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.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    For knitters & sewers — all wrapped up

    I accomplished one of my knitting goals for 2016 — I knit my first fair isle project. A wee little baby hat made from stash yarn. It was an incredibly simple little pattern and I had no issues with the process. So now I plan to move on to making even more projects like this in the coming year. I have two Salish-inspired items I hope to tackle plus a traditional Lopi Icelandic sweater intended for wearing next winter. Oh and who is this wee hat for you wonder? I don’t know yet, though it will definitely end up as a gift to someone with a new baby or expecting a baby in the near future.

    fair isle baby hat || www.dianeschuller.com

    fair isle catching floats

    For those of you who gift your luscious hand knits (or other handmade items such as quilts, etc.), do you have any photos of them? I’d love to add some to a new board I’ve created at Pinterest. The reason I’m ‘collecting’ them is to see how you wrap up those handmade gifts and to share with others for inspiration. With all the photos I take, I’ve realized I haven’t taken a single image of any of my hand knit gift items.

    I’ve come across a few photos recently, and love how enticingly some people have ‘wrapped’ up their knits (or sewn items) to gift to someone. I tend to really be drawn to the items that remain revealed but perhaps have a simple thick luscious ribbon or bow to show them off. Like this one or like the one below, for instance:

    from Ravelry

    From now on, I’m going to try to remember to take a photo of the items I make and gift before I hand them off to the recipient. I’d really love if you would share a link to any of your photographs of hand made fabrics that you’ve wrapped simply and beautifully.

    wrapped baby blanket

    This baby blanket is wrapped so cute with the baby booties and ribbon matching each other.

    Two weeks in a row my post has been just for the knitters or those who loving knitting. Next week I’ll move on to a different subject. I’ll see what unfolds in the coming days.

    daffodils ©Diane M Schuller

    Until next Monday may you wrap yourself in all your favourite activities, surround yourself with friends, and enjoy the sights and fragrances of spring.

    French Creek marina ©Diane M Schuller

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    Lisa Gordon - March 15, 2016 - 6:02 pm

    Diane, the hat is wonderful!
    Someone will be so very happy to receive it, I am sure.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations here, my friend. xo.

    Toffeeapple - March 17, 2016 - 3:15 am

    The little hat looks very good, I recently knitted one but the yarn made the pattern, not my needles. I do enjoy knitting in the round.

    I like your image of the port very much.

    steph - March 19, 2016 - 4:46 pm

    nice job on the fair isle!!!! and so nice that you have already lined up more!!!! I’m sort of itching to get some on the needles, too….must concentrate a bit more, but soooo worth it!

    Andi - March 27, 2016 - 5:13 pm

    I love the idea of wrapping gift knits in a special way. Look forward to checking out your Pinterest board for inspiration.

    Your little colorwork hat is absolutely wonderful! The colors you chose are glorious.

    Ann - May 10, 2016 - 9:08 pm

    Hi Diane, just read about your request for pictures of ways we “wrap up” our handmade items, so thought I’d share mine. I roll up my quilts and tie them with ribbon or twine, and attach a little note to the back of my business card. Hopefully you can read it clearly! I can’t pin it to your board, but here is the link: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a2/53/da/a253dad742846308e2f94564ac352ced.jpg

    Laura Baylis - July 4, 2016 - 7:18 am


    Your art work is beautiful. I aspire to have a 1/10th of your talent and eye. I can only hope and continue on with my photography classes and home attempts.

    I will continue to watch your site, it’s just so beautiful. You’re a very talented lady.

    leaving footprints

    In the rhythm of the needles there is music for the soul. Knitting, making, creating handmade gifts for others is a genuinely gratifying experience. Here again, is another gift for someone special in our community. After wrapping it up and delivering it the other day, guess what colour the recipient’s shoes were? Yes, fire engine red.

    DSC_4154pinwheel baby blanketDSC_4165DSC_4168

    I tend to sway from conventional thinking when it comes to items relating to babies, from clothing to room colour. To attest to this, here then is the completed pinwheel baby blanket in a rich bold red. No barely-there pinks, blues, greens, or yellows. I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out — my first time doing an Emily Ocker cast on (one in which the knitting begins at the centre and works outward). It’s a gift I made for a special couple in Parksville expecting baby number one.

