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!