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!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Giving Guild

I'd like to brag for a moment on my guild, the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild, of Bowie, Maryland, and that this group of caring people is also a very giving guild. It all ties in together you see. We sew and quilt and donate beautifully crafted quilts to various organizations, and most recently, pillowcases to the HeartFields Assisted Living Facility in Bowie, Maryland. With a plethora of community quilts in our coffers, several quilts will now be donated to HeartFields as shown in today's photo.

I am truly thankful for the commitment of our members in "covering the world" one quilt at a time.



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

And the Winner Is...

Tracy's Kids Red Carpet Movie Event at the Lucky Strike/Regal Theaters in Washington, DC this evening. Tracy's Kids supports art therapy programs throughout the region to help young cancer patients cope with emotional stress and trauma imposed by cancer and its treatment. Our family benefited from the program when our son, Ryan, was treated at Georgetown University Hospital for many years battling Leukemia. Tracy and the art therapists there were so valuable in taking away the fear and anxiety in dealing with so many aspects of childhood cancer while in the clinic, or up on the hospital floor, and we cannot thank this wonderful organization enough for all their kind care while in the throws of many cancer battles.

Tonight, before we were all dismissed to attend one of the academy award winning movies (our choice as to which one to attend), a ribbon cutting ceremony was held by Second Lady Karen Pence, President and Founder of Tracy's Kids, Matt Gerson and Tracy Councill to kick off their eighth hospital to serve children and their families at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Art Therapy programs are outstanding, and even scientific proof on how well people can cope with whatever their dealing with after doing an art therapy project.

My family and I were honored to be a part of this fabulous evening, and celebrating the good news of a new local program benefiting armed forces children in battling the good fight of childhood cancer.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Maryland United FC Women's College Showcase Tournament Extravaganza

What a difference a day makes, especially weather-wise in many locations, including Crownsville, Maryland, where the Women's College Showcase Tournament played out this past weekend, hosted by Maryland United FC. The soccer was fast and furious, just as I like it, and the teams from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania were incredibly good. The teams come from some of the best clubs on the East Coast, and it was an honor to referee seven matches in this tournament.

I was thankful to be a part of a wonderful crew of referees all weekend long. We count on each other and try to do our very best with each match, no matter if we are the center referee or assistant referee (sidelines). We are considered the third team on the pitch!


From L-R: Teri Frontin, Brett H, Chico Brown, Tom, Barry Lawrence, Me and our Assignor, Mark Jennings.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Grit or Dressing Right? For Cold Weather Activities Outdoors

Soccer referees have to be just like the players when it comes to the weather; we play and we referee. Except for lightning, and a foot of snow on the ground/turf, we play. So it comes as no surprise that games go off even though it's 38 degrees and rain. I could ref Futsol, as that is indoors, but I'd rather dress in layers, and fight the elements with those athletes and be outdoors. I guess running all those long and cold miles back in the day in Cleveland, Ohio, with temperatures in the minuses prepared me for now, or at least that is what I tell myself when my thoughts are all about a hot shower as soon as I get home from the field.

Since January 5, 2019, I've refereed 25 games (on weekends), with four snow-out games cancelled. I really do not mind the cold when dressed appropriately, but that bone-chillin' rain is something else, and you need grit to just get through it (don't forget, we can't use an umbrella). But the kids are out there giving it their all no matter the conditions, and so should the referees. And we do; and I am grateful for every game completed out on that pitch.

And do you know what my go-to piece of clothing that makes all the difference? A turtleneck cashmere wool sweater on top of a cold weather Under-Armour long-sleeved shirt. It's the combination that makes any cold weather game bearable, even enjoyable to be honest.

So there you have it; dressing right, and maybe a little bit of grit can get anyone through cold outdoor conditions whether refereeing soccer, hiking through a great trail, or going for a walk or run. It's all quite doable for sure!



I saw this "Grit" sign on our way to Crested Butte, Colorado, in 2017!

