly dislike using double pointed needles, I much prefer using the magic loop method (two needles; one long cord). And a note about the colour: You’ll see each photo of my socks is either black and white or a varied tone of black and white. That’s because I didn’t care for the colour of the yarn and I really, really did not like it as I was knitting and especially once it was complete. I dislike the colour so much I plan on dying the socks. That will be another first for me.

    hand knit socks

    Besides learning some new techniques, I’ve also learned that I really do not care much for variegated yarns, at least the ones with high contrast. Yet, I do enjoy the self-striping yarns. I’m full of conundrums it seems.

    hand knit socks

     

    For knitters out there, here are the stats:

    Ravelry notes

    Yarn: Yarn Indulgences BFL Sock in colourway, Water and Sprouts

    Pattern: Basic Toe-up Socks with a Heel Flap by Liat Gat

    I’m quite excited to actually begin another pair. I’m also seriously thinking socks would make a great gift item so there are more socks in my future for sure.

    hand knit toe-up, two-at-a-time socks

    “Knitting is clothing made in spare moments, or round the fire, whenever women gathered together… It’s something to celebrate–clothes made in love and service, something women have always done.” — Anne Bartlett

    Do you enjoy a challenge? Does a challenge motivate you or intimidate you?

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Jessie - July 12, 2015 - 10:32 pm

    Nice work on your first socks! I love that first quote, its so true. People with a passion about something can make anything interesting!

    steph - July 13, 2015 - 5:09 am

    you certainly don’t do things half-way….two at a time, first time sock knitter?!? You go girl!!! They turned out great. I’m sure you know…..socks are addictive, so hopefully, you’ve cleaned out a drawer; you’ll be filling it up soon!

    Gabriele - July 13, 2015 - 5:17 am

    Boy, I’m so impressed. I watched my daughter knit socks and appreciate the time and patience. My socks are off to you. Whoops, I think the saying is my hat is off to you.

    Candace - July 13, 2015 - 8:53 pm

    They look so soft. Congrats on a new skill.

    Andi - July 15, 2015 - 7:30 am

    Fantastic!!! Those socks are beautiful.
    You are rather amazing. You tried so many different techniques for your first socks.

    Lisa Gordon - July 19, 2015 - 7:30 am

    Diane, they are just wonderful!!
    You are truly such an inspiration.

    susan - July 21, 2015 - 6:40 pm

    Well they came out beautifully, Diane! And while you may not like the variegated yarn in color, I think it looks gorgeous in the photos..especially in sepia.

    As far as challenges go, I have at times been motivated and intrigued and other times scared and intimidated. But it feels so good when there is success! :)

    Christina - July 26, 2015 - 12:40 pm

    Your socks are wonderful! Congratulations! I always say that knitting socks makes me feel like a “real knitter”. :) Silly I know!

    Summer potpourri

    Rudyard Kipling was named after Rudyard Lake where his parents met.

    Heard on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, December 15, 2014: Rudy Wiebe responding to the Proust questionnaire. Wiebe was asked, ‘What’s your greatest fear?’ His response: “hurting someone I love … my greatest fear would be damaging someone I love spiritually.”

    An interesting tidbit about how society evolves through the ages. Currently considered a craft done primarily by women, knitting was predominantly once a male trade — yes, that’s true. And at one time there was actually a type of knitting union (I’m not joking) founded in Paris, France back in 1527. It’s said that no women were allowed.

    Ramona Clematis ©Diane M Schuller

    Aren’t those three little bits of interesting trivia? I thought so. I’m delighted some of you sent me messages letting me know you might like to read the occasional reprint of some of the Eco columns I wrote. In that regard, the plan is to reprint one of my old columns perhaps once a month. Today is simply casual and random.

    Today also happens to be Canada Day. It’s our 148th birthday party. We’re getting better with age, at least I hope we are (politicians definitely not included).

    I’m slogging my way through a Citron shawl. In the summer, I tend not to get nearly as much time for sitting and knitting so this one’s been on the needles since June 1! But another hour or so should have it bound off and complete. I’m very anxious because as soon as I have this thing completed, I plan to make my first pair of socks and am really looking forward to it.

    Today has certainly been a real potpourri of jots and thoughts. So here’s my final string of words for the day:

    I love the cry of the gulls, the scent of the sea, and the hush of the waves on a day like today.

