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 - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

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...


Monday, July 24, 2017

Cam Diamond Invitational Swim Meet 2017

The Cam Diamond "novice" swim meet is typically held at the Crofton Swim and Tennis Club, but due to clogged drain pipe that is going to require a lot of TLC to remove it, the meet was, thankfully, held at the Crofton Country Club. Hundreds of kids participate in this novice meet and win beautiful ribbons that they may not win necessarily at other big swim meets in their division.

The Diamond Family has been hosting and raising funds since 2009 for the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Playroom, aptly named in Cam's honor! Tonight was no exception with kids helping kids which included: writing get well cards to young hospitalized patients ; a silent auction; 50-50 raffle and a table of CamPower products to purchase (tshirts, cards, buffs, swim caps and visors and more) for the swimmers and their families.

So hearty kudos go out to BJ, Carol, Amanda and Julia Diamond and their dedicated volunteers who "battled" the hot and humid afternoon to raise funds and spread the word about their mission to help a local family; maintain the Cameron Playroom at JH; secure funds for a scholarship for an Anne Arundel County Student pursuing a career in medicine, and a donation to CureSearch.
For more information check out their new name and website: http://campowerforall.org/

BSoleille! The bright side of a local family helping other local families!


Photos from this evening's meet
The Diamond Family
 The ChildLife Specialists at JH with Carol Diamond
 Dale and Karen Ewing with Ryan Tomoff
 Crofton Country Club
 Bill Tomoff with BJ Diamond

Sunday, July 23, 2017

High School Tribe

Friends through high school, but more importantly, through life, is gosh darn incredible for anyone no matter if you graduated last year, five years ago or, ahem, 37 years ago! I am thankful for these wonderful ladies and our frienships that have endured and continue to this day.

A huge Thank You to Kata and Lenny for hosting us, and teaching me the game of pickle ball! My first time ever playing this super fun and "all the rage" of a sort of tennis like game! A dip in the pool to cool off afterwards was just the ticket for a hot summer day.


L-R: Robin, Sally, Debbie, me, Sarah, Kata and Sue

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The New Millennium Mr. and Mrs. Tomoff

We are so happy for the new Mr. And Mrs. Brett Tomoff! A hearty congratulations on the start of a new marriage, and all the love and support bestowed on the happy couple all day today. The rain broke right before the ceremony and the sun and warm weather contributed to the awesome wedding day for Brett and Debbie!

The officiant was Bill Tomoff, and I must admit, he did a stellar job of performing the wedding ceremony to a tee! I am one proud wife as I know he practiced and practiced for weeks prior to this special day.

Kudos to Alex and Karen Tomoff and Kelly and Karl Moosbrugger, parents of Brett and Debbie. Love abounded and surrounded this beautiful couple today!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Tomoff Wedding Weekend

A"quick" drive to Cleveland, Ohio, yesterday (anything under a 10 hour drive is "quick" drive for me nowadays...), in town for a Tomoff wedding! This time for Brett (BigFatAl and Karen's son) and Debbie Moosbrugger. A happy occasion for sure, and it's going to be a great one from what I/we could tell from the rehearsal right on the Lake in Lorain, Ohio this afternoon.

Here's wishing the bride and groom to be a restful night and their friends and family one too. Looking forward to "I do's" and the celebration to follow.

BSoleille! The bright side of a summertime family wedding!


Photos from the rehearsal...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Breaking Free

After three days of being stuck in bathrooms, painting, and my choice to hire myself, I was able to break free today and host my 'Just Sew Bee'. I have to admit, we did a little extra curricular of "just sewing" and headed to Crofton Swim and Tennis Club to hang out in the pool. It was a hot day of "Just Sew and Swim", with a couple hours of sewing (though I did not sew at all, but the others did), and a couple hours cooling off in the refreshing pool. I can't believe it was my first time in the water today...summer to going by blazingly fast! We've got to hang onto it and lot while longer...


My JSB: L-R: me, Shelley J.; Carrie Casto, Deb Hoppe and Karen Todd

Humble Abode for 20 Years

It was 20 years ago today that we moved into our Crofton home. Unfortunately, I was not here that day, as I was hospitalized with Ryan at Georgetown, but "helped" move via phone calls (the old-fashioned kind!). It was thrilling nonetheless, and I am grateful for neighbor Dave Bieler, and my sister-in-laws, Stephanie Godleski and Jan Williams, plus bro-in-law, Paul Godleski, who came to town and became a fine team to get the walls painted and move us in with "grace under fire". No, not really, but there was that carpet guy...and the movers... that they had to direct on where to put things around the house. It was weeks when I got back and had to call one of them to find out where Bill's belts were located, or where they "hid" the tea bags. Everyone has their own way to organize, and I was thankful for the head start, but I had to figure out where everything was laid to rest while I was away.

Fast forward to today, and I've been painting for the past three days. I figured I'd tackle one more bathroom since all the painting stuff was out and screaming at me to be used and accounted for. Those brushes and rollers are sick of being in a hot garage, so I put them to work with lovely colors of Sherwin-Williams (for Josh Franek and Alyssa Kozlowski that is....) that transformed these bathrooms from good to great.

I can't believe we've been here for 20 years!!

BSoleille! The bright side of a fresh coat of paint, it certainly brightens up everything, doesn't it?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wildflowers of Colorado

While in Crested Butte, CO, and camping with little or no cell service, Linda Misencik and I did our best to communicate via our cells, but mostly when we got back into town. I have been viewing the photos I took of the trip West, and took many of the beautiful wildflowers blooming throughout the state of Colorado in late June/early July (thanks to everyone who I was with on being patient with me as I stopped 'everywhere' to take photos of them...even close to mountain tops - I saw those eyes rolling...!). A blog post from that time included a few "blurry" photos of some wildflowers I took, but I was trying to use the wifi in the restaurants to post, and did not do a good job of posting "good ones".  Fingers crossed as I hope the few posted today will make up for the blurred ones!

