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!

Friday, May 31, 2019

#CelebratingOthers with Tracy's Kids "SmileStone" Video

Tracy's Kids is an Art Therapy program for kids with cancer including their siblings and other family members. It's been going for over 20 years now, and it all started from humble beginnings with Tracy Councill at Georgetown University Hospital with limited art supplies but a huge heart to help kids fighting incredible cancer diagnoses, like Ryan back in the day.

Ryan, and family, met Tracy and her program in 1996 on 2 Bles at Georgetown. Tracy was an incredible influence on Ryan and showed exactly how art therapy can help kids facing scary testing, chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions that was a daily occurrence for Ryan when first diagnosed at age 2 and beyond.

Today, founder and president of Tracy's Kids, Matt Gerson, released the below video on the $6 million milestone (Smilestone...) to thank the many supporters of this unbelievable program. This included mailing checks for Art Therapy programs to eight different clinics. These funds help pay for Art Therapist salaries and art supplies to help nearly 5,000 patients a year cope with the emotional toll imposed by the disease and its treatment. And the best part of this program; its FREE of charge to all the patients and their families they serve!

Please take a few minutes (3:04) to view this outstanding video. Ryan Tomoff is at the 1:25 mark and  counts seeing the Washington Capitals once or twice a year as one of his favorite programs thatTK's offers today! All the kids did an incredible job showing their appreciation for Tracy's Kids! Bravo!


BSoleille! The bright side of the Celebration Video of Tracy's Kids!


Photo of Tracy and Ryan at the TK's Red Carpet Event in Washington, DC

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Can We Be Giddy on New Appliances?

First world problems are when our "convenient" appliances go belly-up and no longer work. Since "things" go in threes, I hope we are done with replacing appliances for awhile (microwave a couple of weeks ago, and washer and dryer today.) I/we feel very thankful that they can be replaced, but I've got to admit, son Ryan and I were giddy this afternoon when he started washing everything dirty from his room (it was a lot!).

So, can we really be giddy about a washer that works properly, and a dryer that doesn't take two hours to dry a small load? That's what we were living with, and it "worked"...until it didn't. I must also admit, we really had to be patient with our dryer...

I believe the answer is a resounding "yes" on getting new appliances (Kenmore). I also hope they will work consistently well for the next 15-20 years (is that too much wishful thinking?).

BSoleille! The bright side of ushering in a new era of a washer and dryer.


Now, from the looks of this photo, we "need" new shelving....

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Bee Mate Moving to a New Hive in Arizona

"One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees..." -Leo Tolstoy

Our quilting bee survives on love and friendship, and the one leaving the hive today (Carrie Casto) will only pollinate another hive in her new location of Prescott, Arizona. So how do the bee-mates ease the transition before the move West for Carrie and her husband, Paul? We pollinate our bellies with rich Mexican food, laughter and a parting gift...a small quilt that is all Carrie; The Bearfoot Quilter!

It seems we should not get too sad when one leaves the hive, right? It's not goodbye; rather, so long until the next time we meet up...like at a retreat in Maryland, or perhaps a trip to AZ.

And although I/we are excited for Carrie and Paul on their next adventure, I/we will miss them both! Cheers to safe travels and embarking on a their new life out West!

BSoleille! The bright side of our bees; our friendships and our love for Carrie Casto!


Photos of our Possibillibees and Just Sew Bee (we cross pollinate) and Carrie's Bearfoot Quilt!

Opening of Carrie's quilt

Carrie on right checking out the quilt with Janet McCabe and Cappy Phillips (and her birthday as well!)

Bee: L-R:Karen Todd; Janet McCabe; Cappy, Carrie, me, Susie Stevenson, Deb Hoppe and Shelley Jackson

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Just the Facts...from "The Newsroom"

If you can remember the news brought to us by the likes of David Brinkley, Edward Morrow, Jane Pauley, and my all time favorite, Walter Cronkite, you may like tuning into Amazon Prime's "The Newsroom" starring Jeff Daniels as the lead broadcaster, Will McAvoy. The creator, and principal writer of the show, Aaron Sorkin, did a terrific job on how a newscast "can still be" with "just the facts, ma'am." The silouque in the first episode by Will McAvoy on "What Makes America Great," though Will McAvoy states "America is not the greatest country in the world", has been viewed a several million times and seemed to be the catalyst for the entire series.

