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.

    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~

    hugs~

    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…

    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:

    HOKUSAI SAYS

    …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.

    book

    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!
    Mary

    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

    Diane

    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!

    Eleanor had some wisdom

    “Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

    Fair warning: this is one of the longest posts I’ve done so feel free to skip over any/all. One of the reasons I’ve continued with my photo journal / blog is because some people I know like to look in and see what I’m up to, especially now that we’ve moved onto Vancouver Island. I often feel like it’s boring to keep telling everyone what I’m up to or sharing some of the beautiful sights we get to see everyday around here. And then I try to remind myself that is the very reason some like to stop by — you get a glimpse into a life lived differently. As we all do, each of us has something different we do and experience whether it’s daily or sporadically. So I shall continue.

    sunrise over Georgia Strait by ©Diane M Schuller, Parksville, BC

    Although I’m still spending all kinds of time outdoors each day, I’m beginning to spend more of my evenings indoors. Guess what I’ve been doing during those evenings? Knitting. I’ve made my first shawlette (just a smaller version of a shawl) and the lace pattern along its bottom is what’s known as feather & fan — I love how easy it was and how it turned out. I did have some mistakes I made in the eyelets that go up the spine but I wasn’t going to rip the whole thing out. So my Multnomah shawlette is complete. Even with a few mistakes, that’s not bad for someone who’s only been knitting a few months – no?

    black & white of Multnomah shawl hand knit by ©Diane M Schuller

    So now I’m on to the next project. It’s a full size shawl by the name of “Nae” and I adore how it’s knitting up. When I had the first 18 to 20 rows knit, I wasn’t crazy about how it was turning out so I promptly ‘frogged’ it and started over using two yarns held together — I love the resulting fabric it creates.  It not only looks so nice but it feels so soft and smooth. I can hardly wait to wear it.

    knitting a Nae with Madeline Tosh merino light and Berroco Folio held together

    I can see how easily other knitters end up never finishing several of their projects. There is such a strong temptation while knitting away on something to want to get started on the next project or the  next or the next. It’s for that very reason I am (so far) holding firm to finishing one project at a time and not beginning another one until the current one is finished. The Multnomah shawlette is going to be donated to one of the local organizations for their fundraiser. The Nae is just for me! And I already have yarn and patterns sitting and bouncing in anticipation for me to get started making Christmas presents. I’m going to have get busy knitting! The days of sitting and knitting beside the pond will soon be coming to a halt too.

    Although the weather here has been absolutely divine, I realize we are definitely well on our way to autumn. The leaves are beginning to turn colour, others have already begun to fall — one of my favourite trails to town is all crunchy underfoot. Since I didn’t post much through summer, I may end up posting some of my “summer past” photos because I had some lush flowers this year. Although I wouldn’t move back up north for anything, the one thing I truly do miss is autumn on the prairies or up north. Autumn has a lovely earthy scent there where that just doesn’t occur on the west coast. I also miss the twice daily flyovers by the Canada geese honking and carrying on in their readiness to head south for winter. Funny how little things like that are so meaningful. For those of you living where autumn has that smell — take in a great big deep breath and revel in it, just for me.

    One more little note about autumn … in a word. Hiraeth, (noun) a homesickness for a home for which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past. (Sorry I do not know to whom to attribute this lovely ‘definition’.)

    I’ve been busy with some of the committees on which I serve such as organizing ladies luncheons, local events (I’ve been working on setting up a tour of a local cannery for newcomers), our monthly supper club, etc. We’ve also been doing more entertaining though we’ve slowed down a tad in the past two weeks. Just as summer is fading so too am I in terms of needing a bit of a break.

    I’m headed out to the interior of B.C. to go visit my dad who is again in hospital. When I return I also need to spend at least a full afternoon catching up on grooming the dogs. They’re looking quite shaggy lately. That’s one job I have never cared for but it must be done.

