A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has defintely been a challenge every day throughout the past three years, but I welcome the challenge again this year 2015. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gearing Up for Quilt Bingo 2017

The Southern Comforters Quilt Guild's annual Quilt Bingo is scheduled for October 21, 2017 at the Knight of Columbus Hall, 6111 Columbian Way, Bowie, MD with doors opening at 12:30pm. Tickets will be sold at the door for $20. Games start at 2:00pm sharp!

Our guild members are working diligently in preparing 20 beautiful quilts (and other quilted items for additional prizes) before October. It's a great afternoon and I hope to see a large crowd there to take in the afternoon, with food, beverages and bakery to boot!

My photo today is one of the quilts that will be awarded to a B-I-N-G-O winner: "Ambrosia" - pieced top by Pamela Budesheim and quilted by yours truly. I think it's a beautiful quilt, and it could be yours...


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Birthdays Never Get Old

When you are a five time cancer survivor, Birthdays never get old. Every single one of them is welcomed and celebrated, and today is no different to wish that son of mine/ours a very happy one for sure. We are thankful for each day, and today is just the "icing on the cake" for 23 years young!

So HOW-HOW and Happy Birthday to the one and only Ryan Nolan Tomoff!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Glimpse of Special Love Camp

Our first time on visitor's night at Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, Virginia, did not disappoint. In fact, husband Bill and I were giddy driving out to the northern gateway of the Shenandoah Valley and it's beautiful surrounding mountains. There we descended on the camp where 107 childhood cancer campers aged 7-17 were found having the time of their lives...at least for one week out of the year, and dinner was being served by a local Kiwanis (Rappahannock) group. Son, Ryan, was a camper through those years, and now is a full-fledged bona fide camp counselor with his charges being 11/12 year old boys. So for a few hours, we were able to see a glimpse and feel the "magic" of camp that our kids have tried to explain to us for years. Yes, we've gone to family weekends, parent retreats etc., but, nothing can ever compare to this week (along with BRASS week in July)!

And in 16 years, we were, thankfully, able to say "Happy Birthday" one day early "in-person" to Ryan, which was a great highlight too. Of course the medical team, volunteers and staff have truly kept this yearly camp as a well-oiled machine, and it was definitely a pleasure to see it all unfold before us, even for a few hours. A HUGE HOW-HOW to NIH, and all involved with this magical place, along with Tom and Sheila Baker, the founders, who had the vision back in 1983 to honor their young daughter who died of childhood cancer, and give other kids the chance to have FUN despite their cancers and any medical challenges they face.

Here is a short video "explaining" camp....

Photos from today: 1) Ryan with me and Bill; 2) me and Dr. Francis Collins, a "rock star" in my "book"...he mapped and sequenced human DNA plus he is the Director of the NIH... 3) Medical Director of the Camp Dr. Steve Chanock, chief nurse Tammy Jenkins and me; 4) Bill and I with Shari and Andy Fisher; 5) Dave Smith and Bill; 6) Jarvis Kuo and Bill

Monday, August 14, 2017

Northern Cardinal

While in my living room yesterday working on a quilt, I could not help but notice, and hear the unmistakable slow trill of the male northern cardinal right outside the window in the boxwood, and actually "pecking" at the window. My photo here today does not do this bird justice, but think of it as it's own "photo app" that permeates social media photographs lately; this one is called the "screened in look"! One day I'll get a better shot with a better camera, but these red beauties are all over the yard lately. They must like all that new grass seed I put down to grow "good" grass instead of "crab", er, shall I say, "crabby" grass...


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quilt for Emily

Another needleonfull.com production with Emily R.'s quilt using her club and high school soccer jerseys plus several tshirts too. Emily committed to play Old Dominion in Virginia to continue the beautiful game at the collegiate level, and this past weekend was her first set of "preseason" games! Best of luck to her and all the fall athletes as they journey back to their respective schools to...study...and then play their sport!

Photo of Emily's Quilt

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Using Gift Cards and Movie Tickets

No longer am I keeping gift cards and movie tickets in the drawer. Rather, they stay nice and tidy in my wallet (since Christmas), and when the light bulb goes off (or I gloss over them while looking for something else in the same wallet), it's dinner and a movie only eight months later. But, hey, why rush spending or using those precious cards? Thankfully, tonight was the night we had the chance to use them and enjoy a night out close to home. I will say that the movie was mutually selected - "Dunkirk", and was quite intense from the opening scene...and NEVER let up! I don't believe it was more intense than, "Saving Private Ryan" (one of our favorite war movies); but it was a WW11 true story nonetheless. After the movie ended (we needed to catch our breath as the credits were rolling), I sat and thought these stories remind us all how devastating a war truly is. War destroys morale of nations, and more importantly, the young men and women in uniform who fight for their countries.

