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.

    merry melody of spring

    Even before the horizon fully awakens, ribbons of fuchsia, tangerine, and cherry blossom pink sets the backdrop for the spring flutter. Eagles paint shadows over yards and homes and beaches. Birds carving the air, crows calling other birds dirty names, and robins’ merry melody occupy these sunny days. And somewhere in the strength and silence of giant trees is an owl waiting for day to melt into darkness.


    inside a magnolia www.dianeschuller.com

    the inside and outside of a magnolia

    tulips at our front door

    tulips at our front door

    My dear friends, there will be a pause here so no Monday morning postings until mid-May as I will be without Internet access. Until the third week in May may the birds of spring entertain and inspire you.


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    Ms S - April 4, 2016 - 11:41 am

    Ahhh…blue skies and pink trees. What a delightful start to the season!!

    dinahmow - April 4, 2016 - 2:57 pm

    What a poetic opening!In both words and pictures.

    Enjoy your break,Diane.See you next month!

    Gabriele - April 4, 2016 - 3:39 pm

    I will look forward to your lovely pictures in May.

    Lisa Gordon - April 4, 2016 - 3:55 pm

    Magnolias are my very favorite summer flower, Diane, and these are just gorgeous.
    Have a wonderful time away, and I will surely see you when you return.

    Toffeeapple - April 5, 2016 - 3:18 am

    Enjoy the blooms and birds of Spring.

    Jessie Stevens - April 5, 2016 - 8:57 pm

    Your spring blooms are beautiful. I’m sure the mid-may flowers will be too. Enjoy your internet break!

    Candace - April 18, 2016 - 2:03 pm

    Beautiful words and photos, Diane. No internet!?!?!?! I would go nuts but I have a feeling you’ll do just fine 🙂

    coming into leaf

    “The trees are coming into leaf 

    Like something almost being said;”
    –an excerpt from the poem The Tree by Philip Larkin.
    © www.dianeschuller.com
    Qualicum Beach www.dianeschuller.com
    Sorry for being late this week. Oodles of noodles got in the way. Until next Monday, enjoy the sun!
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    Gabriele - March 30, 2016 - 4:49 am

    I really am enjoying the sun. Your pictures are beautiful.

    Ms S - March 30, 2016 - 11:39 am

    Oooooo…..so gorgeous! Given how beautiful your winter garden is, your spring garden must be absolutely breathtaking.

    Lisa Gordon - March 30, 2016 - 4:05 pm

    What beautiful colors here, Diane.
    Some of our early spring flowers are starting to bloom, but I am so concerned, because over the next week, we are in for some very, very cold weather. I’m going to try to cover as many as I can at night, but…

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Wishing you a wonderful spring week, my friend.

    Ine - March 31, 2016 - 12:21 am

    Beautiful photography! I love the second o e the most.

    stephanie young - March 31, 2016 - 12:26 pm

    so pretty….we’re slowly finding spring around town, too….some dogwoods in full bloom, others still budding….daffs are just about gone….azaleas just about out!

    Candace - April 18, 2016 - 2:04 pm

    Dreamy images!

    how simple a thing is

    “We write to taste life twice.” — Anais Nin
    DSC_4272herring fishery on Salish Sea ©Diane M Schuller

    Eagles gathered with the squabble of seagulls — anticipating and scavenging as the herring run on the Salish Sea began this past week. Sea lions, fat as slugs, stalked and barked, then floated in their rafts after an earnest gorging. Orcas skimmed the shore hopeful for unsuspecting or inattentive seals. All the while, armies of fishermen netted gleans of herring. According to the local newspaper, over 4.4 million pounds of herring were captured in 10 days.

    sea lions at French Creek marina ©Diane M Schuller

    sea lions ©Diane M SchullerDSC_4296

    the fat slugs … er, sea lions!

    Friends stayed with us for five days this past week so we covered as much local territory as possible in those few days. With all the herring, the resident eagles were fending off all the intruding eagles, though it made for great viewing by our guests. The only thing I didn’t photograph were the eagles: without a serious zoom lens, it is impossible to capture their magnificence in a photo.

    getting snaps of the sealions

    fascinated onlookers getting a few snaps

    unloading at French Creek marina, herring season ©Diane M Schuller

    unloading at French Creek marina, herring season 2016 ©Diane M Schuller

    unloading their catch

    plum blossoms, spring in Qualicum Beach, BCDSC_4310DSC_4314

    plum blossoms in our neighbourhood

    “I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” — Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek.

    tulips in the guest room www.dianeschuller.com

    tulips in the guest room

    “I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace, and next to a hyacinth look like a wholesome, freshly tubbed young girl beside a stout lady whose every movement weighs down the air with patchouli. Their faint, delicate scent is refinement itself; and is there anything in the world more charming than the sprightly way they hold up their little faces to the sun. I have heard them called bold and flaunting, but to me they seem modest grace itself, only always on the alert to enjoy life as much as they can and not be afraid of looking the sun or anything else above them in the face.” — Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden

    Until next Monday my friends may you gather with friends, submit to happiness and the simple things. Nothing else.

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    steph - March 21, 2016 - 8:15 am

    what a lovely weekend you had…..spring has most definitely sprung!

    Lisa Gordon - March 21, 2016 - 10:12 am

    What fun for you and your guests, Diane!
    Now that’s a “whole lotta” herring.
    I love that precious little face of the sea lion.
    I think they are the sweetest creatures.

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

    Susan Clark - March 21, 2016 - 11:41 am

    Doing the tourist thing in your own backyard is always fun. I hope we are not depleting the herring like we did the cod. So much of the food chain relies on it.

    Mary - March 21, 2016 - 4:18 pm

    My goodness what a beautiful place to call home. Thank you for those pictures and the uplift of spring flowers–my favorites. You make a gray day sunny, Diane.


    Toffeeapple - March 22, 2016 - 9:12 am

    How I wish that I could see Eagles!

    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.