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 each Monday ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.


    comfy corner at Sooke Harbour House, Sidney, BC

    If you haven’t heard of hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga,” or “hue-ga”), let’s find out what it means. According to Danish tourism, “‘hygge’ actually comes from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being.” It first appeared in Danish writing in the 18th century and has been embraced by the Danes ever since!”

    knitting bowl ©Diane M Schuller

    In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the simple and good things in life with good people. It’s a way of life, a daily way of life.

    I recently heard about this term from Staci Perry. I feel it very closes parallels how I have chosen to live my retirement years. After reading more about it and how the Danes embrace it so whole heartedly, it’s obvious I could be living with more hygge in my life. What about you?


    comfort food, hyggedsc_6176

    Did you check out those beautiful images of northern lights (aurora borealis), taken by Wayne Roberts, in the previous post? Isn’t that some northern hygge? His images take my breath away.

    Here are two brief articles about the hygge life, the first link having a lovely video demonstrating how the Danes embrace this everyday sense of well being.

    How to bring Danish hygge into your life

    Hygge: The Danish Word That’s About to Take Over America

    Until next Monday my lovelies, may your week be wrapped in hygge.

    candlelight and wine, hygge


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    Lionel Daneault - November 14, 2016 - 12:19 pm

    Thanks, Diane, for putting into one word the type of lifestyle Kathy and I aspire to every day.

    Sherry - November 14, 2016 - 7:39 pm

    Lovely, Diane. In between the busyness of my “mommy” days, I find moments of the hygge life. After the upcoming mess of a renovation, I hope to nurture more of these moments. As always, your blog is one of those beautiful places I visit when I need to sit with a cup of tea and soak up a little well being. 🙂

    Lisa Gordon - November 15, 2016 - 7:43 am

    I actually just recently saw this term (cannot remember where!), and I just love this idea. Now the task is to start practicing it more. A LOT more.

    As always, your photographs ae so lovely, but there is just something about that yarn in the bowl that I just cannot take my eyes off of. It is just so beautiful. Maybe it’s because it’s a really good example (to me) of hygge!

    Happy day to you, my friend.

    Andi - November 15, 2016 - 7:53 pm

    What a beautiful word and concept. I have never heard of hygge. I think it is absolutely brilliant. I would honestly have to say that your images are very hygge to me.

    Susan Clark - November 16, 2016 - 7:48 am

    We all need hygge. I wish our hardworking children could find a little more. Methinks it is the employers who need to be converted.

    A potpourri: storms to northern lights

    leftover pumpkins Vancouver Island

    We’ve had storms. On Wednesday I wrote: The storm is a spectator sport with roller derby waves, trees doing the rhumba, rain falling like waving racetrack flags, and winds sounding like angry fans.

    After my piano lesson I had a blast out on the stormy beach. Heidi needed a good run so I bundled up, took her favourite beach ball and we went to the beach to take advantage of low tide. She had a wicked time — me too. The storm had the beach all nicely ‘combed’ from the heavy waves and not a person in sight so we had it all to ourselves. {A photographer took this great short video showing the tail end of our storm.}

    STORM AT SEA by Amar Qamar

    CRASHING waves… SMASHING seas…
    Bringing sailors to their knees.
    As they struggle to save their lives,
    Hoping and praying help arrives.

    The stormy seas as dark as coal,
    Preventing the sailors from reaching their goal.
    Battered and bruised, but still they fight…
    Staring ahead into the dead of night.
    Rocking and rolling as they try to stand…
    Hoping against hope that they soon reach land.

    Bleary eyed from lack of sleep.
    Down in their cabins, huddled like sheep.
    As they’re rocking and rolling down beneath,
    Weary sailors above resist with gritted teeth.

    Hours later, as the storm starts to dissipate,
    It leaves a calm tranquil sea in it wake.
    The veteran sailors know the battle is over and they have won…
    As they contemplate other storms yet to come.

