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!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Five-Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes of 2017

Goodbye 2017; Hello 2018!

In years past I have posted some of the lyrics to one of my favorite Rent songs on how does one measure a year?! This year, I am including the link of the lyrics and song sung by the cast my favorite TV show - Glee! It's only 3 minutes and 4 seconds long, but oh so worth it to hear it. Please do click on the link....


I hope for sunny skies, good health for you and your families the world over, random acts kindness and all the gratefulness you can muster in the new year!

Thank you so much for following along the year with me! Today marks the end of six (6) solid years of blogging from QuiltsFromTheHeart! I cannot believe it and I have to give a shout out to my brother-in-law, Don Tomoff, for placing the "bug" into my ear at the end of 2011 in doing exactly what I've done, blog almost daily for the past six years! Woooohoooo!!!


Reflecting on 2017 and Books

I hope my blogpost readers had a great year, and I am grateful to all who have read my posts, commented, and hopefully, inspired a few with some of my cockamanie ideas, stories and adventures through 2017. I also hope you have the time to reflect back on the very same year!

2017 started out with my/our son Ryan's third tongue cancer surgery, but then improved drastically as he healed and improved throughout the winter months. We had a super summer with travels to three weddings where I crisscrossed the country to a tune of 10,000 miles...all by car, along with several stops and visits along those many safely driven miles.

In addition, running some races, refereeing many soccer games, celebrating my/our 30th wedding anniversary and the designing making of many quilts rounded out the year. I am very grateful beyond words...for all the above!

However, there is one "sticking point" over the past year for me; I simply did not read enough books. Sounds trivial, I know, but there is a whole in my heart where I neglected that one love...so I plan to read in earnest in 2018 (our neighborhood book club helped a bit as I read 5/6 books selected). Also, magazines...who has piles they say they would get through in 2017? I am waving my hand because my pile never moved...but I hope that also changes in the new year.

BSoleille! The bright side of reflection for 2017 one and all.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tshirt Quilt for Michael Lyons

I am so happy to hear that recent recipient of a tshirt quilt from needleonfull.com, Michael Lyons, of Crofton, Maryland, loved his quilt! It is "sew" interesting to me when working on the various quilts with the intended customer because the shirts/sweatshirts/various clothing all match that person...almost perfectly! Michael's tshirt quilt is no exception, as his shirts and various articles of clothing matched him and his personality to a tee! (no pun intended!).

As I say to my customers, if I can get a needle through it, I can sew it and quilt it! NeedleOnFull!

BSoleille! The bright side of a satisfied customer!


Photo by Kym Lyons of Michael on the left and family friend on right.
m, Kym

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Non-Stop has Stopped

A wonderful week in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Christmas Holiday week was truly non-stop. This included visiting family and friends, lunches and dinners out, and all the festivities in between, plus several visits to my Mom in her nursing home. I/we tried to squeeze in as much as possible, including two last "hurrahs" yesterday with a lunch with my high school friends, and a dinner with the Strongsville Tomoff's. Lots of good food to boot, but I'm ready to give up the cookies and chocolate and eating out for a bit!

A big shout of thanks to the Kocan clan for hosting my brood for the week (including our pup Loo-C), and everything that goes with four and five extra people coming in and out of the house with lots of snow and frigid temperatures (shoes and boots were all piled by the front door and that was kind of messy)!

A safe drive home and a quick run to the grocery store is what I am thankful for too!


Photos from lunch, dinner and last night of playing board games!

L-R; Robin Chandler, Kata Pagon, Debbie Martinko and me

Don, Alex, Ryan, Kristin, Olivia, Beth, me and BriPhi (Brian Phillips)
One last night of game playing at the Kocan's: Justin, Nathan, BriPhi, Brandon, Ryan and Olivia

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day 2017

To continue the family celebrations, we decided to venture out to downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and enjoy boxing day at the Great Lakes Brewery Company (across the street from the iconic West Side Market!). However, after one round of Christmas Ale, a "right hook" punched out all the lights in the entire area, and we were "down for the count" and ushered out of the restaurant immediately while still sipping our draft beers. (The area continues to be under power outage). So with 10 people thinking quick on our feet, we headed out across the Lorain Bridge to Prospect Avenue and the Barrio Taco Bar. We swiftly went from drinking draft Christmas Ale to Margaritas without missing a beat!