However, The Newsroom was originally an HBO series of 25 episodes over three seasons (2012-2014), so watching all the episodes goes by quite rapidly (at least I thought it did). The shows rapid fire dialogue with outstanding character development and a great cast had me on my toes to tune into the fast paced political drama of cable news in its heyday. It was pretty neat to see how a newsroom works in NYC (where this drama was set), along with the budding friendships and relationships that ultimately developed while working gobs of hours with the same people 24/7/365 (or so it seemed like it in the show, especially while broadcasting during elections...presidential elections to boot).

I have to hand it to Jeff Daniels and his acting chops. He was truly amazing in The Newsroom in what seemed like his best television acting up until the Netflix Original Godless. I am a fan of his work for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of checking this one off the list, and perhaps, go on your list for this summer's viewing. There are so many good shows to binge out there now...


Monday, May 27, 2019

Allen-Arena Wedding Weekend!

Memorial Day Weekend is the kick-off to summer, to honor our men and women in uniform (past, present and future...we THANK YOU!), and more personally, the celebration of the marriage of Chelsea Allen and Michael Arena in Devon, Pennsylvania.

"The Best Daughter" was the Maid of Honor for Chelsea and Mike, and we were thankful to celebrate the day with them, their parents, family and friends too. Olivia met Chelsea in high school and played soccer together for Archbishop Spalding HS. I'm proud that they've remained great friends ever since.

It was a lovely day; sprinkled with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures until the exchanging of rings when the skies opened up with lightning; thunder and rain. The bridal party, officiant and the crowd of 160+ were nimble enough (along with the venue) for gathering all of us under shelter (squeezed into a smaller space and we all had to stand) to finish the wedding ceremony. It's something I've never seen done, but it really worked quite seamlessly to the amazement of the bride and groom and all their guests. Kudos to Terrain Gardens and their staff to make the very quick "switcheroo" to officially make them a married couple! Following the introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Arena, an amazing rainbow peaked out over the venue; a serendipity moment for sure!

Can we agree that weddings bring hope that the world is good and keeps evolving? Love it patient and kind and never fails, and that was definitely witnessed throughout this past weekend!

Cheers to the beautiful new bride and groom; Chelsea and Mike Arena (they also killed it on the dance floor)! May their love and respect for each other grow passionately with each passing day!

BSoleille! The bright side of a beautiful wedding day!


Photo below: Mike and Chelsea

Squeezed in to say "I do's"

Brian, Olivia, me and Bill


Mike and Chelsea

Brian and Olivia

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Treasured Keepsake of a T-shirt Quilt

An awesome aspect of my work; needleonfull.com, is to see customers being delighted by their finished quilt. This week, I diligently worked on, and finished a quilt for Patrick Sweeney, a graduating senior at Arundel High School (this coming week). He and his mom, Jenn, came by early this morning to pick up Patrick's quilt that was comprised of 15 hockey jerseys (sweaters in hockey parlance) and 5 lacrosse singlets that became a very large quilt indeed. Those hockey sweaters started out at 20" squares!

When Patrick heads North to play hockey in a colder climate than Maryland this fall, he'll be all set to snuggle underneath this 30 lb. quilt! (Okay, not quite 30 lbs, but it is a heavy one for sure!).

BSoleille! The bright side of very happy NeedleOnFull customers!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Switching gears from soccer to baseball took less than 18 hours as Ryan and I took the road north to Baltimore for the Oriole vs. Yankee Day Game this afternoon. We "weathered" through hundreds of screaming 4th graders (not kidding) and a crazy and annoying fan in our row that also screamed and yelled throughout the entire game (big kid of 25 or so). Ryan certainly can select good seats even though he/we bought the tickets upon walking up to the window prior to game time (sat high up but behind home plate).

Apparently, all that yelling and screaming did not help the home team, as the Yankees pulled off the big win in the ninth inning (6-5) to sweep the series. I'm thankful to have shared the day with Ryan (he took the day off work), because it was a full day considering all the traffic surrounding Baltimore after the game and before an holiday weekend.

BSoleille! The bright side of "take me out to the crowd...even a screaming crowd."


Where is Terri?

Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Soccer Fans in DC...United

Excitement abounded with the Ewings and Tomoffs heading into DC this evening to cheer on the DC United MLS team "friendly" vs. Real Betis (team from Spain) at the new Audi Stadium (near Nationals Park). We've got to hand it to the MLS (Major Soccer League) and their respective teams building dedicated soccer stadiums for  soccer fans around the country to enjoy! Every seat is a great one and the game was action-packed from the tweet of the first whistle.

