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!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day Late and Dollar Short

Ta-da moment with the Chubby Charmer Bag that I finished this afternoon. It's a biggie, and could hold a kitchen sink as stated yesterday! Looking forward to filling it with something...and that should not be too hard (I love bags and being a "bag lady")!

BSoleille! The bright side of having a bag for every sport, season, hobby, adventure....


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Just Sew Bag

A few of us in my "Just Sew Bee" decided to make a fairly large quilted tote bag after bee-mate, Deb Hoppe, began sporting the first one she made months ago. We all really liked it, thinking that we will each make one "someday", and hopefully, this summer. With a few weeks of summer left to spare, three of us started them today. I had to leave early so my bag is not finished (hopefully tomorrow), but Deb finished her second one, and that's my photo today. It can hold everything, including the kitchen sink! The pattern is called "Chubby Charmer" and designed by Penny Sturges.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Quilting Class

I mentioned last week I was planning on attending a quilting class soon, and that class was last Saturday with Cyndi Souder. Although no machines were involved, it was really a "think" class. We worked on trying to "think outside the box" in our work, our current projects and upcoming quilts/projects, plus different ways to look at design and enhancements. I took lots of notes, engaged in classroom activities with the other seven students, and came away thankful I took the class with such an excellent facilitator of ideas; not only for me, but all the students in the class who shared their ideas too. I liked the "breakaway" ideas, and cannot wait to execute some of those ideas in my future projects. My work may still look like my work, but I hope to expand on "my usual", so to speak. And you know what? I think I can!

BSoleille! The bright side of new ideas in any endeavor we take on...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Annapolis 10 Miler

The 42nd Annual Annapolis 10 Miler founders wanted a "grueling" race on one of the hottest days of the year; the last Sunday in August. Today, the runners were treated with cooler temperatures at the 7:00am start, and "The Best Daughter" was one of 3700 runners to take to the streets of the Naval Academy and downtown Annapolis and a great race for sure. Instead of running the race too, husband Bill and I took to the cheerleading section for "TBD" and the slew of runners out on the course, and to enjoy the beautiful sunny Sunday morning.

So a huge shout of Congratulations to Olivia and all the runners today on the course for a race well run. So proud of "TBD's" effort and her time of 1:21! Whooohooo!


Photos from the race

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bite Me Cancer and the Nats

A spectacular evening in D.C. (August day with low humidity) was the perfect backdrop for the Washington Nationals Baseball game against the New York Mets. Although the score was 4-2 in favor of the Mets, the winning was watching the game with Nicole Ferraro and her parents, Sharon and Michael, and the good folks who came to support their foundation: www.bitemecancer.org

So tonight was a "two-fer"; supporting a great cause and MLB, and that's a winning combination for sure! I'm thankful to have shared another game with Ryan plus meet new folks supporting the same cause as us. BiteMeCancer does fantastic work, helping teens deal with all forms of cancer, plus the support of research of thyroid cancer.

On another note: please help me send positive thoughts and prayers to the good people of Houston, Texas, as they battle the winds and rains of Hurricane Harvey and the destruction it will inevitably leave behind.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Quilts and Birthday

When my quilt guild has the bags filled with quilts ready to take to Georgetown in D.C. or Sinai in Baltimore, I am over the moon with gratitude (there's that moon again...third time this week!). I am thankful for both the quilters who dedicate their time and talents, and the recipient (patients) who will have one selected for them through the childlife specialist, art therapist or social workers on staff. It's a great relationship we have with these great institutions and I am proud to be a part of this giving community.

And yesterday, while Ryan had a regularly scheduled appointment with his oncologist, Dr. Shad, at Sinai, lo and behold, we walked into a decorated "Happy Birthday" exam room that was totally unbeknownst to us. It truly was a great gesture, along with the cupcakes and a gift card from the Hope for Henry Foundation. Unexpected, all of it, but nice for Ryan, even at 23 years old! So a HUGE shout of Thanks to everyone at Sinai and Hope for Henry that brought birthday joy to my boy!


Photos of Danielle and Kelly, art and childlife specialist at Sinai, and Ryan in the decorated exam room

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

From Eclipse to Moonlighting Quilts

All this "moonness" is really quite awesome this week! First the eclipse, and then tonight's Southern Comforters Quilt Guild's "lecture series" with international quilt artist: Cyndi Souder. She kept us very entertained with her wit and "takeaways" through her slide show presentation and "live" quilts she brought with her for us to ooh and ahh over! Thankfully, I signed up for her class this Saturday to glean more from this terrific artist, and maybe add some of her ideas to my future quilts and projects if it fits the bill. A big shout of thanks to our Program Chair, Michelle Trachtman, who has done a stellar job of bringing in wonderful quilters and artists for us to learn lots of different techniques and ideas to use in our own works. A win-win for sure!

To check out more about Cyndi Souder, click here MoonlightingQuilts.com


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer Closing In

Even though the summer temps are in the 90's in mid-August, school bells are faintly ringing in the distance (and fall sport teams are underway), so the local community pools have fewer and fewer visitors. Its the perfect time to float on your back to your hearts content with nary another person in sight. Almost like having your own backyard pool...and I am thankful for this special time staring up at the blue sky and passing white fluffy clouds!



Crofton Swim and Tennis Club

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse and Tomatoes

Nothing like canning 53 quarts of tomatoes whilst the biggest science experiment is going on...plus the total eclipse of the sun! My tomato canning friends, Patty Lubin and Marilyn Eichner, took it all in stride when: A) we did not have the "super powered" eye glass wear to see the eclipse "properly", but then Patty's neighbor (in Fairfax, VA) came up to the porch in the backyard offering up his only pair so we could all take a look-sie; and B) this offering of the "super powered eye glasses" was a few minutes before a huge storm rustled through with pelting rain that came exactly at our 81% at 2:43pm, but then...five minutes later, voilá, the sun broke out again, and we were able to see a partial eclipse with the lent "proper" glasses. It was like a comedy of errors, but it all worked out. Whew!

Thankfully, between running out in the backyard (with sun, wind, rain, and then sun again); watching the TV for the totalities around the USA, we managed to can four and a half bushels of tomatoes and spend a great day together witnessing this great event of sun and moon of Eclipse 2017!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mouth Watering Peaches

I simply love summer, along with the plethora of fruits and vegetables all over the land. Heirloom tomatoes are my favorites right now, but there is nothing like a mouth watering peach that needs three of four napkins to help contain the flowing juices from eating just one! If you buy too many, either make a pie or get to eating them fast, as they ripen very quickly and will go "bad". Today we bought a handful from the Eastern Market in D.C. They are super juicy and delicious and you can't eat just one...


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Scrap Quilt Frenzie

For the past few years, every time I finished a quilt that had any "left over" fabric large enough to cut a few 2.5"x16" strips were saved for "some day". Well, fast forward a couple years, and during "bee time" with the Possibillibees or JustSewBee, I would work on sewing the strips together, cutting them once more into strips, then sewing them back together again. It's crazy, right? But the attached photo shows all that "craziness" and color and I simply love how it all turned out. I do have designs on another one, using the same method of 2.5"x16" strips, but it will be a couple of years before I get enough strips to do the same thing all over again.

So, I hope everyone had a great Saturday!


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!