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.

    as promised, knitting

    knitting in progress

    Charlotte Eriksson was quoted saying, “… so this is for us. This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know because the beauty is in the act of doing it.”

    That can apply to anything we do or create, including knitting. My Antler pullover, shown above while in progress, is finally complete and I’ve been wearing it. It turned out a tad too large at the bottom but that was my fault and not that of the pattern. You see, because I’m fat, I thought I’d ignore the waist decreases which in turn also keep the balance of the bottom a tad more form fitting. Bad idea. I won’t do that again. Anyway, I’m really quite delighted with the sweater even though it took me two months to complete!

    I especially appreciate the unique construction (it’s entirely seamless although it has clever faux seams); the garter sections are a nice design feature, and I love the extra long sleeves with the garter cuffs.

    details of Antler pullover

    Antler pullover

    Since I will only knit one item at a time, I’m now way behind on Christmas knitting. I may have to reserve some planned gift knits for birthdays rather than Christmas. As soon as I finished my Antler I dug out some  leftover yarn from the work socks I made for hubby and made myself a nice squishy headband to wear for those cool morning walks. The headband turned out so nice even though it’s easy-peasy garter stitch that I immediately drove to my local yarn store to buy something pretty for making a squishy hat for myself. Details about yarn used will be at the end of the post for any knitters who may be interested or simply head to my project pages at Ravelry.

    Rikki headband next to Madeline Tosh DK in "wilted rose" colour way

    “So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain where no one will ever hear and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
    Make your life be your art and you will never be forgotten.” — Charlotte Eriksson

    Yarns Shown:

    • Antler. Main Colour: Yarn Indulgences BFL Silk fingering in colourway Banana (Canadian made);
    • Contrast Colour: Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in colourway Hibiscus (also Canadian made).
    • Headband: Cascade 220 Superwash in Light Brown.
    • Yarn for W.i.P (squishy hat). Madeline Tosh Merino DK in colourway Wilted Rose (isn’t it a gorgeous colour?!)

    As you can see, I’ve been on a roll posting oodles of blog posts lately. Must be a phase I’m in!:-)Don’t hold it against me; I’m sure it’s a temporary condition.


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    dinahmow - November 23, 2015 - 1:38 pm

    I wonder why it’s called “antler”? I guess I was expecting reindeer fair isle!
    Yes, your Wilted Rose is a gorgeous colour;I think I still have a hat I knitted in a similar colour…

    You’re far more blog-prolific than moi! Things here have been hectic, but I may manage an apologia later today.After I’ve finished the hibiscus reduction and glared at the tangled wisteria.But it’s flowering! Pruning can wait!

    Gabriele - November 24, 2015 - 5:26 am

    Beautiful knitting work Diane. And, your quotations were very inspiring.

    Andi - November 24, 2015 - 9:01 am

    Gorgeous knitting! You may think that your Antler looks off at the bottom, but I don’t. You knit beautifully and you are far from fat my friend.
    It takes me months to finish garment knits as well, thank goodness they are always worth the wait.

    being touched deeply

    white gerber aI’ve been thinking about light, and love, and grief, and hope. I’ve been thinking about happiness, about silence, about music.

    autumn spider web

    “To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” —Arundhati Roy from The Cost of Living

    I came across Arundhati Roy’s quote when visiting Shawna LeMay’s Calm Things. I had written the opening sentences above, had included a video (below), and dropped in a few photos but was still at a loss of words. When I read this quote she had included in a recent post, it fit perfectly with where my thoughts lie lately. I know some of you are well acquainted with Shawna’s lovely blog but for those who aren’t, it truly is a breath of fresh air. It’s always calm over there, always something to contemplate, filled with literary goodness, and abounding with beautiful photography. Oh, and her most recent novel is turning out to be a best seller – check it out.

    flying kite in Parksville, BC ©Diane M Schuller

    Richard Wagamese, Winner of the Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life, Nov 3 2015, Toronto. I realize not everyone will be inclined to watch the video of his short speech but if you do, I hope you wait until the 3:00 minute mark to witness his deep and caring soul as he comes towards the end of it.

    I haven’t read his recent book, Medicine Walkbut I plan to as soon as possible. … The update to this statement is that I went to our local indie book store and bought their last copy. It’s now waiting for me to finish the 400+ page novel that rests at my bedside.

    sunset water ©Diane M Schuller

    So those are some of the things that have touched me deeply in the past week. In recent times, what has touched you deeply?