Unfortunately, DC United lost (5-2), but the crowd was respectful and the atmosphere electric enough for a Wednesday night game. The biggest crowd pleaser was a goal scored by 16 year old (homegrown player) Griffin Yow from the DC United squad and local kid from Clifton, VA. The future looks bright for this young man on the pitch, and hopefully will stay connected with the United team for a long time ahead!

It was a perfect night; with a good temperature and no mosquitoes that made the game, the company and the drum playing by the American Outlaws (unofficial supporters of the men's and women's national teams) a resounding success! Shout of Thanks to Dale and Karen Ewings - soccer aficionados bar none!



Monday, May 20, 2019


Pacman, or more aptly for me, Ms. Pacman, is my all time favorite game. As I've mentioned previously, I put in way to many quarters in the big arcade edition of Pacman in the bars around Bowling Green State University (don't tell my Mom...) in the early 80's.

Thankfully, and to release "stress", I can play the online version on my computer anytime I want. I try to limit the Pacman activity to three or four games, mostly in the evening, and I truly enjoy it. Sometimes those games go by in less than 10 minutes; but today I hit an all time high for me, either computer or arcade with 355,120 points (I have a spreadsheet of my all time high games)! I think my fingers gave out before anything else and this game lasted about 20 minutes. Wooohooo!

BSoleille! The bright side of Ms. Pacman...


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday "Serenade" at the Soccer Field

Typically, there is no music at a soccer match in travel/club play. Maybe some pre-game warm up every now and again, but really not much at all. Interestingly, the past two days I was met with music throughout various matches. Yesterday, there was a Little League Tournament next to the soccer field, and they had an announcer and played lots of music between innings and at the end of the games. Good music too and I had to refrain from dancing on a few occasions! For games that do not require as much concentration as other fast paced games may, the music was a welcome reprieve. I'm not sure if it affected the players, as they all seemed to play very well.

This morning, a Dad from one of the teams brought his guitar and played through the entire match. He wasn't loud (and did not sing, though I did ask him if he was about to start and he said "no", although mentioned he used to sing in a band...). However, his acoustic guitar playing music was sweet and I enjoyed it immensely. Thankfully, I do not think the players even heard any of it (I was AR or Assistant Referee so I was on the parents sideline for this game), and the game played out beautifully with no incident.

BSoleille! The bright side of music at the matches!


Friday, May 17, 2019

#Celebrating Others with Handi-Quilter Educator - Kelly Ashton!

Sometimes one has to "stop" and catch a breath and learn something new no matter how long we've been at it; and that includes for me, taking a quilt class every now and again. Today I took an all-day Long-Arm Quilt Class at Spring Water Designs https://www.springwaterdesigns.com/ in Columbia, Maryland, with Master Quilter, Kelly Ashton, of Handi-Quilter https://handiquilter.com/.

Born and raised in central Utah, Kelly was interested in sewing and "crafting" from a young age. Her mom got her and her two sisters (she is one of five siblings) involved in various sewing projects and she fell in love with sewing and never looked back. She was educated at Snow College and Weber State University in Northern Utah, and graduated with a nursing degree in 2006. She loved the humanitarian aspect of nursing, especially rural nursing, where she articulated that she did everything a nurse could do while working at Gunnison Valley Hospital in Central Utah.

Kelly, who at 51, is quite the energizer bunny. Delightedly, she continued her love of sewing and quilting even after working countless night shifts as a nurse. Married to Bret Ashton (a business developer for an Aerospace company) since 2006, they live a full life in a blended family of seven children (ages 15-35) and seven grandchildren (ages 8 months to age 8).  With boundless enthusiasm she was able to stop her nursing job to pursue her passion of quilting and share her vast knowledge as an Hand-Quilter Educator worldwide! She has been long-arming since 2007, and has traveled to Russia; South Africa; Australia; The Netherlands and France to spread her awesome attitude with all things quilting and Long-Arming to the delight of many quilting enthusiasts.

While listening and watching Kelly work the class (14 students), she really is enamored with the quilters she meets, giving everyone her winning smile and depth of knowledge in a clear and concise manner (especially throwing out a lot of information at once!). When I asked Kelly: "What is your Why?" she said spreading the joy of long-arm quilting where she knows her students will be able to finish many of the projects they have started...from a day class to a 30 year old top that was stuck in a closet or drawer.

To keep up with the times, this purple loving gal currently long-arms on two Handi-Quilter machines; an "Amara" and an "Infinity", and her work is absolutely stunning (she brought samples of her work share with the class).

