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.

    Projects: Knitting and Garden Tour prep

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

    baby sweater in progress

    second baby cardigan

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

    Raglan baby sweater | www.dianeschuller.com

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

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

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    rhodo www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

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

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


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    Gabriele - May 9, 2015 - 6:54 am

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

    Toffeeapple - May 10, 2015 - 7:28 am

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

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

    Susan - May 10, 2015 - 11:09 am

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

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:10 pm

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

    Pondside - May 11, 2015 - 7:21 am

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

    Annie - May 11, 2015 - 3:51 pm

    What a beautiful garden you have … stunning!

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

    steph - May 12, 2015 - 5:02 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Andi - May 13, 2015 - 7:14 pm

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

    Alina - May 15, 2015 - 12:59 pm

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

    Jessie - May 25, 2015 - 8:01 pm

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

    Candace - May 28, 2015 - 7:56 pm

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


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


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

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

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

    ironing www.dianeschuller.com

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

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

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

    ©Diane M Schuller, ironing

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

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


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    Jessie - April 23, 2015 - 6:07 pm

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

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

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

    Annie - April 24, 2015 - 10:49 am

    I always think Meryl sounds like a throughly good egg.

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

    Susan - April 24, 2015 - 2:44 pm

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

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

    Toffeeapple - April 25, 2015 - 6:31 am

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

    As for having your ironing skills assessed – well!

    Gabriele - April 25, 2015 - 11:11 am

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

    Candace - April 26, 2015 - 3:09 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:07 pm

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

    Roberta - May 16, 2015 - 7:24 pm

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

    Where words fail, music speaks

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

    sheet music

    Yamaha baby grand

    I play piano every day.” –Sarah McLaughlin

    … and I do too Sarah.

    Yamaha baby grand, www.dianeschuller.com

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

    piano foot peddle

    ©Diane M Schuller


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

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    Susan - April 2, 2015 - 5:53 pm

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

    Andi - April 3, 2015 - 8:13 am

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

    Toffeeapple - April 3, 2015 - 11:03 am

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

    Gabriele - April 5, 2015 - 7:35 am

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

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

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

    kate - April 7, 2015 - 6:40 am


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



    Alina - April 8, 2015 - 10:04 am

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

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:09 pm

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

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

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

    Whistle While you Work


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

    Salish Sea / Georgia Strait, Qualicum Beach, BC

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

    pink tulip magnolia || www.dianeschuller.com

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

    Bulky Cable Throw || dianeschuller.com

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

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

    Nahant in Mad Tosh Merino Light

    Salish Sea, French Creek BC near Parksville

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

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

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

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

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    Jessie - March 24, 2015 - 8:48 pm

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

    steph - March 25, 2015 - 9:46 am

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

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

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

    Toffeeapple - March 27, 2015 - 12:23 pm

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

    Gabriele - March 27, 2015 - 6:29 pm

    I loved the Delaware cop. Shake it off!

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

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

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

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

    susan - April 2, 2015 - 6:00 pm

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

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

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

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:12 pm

    You have so many interests and talents, amazing.

    silent pictures

    Hitchhiker scarf on the needles

    www.dianeschuller.com -- cable throw in progress

    cable comfort throw ©Diane M Schuller

    2015 Herring Run on Salish Sea near Parksville, BC

    2015 Herring run on Salish Sea ©Diane M Schuller

    cookies for my son www.dianeschuller.com

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

    early February rhododendron Qualicum Beach ©Diane M Schuller

    Camelia - ©Diane M Schuller

    stones || www.dianeschuller.com

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    Gabriele - March 10, 2015 - 8:19 pm

    i love your pictures!

    Susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:29 am

    Your choices tickled all my senses. Lovely.

    Eden - March 11, 2015 - 5:21 pm

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

    Eden - March 11, 2015 - 5:23 pm

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

    Katie - March 12, 2015 - 9:44 am

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

    I have read …

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


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

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

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

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

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

    books on my shelf

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

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

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

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    Lionel Daneault - March 8, 2015 - 1:04 pm

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

    Candace - March 9, 2015 - 9:30 pm

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

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

    I love the textures on your photo.

