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.

    Pearl Blanket

    Mohair blanket is finished.
    mohair blanket ©Diane M Schullermohair knit blanket ©Diane M Schuller
    I was inspired by a gal in Germany who goes by the online name space curry to create and knit this lovely blanket. When I first saw her lacy, lofty, delicate mohair and silk blankets, I knew I wanted to make one too. Here’s my first. More to come for sure. I am delighted with how it looks & feels, plus it’s also nice and warm despite being so lightweight. This one has a minor mistake so it’s going to stay here and be used in our guest room.

    Recently when I go to my online photo catalog, one of the last photos I took of our dear Pearl (for those who don’t know, she died suddenly a short time ago) is sitting alongside one of my blanket photos. I can’t help but notice that the blanket resembles her coat so much both in the colours but also it’s texture. So I’ve named this my Pearl blanket.

    In 2014, my first year knitting, I waited until October to begin knitting for my family’s Christmas presents. I’m starting now so I can take my time and have things made and on hold, ready to wrap for when the season arrives in 2015. The first  gift I’m working on is a funky little Hitchhiker scarf for one of my granddaughters in a fun coloured yarn by Madeline Tosh.

    Hitchhiker in progress ©Diane M Schuller

    When I first started knitting last year, I was surprised to learn just how expensive yarn costs. Originally I thought I could make all sorts of gifts for a fraction of what they cost in the store. Not so. A cashmere scarf I made for my son, for instance, cost over $65 plus tax just for the yarn. And this scarf for my granddaughter cost nearly $30 for the yarn only — in the store cheap scarves can be had for under $20. But none is as lovely, unique, or made with such quality and love as this. So, I simply dismiss the cost and carry on.

    Oh and speaking of costs, all you knitters out there will be green with envy when I share this next little tidbit with you. I recently watched a promotional video by Staci of  Very Pink Knits demonstrating the newest line of interchangeable knitting needles by Knitter’s Pride. I’ve been saving so I can upgrade to something really nice that will last the rest of my lifetime so I ordered a set of the Knitter-s Pride Nova Platina Interchangeable Sets, Deluxe Set. I picked them up a few days ago at Mad About Ewe and the Hitchhiker scarf is the first project for which I’m using them. A knitter’s dream.

    For the rest of my friends and family, I owe you some non-knitting content. We’ve already begun getting a head start on preparing our yard for the May garden tour. We’ve moved a few trees, a few shrubs, got rid of one shaggy misfit, and rearranged some of the perennials. We aren’t done yet but what a difference those few changes have already made. I’m going to move a few more perennials yet before the warm weather rolls in. We also had a load of fresh mulch brought in and spread it in a few strategic locations — now that looks spiffy. I still find it so amazing how early plants bloom here on the West Coast. In our yard, at this very moment, these are the items that are actually in bloom:

    Helebores, winter heather, snowdrops, crocus, one pretty pink rhododendron, one of the camellia trees, plus the first daffodils look to be ready to pop within days. I know, I need to get busy taking photos again. I’ve been practicing indoors getting reacquainted with some of my technical skills. I realized I had not used the back button focus for ages, so actually had to look it up before I could change my camera settings. All the recent photos I’ve taken of knitting and yarn have been done with the back button focus. I’d like to refresh and practice some long exposures again as well. Perhaps I’ll get some practice in this week plus take a few photos of some of the blooms in our yard.

    Oh yes, and one more little thing. I realize that with me not keeping current here, I’ve missed sharing my thoughts on several of the recent books I’ve read. I may simply do a dedicated post next time sharing books I’ve read along with my thoughts on them. Until then, however, I do have something to share. I’m currently reading Shantaram: A Noveland highly recommend it even though I am only at about the 200-page mark in the novel. I’m really enjoying the story and love how well it’s written. I promise to give more information once I actually finish it but gosh, I am really enjoying it so far. It’s my selection for our book club and it’s bound to provoke a lot of discussion.

    So now it’s your turn. What my dear friend is the most creative thing you have ever done? Or, if you prefer, what is the most memorable novel you’ve ever read, and why has it been so memorable?

    (PS: I can also be found over at Goodreads if you wish to see what I think of books I’ve read, good and bad.)

    “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” – Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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    Celia - February 10, 2015 - 1:52 am

    What a lovely comforting knit! And how wonderful to have ‘Rolls-Royce’ needles, non-knitters won’t understand the excitement of top quality circular needles – but I do and I am very very envious.

    So, what’s the most creative thing I’ve ever done? That’s a difficult one! I could try to select a picture or book design? or something I’ve knitted, adapted from another pattern with leftover scraps of yarn? or how about that very tasty supper made from what happened to be in the fridge?
    I hope something I do today might be ‘the most creative thing I’ve ever done’ up to now. But who am I to judge?

    C xx

    Leanne@cottagetails - February 10, 2015 - 7:43 am

    The Pearl blanket looks soo cozy and soft. I’ve just added you to friends list on Goodreads. I tend to listen on audio more than read so I can multi task and a friend said she really enjoyed Shantaram so I should go check to see if it is on audio yet.
    Love Leanne NZ

    Susan - February 10, 2015 - 10:06 am

    The most creative thing I’ve done today is getting the woodstove going. Two weekends ago I took another Homesteading workshop. This one was Fabric and Fibre. Not my forte but they had make do and mend which i thought would be useful. I dusted off my crochet skills and learned the new skill of rug hooking. Unfortunately crochet uses more wool than knitting for a piece the same size. The rug hooking turns out to be relatively inexpensive if you use fabric from old clothes. I’m also planning to buy end of season sheets to get enough of the same colour without having to get into dyeing. Your blanket is beautiful, almost ethereal.

    andrea - February 10, 2015 - 12:45 pm

    What gorgeous photos — I want to reach in and touch the scarves! So, so sorry to hear about your precious Pearl.