I am two for two on intense movies for this summer, so I think I need to ease up and see a RomCom for the third one, or at least something fun and light.

BSoleille! The bright side of using Christmas gift cards to restaurants and movies in August!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Early Birthday Celebration

When your birthday falls EVERY year during the middle of Special Love's Camp Fantastic, as in Ryan Tomoff's case, the celebration has to be before or after his "special" day. Believe it or not, he/we have not celebrated on his actual day (16th) in 16 years! But, I do believe it's been celebrated at camp through all these years, first as a camper (ages 7-17); then LIT, and now a full fledged counselor bearing down on 23 years old. Last year his goal was to get to camp following his tongue cancer surgery, and he met that goal solidly. This year, he selected his favorite steakhouse and we could not be more thrilled to see him happy, healed (mostly), and ready to embark to camp in Front Royal, VA.

So a BIG "How-How" to Ryan at camp (he arrived there late this afternoon), and the entire crew (staff) arriving tonight to usher in, prepare and celebrate "the best week of the year" with over 100 childhood cancer thrivers and survivors arriving Sunday. (Yes, it take a couple days to get prepared and ready the 4-H Center). It's really special to see Ryan on the "other side" in being a counselor, as it was really not that long ago he was a camper and equally excited for "this best week" of his life.

To see more about this fabulous camp, check out: specialove.org


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Morning Glory Takeover

Raise your hand if you think August is the worst month for garden weeds? It seems that if you do not arrest the "carnage" early in the season, it is losing battle come end of summer. I am guilty of not doing the "proper" weeding, and all types of weeds (and mushrooms due to the rains) have popped up all over, including the ever invasive morning glory (which only blooms in the morning...ahem, where the name comes from...), but the vine is everywhere! I try to rip it out every July and it comes back with a vengeance. So, the "enjoyment" of the purple morning flower lasts a couple hours and that's it. Can it really be enjoyed though? You can bet I try.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back in the Driver's Seat...On My Long Arm

Taking care of one's sewing machine(s) is paramount to good machine maintenance, like a car or truck, or really, anything mechanical. So, it should go without saying, that my "bread and butter" of making tshirt quilts, lends itself for my machines to hum along in good working order. While I was out -  "driving around for a spell", my Handy Quilter (HQ 16), spent some time at SpringWater Designs getting serviced (mentioned in a previous blogpost). Personally noted, that after returning from my summer trips and finally running my "Proud Mary", I quickly summed up that it was way overdue for its spa treatment. It now feels like a new machine and running beautifully, and I am super excited and thankful for that!

So a huge shout of Thanks to Bob and Dawn Stewart of Spring Water Designs who took "Proud Mary" under their wing to give her a deep cleaning and oil massage to get her humming along just right! So I am back in the saddle at needleonfull.com and it feels so good to be back!

You can find our more about Spring Water Design Quilt Shop and Handy Quilter dealer @


Monday, August 7, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Between May 19th and today, the several trips to Cleveland and Kelleys Island, Ohio; Boulder, Denver and Crested Butte, Colorado, and Chicago, IL, garnered our Honda Accord 10,000 miles of summer road travel. I am very thankful that each trip was unique, along with the beautiful weddings attached to three of them, and every mile was met safely. Luckily, gasoline is "cheap", and I never minded the long days of driving. Believe it or not, today's last trip home from Chicago-Cleveland (ahem, I found my way with no problem!), was the only day we (Ryan as my co-pilot) had rain. And boy, five out of the six plus hours it was absolutely pouring, and kind of scary with many trucks and huge RV's that seemed to be the only mode of transportation out on the roads with only a few cars sprinkled into the mix.

Few observations from the highways and turnpikes: the corn is head high now (I forgot to mention during the last big trip that the corn was chin high); everything growing is lush and green for the most part; if orange is your favorite color, please drive through Ohio on the turnpike, because orange barrels, flags and tape are everywhere (along with lane closures to keep you on your toes!); and EZpass is the greatest thing if tolls have to be paid!


Photos; right before the rain hit and those lovely orange barrels (isn't orange is the new black?)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Marshall and Ali Meier Wedding

A beautiful summer setting in Yorkville, IL, was the setting of Ali and Marshall's nuptials at Ashley Farm. Days like these, one is reminded that love is kind and patient and truly grand! We are so happy for this amazing couple and the Gage family for hosting this wonderful celebration. Nowadays, it is truly an honor to be invited to a wedding, so I am doubly thankful that my family and all the guests were able to make the trip and witness the love and marriage of this brilliant couple!