    © Diane M Schuller : French Creek, BC

    Also of interest on the web:

     

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Sherry Galey - July 2, 2015 - 4:44 am

    I do love your trivia, Diane; it captures my imagination! Aslo your stunning black and white! And your Web tidbits. I’m also a fan of Mumford and Sons and Shawna Lemay!

    steph - July 2, 2015 - 5:43 am

    I got so caught up in your book link yesterday that I failed to comment….oops! Sorry! Citron is one of the few shawls I’ve actually knit again (3 times, I love it so!!!!!) Enjoy! (I enjoyed immensely your photos!!!!)

    Jennifer@threedogsinagarden - July 3, 2015 - 12:15 pm

    You do present a real mix of thoughts. I will pick up on one of them: the Proust questionnaire. How would I answer the same question?
    Mostly I have many silly little everyday fears like spiders and wasps (probably because I have been bitten so many times). I guess my biggest fear is losing my mental faculties as I get older. I value my creativity and imagination. I’d hate to lose those gifts.

    Lisa Gordon - July 4, 2015 - 4:23 am

    Love reading your thoughts, Diane!
    Hope you will show us your shawl when it is finished.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend! xo.

    Gabriele - July 4, 2015 - 5:52 am

    Knitting union for men? Crazy! Loved your trivia. Happy summer.

    Annie - July 10, 2015 - 3:47 am

    I did enjoy all the links and trivia in this post, having finally made it back into blogland after a week away. One teeny correction though … Mumford and Sons are definitely British … you only have to ask Wikipedia, and my friend’s aunt who know’s Ben Lovatt’s mum. Marcus Mumford has dual UK/USA nationality as he was born to British parents while they were temporarily overseas, but there’s not a Canadian among them, sorry. (Can you tell I’m a fan!)

    susan - July 12, 2015 - 7:18 am

    What interesting bits of trivia and thoughts, Diane and I love your images, especially that first one – so elegant! Anxious to see that shawl you are working on. Off to check out those links now! Have a lovely week!

    Father’s Day Gifts Without a Big Eco-Footprint

     

    (this is a reprint from one of my archived newspaper columns)

    cookies

    What did you buy for your dad for Father’s Day? Did you consider the environment? If you or the kids haven’t yet bought or made anything, here are few items to consider that have a lower environmental footprint. Each of these suggestions is really ideal for anytime giving so keep them in mind for birthdays or other celebrations as well.

    Remember that the less stuff we buy/consume, the better for the environment. Despite that, I know that Dads tend to be neglected when it comes to being treated on Father’s Day, so I wanted to add a few thoughtful ideas that either save energy, reduce waste, or generally use a lower eco-footprint.

    Something Solar:
    • Solar lights – are easy to find in any hardware, department, or camping store. You can also get solar lanterns and spotlights.
    • Solar radios – these are great for the backyard or in the workshop (beside a sunny window), as well as when out camping. Many camping or outdoor stores also have wind-up radios.
    • Solar chargers – yes, there are chargers available for Dad’s handheld gadgets whether it’s his cell phone or an MP3 player.
    • LED flashlight – even though these are not solar powered, LED flashlights are exceptionally practical because they emit a great light and you don’t have to worry about using multiple toxic batteries.
    • If your Dad is an outdoorsman or hunter, visit a hunting or camping store and you’ll likely be surprised at some of the practical items he could use – and several will be eco-friendly in some way.

    Let’s Get Together:
    Rather than buying something, why not give the gift of love and togetherness? Plan a special day doing something together with Dad.

    father and daughters | © Diane M Schuller www.dianeschuller.com

    A picnic or day at the lake is a simple yet very enjoyable way to spend time with Dad. Pack up some of his favourite foods, a canteen of lemonade, some watermelon, and you’ve got a simple but perfect beginning. Bring along the bocce balls, a ball & bat, soccer ball, or Frisbee. Ideally you already have unbreakable cups and plates to bring along (Melamine or stainless camping ones, for instance). If you don’t have unbreakable plates/cups, then paper plates will do but do not buy Styrofoam. Bring your own cutlery from home and toss it in the dishwasher when you get back home. The fun times and memories of the day will be something Dad will cherish. It’s amazing how doing things in an eco-conscious way are actually fun.

    If your dad loves being active, planning a day hike or a half day on the bike trails might be more up his alley – and it’s not harmful to the environment. Simply stay on the trails and respect the land and environment. Whenever spending a day outdoors or in the woods, always be prepared to carry out what you bring in.