    Oh hey, I have to do a post about books too — I have a couple good ones to recommend. I should also tell you about my little cry over some struggles I’ve had with the piano. See, life still has its bumps here and there.

    Bumps happen and despite a few here or there, that Eleanor Roosevelt was so correct about a life well lived, was she not? It’s the bumps that make everything else look and feel so darn good.

    Tell me, what are some of your favourite memories or experiences around autumn?

     

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    dinahmow - September 10, 2014 - 12:54 am

    Lovely! And, yes, life needs the leavening and spices to make us content.
    I managed a rather brief-n-boring blog post the other day.A bit like school reports – could do better!
    But things are ticking along.I’ve almost got things back to normal (ish) after the hard drive failure.
    And reading posts like this is soothing and cheering.
    The knitting? Um, I think I’ll pass.My hands are a bit too stiff these days.But bully for you!

    Gabriele - September 10, 2014 - 5:15 am

    It is always nice to hear how life is unfolding for you. You knitting stories encourage me to get out my crocheting. I don’t knit well. In German we have a similar word for the longing of home. Heimat, is perhaps close to the English word homeland but with much more yearning.
    I’m sorry to hear about your bump in piano. I cry over my dimishing finger strength and control. Playing fast is fading away.
    Please let us know about your new reads. I savored the newest installment of Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny. The series starts with “A Still Life”. This author captures me, totally.
    Sweet thoughts to you!

    lisa - September 10, 2014 - 2:24 pm

    What you are up to, is never boring, my friend, and I so love to visit you here.
    “Nae’ is looking so beautiful. I think the yarn colors you chose for it, are wonderful.

    I am sorry to hear about the piano, but I know you’ll keep at it, and overcome the “bump.” :-)

    Hmmmm, favorite thing for me about autumn…it’s kind of a wonderful winding down time, but only for a while, because soon (for me, anyway), it is time to start thinking about the holidays. I love the smells of wood stoves on a chilly evening, and the sound of the leaves as I run or walk in the early mornings.

    Wishing you a wonderful evening, my friend! xo.

    katie - September 11, 2014 - 6:34 am

    hello diane~
    always happy to see a post from you! lovely photos :) you sound busy, content & happy~ i hope you are feeling well~ sending get well wishes to your father~
    xo
    katie

    Susan - September 11, 2014 - 10:01 am

    Hiraeth, it sums up my feelings exactly. Does it cover what might have been? An unproductive thing to mourn and when it creeps in I sternly tell myself to get on with it-life that is. It is easy to get on with it here, just across the Strait from you. The location is so inspiring and small town living is very sociable. I volunteer on two boards, the garden club and the library. The town needs a bigger library and I spend a lot of time at City Hall inching the process forward. Once my term is up I’ll bow out and become the best book sale volunteer they ever had. Planning for winter I’m drawing up my winter reading list and planning to knit cushion covers. My simple skills might just be up to it. Look what your post brought forth. I better go and write some of this on my own blog!

    Candace - September 13, 2014 - 11:19 am

    Sounds like you’re having a lovely early autumn. In Phoenix, we totally look forward to autumn as it’s the end of the heat but we still have a ways to go yet. However, the light “feels” like autumn and the dragonflies and butterflies are coming around again so I guess Nature knows what she’s doing.

    I haven’t seen autumn leaves in a long time so I’m planning my annual trip to the midwest for early-mid October this year in the hopes that the Farmers’ Almanac is right and it will be peak season. I’m usually too early so I hope I won’t be too late this year.

    Leigh - September 17, 2014 - 6:27 pm

    Hi Diane! What a beautiful post this is. I especially love learning this new to me word: Hireath. Haunting hireath, I think we all must feel it. Your knitting is just lovely and its hard for me to believe that you’ve only been knitting for nine months – wow. xo

    Lately . . .