    This proverb, “One who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints” is likely intended to describe my sometimes-way of doing things. So that fire engine red baby blanket is one of my footprints.

    For those who knit or own beautiful hand knit items made with natural fibres, here is an excellent short video on how to properly and safely store those items until you need them again next fall. One of the best things she talks about as well is how incredibly dangerous moth balls are, so even for that reason this is a very important video. (Next week I’ll also have a question and request for those of you who wrap up and gift your homemades.)

    Until next Monday my friends, may you embrace the harbingers of spring around your ‘campfire’ and leave your own footprints.

    footprints || www.dianeschuller.com

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    steph - March 7, 2016 - 6:28 am

    ahhhhh, so nice to see someone else whose ‘bubble is slightly off-center’ (my daughter’s way of describing ME!) LOVE the blanket!!!

    dinahmow - March 7, 2016 - 11:20 am

    Oh! I’ve never really liked the pink-or-blue thing for babies.I much prefer the jazzy, colourful outfits .Practical, too, as the drool doesn’t show quite so badly!:-)
    And on the subject of wrapping…I’m from an age of paper-savers .When I was very young we rarely bought new Christmas papers and I remember helping Mother to wrap Christmas gifts in plain brown wrap…and then I pasted coloured stickers or cut-out jam labels on them.
    In my adult (not the same as grown-up!) life,I favour the Japanese furoshiki method.It’s two-in-one, as the wrap becomes a throw, or scarf.

    Lisa Gordon - March 7, 2016 - 2:22 pm

    Diane, this is just gorgeous!!!
    I love the color, and like you, I tend to move away from the traditional pinks and blue.
    I am sure this was not an easy creation, and you can see all the love that went into this.

    Andi - March 12, 2016 - 4:06 pm

    Ooh…that blanket is gorgeous. Such beautiful knitting, Diane. Wonderful to hear that your knitting is feeding your soul, as it should be.
    Thank you for sharing the wonderful video about storing handknits. )

    where morning greets you with a drum roll

    I live …

    where morning greets you with a drum roll

    where tree bark and rock is lichen covered and carpets of moss create enchanting verdant forests, amazing travellers and residents alike

    where mornings wrap around you with the aromas of sweet wet cedar and salty air

    where daily the barking of sea lions and screeching of seagulls serenade those who are aware

    where the tides rhythm sings an eternal symphony and rocks the Salish Sea awake and to sleep

    book ©Diane M Schuller


    Looks like I have another book to recommend. Seems I’m on a roll reading really worthwhile stories lately!The Piano Maker

    The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This is a well written mystery with a strong female lead. I really appreciated the straightforward manner in which this book was written. The mystery of why Helene, the protagonist, ended up where she was and what had occurred before she arrived kept me continually wanting to know more.

    The alternating between past and present was quite seamless. The situation revealed at the end genuinely makes you wonder what you would do in the same circumstances. For that reason, I’d suggest this as an ideal novel for book clubs (though this was not read for my book club).

    As another reviewer mentions, It’s a quick read and I liked that points were arrived at quickly; so many authors seem to drag things out! This is a succinct historical fiction novel that I definitely recommend. I plan to seek out more of Kurt Palka’s novels after reading this.

    View all my reviews, if you like.

    I’m very sick with the flu or some such so I’m shy on outdoor photos. Until next Monday may you have calm mornings and vibrant health.

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    dinahmow - February 29, 2016 - 12:59 pm

    It’s intriguing;I’ll look in the library.
    Yesterday, I picked up Paul Torday’s “Salmon Fishing in The Yemen” and have had a quick look at it, but must forst finish “H is for Hawk”-Helen Macdonald. Now that’s a bit of a slog.Fascinating story, but I wish it had been more tightly edited.
    Hope you’re oon recovered from your flu.

    Toffeeapple - March 1, 2016 - 4:12 am

    Wishing you well for a fast recovery.

    Your mornings sound wonderfully natural.

    Gabriele - March 2, 2016 - 4:55 am

    I hope you are feeling better.

    Lisa Gordon - March 2, 2016 - 11:44 am

    I sure hope you’re feeling all better real soon, my friend.
    You take good care of you. xo.