    [Coming up next: I finished knitting my Antler pullover. You get a peek next post plus what’s now on my  needles.]

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    Gabriele - November 21, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    The Cost Of Living quote is extremely beautiful. I have difficulty with the continuing looking. I want to look away and not see the ugliness but I suppose that makes me half blind and it is likely that I will miss the joy. Beautiful pictures.

    Andi - November 23, 2015 - 4:37 pm

    Beautiful images as usual. I draw great peace from them. That is no secret, as I seem to tell you that all the time.
    Thank you for sharing that wonderful speech. I will now make sure to add this author to my list of reads.
    What touches me deeply lately is humankind. The resilience of the spirit and the heart of our brothers and sisters despite the sad times we sometimes endure. xo

    10 easy tips for seating guests at a dinner party

    entertaining www.dianeschuller.com

    Are you reluctant to hold a dinner party, whether formal or very casual? Don’t be reluctant — here’s a few simple tips for seating guests that will help you as a host/hostess and will also have your guests feeling relaxed and welcome. I love dinner parties because it’s a great way to get to know acquaintances better and to form new and interesting relationships.

    Don’t let the photos of the 50th anniversary dinner party table setting scare you away either. The place settings may have been a tad more formal because of the occasion but the entire evening and seating arrangement was definitely relaxed and easy going. So whether you already have a dining table or if you need to set out a card table or two (or borrow them) to seat your guests, pick out the suggestion or suggestions that will help you with your next dinner party. The key is to bury the stress and amp up the good times.

    • First I decide where I am going to sit (usually at one end of the table, so that I can easily slip into the kitchen).
    • I seat two people on either side of me who I’m fairly confident can carry on a conversation together (since I will be up and down a bit they can carry on uninterrupted).
    • Host and hostess always sit apart, usually at opposite ends of the table to ensure guests are looked after.
    • I seldom worry about alternating men and women, though I do tend to break couples up, simply to mix things up.
    • Avoid seating good friends together; that way new connections are made and everyone feels included.
    • Whenever possible, I try to seat people with similar interests (bridge, biking, music, art, business, hobbies, etc.) either across from or next to one another.
    • People who would fall into the “silent type” may benefit by being seated between two talkers.
    • Be prepared with a few conversation starters in case there is a lull in the chat. Utilize your knowledge of your guests for this one. For example, “Darla, did you know that Gerry is also taking painting lessons?” or, {for example} “The person to your left volunteered for ______ with me. Ask her to tell you a story about how we _________.”
    • I often use place cards so there is no confusion when everyone is asked to come to the table for dinner. I usually keep it informal, however, by how the table is set and sometimes by having a meaningful quote on the reverse of the place card — this also gets people sharing their quotes, thus prompting further conversation and makes each person feel comfortable.
    • If one of your dinner guests happens to have beautiful handwriting or perhaps an artistic way, ask your friend to make the place cards (always done in advance, of course). When everyone is at the table, casually let everyone know who made the beautiful cards — again, another point of conversation can spring from showcasing the talent or gifts of your guests.

    setting table for dinner party www.dianeschuller.com

    Of course, it goes without saying, if you’re having two or three couples over who all know one another really well, place cards certainly aren’t necessary. Let people sit where they may. You can simply suggest that a certain place might be best to leave open for you since you’ll be up and down during the meal.

    Cool eh? Easy peasy, really. Just invite some friends over and have a really great time.

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    dinahmow - November 15, 2015 - 11:20 am

    I’m afraid meals Chez Dinahmow must, of necessity, be casual-cafe style.We don’t have the space for 10 seater table!Come to think of it, my cutlery and crockery is now a very mixed bag!
    But I could do jolly conversations and good food. Oh, excuse -don’t sit there, a cat has been on that cushion-here, this one is fur-free!

    Diane - November 15, 2015 - 12:04 pm

    Diane, so cute about the cats — we used to do that too! (The photos shown were for a formal 50th anniversary dinner!)
    A person can simply have two couples over and set up a card table — I think it’s more a matter of having people over, enjoying good conversation over a simple meal, and making due with what a person has. I’ve been to many a home where a card table served as the dining table and to friends who simply pulled out the collapsible TV tables for each of us. Whatever works!

    Photo Books are easier than organizing loose photos

    Are your photos all on your phone or computer? When was the last time you had photos printed?

    I am a huge proponent of getting photos OFF the computer or phone and printed, whether it’s a beautiful canvas print for your wall, multiple prints to place in an album (to be treasured and looked at multiple times over years), or in a lovely printed book. I’ve written about it here before: Printed Photographs are Gifts and Photographs are Meant to be Printed.

    layout for photo book

    I too have fallen off the get-them-printed bandwagon lately but I plan to get right back at it again — no more procrastinating!