    Important: If you spend a day or weekend camping or doing an outdoor activity with your Dad and you’ve brought along those six-packs of drinks, bring along a Swiss army knife or other cutting tool. Those pops and other drinks that come in six-packs have the firm plastic rings securing them together. Always cut each and every one of those rings. Many ducks, geese, and other wildlife get tangled in them every year and end up starving to death, choking, or ending up as a “sitting duck” unable to defend itself from prey.

    Picture It:
    If you have photos of the family, get one printed and framed as a gift for Dad. Or, maybe get one or two of them made into wallet size photos for him to carry around in his wallet.

    Be sure to get the camera out and take lots of photos of Dad’s special day. Forget the posed pictures – catch everyone unaware because those are the best. Don’t leave your great photos on the computer or a disc – get them printed out! Add them to a small album and it can be an extra gift to give to Dad after his special day – something to always remember.

    Enjoy treating Dad to a special day!

    © Diane M Schuller
    www.dianeschuller.com

    father and daughters | ©Diane M Schuller

    ==================

    If you think you might enjoy reading a few of my archived newspaper columns on the subject of simple things a person can do to be more sustainable, please leave a note to let me know. I may consider reprinting some. My thought is perhaps to reprint one a week or one bi-weekly, if there is interest.

    ~ DMS

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Toffeeapple - June 9, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    I am not sure that we have that day here. We don’t have Mother’s Day but we do have Mothering Sunday, when girls who were in service were allowed home for the day to see their Mothers. They usually took a Simnel cake with them though today that is now made at Easter. I do dislike this transposing of traditional holidays.

    I do hope that didn’t sound like a rant, it was not meant to be so.

    katie - June 9, 2015 - 4:23 pm

    hello diane~

    what thoughtful ideas! thanks for sharing :) for mothers day i gifted the girls framed photos & rope baskets made with fabric that i had used in something for them before ( a newborn dress, napkins, etc) for fathers day we’re doing a cook out & my plans are to gift the guys framed photos~ i love your idea’s!

    xo

    katie

    Annie Cholewa - June 12, 2015 - 5:32 am

    Some great ideas here, thank you :)

    Andi - June 15, 2015 - 6:54 am

    I would love to read your previous columns. This one is brilliant and has so many great ideas!

    Candace - June 27, 2015 - 12:09 pm

    Good ideas for any occasion, Diane!

    Gathering

    “A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia

    peony & seashell ©DianeMSchuller

    The MARS Garden Tour went very well. The volunteers advised us that 435 people visited our garden over the two days. Lots of people asked questions, made lovely comments, and I’d say it was a very positive experience. I’d consider doing it again — in several years, when the yard is much more mature. Here’s just a very small sampling of some of the (click ) photos from our yard the weekend of the tour.

    Pintail Drive garden tour www.dianeschuller.com

    I finished another knitting project. With all the time I’m spending out of doors, I don’t spend a heck of a lot of time on the knitting so projects move along at a much slower pace this time of year. This one is a gift for someone (she’ll know who she is when it arrives). I made this with some luxurious yarn: Madeline Tosh Pashmina which is made of 75% Merino wool, 15% silk, and 10% cashmere. It felt so silky as I was knitting. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll knit next (too many to choose from) but it’s most likely going to be a head start on Christmas gifts.

    classic car Qualicum Beach www.dianeschuller.com

    We’re really busy right now getting ready to host our annual Classic Car Parade Party. Our town hosts one of the largest classic car Show n’ Shines in Canada. In fact, Oprah has named this one of the 10 best things to do for Father’s Day! On the Friday night 300 of the over 500 cars entered do a Seaside Cruise Night (parade) and our home just happens to be on the route. So we host a huge party (80 this year) and then when the parade is ready to roll by, we all head up to the front, get our chairs out, and cheer them on.

    Classic car parade on Pintail Drive www.dianeschuller.com

    our guests Cruise Night www.dianeschuller.com

    Cruise Night on Pintail Drive www.dianeschuller.com

    Classic T-Bird Qualicum Beach ©Diane M Schuller

    I’ve also been to a great local theatre production recently with a friend. We had a delicious dinner at one of the local waterfront dining rooms (also recommended) before watching Fallen Angels, a delightful Noel Coward comedy. Some very good friends of ours invited us to to be their guests for the wine club — what a great bunch of people and very informative not to mention some interesting wine sampling. Then, keeping with the boozy theme, we had tickets to attend a tour of the Shelter Point Distillery up island from us. So a friend joined us and we made a day of it and discovered a funky little restaurant for lunch on our way back home. The Mad Chef Cafe had a unique take on some old standards plus many of their own out-there creations. I’d definitely go back — food was unique, tasty and, above all, fresh.