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

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

    Susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:24 am

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

    Pearl Blanket

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

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

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

    Hitchhiker in progress ©Diane M Schuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Celia - February 10, 2015 - 1:52 am

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

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

    C xx

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

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

    Susan - February 10, 2015 - 10:06 am

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

    andrea - February 10, 2015 - 12:45 pm

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

    Gabriele - February 11, 2015 - 5:05 am

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

    lisa - February 14, 2015 - 12:39 pm

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

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

    Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. xo.

    kate - February 16, 2015 - 8:12 am

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

    take care my friend~

    Annie - February 24, 2015 - 7:26 am

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

    Lately …

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

    dandelion ©Diane M Schuller

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

    ©Diane M Schuller -- Do not copy or

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

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

    prairie grass ©Diane M Schuller

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

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

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

    ©Diane M Schuller || Pearl

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    steph - January 19, 2015 - 5:27 pm

    What a lovely tribute to a best friend.

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

    Gabriele - January 19, 2015 - 9:03 pm

    Your words are lovely.

    Andi - January 20, 2015 - 7:52 am

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

    Nancy - January 21, 2015 - 1:47 pm

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

    Susan - January 21, 2015 - 7:05 pm

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

    Candace - February 7, 2015 - 10:01 pm

    I hope your pain eases with time, Diane.

    the hour of separation

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

     Oct. 22, 2002 – Jan. 8, 2015

    ©Diane M Schuller, Permission required to share

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

    "Pearl" ©Diane M SchullerPearl2ndContactSht

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

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

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    shawna - January 12, 2015 - 2:59 pm

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

    susan - January 12, 2015 - 4:32 pm

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

    lisa - January 12, 2015 - 4:34 pm

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

    Jessie - January 12, 2015 - 9:47 pm

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

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

    What a beautiful girl. So sorry for your loss.

    Gabriele - January 13, 2015 - 6:43 am

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

    Susan - January 13, 2015 - 9:30 am

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

    marsha - January 13, 2015 - 7:06 pm

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

    Andi - January 14, 2015 - 7:07 am

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

    Candace - January 17, 2015 - 2:00 pm

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

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

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

    Alina - January 18, 2015 - 2:52 pm

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

    Sherry - January 18, 2015 - 4:43 pm

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

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

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

    Kath - January 19, 2015 - 4:39 pm

    oh Diane, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Eden - January 20, 2015 - 5:47 pm

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

    Annie - January 28, 2015 - 8:15 am

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

    Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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


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

    lazy daisy shawlette

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

    4 knits

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

    Hermione Cable & Eyelet Hat

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

    two-at-a-time mittens on magic loop

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

    cropped raglan sweater

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

    ©Diane M Schuller, Australian Shepherd

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

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


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    lisa - January 1, 2015 - 4:36 pm

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

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

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

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

    Gabriele - January 1, 2015 - 6:46 pm

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

    Celia - January 1, 2015 - 11:47 pm

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

    katie - January 3, 2015 - 3:37 pm

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

    happy new year~


    Jessie - January 5, 2015 - 9:13 pm

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

    Alina - January 6, 2015 - 6:03 pm

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

    sweet clarity of winter


    sneak peek (it’s now finished)

    Yamaha piano ©DianeMSchuller


    dogs in snow ©DianeMSchuller

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

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

    first snow ©Diane M Schuller

    First snow when we used to live up north.


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

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

    snow bound country road ©Diane M Schuller

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

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

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

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


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

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

    katie - December 7, 2014 - 6:54 am

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

    lisa - December 7, 2014 - 11:01 am

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

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

    I wish you a wonderful week ahead! xo.

    lisa - December 7, 2014 - 11:01 am


    Gabriele - December 7, 2014 - 10:18 pm

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

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

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

    Andi - December 12, 2014 - 5:58 pm

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

    Jessie - December 12, 2014 - 6:58 pm

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

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

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

    Candace - December 24, 2014 - 1:39 pm

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

    vessels of freedom

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

    Canadian Cat photographed by Diane M Schuller

    taking on water || ©DianeMSchuller

    sailboat || www.dianeschuller.com

    fishing fleet by © Diane M Schuller

    coming home || www.dianeschuller.com


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    Steve - November 16, 2014 - 3:18 pm

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

    lisa - November 16, 2014 - 4:02 pm

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

    kate - November 16, 2014 - 4:23 pm

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


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

    these are wonderful!!

    Don - November 17, 2014 - 7:56 am

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

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

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

    Susan - November 17, 2014 - 10:07 am

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

    Candace - November 22, 2014 - 1:15 pm

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

    Alina - November 23, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Beautiful, peaceful pictures…