In addition to all the above, and Kelly being a member of the LDS (Latter Day Saints) with local and global missions of helping others, she has traveled to Honduras, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic when not traveling and teaching for Handi-Quilter. As a nurse and humanitarian she has helped bring books in Spanish to local orphanages; hygiene kits to indigent folks living in squalor, and medical missions in giving immunizations of Hepatitis B shots to hundreds of people throughout South America. She cares deeply about the world, her family and her students, and it was very evident today in her class that I was privileged to attend!

I must give a Shout of Thanks to my quilting buddies, Mary Nielsen and Carrie Casto, in highly recommending I attend Kelly's class! It was fantastic!  I would also like to give a Shout of Thanks to Spring Water Designs in welcoming all the students and Kelly to learn and share our love of long-arm quilting with each other.

BSoleille! The bright side of learning and #CelebratingOthers with Kelly Ashton!


Photo of Kelly Ashton

Kelly and her family
Classroom at Spring Water Designs in Columbia, MD

The class with the Handi-Quilter truck

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A Beautiful Day in MD and DC with Laura Hennessey

A month ago I was lucky enough to travel to Puerto Rico with Laura Murphy...and today, got to spend an entire day with Laura Murphy's BG's (Bowling Green State University) college roommate/and our CC teammate, Laura Hennessey. Laura H. is in town visiting her brother and his family, as well as attending a wedding later in the week. We planned today to tool around town; first going to the United States National Arboretum (my first visit there, and hers too); a quick trip back to my house and lunch, then off to Andrews Air Force Base to see Air Force One. A busy but super fun day for sure.

We especially loved the bonsai trees/plants at the Arboretum, and the warm sunshine making everything plant related come to life, or so it seemed. Our crab cakes at lunch and dinner were not too shabby either (at the restaurant and her brother's home), and it was fun heading to the AFB to see the planes and jets (especially when they take off, like an F18).

I am thankful for the good day to catch up with each other's lives (she now hails from Indiana) -especially in awesome settings around these parts of Maryland and DC in full bloom!



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Southern Comforters at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC!

A delightful evening was shared with three guild members of the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild supporting the efforts of the Aslan Project (provided over 30 quilts last summer) and Dr. Aziza Shad. Walking into the embassy was, for a moment, taking me back to the great country of Ethiopia with its music, flags and food (injera!). In addition to the African vibe, my husband and I were happy to spread the idea that "all children are precious" with Florence Marion and Susie Stevenson, guild members representing all the members who donated quilts last year for that effort in supplying beautiful quilts to the Mother Teresa home in Addis Ababa.

This quote by Dr. Aziza Shad, co-founder and Medical Director of the Aslan Project, sums up the grass roots efforts of what a caring group of people can do:

"Children are children everywhere. Children with cancer should be able to have access to treatment no matter where they are born or their color, creed, religion or socioeconomic status. I'm excited, as we continue our work, that one day it will be possible to turn around and say that the children of Ethiopia and other countries in Africa now have the same chance to fight cancer as children in any other country do."

I am/we are profoundly grateful to Dr. Shad and the Aslan Project Team for providing world-class care in low and middle-income countries; paving the way to show that pediatric cancers can be treated in these low-resource settings just as they are in more fortunate countries!



Photo below of Bill; Dr. Shad; Florence Marion; Susie Stevenson and me

Florence Marion; Susie Stevenson and me

Monday, May 13, 2019

Kaput Irons

As a quilter, we hold in high "esteam" our beloved irons. A few years ago I posted on my fleet of irons that I pretty much use on a daily basis (not to iron clothes, of course, but cotton quilting fabrics!). However, three of them have been on the blink, and finally, would not heat a lick. Ugh!

I decided to buy two new ones and will give them a whirl tomorrow. Here's hoping for hot hot hot irons to get all the wrinkles out with one smooth stroke of a pass on the ironing board.

BSoleille! The bright side of two bright and shiny irons...


Sunday, May 12, 2019

All MOMS are WOW!

Moms who receive an handwritten card with, perhaps, largely written “MOM” on the envelope get the pleasure of turning it upside down to become “WOW.” Now that’s a double pleasure for sure! All the Moms I know and circle in my orbit are WOW MOMS! Bar none. Dedication to their family, friends and work and anything they do bring inspiration to many!

Cheers to all the Moms, Grandmas, aunties, fur-baby Moms, and sisters a fantastic 2019 Mother’s Day! But let’s face it, every day is Mother’s Day...


First photo: at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC

Sophie and me

Friday, May 10, 2019

Love Those Knockout Roses

Who doesn’t like a big bush of knockout roses? I guess with all the rain lately, this bush budded out and grew exponentially. I thought I trimmed it back last fall, and if I did, it certainly grew with a vengeance this spring. So, I’ll enjoy these flowers along with the other bushes spread around the yard and thankful for the colors they bring to the front of the house. Planted my wagon full of flowers today as well and hopefully they’ve got a good start to bringing additional color and charm in the coming months.