    Gabriele - February 11, 2015 - 5:05 am

    Your Pearl blanket is so beautiful. I love seeing your pictures again.

    lisa - February 14, 2015 - 12:39 pm

    Diane, your Pearl Blanket is not only beautiful, but my goodness, how very special. Truly, both you and your creations are so inspiring.

    I would love to be able to move some trees/plants to ready for spring, but at the moment, we are buried under about 3 feet of snow, so I cannot find them!!! :-)

    Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. xo.

    kate - February 16, 2015 - 8:12 am

    hello diane~
    your blanket is just beautiful & such a sweet memory it holds for you~
    a hitchhiker is on my to do list but first need to finish up a few wips. your grandaughter is a lucky girl :)
    looking forward to photos of your garden~

    take care my friend~

    Annie - February 24, 2015 - 7:26 am

    More needle envy and blanket admiration from me … it looks fabulous and soooooo cosy!

    Lately …

    Sadness flies on the wings of the morning, and out of the heart of darkness comes the light. ~Jean Giraudoux

    dandelion ©Diane M Schuller

    Lately … Watched an on-demand movie the other night, The Hundred Foot Journey. As a comic drama it was a bit light-hearted yet with a soul-filling message. Much needed balm for my wounded heart. Even John enjoyed it — now that’s saying something because he’s not much for movies yet he put down his book and watched the entire thing!

    ©Diane M Schuller -- Do not copy or

    In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart. ~Blaise Pascal

    Lately … I finished knitting my first sweater (just happen to be wearing it as I type) and have begun another wee project. Sometimes I am so tempted to have more than one item on the needles but I refuse to begin something new until the current project is complete. I adore the yarn I’m currently working with. It was a gift from a lovely neighbour who is also a knitter (of socks). I have so many things I want to make. Oh how I wish I had learned to knit years and years ago.

    prairie grass ©Diane M Schuller

    Lately … The sun is shining, a few things in the yard are beginning to bloom: one very early pink rhododendron, the heathers, and one as yet unidentified shrub. Speaking of things blooming, I’ve been approached by the Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society to allow my garden to be in the 2015 Mothers’ Day Home Garden Tour. It’s not a requirement to have rhododendrons; simply to have a garden that others might like to view. So I said “yes”.

    And a great big thank you to everyone who took time to leave me words of comfort after learning about the death of our dear girl Pearl. We miss her so much. She was an incredibly well behaved lady. Such a good dog — and that’s not an exaggeration. Would do anything she could to please, her people were her life and goal in life — this can’t be emphasized enough. She protected us, she protected Austin, and she took it on as her job in life. She was so loving, a constant licker, sometimes a bit too mushy. Always alert and ready for anything. She was a real water baby and revelled in any opportunity to swim or play in water. John and I each had to save her life because of her fearlessness in water. He had to save her once as a pup when he was driving her to come live with us (a pit stop along a fast flowing creek that went bad in a hurry). I saved her about a year later when she went through the ice in a large dugout — she was going under for the last time and I had to break the ice water to find her and get her out. After that, she worried about taking care of us. She was a real “speedy Gonzalez” and amazingly athletic. As the ladylike canine she was, she was incredibly gentle with everyone and everything. She even ate in a ladylike manner. We actually miss her continual talking (I never thought I’d say that). And we sure miss how she always carried things around the house such as slippers (no, she was never a chewer, just a carrier of things).

    So now it’s my turn to carry something beautiful in my heart — memories.

    ©Diane M Schuller || Pearl

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    steph - January 19, 2015 - 5:27 pm

    What a lovely tribute to a best friend.

    And such an honor to be on the garden tour……!
    I wish I had your self control with the yarn…..one project?!?!?

    Gabriele - January 19, 2015 - 9:03 pm

    Your words are lovely.

    Andi - January 20, 2015 - 7:52 am

    There is a lump in my throat after reading this beautiful tribute. Beautiful, Diane. XO

    Nancy - January 21, 2015 - 1:47 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your special furry friend. They wind themselves into our heart and when gone leave a void that nothing can replace.. She was gorgeous and this shot is awesome. I know you will treasure it..

    Susan - January 21, 2015 - 7:05 pm

    How am I going to get over to the Island for the Mothers’Day Garden tour? I will have to start scheming right now. How exciting for you. I love the quotes you have chosen, so appropriate for any difficult time in one’s life.

    Candace - February 7, 2015 - 10:01 pm

    I hope your pain eases with time, Diane.

    the hour of separation

    Our pretty girl, Pearl (Donegal’s Sprinkling Kisses) will no longer be adding her special light to our lives. We lost her suddenly on January 8th. She leaves us with many happy memories.

     Oct. 22, 2002 – Jan. 8, 2015

    ©Diane M Schuller, Permission required to share

    “…love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” - Kahlil Gibran

    "Pearl" ©Diane M SchullerPearl2ndContactSht

    When I’m a lot less emotional, I will take time to create a post dedicated to what a wonderful, intelligent, and loving girl she was. We miss her a great deal.

    "Pearl"©Diane M Schuller www.dianeschuller.com

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    shawna - January 12, 2015 - 2:59 pm

    Oh Diane! How sorry I am to hear this. What a wonderful companion. I can imagine how many happy hours you spent with Pearl. Always such a loss. Hugs!

    susan - January 12, 2015 - 4:32 pm

    Oh Dianne, I was so sorry to read this on Flickr today. My heart goes out to you, she was truly a beauty. Hugs to you.

    lisa - January 12, 2015 - 4:34 pm

    Diane, I am so very, very sorry. I know just how much this hurts.
    They become such a part of our lives.
    Fly high, sweet girl.

    Jessie - January 12, 2015 - 9:47 pm

    Keeping you in my thoughts as only another who’s lost a great dog can. Take care.

    Sarah C - January 13, 2015 - 5:21 am

    What a beautiful girl. So sorry for your loss.

    Gabriele - January 13, 2015 - 6:43 am

    I’m so sorry Pearl’s time cam to a close. She looks like a fantastic friend.