    Lately …

    . . . We have been entertaining by having couples over for brunch — what a great way to entertain! Nearly everything can be made in advance so that the morning-of all that’s needed is toss things in the oven, pull the fruit/berry plate out of the fridge, brown the sausages, and wait for guests to arrive. Since everything is ready at once, it’s a matter of setting things out, sit, eat, and enjoy some friendly conversation. We’ve had three rounds of serving brunch so far and plan on doing another one very soon.

    . . . At our last supper club (we do it potluck style with 6 other people) the theme was Thai food — what a great meal! And doing it potluck means it’s easy peasy since each of us only needs to prepare one dish to serve for dinner. Another great way to get together with friends.

    hand written thank you notes ||  www.dianeschuller.com

    Don’t you love receiving hand written notes and thank you notes?

    . . . Book club. Well, I love my book club but I must admit there have been a few books that I’ve had to read in recent months that I truly do not recommend. So I’ll pass on those and move on to share my thoughts about the two most recent books I read (one was for book club and the other for pure pleasure) and give you my thoughts.

    The Gift of Rain: A NovelI don’t have a photo because I read it on my Kindle. Before I mention the story itself I have to mention how much I enjoyed the author’s use of imagery and story telling. The story takes place during the invasion of Malay by the Japanese during World War II. This one is very unique compared to all other novels using WWII as it’s background or its main historical component.  I found the characters well fleshed out. It’s a quiet sort of story despite what is going on but because I really enjoy an intelligent literary novel, this definitely rates high with me. Recommended.

    A quote from the novel, “Like the rain, I had brought tragedy into many people’s lives but, more often than not, rain also brings relief, clarity, and renewal. It washes away our pain and prepares us for another day, and even another life. Now that I am old I find comfort, like the spirits of all the people I have ever known and loved.” ~ Phillip Hutton, protagonist in The Gift of Rain.

    Gone Girl: A NovelWritten from the perspective of each protagonist. The chapters alternate between each of them with the story unfolding from each perspective. It has a real interesting twist part way through that you won’t see coming. If you enjoy a page turner with plot twists, you will enjoy this one.

    Gone Girl recommendation

    . . . Knitting. As busy as summer is around here, I’ve been craving getting back to knitting. But before that, remember that pretty Saroyan leafy scarf I finished several months ago? It desperately needed to be blocked but I still haven’t been to the city to try and find a blocking board and pins or else those spongy interlocking things that people use in kids rooms (yes, they seem to make an ideal surface for blocking hand knits). I was browsing around YouTube looking for a useful how-to for blocking and one of the titles grabbed my attention. You can steam block if you don’t want to (or in my case don’t have the materials for) wet blocking. The video was brilliant so I got my steam iron out, ‘flattened’ out my Saroyan and began steaming and shaping. It turned out AMAZING! Brilliant. So now I can begin a new project without the guilt of not having blocked my last project.

    Saroyan scarf ©Diane Schuller

    Saroyan hand knit scarf now blocked

    Saroyan scarf in black & white ©Diane M Schuller

    And new on the needles:

    I bought two beautiful skeins of hand dyed sock yarn from Yarn Indulgences in the colour “Water and Sprouts” a while ago. I gifted one to a lovely neighbour who knits beautiful socks. The other skein I am turning into a shawl — my very first shawl. I attempted another pattern before this one but had nothing but grief so turned to a real simple pattern and it’s so addictive that it’s really moving along. Mind you I haven’t yet reached the lace ‘feather and fan’ section though I’m sure I can tackle it. So here’s a peek at my Multnomah shawl in progress.

    Multnomah shawl by www.dianeschuller.com

    I know, it’s all garter in this section but I like that the garter will make it squishy and stretchy.

    knitted shawl in progress ©Diane M Schuller

    NOW YOU!  What’s on your needles (for those who knit) … or … What book have you read lately that you recommend? … or … What’s your favourite way to nosh with friends (dinner, appies, brunch, backyard BBQ, or ?).