    The best times are when friends and family gather together.

    So there’s a wee sampling of what I’ve been up to. I’m looking forward to hosting a few brunches this summer. The ones we did last year were such a great way to gather with friends in a more intimate setting. And who says entertaining always has to be evenings? I loved hosting the brunches — they’re less work than a dinner party and everyone has just as much fun. What’s your favourite way of gathering with friends?

    The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift. — Laurie Colwin

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Toffeeapple - June 5, 2015 - 7:59 am

    It sounds as though you are having a busy Springtime. I love the flower pictures.

    Candace - June 27, 2015 - 12:11 pm

    Wow, Diane! You’re really busy, opening your home and garden to so many people. You must be one of the best hostesses around.

    Projects: Knitting and Garden Tour prep

    “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” — Stephanie Pearl McPhee.

    baby sweater in progress

    second baby cardigan

    I’ve finally  had a reason to knit a couple baby items. My hairdresser is having another baby and my friend’s daughter, who used to dog-sit for us, is having her first baby. So using a simple cardigan pattern I made these two cute little newborn sweaters (I still need to sew buttons on the sweater above). The gender is not known of either baby so I got creative with colour. I’m one of those who does not believe in blue for boys and pink for girls. And since there are so many colour options available, I refuse to stick with yellow or green as neutral baby colours.

    Raglan baby sweater | www.dianeschuller.com

    We’ve been exceptionally busy preparing our yard for the upcoming MARS (Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society) Mother’s Day weekend garden tour. It’s not a rhodo garden tour but a true garden tour of local yards that may be of interest to the general public. I’ll take more photos during the weekend.

    With final prep, this post shall be short on description and long on photos. Enjoy!

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    rhodo www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    Took a long bike ride this morning; the sky’s blue; the sea is calm and sparkling; the birds are busy raising wee ones; and am about to head outside again to enjoy the golden hour.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! If my mother were still alive, she would be thrilled beyond belief that our yard is in the garden tour. I got my love of nature and gardening from my dear mother. Gardening was what she loved doing the most. Enjoy your mother this weekend and, even if she lives far away, please phone her and share with her what you love most about her.

     

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Gabriele - May 9, 2015 - 6:54 am

    Your garden is gorgeous. What a sanctuary! Happy Mother’s Day to you.

    Toffeeapple - May 10, 2015 - 7:28 am

    That is a beautiful garden, you must have worked very hard on it.

    Your knitting is rather lovely as well. I forgot to pack mine to bring to Scotland, so am sitting twiddling my thumbs!

    Susan - May 10, 2015 - 11:09 am

    Dying to hear how the tour goes. Wish I could be there.

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:10 pm

    Wow! What a gorgeous garden! I sure wish you would come and whip my garden into shape — it’s pretty hopeless these days. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Pondside - May 11, 2015 - 7:21 am

    I’m visiting via Susan at As Long as You Have a Garden. I’ve had a very nice look around your Island garden. Congratulations on being in the garden tour – but what a lot of work!
    Cheers from another lover of ironing just down the road.

    Annie - May 11, 2015 - 3:51 pm

    What a beautiful garden you have … stunning!

    And I agree, knitting is a kind of meditation for me, there’s no time wasting involved.

    steph - May 12, 2015 - 5:02 am

    Our garden club’s big garden tour/luncheon/plant sale is today…..thankfully I’m just working the plant sale. Our garden was on tour about 8 years ago…..and I KNOW the tremendous work involved in getting ready!!! Our garden is always ‘nice’….but just not NICE!!!! Hope you all had a wonderful turn out….and the best part is you have a spiffed up garden for years to come!!! (It’s time we were on it again…..time to rework a few things!!!)

    Love those baby sweaters,too….I have some littles I need to knit for later in the year. Your pattern may be just what I need to knit!

    Lisa Gordon - May 13, 2015 - 4:11 pm

    Diane, these little sweaters are just adorable, and I love the colors you chose for them.

    These gardens are amazing too. As with your knitting, you can easily see all of the love that went into them.

    I hope that you are having a wonderful week, my friend. xo.

    Andi - May 13, 2015 - 7:14 pm

    Your gardens are beautiful, Diane!
    Love that quote from The Yarn Harlot, it is one of my favs.
    Seriously, could those wee cardigans be any cuter. Gorgeous knitting, love.

    Alina - May 15, 2015 - 12:59 pm

    Diane, you garden shows how much love you put into it! And how can knitting be a waste of time?! I consider time spent knitting as one of the most productive!