    Susan - January 13, 2015 - 9:30 am

    Sad time, I know. Warmest thoughts to you and yours. How is Austin?

    marsha - January 13, 2015 - 7:06 pm

    So sorry to hear about your loss. 3 years ago we lost our Aussie (Casper) suddenly too…
    Pearl was a real beauty.

    Andi - January 14, 2015 - 7:07 am

    Oh Diane!!! My heart is broken for you. Sending you my love.

    Candace - January 17, 2015 - 2:00 pm

    Diane, I am so, so sorry. She was a lovely girl.

    Michele Matucheski (at Sweet Leaf) - January 17, 2015 - 5:07 pm

    I’m so sorry, Diane. I know it’s hard to lose a beloved dog. It’s hard for them to leave us, too. Hugs!

    Alina - January 18, 2015 - 2:52 pm

    Dear Diane! I am really sorry for your loss… Sending your lots of love.

    Sherry - January 18, 2015 - 4:43 pm

    I know how much it hurts to lose such a beloved friend — I don’t use the word pet because it doesn’t encompass the depth of the relationship. I hope you are finding some comfort in the small things as the days go by and in your memories of the love you shared. Hugs to you, Diane.

    Lately … » observed by Diane - January 19, 2015 - 3:10 pm

    […] a comic drama it was a bit light-hearted yet with a soul-filling message. Much needed balm for my wounded heart. Even John enjoyed it — now that’s saying something because he’s not much for […]

    Kath - January 19, 2015 - 4:39 pm

    oh Diane, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Eden - January 20, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. What gorgeous pictures of her. She will be missed.

    Annie - January 28, 2015 - 8:15 am

    I am so sorry to read this … it’s so hard when they go xxx

    Happy New Year!

    Hello January! Can you believe it’s 2015 already? Whenever time really seems to fly by, it’s important to remember that life is short: this year again, I’m going to do my best to make the most of every moment. It was only one year ago that I not only suffered a stroke that paralyzed my right side but incredibly have also recovered. I take no single day or circumstance for granted.

    The pre-Christmas season was incredibly busy and Christmas was calm, peaceful, and full of light. Now that January is here, I no longer feel the need to make resolutions. Actually I quit making resolutions decades ago, but I used to make quite firm goals. As I’ve entered into this wonderfully rich chapter of my life (busy retirement), there is no more compulsion to strive to attain ‘targets’. The days are rich so I feel quite content. I do have a special wish for each of you. It’s actually the wishes of author Neil Gaiman, but I had to borrow them because I wish I had thought to say what he has so eloquently shared:

    “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, sometime in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

    The knitters among you are likely wondering when on earth I’ll finally show a few of the items I was so busily knitting for Christmas gifts for my family. It all began in October. First was a simple Watchman’s cap for my son to wear at work and for dressier times plus a luscious cashmere/silk herringbone scarf for him to wear.


    I also made a pretty little shawlette for the lady in his life. She loves colour and orange is one of her favourite colours.

    lazy daisy shawlette

    And, using magic loop for the first time (which I really really like), I made two pairs of fingerless gloves. I also made three hats, again using magic loop.

    4 knits

    I’m also a tad pleased with myself since I made a darling cable and lace hat. So now I’ve learned to use magic loop, do lace, and make cables. Not bad for a newbie (excuse the blatant pat on my own back).

    Hermione Cable & Eyelet Hat

    I also made a pair of mittens but not just any mittens. I made them two-at-a-time on magic loop. Yesirree. That’s the way to do it!

    two-at-a-time mittens on magic loop

    Oh and one of my darling neighbours, who is  also a knitter (she knits beautiful socks! you should see how beautiful she knits) gifted me a lovely skein of yarn that is very locally grown/spun/dyed. It’s a beauty and I can hardly wait to get it on the needles. But first, I need to finish the sweater (something for me) I started the day before Christmas. So far so good. It’s my first sweater. 2014 has been chock full of firsts, so I plan to carry that over into 2015.

    cropped raglan sweater

    One of our dogs, Pearl, has started to show her age this past year. We’ve had her in for several tests but haven’t been able to determine the definitive cause of some of her symptoms. Bloodwork shows she is healthy as a horse, yet she’s losing hair like mad (much more than mere shedding) and the choking they feel is likely laryngeal paralysis which only surgery will correct. At her age, we have opted not to put her through the surgery. She’s still very pretty though, don’t you think?

    ©Diane M Schuller, Australian Shepherd

    Oh, one more thing. You know how some things really impact us, whether it’s something we read, or see, or experience? Well, this was something I heard on CBC Radio and can’t get it out of my mind so I’m sharing it with you. A beautiful moment heard December 15th on CBC’s “The Next Chapter”, author Rudy Wiebe was answering the Proust questionnaire. When asked, What’s your greatest fear? he responded, “Hurting someone I love … my greatest fear would be damaging someone I love spiritually.”
    What a beautiful soul that man has to respond in that way.

    Now that January is here, what are your thoughts / plans / goals for the coming year? What do you look forward to doing/seeing/accomplishing?


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    lisa - January 1, 2015 - 4:36 pm

    My goodness, you have been busy knitting, Diane, and everything you’ve done is so very beautiful.

    I am so glad that you had a wonderful Christmas. We did too, but it’s always such a whirlwind of activity here, that I need a couple of weeks after it has passed, just to recover! :-) It’s definitely all good though.

    Pearl is indeed so beautiful. She has such a precious face.

    I wish you a most beautiful New Year, my friend. xo.

    Gabriele - January 1, 2015 - 6:46 pm

    I adore your quote-
    “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, sometime in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
    I have had some magic and madness in December. All that art I did over this year had itself a little show. Some nice people invited me to show at their center.
    You always share such nice things. Thanks for lifting my spirits.

