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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Following the Paper Trail...Toilet Paper That Is

If you have a LittleFreeLibrary in your neighborhood, maybe sharing extra toilet paper rolls and/or  wipes could really help someone in need right in your local community. While scooting around the Crofton Parkway (almost daily), I/we've noticed that our Little Library was jammed with extra items (books, yes, but now tp and wipes) that someone, or a family, could use considering all the shortages in the local stores in stocking these basic necessities.

My photo below was taken yesterday with "only" two rolls, but a few days ago there must have been six rolls and baby wipes jammed in there, along with the books too!

BSoleille! The bright side of silver linings in our neighborhood.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

#SilverLinings - Showing Kindness in These Crazy Times...A Bottle of Red...

Moments ago, we had a knock on the front door, of course, not expecting anyone or anything. So what a great surprise to open the door, and find this; an "emergency kit" comprised of a bottle of wine and a roll of toilet paper (ala "secret sewing sister/secret santa etc.) and two balloons for the festive and much appreciated gift! The "secret gift giver" was found out as I ran out the door to give a shout of ThANKS to a truck parked near my house. Come to find out it was the great idea of my bee-mate, Debbi Carter, and her husband, Tim, (who is her Robin to her Batwoman!)

My husband, Bill, and I can't shut up about this display of community and thoughtfulness on so many levels. We are inspired to pay if forward, and invite my blogpost readers to do the same if the mood strikes! #HowCanWeHelpOthers...

When this whole Covid-19 virus started, my hope was that our world would experience more silver linings then complaints about social isolation, and this one certainly has brought hope and gratefulness beyond anything we've would have witnessed even three weeks ago.

One more item to share (I get nothing to post it btw), is the Budweiser commercial that is very inspiring as well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_t9niMNkdg

BSoleille! The bright side of Debbi and Tim Carter!


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Before and After - "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands!"

One thing "good" about the Covid-19 sequester is completing a house task on the to-do list, right? So when I painted those green walls in my kitchen porcelain white in early February (way before the virus was on the radar), at least for the USA, I told my husband to hold on to his opinion because there was a method to my madness and my vision for this big wall.

Years ago, when son Ryan needed Home/Hospital Teaching, we hung two maps in this same space, albeit a wee bit smaller, of the USA and a map of the world (Thank you, Nurse Anne DeLuca). Fast forward 18 or so years, and I knew I still wanted a huge wall map of the world in that large wall space. I combed the internet looking for the "perfect" one, and found it through Etsy - Academia Maps: https://www.academiamaps.com/

The maps are linen like fabric with a repositionable sticky back (peel and stick) that was easy enough to install with three sets of hands, especially with a larger size map. I am thrilled with the final result and grateful to Academia Maps for their quality maps and their awesome customer service.

Cheers to our world, hopefully a safer and healthier one in the months ahead for all seven billion of us, and like the song says: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."


Painting Party of One

The map came in three sections

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Trees of Spring

The Cherry Blossoms on the Mall in Washington DC is breathtaking beyond words...and millions of photos are taken each year to share in their exquisite beauty. Unfortunately for this year, if one did not live in DC at their peak (last weekend), it was a tough go to get into the city (on lockdown mostly) to view those yearly and magical blossoms.

Instead, we've had to "settle" on our own neighborhood, where there has been a superabundance of flowering pink trees that could "rival" those blossoms to our West. And since there are so many varieties, those fragrant pink flowering buds have been taking turns showing off their stuff, much to everyone's delight in these parts.

BSoleille! The bright side of pink blossoms all over town.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Birthday Maryland - 386 Years Old!

Though my entire immediate family was born in Ohio, and still consider ourselves "native buckeyes," living in the state of Maryland for close to 24 years now has been a true pleasure. I am thankful to be a "adopted" by this "Old Line State," and enjoy its amenities immensely. Living close to Washington DC, Baltimore and Annapolis (and the Chesapeake Bay), has through the years, afforded my family and guests that have visited us a plethora of interesting things to get lost in. From the beaches in Ocean City on the Eastern Shore, to the Appalachian Trail and Deep Creek in the mountains of the West, this Freestate has got it all!

So it behooves me to salute the State of Maryland on its 386th Birthday, hope for safety of all Marylanders (and the rest of the country and world), and trustfully know that we all will get back to our lives, albeit it will be a bit different I suspect (at least at first.)

BSolielle! The bright side of Maryland Crabs on a hot summer day with a cold beer and lots of Old Bay!