    Jessie - May 25, 2015 - 8:01 pm

    What a beautiful garden! I hope the tour went just as beautifully. I spent all mother’s day with my own mom… sadly she had just broken her arm so it was a much more subdue weekend than what we had planned. She’s doing well, physical therapy starts tomorrow and I’ve been doing gardening work at both houses now – good thing that’s the fun kind of chore! :)

    Candace - May 28, 2015 - 7:56 pm

    Your garden is stunning, Diane! Yet another way you bring beauty to the world.

    susan - June 6, 2015 - 7:22 pm

    I am so impressed! I adore those little sweater sets and your garden..wow!! I wish I lived near you, I could really use your expert advice, on both gardening and knitting!

    Ironing

    Meryl Streep has been quoted to say, “You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing.”

    ironing

    Well isn’t that the truth. So I obviously can’t be said to be spoiled.

    If I had a dollar for every item I’ve ironed in my life I could easily pay cash for a luxury car; come to think of it, I could likely buy a pair of them.

    I’ve been ironing since I was a little girl. In fact, I remember learning the “correct” way when in Junior High School in Edmonton. We even had to get our parents, or in my case, my mother, to mark me on my ironing skills. Can you imagine youth of today having to do such a thing? Huh!

    ironing www.dianeschuller.com

    Even in this age of ‘wrinkle-free’ I’ve discovered there really is no such thing. Everything still needs ironing. It’s just that some items with that silly label mean that they require minimal ironing rather than none.

    All that said, I don’t necessarily dislike all ironing. It gives me great pleasure to iron all my napkins before guests come over for dinner. I like to have crisp unwrinkled napkins at the ready for my guests. I also do the same for my table cloths though admittedly, once they’ve been neatly folded for weeks on end, there are fold creases still visible when I set the table.

    I’ve ironed more shirts and blouses than I could ever count, and still do. But there is one thing I truly detest having to iron: pants / slacks. Those are a pain to iron and get it right. When I iron, I want the end result to look like somebody cared, so fiddling with slacks has never become any easier. Slacks don’t seem to ever be made with an iron in mind.

    ©Diane M Schuller, ironing

    To make the job a tad more pleasant, when the weather is warm and sunny, I set up outside on the deck and do my ironing out there. If I have these lemons to deal with, I might as well make lemonade with them.

    What about you? What are your thoughts on ironing? What chores do you dislike but have made them more palatable by doing them in a different way? I’d love to know your thoughts.

     

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Jessie - April 23, 2015 - 6:07 pm

    Ironing? What’s ironing? I will shamefully admit that I have worn a really wrinkled shirt knowing it will bug my husband and that he will sigh demand the shirt and iron it for me. I guess that makes me spoiled! :)

    But I will also say I can’t remember the last time the iron was pulled out-I’m not even sure where the ironing board is. Basement? Thankfully jeans and t-shirts, even long sleeve ones never really need ironing! :)

    Oh- and I’ve been thinking of you because my middle daughter, Clara age 5, learned to whistle. Clara has been whistling EVERYWHERE and all the time. We took a trip to Florida and she whistled through the airports, along the beaches, down the nature trails… she’s getting good and starting to imitate birds and everything- constant practice pays off!

    Annie - April 24, 2015 - 10:49 am

    I always think Meryl sounds like a throughly good egg.

    I quite like ironing but my dodgy shoulder means that my husband has to do most of it.

    Susan - April 24, 2015 - 2:44 pm

    “My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”
    Erma Bombeck

    I, however, love ironing. Smoothing out the wrinkes, the warm smell of clean linen, the chirrup of steam and a neat pile of clothes at the end. It is a solitary occupation, a quiet space in the day allowing for reflection.

    Toffeeapple - April 25, 2015 - 6:31 am

    The only time my iron sees the light of day is when I am sewing then it is used for ‘pressing’ – note the sublte difference?

    As for having your ironing skills assessed – well!

    Gabriele - April 25, 2015 - 11:11 am

    I don’t own an ironing board but I do have an iron. I think I know where it is. It is lovely to think about you ironing outside.

    Candace - April 26, 2015 - 3:09 pm

    Diane, with all your other many interests, I’m amazed that ironing is something you also fit in…and enjoy. As for me, I would rather take photos of ironing like you just so beautifully did than to actually iron. Also not that fond of any household chores, unfortunately. I like when it’s clean but I wish someone else would do it.