    Alina - March 3, 2016 - 6:53 am

    Oh, I am sorry you’ve been feeling under the weather.. Get well and thank you for the book review! Sounds exactly the kind of fiction I enjoy!

    steph - March 7, 2016 - 6:15 am

    sounds like a perfect book….i’ve been so lucky with my last few books all being winners, it’s nice to have another highly recommended choice queued up!!!

    Since I’m sort of late to this party…I do hope you are feeling chipper again!!! Blech on the flu.

    Candace - March 12, 2016 - 5:40 pm

    I hope you’re better now, Diane. Another compelling book I must read…the reviews looked great. I think I’m in the mood for a mystery.

    Sit very quietly

    “Sit very quietly, and when the scenery shifts, slip between it.” — John Cage
    camellia bud, February Qualicum Beach

    camellia in bloom, February ©Diane M Schuller

    Although I do have spring bulbs blooming right now, I thought this beautiful pale pink Camellia was a bit of a show stopper. The tree is chock full of fat buds so I expect quite a show once they’re all open.


    Kindle & cover www.dianeschuller.com

    After reading a book as engaging as the one I mentioned last week, I tried two more novels and abandoned them both. Took a couple days off and I now have The Piano Maker loaded on my Kindle and getting into it posed no problem.

    knitting a dramatic baby blanket

    Looks like I have my knitting mojo back. I cast on this pinwheel baby blanket and it’s already about 1/3 of the way through. If you’re a knitter, you either knit Continental (picking) or English/American style (throwing). I learned the English style but after a few months knew I’d be switching to Continental, which I did. But I found I was getting some wrist strain from holding my index finger up plus using it for knitting tension. I had viewed videos showing knitters who kept that index finger right down against the left hand knitting needle without all the movement. So I decided I would switch to that version with this project. Though a tad awkward at first, once I got the hang of it, it came along quite easily. I’m already completely comfortable with the new method. There’s another bonus, besides no more wrist or shoulder strain, my tension is much more consistent. If you’re a knitter, have you ever changed knitting styles?

    red baby blanket || www.dianeschuller.com

    “Our finger prints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” by Judy Blume. This quote makes me think of my dear mom. My entire life, she always had African Violets. I keep them now too and think of her each and every time I look at or care for them. Her fingerprints never fading from my life.

    African Violet

    The rhododendron you see below is actually in full bloom in my garden right now. It’s the earliest to bloom by a long shot. The next rhododendron won’t be in bloom until mid to late March.

    Rhododendron blooming February Qualicum Beach, BC

    Besides the early blooming in our yard, there are other sure signs of spring. This week I noticed the Brandt Geese have returned and our town is preparing for the month long festival which commences mid March. The Bald Eagles and seagulls are gathering in anticipation of the upcoming herring run here in the Salish Sea. And the other day while enjoying our morning coffee I saw six magnificent Trumpeter Swans headed most likely to their spring breeding grounds in Comox, BC.

    This week you’re getting mostly images, though with all the photo-taking I’m doing, there are oodles and oodles that are never seen. Oh speaking of photos not being seen, do you ever print photographs anymore? I certainly don’t print all of them but I do print any photos of family, and for a while was printing and framing favourite images as well. The problem is, there is only so much wall space. I have had photobooks made and have plans on doing at least three books of photos this year: one at the end of the year to showcase my 365 photo project; one for some of my old favourites paired with favourite quotes; and the other one is likely going to be piano/music photos.

    Until next Monday wishing you thoughtful observations, the scents of spring, and a lovely discovery or two.

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    Mimi - February 22, 2016 - 7:51 am

    What a lovely blog. Good to see your blanket here. Can’t wait to see the finished project. (Dianne, from Raverly)

    Gabriele - February 22, 2016 - 1:27 pm

    I believe I have the same Rhody in my front yard, It is opening every day and actually bloomed twice last year. Once in January and again in September. Crazy!

    dinahmow - February 22, 2016 - 2:07 pm

    I love seeing your garden pictures. Little glimpses, here and there,of a place I know you love.
    I look around at my exploding jungle of weedy things now that we are having rainy days and know that my days of neat-and-tidy are long gone!But I’m happy to be providing homes for essential critters!
    On my bedtime reading list now?I’m re-reading an out-of-print book that I managed to track down;an interesting voyage of friends in the Solomon Islands.”Island of Survival” by Wade Doak;may be hard to find. And,new to my library shelves, “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald.
    And, between squalls, clearing up the palm fronds and seeds from pathways.