A huge shout out to Jim and Deanna Gage for hosting this spectacular day!

Congratulations and best wishes to the new bride and groom; Mr. and Mrs. Marshall and Alexandra Meier!


Photos from the wedding: Ali and Marshall; Jim and Deanna; the Venue at Ashley Farm; Gage's, Tomoff's and Brian Phillips; Terri and Deanna!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Through the Orange Barrels to Chicago Wedding

Instead of "over the river and through the woods", we instead traveled through lane closures, hundreds of orange barrels through Ohio and Indiana and obligatory Friday afternoon traffic in and around greater Chicago, IL,; but it did not damper our spirits to make it to the Gage Family pizza party for this wonderful wedding weekend in Naperville. Ali Gage and Ryan are both 22, and our families have strong bonds dating back to when the Gages lived in Crofton, Maryland. Jim, Deanna and Sammy were lifesavers in helping with Olivia and all her activities when Ryan was hospitalized at Georgetown for weeks on end, and we could not be more thankful for them and our family relationships through the last 15 years. These kids are "all grown up" and now...getting married! We are thrilled to be here to celebrate this very happy occasion!

BSoleille! The bright side of our kids' childhood friends getting married!


Photo of Ali and Ryan in 2000, and tonight! Wow!!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

On the Road Again

Wedding Weekend #3 for the Alex Gage/Marshall Meier in Chicago, Illinois. Ryan and I started the trek to Chicago, IL, by car with an overnight stop in Cleveland, Ohio for a quick visit with family, a couple of friends and a Cleveland Indian vs. NY Yankee baseball game at the Jake (now called Progressive Field)., all in one afternoon and evening (after a six hour drive). We really know how pack in our day for sure, and I am thankful for safe summer travel over the highways, byways, and turnpikes through a couple of states. Rain threatened throughout the day, but the visits and game were met with only a couple of drops (but this does not count the skies opening up with torrential rains going from one thing to the next!).


Photos from the field; sister Kimberly and I; brother-in-law, Jerry and Ryan (brave soul to wear his Yankee gear in a passionate Indian Tribe fan base).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Raffle Quilt 2018 Reveal - Rhapsody in Blue

The 2018 Southern Comforter Quilt Guild's Raffle Quilt is done, and it's "big" public reveal was tonight at the National Night Out at Allen's Pond in Bowie, MD. National Night Out Day is observed annually on the first Tuesday in August. It is a community police awareness-raising event in the United States, and Wendy Allen and I took out "Rhapsody in Blue" to an amazed crowd that stopped to take a look, and bought chances to win it next March at our annual quilt show. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate as "planned", but RIB held her ground for over an hour set up in our booth with a canopy and did not disappoint. We were both thankful on the wonderful comments made to us on this Sue Garman pattern in Blue and White, and Wendy lead the charge in making this beautiful quilt over the last several months (I must add that Wendy also quilted it exquisitely!).

BSoleille! The bright side of it only takes one chance to win this beautiful quilt - $1/chance; $5 for 6 chances!


Monday, July 31, 2017


I must admit, getting my website to go live (even though I had some help trying to get my website up and running - Thank you to Josh Franek and Casey Sumpter), I was scared to death of it all working and coming together over the last year. The hosting site says it is all "so easy", and probably to a lot of folks it is, but not to me...initially. I finally faced the last hurdle to go live when an article came out in a local publication for the month of August, Living in the Triangle, about me and my quilt guild's (Southern Comforters of Bowie, Maryland) mission to give back to a community, ours being the Pediatric Cancer Wards of Medstar Georgetown and Baltimore's Sinai Hospitals. The writer, James Harvey, also included my website (which was under construction for far too long), which I thought was very generous. The unfortunate thing though, no one could reach me until today!

Thankfully, a reader of Living in the Triangle was persistent in finding me and made a valiant effort to reach me for a tshirt quilt she wanted to have custom made...but not through the website that was published because I needed to link my domain name to the site, and that was the hang up for too long. So today, our nephew, Alex Tomoff (a rising senior at Penn State and savvy enough around a computer and website construction), visited us today. He is in town for an internship this week with NOA, and had dinner with us, along with helping me finally go "live" with needleonfull.com

I did muscle the information needed to incorporate the domain name and website host site, but for the life of me, couldn't figure out how to "marry" them together. A simple phone call to Google Domains was all that was needed to go live, and I am so excited it is now working. This site is not perfect by any means, and there will be tweaking of the site as I learn more, but I am excited and happy to roll this out today! A big Shout of Thanks to Alex in helping me overcome the hurdle and make this "dream" a reality.