    Celia - January 1, 2015 - 11:47 pm

    Happy New Year Diane!
    Well you’ve taken to knitting like a duck to water! All those beautiful creations from gorgeous yarns – I hope each stitch has helped you move forward and feel stronger.
    My resolution for my work this year is ‘Sticking to the Knitting’ (not quite sure which business leader coined that one but I like it) – not meaning knitting all day but focussing on what I do and do it as well as I can without getting side-tracked.
    Celia xx

    katie - January 3, 2015 - 3:37 pm

    beautiful knitting diane! the pup is indeed a beauty :) i have a few goals for the year, all attainable i believe~ when school resumes, i will begin volunteering for our grade school reading program. helping little ones that struggle & giving extra reading time for others. the goal being that they all become better readers~ on the knitting homefront my goal is to keep better notes!
    always good to see a post from you~

    happy new year~


    Jessie - January 5, 2015 - 9:13 pm

    What a beautiful start to the new year.
    Beautiful quotes, beautiful knitting, and a beautiful dog!
    Happy New Year!

    Alina - January 6, 2015 - 6:03 pm

    Happy New Year, Diane! Beautiful collection of handknits. My New Year resolution is very similar to yours – stop making plans and live in the future, but enjoy every single present moment to the fullest!

    sweet clarity of winter


    sneak peek (it’s now finished)

    Yamaha piano ©DianeMSchuller


    dogs in snow ©DianeMSchuller

    Maggie and Pearl in the snow, when we used to live on the farm in northern Alberta.

    “One kind word can warm three winter months.” -Japanese proverb.

    first snow ©Diane M Schuller

    First snow when we used to live up north.


    As family and friends are aware, we no longer live where there is snow. I’m amazed sometimes how people grumble about the ‘cold’ or the rain or the grey days where we now live. But it’s really all a matter of attitude. I admit, especially in the later years living up north, my attitude towards winter turned sour. But it wasn’t the snow that had beaten me down, rather the isolation. And when it gets colder than minus 24 and beyond, that is far too cold for me to see the positive side. So why on earth post some old photos taken from those winter days? I truly do sometimes miss the snow. I love how it illuminates everything. It even has a smell, a fresh clean albeit faint scent. When the sun shines, and it shines no matter how cold it gets up there, the snow diamonds sparkle like they’re in winter heaven. It brings out the playfulness in pets, children, and even the occasional adult. I don’t miss the cold and needing to bundle up like the Goodyear blimp, but at times, I truly do miss the snow.

    Snow can be beautiful. Snow is silent. Snow accumulates and holds beauty, or maybe even some secrets. Snow truly blankets the world it falls upon, but in so doing it also reveals many things: tracks of wild animals and humans too; the trace of a lone vehicle on a country road, the imprint of an owl’s feathers left from swooping down for it’s daily meal from just beneath the surface of the snow.

    snow bound country road ©Diane M Schuller

    Okay, enough of all that. I’ve been incredibly busy in recent weeks. I’ve finally finished knitting Christmas gifts for my family (which is why I’m not showing any of them here for now); been attending meetings and planning events; and we’ve been so fortunate to be invited to friends homes for wonderful dinners and special evenings (like last evening); and, of course, the Christmas parties and lunches have begun.

    I love this time of year. I also appreciate that I can now be out and about without wearing multiple layers and heavy boots. I may miss the snow at times, but I have fond memories to hold me tight while I embrace a new kind of winter.

    What do you love about this time of year? Or about snow?

    “Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity” — Novala Takemoto, Missin


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    Sarah C - December 7, 2014 - 4:27 am

    Love your shots! And it is always great to finish a knitting project.

    katie - December 7, 2014 - 6:54 am

    your beautiful photo’s make me wish for snow….(remind me of that wish when we’re digging ourselves out this winter…lol)
    wishing you a lovely weekend ~

    lisa - December 7, 2014 - 11:01 am

    I sometimes complain about the winter also, Diane, but in reality, I would be quite lost without it. I do not mind the snow at all, but we had a horribly cold winter last year. Either way, I’ll keep my winters.

    It sounds like you’ve been really busy, but in a very good way.

    I wish you a wonderful week ahead! xo.

    lisa - December 7, 2014 - 11:01 am


    Gabriele - December 7, 2014 - 10:18 pm

    i had to think for awhile on this one. I love hearing all my students playing Christmas songs. It makes me feel very content. I love your pictures.

    Sherry Galey - December 9, 2014 - 7:36 pm

    I do love your snowy images, especially the last one! We hear that snow is coming our way tomorrow. Maybe I can get some pics too…It is so enjoyable to have people in and be invited out this time of year. So comfy and cosy and warm. Just like your knitting!

    Andi - December 12, 2014 - 5:58 pm

    I too used to live where there was snow. Now I living in the extreme opposite. I loved the way the street lights used to reflect off the snow and make a magical glow. These beautiful images make me miss it even more!
    Can’t wait to see the beautiful projects you finished.

    Jessie - December 12, 2014 - 6:58 pm

    I love the snowy time of year. Right now we are hovering at freezing and have patchy icy white stuff. Not good! Hopefully we’ll cool down for good and get a nice beautiful coating of the white stuff. Your snow pictures are gorgeous!

    […] sweet clarity of winter – Diane Schuller shares a set of photographs primarily featuring snowy landscapes from a previous area she lived in.  These beautiful winter themed photographs capture and share the very best of snowy landscapes, leaving you wanting to spend a quiet afternoon walking the snow-covered paths and breathing in the fresh crisp air. […]

    […] sweet clarity of winter – Diane Schuller shares a set of photographs primarily featuring snowy landscapes from a previous area she lived in. These beautiful winter themed photographs capture and share the very best of snowy landscapes, leaving you wanting to spend a quiet afternoon walking the snow-covered paths and breathing in the fresh crisp air. […]

    Candace - December 24, 2014 - 1:39 pm

    Beautiful, Diane, but I would much rather see photos of snow than snow itself. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    vessels of freedom

    “Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly.” – Van Morrison

    Canadian Cat photographed by Diane M Schuller

    taking on water || ©DianeMSchuller

    sailboat || www.dianeschuller.com

    fishing fleet by © Diane M Schuller

    coming home || www.dianeschuller.com


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    Steve - November 16, 2014 - 3:18 pm

    It’s been a long time, Diane. Good to see your work again. Lovely images of these boats.

    lisa - November 16, 2014 - 4:02 pm

    What a beautiful series of images, Diane!
    I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

    kate - November 16, 2014 - 4:23 pm

    so beautiful diane! thank you for sharing~ wishing you a wonderful week ahead~


    Jack Larson - November 16, 2014 - 10:04 pm

    these are wonderful!!