Friday, February 22, 2019

#CelebratingOthers with Clarice Lin of London, England

So how do people around the world get to know each other fairly well without ever meeting IRL (in real life)? It's the animal that is called social media and its plethora of platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, Twitter, Instagram and many others breaking out each day...well there are 7 billion people, right?)

For this incredible meet-up with Clarice, I've got to hand it to my husband, Bill, who is constantly working the social media platforms to bring education, goodness and kindness to a whole new level. You see, Bill and Clarice met on LinkedIn a few years ago. They were liking and sharing the same things, and finally "met" through the LinkedIn platform. They encouraged each other in their individual endeavors, read the same books on social strategies, and both love to encourage others to be the "best they can be." A social media "mesh" made in heaven, if you will.

Once our trip to London was underway, Bill reached out to Clarice (she has lived in London for the past nine years); and offered to meet up for breakfast...or any meal that she may be available while we were there, sans the soccer games on the agenda. We finally settled on a date, and Bill, "The Best Daughter" and I met at, believe it or not, "Breakfast at Bill's Restaurant." We settled in on a very cold morning for an English breakfast, and lots of fast talking (and listening) by Bill and Clarice meeting IRL. Clarice was even up for a Twinztalk episode (I videotaped it); as well as videoing one for her too - on her phone). It was tech savvy times a million and the conversation pinged around the table at lightning speed. Thankfully, everyone was able to share some keen knowledge and learn from each other too.

Interestingly enough, Clarice was born (in 1982) and raised in Singapore when Singapore was advancing their educational system and therefore learned all her subjects in English. Her "mother tongue" is Mandarin Chinese, and she speaks two other languages fluently (that's four, folks!). She is one smart young lady, raised by traditional parents and two younger brothers (they all still live in Singapore), and has a tremendous thirst for knowledge, marketing strategies and data mining. This is  due to her 10 year career in corporate doing data analysis, intelligence and marketing research.

This blue and hot pink loving gal founded her own company: www.baselinelabs.com three years ago where she helps clients with their data, marketing techniques and social growth no matter the size of the company she is working with. Additionally, she is energized by all the available technology to help advance any business she touches, and this is exactly what  this very independent woman is: a business entrepreneur explorer! No task is too big or too small or too complicated for Clarice. She loves solving marketing challenges for all!

As one would think, she is working all the time (have computer (or smartphone) and there you have it: work). When I inquired if she ever has down time, she giggled and revealed that she loves to read, run, and watch TV when she gets the chance. Whew!

You can find Clarice on many social media platforms: Facebook: @claricecoach; on Twitter: @BaseLineLabs.com and LinkedIn: Clarice Lin

Lastly, I am so thankful we were able to make that special morning happen on our recent trip. Clarice was fantastic in giving some mentoring advice to Olivia, even in that short time; and meeting Bill and exchanging all their social media love and kindness to go out into the world and keep sharing their unique brand(s).

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Clarice Lin!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Throwback Thursday Pic

I seem to forget about the "throwbacks" on Thursday, and there is always "Flashback Fridays" to compensate for all the forgetfulness. What? Oh yes, a throwback pic. My friend Bill Gawne sent this to me a week or so ago, and it was taken the last summer (1991) that "my Bill" and I were a couple BC (before children, that is). We were blessed with "The Best Daughter" in 1992; so life seemed "easy" back then as we worked hard and played hard during those precious years, and this photo seems to prove it.

BSoleille! And a big shout of Thanks to BG for sending this blast from the past...


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Are You a Happy Camper?

We all know that it's a long winter, but we also know warmer days are ahead, despite the cold and snow on the ground in a lot of places today. Can we dream about warm and sunny days, and maybe camping? Sure, why not? The little quilt I made is for our friends, Linda and Mark Misencik, for their "newly" acquired Airstream. I know an RV can have tight quarters, so I am hoping there will be a place for it inside for them to "display" it if they can. The pattern is from Terri Vander Bosh of lizardcreekquilting from Rock Valley, Iowa.

It was a fun piece to make and sew cute too! And, best of all before it settles into its new home, it will be shown in the Southern Comforters Quilt Show coming up in March!



Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Little Christmas in February

There's that saying to "keep Christmas in your heart all year through," and I like to keep one or two "decorations" up all year for that reason. This year, despite my one decoration, it involves a deep red amaryllis plant that is top heavy with three big blooms, and was sent to me at Christmastime from my good friend Cathy Kimpel of sunny San Diego, CA. When it began sprouting, this bombastic blooming plant seemed to grow overnight...by inches. I'm not sure if it should have "sprouted" in December, but it certainly did this month...the month of love, so it suits either occasion just fine.

You cannot tell from the photo that these particular flowers are as big as my head and really quite beautiful and bring joy during these cold days of winter.  The forecast is snow tomorrow and schools are already closed without one flake hitting the ground yet.

So these Christmas blooms, or Valentine's blooms, make everything seem brighter; and I am grateful for that!



Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Not Only the Quilting...

Being on a weekend quilt retreat, one would suspect there is a lot of sewing/quilting going on. And that part is true. However, with the fabric artists on retreat this weekend, the talent is truly off the charts...and it's not only the quilting. It's the pin cushions (snails), the rugs, the tote bags and dynamic projects all over the "work" room! Everyone has brought their talents and gifts of color and design, and it's a sight to behold.

One thing I find fascinating is the thought process in going into every project for each person. Some elements include the colors, the fabrics and the pattern on how it all goes together to please the eye!

Take a look at some of the "works" this weekend...


The totes

Linda Boone and Robin Stinchcomb

Snail pin cushions 

Carrie Casto hard at work...

Everyone working hard (Karen Todd in pink and Cappy Phillips behind her)

Our "out of staters"; Linda Boone from Virginia and Charlotte K from Texas

Robin S. and Donna Norris with their totes!

Carrie Casto with her rug!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Retreat 2019 with my Sewing Sisters 

Not only are quilters a "surface hog" lot, we tend to take with us waaay more than we could ever do in a weekend, even if we sewed 24/7 for four days. But it’s what we do, and we are kindred spirits of the fabric and projects we love so much.

When I look up from my sewing machine, I see awesome women from all walks of life diligently, and some quite precisely, working on a plethora of unbelievable quilts, tote bags, pillows and knitting testing. It’s tantamount to the talent we all share, and in turn, inspires me to do my best work. And for that I am truly grateful!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Day of Love

Happy Valentine's Day 2019! Hug those close to you. Be kind. Smile. Can't we do this everyday?



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Hearts for Comfort

The Southern Comforters are a pretty neat group of wonderful people, as I've previously mentioned. One sweet tradition is that when a member is going through a difficult time in their lives, or a loved one has passed on, the membership responds by sending a 6" block with a heart, typically sent in a card (and small enough for a first class stamp to cover).

Sew, when Misty Cole, our Program Chair, offered the members to make hearts for our program part of our meeting tonight, I was all in (and several other members too). I still get choked up remembering when my Dad passed away in 2001, and the guild members sent me hearts along with very sincere sentiments. I also got hearts when our son Ryan was going through a difficult time in his cancer journey; again, beautiful hearts made and sent to me by caring members.

It's been noted lately that many members of our guild have lost loved ones, and some going through tough times, so Misty encouraged us to share our resources (fabric/cutting/ironing) to make hearts for those that can certainly use a pick-me-up. And what better time to make them, the day before Valentine's Day...a win-win for all.

BSoleille! The bright side of comfort hearts!


Monday, February 11, 2019

"Sewfari Bee" from 2014

A "temporary" quilt bee was set up at my quilt guild's February retreat in 2014, and named: "Sewfari." I love the name and the quilt we chose to make because another bee was in the process of making the same one, and were making and swapping blocks in their color scheme using tri-rec's blocks. Several of us who formed Sewfari wanted to join in on all this fun! We quickly got up to speed swapping four-patches of bright colors, tri-rec's and tri-square triangles. All those "tri's" play with eye in seeing a few patterns throughout the quilt which make this quilt sing!