    # # #

    cappuccino at home

    morning cappuccino at home each morning

    On Saturday morning I awoke to quite an irregularity. In the 6 AM gloaming, the horizon of the Salish Sea, normally empty darkness, was alight like a city skyline. The sea was alive with a fishing boat traffic jam. The commercial seine, gillnet and troll boats all had their lights on, obviously to see what they were doing and to avoid contact with others in the jam. After sunrise the next morning, the sun shone on the fishing boats as if they were on stage. With the fog lifted and being sunlit it was like having my own theatrical performance to enjoy while I had morning coffee and then breakfast of poached eggs on seed toast. Sometimes I can’t believe what a remarkable life I am so fortunate to exist within and to observe.

    I found out the commercial fishers are harvesting chum salmon. Right now, in our area, the chum are returning to spawn in their natal streams and rivers. To take a photo of the outrageous nautical traffic jam from our home is futile. I’ve tried in the past and a photo simply does not capture the enormity of what I can see, especially without a proper zoom lens. But what I could capture, are the salmon spawning. That may be a diversion for me later today.

    egg salad in the making

    egg salad for lunch

    at table

    table for two

    Oh, and I did a little letter writing this past week too. I sent a letter to my sister and a postcard to a friend. After I took them to the post office, I realized I didn’t take any photos of them. Oh well, next time. Do you write letters or short notes when you send cards by post?

    There’s a lot of talk lately about why people still blog. I like blogging because I can share the things I enjoy, as varied (like today’s post) and sometimes subtle as they are. Of course, I also enjoying taking and sharing photographs. The two marry well together, I think. Other bloggers choose to keep to a particular theme (cooking, sewing, knitting, traveling, raising children, running/working out, design, and so on). What happens here is a potpourri of topics, thoughts, creations, and anything else that I choose to share at any particular time. I always appreciate those who stop by and you always make my day when you take the time to leave a note or respond to a question I may ask. I truly appreciate you.

    For those who love northern lights or are avid photographers, I’m leaving this video featuring my friend’s brother who was a master northern lights photographer. This is one of Wayne’s awe-inspiring photos of northern lights. I encourage you to view the short video. It will have you in awe. Enjoy.

    ©Wayne Roberts, photographer Carcross, Yukon

    Photo ©Wayne Roberts, Carcross, Yukon

    So my lovelies, until next Monday seek the wonder of Mother Nature and may you rock and roll your way through the week.

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    Lisa Gordon - November 7, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    It truly is always such a pleasure to visit you here, Diane!

    I know what you mean about potpourri.
    I do the same. Kind of whatever photos mean something to me, and whatever is going on at the time. Many times there is just a photo with very few words. It’s comfortable for me, and to me, that’s what it’s all about. I have to enjoy it, or it becomes just another thing that I feel I have to do. In well over 6 years, that has worked out very well.

    I DO write letters. Not a lot, but in particular, to one friend whom I’ve considered a best friend for almost 40 years.

    My goodness, the photo of the Northern Lights is absolutely magical! I would love to see this in person some day.

    You have a wonderful week, my friend.


    Susan Clark - November 7, 2016 - 2:25 pm

    A family friend lost his life on a fishing boat, he was very young. It was fifty years ago. Every now and again it still crosses my mind, like today when I read the poem you posted. I love the sea in all its moods but never underestimate its strength.

    Ine - November 9, 2016 - 12:58 pm

    Such lovely fall photography and thanks for sharing the video about the northern lights and lovely words about stormy seas, I enjoyed them!

    Susan - November 11, 2016 - 2:54 pm

    I love this peek into your days, Dianne and would have loved being on that beach after the storm! There’s something so comforting about all your beautiful images. Your posts remind me of May Sarton’s journals, one of my favorite authors.

    Candace - November 18, 2016 - 9:09 am

    The video of the Northern Lights is gorgeous! I’d love to see them someday.