Photos from the grocery chain store Wegman's, and their Maryland display...


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Jenga Anyone? Quilter's Scrap Style

Sew... I've worked over 40 hours in culling my 18+ years of a "scrap pile" of quilting fabrics and beyond. This project has required me to stand, either at my ironing board wrestling with all the wrinkled fabric that was squeezed into bags, boxes and other vessels to "contain" them all, or standing at my dining room table where my cutting mat lives. It's been a great exercise in organizing stuff that I told myself I would get to it "some day." I can thankfully say that this week has been that "some day."

Kudos to several members of my guild who graciously shared their thoughts on how they organize their scraps (by sizes, colors, types of fabrics etc.) that I truly appreciated. However, bee-mates, Mary Nielsen and Carrie Casto, have inspired me to stay the course and keep wrangling through my stash of scraps. It was great to stay the course, because as I found out, it has been way more tedious than I thought (and probably why I put it off for soooo long.)

BSoleille! The bright side of safely saying that I'm all scraped out!


Photos below indicate my piles, including the "Jenga" pile of 2.5" squares, and then how neat everything is now. Whew! Back to NeedleOnFull Tshirt Quilts and Long-Arm Quilting!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Birthday Girl - "The Best Daughter" is 28!

Funny thing in childbirth, you just can't wait to see that baby when it's first born. The glow of that moment is something most women never forget, including me. So when that baby turns 28, like today, there was no way I couldn't even see down that proverbial road, and who knows, maybe that's a good thing. We were "all worried" about going home and getting through that first week, ahem.

With all the craziness of shutting down the whole world, practically, "The Best Daughter" was lamenting that her birthday will be canceled, like everything else around us, and that she could stay 27. I am happy to report that is, of course, not the case and she claims she had a great day turning 28 and will stay put in her new number for another spin around the sun.

BSoleille! The bright side of 28 is great!


Saturday, March 21, 2020

It's National Quilting Day for 2020!

It's National Quilting Day, and we quilters should be celebrating this great "holiday" for those with lodes of patience to start and finish a quilt...any quilt! I think we are, but not at a show (bummer!), or a shop, or gathering with friends who sew. But due to technology, I am super thankful that my bee was able to "celebrate" our day by using the app: Zoom. It's free for 40 minutes of a "meeting" or meet up, and because we wanted to share, we did two 40 minute-ers (or close to it). Remember, there were five or six of us on the video chat, which gives everyone a chance to talk and share without worry. You can check it out here: https://zoom.us/

Once my chats were completed (another one with my SA group late in the afternoon), I needed to make only ONE block to finish this quilt (started in 2017) entitled: Scrap Soup with 2.5" Strips. I wanted to finish this scrap quilt due to the saying, especially in these trying times, "when life gives you scraps, make a quilt." I can't believe I let two years go by without making one dang block to finish it, but no longer, it's done!

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating National Quilting Day however we can.


Photos below of the Scrap Soup Quilt and my Just Sew Bee (members now hail from Arizona, Florida, and Maryland).

Deb Hoppe, me, Carrie Casto, Mary Nielsen and Susie Stevenson (Karen Todd was on but her phone was dying, and Deb Carter had audio difficulties), This was our first trial with  Zoom, and I believe more successful than not. Zoom is trending all over the USA and beyond for collaborative meetings and meet-ups!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Flashback Friday - 2019 Southern Comforters Quilt Show

A dagger got my heart when 3:30 this afternoon rolled around and my phone reminded me that: "Traffic is light driving to the Bowie Annex." This was, of course, our day to set up for, our now canceled, quilt show. So much work was involved "behind the scenes" in hosting the event, and our team comprised of Wendy Allen and Susie Stevenson and me, plus Jacque Nino, did a huge bulk of the work in prepping "on paper" how the entire show would enfold at this new, for us, location.

In the next hour, as I opened my computer with a rolling screen of my photographs, a photo of last years' set up lit up my screen, much to my amazement.

My hope that our "sequestering" can help some of our quilters to begin/finish/dream about quilts to accomplish for next years show.



Photos from last years show at Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland...below is Flo Marion with our guild's community quilt efforts.

Raffle Quilt ticket sales: Joyce Stier and Judith Keane 
Janet McCabe our Vendor Chair

Admission with Holly Novak and Ann Bauman

Members in action!

Take town...

Wendy Allen; Jeff Butler (keeps our site well-maintained) and me

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Meet My New Bee-Mates...