If you know a quilter,  you know it could take years to finish a project, let alone multiple projects. For that quilter, though, it seems "just like yesterday" when the project was started.  So now I'm thinking that five years is not too shabby in finishing this "Friendship Star Quilt" (I have several more UFO's and WIP's; that is, Unfinished Objects and Works in Progress) to a tune of about 20-25.

I am thankful to be "almost" finished with this Friendship Star...though it needs borders and those are being auditioned as I write this post. This quilt and many others from the Southern Comforters will be beautifully displayed at our upcoming show next month: March 23, 24, 2019 at Sam Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland. Check out our Facebook page and our website for further information.




My "notes" 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Mad Men and the 60's

Wintertime is a good time to read, yes, but how about binge watching a TV show? This past winter I decided to "binge" watch the show; "Mad Men" and am almost to the end of seven seasons. It was popular from 2007-2015. I never watched one episode while it was on the air during those years, as those were the years my kids were in high school (soccer mom thing) and college. A blur...really.

The beauty of Netflix/Amazon/Hulu etc., is that we all get the chance to tune into a show, and watch, commercial free, for hours if we wish.

I found this show quite fascinating as it's set in the 60's (my young era). The glamorous NYC Madison Avenue advertising agencies were really something back then, and the show depicts the fashions of the day; the Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, MLK and Bobby Kennedy, plus the riots and the Beatles (along with all the advertising that went along with so many of the products we all know...and possibly love). Interestingly, the show uses actual footage of those bygone days, and it has given me a nostalgic feeling every time I tune in (plus helps me remember that decade of my primary years).

What about the TV's themselves? Remotes or no? I would have to see a photograph to remember ours during the early 60's, but I do remember that they were big and clunky, and we always needed to adjust that antennae to have a "clear picture."



Photo of a TV from the 60's (I believe we had one that was very similar to this one).

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Light Catchers on Fire...

When there is "good light" in any room of your home, it's a glorious feeling to be in it. Thankfully, we have just that, our living room/dining room combination that brings in "good light" for most of the day. That area faces southwest, so we also get to view those dynamite sunsets practically daily.

So any sun-catcher, crystal or stain-glass hung in the back windows beams the fiery light around the room celestially. That certain light makes reading, and definitely sewing, a great delight.

Today's photo is from the brilliant sunset shining through my "sun-catchers."



Thursday, February 7, 2019

Trying My Best

Blogger is planning on changing some things around come March 1st; it’s the platform I use for this blog. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been limping along with posts and photos (not loading), and a few other things and have employed various "go-arounds" to try and keep this good thing going.

This "almost" daily blogging has become a large part of who I am, and I truly believe I’m better for it. I love thinking about what I’ll write about and post as I go through my day. Some days are easier than others, of course, but the new "wrinkles" could pose some issues in my posts. Time will tell and I will continue on as much as it will allow me under the Blogger banner. 

Fingers crossed for a smooth transition to whatever is in store...



PS my photo would not load...

Thread Thread Everywhere Thread

As most of you know, I am a "sewist", or more aptly, a quilter, and our main "ingredient", or "glue", if you will, for anything we make, is thread. So no matter how fancy schmancy our machines may be, or how lovely a pattern is, or the exquisite fabrics purchased and needed to make anything, thread is the most essential item to bring everything together. Of course, there is truly a lot to consider when choosing thread; think colors (thousands), and weight of the ply, plus what is best for each project as in type: polyester, cotton, silk, rayon, monofilament etc..

Recently, I was looking for a "simple" green thread from my big bag of thread and had to dump the entire bag to find the "exact" one I was looking for. Thankfully, I was able to find it through all the thread nests built up over time, and finished the project. As all those spools lay in wait, it occurred to me that  all sewing  boils down to a uncomplicated needle and thread...basic for sure.

BSolielle! The bright side of a simple needle and thread...


Monday, February 4, 2019

February Haiku - Winter Sunset

The following haiku came from the photo I took in the backyard this evening. I simply love those golden blazes racing across the darkening skies. I cannot get enough!