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    Jessie - August 21, 2014 - 10:02 pm

    Every time I read your posts I find myself wishing I lived closer… you know something less than two time zones away… Because your food sounds amazing! We’d reciprocate though, I promise! You invite us for brunch and we’d be happy to have you over for dinner. Johns specialty is grilling (he’s got some excellent pulled pork recipes) and I’ll make sure there is something tasty for dessert…

    I also enjoyed Gone Girl, that was a book club book for me, good discussion on that one! I just finished Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. Loving the whole epic fantasy (good epic fantasy) I was super excited to have her bring back my favorite of her characters in the start of a new trilogy. So much so that I went back and re-read some old ones. Good stuff (Starts with Assassins Apprentice and even a few of my non-fantasy loving friends though it was great!)

    As for knitting, the last dishcloth I was knitting is still on my needles, sad thing has been there since shortly after my oldest daughter was born… maybe one day…

    Sherry - August 22, 2014 - 8:17 am

    I love your posts, Diane, and all the goodness contained therein! Your knitting projects simply amaze me and since I have two left needles, I cannot contribute anything interesting there. I’ve been rereading Elizabeth Lesser’s A Seeker’s Guide lately, not a novel but her life story. Just bought a couple of new books I’m dying to read: The Motion of the Ocean… and The Monks and Me. Can’t decide whether to save them for the boat or not…As for eating with friends, we recently participated in a tapas evening with 5 others. Each contributed a small plate course, including dessert. A different wine was paired with each, except dessert. It lasted about 5 hours and was just wonderful! We smoked some salmon and trout and I baked blueberry cheesecakes in mason jars for the first time. Yummy, easy and perfect to transport. I didn’t get any pics though so it will have to live on in my memory ;-)…

    lisa - August 22, 2014 - 1:04 pm

    Diane, it sounds like you are having a wonderful summer, and your brunches sound like the perfect way to stay in touch with friends, and eat lots of yummy things too!! Cannot go wrong there!

    Your scarf is gorgeous. I love the delicate edge on it.

    Around here, it’s still a matter of working on the downsizing. Hopefully excavation begins next week (it’s been held up by the very rainy weather).

    I wish you a wonderful weekend, my friend! xo.

    Candace - August 22, 2014 - 8:37 pm

    You sure are a social creature, Diane! The knitting is beautiful. I keep meaning to download Gone Girl on my Kindle and keep forgetting. Hopefully, you have jogged me. The other book also sounds good but I like to read light in the summer (don’t know why because I’m not on vacation or anything)so I’ll keep that in mind for later reading.

    Susan - August 22, 2014 - 8:51 pm

    I’m about to decorate my kitchen/eating spot/sitting area in the very same colours as your shawl. Once gardening season begins I have little time or energy for reading. I save it all up for the grey days of winter. Soon it will be time to make my book list, a highly enjoyable activity. The two you mention sound good candidates.

    Andi - August 26, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Ah, those lucky people that have the pleasure of dining and sharing meals with you! What absolutely brilliant idea to have a supper club potluck.
    Your Saroyan turned out so pretty, Diane.

    Susan - September 3, 2014 - 11:24 am

    Looks and sounds like you are having a wonderful and very productive summer! I love the colors in that shawl you are knitting, inspires me to get my needles out..maybe once the weather gets a bit cooler here!

    […] 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 […]

    Where did she go?

    Qualicum Beach Farmer

    Qualicum Beach Farmer

    (Both photos taken on my iPhone)

    It’s about time I do an update, don’t you think? Even if only to demonstrate that I really am still kicking. Next post I’ll share a basket full of updates/tidbits. It will include some knitting, a couple novel suggestions, oh and who knows what else may spring up.

    In the meantime, I’m still in shock and saddened by the sudden death of Robin Williams. My favourite movie of his is still Dead Poets Society, though  it was the man more than the actor that I admired. He was an adventurer, he cared about Mother Nature and all her creatures, and showed great humanity towards each.