    Why leave your precious memories on your computer, mobile phone and memory card when you can re-live them over and over again with tangible, permanent photos or photos in photo books?

    casual pre-wedding

    As my title suggests, photo books are less work than organizing prints. I can understand if some may disagree on this point but consider my point of view before you come to a conclusion.

    Wedding gents

    Sure, it does take longer for a photo book to be delivered than getting a bunch of prints printed but then you’ll have a lot more work to do with those prints once you bring them home. They will have to be sorted; you’ll need to purchase an album or two; they will need labelling; and adhering to the album sheets.


    When you order a photo book you do all that work online and in less time so once you’ve got the book completed online, that’s it. The other nice thing about having your photos in a book is that, when displayed on a coffee table, guests will be drawn to open it and check it out. And don’t forget what a great gift a photo book can be for parents or grandparents as well.

    flower girl

    Getting all those momentous photos printed is important so whether you get individual prints made or put a photo book together, years from now you — and your family — will be so grateful you did one or the other. So why not check out those two blog posts linked at the top, or check out these two articles written by professional photographers making similar arguments. If I can’t convince you, perhaps they can!

    Why you need to Print your Wedding or Family Photos (this applies whether you have hired a pro or have taken photos yourself)

    “Why prints are better than digital image files”

    1952 wedding

    Photographs Never Forget! Keep memories alive with printed photographs and albums/photo books.

    The palest ink is better than the best memory.” ~Chinese proverb

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    Fall Potpourri

    Currently . . .

    Missing these two so much.

    walking Australian Shepherds along beach in Qualicum Beach

    Though still enjoying autumn.

    Japanese Maple leaves - Autumn in Qualicum Beach

    Practicing each day and filling our home with music.

    Yamaha grand piano

    Reading — some novels are really engaging; others not so much (details below).

    our living room

    Still knitting away on my Antler pullover (didn’t knit for over 2 weeks while we were away).

    Yarn Indulgences Banana fingering

    We’ve been busy with other interests and pursuits though this represents my current state today. Since I haven’t been updating with any regularity, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the most recent books I’ve read. As noted above, some have been real hits and others definitely fell short (for me). Here then are links to my Goodreads pages if you’d like to read the synopsis and below that what I had to say about the more recent books where my bookmark has kept my place:

    All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I absolutely loved this book. Use the link to read my comments.

    Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

    Shantaram: A Novel: I read this months ago but don’t believe I shared it with you yet. Loved the story, really appreciated his way with words, and it drew considerable discussion in book club.

    Although I’ve read half a dozen or more novels based in India, this one had one very distinctive difference: the author had a true love for India and his perception, even of the filth and slums, gave the reader a whole new way of seeing India through his eyes and experience. Would I recommend it? Yes, without hesitation.

    And now for a recent one that I did not enjoy. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

    Let’s finish with another real favourite. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. Although this was not one of the books read in my book club, I highly recommend it for a book club choice because of the thought-provoking discussion this one will elicit.

    Although my reading list at Goodreads is far from being anywhere near complete, I have been making an effort to record the most recent books I’ve read. Here is a link to a list of my Favourite Books from those I’ve read in recent years and a link to those that I disliked (you’ll need to click on each book individually if you want to know why I didn’t like that particular book.)

    And today I’m going to leave you with a question from out of left field (or somewhere in the ether!). I asked this on Facebook and not one person responded — though people respond to and share meaningless videos and trite sayings in multiples on Facebook 😉  The question: What is the most incredible or memorable HAND MADE gift you’ve ever received?

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    Mary - November 2, 2015 - 4:43 pm

    My most memorable handmade gift was a wrap bracelet made for me by my 14-year-old niece for my 70th birthday. It is beautiful! I wear it so often and think of her every rime I put it on. It means so much more being handmade.


    Jessie - November 2, 2015 - 8:39 pm

    My husband (with help from my cousin and dad) made me a wood strip canoe for a wedding gift!

    And while I’ve received many other wonderful gifts of quilts and paintings and all sorts that boat can’t be topped!

    I loved All the Light We Can not see as well, what did you think of Orphan Train? It was recommended to me but I haven’t tried it yet.

