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.


    “A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia

    peony & seashell ©DianeMSchuller

    The MARS Garden Tour went very well. The volunteers advised us that 435 people visited our garden over the two days. Lots of people asked questions, made lovely comments, and I’d say it was a very positive experience. I’d consider doing it again — in several years, when the yard is much more mature. Here’s just a very small sampling of some of the (click ) photos from our yard the weekend of the tour.

    Pintail Drive garden tour www.dianeschuller.com

    I finished another knitting project. With all the time I’m spending out of doors, I don’t spend a heck of a lot of time on the knitting so projects move along at a much slower pace this time of year. This one is a gift for someone (she’ll know who she is when it arrives). I made this with some luxurious yarn: Madeline Tosh Pashmina which is made of 75% Merino wool, 15% silk, and 10% cashmere. It felt so silky as I was knitting. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll knit next (too many to choose from) but it’s most likely going to be a head start on Christmas gifts.

    classic car Qualicum Beach www.dianeschuller.com

    We’re really busy right now getting ready to host our annual Classic Car Parade Party. Our town hosts one of the largest classic car Show n’ Shines in Canada. In fact, Oprah has named this one of the 10 best things to do for Father’s Day! On the Friday night 300 of the over 500 cars entered do a Seaside Cruise Night (parade) and our home just happens to be on the route. So we host a huge party (80 this year) and then when the parade is ready to roll by, we all head up to the front, get our chairs out, and cheer them on.

    Classic car parade on Pintail Drive www.dianeschuller.com

    our guests Cruise Night www.dianeschuller.com

    Cruise Night on Pintail Drive www.dianeschuller.com

    Classic T-Bird Qualicum Beach ©Diane M Schuller

    I’ve also been to a great local theatre production recently with a friend. We had a delicious dinner at one of the local waterfront dining rooms (also recommended) before watching Fallen Angels, a delightful Noel Coward comedy. Some very good friends of ours invited us to to be their guests for the wine club — what a great bunch of people and very informative not to mention some interesting wine sampling. Then, keeping with the boozy theme, we had tickets to attend a tour of the Shelter Point Distillery up island from us. So a friend joined us and we made a day of it and discovered a funky little restaurant for lunch on our way back home. The Mad Chef Cafe had a unique take on some old standards plus many of their own out-there creations. I’d definitely go back — food was unique, tasty and, above all, fresh.

    The best times are when friends and family gather together.

    So there’s a wee sampling of what I’ve been up to. I’m looking forward to hosting a few brunches this summer. The ones we did last year were such a great way to gather with friends in a more intimate setting. And who says entertaining always has to be evenings? I loved hosting the brunches — they’re less work than a dinner party and everyone has just as much fun. What’s your favourite way of gathering with friends?

    The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift. — Laurie Colwin

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Toffeeapple - June 5, 2015 - 7:59 am

    It sounds as though you are having a busy Springtime. I love the flower pictures.

    Candace - June 27, 2015 - 12:11 pm

    Wow, Diane! You’re really busy, opening your home and garden to so many people. You must be one of the best hostesses around.

    Projects: Knitting and Garden Tour prep

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

    baby sweater in progress

    second baby cardigan

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

    Raglan baby sweater | www.dianeschuller.com

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

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

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    rhodo www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

    www.dianeschuller.com Parksville, Qualicum Beach

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

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


    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Gabriele - May 9, 2015 - 6:54 am

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

    Toffeeapple - May 10, 2015 - 7:28 am

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

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

    Susan - May 10, 2015 - 11:09 am

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

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:10 pm

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

    Pondside - May 11, 2015 - 7:21 am

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

    Annie - May 11, 2015 - 3:51 pm

    What a beautiful garden you have … stunning!

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

    steph - May 12, 2015 - 5:02 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Andi - May 13, 2015 - 7:14 pm

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

    Alina - May 15, 2015 - 12:59 pm

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

    Jessie - May 25, 2015 - 8:01 pm

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

    Candace - May 28, 2015 - 7:56 pm

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

    susan - June 6, 2015 - 7:22 pm

    I am so impressed! I adore those little sweater sets and your garden..wow!! I wish I lived near you, I could really use your expert advice, on both gardening and knitting!


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


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

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

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

    ironing www.dianeschuller.com

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

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

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

    ©Diane M Schuller, ironing

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

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


    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Jessie - April 23, 2015 - 6:07 pm

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

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

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

    Annie - April 24, 2015 - 10:49 am

    I always think Meryl sounds like a throughly good egg.

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

    Susan - April 24, 2015 - 2:44 pm

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

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

    Toffeeapple - April 25, 2015 - 6:31 am

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

    As for having your ironing skills assessed – well!

    Gabriele - April 25, 2015 - 11:11 am

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

    Candace - April 26, 2015 - 3:09 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thimbleanna - May 10, 2015 - 1:07 pm

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

    Roberta - May 16, 2015 - 7:24 pm

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

    Where words fail, music speaks

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

    sheet music

    Yamaha baby grand

    I play piano every day.” –Sarah McLaughlin

    … and I do too Sarah.

    Yamaha baby grand, www.dianeschuller.com

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

    piano foot peddle

    ©Diane M Schuller


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

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Susan - April 2, 2015 - 5:53 pm

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

    Andi - April 3, 2015 - 8:13 am

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

    Toffeeapple - April 3, 2015 - 11:03 am

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

    Gabriele - April 5, 2015 - 7:35 am

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

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

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

    kate - April 7, 2015 - 6:40 am


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



    Alina - April 8, 2015 - 10:04 am

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

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:09 pm

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

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

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

    Whistle While you Work


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

    Salish Sea / Georgia Strait, Qualicum Beach, BC

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

    pink tulip magnolia || www.dianeschuller.com

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

    Bulky Cable Throw || dianeschuller.com

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

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

    Nahant in Mad Tosh Merino Light

    Salish Sea, French Creek BC near Parksville

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

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

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

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

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Jessie - March 24, 2015 - 8:48 pm

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

    steph - March 25, 2015 - 9:46 am

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

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

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

    Toffeeapple - March 27, 2015 - 12:23 pm

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

    Gabriele - March 27, 2015 - 6:29 pm

    I loved the Delaware cop. Shake it off!

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

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

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

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

    susan - April 2, 2015 - 6:00 pm

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

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

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

    Candace - April 10, 2015 - 6:12 pm

    You have so many interests and talents, amazing.

    silent pictures

    Hitchhiker scarf on the needles

    www.dianeschuller.com -- cable throw in progress

    cable comfort throw ©Diane M Schuller

    2015 Herring Run on Salish Sea near Parksville, BC

    2015 Herring run on Salish Sea ©Diane M Schuller

    cookies for my son www.dianeschuller.com

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

    early February rhododendron Qualicum Beach ©Diane M Schuller

    Camelia - ©Diane M Schuller

    stones || www.dianeschuller.com

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    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~