    “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” ~Robin Williams

    As promised my good friends, a proper update ‘showing soon’ at an Internet screen near you!:)

     

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    dinahmow - August 12, 2014 - 4:00 pm

    I think similar feelings are coagulating, world-wide, Diane.I am grateful for all that he did and gave to us.
    Glad you’re still “on the up.” :-)

    Susan - August 13, 2014 - 10:54 am

    Looking forward to your next post. I wish you lived nearer then you could teach me to knit! We have just lost a co-worker to depression. I know how he struggled and the pain he endured from this awful disease. We need better treatment options.

    Sherry at Still and All - August 18, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Love these cornucopia images, Diane. And I so agree with you about Robin Williams.A highly sensitive and talented soul he was, and so giving. Can’t wait to see your latest projects and hear about your reading…

    Susan - September 3, 2014 - 11:21 am

    All this beautiful freshness! And yes, I too was deeply saddened by his passing..he was a beautiful soul.

    Neighbourly

    zen back patio, Parksville www.dianeschuller.com

    neighbourly: adjective.

    characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, or kind.

    strawberries from Qualicum Beach garden

    See what my dear neighbour is again sharing with us. Last year you saw the baskets full of lettuce, raspberries, and other garden delights. This year we are again the fortunate recipients of strawberries, lettuce of all kinds (eating lots of Chinese lettuce wraps!!), snap peas, and beets. And on the other side of our fence, the other neighbour has been sharing rhubarb, dill, basil, and strawberries.

    And the other neighbour shares her great sense of humour, conversation over the fence, sending me little quips and delightful points of interest. Not to mention that they treat our dogs like royalty. Aren’t we lucky?!

    “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ~John Holmes

    wind chime zen, Parksville

    I don’t have garden space except what I grow in pots so I share other things . . . homemade bread tends to top the list most of the time.

    “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

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    lisa - July 16, 2014 - 8:07 am

    You are indeed so very fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors, Diane! We have great neighbors too, and it is such a blessing since we live in the city, and are very close to one another.

    Those strawberries looks so yummy, but you know, I think I’d rather have your bread!! :-)

    Happy day to you, my friend!

    Leanne@CottageTails - July 16, 2014 - 11:04 am

    mm summer strawberries – I can hardly wait. It is wonderful when you have good neighbours aye.

    Susan - July 16, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    I miss chatting over the fence now that we live on an acreage. I’m glad you have such lovely neighbours and I bet they feel the same way about you! We planted strawberries this year but have to wait until next year for our first harvest, however I have just picked some ripe, sun kissed raspberries, ate them straight from the bush while standing in the sun dappled meadow-close to perfect.

    Kelly @ JAX does design - July 18, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    You’re lucky to have such lovely neighbours :-) Ours are nice enough, but they don’t keep us so well fed! ;-) Nothing better than fresh local strawberries in the summertime…

    Michele - July 22, 2014 - 11:16 am

    Good Morning, I must tell your readers that we too love our kind generous neighbours! We are blessed to live next door to Diane and her hubby and our favourite furry friends!!

    Sherry at Still and All - July 27, 2014 - 11:28 am

    I love how your images evoke neighbourliness and summer-time sharing, Diane. Isn’t it a wonderful time of year? We have wonderful neighbours in our community too and there’s lots of reciprocity going on all the time.

    Shawna - July 28, 2014 - 4:33 pm

    What a beautiful spot. Makes me happy to think of you sitting there. Good neighbours are the best.

    Summertime … and the living is easy

    I can’t help but hum that little ditty as I begin this post. It seems hard to believe I haven’t had time to write a post in ages. Don’t look at the date of the last one.

    Clematis ©Diane M Schuller, Parksville BC

    It’s been a combination of being busy plus summer relaxation, though far more busy than anything else. We’ve had our huge annual garden party, been invited out to several dinner parties, appy nights, and have been reciprocating as much as possible. Oh and did I mention we’ve joined some friends in a ‘supper’ club that gets together once a month, rotating between homes, for a themed dinner. Good fun.