    A lot of the bloggers that I “knew” back when I started blogging almost 8 years ago have dropped by the wayside. I do think it’s sometimes hard to keep a schedule with it and I don’t really do that anymore. I try to publish every week or so but, if I don’t, I don’t feel obligated anymore. I think I do it for myself more than anything. Posting one or 2 photos at a time on instagram or Facebook isn’t as satisfying for me. I like to have a little theme going. I like Flickr but it’s altogether different. I would miss it if I stopped, I’m sure, so I’ll be hanging in there with you.


    The winds have tumbled through the trees and across the Salish Sea this week like teenagers running from trouble. My week has scurried by with as much force as those winds and on multiple trajectories.

    First up on Monday was this note on Twitter:

    “@DianeMSchuller’s photos capture the beauty in everyday life: goo.gl/tEuDWL #PosterjackFeature ”

    What does that mean you say? Well, looks like Posterjack featured my photos (the ones on Flickr). How cool is that?! Needless to say I was rather tickled at what they had to say about my photos, or even that they felt them worthy to feature.

    featured on Twitter

    Also, on Monday, I checked out one of my favourite knit blogs and the dear Andi, My Sisters Knitter, went and included me in her list of blogs to visit! Goodness me, no wonder I stick to blogging. Kidding aside, I felt so honoured to be included and mentioned.

    Next up on Tuesday, I received an email from Posterjack learning that I also won their September photo contest! Here is part of their message, “Hi Diane! Congratulations! You’re the winner of the September #2016Snapshots contest. Here is your $100 voucher code…”

    These are the two photos I had submitted on the theme of books/reading.


    I realize there are people who take far better images than I do. Yet I can’t help but be incredibly honoured to have my images featured in this way. I look forward to using my $100 winnings on putting more of my images on my walls.

    “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” –Dorothea Lange

    Wait, there’s more. I found out about a ‘yarn swap’ at one of my favourite groups on Ravelry. It goes like this: you submit your interest and are paired up with another knitter. Each of you shops for the other person purchasing some yarn and adding any other little items you’d like to go along with it. Wrap, mail, and wait. You have no idea how excited I was putting the package together plus the anticipation of hoping my partner would be even half as excited as me. I forgot to take a photo of the goodies I sent but the recipient took the image below when it arrived.


    It contained: two luscious yarns in one of her favourite colours; a novel; one of my own book marks; locally made stitch markers; imported loose tea plus a couple tea bags; British toffee candies; a pattern for hat (perhaps for using the gradient yarn); gift tags for use with hand knit gifts plus a sheet of knit-gift tags with washing instructions; and a locally made card for writing a note to my swap partner.

    Earlier today I received my package from my swap partner. You should have seen the darling washi tape she had used with her wrapping paper: it had an adorable sheep on it. Her package contained: a luscious skein of fingering Merino wool by Bumblebirch (don’t you love that name?); some darling stitch markers in the shape of nautical rope balls; a notebook (always handy); the memoir Knitlandia by Clara Parkes; a sample of Eucalan; and the most amazing set of TOLT postcards. I would normally send postcards but these are too adorable to send — I think I’m going to frame them.

    yarn swap

    “Do stuff. be clenched, curious. … Pay attention. …  It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” –Susan Sontag

    My Trenchcoat socks are finished! And they fit. And I can hardly wait to knit more socks. But first I’m going to make a pair for my son.

    handknit socks, Turtlepurl yarn in Trenchcoat

    Since I’ve been knitting again, I thought the next blog I would mention (as I promised to do on a monthly basis) is MySistersKnitter. I’ve been following Andi ever since I began knitting. You’ll see she’s a die-hard sock knitter and I envy all those lovely socks she makes. Hers is definitely a knitting blog and you’ll find she shares information about the yarn & patterns for the socks and other things she knits. What I enjoy most is her lovely chatty way — it’s like having a great visit at the kitchen table. If you’re a knitter, you’ll especially want to visit Andi. She always closes her blog posts with some delightful music you’re bound to enjoy.