Curiously enough, my first photo is when we were camping 20 miles North of Crested Butte, and came back from a hike near Lost Lake and the Gunnison National Forest, when we happened to notice the flowers on the windshield of my car. No note was attached and we really never talked to anyone except for the guy at check-in. It was certainly a nice gesture...and "coincidentally" all Colorado wildflowers that "we" were on the "hunt" for the whole trip ;).

BSoleille! The bright side of "chivalry" in wildflowers...


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Home Ownership and a Happy Ending Story

We all know home "ownership" is "overrated", but I'm very thankful we have one to work on, improve, update and cultivate the DIY that's in everyone of us! Today, with plenty of good tunes to listen to, I once again hit the painting trail, this time the master bathroom that is undergoing a renovation that I elected myself to do the honors. Those "cut-ins" really are a time crunch, but I'm happy to say I finished the ceiling and walls in two colors. Tomorrow, more of the same (touch-up where needed) and maybe a second coat with one of the colors (have to see it in daylight) and, lastly, trim work. Yippee!

It will be great when it is all said and done, so I'm keeping my eye on the "prize" of finish-hood!

Incidentally, while ordering this and that for the bathroom (like vanity and countertop and faucets etc.), the double-sink vanity top purchased at Lowe's was delivered with a broken corner.  I took it back and they exchanged it with no problems. I thought I looked over that second one well enough, but that proved futile. This time I called the store to report this countertop had deep cuts and scratches on top that we did not detect upon purchase (merchandise well covered with plastic and styrofoam around edges).

Since my contractor Mike S. was here to install everything, I asked for the store manager at the Bowie, MD, Lowe's. Thinking this may not go well, I was pleasantly surprised in talking with one of the manager's, Don Terry. He was "johnny on the spot", and remembered me from the first countertop return. He mentioned if they had a "good one" in stock,  (he, personally was going to open the box and check it out with a "fine tooth comb"), he would drive it over to my house in his personal vehicle/truck. And that is exactly what he did, with a "good one" in fact, and made this customer very happy with the service he provided for a "damsel in distress" and her contractor! Now that is excellent customer service...and with a smile too!

BSoleille! The bright side of a SHOUT OUT of THANKS to Don Terry of Lowe's in Bowie, MD!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Soccer

I must admit that refereeing on a hot summer day (on turf) is blazingly hot for sure! Thankfully, all three games were fairly good soccer, evenly matched teams, and 35 minute halves which made it tolerable to be out there under humid conditions and full July sunshine. Iced cold water was the ticket at half time and in between games for all the players, coaches and referees to "cool" off for a few moments. My gear was soaking wet and "wringer worthy" after the three game set. A huge sigh of "Ahhhh" when I got to my car and cranked the air conditioning at full blast until I was comfortable. Now that is truly something to be thankful for and greatly "needed" on a day like today.

BSoleille! The bright side of vehicle air conditioning!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Gang is Home

I did not write a blog post yesterday due to a FB video posted that was done by our niece, Kristin Tomoff. No, she was not at the event, but due to a diligent Bill Tomoff working his phone in overdrive to constantly snap photos and use the Snapchat app (10 second video snippets), this provided lots of content for Kristin to carve out the "meat" and compose that awesome ESPY video. The girl definitely has talent in putting it all together, with music that fit the occasion perfectly. Kudos and THANK YOU for the hours spent wielding it all together and for the many folks who viewed it to "feel those precious moments", sports fan or not.

The whirlwind few days my guys spent in LA were met with awe and wonder, and very thankful hearts for those that made it happen; namely, Bill Gawne and his contacts and ESPN (ABC). We can't THANK them enough I don't think. Collectively, they quickly put together a trip for a very sport loving and deserving kid. THANK YOU BILL GAWNE!

And lastly, what a difference a year makes, yes? Last year at this time he was just given the "green light" to get out of the house and "do things" following his major tongue surgery at the end of May 2016. This year; walking the red carpet at the ESPY's. Who would have ever thought it could happen? I am thankful it did for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of my guys meeting many athletes, but their favorites were Israel Del Toro (the injured soldier in Iraq who received the Pat Tillman award), and Chris "Boomer" Berman...THEY...WENT...ALL...THE...WAY...TO...LA...and back now.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

O What a Night

My guys are having the time of their lives at the ESPY's 2017 in Los Angeles, and I could not be more thrilled for them! They rocked the red carpet, enjoyed the show and now headed to the After Party. I do not have too many details, but a few photos from the event so far. These have all been "pinch me" moments for sure (even me on the sofa while following along, clapping and crying through all the stories told tonight with their recipients).

We are so thankful to Bill Gawne of Nike, ESPN, and others who made this trip possible for Ryan and Bill. For sports fans, you know what I mean! A once in a lifetime opportunity bar none!!

BSoleille! The bright side of wonderful memories at the 2017 ESPY's


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spa Treatment for Proud Mary

While I was away for a couple of weeks on vacation, "Proud Mary", AKA Handy Quilter (HQ) Long Arm machine was safely tucked away at the spa, AKA SpringWaterDesigns in Columbia, MD. "Proud Mary" desperately needed a good deep cleaning and a new part to keep her running like a top! I am thankful she has kept my quilts looking good with beautiful even stitches, but a check up every now and again is warranted to keep her humming along at our frenetic pace.

Now that she is back at the ranch, I am itching to get back to my sewing projects, quilting and NeedleOnFull Tshirt quilts!


Photos of traveling to the spa, and then with owner of SWD, Dawn Stewart.