Social distancing is a real thing, of course, and even a little old sewing bee cannot happen in these scary times, sigh. The buzz from my "regular" bee-mates is undeniably missing for me, sew..., I decided to "form" a new hive with my "office mates" and aptly named it: "Men at Work."

In minutes, I learned quickly that these cross-pollinators definitely needed some work in the cutting and sewing department skill set, and they were in no mood for a bee dance. I think they thought my brood chamber was a bunch of beeswax.

Quickly, my honey bees (Bill and Ryan) decided that this hive was not for them, and buzzed back to their own colony involving computers. Can you believe these drones wanted to go back to that over sewing machines and cutting mats? And all that scrap management I am currently working on? The nerve!

BSoleille! The bright side of this worker bee ready to swarm the rest of my scraps!


My drones: Bill and Ryan

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2020...

It's kind of a bust, with the "shelter in place" in many states, about celebrating this fun day. No green beer or parties to celebrate which is very disappointing for many. We've all encountered so much interruption in our lives lately, that even the simple things of going out for a green beer is on hold. Once this "fog" is lifted, I hope we do not forget to celebrate the "little things," for they add up to the "bigger things" we call life.

This week is typically a crazy week getting ready for my guild's annual show, and since all that's been canceled, I threw caution to the wind and decided if life gives you scraps, it's time for scrap management. I didn't even make a dent into the bag, but I've started, and that's half the battle.

Cheers to anyway you celebrated St. Paddy's Day!



Monday, March 16, 2020

"Invasion" of Home Office or Offices of the Home?

My husband affectionately teases me that our whole house is a "quilt studio," and he's not far off the truth (but.. I can assure you there is NO fabric in the kitchen-except linens). I should also admit that I am a surface hog and that large chunks of my projects spill over into the vestiges of our living room (my office), but not too much beyond, ahem. My Long-Arm machine, tenderly called: MaryX2, has a room all her own, but shares it with sewing supplies and a lot of fabric for all my projects in various states of completion (and even those percolating in my mind if you can believe that)!

Sew...when Bill joined me in the "home office" brigade last week, we've managed quite well (but...it's only day 6 - in business days) so far. Then, the coronavirus kicked in like an Australian wildfire over the past week, and our governor's directive that Maryland would go into a lockdown state and shelter in place was immediate. This mandate, of course, has affected a lot of businesses and the work from home approach in telecommunication(s). And just like that (snap of fingers), another home office was needed for our son Ryan and his work with InstallNET. Not a problem, right?

Thankfully, I've got to say the three of us are working in harmony in three different parts of the house, and it's working out sew well! (Let's hope the WIFI holds up too and they don't mind the hum of my machines).

BSoleille! The bright side of three offices of the home.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

There is An Adventure Around Every Corner...

...of our house, our garage and our yard! Let alone my sewing room! We are "flattening the curve" with our thoughts, actions, sewing, reading, cleaning & organizing, making good meals, and taking a scoot around the Crofton Parkway (3.9 miles for us). To top that off, we are trying to tackle some house projects that would have gone to the waaay back burner of the 'honey-do list' if it wasn't for the "mandated" shelter in place. Not only are we helping ourselves with brushing up on some things we have not done for awhile, we are helping our fellow man, and hopefully, flattening the curve of this crazy virus.

I believe wholeheartedly, that our homes, communities, states and our nation will see more silver linings than complaints in the days and weeks ahead. We have the chance to show the rest of the world that making a conscious commitment of staying and learning/working/dining/playing from home is all about to help the greater good in this entire fiasco. The hardest part is keeping the focus and dedication to this effort.

I'm cheering all of us on, that's about 350,000,000 in the USA.



Photos of BC (before coronavirus) and After photos of my fireplace; they are switched in the line-up below. Please note: I added this electric Puraflame http://www.puraflame.com/ fireplace unit (excellent choice); Sherwin-Williams paint in porcelain; and the mantel shelf from an Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnjowgaWoodworks?ref=l2-about-shopname where the woodworker lives in Northern Nova Scotia. We couldn't be happier with the outcome and the freshness of a tired looking fireplace and hearth.

This guy helping with house a project! Many thanks though!