    A glimpse of my week

    watching the storm roll in on the Salish Sea

    baking pies ©Diane M Schuller

    vase of chrysanthemum | www.dianeschuller.com

    I have a couple questions for you before I leave you with my wish for your coming week. Q: Do you think hand knit socks make a good gift; if so, is that something you would love to receive?  Q2: Would you ever be interested in doing some sort of a swap with me (doesn’t have to be a yarn swap though it could be, but could be postcard swap; letter swap; handmade item swap (sewing, knitting, crafting, paper, whatever) for example)?

    So now my lovelies, until next Monday I wish for you to be eager, make connections near or far, and keep sheltered from the stormy winds.

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    DIANE J PATMORE - November 1, 2016 - 11:37 am

    What a super post! I love those socks. Did you find them difficult to knit?

    Crazy busy here, but I’ll get a letter in the mail on Friday (I need to buy stamps and can’t do that til I have the car…)

    autumngeisha - November 1, 2016 - 4:56 pm

    Your pictures are lovely! They have an intimate quiet beauty. Love the socks too! I think that hand knit socks would make wonderful gifts.

    Juliann - November 1, 2016 - 8:40 pm

    I am also a fan of Andi’s blog. I am committed to not knitting socks although they are so lovely. i do think they would be a nice gift.
    If you decide to do a letter swap or maybe a book swap, count me in.
    I am just rebooting my own blog. I am enjoying visiting your writing space.

    Dianne - November 2, 2016 - 4:43 am

    I am to the last few rows on the toe of a sock this morning. Christmas socks for my daughter. My family loves to get them as gifts. When I was visiting last week, I saw the teenager heading to school a couple of morning wearing socks with her Birkenstocks. Yay for wearing socks made BY HER GRANDMOTHER to high school!

    Thanks for explaining how a Ravelry swap works. I have never exactly understood.

    Jessie Stevens - November 2, 2016 - 10:05 am

    I don’t as a rule even like socks but I always love the socks that are knit for me! 🙂

    Andi - November 5, 2016 - 6:32 am

    What a kind and wonderful mention- thank you Diane! 🙂

    Congratulations on getting your gorgeous photography featured. It was only a matter of time as I have been a longtime fan of your captures.
    It has been such a treat to see everyone having fun and swapping away. So happy that you joined in on the fun.

    Your socks turned out perfect!


    Lisa Gordon - November 5, 2016 - 11:51 am

    Congratulations, Diane!!!
    This is so truly well-deserved. I am thrilled for you.
    I absolutely LOVE these socks, and I think hand-knit socks would be a wonderful gift. The recipient would be very fortunate indeed.

    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, my friend.

    Susan - November 11, 2016 - 2:56 pm

    Wow, such great news all around! Congratulations, so well deserved! Got my eye on those sweet socks!

    Candace - November 18, 2016 - 9:02 am

    Congratulations on all those successes, Diane. It’s always nice to get some recognition, your photos are always beautiful, even those of your everyday life. I guess I didn’t realize you live so close to the sea. That’s totally awesome!

    a piece of string …

    Japanese maple in autumn, Qualicum Beach BC

    I like making a piece of string into something I can wear.

    lace scarf by ©Diane M Schuller

    Yes, after a spring and summer knitting hiatus, I’ve cast on and the needles are clacking. I began by using up some yarn that really called out to be put to use — notice the autumnal colour. It’s a golden yellow shade and is the result of frogging a shawl I knit last year. Truth be told I’m sick of the colour and wasn’t keen on knitting anything with that particular yarn [again] so I trudged on through and made a lacey tube scarf with it.

