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.

    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

    I started reading Cutting for Stone — mostly because I trust your recommendations. I’m only in the beginning, but I’m already caught up in it. It makes me wonder why I waste time slogging through the not-so-good books. There are enough excellent books out there, that everyone I read should be this good — the trick is to identify them! Thank you for sharing this one. What else is on your all-time-favorite books list?

    way more than 34,000 stitches …

    “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” – Elizabeth Zimmermann

    Nae shawl by ©Diane M Schuller || www.dianeschuller.com

    “It is a peculiarity of knitters that they chronically underestimate the amount of time it takes to knit something. Birthday on Saturday? No problem. Socks are small. Never mind that the average sock knit out of sock-weight yarn contains about 17,000 stitches. Never mind that you need two of them. (That’s 34,000 stitches, for anybody keeping track.) Socks are only physically small. By stitch count, they are immense.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

    Diane

    I finished! This Nae shawl is one I made for myself. I knit it with two yarns held together and the resulting fabric is so squishy and warm. I love it. Look at all those tiny stitches — thousands of them. In fact, after knitting all those little stitches, I’ve made a decision — difficult as it may be in the beginning. I plan to change the style of knitting I have learned. For those who don’t knit, there are different ways of knitting and each has their own set of pros and cons. Well, I learned the English method also known as “throwing”. It’s more time consuming and can be irritating to shoulders. My shoulders know I’ve knit all those little stitches. I’m going to teach myself how to use the Continental method of knitting. It’s going to be awkward and slow while I’m learning but I’m determined to make the switch. When I watch others using this method it’s much more fluid and far more efficient, not to mention quicker. I’ve already got a nice rhythm and am very comfortable with the English method but I can see how it’s going to wreak havoc on my shoulders eventually.

    Another bit of knit news. Some of you may remember when I ordered those darling shell stitch markers. I’ve ordered another set as a gift for someone so while I was visiting one of my favourite spots on Etsy (I love buying from Etsy sellers), I saw Lavender Hill Knits also made these beautiful Japanese knot bags. Knitters buy them to use as project bags. My lovely sister-in-law had already gifted me with a hand-sewn and fantastic large size project bag that I use for housing all my knitting paraphernalia – thanks Lynda. I was wanting a small project bag that I could cart around from room-to-room and place-to-place with whatever project I’m currently working on. My order arrived today and how fantastic and exciting. One thing I love about buying from Etsy sellers is their attention to detail and pride in what they make. Not only are the stitch markers and this reversible bag outstanding in the workmanship but the wrapping, the wee little ‘gift’, and handwritten note make me feel like it’s Christmas in October.

    "gift" from LavenderHillKnits on EtsyJapanese knot bag from Lavender Hill Knits on EtsyOkay, so enough knitting news — for now. I promised to do a post about a couple of books I recently read. That will be next for sure. Wish me luck on learning a whole new way of knitting. It’s going to be awkward, slow until I get the hang of it, and quite likely a tad confusing. But I am determined.

    Do you have a favourite Etsy shop? Care to share?

    Have you ever had to switch gears on something you’ve done? Or completely re-learn how to do something in a different way?

     

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    lisa - October 3, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Oh, how I love this shawl, Diane. It really turned out so beautiful.
    I love the bag too!
    I just know that you will be “Continentaling” like a pro in no time.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friend. xo.

    Gabriele - October 5, 2014 - 6:57 am

    Love the shawl! I have a favorite Etsy shop which makes stained glass stars. I purchased one with a bee in the middle for our 40th anniversary. Speaking of having to learn new skills I recently started a classical drawing class. First week was learning perspective. I drew 50 cubes trying to get the vanishing lines correct. After taking a mixed media class where the process was exploratory and free, I am now chained to details so minute that my free spirit cries, ” to heck with perfect perspective”. My teacher reassured me it was like riding a bicycle. I would eventually learn to balance. Hmmmm…… Leg us know how the Continental stitches develop.

    Susan - October 15, 2014 - 3:01 am

    oh Diane, that shawl is just gorgeous, such beautiful work! And I love that bag, what a wonderful gift!
    I have faith that you can learn or re-learn anything you put your mind to, Diane!

    Leigh - October 15, 2014 - 5:43 am

    Your shawl turned out beautifully, Diane! I hope you will enjoy this for years and years to come. Can’t wait to see what’s next on your needles, good for you for trying to learn a new knitting technique and I hope you will find knitting in the continental style better for your shoulders. Have a lovely day! xo

    Knitting: How I Learned …

    Recently on Flickr, where I share the occasional photo, a lovely acquaintance of mine, Sherry Galey, asked me the question, “How would you recommend a novice start off? I do know the basic stitch but that’s it!” I was going to send Sherry a private email but then I thought this might be something more people might want my answer to, so here goes.

    lace scarf ©Diane M Schuller

    As most of you are aware the reason I took up knitting at the end of January was as rehabilitation to improve my fine motor skills after having a stroke. Well, not only did it help me with my fine motor skills in my hands and fingers but it also managed to get me hooked on knitting!

