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 (or paragraph 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 definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2019. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Quilt Scouts on Retreat!

Our fearless Quilt Scout Leader, Karen Todd, came up with the brilliant idea of "Quilt Scouts" - a play on Girl Scouts, where we could earn "badges" all weekend long while on the SoCo retreat, meet new friends, and wear our patrol colors (bandanas with our patrol colors ). While it was quite cold for a fire and roasting marshmallows outside, we never went hungry with the plethora of grub on the community table and our five trips to the mess hall for meals. Karen's cousin Jennifer, a master at "scan and cut" was able to design our T-shirts, and then add the badges we earned from the weekend to our shirts.

It was all fun and games with our usual retreat activities; mystery quilt (Misty Cole), scrap management vessel and pin cushion (Karen Todd), but it was the inspiration and camaraderie amongst the sewing scouts that made the weekend all that it could be. One scout, Robin Stinchcomb, was valiant in her efforts in trying to obtain every badge offered (maybe missed a couple); and certainly angled for an "eagle scout" distinction. One of our badges that most everyone earned was the "crown of completion," where instead of wearing a tiera upon completing a project, Karen carefully knitted a girl scout/ quilt scout beanie to wear (in wool).

Thankfully, many of us completed quilt tops, (and a fully quilted quilt too), along with tote bags and other projects from the scouts stashes, plus a great round of "Secret Sewing Sisters." A Big shout of Thanks to my Secret Sewing Sister Scout, Janet McCabe, who gave me the coolest sewing items throughout the weekend (she knows me quite well as each one was perfect for me!)

BSoleille! The bright side of the Quilt Scouts Retreat on the West River in Maryland.


Photo below; Robin Stinchcomb with her Tshirt designed by Jennifer and her badges on the right side of the shirt.

 A West River morning

A completed quilt top by Susan Navarro

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Building a Back, Not a Bear

Most of the time quilters will invest a lot of time in making the front of a quilt the "showstopper." Pieced or appliqu├ęd show quilts could take hundreds of hours (not mine!) to complete. Then, after the top is done, thoughts turn to the back of the quilt, which could be cotton, fleece or flannel. With the advent of extra wide backs (108" wide), only a couple yards will suffice and very little sewing, if any, is needed.

However, sometimes it's kind of cool to "build a back." This could be finishing up the fabric that was used on the front, or a chance to get rid of "smaller pieces," and therefore, building a back begins. While working this afternoon on a "build a back," I noticed two other quilters (Linda Boone and Misty Cole) doing the same thing - using up fabric they had on hand plus using fabrics from the front of their quilt top. I know some quilters who have gone to great lengths in making both sides a great quilt (two-sided quilt), which is really quite cool too (I have designs to make a fall/winter quilt in a two-sided quilt...some day.)


Photo below is Misty Cole "building her back."

Misty with her pieced back that will go with the quilt on the floor

My "build a back" really to use up the middle fabric that's on the front of the quilt (BOM from 2008)

Linda Boone's "build a back" as she auditions just the right fabrics (flannels) to go with...

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day...and Galantine's Day Too!

The traditional Valentine's Day celebrated today is a great way to spread love and kindness to our love ones near and far. But don't you wish we can spread that whopping combination everyday? What a better world we would all live in if we can try to celebrate all that love on a daily basis. It's like keeping Christmas in your heart all year long.

My quilt guild's February retreat began this afternoon, and sew, the celebration is now "Galantine's Day" with my quilt buddies. The weather is cool here on the West River in Maryland, but the bright sunshine makes it all tolerable (and this is typically the weekend we get a blizzard or two).

Looking forward to keeping my head down, sewing all day and all night, listening in on the conversations pinging around the room (adding when I can to a story...or not), laughing at all the jokes (inside ones or not), and all the advise on quilts, fabrics, patterns, and everyday life. I think we cover it all by the weekend's end.

BSoleille! My view for the weekend below.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

...And the Award Goes to The Tomoff Family!