    Lisa Gordon - April 26, 2015 - 5:34 pm

    Oh does this bring back some wonderful memories, although at the time, I am sure I did not think they would become wonderful memories. :-)

    My mom ironed bedsheets! I have been ironing since I was tall enough to reach the ironing board. Today, I too iron a lot, but now, I actually find it quite relaxing.

    You have a wonderful week, Diane, and thank you for the memories! xo.

    Susan Licht - May 2, 2015 - 7:45 pm

    Haha, I’m laughing at Susan’s comment with that wonderful Erma Bombeck quote :) Ironing has never been a favorite chore here, I’m afraid…but I applaud you, Diane! I’ve always done as little ironing as I can possibly get away with and if I were ever to be graded on my ironing skills, I would flunk. Maybe I could ship my ironing up to you?

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:07 pm

    What a lovely post — and your photos are gorgeous! I do love to iron — just don’t ever seem to have the time to do it properly!!!

    Roberta - May 16, 2015 - 7:24 pm

    I still iron, although I need to upgrade my iron. It doesn’t seem to get very hot. I love my old green wooden ironing board. I have carted it around for years. Ironing can be relaxing but I am with you on slacks..

    Where words fail, music speaks

    Where words fail, music speaks.” –Hans Christian Anderson

    sheet music

    Yamaha baby grand

    I play piano every day.” –Sarah McLaughlin

    … and I do too Sarah.

    Yamaha baby grand, www.dianeschuller.com

    The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind.” –Maria Cristina Mena

    piano foot peddle

    ©Diane M Schuller

    EDITED TO ADD:

    I realize that some people reading my blog may not realize a wee ditty about me and the piano … ever since I was a little girl I wanted to play the piano. We were too poor for lessons, let alone to buy a piano. Then as an adult I was busy working full time and being a full time mom. So in retirement, at the age of 61, I bought a dusty, cob-web laden piano at an estate sale and began lessons. Late last year my husband decided to buy me a brand new piano since I play/practice every single day. So that’s the short story behind the piano.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Susan - April 2, 2015 - 5:53 pm

    oh I just love this post. beautiful images and words so true!

    Andi - April 3, 2015 - 8:13 am

    You are one talented lady! How amazing to have the talent to play the piano. Beautiful!

    Toffeeapple - April 3, 2015 - 11:03 am

    Well done Diane, I have no musical leanings at all. Actually, being deaf is a real problem now so I rarely listen to any music.

    Gabriele - April 5, 2015 - 7:35 am

    Oh Diane, your pictures are fantastic. I just get wiggly inside knowing that we share this love of the piano together. I have a piano blog for my students. Would you consider letting me use one of your images?

    Shirley LeMay - April 6, 2015 - 10:10 am

    It is never too late to pursue your passion. I love the story behind your piano. Have a great day!

    kate - April 7, 2015 - 6:40 am

    hello~

    of your post & pictures, this is one of my favorite….both for pictures and word

    xo

    katie

    Alina - April 8, 2015 - 10:04 am

    You are so talented! It seems that everything you touch turns into a beauty… I love these pictures so much, they clearly show love for music!

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:09 pm

    Those are so beautiful, Diane. I used to want to play when I was little, too, and never did. I don’t think I would have the patience now to learn but I think pianos themselves are really beautiful to look at and wish we had one…not really room for one, though.

    Lisa Gordon - April 15, 2015 - 4:53 pm

    What a beautiful post this is, Diane, and you are truly amazing! xo.

    Whistle While you Work

    spring

    The other evening I attended one of the most outstanding performances at a local theatre. The Port Theatre in Nanaimo had presented Joelle Rabu together with the Vancouver Island Symphony performing a dramatic recreation of Edith Piaf’s last performance, titled Tonight … Piaf. Being a fan of Edith Piaf’s songs, I knew this would be something I wouldn’t miss out on. In reality, I can safely say her performance, both in song and dramatic recreation, was the most soul stirring I have experienced in my entire life. I would also venture to say that in my view she’s a more powerful singer than Piaf. The other thing worthy of mention is value for ticket price. I was rather pleased that my ticket cost $44, I was only 8 rows back right in front, and better than that Joelle Rabu performed a solid 2 hours!  If you ever get a chance to attend Tonight … Piaf (it has been performed around the world with limited showings), rush out and get your tickets. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Honestly, if she was performing again the following day I would have bought another ticket to watch the show all over again.