    Don - November 17, 2014 - 7:56 am

    A fine series of these interesting boats. They have some attractive reflections too.

    Sherry G. - November 17, 2014 - 9:55 am

    Great title, great quote and fantastic images!!! Love them all. So serene.

    Susan - November 17, 2014 - 10:07 am

    Water is so intriguing in the beauty it creates. A marriage of form and light and movement. You have captured it so beautifully.

    Candace - November 22, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    They’re all gorgeous, Diane. Something about boats and trains…

    Alina - November 23, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Beautiful, peaceful pictures…

    It doesn’t matter …

    apples by ©Diane M Schuller

    When visiting Sherry Galey’s online home, Still and All, she had posted this soul stirring poem. I couldn’t help but be completely smitten. With the need for wanting to share, I’m repeating that beauty right here, for you:


    …He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
    or write books. It doesn’t matter
    if you saw wood, or catch fish.
    It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
    and stare at the ants on your veranda
    or the shadows of the trees
    and grasses in your garden.
    It matters that you care.

    It matters that you feel.

    It matters that you notice.

    It matters that life lives through you.

    Contentment is life living through you.
    Joy is life living through you.
    Satisfaction and strength
    is life living through you.

    He says don’t be afraid.
    Don’t be afraid.

    Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

    Let life live through you.

     –Roger Keyes

    www.dianeschuller.com Autumn in the forest

    One more item of wonder for you, Why Leaves Turn Colour in the Fall.

    And finally, for some heartfelt inspiration. My son told me about this video that was taken in downtown Edmonton (where I’m from and where he lives). It’s a homeless person, as will be evident when you see the video. Inside everyone is something special.

    PS: I have been busy knitting, in addition to all kinds of other things of course. I’m knitting items to give away at Christmas and, since most of my family do check in here, I can’t tell you what I’ve been making or show the finished items here. If you’re on Ravelry though you can check me out (Ramonasgirl). I’m also quite pleased with myself because the current project required me to learn how to use magic loop. Sure beats using double pointed needles!

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    Susan Clark - October 31, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Thoughtful post as usual, Diane. I’ve been so busy this week I need to sit and stare. Having time to notice the small things and feel life is a blessing. Sometimes blessings are so unexpected, the people who saw and listened to the man playing must have felt lighter for it.

    lisa - October 31, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing so much beauty here, Diane. I so loved the video.
    Hmmmm, I’ve not heard of a magic loop, but you can bet I’ll be checking out the link.

    I wish you a beautiful weekend, dear friend. xo.

    Candace - November 1, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    That poem is beautiful, I hope I do that, I think I do, usually. I saw a story about that homeless man on HLN news last night. The apple photo is lovely.

    Alina - November 1, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    Thank you, Diane, for this post. It reminds me that simple little things DO matter. I’ve been running out and about for so much time trying to be productive, that I need some space and time to stay still, to breathe, to walk, to knit, to crochet, to be…

    Sherry at Still and All - November 8, 2014 - 9:44 am

    So glad you liked that poem as much as I did Diane. And thank you for sharing that wonderful video! I love the apple image so much — I must remember to leave the leaves on some of my after I pick them…

    susan - November 14, 2014 - 8:21 pm

    I love that poem so much and Sherry always has wonderful images and words on her blog. And that video is just wonderful, Diane, as are your photos here. Hmm, looks like an apple pie in the making?

    Annie @ knitsofacto - November 16, 2014 - 6:29 am

    Thank you for sharing the poem. And yes, I love magic loop, and loathe dpns

    Overdue – about books

    “If you make a mistake, celebrate.” ~Benjamin Zander

    You’d think I’d begin setting specific days or dates that I should post to my online journal, but life really does get in the way. That’s not a bad thing to get in the way. So, as promised, I’m finally going to share with you comments about some of the books I’ve read of late.

    I had to look to see which were the last books I mentioned and, after looking it up, see that I am further behind than I thought. Well, there is definitely one book I read for our book club since then that I DO NOT recommend (The Dinner by Herman Koch) but the ones I read after that certainly made up for the less-than-desirable ones.

    First up is The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green. It’s not unusual for me to recommend books that are often rated as Young Adult and this would fall into that category, but don’t tell all the adults who have been enjoying this novel. If you enjoy a good story, well told, about a serious topic and with a good dose of reality tossed in, this one might appeal to you. I laughed and cried and am so glad I read this one. You might too.

    Cutting for Stone. I read this for our book club and was actually looking forward to it. The story had me from the beginning and never let go. For me, this would fall into the category of one of my all-time favourite novels ever. I can never pick just one book as a favourite but I have a very discriminating list (it’s short) of novels that fall into this category and Cutting for Stone  is comfortably in that realm. Rich, well written, intelligent, and loaded with culture and tidbits of history and a good dose of medical interest. Sure to please the person who appreciates a fine literary novel.


    A wee update. As I mentioned, I’ve been working at making a switch from American knitting style to Continental knitting. It’s going quite well — better than I had anticipated. I just finished making a hat to practise my skills in continental knitting. The only problems I’ve had were getting a handle on the tension and at the end of the project I found it really awkward using the DPNs (double pointed needles). I’m sure it’ll get easier the more I do it so I’d consider myself officially switched to Continental! Imagine the possibilities.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family here in Canada. We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I’m immensely grateful for recovering so well from my stroke, for my family, my caring friends, for everyone who rescues and cares for abused and abandoned animals, and for all the hard working market gardeners and folks who raise feed animals in such a humane and sustainable manner. I’m grateful to you all.