What a great night last evening when the family attended Tracy's Kids Red Carpet event at the Galleria Place in Washington DC, to benefit Art Therapy at several hospitals for children with cancer. Senator Chris Van Hollen from Maryland introduced us and highlighted a wee bit of Ryan's cancer journey, along with the entire family's orbit in the childhood cancer world and beyond. He then told the enthusiastic crowd about the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild of Bowie, Maryland, and their efforts in comforting kids all around the metropolitan area with a hand-made quilt, of course, made with love. I happen to be the go-between, and the face of this wonderful "gift" we give to the kids, and faithfully deliver quilts to Tracy's Kids Art Therapists in DC and Baltimore.

We were unbelievably humbled and grateful beyond measure by the award which states: "To the Tomoff Family with Appreciation for Your Unwavering Support of Art Therapy and Tracy's Kids."

Thankfully, two members of the SoCo Quilt Guild were able to share in the moment too; Florence Marion and Susie Stevenson, who are also involved in the making and the quilting of community quilts for many endeavors in our region and around the world. And for this, I am extremely thankful.

BSoleille! The bright side of Tracy's Kids and the awesome work they do in helping patients and their families cope with the tremendous emotional stress placed on all of them while going through treatment. To check out more of the program, please click on this link: http://www.tracyskids.org/


Photos of the wonderful night! Photo below from photographer of Tracy's Kids and TK's website:

With Susie Stevenson and Florence Marion in front of "Color Block"; raffled off that night. 

Being interviewed on "Color Block's" Quilting process - used all colors like a box of crayons

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

We Whistle While We Work...On the Soccer Pitch

Besides wearing a uniform on the pitch (jerseys change by what colors the teams are wearing), a badge (HS league, USSF or club), a data wallet (game card, pen or pencil and yellow and red cards), a whistle is definitely needed in any game. The less I blow the whistle the better, but it's the only equipment to signal the course of the game for all to hear. When I first began refereeing, I was told that I had a "soft whistle," and needed to blow it louder (especially on windy days). I think with the plethora of whistles that I take with me, I'm there now in the "blowing-the-whistle-loudly" department. It's really our voice on the pitch.

My photo below comprises of the whistles I've used over the years, but my favorite is not in the photo (it's a Fox40 and fits on two fingers).

BSoleille! The bright side of toot toot, or now, TOOT TOOT!


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Drama All Around Us

As the Oscar night unfolds before us bestowing statuettes to the winners in film, and the drama that surrounds those productions, I can't help think about the drama that unfolds in all our lives; the good, the bad and the ugly. But doesn't a good movie help us cope with that drama in our own lives at times? And the "funny" thing is that movies try to "imitate" real life, and try to do that in about two or three hours, not a lifetime of comedy, tragedy, farces and melodrama that we all endure day in and day out. Perhaps trying to find the "silver linings" in each day makes it all worthwhile no matter the circumstances we face.



Photo below: visit with my Mom in her nursing home.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

60 Strong for Pam Kaufman

It's a good thing to help a good friend and former co-worker (we shared an office for a couple of years in the mid-1980's) celebrate her 60th Birthday in style. If you live and/or know about Cleveland, you know the W's cities East of Cleveland (Willowick, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills and other W named cities) and it was in one of the W's cities that Pam had her fun party. Family and friends of Pam from near and far were also on hand to celebrate with her, and I loved seeing many of my former co-workers from the State of Ohio there too. Bravo to Pam and Happy Birthday!

BSoleille! The bright side of Pam's 61st lap around the sun.


Below: Pam sitting on one of two NeedleOnFull T-shirt quilts I made for her a couple of years ago, and then with the APA gang from Northeast Ohio.

State of Ohio Adult Parole Officers crew (most retired)

Friday, February 7, 2020

How About 'Dem Kinky Boots?

The Toby's Dinner Theater in Columbia, Maryland, featuring the musical "Kinky Boots" was a great venue for a girls-night-out compliments of Bee-mate, Debbi Carter! The excitement of seeing this Cyndi Lauper musical in-the-round, plus the food and wait staff (members of the cast, the wait staff, not the food, ahem) was a treat that was truly fantastic and so much fun from the moment we walked in the door. It was a first time for me to see a Broadway Play in this fashion (in-the-round), and hopefully, won't be my last.