    SL Mills - November 3, 2015 - 11:50 am

    A large heart shaped mirror and chest of drawers my dad made before I came home from the hospital – it has been in my bedroom ever since (many, many, many years) — to know he loved me that much before he even knew me is comforting.

    dinahmow - November 5, 2015 - 1:12 am

    Goodness! Over a long lifetime, I’ve had many hand-made gifts.Not all survived (and were never intended to) and many knitted garments were outgrown And today? Well, I have several original artworks that were gifted.And I still have and wear a ring,smokey citrine, set in gold, made by a then apprentice jeweller.
    I suppose I grew up in a DIY age.

    Gabriele - November 7, 2015 - 8:10 am

    I have on my bookshelf the two books you recommended. All The Light We Cannot See and The Orchardist. Starting one of them today, but which one? Thank-you for you book recommendations. I trust your judgement. What are you playing these days? I have been working on a Chopin Waltz that a student is slugging through. I have a few students who are pushing my boundaries. They play almost as well as I do.
    As to my favorite handmade gift? I just received a painting as a gift from a talented friend. We did some subscription art with her years ago. We would choose one of her paintings and rent it for $25 a month. Every month we borrowed another delight. One day last month she appeared on my doorstep with my favorite. “You love it, It is yours”. Melting with joy…………

    Andi - November 8, 2015 - 6:37 am

    Most amazing hand made gift was a quilt from my mother. It is still the most treasured gift and I use it everyday despite the warm temps.
    Love your potpourri of Fall images. Especially the pic of your loves on their walk.

    steph - November 8, 2015 - 2:52 pm

    a friend totally surprised me one valentine’s day with a little hooked pillow with three hearts hooked into it. what made it extra special…she used some old (OLD OLD) cashmere from some sweaters she had saved from when she was growing up that had been attacked over the years by moths. It’s beautiful…but it also has a little story…and that’s what makes it so special!!

    and thanks for the book recommendations….i’m going to suggest shantaram to our new bookclub!!! (We’re heading to Ann Patchett’s book store tomorrow to load up…hopefully she has this one in stock!)

    Is it fair?

    So, is it fair that I so sporadically post here? Some of you are so very loyal. I really should be loyal in return. I don’t get around to read other blogs as much as I perhaps should … though, I DO every once in a while. And, when I do, I tend to read several posts at a time. And, of course, I’m also so pleased friends and family pop in to see what’s up around our “campfire”. Please excuse this one not-so-positive post.

    clouds over the Salish Sea

    I’m recently home from a week-long vacation that was gifted to us. A dear dear friend knew I had been pining since the loss of yet another of our dogs. He felt it would do us good to get away. It did, in a way. But back home, I’m so close to tears all the time. And at times, I just can’t hold them back. I miss them so much. I hope I did well by them in their final days.

    near the end www.dianeschuller.com

    I also have a difficult time picking up the camera as I used to. This has been ongoing for months really, but especially since the last of our beloved canine family members has gone. So, I’ll at least leave you with a photo or two, but they will be something from before. I will attempt to post an upbeat and photo-filled post soon. Excuse this temporary (I hope) dip in enthusiasm.

    Pearl, Australian Shepherd www.dianeschuller.com

    Oh, oh … to leave you with something positive. I just read a really wonderful novel, The Orchardist. A great story, lovely writing, and definitely recommended.

    sticky toffee pudding cake by Diane Schuller


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    Gabriele - October 15, 2015 - 9:54 am

    I love reading your posts. I’m so sorry those beautiful dogs are not around.

    Bridie - October 15, 2015 - 4:04 pm

    Be gentle with yourself, Diane. Grief takes a lot out of a person, and loses such as these take a long time to heal. Be assured that this reader has no expectations of either regular or upbeat posts; I will be here to read whatever you are moved to write, whenever you are moved to write it. Take good care.

    Sherry - October 15, 2015 - 5:07 pm

    I so agree with Bridie. I totally understand why you are feeling the way that you do — and I would be too. Please let yourself grieve in the way that you need to. You have sustained major losses of loved family members and life is not the same without them. Post when you want to, take pics when you are moved to, read and knit and bake and take walks and do what makes you feel better. I have a somewhat erratic approach to posting myself and I just allow myself to do it that way. We love what you have to offer and we feel for you. xox

    Candace - October 17, 2015 - 10:04 am

    And I agree with Gabriele, Bridie, and Sherry. Don’t feel obligated to do something you’re not feeling. Animals are as much a part of our lives as people.