    May you all live in a world of possibility. If you’re interested in that concept (living in a world of possibility) take a mere 30 minutes of your day to watch this inspiring talk by conductor and leader Benjamin Zander. Oh, I know, 30 minutes seems like a long time (but you should see the transformation in the 15 yr old cello player). But the 30 minutes I spent watching and listening has transformed me, truly. These principles apply to every aspect of our lives. He is one inspiring individual — I’ve been playing with one buttock since watching this.

    “For most people success is measured in wealth and fame and power. For me, success is measured by how many shining eyes are around me.” ~Benjamin Zander.


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    Shirley LeMay - October 14, 2014 - 7:33 am

    Cutting for Stone was one of our Book Club selections, but alas, I didn’t get into it. Those who read it raved about it, I guess I need to go back to it!
    I saw the Fault in Our Stars movie and loved it – I bet I would love the book (and cry my eyes out).
    On the knitting – your completed shawl looks just lovely.

    Sherry G. - October 14, 2014 - 8:58 am

    I love what you say her about gratitude and so agree about those who rescue animals and treat them well. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and stays with me all month (and hopefully longer.) I watched the TED talk by Zander some time ago and was profoundly moved. Will never forget his comment about “shining eyes.” You make my eyes shine, Diane!

    lisa - October 14, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    A belated, but very Happy Thanksgiving to you, Diane. I am so glad that you had a wonderful day.

    I saw The Fault in Our Stars, at the movies. Cried my eyes out!

    I am thrilled to hear that your continental knitting is coming along nicely. I had no doubt that it would!!

    Have a wonderful evening, sweet friend!

    Susan - October 15, 2014 - 2:57 am

    Cutting for Stone is a favorite and like you, I also enjoy a good young adult novel. Although I have never read The Fault in Our Stars, a few of my faves are The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time.
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Diane!

    Leigh - October 15, 2014 - 5:45 am

    Thank you for these reviews and recommendations – I will definitely find some time for that TED talk (love so many of those!). xo

    Candace - October 17, 2014 - 11:53 am

    I loved Cutting for Stone, too, Diane. Lovely book. I read another book by Herman Koch this summer, Summer House with Swimming Pool. Although it was easy reading and a little compelling, there were so many things about it I didn’t like at all. One of my co-workers offered me her copy of The Dinner to read after that and I declined. Too many really good books around to read any more of his stuff, in my opinion.

    Mary - October 19, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you for the link to Benjamin Zander’s “lesson”. What a wonderful teacher and what a talented young man to pick it up so quickly. I always wondered how they taught music. (although he taught us a bit more)

    I too really liked Cutting for Stone. I listened to the audio book while I knit.

    Enjoy this fall weather and your knitting!

    way more than 34,000 stitches …

    “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” – Elizabeth Zimmermann

    Nae shawl by ©Diane M Schuller || www.dianeschuller.com

    “It is a peculiarity of knitters that they chronically underestimate the amount of time it takes to knit something. Birthday on Saturday? No problem. Socks are small. Never mind that the average sock knit out of sock-weight yarn contains about 17,000 stitches. Never mind that you need two of them. (That’s 34,000 stitches, for anybody keeping track.) Socks are only physically small. By stitch count, they are immense.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much


    I finished! This Nae shawl is one I made for myself. I knit it with two yarns held together and the resulting fabric is so squishy and warm. I love it. Look at all those tiny stitches — thousands of them. In fact, after knitting all those little stitches, I’ve made a decision — difficult as it may be in the beginning. I plan to change the style of knitting I have learned. For those who don’t knit, there are different ways of knitting and each has their own set of pros and cons. Well, I learned the English method also known as “throwing”. It’s more time consuming and can be irritating to shoulders. My shoulders know I’ve knit all those little stitches. I’m going to teach myself how to use the Continental method of knitting. It’s going to be awkward and slow while I’m learning but I’m determined to make the switch. When I watch others using this method it’s much more fluid and far more efficient, not to mention quicker. I’ve already got a nice rhythm and am very comfortable with the English method but I can see how it’s going to wreak havoc on my shoulders eventually.

    Another bit of knit news. Some of you may remember when I ordered those darling shell stitch markers. I’ve ordered another set as a gift for someone so while I was visiting one of my favourite spots on Etsy (I love buying from Etsy sellers), I saw Lavender Hill Knits also made these beautiful Japanese knot bags. Knitters buy them to use as project bags. My lovely sister-in-law had already gifted me with a hand-sewn and fantastic large size project bag that I use for housing all my knitting paraphernalia – thanks Lynda. I was wanting a small project bag that I could cart around from room-to-room and place-to-place with whatever project I’m currently working on. My order arrived today and how fantastic and exciting. One thing I love about buying from Etsy sellers is their attention to detail and pride in what they make. Not only are the stitch markers and this reversible bag outstanding in the workmanship but the wrapping, the wee little ‘gift’, and handwritten note make me feel like it’s Christmas in October.

    "gift" from LavenderHillKnits on EtsyJapanese knot bag from Lavender Hill Knits on EtsyOkay, so enough knitting news — for now. I promised to do a post about a couple of books I recently read. That will be next for sure. Wish me luck on learning a whole new way of knitting. It’s going to be awkward, slow until I get the hang of it, and quite likely a tad confusing. But I am determined.

    Do you have a favourite Etsy shop? Care to share?

    Have you ever had to switch gears on something you’ve done? Or completely re-learn how to do something in a different way?


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    lisa - October 3, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Oh, how I love this shawl, Diane. It really turned out so beautiful.
    I love the bag too!
    I just know that you will be “Continentaling” like a pro in no time.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friend. xo.

    Gabriele - October 5, 2014 - 6:57 am

    Love the shawl! I have a favorite Etsy shop which makes stained glass stars. I purchased one with a bee in the middle for our 40th anniversary. Speaking of having to learn new skills I recently started a classical drawing class. First week was learning perspective. I drew 50 cubes trying to get the vanishing lines correct. After taking a mixed media class where the process was exploratory and free, I am now chained to details so minute that my free spirit cries, ” to heck with perfect perspective”. My teacher reassured me it was like riding a bicycle. I would eventually learn to balance. Hmmmm…… Leg us know how the Continental stitches develop.