BSoleille! The bright side of a huge Thank you to Debbi Carter!


Photo below of Debbi Carter, Susie Stevenson, me and Deb Hoppe

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

"Color Block" for Tracy's Kids Red Carpet Event

Next week is the annual Tracy's Kids Red Carpet Event in Washington DC. It's a fundraiser for the wonderful Art Therapy Tracy's Kids provides for young cancer kids and their families to cope with the emotional stress of treatment and the disease itself. It's amazing how this organization is in its 22nd year providing Masters-trained art therapists and professionals free of charge to over 5000 patients at six local hospitals in the DELMARVA, and two out of state hospitals - one in New York and one in Texas.

My "Color Block" quilt will be auctioned off that night (February 12th) to the highest bidder (or so I hope!). It's a nod to Art, art therapy and using every color of the rainbow and the work that Tracy's Kids provides to their budding artist patients - many of whom love to color, paint and draw - even with an IV or two in their arms and perhaps not feeling well on their clinic day.

BSoleille! The bright side of the colorful quilt named: "Color Block."


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

World Cancer Day 2020

Today is World Cancer Day! It's for the current fighters; it's for the millions of courageous fighters who fought like hell to get to the other side of good health; and it's for the most brave fighters who have lost the fight, but never their dignity, and the folks who loved them fiercely. For the millions and millions of people all over the world who go to battle every day, or caregivers who push and fight with their loved ones - we salute you! BRAVO!

My photo below taken in 2001 is our son Ryan, who was barely seven years old at that time, and "The Best Daughter, who was nine (plus Wally the dog). At this point, Ryan was heavily in the trenches of his first relapse of Leukemia, and the all over body rash seen in the photo was from a dangerous combination of many drugs/chemo/fluids going into his small body. When this crazy reaction cropped up and took over his skin, it was a tough go for a long while (it took several months to finally heal).

However, through all this madness,  do you see his smile? Can you see the love shared between two siblings (plus loving up the pup)? I believe it was Ryan's attitude that made all the difference, plus the cheerleader role "The Best Daughter" employed for years, to get them where they are today. Now that is something to be grateful for - and beyond words to totally comprehend it all.

BSoleille! The bright side of keeping the focus, fight and faith.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

02022020 or Super Bowl 54

I'm not sure what is more impressive, the date today, or the great Super Bowl 54 game? I love the numbers of today's date, and today's super football game. It was one of the only NFL games I watched this past season (watched some college games, btw), but ended up being an exciting game for sure. Interceptions, questionable plays, (butt wiggles from the halftime show), and my all-time favorite, the "Hail Mary Pass" rounded out the fun this evening. Then throw in those million dollar commercials and you've got a captive audience for the ages.

And my pick for the winner, that I selected yesterday, was the Kansas City Chiefs.  picked them for the win because the game ball used in my soccer matches yesterday belonged to a kid whose initials were KC. I figured that was my "sign" for the winner in today's American Football game match up with the San Francisco 49er's.




Saturday, February 1, 2020

Caught in the Act...of Painting!

Who says home ownership is a "bed of roses?" Most likely no one, as it's more like the "money pit," right? With my Long-Arm Quilting machine at the "spa," I have been able to shift my attention to the new year, and home "improvement(s)." Painting is an easy way to update, so when those sliding doors were installed, I knew I needed to paint the new trim. Of course, I not only painted that trim, but decided to paint the entire eat-in portion of the kitchen - covering over the avocado green to a more neutral palette called porcelain (Sherwin-Williams). Though the painting is almost done (need to touch up some areas), I still have a ways to go to make this update "complete."

When I finish with everything, I'll post the total completed project (more paint in my future, along with a cool wall covering...)

I am thankful and excited for a "new look" in the kitchen in the next couple of weeks.