    I did register for and attend a local learn-to-knit workshop. I have to tell you that it was not at all what I had expected and I learned far more by going online and scouting through video tutorials on YouTube. No kidding. Some videos are better than others but the advantage to the videos, when they are well done, the person shows you slowly and in easy to understand terms. For those who, like Sherry, already know the basic knit and purl stitches, here are the tutorials or people who give tutorials that I highly recommend (see below). But before I leave you with those links, I’ll add a few more thoughts.

    knitting www.dianeschuller.com

    You need to want to learn and are willing to be an attentive student – seems obvious but attitude is everything. I recommend starting by committing to an easy first project. It could be a scarf, a hat (yes, you can make a hat), or perhaps a cowl or shawl. I would consider each of those as ideal projects for learning. My first project was a hat. While you are working on a project you will learn and most likely will need to watch a video or two to help you get through. The other thing I feel is so important in learning to knit is learning to read a pattern. For me, that was one of the more confusing aspects but after working through that first project, I realized it’s not as difficult as I once thought. And with each project afterwards, your skills in knitting and reading patterns will improve — it’s a good feeling.

    And, if after you complete your first project, you want to do more, I have another recommendation. Join Ravelry. It’s a free knitting and crochet community where you can join groups (some are local) and talk to other knitters (including newbies like you), get answers to questions, join help forums, and get all kinds of free patterns! I am RamonasGirl on Ravelry – join and add me as your friend.

    Every single time I ran into a problem with my knitting whether it was how to fix a mistake, how to do a particular stitch, how to do a different cast on or bind off, or any of the other many things that seemed impossible to me, I went to the computer and searched for a solution. There was always an ideal video available to show me the way. I still use those videos.

    You have no idea that joy of completing a project. I’m proud of myself because I’ve made something with my own hands. It always feels so soft and squishy to the hand plus [excuse the cliche] that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Even when I knit something with a few mistakes (like my recent Multnomah shawlette), I still love it and what a feeling of accomplishment. It’s relaxing, almost meditative, and the hand feel of the finished project is like nothing else.

    multnomah shawl - www.dianeschuller.com

    Right now I’m knitting a Nae shawl and what a treat to sit and work on it. The yarn feels amazingly soft as I work with it and the resulting fabric (I’m just over half finished) is absolutely sensational. This is going to be knock out. I then plan to begin knitting the gifts I plan to give my son and grand daughters for Christmas. Oh, and if I have one single tip when learning to knit it’s this: only knit one project at a time. Finish one and then begin the next, don’t try to knit multiple projects at once, especially when you’re beginning. If you don’t get that positive reinforcement from completing a few projects first, you may not continue.

    Nae shawl © Diane M Schuller

    I hope this has been helpful for those of you who are thinking you may like to give knitting a try. Don’t forget, I’m still a beginner myself but I hope that my experience at getting started may be of some benefit to those wanting to also learn to knit.

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    lisa - September 22, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    Oh my goodness, thank you so very much, Diane!
    Like Sherry, I can do the basic stitch (and actually a few more than that), but as far as making anything, I am not beyond a basic scarf. I will surely make use of these links.

    Again, I thank you.

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Sherry - September 22, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Oh Diane, thank you for answering my question so thoroughly and beautifully. I was so excited to see this. It’s just what I need to help me get started. I will take your advice to heart and start with a small project that I can handle. I am so impressed with how far you have come so fast and the beauty of your creations. I hope to start this winter. Your images are so soft and compelling. It will be hard to wait. Thanks again, sweetie!

    Celia - September 22, 2014 - 11:32 pm

    It’s great to read about how knitting has helped you regain the movement in your hands as well as helping you to relax. Your shawls are beautiful – meditation, exercise and creativity.

    Susan - September 23, 2014 - 10:49 am

    Thank you Diane, this is just what I needed. I had already decided to make learning to knit a winter project. I want to have something accomplished when I crawl out of my den in the Spring.

    Leigh - September 28, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    What a great post Diane! I always enjoy reading the story of “how I learned to knit”! Great links too 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful week. xo

    Candace - October 11, 2014 - 10:55 am

    Diane, those pieces are all so beautiful and perfectly done. I can imagine the feeling of accomplishment upon finishing one. I’m not sure knitting would be for me but I certainly admire those of you who do this.