    Lisa Gordon - October 17, 2015 - 2:29 pm

    Diane, I know how very much this hurts. A couple of years ago, we lost all 4 of our dogs in less than a year. They become such a part of our family, and have such a big place in our hearts. It takes time. For me, a very, long time. Give yourself that time, my friend. xo.

    Mary - October 18, 2015 - 7:03 am


    I am so sorry to read about the deaths of your beloved dogs. I echo the words of the others who have left comments and send you this poem that made me feel better when I my beautiful old cat died.

    Though we need to weep your loss
    You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
    Where no storm or night or pain can reach
    You placed smiles like flowers
    On the alter of our minds
    And you found for us a new music
    That brightened every day.

    Rest in peace dear Pearl and Austin. We love you.

    Jessie - October 21, 2015 - 11:03 am

    Fairness, as usual, has nothing to do with it- any of it.

    Your posts are treasures whenever and however often they come.

    But perhaps, if it’s bothering you, you could tell us more about that cake to make up for it! 😉

    Susan - October 22, 2015 - 5:52 pm

    I’m so sorry, Diane, it’s so hard, isn’t it? Your dogs were so lucky to have you and I have not doubt you gave them both a wonderful life, filled with lots of love. Grieving is necessary and can’t be rushed. And it’s ok to cry.

    shawna - October 26, 2015 - 2:09 pm

    What lucky creatures to have had you in their lives.


    So, have you ever seen a murmuration before? If not, or if you’re simply wondering what a murmuration is, check out this video:

    I realize it’s been ages since I last post. I want to thank all my friends, family and acquaintances for your kind thoughts after I shared about the recent death of our dear Austin, so soon after Pearl’s death as well (but to us they were family members too). It’s still difficult to even bring up the topic or talk about them so I’m going to move on here as well.

    www.dianeschuller.com French Creek, BC


    Plum Kuchen ©Diane Schuller


    The photos are a silent way of sharing what I’ve been doing lately.

    Click for the recipe for the Plum Kuchen — I’ve made it 3 times and it’s fantastic! I also made it once substituting fresh peaches. If you’re a fan of the much lower levels of sugar used in genuine German Kuchen, then you’re sure to like this recipe. But if you prefer your desserts much sweeter then check out a few of my other favourites on Pinterest.

    And my third pair of socks have been done for a while and I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. For the knitters, check out my project page at Ravelry for details.

    Since this is such a voiceless post, I thought I’d leave you with a few of my favourite quotes of late:

    “I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between seconds…” — Salvador Plascencia

    “In the sweetness of friendship; let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” –Kahlil Gibran

    There are no happy endings.
    Endings are the saddest part,
    So just give me a happy middle
    And a very happy start.
    ” — Shel Silverstein

    “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” –Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

    “But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” —Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

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    dinahmow - September 25, 2015 - 5:38 pm

    Lovely! All of it, especially those cosy socks.
    It’s been crazy-busy here and still is, but we can see some results.And I think my blogging mojo may be coming back.

    Andi - September 27, 2015 - 8:51 am

    Hi love!

    I could watch that video a million times and believe I have. The combination of the scene and music brings me so much peace.
    Beautiful happenings. It is okay to be quiet sometimes. We all need to turn the volume off once in a while. And look at all the amazing this you have to share. You know I love those socks! :)

    Toffeeapple - September 28, 2015 - 11:34 am

    We used to see Murmurations frequently when we were children but not much nowadays. I did see a very small one recently but nothing like they used to be, Starlings are not as numerous as they used to be.

    Your socks are lovely and that recipe is very timely since I have greengages to use up – thank you.

    Gabriele - September 28, 2015 - 2:12 pm

    I so enjoyed the video of the starlings. Thank-you.

    Candace - September 29, 2015 - 4:22 pm

    The kuchen looks awesome!

    Susan - September 30, 2015 - 2:18 pm

    Lovely images, Diane. That Kuchen sure looks delicious, I may try to make it this weekend and those socks came out beautifully..those can’t be easy to make! Someone’s lucky feet are going to be nice and warm and cozy. :) Thank you for sharing these wonderful pleasures, my friend. xo

    Jessie - September 30, 2015 - 10:27 pm

    Oh I love that video. We would get big flocks of starlings (well not big like the video, just normal big) just across the road from our old house and I’d get nothing done for the days they were there. They are so mesmerizing, fascinating, soothing…

    Annie - October 2, 2015 - 12:41 pm

    The Doerr quote is one of my favourites too. And those socks look sooooo warm, lovely job :o)


    He came into our lives as a tawny bundle full of p___ and vinegar. He left our lives peacefully, without a whimper.