    Salish Sea / Georgia Strait, Qualicum Beach, BC

    My son was here for a visit last week — it goes without saying, that has also been a huge highlight for me. I love his laughter and great sense of humour. I’m a proud mom.

    pink tulip magnolia || www.dianeschuller.com

    Knitting. I’m sure pleased that I switched from the English style of knitting to Continental. It’s a bit quicker because there is more efficiency in movement and it’s not aggravating my shoulder as the English style had. I don’t spend much time visiting other blogs, but when I do, there are a couple dedicated to knitting I love to check in on. Believe it or not, because I wrote a comment in one of them, I actually WON something. I won a book by a writer I already know (and visit her blog too), Shawna Lemay. Those who visit here often know that I have mentioned Shawna before or provided a link to her blog, Calm Things. Lucky me.

    Bulky Cable Throw || dianeschuller.com

    Saroyan || www.dianeschuller.com Here’s a wee tip for the knitters. If you end up having to seam a large project, especially if using bulky or super bulky  yarn, as I did with the cable throw above, I discovered a great variation of the mattress stitch. The resulting seam is much better looking, far less ‘bulky’ and really looks nice. It’s the “Faster, Flatter Mattress Stitch“.

    Also, there’s a new pattern just released by Rachel Henry called the Nahant. When I saw a friend knitting one up and how unique it looks, I knew immediately I wanted to make one as well. I’m making mine with some lovely rich blue Madeline Tosh Merino Light. So mine will be narrower than others but it’s nice to have something warm around the neck that isn’t necessarily all bulky.

    Nahant in Mad Tosh Merino Light

    Salish Sea, French Creek BC near Parksville

    I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

    I was thinking of something the other day when I was roaming my garden. When was the last time you heard someone whistle? I mean whistle a tune. Or whistle a bird trill? Men, especially, used to do that with great frequency but I can’t recall the last time I heard anyone whistle in that way. It must be years. Are people not as happy? Has the art of whistling lost its way?

    If the pressure is getting to you, whistle. In a barely audible way. It’s the best way I know of to let go of tension. Music gets your mind off the situation, and the act of whistling melts the tension out of your body. –Fuzzy Zoeller

    And now, if you haven’t seen this yet, here’s a cop from Dover Delaware who got caught on his in-car camera singing a little ditty and, well … watch it and see. Enjoy!

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Jessie - March 24, 2015 - 8:48 pm

    My husband will whistle a bit on occasion and I do too.
    His whistling is lovely – mine is not. But I keep doing it because my attempts to whistle the music in my head is preferable to attempting to sing. Because my singing… well lets just say myself and everyone around me prefers my out of tune whistling… :) A musical ear is not something I was blessed with!

    steph - March 25, 2015 - 9:46 am

    your photographs are breathtaking….as always! thanks for sharing. (and that video was a hoot!)

    Lionel Daneault - March 27, 2015 - 11:38 am

    Glad you enjoyed Joelle Rabu’s concert. I’ve known Joelle for over 30 years. She is a remarkable woman.
    Do you and John have a turntable or a cassette player?
    I have something to share with you.

    Toffeeapple - March 27, 2015 - 12:23 pm

    Found you again! How good to see you, I have no idea how I lost your blog but found you via a comment you made on Celia’s post.

    Gabriele - March 27, 2015 - 6:29 pm

    I loved the Delaware cop. Shake it off!

    Lisa Gordon - March 29, 2015 - 3:02 pm

    Hmmm, I honestly cannot remember the last time I heard someone whistle.
    Kind of sad really. Maybe disappearing just like a hand-written letter(?). I hope not.

    I always love to see your knitting, Diane. Your work is just beautiful, and you are truly an inspiration.

    I wish you a wonderful week ahead, and a very Happy Easter, my friend. xo.

    susan - April 2, 2015 - 6:00 pm

    you know, I haven’t thought about whistling or lack of it, in a very long while but my dad used to whistle all the time. kind of a lost art these days? sad.

    how nice that you got to spend some time with your son! sounds like he’s a fun guy to be around.

    and your knitting is looking beautiful as always.
    hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend, my friend!

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:12 pm

    You have so many interests and talents, amazing.

    silent pictures

    Hitchhiker scarf on the needles

    www.dianeschuller.com -- cable throw in progress

    cable comfort throw ©Diane M Schuller

    2015 Herring Run on Salish Sea near Parksville, BC

    2015 Herring run on Salish Sea ©Diane M Schuller

    cookies for my son www.dianeschuller.com

    seagulls, eagles, beach along Georgia Strait (Qualicum Beach) BC

    early February rhododendron Qualicum Beach ©Diane M Schuller

    Camelia - ©Diane M Schuller

    stones || www.dianeschuller.com

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Gabriele - March 10, 2015 - 8:19 pm

    i love your pictures!

    Susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:29 am

    Your choices tickled all my senses. Lovely.

    Eden - March 11, 2015 - 5:21 pm

    I just love your pictures, Diane. Their beauty makes me feel so relaxed, especially the knitting ones. ????

    Eden - March 11, 2015 - 5:23 pm

    Those ???? were supposed to be a smiley face. :-)

    Katie - March 12, 2015 - 9:44 am

    how nice to see the water & flowers! thank you for sharing diane~ your knitting is lovely. happy weekending~

    I have read …

    As promised dear friends, I am finally catching up on sharing my thoughts on recent books I’ve read.

    www.dianeschuller.com

    After reading Cutting for Stoneand giving it an emphatic thumbs up, I headed off in a different direction. Next up was A.S.A. Harrison’s thriller, The Silent Wife. The author has intentionally drawn Jodi and Todd so we don’t relate to them so it’s already not your usual novel. Well written and plotted with good character development. Her plot twists don’t occur until later in the novel but when they come, she doesn’t rely simply on one or two twists. Definitely a page turner and I give it a high rating as a thriller.

    Next up was the award winning novel by Donna Tartt that I read for book club: The Goldfinch: (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction). For me, it’s hard to give it a rating because of a few personal annoyances. The beginning is fantastically written and engaging. There is a section in the middle that gets overly long and drawn out and incredibly annoying (to me). The clever use of symbolism, the beginning, and the overall story are redeeming factors. So I’d say if you read the synopsis and that appeals then go for it. This novel offered considerable discussion for book club.

    So who, besides me, has not yet read The Glass Castle: A Memoir? Thanks to book club, I finally read it and am glad I did. I thought it took a great deal of objectivity to write this the way she has. If you haven’t read this one yet, it certainly is a book that will evoke all kings of emotions. A rare glimpse into the reality of a deeply dysfunctional family.

    The final novel I’m covering today is one that I could relate to in a great number of ways, in terms of the religious extremism. Purple Hibiscusby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of those novels I’d recommend to anyone to read. It portrays the “tragic riddle” of a man who completely forfeits the needs of his family over the desire to contribute generously to the lives of strangers. And that’s putting it mildly. A well told story. A great choice for any book club.

    Currently open beside my bed is the exquisite novel Shantaram. I’m only half way through this 900 page tome but am loving every single word on every single page. I suspect this is going to fall into the category of one of the best novels I’ve read in my life. But I will reserve that until I’m finished. I’ll let you know.

    books on my shelf

    “Do you know, … what Dom Perignon said after inventing champagne? … He called out to his fellow monks, ‘Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.’ “ –excerpt from The Fault in Our Starsby John Green (a YA book that I also recommend).

    (I’ve included links to these books just in case you might like to read the synopsis.)

    More to come (knitting, movies, and life) soon.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Lionel Daneault - March 8, 2015 - 1:04 pm

    Hi Diane!
    I found the name of the Pinot Noir from Vancouver Island that the Vancouver Sun wine writer recommended.
    Unsworth Pinot Noir 2012
    Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC $24.00
    Cheers,
    Lionel

    Candace - March 9, 2015 - 9:30 pm

    Diane, I thought I was on a roll because I’ve read the first 3 books you mentioned but I haven’t read the other 3. Purple Hibiscus sounds like one I would like. And Shantaram sounds enticing but I’m sometimes reluctant to start books that long, just because, if I get too engrossed, I know a lot of other things that need to be done, like housework, will suffer (and I already have plenty of excuses to not do that). I did like The Goldfinch but I got a little tired of the extreme drug use that was going on there for awhile.

    I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I know the movie is out but it doesn’t interest me but 3 days after finishing the book, there are parts of it I just can’t stop thinking about…and the strange thing is, I’m not sure I really “like” the author herself all that much but something about the book…

    I love the textures on your photo.

    Annie Cholewa - March 10, 2015 - 12:54 pm

    If I’m honest not one of the books sounds like my kind of thing, but I LOVE the photo you’ve used :o)

    Susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:24 am

    I stopped reading Goldfinch about halfway through, for the reasons you describe. I intend to finish it in the hope it recaptures the quality of the earlier sections. I became deeply immersed in the characters and the unfolding of the story. Then something got lost and I felt as if I was watching people I no longer knew.