We are thankful it all worked out, and the wait for 10 people to all eat together went beautifully at the second restaurant...and certainly a night to remember!


Dinner with the Kocans Tomoffs and Brian Phillips!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas from the Heartland 

Home is where the heart is...even if that happens to be in a nursing home, and I’m thankful for a great day that my mom had today with family visits. Not that she knows or remembers, but we do. The family visits were just the ticket for “being in the moment”; isn’t that sometimes the best way to be? 

Merry Christmas to you!!


Singing some Christmas carols together!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

May the spirit of the season be met with hope and the power of humankind throughout the world!

A White Christmas in northeast Ohio!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A "Christmas Miracle"

A month ago I was summoned to Cleveland, Ohio, for a medical emergency for my Mom. She has been in a nursing home for over five years now, and several decisions had to be made for her continued care. It wasn't easy, and it's still not terrific, but she has healed amazingly well. I am delightfully surprised on exactly how well she is doing today!

She still doesn't remember me/anyone anymore, but in my "book", it's a Christmas miracle for sure!


Photos from my visit with Mom/Sophie!

Annual Cousin Christmas

The holidays are truly about family and friends, and the get togethers to celebrate the season with them is a wonderful blessing. Forgive me as the evening got to late for a blogpost yesterday while enjoying time with the sisters and first cousins! It has been known that besides our siblings, first cousins are many of our first playmates. And 50 years later, we still like hanging out with each other, even though all of us have our own families (and some with grandchildren now too!).

So before the white snow hit Cleveland...our gathering at the Brew Garden and dessert at my cousins Ray and Marylou's


L-R: Frank Lanza; Ray Borkowski, Shelli Lanza, Marylou B, Annette, me, Kimberly and Jerry Kocan

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice 2017

The great news about the winter solstice is that, starting tomorrow, the the evenings will stay lighter a little longer. It’s slight, but noticeable, and I’m thankful for the most daylight we can muster! Today’s solstice is 5 hours and 32 minutes shorter than the summer solstice! That’s a lot of darkness we all have to put up with...and cold temperatures too. 

A full moon would be awesome though, right? But they only come around every so often, like only 10 times since 1793. Next full moon on Winter Solstice...2094! Who’s in??



My photo is the Solstice Sunrise that only lasted about 3 minutes... I had to be quick to capture this on my early morning run!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wonky Christmas Trees

I’m thankful that the last of my quilting commissions is finished and has been picked up to a very pleased customer! The Wonky Trees along with the shimmering light bulbs makes this quilt whimsical and fun.  Let the celebrations of the season begin. 



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

One Wreath

Who doesn’t love lots of lights and decorations, especially outside? For us, it’s one very nice wreath with colored lights. But my neighbor two doors down has got it licked and he’s all the rage in these parts of Crofton, Maryland with a plethora of holiday extravaganza. Lights, camera, action for Tom and his wonderful display. It’s bigger every year, and he does it for that grandkids...all two of them!



Monday, December 18, 2017

This Sewist's New Baby

The sewing I typically do is quilting, and therefore "I am/we are" called quilters. But I've been reading reviews on sewing machines lately (because I've been thinking of buying a newer model), and one reviewer called herself a "sewist", and, for me, it has a nice ring to it. Sewist. It's relatively a "new" word combining "sew" and "artist", describing someone who creates sewn works of art. I like that "new" word, "sewist", but will still answer to "quilter"...

So, for over 30 years I've been sewing and quilting, and have always bought pre-owned sewing machines (turning the "engines" over with the million miles of stitches sewn on every single machine I've owned), but never buying a brand spanking new one...until today! (Actually bought it two weeks ago, but picked it up today). It is "sew" exciting, and I cannot wait to dive into all the "bells and whistles" that this machine has to offer this "sewist". I must report, computer driven technology has certainly enhanced the brand new sewing machines on the market today, and I am thankful to continue creating quilts, totes and anything I can get my needle through...with my new Bernina (let me add the manual is 1" thick!! and I didn’t opt for the embroidery package). I still have a backup machine that is quite nice, and even have a couple more backup backups if needed, so I am set for quite a long while and happy to begin a million stitches all over again. 