    Susan - October 15, 2014 - 3:01 am

    oh Diane, that shawl is just gorgeous, such beautiful work! And I love that bag, what a wonderful gift!
    I have faith that you can learn or re-learn anything you put your mind to, Diane!

    Leigh - October 15, 2014 - 5:43 am

    Your shawl turned out beautifully, Diane! I hope you will enjoy this for years and years to come. Can’t wait to see what’s next on your needles, good for you for trying to learn a new knitting technique and I hope you will find knitting in the continental style better for your shoulders. Have a lovely day! xo

    Knitting: How I Learned …

    Recently on Flickr, where I share the occasional photo, a lovely acquaintance of mine, Sherry Galey, asked me the question, “How would you recommend a novice start off? I do know the basic stitch but that’s it!” I was going to send Sherry a private email but then I thought this might be something more people might want my answer to, so here goes.

    lace scarf ©Diane M Schuller

    As most of you are aware the reason I took up knitting at the end of January was as rehabilitation to improve my fine motor skills after having a stroke. Well, not only did it help me with my fine motor skills in my hands and fingers but it also managed to get me hooked on knitting!

    I did register for and attend a local learn-to-knit workshop. I have to tell you that it was not at all what I had expected and I learned far more by going online and scouting through video tutorials on YouTube. No kidding. Some videos are better than others but the advantage to the videos, when they are well done, the person shows you slowly and in easy to understand terms. For those who, like Sherry, already know the basic knit and purl stitches, here are the tutorials or people who give tutorials that I highly recommend (see below). But before I leave you with those links, I’ll add a few more thoughts.

    knitting www.dianeschuller.com

    You need to want to learn and are willing to be an attentive student – seems obvious but attitude is everything. I recommend starting by committing to an easy first project. It could be a scarf, a hat (yes, you can make a hat), or perhaps a cowl or shawl. I would consider each of those as ideal projects for learning. My first project was a hat. While you are working on a project you will learn and most likely will need to watch a video or two to help you get through. The other thing I feel is so important in learning to knit is learning to read a pattern. For me, that was one of the more confusing aspects but after working through that first project, I realized it’s not as difficult as I once thought. And with each project afterwards, your skills in knitting and reading patterns will improve — it’s a good feeling.

    And, if after you complete your first project, you want to do more, I have another recommendation. Join Ravelry. It’s a free knitting and crochet community where you can join groups (some are local) and talk to other knitters (including newbies like you), get answers to questions, join help forums, and get all kinds of free patterns! I am RamonasGirl on Ravelry – join and add me as your friend.

    Every single time I ran into a problem with my knitting whether it was how to fix a mistake, how to do a particular stitch, how to do a different cast on or bind off, or any of the other many things that seemed impossible to me, I went to the computer and searched for a solution. There was always an ideal video available to show me the way. I still use those videos.

    You have no idea that joy of completing a project. I’m proud of myself because I’ve made something with my own hands. It always feels so soft and squishy to the hand plus [excuse the cliche] that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Even when I knit something with a few mistakes (like my recent Multnomah shawlette), I still love it and what a feeling of accomplishment. It’s relaxing, almost meditative, and the hand feel of the finished project is like nothing else.

    multnomah shawl - www.dianeschuller.com

    Right now I’m knitting a Nae shawl and what a treat to sit and work on it. The yarn feels amazingly soft as I work with it and the resulting fabric (I’m just over half finished) is absolutely sensational. This is going to be knock out. I then plan to begin knitting the gifts I plan to give my son and grand daughters for Christmas. Oh, and if I have one single tip when learning to knit it’s this: only knit one project at a time. Finish one and then begin the next, don’t try to knit multiple projects at once, especially when you’re beginning. If you don’t get that positive reinforcement from completing a few projects first, you may not continue.

    Nae shawl © Diane M Schuller

    I hope this has been helpful for those of you who are thinking you may like to give knitting a try. Don’t forget, I’m still a beginner myself but I hope that my experience at getting started may be of some benefit to those wanting to also learn to knit.

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    lisa - September 22, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    Oh my goodness, thank you so very much, Diane!
    Like Sherry, I can do the basic stitch (and actually a few more than that), but as far as making anything, I am not beyond a basic scarf. I will surely make use of these links.

    Again, I thank you.

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Sherry - September 22, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Oh Diane, thank you for answering my question so thoroughly and beautifully. I was so excited to see this. It’s just what I need to help me get started. I will take your advice to heart and start with a small project that I can handle. I am so impressed with how far you have come so fast and the beauty of your creations. I hope to start this winter. Your images are so soft and compelling. It will be hard to wait. Thanks again, sweetie!

    Celia - September 22, 2014 - 11:32 pm

    It’s great to read about how knitting has helped you regain the movement in your hands as well as helping you to relax. Your shawls are beautiful – meditation, exercise and creativity.

    Susan - September 23, 2014 - 10:49 am

    Thank you Diane, this is just what I needed. I had already decided to make learning to knit a winter project. I want to have something accomplished when I crawl out of my den in the Spring.

    Leigh - September 28, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    What a great post Diane! I always enjoy reading the story of “how I learned to knit”! Great links too :) Wishing you a wonderful week. xo

    Candace - October 11, 2014 - 10:55 am

    Diane, those pieces are all so beautiful and perfectly done. I can imagine the feeling of accomplishment upon finishing one. I’m not sure knitting would be for me but I certainly admire those of you who do this.

    the season is ripe; the leaves soon will be wild and free

    “Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    apple/cherry still life © Diane M Schuller
    This is another scent that I associate strongly with autumn. Even when we lived on the prairies, apples always arrived in autumn and neighbours always had them falling from their backyard trees. I remember the neighbour across the street from my mom — his name was Ed — always shared bagfuls of his apples with her. She couldn’t let anything go to waste and knew she’d never eat them all so her solution was the best. She painstakingly peeled every one of those tiny apples, cored and sliced them, made batches of pie dough, and spent hours on her feet in her cramped kitchen making apple pies. They were the best. Funny how the smell and thoughts of apples bring on such warm and luscious memories.