    Jessie - February 22, 2016 - 9:29 pm

    We just lost all our snow over the weekend and today while I was out stomping and grumbling through all the mud to take care of the chickens and the ducks I saw the first sandhill crane of the year fly over. So maybe it’s not so bad losing the snow after all. Here we still have a while to go before we get big beautiful blooms outside- it’s mud season. *sigh*

    Lisa Gordon - February 23, 2016 - 3:52 pm

    You have spring flowers already!!!
    It’s going to be a while before we see them here, but I can wait very patiently for them.
    I hope you are having a wonderful week, my friend. xo.

    Alina - February 27, 2016 - 5:54 am

    Your photos are always so inspiring! I don’t print the photos anymore, but I am planning to do that for this summer. I am going to visit my family and I want to make an album for them, so when I come back home, they can still have a piece of me 🙂 As for knitting, I knit continental style, always did. I tried English, but it seemed that throwing takes more time than picking, but maybe because I am not used to it. Have a great weekend!

    Sherry G. - March 2, 2016 - 3:31 am

    This post is just packed with glorious florals — I adore camellias and rhododendrons and you’re so fortunate to have them where you live. I am thoroughly taken by that RED baby blanket. It is superb! I’m glad you found a way to knit that works so well for you.

    Candace - March 12, 2016 - 5:42 pm

    Those flower photos are dreamy!

    Leave an imprint

    “I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.” Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

    piano playing ©Diane M Schuller

    What a surprise I got and want to share with you. Jessie over at Behind the Willows is a very active and interesting woman who writes an amazing blog about her children, her life, the books she reads, their hunting dogs, and then some. When I get time for blog visiting, Jessie always delights with her entertaining way of writing with her frank humour. But she surprised my boots off when she wrote about ME! No kidding, go check it out. She has a short video in that post and that’s Jessie playing in the video. Thanks bunches Jessie!

    “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

    “Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”  — both quotes JoJo Moyes from Me Before You.


    reading chair

    Me Before You by JoJo Moyes:  Right from the beginning, I was loving this novel and didn’t want to put it down.

    On my Goodreads account I gave it 5 stars out of 5. I absolutely loved this novel and would give it more stars if I could. The characters, especially Lou, were irresistible. The story is funny, sad without being maudlin (oh well, maybe some of us might get a bid maudlin near the end), insightful, thought-provoking, and not a boring moment to be had. I loved this book, period.

    Definitely recommended — and great for book clubs (although I did not read this for book club). And it’s with this novel in mind I leave my final thoughts.

    Until next Monday dear friends and readers, try something outside your comfort zone, live your week fully, leave an imprint.

    PS: You all need to know how much I value your comments — they really are the best bits for me. And I appreciate the time you take to pop in here and then take even more time to leave me a note. You’re the best.

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    Candace - February 15, 2016 - 6:29 pm

    How fun to be the topic of a blog post! I checked it out. I think I’ll take you up on the book recommendation since I often like what you like. I need a novel, I’m reading something else right now and it’s just not engaging me the way I had hoped so I need a novel break.

    Jessie - February 15, 2016 - 9:56 pm

    Oh, gosh! Now here I am thanking you for your thank you. But that’s what happens when thank you’s are extra kind! 🙂

    I also loved Me Before You. It was a stunning book. I’m pretty sure I started it at night, read the whole thing until the wee hours of the morning and then spent the next day in a haze- for more than one reason.

    Lisa Gordon - February 16, 2016 - 3:42 pm

    It’s a wonderful post, Diane, and so truly well-deserved!

    Susan Clark - February 16, 2016 - 4:59 pm

    Nice quotes from you and Jessie. We have two weeks each year of sublime music thanks to our symphony summer school. I know exactly what it means to carry the remnants with you.

    Alina - February 17, 2016 - 10:43 am

    Thank you so much for such a beautiful and inspiring post!