    I’m still making my home baked artisan bread. I can’t tell you what a hit that is when company comes over — or when I bake one as part of a hostess gift. It’s so simple yet so incredibly full of flavour.

    artisan bread made by www.dianeschuller.com

    I’ve also been playing piano daily — actually multiple times a day. Now that I’m able to actually make something sound nice, I spend a great deal of time at the piano. I’ve also got into the habit of sitting to play before going to bed, in addition to all my daily practice. What a wonderful way to end a day.

    It’s a good thing this post is purely for letting you know I’m still here and doing well, otherwise I could write a tome about all that we’ve been up to since the last time.

    I should possibly write another of my “currently” posts for you — let’s see if I can actually find another day in the very near future to share with you some of my soul-stirring moments here in our retirement.

    Since this post is purely a basic update, I’m leaving you with a few of my new favourite finds/try outs:

    • After making a few versions of baked brie, I’ve created my own that is really terrific — and simple for last minute: score an “x” in the top of a brie; smear a good quality fig jam over top; generously cover with coarsely chopped pecans; and heat in a 375 F oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese melts to your liking. Now do a ‘barely there’ drizzle of liquid honey and serve with good quality crackers or baguette. Yum.
    • I made this perfect Stromboli recently and it is a keeper! Try it. I used different meat — I used capicolla and sopracetta instead of the ham and salami, but otherwise used her method and recipe. Boy did our company ever go crazy for it. I could have made two it was so popular!
    • While I’m still on the topic of food, here is my new favourite cookbook for entertaining: Entertaining: Recipes and Inspirations for Gathering with Family and Friends . I love how it provides excellent planning information, useful tips, and some surefire recipes too.
    • Now something for my local friends . . .  1. One of my favourite lunch spots: Riso in Lantzville (try their “Mushrooms on Toast” or “Crispy Battered Cauliflower”). 2. My favourite place for local art, giftware, even specialty gourmet condiments (everything is made within 200 km of the Salish Sea) is Salish Sea Market. This is how they describe their store: Artistic expression in all mediums from the shores of the Salish Sea. We specialize in “Where did you find THAT?”
    • This lovely quote by Claude Monet, shared by Shawna Lemay on her Pinterest board: ““I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”

     

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    lisa - July 6, 2014 - 3:39 pm

    Oh my goodness, you sound so wonderful, my friend, and that makes me smile!
    I am so glad to hear that you are still playing your piano. :-)

    The baked brie sounds so delicious, and given it’s so simple, it is the perfect summertime entertaining treat. Thank you so much for sharing here.

    Wishing you a wonderful evening! xo.

    Gabriele - July 7, 2014 - 7:11 am

    I just made some artisan bread last night. I adore your rectangular baking crock. I’m glad to know you are out there.

    Leanne@CottageTails - July 7, 2014 - 10:16 am

    ahhh summer days and good for you to play the piano before you go to bed what a wonderful joy for you! Love Leanne – Maybe a you tube of you playing will not be that far away xx

    Jessie - July 7, 2014 - 8:01 pm

    Sounds like it’s a lovely summer up your way. Wish I was half a continent closer so I could get int on some of that delicious food though! :)

    Sherry G. - July 8, 2014 - 6:50 am

    So good to see you back here Diane. I love your folksy catch up posts and hearing how you’re doing and how much you’re enjoying life. Wunderbar! And I always find something I want to try here…like the brie…Years ago I went through a period of going crazy with the artisan bread recipe. It may be time for another go at it. I remember how easy and great it was. Keep enjoying the summer, my friend. It’s a good life.

    kate - July 14, 2014 - 3:19 pm

    always good to see a post from you~ lovely pictures! you’re bread looks delish~
    hope you’re having a good summer~

    Candace - July 15, 2014 - 11:43 pm

    If I had a view like that in the first photo, I would never be online! Gorgeous! Glad you’re having such a special summer.