Winter sunset blaze
Orange ball swiftly sinking
Into the darkness

BSoleille! The bright side of appreciating each sunset, even in wintertime.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Game Time with Super Bowl 53

May the best team win (blogging at halftime). So much hype, so much hoopla, and the low score of 3-0 is, ahem, a little boring...

Thank goodness for Maroon5, Big Boi, and Travis Scott for the entertaining halftime show, and the best commercials we all "love" to see.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

"Million Little" Quilts

Not only is February the month of love and the shortest month of all, it really "heats" up with working on quilts for my guild's annual quilt show coming up in March. Between NeedleOnFull.com work, and preparing "a million little" quilts for the show, these cold days heat up quickly with a humming machine and a super hot iron. I'm thankful that this weekend afforded me to put in a lot of hours and make good progress on various quilts in assorted stages of completion.



Friday, February 1, 2019

#CelebratingOthers with Betsy Rector - Retired Programmer from Goddard Space Flight Center (Contractor)

It's the first of February, and a Friday, so I'm happy to share with you Betsy Rector, 75, of Rudolph, WI. We first met at my guild's November Quilt Retreat in 2018 (remember that year?), and is the Mother of a guild-mate/bee-mate, Debbi Carter. She was absolutely delightful, plus had a wealth of knowledge in crafting, and was generous enough to make each retreat-goer a little drawstring bag that we each got to select from her "large" inventory.

But not only was she interested in meeting all of us, we were interested in her too. Betsy, we learned, was always interested in crafting since she was born (her words). When she was young, and with various moves with her family in suburban Maryland, her Mom was very "crafty" and instrumental in helping her five children (Betsy being the youngest) in meeting the neighboring children with her arts and crafts. Her Mom taught "painting" and ceramics, and even had a kiln to fire all the clay work done by the neighborhood kids. Betsy also witnessed her Mom sew all her clothes, plus her siblings clothes, and at one point, also became enamored with a needle and thread and a sewing machine. From that time on she has always enjoyed sewing including clothing, wedding dresses and her 'famous' drawstring bags.

Her craft of choice today: puppets.  Betsy finds all sorts of things to make them; including socks, tennis balls, toilet paper rolls, and most recently, crafted a puppet out of a life-sized dress form.

Despite all her excellent crafting, Betsy worked for 40 years as a programmer with the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, all as a contractor. She revealed she began working there as a "summer student" (now called intern) after her second year of college (educated at St. Mary's College and E. Tennessee University majoring in math and science). She even met her husband, Ron, in 1963 during her second summer of her internship and married him six months later. They had two girls; Debbi and Margaret and they raised their family in suburban Maryland also.

When Betsy first started at Goddard as data technician, she managed "calculators" as large as a manual typewriters and gathered information on large reeled tapes plotting the data on graph paper for  the Radio Astronomy Section. It was tough (everything by hand), but Betsy exclaimed she loved her job from the moment she entered the halls of Goddard. Within the first year, Betsy felt capable to ask her boss if she could learn to program, a move, she recalls, delighted her and her strong math and science skills. She was told to talk to "Steve", and then "Steve" had her working with his programs and she was told to "make changes."  Before long she was writing her own programs in FORTRAN and balancing her work and family obligations.

Well before Betsy's retirement in 2013, she began using the advanced computer technology to write soft-ware programs in real time in the Lab of Thermal Vacuum Chambers (testing satellite parts like temperature sensors/pressures/power etc.) for the large telescopes that record the radio waves emitting from the planet and stars (24/hours a day).  All this data needs to be retrieved and evaluated.

This blue-loving grandmother of six (five grandsons, and one granddaughter) moved to the middle of Wisconsin (daughter Margaret and her family live in the area) with her husband about five years ago and likes it! It's cold there, of course, and -50 degrees two days ago!

BSolelille! The bright side of Betsy Rector, who had an illustrious career with Goddard as basically a "self-taught" programmer and an excellent sewist and crafter!


Photos of Betsy and her family

Betsy at the November 2018 Retreat

Grandson Seth's wedding