BSoleille! The bright side of my "new baby"...AKA sewing machine, and sharing the day with my "Bernie Sisters" (all owners of Berninas...and other brands too) in Hinkletown, Pennsylvania!


Photos with buyers and lookers: Carrie Casto, Susie Stevenson and Karen Todd; plus some trades, big tote bags in the boxes and transporting machines back to Maryland for other folks 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Peacock Cafe Brunch

It was a great start to the morning with meeting great friends for brunch in Georgetown at the Peacock Cafe. Patty Lubin, Marilyn Eichner and I spent many moments, days, and for "some", years, hospitalized at Georgetown University Hospital, but for the three of us, Georgetown, in some weird, or shall I say, fashionable, way is "home".  The old-fashion flare while walking through the streets to get to the restaurant brought out some nostalgia, I must admit.

In addition, the wreaths on the doors and the simple decorations throughout the area was well worth the visit (and on-street parking a healthy walk from our meeting spot!).

So cheers to these lovely ladies, as our bonds run deep, and I am very grateful for these special "golden" bonds of friendship we've established for over 20 years!


L-R: Patty, Marilyn, and yours truly

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pretty Quilt

I had the pleasure of Long-Arm Quilting a very pretty quilt made by Croftonite Patty Bubniak. It's a throw size and quite heavy due to the batting and fleece backing, and will be great to cozy under to keep warm on cold winter nights ahead! I love the pattern, kind of like colorful snowflakes...


Breaking Bread with Quilters

I’ve blogged many times about my quilt guild, Southern Comforters of Bowie, Maryland. They are an amazing group of dedicated and extremely talented bunch of ladies, and Frank Rucky, and I am blessed to be associated with all of them! A huge thank you for all the community quilts donated to the various hospitals, schools and veterans that really need the love stitched into each and every quilt! I’m truly grateful for each member and thrilled for our annual pot luck holiday party!



Block made by Wendy Allen in the holiday block exchange!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advocating for Tracy's Kids Art Therapy at NCI

Tracy's Kids is an Art Therapy program started by Tracy Councill over 20 years ago with "just a bucket of crayons and paper". It has grown by leaps and bounds and her program is now is several Baltimore and Washington, DC Metro area hospitals helping hundreds of childhood cancer patients, siblings and parents deal with and cope through very traumatic treatments, blood transfusions and chemotherapies. It has been a life-saver for Ryan and our family through many years, and we are indebted to Tracy and all her art therapists who make going to the hospital for treatment a little less "scary" for many patients and their families, and the willingness for each patient to fight on for another day...through art and creativity that Tracy and her staff initiates each day. 

Thankfully, research has shown that anxiety and stress levels are significantly decreased with these type of programs instituted in medical centers that cater to the pediatric cancer kids, and I've seen first hand, it works splendidly!!

So when Tracy asked if we could represent Tracy's Kids at a CFC (combined federal campaign) event today at NCI (National Cancer Institute) in Rockville, Maryland, we could not resist! Ryan and I spoke to several NCI employees about the great work Tracy's Kids provides children and families of all ages, and at no cost to any individual or family. It's great care through art (every kid checks in with Tracy or an art therapist, then they check in the the medical staff for treatment...in that order!) I hope we persuaded some new CFC donors over to Tracy's Kids...

BSoleille! The bright side of art therapy in many settings (but especially, pediatric cancer).

Ryan manning the booth

An employee learning about Tracy's Kids

Ryan and Terri

Employees of NCI at the event


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What is an Infusionarium?

Infusionarium...A new word in the pediatric cancer world, and Ryan and I were invited guests for the "big reveal" of this wonderful set up at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, this afternoon. The creator of the Infusionarium (and set up in approximately 16 hospitals nationwide thus far) is Co-Founder of Reimagine Well, Roger Holzberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Holzberg. We had the chance to meet Roger, plus the donor for this amazing "treatment tool", Paul S. Pariser too.

According to the Wikipedia on Roger Holzberg, an Infusionarium is a "media set up which helps a child with cancer cope with treatment by asking the questions designed to determine what setting would be best and most comforting to them, and then using virtual reality technology and live events, to immerse them in such an environment during treatment."