    From my kitchen window and also from our backyard, I have full view of the giant maple tree belonging to a neighbour two doors over. It eventually turns a brilliant red with hues of saffron and gold intermingled amid the crown of leaves. But what I love the most about that tree is that it begins to lose it’s leaves early and bit-by-bit, a single leaf at a time until maybe a month or more from now it will still be losing leaves but they’ll begin floating down in masses. As each one is released it flutters butterfly-like and then takes on a swinging zig-zag fall all the way until the leaves rest upon the other neighbour’s roof, various yards and driveways, including our back yard. Today I found one single leaf from that tree – the first of many to come. I’ll be watching, or rather I’ll be mesmerized as I witness many of those leaves in the coming weeks as they swing and sway their way down.

    maple leaf © Diane M Schuller || www.dianeschuller.com

    The season is ripe; the leaves soon will be wild and free.

    Tell me what memories, thoughts, sights or smells you relish at this time of year. I’d really love to know.

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    dinahmow - September 18, 2014 - 7:52 pm

    Autumn is, and has always been, my favourite season.After all my years in the tropics, the 4 distinct seasons are what I miss most.Autumn takes the sting out of summer’s heat.Autumn brings those sharp tastes and smells.A time to fetch the big soup pots from back cupboards.A time to stew windfalls.To light a fire.So much to love and remember about autumn…

    lisa - September 19, 2014 - 8:45 am

    We usually have a good bit of wind here in the fall, and I love to hear the leaves being blown along the ground. Other favorite fall things? Boots. LOVE boots. Not the keep you warm, snow kind, but just boot boots. :-)

    Last, but best of all, PUMPKIN. I love anything pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie with tons of whipped cream of course!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend, my friend! xo.

    Annie - September 20, 2014 - 11:14 am

    Autumn is my favourite season, I love everything about it, including that it’s when I celebrate my birthday!

    Michele - September 21, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    I am happy that you like watching all those millions and millions of leaves fall!
    I have raked bag number 1 with many more to come.
    I am teasing you, yes they are pretty but there are a lot and raking leaves gets old fast!!

    I am always sad when fall comes. I love long hot summer days and don’t like the short days that fall brings.

    Jessie - September 22, 2014 - 10:55 am

    It’s my favorite time of year, there are so many things to love. The way the sky seems bluer than it ever does in the summer, the smell of the leaves and damp on the ground, and bird hunting. Autumn always brings to mind the smells of bird hunting, even though I didn’t become a hunter myself until I was an adult I grew up with it. There is nothing like the mingled smells of wet, muddy dogs, bird feathers, gun powder and a bit of gun oil on a cool crisp day to bring a smile to my face. Oh- and if when your tired legs and tired dogs make it back to the truck you throw in a Diet Coke and Milky Way? Perfection! :)

    Candace - October 11, 2014 - 10:58 am

    I’m heading back to the midwest tomorrow, where I grew up, so I’m hoping to see some vivid leaves. I love fall in Phoenix, when the heat goes away and the quality of light changes and we have tons of flowers and butterflies, but I hope to see a more “traditional” fall when I’m back there. However, it’s supposed to rain everyday I’m there :(

    Good Question

    • If we’re not supposed to have midnight snacks, then why is there a lightbulb in the refrigerator?
    • Are there any funny stories or memories (or characters) from your life that you’d like to share? Come on, there must be one:)
    • How would your classmates from school remember you?

    dutch baby at www.dianeschuller.com

    I’ll answer the bottom question for now. When I was in elementary and junior high (middle) school, classmates would remember me as the shy, quiet one in the back who never talked or raised her hand. Oh yes, and she’s the one everyone either teased or bullied. They called her names, mostly “injun” or “squaw”. I guess with my long black hair and dark skin that’s what they thought. My insecure demeanour didn’t help. Away from school I was very different. If they could only see me now. When I hit high school, a couple of my teachers were instrumental in ‘opening me up’. I became confident, talkative, and sometimes even bold. But that wasn’t until those final three years. Thankfully, once I gained that high school confidence, things only improved from there. Whew. Care for a Dutch Baby?

    Now you.

    PS: If I write out my Dutch Baby recipe here, my website won’t allow you to cut/paste so here’s a link to a recipe online that is just about the same as mine. My recipe is different from many online in that I never use sugar in the batter. I prefer the sweetness on the top-only such as pouring real maple sugar or else make it like cinnamon toast: spread softened butter, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Or just add some lovely fresh fruit. I also love lemon sugar spread which is simply softened butter, fresh lemon zest plus a little squeeze of the fresh lemon, and some sugar. Enjoy. I cook mine (the size above) for exactly 15 minutes and immediately remove it.

    sunset at Qualicum Beach, BC by ©Diane M Schullera peek of the Salish Sea at sunset

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    dinahmow - September 17, 2014 - 4:27 pm

    Really? People were so rude as to call you racist names? I’m glad you overcame all that rubbish because you’re lots of fun to know. And if that’s the view from your back garden I am very green!

    lisa - September 18, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Kids (and many adults too!) can be so cruel). Glad you overcame.
    You’re a wonderful person and definitely one of my favorite people here.
    I feel VERY fortunate to have met you. xo.

    Sherry Galey - September 18, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    That is the most perfect Dutch baby! What a shot! I can remember the first time I was served one at a friend’s house when I was about 20. I was amazed. I have been making them ever since but they almost never look as good as yours. In grade school I was pretty shy and studious too. Always worked hard and kept my nose clean. My big rebellion is Grade 7 was wearing jeans to school — long jeans that were ragged at the ends. It was off to the Principal’s Office for me, but I didn’t mind. I was asserting myself!