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.

    Whistle While you Work

    spring

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

    Salish Sea / Georgia Strait, Qualicum Beach, BC

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

    pink tulip magnolia || www.dianeschuller.com

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

    Bulky Cable Throw || dianeschuller.com

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

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

    Nahant in Mad Tosh Merino Light

    Salish Sea, French Creek BC near Parksville

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

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

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

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

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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.

    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.

    www.dianeschuller.com

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

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

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

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

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

    books on my shelf

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

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

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

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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
    Cheers,
    Lionel

    Candace - March 9, 2015 - 9:30 pm

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

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

    I love the textures on your photo.

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

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

    Susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:24 am

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

    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.

    men

    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~

    katie

    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

    knitting

    sneak peek (it’s now finished)

    Yamaha piano ©DianeMSchuller

    “learning”

    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

    AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE PHOTOGRAPHS!!! :-)

    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~

    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…

    Alina - November 23, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Beautiful, peaceful pictures…

    It doesn’t matter …

    apples by ©Diane M Schuller

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

    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