    Australian Shepherd modelling lace scarf

    As soon as that scarf was off the needles, I knew exactly what would be next: socks! I have a Wildflower pattern that I really want to make but, wisely, I decided to first do a plain vanilla pair with some swanky yarn. That way, I can get the wrinkles ironed out in terms of fit and technique. So, in progress at this moment are a simple and basic pair of socks using some amazing self striping yarn called “Trenchcoat” by a talented Canadian yarn dyer, Turtlepurl.

    two at a time socks, Trenchcoat yarn by Turtlepurl

    two at a time socks | www.dianeschuller.com

    As you can see, I knit my socks two-at-a-time on one set of needles and I also don’t do them on double pointed needles, unlike most sock knitters. I much prefer to knit using magic loop rather than the DPNs — I’ve tried the DPNs and really, really do not like using them. The reason I do two-at-a-time (TAAT) is because I know myself well enough to realize if I knit only one sock, it would be a struggle (if ever) to begin knitting a second sock. The other reason I do TAAT is because that way, my socks will be a perfect match both in size, length, and gauge.

    detail, tip of Japanese Maple, www.dianeschuller.com

    After all that warm and cozy knitting, I’m going to close with something much more serious. This has deep meaning for me which is why I’m sharing this. As some of you may know, Gord Downie of the band Tragically Hip did a farewell tour this year because he’s dying of cancer. But for the past two years he’s been doing a much more important project known as the Secret Path. CBC summarizes it best, “The album and its graphic novel companion, Secret Path, tell the story of Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who escaped from a residential school in 1966 only to die while trying to find his way home. Secret Pathpublished on October 18 by Simon & Schuster Canada, is a haunting imagining in pen and watercolour of the final days of Wenjack’s short life.”


    And, as it turns out, the very talented author Joseph Boyden has also written a compact, palm-size novel about Chanie, called Wenjac; read about it here.

    Everybody has a story. We are so fortunate. So, my lovelies, until next Monday let’s have an amazing week!

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    DIANE J PATMORE - October 24, 2016 - 10:34 am

    Aha! I see you knit your socks toe-up. I did knit some on double points (and think I still have a pair in the cupboard!), but long ago I found a pattern for toe-up and tried it.
    These days I can’t be bothered with knitting and am barefoot most of the time.Though yesterday, I borrowed a pair of Peter’s heavy work socks, it was so cold!
    Like Heidi’s fashion statement! :-))

    Dianne - October 25, 2016 - 6:43 am

    It’s a good thing there are multiple ways to knit a sock. I like to make them top-down and on DPNs. I’ve tried magic loop and can do it, but find it fiddly. I’m making Christmas socks right now. One at a time.

    Lisa Gordon - October 25, 2016 - 12:20 pm

    Never has a scarf looked so perfect on “someone!”
    I really like this color, Diane.
    And I love the idea of knitting 2 socks at a time.
    I need to try this.
    Then maybe I would not have so many single mittens!! 🙂

    You have a wonderful week, my friend.


    An Image in Hand

    I recently read a post on Facebook that had such an urgency to it. Her computer had crashed and she couldn’t access or find any of her photographs. They included images of their children (eight years of memories and firsts), their horses and dogs, and other important images and documents. I could imagine the gnawing feeling she must have in the pit of her gut. I know I too would have that feeling of dread in that circumstance. If the images had been printed she would still have them.

    Remember going through photo albums or shoe boxes full of family photos? When I was young I loved doing that — love it still. I loved the magnetism of the photographs, the history, the nostalgia.

    vintage prints

    old photographs

    Do you have your photos printed for easy access? Do you have some framed sitting on end tables or hanging on walls in your home? Have you shared real, physical photographs with other people (grandparents, siblings)?

    photographs on mantle

    When we have our photographs printed or gathered in a photo book, we appreciate those tangible prints more, likely because we can touch and hold them in our hands. It’s not simply vanishing images on the screen but ones we can linger over and come back to, cherish. In this digital age, sure it’s easy to leave them on our smart phone, computer, hard drive, or in the mysterious cloud, believing them to be safe or always there for us. But they are never as safe as when we actually have those images printed.