Photos from the evening...with Alex and family

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Long Shelf Life of Vaseline

Vaseline, as I have learned, has quite a long shelf life, and no "hard and fast" expiration date. Since it doesn't contain any water, it doesn't support bacterial growth. While cleaning, discarding and putting away all the bathroom cabinet items removed for all the renovating and painting over the last few weeks, I came across an "old jar" of vaseline from when "The Best Daugher" was a baby. When I opened it up it seemed fine, but since I had two other jars purchased "more recently" (like less than 25 years!), I let it go into the trash and never looked back. How much vaseline does one family need when there's not a baby in the house? For running/biking/athletic endeavors to cover excessive rubbing of any kind...a little dab will do the job. Therefore, a jar can last a long time!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Social Media Strong

Four years ago, a friend I met through Anne Arundel County School Health, Lori G., moved abroad to Deutschland. Last summer, she and her family moved back to the States (Florida), and today I finally caught up with her "in person", along with our mutual friend, Linda Duret. While visiting with each other, I couldn't help think that through social media (mostly Facebook), and games (WordsWithFriends), friends really can keep in touch and know about the "big rocks" that happen in each others lives. As we know, nothing beats hanging out in person, but social media does play a large part of "being in the know" for big life events, and that is truly very cool.

Unfortunately, the pool day we had scheduled this afternoon was cancelled due to the rain and cool temperatures, but the brilliant idea of going to the movies on this rainy day was just the ticket by seeing the spy thriller; "Atomic Blonde" with Charlize Theron. I liked it even though there was a lot of "bang 'em up and shoot 'em up", and based on the novel: The Coldest City by Antony Johnston. Her character is an undercover agent who is sent to Berlin in the closing days of the Cold War (1989) to investigate a murder...and of course, to clean up the mess left by the British Government. Charlize Theron's character was like a female version of James Bond!

BSoleille! The bright side of social media strong...good enough until you meet up in person once again...


Photo: Terri, Lori and Linda

Friday, July 28, 2017

It All Started with a Itty Bitty Sink

For an almost 50 year old home, updating, or more aptly, keeping it up to date, is key to "successful" or prudent, home ownership. So when the master bedroom and bath renovation began this spring, changing the barely 24" wide by a 29" tall sink was high on the list. Maybe people were shorter 50 years ago? It baffled us for years that the sink was so short, but thankfully, it is now set at a "proper" height of about 34" and that certainly make a difference, and a good one at that, for sure!

A big shout of THANKS to Mike Serafini for transforming the master bath with his fastidious attention to detail in converting our itty bitty sink to two high performing sinks that we simply love (which also included moving a wall/closet/plumbing/electric). The closet was cut in half to make room, but that too was converted to very accessible and usable space for much needed storage (we fight for inches in these Levitt homes without basements!). If it's noticeable from the attached photo that the shower doors have not been swapped out...yet...you are right, but they are on order and will be installed soon for the renovation to be complete! Even now though, when we step into this updated space, we feel like we are in an hotel bathroom and that's not too shabby at all!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Puppy Throwback Thursday

Earlier this month, July 4th to be exact, our husky-mix (lab) Loo-C-Loo, turned 11 years old. She is an awesome dog for sure, and we are thankful she came into our lives when she was a six month old puppy. She is quite a regal lady now, rarely barks, and at 75 lbs., considers herself a lap dog to be closer to "her people" whenever she can.

While looking for another photo among thousands of hard-copy photos, I came across this one of Loo-C that I wanted to share. She certainly has that puppy look and still sits in the same spot all these years later.

So cheers to Loo-C and all four-legged furry friends hanging with their peeps on a warm summer night.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weeds and Moths

I am forever perplexed on the abundance of backyard (and front yard) weeds. They grow better than any flower and nothing seems to work in keeping them at bay. Of course, poison ivy and it's cousins, poison oak and poison sumac, are the worst culprits, but what about plain old crabgrass that comes back in the same place year after year? I am sick of this stuff. So, I took matters in my own hands and ripped it all out in the back yard, which took me a two full hours of grinding work (those root systems are ruthless!).

But while I pursued the weed removal project, I glanced up and "discovered" the "most beautiful" moth hanging on the patio door. It never moved, and I was able to get very close to it to take a couple of photos of it's "grandeur", er "colors", or more aptly, design(s), which made all that weed pulling, thankfully, somewhat tolerable...