    Austin ©Diane M Schuller

    Austin was always like the pesky little brother, who had his nose where no one wanted it and had a propensity for using that nose to push his way through doors, flipping hands and arms when he expected you to get up and feed him, or simply putting it in your face to ask you to let him outside in the middle of the night. This garnered him the nickname “push-and-go”.


    He allowed the ‘girls’ to boss him around and always seemed happy to take that position in the pack. So it’s no surprise he always felt safest when someone else was ‘in charge’.  He was never as adept a hunter as Maggie, our Springer Spaniel, or Pearl, our other Australian Shepherd. But he did learn to watch their body language and to often jump in when the prey (usually an innocent vole, mouse, or nasty squirrel) would be flushed out by the girls and be the first to snatch it up.


    He was a born clown and had the cutest way of twisting himself into the most unusual contortions to get attention. His claim to fame was his almost obsessive desire for food of any sort, even if only crumbs. He’d do anything for food and would often try turning himself inside out in the hopes he’d receive a reward for his antics. He was the best vacuum I’ve ever had.

    A very handsome lad he was. He even made it into a picture book in 2010 for Paws for Charity. And he was on the local news September 18, 2012.

    In his final weeks he was desperate not to be out of my sight, quite literally. I knew the reason for that.

    Of course there was so much more to him than that, but I’m trying to keep it together to share with you what a delight he was in our lives for the past eleven years.

    Rest in Peace dear Austin July 18, 2004 – August 27, 2015.


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    andrea - August 28, 2015 - 12:18 pm

    11 is too young. I am so sorry, Diane. It’s a hard loss and he was a beauty. (I still crave a red merle.)

    Susan - August 28, 2015 - 2:46 pm

    oh no..another great loss :( I’m so sorry, Diane. This is such a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy. Sending love and hugs. xo

    Susan - August 28, 2015 - 2:47 pm

    I haven’t been keeping up with other blogs this summer but something made me look at yours today. Beautiful memorial to your beloved dog. I am always grateful for the gifts dogs give us. No wonder we miss them so much.

    Gabriele - August 28, 2015 - 3:18 pm

    You have my deepest condolences. It must have been hard to write this memorial but thank-you for sharing.

    Lisa Gordon - August 28, 2015 - 4:18 pm

    I am so very sorry, Diane. I know how much this hurts. They become such an important part of our families.

    Fly high, sweet Austin. xo.

    Anita - August 28, 2015 - 5:26 pm

    Oh, Diane. I am so sorry. Pearl, and now, Austin. Both beautiful friends. They do leave a big empty spot when they go. I will be thinking of you.

    Sue Halloran - August 29, 2015 - 3:58 am

    Diane, your gallery tribute to Austin is beautiful. Your words and pictures brings tears to my eyes. You have honored him well. I am so sorry for this profound loss and the big hole in your heart. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sue Halloran

    Connie Hull - August 29, 2015 - 5:37 am

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. But he is STILL with you…and knows how much you loved him… God bless !

    kathy - August 29, 2015 - 10:12 am

    So sorry for your loss. A beautiful tribute to a beloved family member.

    Candace - August 29, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    Diane, I’m so sorry. I was dreading to see this post. So soon after Pearl, take care of yourself. He was very handsome.

    Aaron & Mark - August 29, 2015 - 8:04 pm

    Diane and John,
    We are so sad to hear that Austin has also made his way over the rainbow bridge. You have written a touching tribute to a beautiful dog. We have no doubt that he will greatly missed. Please know that you are welcome to walk Tim anytime you like. Sending you much love, Aaron and Mark

    Annie - August 31, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    I’m so sorry to read this … Kipling was right, they tear our hearts when they go xxx

    Nancy - September 1, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    Oh Diane, this is a most loving tribute to such a beautiful boy. I understand your sorrow & have shared a love likes yours! How blessed we were to have had such amazing creatures to care for & enjoy for their beginning & in their end, Prayers for Austin & loads of live for you! ???

    Bridie - September 2, 2015 - 2:03 pm

    Oh, Diane. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet friend. Austin was clearly well loved; your tribute to him here is a testament to that. What a hard loss.

    Lionel Daneault - September 18, 2015 - 6:15 am

    I shall miss seeing Austin and John on my morning walks. He was such a handsome dog.