Thursday, May 9, 2019

So What's Up with "Throw-Away" Appliances?

Nowadays, it seems like appliances, specifically a run-of-the-mill microwave, don't last very long. Ours went kaput a few days ago (not even five years old!), and it made me/us realized how much we are "attached" to our microwaves. Yikes! I've gone "old-school" in warming up food on the stove until a new one was installed today. It's amazing how "long" it takes to warm something up (or the laboriousness of pulling pots and pans to the stove) instead of zapping up leftovers for a 30 second stint in the microwave.

I hope my other appliances will last at least 10 years before being replaced (preferably 20 years!). There have got to be folks with stories of their long-lived fridges, stoves, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and of course, microwaves. What's your oldest running appliance?

BSoleille! The bright side of a new microwave (photo is the old one) and a huge shout of THANKS to Michael Serafini for the installation!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Plants 4Sale

The local firehouse has a yearly plant sale that went most of the weekend and into today. My son called me at lunchtime to alert me that the sale was still on and prompted me to go and take a look. I’m glad I went, albeit later in the afternoon while they were cleaning up and closing shop. Thankfully, the generous folks running the sale suggested I load up a wagon with whatever I wanted and “make an offer” for my purchase. I really think they wanted to just give me the plants but I contributed a fair amount and left quite happy. It all started with, “how about some white and red geraniums?” I hope to get them into pots later this week and excited to see what colors are with the rest of the lot.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Katie “Gitty” Gitlin got Married!

Despite some liquid sunshine, and cinco de Mayo, Katie and Travis Brannigan got married in beautiful Annapolis, Maryland this evening. Katie played soccer with “The Best Daughter”, and some of the parents from that era still remain quite close. Today, we celebrated the joyous occasion with Patty and Tom Gitlin the rest of their family and friends on this nuptial day for Katie and Travis.

So here’s wishing the blushing bride and her dashing husband many years of wedded bliss! Love is in the air!



Oh, by the way, hubby Bill and Katie always had a "thing" of taking a photo after every season, and today, captured another photo to celebrate with her this lifetime milestone (below).
Below: Katie and Travis as the newly minted husband and wife!

Soccer Dads: John Kozlowski, Tom Gitlin and Bill Tomoff

Katie and Bill
Katie and Bill from 2010

Soccer Moms: Angie Kozlowski; Patty Gitlin, Katie, me and Oma (Katie's Grandma)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

No Rules Retreat

No cabin fever here, but besides “some” sewing, hanging out in the large living room with super comfy leather sofas and a fantastic deck overlooking the mountains (and views), bonds of friendship became more deeply grounded in the love and laughter we all shared this weekend.

I am grateful for each and every one of my sewing sisters, and their collective knowledge on all things sewing/quilting and, really, life in general!


L-R: Janet McCabe; Cappy Phillips, Carrie Casto, Mary Nielsen, Deb Hoppe, Karen Todd, Susie Stevenson and Debbi Carter.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Happy Friday

Still sewing with my peeps. Lots of storms rolled in and we survived without losing power. And Debbi Carter just finished her binding on a mystery quilt from a few years ago. Listening to good music as we sew along too.



Thursday, May 2, 2019

Can We Sew with a Mountain View?

Nine strong are at a "rustic" log cabin mountain view home near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, for a quilt retreat weekend with spectacular views of the Shenandoah Mountains. Sew...can we break from the view and get down to business and sew? That is the question, but I think our very industrious bee will try our collective "darndest" and get our projects done, and if not done, pretty close to being done for sure.

This afternoon, two of our bee-mates arrived at the cabin a wee bit earlier than the rest and quickly texted that this cabin is in the "boonies", and they were so correct. Thankfully, we have strong WiFi and an abundance of food (we found it's too scary to drive these curvy and "mountainous" roads at night with no lighting whatsoever to even consider going out to dinner!).

Sew thankful that with plenty of fabric, projects, food, opinions, advice, laughter, inspiration, and mentorship with nine incredible women, it's going to go by fast but will be awesome!



Below with Carrie Casto and Deb Hopster

Carrie Casto and Mary Nielsen 

Karen Todd distributing Bee shirts (had them embroidered)

Relaxing quilters

Janet McCabe

Sew or View?

Janet; Deb Hoppe, Carrie Casto, Debbi Carter, Karen Todd and Susie Stevenson