    Sherry - February 17, 2016 - 4:05 pm

    I love it when bloggers introduce their readers to other bloggers in such an appreciative way. Good for Jessie! That way we learn about her too.

    I value your book recommendations and think that if you like something I probably will too — so on the list it goes.I love the image of the inviting chair and thinking about you reading in it.

    I absolutely agree that we go outside our comfort zones — not because we “should” but because we often find something magical and rewarding and surprising when we do…something really worth the extra effort.

    Jennifer - February 20, 2016 - 8:03 am

    I passed on Me Before You in a second shop because I have so many books in a pile already. After reading your recommendation, I am regretting my decision. Hmm…I wonder if it is still there? Have a nice weekend!

    Diane - February 21, 2016 - 9:49 am

    I hope everyone doesn’t mind that I always send a direct email back to you, rather than responding here. I’m always so worried a person doesn’t know I’ve responded if I were to leave a reply here. Thank you to every one who takes the time to leave a note — I sure do appreciate it!

    everyone has a story



    Sitting blankly, pondering what to write in this postcard. Nothing worthwhile comes at first. Like a plant remaining dormant until the warm water and fertilizer make their way through all the capillaries and begin to settle in each cell, the bud of a thought begins to form. I shall share part of my story in his postcard.

    postcard by ©Diane M Schuller

    Do you remember that brief story I shared a few years ago about Roy? Just as Roy had a story, we all have a story. Stories belong to everyone, the person who feels they are ‘ordinary’ or ‘don’t matter’;  the homeless person on the street; or the most reviled of politicians. As David Isay says, “ … every single life matters equally and infinitely.” I’m sure we could all surprise one another with snippets of our backstory. So in the postcard I’m about to write to Arthur Black (a Canadian humourist, radio personality, and writer) I’ll share a postcard-size snippet of my backstory — the good stuff.

    “We navigate by our stories and are steered by them. They counsel us, caution us, can break yet also make us. They hearten us, humble us, heal us. They are in our blood, our bones and our beliefs. They are the fires we light against the dark.”Annie Cholewa.


    The week has not been as productive in some ways as it could have been. The grief over losing the dogs still hangs over me like a wet blanket refusing to dry and remove itself. Oh I flap my arms at it, tug and shove it away, but it keeps returning wet, clingy, and heavy. Perhaps that’s why my knitting has come to a standstill this week. And why I’m glad we aren’t doing any entertaining this week or next. So that’s a peek in the window of my story this week. Feeling weighed down but constantly pushing to stand tall and free.

    spring crocus in black & white ||© Diane M Schuller

    “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” –Phillip Pullman

    The rest of this week’s story: The spring birds have been arriving, including the famous Brandt Geese. Flowering in our yard this week are the white crocus, snowdrops, hellebores, heathers, and a few of the primulas. That’s what I love about life — we’re surround by a vitality of life and growth. We simply have to stop, look, and be grateful. For what are you grateful this week?

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    dinahmow - February 8, 2016 - 11:14 am

    Yes, I’ve always thought of stories as a torch. On nights when the electricity was out and we couldn’t read,ah! that’s when the story-magic came into its own…

    steph - February 9, 2016 - 4:50 am

    spent some time catching up in your space…..love the mitts!!! and love the idea of turning photographs into postcards…not sure why notecards have happened and never postcards. You certainly have a knack of telling stories through your photographs—-for me, the element of a truly wonderful photographer. Love Annie’s quote….hoping she comes back to blogland soon!!!

    Lisa Gordon - February 9, 2016 - 4:04 pm

    I am so sorry that it’s not been a good week for you, Diane, and I do so understand how your heart feels, losing your furry friends. All I can say is, it takes time, and you have to give yourself that time.

    Sending you hugs, my friend. xo.

    Sherry - February 10, 2016 - 7:16 pm

    I’m so happy I now get email notifications for your blog updates. I love visiting here. :). We have our annual spring break visit to Vancouver Island booked. I cannot wait–your beautiful writing and photography always reminds me of everything I love about the island.

    Candace - February 16, 2016 - 7:54 am

    I’ve always liked Joan Didion’s, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” I’m not sure that her meaning is how I like to interpret it or even if I totally understand her meaning. One of my professors back in college used it a lot.