    Sherry - September 19, 2015 - 12:24 pm

    Oh, Diane, I did not see this until just now. My heart aches for you. What a beautiful and happy boy he was and how much joy he brought — and companionship and love. Why do their lives have to be so short? Big hugs to you…xo

    Eden - September 27, 2015 - 9:12 am

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Deborah Carr - October 14, 2015 - 2:17 pm

    Oh Diane…I am so sorry to hear about Austin. I always loved the ways in which you captured his character in your photos…and those beautiful blue eyes. How well I know the pain of goodbyes. And knowing that the time is coming…it’s like a tidal wave that you are helpless to stop, isn’t it? My dog heart to yours.

    for the knitters

    I think I was meant to be a knitter. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been strongly attracted to yarn, yarn shops, and I’ve even been known to buy yarn — before I ever learned to knit. True story.
    Nordic Winds shawl in Alafoss Lett Lopi www.dianeschuller.com

    I finished my Nordic Wind shawl and am a tad more-than-pleased with it. My first time ever using the Alafoss Lett Lopi icelandic wool. I was concerned it was too ‘rustic’ but trusted the designer. Now that it’s knit up (a rather quick knit) and washed, I’m actually pleased with how it softens. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still on the rustic side, but that was the point of doing this one. I’ve got it safely stored away so I can proudly donate it to an auction for a very worthy local cause this fall: Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs, a non-profit organization that matches rescue dogs to veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    hand dyed sock yarn from Spinning Fates

    Does this yarn look at all familiar to any of the knitters out there? If you visit Andi at My Sisters Knitter, you saw the socks she’s knitting up using this pretty yarn. The moment I saw a photo of this over at Andi’s blog, I checked out the details and located the Etsy seller who hand dyes this gorgeous yarn. If you’d like some too I highly recommend checking out Laurel’s Etsy shop, Spinning Fates. This particular yarn is her Spinning Fates Megara in the color Schrodinger’s Cat. My new 47″ ChiaoGoo RED Lace needles have arrived so as soon as I’m finished my current project (a Christmas present for my step-mom), I’ll be starting another pair of socks using this pretty yarn.

    Did I tell you I ordered the knitting book, Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks? I can hardly wait to try some of the patterns. She gives straight forward and easy to follow instructions with each pattern.

    madeline tosh yarn knitting up in Stargazing

    And in case you think all I do is practice piano, entertain, and knit, here’s proof I spend some time in the kitchen.

    homemade corn relish www.dianeschuller.com


    TIP TIME: At this time of year, with all the fresh fruits hanging around the kitchen, the fruit flies are everywhere. Last year I discovered a great and incredibly effective (and easy) way to get rid of them without a single chemical. I use the cider vinegar method shown in this video and it works like a charm. He uses a large bowl, I only use a tiny egg holder and I catch all the fruit flies within 24 hours – gone.

    Do you have a great tip (of any kind) to share?

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    Gabriele - August 8, 2015 - 7:31 am

    i think the yarn bug has bitten me, too. While on vacation I visited a yarn shop called Blazing Needles. The owner was amazing. Two hours later I had a satisfied tummy filled with warm tea, a bag full of smooth colorful yarn, and a crochet poncho pattern which is now 1/3 finished. I’m experiencing that “can’t quit yet” syndrome which has me blazing till my hands feel achy. I love reading about all your activities. Thanks again.

    Andi - August 8, 2015 - 8:00 am

    I love that you said you think you were always meant to be a knitter, as I was thinking the exact same thing the other day. Since I was young, my crafts have mostly consisted of create and playing with yarn in one aspect or another.
    Your Nordic Wind is stunning! Love your color choices. Sometimes I fear working with such rustic, but it always turns out well in my experience as after a good soak…the yarn blooms like nothing else.
    Spinning Fates is an amazing dyer and shop right? One of the many reason why it is one of my very favorite places to shop.

    Toffeeapple - August 8, 2015 - 8:59 am

    I try to keep fresh fruit covered with cloth, that way they don’t seem to find me an my fruit.

    Your shawl is beautiful and I am certain that it will make good deal of money for your charity.

    I am going to look at Spinning Fates, just to drool, you understand!

    Lisa Gordon - August 8, 2015 - 6:09 pm

    Diane, this shawl is gorgeous, and your corn relish looks so yummy!

    steph - August 10, 2015 - 6:01 am

    Your rustic shawl is lovely….what a generous donation!!! Yep…saw that yarn on Andi’s site….and love it just as much on yours!!!!!!!!! Really should be trolling etsy, but I’ve simply got to knit some of the stuff I already have. You know….all that stuff that I bought for ‘retirement’. (hee hee…..and how many years have I been ‘retired’?!)