    “Our dreams are made of real things, like a shoebox full of photographs.” — Jack Johnson

    photo book, photo albumdsc_4059

    We have numerous choices for getting physical prints whether it’s lovely & easy books by iPhoto (Mac);  or Blurb also for photo books; or Posterjack for quality canvas, posters, and more. Don’t forget, your local pharmacy or box store can also produce as many photographic prints as you like, ready for you to place in an album, shoebox, or in a bowl on your coffee table for everyone to browse through.

    If you’ve been following me a long time you know I’ve written on this topic numerous times, Printed Photographs are Gifts, What Can I Do With All My Snapshots?, Photographs are Meant to be Printed, and a few others. You can tell, I have a passion for the physical photograph.

    Go ahead, do it. Get your favourites printed. Hold them. Shuffle them. Admire them. Now. You won’t regret it.

    An image in hand can touch your heart more deeply than an image on a computer screen. Printed photographs are gifts.” ~Meredith Wynn

    Until next Monday, may you enjoy the most fulfilling moments whether it’s poring over old photographs, walking in the silent woods, reading a fine book, making a special gift with your own hands, or simply daydreaming over a cup of hot tea. — Diane


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    Lionel Daneault - October 17, 2016 - 9:32 am

    It reminds me of Ringo Starr’s recording “Photograph”. I too love the printed picture although I must decide what to do with all my slides from that phase of my memory making.

    Susan Clark - October 17, 2016 - 12:52 pm

    At Christmas I get a lovely photo book of pictures taken of their preceeding summer visit. As they come for about a month there are plenty of memories to record. Not only do I get to relive happy summer days but it is also an excellent record of each passing year.

    Lisa Gordon - October 17, 2016 - 12:57 pm

    This is such a timely post, Diane.
    As I am writing this, I am also working on some sort of structured backup for all of the photographs on my computer. Figuring out the best way (for me) to do it, is surely much more difficult than actually doing it. With few exceptions, I did not print any of my photos, until this year. I’ve printed just a few for hanging this year. I definitely need to think about printing more.

    Thank you, my friend, and have a wonderful week ahead. xo.

    Roberta - October 20, 2016 - 9:47 pm

    My sister’s best furry friend of almost seventeen years passed away a few days ago. She has been sharing some of Andy’s photos with me…

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving. Wishing all my friends, family and you a Thanksgiving full of warmth and love in the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving for what we all have.

    Field of Pumpkins Vancouver Island

    heart in pumpkin, Vancouver Island ©Diane M Schuller

    Thanksgiving is a time for thinking about and giving thanks for all that we have. It’s the day set aside to be grateful and humble for our abundances. May you enjoy a special Thanksgiving with loved ones and friends. Have you invited a neighbour or acquaintance for Thanksgiving dinner, who might otherwise be spending it alone?

    dinner setting www.dianeschuller.com

    apple pie made by www.dianeschuller.com

    “Love what you have.” — Diane Schuller


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    Lisa Gordon - October 10, 2016 - 8:58 am

    A bit belated, but a very, very Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. xo.

    Gabriele - October 10, 2016 - 9:40 am

    Happy Thanksgiving and may your gratitude hold your spirits high.

    Sherry - October 10, 2016 - 1:29 pm

    What lovely images and kind thoughts. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Juliann - October 10, 2016 - 6:46 pm

    What a lovely post. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Stephanie Young - October 13, 2016 - 5:29 pm

    Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving???

    Candace - October 18, 2016 - 12:24 pm

    I hope your Thanksgiving was great, Diane. The pie looks delicious!

    Sherry G. - October 20, 2016 - 4:24 pm

    Sorry I missed the opportunity to wish you Happy Thanksgiving, my friend, but I wanted to tell you how much I love the images in this post. That apple pie looks delightful and I bet it tasted fabulous.