So if a child would like to go on an African Safari while getting a sack of platelets, consider it done. Cute puppies, kittens and bunnies while getting a long infusion of chemotherapy, you got it. One of the best things about the unit, it's portable, and can be used by several patients at one time. Now that is something to be thankful for!

So a huge shout of THANKS to Paul S. Pariser for having the vision of helping kids in the Sinai community and Dr. Aziza Shad for coordinating all the variables to make the Infusionarium a bona fide "reality."

Paul Pariser; Neil Meltzer and Dr. Shad

Ryan and Roger Holzberg taking the Infusionarium out for a test drive!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Feisty Fabrics

Feisty fabrics are also known as scraps, and quilters are notorious for their scraps. Some have more than others, and many a quilt is made from lots and lots of scraps. Frankly, there are many books dedicated to the "scrap quilt", so it is a thing! Of course, over the years, I have accumulated many "feisty fabrics",  and, I must admit, they do come in handy even when a scrap quilt is not involved.

Today I have been working on a few quilts, but one in particular needed just a little bit of color and pop. No need to use a large piece of fabric for such tiny pieces, so into the scrap bag I went and dug though...looking for the exact color I needed. Sure enough, the scrap bag does not disappoint and I was able to carry on with the task as hand without missing a beat. Thankfully, I am working on a deadline, because while looking through the scrap bag, my mind started wandering on making something else with all those scraps...like a scrap quilt! Nope, not today!

BSoleille! The bright side of a large inventory of feisty fabrics!


This is a scrap bag of feisty fabrics that is 2 ft. high!

One of my current projects; the star and bulbs are "scraps".

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cookie Party 2017 in the Books

If you have hosted, or attended a Christmas cookie exchange, you know how fun it is! I love the fact of baking one kind of cookie, then exchanging with a dozen or so other people who brought different cookies, and the best part, we all go home with a plethora of super delicious treats to share with our loved ones. The Harcourt Avenue (and alumni/friends) ladies had a great time and a big shout of thanks goes to hostess Christie Best in accommodating the "crowds" and the cookies too! Food and Fun for sure; always a favorite during the holidays.

BSoleille! The bright side of a sugar high...one cookie at a time...


Saturday, December 9, 2017

First Snow of the "Winter"

Winter doesn't officially start for another 10 days or so, but you would not think that by the looks of the white out today...especially on the soccer field (grass, not turf). It certainly gave way to some very sloppy play, but it was fun (according to the teams playing). I am thankful that I was the center referee on the first game since I ran plenty and felt warm through two 45 minute halves. But, by the second game, and as an AR (Assistant Referee), the cold wet feet and heavier snow really got me, and everyone else quite chilled. I even threw on an extra down coat under my jersey and that still did not help too much.

While trying to keep warm, I started to think about how a hard cold rain is tough to gut out in outdoor activities, but so are freezing temperatures and 2-3"of snow scattered about a soccer field. I had to "rethink"my stance of loving the outdoors and "opting outside" over sipping hot tea and quilting/sewing in the comfort of a "warm" home than being out in the elements today!


After the first game with Mark Jennings, one of my Assignors!

Cold and icy feet!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Driver's License and Registration Mam

Those were the words uttered by a young female Maryland State Trooper to our bee-mate and driver, Deb Hoppe, who got pulled over (with four other bee-mates in the vehicle on a road trip to Lancaster, PA. We were on our way for a fun day of friendship and fabric acquisition, and in heavy Baltimore rush hour traffic, when Deb noticed the flashing lights illuminating the back of her vehicle. We all knew she wasn't speeding, nor was she following the car in front of her too closely, so we were all fairly clueless in why "we" were being pulled over. Lo and behold, Deb had one tailgate light out, and a work order to fix and repair was written, and thankfully, we were back on the road with no further incident.

Many know the feelings of that crazy adrenaline rush and increased heart beats when those flashing lights seem brighter than a tequila sunrise,  and Deb was no exception to those reactions. But, I have to admit, she continued on like a champ and we were safely "chauffeured" around Hinkletown, Bird in Hand, Lancaster, New Holland and Intercourse, Pennsylvania for the rest of the day!

BSoleille! The bright side of safe traveling...even with one tail light out!

Just Sew Bee L-R: Deb, Susie Stevenson, Carrie Casto, me and Karen Todd