    Jennifer@threedogsinagarden - August 14, 2015 - 8:14 am

    Love your shawl! Your timing of the tip on how to get rid of fruit flies couldn’t come at a better time. I have them in numbers and they are sooo annoying! I am going to try the cider vinegar. Have a great weekend!

    Bridie - August 23, 2015 - 8:47 am

    You know, I think I was always meant to be a knitter, too. My mum tried to teach me when I was younger—she would have given anything that either my sister or I had interest in learning any of the things she herself is so passionate about—but I wouldn’t sit still long enough to learn. She even taught my first husband, hoping that perhaps he could teach me. That didn’t work either. But oh, now! Now I couldn’t tell you the last time I let a day slip by without knitting for at least 10 minutes. I’ve learned so many life lessons through knitting; things that have nothing to do with what is actually on the needles…

    That Nordic Wind is going to make someone very, very happy. I love that deep purple with the cool grey. And I do love that you’ve chosen to donate it Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs. Someone very dear to me has PTSD from his years with the RCMP, and as I have two children who are blind, one of whom has autism, I’ve become very aware of what a tremendous impact service dogs can make in the quality of life for people with all kinds of challenges. And of course rescue dogs need that extra bit of loving care as well. Such a wonderful gesture.

    I am going to try that fruit fly trick right now! We’ve had very few this year, and then I woke up this morning to swarms of them.

    And finally, I have to know what is in those jars! I am hoping I’ll have time to do some canning this summer, but we just this week my husband accepted a job in another community, and we are moving for September, so I don’t know how much I’ll manage to get done. I hope at the very least to get my grape jelly put away, but our grapes still have a way to go yet. Time may not be on my side.

    Alina - August 25, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    I strongly believe I was born to be a knitter! Even my last name means “sheep” in Russian :) Your shawl look so lovely! I can almost feel its softness!

    Annie - August 31, 2015 - 1:01 pm

    That is such a lovely shawl, here’s hoping it will raise lots of money for such a worthwhile charity.

    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.

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    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!


    Bridie - August 2, 2015 - 2:02 pm


    I clicked over to your blog via Ravelry after admiring some of the projects you shared to the Mad About Ewe group. I’ve been enjoying reading through your archives since and was fascinated to learn that you took up knitting as part of stroke recovery.

    I’ve only been knitting a little while longer than you have, and I’m just about to finish my first pair of socks (though It’s not the first pair I’ve started…) I adore your kicky little ankle socks; such cheerful colours! I might have to make myself something similar. Nordic Winds is such a lovely pattern as well. I’ll look forward to seeing more photos of yours when it is complete.

    About the cake: we do a beautiful dense chocolate cake in our home, too, and never use icing either. Sometimes I’ll sift a bit of icing sugar on top, but I usually top it with whipped cream, flavoured with a bit of vanilla bean. It’s light and not too sweet.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and let you know how much I enjoy your writing.



    steph - August 3, 2015 - 5:55 am

    the party sounds like a real ‘hoot’…..we have a dinner club that will often do similar things(unfortunately for some of us…..we have the local community theatre director and the children’s theatre director in our group!!!!)

    and apparently I was the last person on earth to see the shadow company…..thanks so much for sharing. I LOVED IT!!!

    Lisa Gordon - August 3, 2015 - 5:32 pm

    Oh my goodness, Diane, I just LOVE those socks! The colors are wonderful, and they look so soft and cozy!

    If it’s chocolate, I’m in, icing or no icing! Yup, their loss for sure. :-)

    You have a wonderful week, my friend.

    Claudia - August 5, 2015 - 9:29 am

    Your pirate party reminds me of when we were at Club Med and went to a toga party. We never laughed so hard in our lives – just trying to get into our togas! Your socks are super cute and amazing! Love your planned snug shawl too…. I would keep it for guests to use.

    Toffeeapple - August 6, 2015 - 6:43 am

    Your pirate party sounds like a lot of fun, it’s good that retired people still know how to enjoy themselves.

    Your socks are lovely, I like short socks too. The yarn is a very pretty colourway.

    Michele Matucheski (Sweet Leaf Notebook) - August 19, 2015 - 4:34 pm

    The cake looks good to me! Had I been at your bridge match, I’d have tried a piece! My wedding cake was lemon poppyseed. We asked for a honey butter glaze, knowing I would decorate it with fresh flowers the day of the wedding. The cake-maker said she felt terrible about giving us this “naked” cake. It looked beautiful, and tasted delicious!

    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

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    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.