Friday, March 13, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with Leslie Sumner - the Southern Comforters 2020 Featured Quilter

Due to the coronavirus precaution everywhere around the USA, our beloved "The Best little Quilt Show" in Maryland has been cancelled for next weekend (March 21-22). Our Featured Quilter - Leslie Sumner, was set all and ready to go with her display of beautiful quilts and more. Of course, we are all very disappointed, but Leslie, I can assure you, makes beautiful quilts, and her sense of color is amazing. She loves to work in bright, lush and saturated colors, but Leslie has commented that some of her best results come from working outside of her comfort zone (dull or even boring tones). Unfortunately, she will not be able to share her journey of quilting with the public for now...

It is rare that I do a follow-up on my #CelebratingOthers post, but I must today with Leslie. Almost a year and a half ago I did my initial post:

If you recall, I was intrigued with Leslie's quilting, of course, but her adventurous spirit as a United Airlines Flight Attendant, I believe, intrigued me even more. She's been flying the friendly skies for 52 years now and is currently 90th on the worldwide list of flight attendants in seniority, and 4th on the list in the DC Metro region. She has traveled to some amazing places lately, especially Israel, a work and pleasure trip she shared with her husband Tim.

It seems that the whole world is sailing in uncharted waters, and it's no different with our guild and show. We will look forward to our Quilt Bingo slated for October 3, 2020; and our 2021 show next March. I will keep everyone posted on our show through my blog and Facebook, and our website: southerncomforters.org which is another avenue for further information.

I certainly hope Leslie's quilts will be displayed to the public at some point, most likely at next years show. She thankfully gave our guild a sneak peek of her quilts this past Wednesday. My photos below are some of her quilts, plus Leslie even made the 2020 Raffle Quilt. We plan to draw a winning ticket as soon as it's "safe" to have a meeting once again.



Leslie below with the 2020 raffle quilt

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Coronavirus 2020

Please be safe and make prudent decisions and efforts in going forth with just about anything here in the USA for the next couple of weeks. The fear of the unknown is great, but if the WHO declares this crazy virus a pandemic, I am listening (and I don't want to!).

It's like wildfire
Burning fevers like crazy
Corona calamity


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Can International Women's Day be Celebrated All Month?

While "investigating" International Women's Day, celebrating on March 8th worldwide, I realized it's just one day. Can that be? Can we celebrate all month long in addition to Women's History Month? Most all the wonderful women I know can change the world, starting with their nuclear families, and then the greater outreach in their communities, states and the rest of the world; but I think we womenfolk need more than one day, don't you? 

I am thrilled to be family and friends with many brilliant, strong, kind, compassionate, empowering, artistic, complex, stylish, and influential women the world over. I love how they push me to be a better person, stretch my imagination, and cheer for the good in me and everyone they know. I strive to do the same for all of them too.

Let's get behind all the goodness of the women in our lives, and celebrate them all year long. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we did?

BSoleille! The bright side of the sisterhood of women all over the world that are different flowers from the same garden!


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Never Ending Sky

Our backyard facing mostly the West yields some of the best sunsets and the "never ending sky." It never disappoints and is always different, especially during the times of changing seasons. My photo of the sky is crazy blue, and with the sun peeking through the leafless trees, makes my heart sing of the beautiful surroundings we all have-we just have to look up!



Friday, March 6, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with Bill Tomoff - Signing Off From the Office

I think working for 39 years at anything is a blessing, and of course, something to celebrate, and it's no different today when my hubby, Bill, who signed off from stepping into another full time office (except a home office which we are still working on and around my sewing machines...ahem)

When Bill graduated in 1981 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, I bet he never thought what an illustrious career he would have as a "bean counter" (what I have always called him), or more formally, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Back in the day he worked looong hours in the Big 8 accounting firms, shoring up his skills as an auditor and more. Thousands of hours (days and nights and weekends) were spent over the books balancing debits, credits, A/P, A/R, financial statements of every color and stripe and learning FASB and GAAP. Nary a moment to catch a breath, right?

And then, on top of all that, got his MBA, and his CMA (which is a management accounting/industry specific). It was a wild ride...especially starting our family!

But the funny thing about Bill, he never took/or takes himself seriously, but certainly takes his jobs/career seriously, and that attitude has served him well all these years. I could not be more proud of the guy, husband, father and friend he's worked his whole life to achieve...in and out of the office.

Bill's stellar career has taken him to impressively learn a whole realm of businesses and related accounting; from manufacturing with General Industries in Elyria, Ohio, to answering a blind ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer where his love of sports parlayed into a financial position at Centre Management Group (owned by Mr. Abe Pollin) at the Cleveland State Convocation Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The several years he spent learning about how to run the accounting in a small entertainment venue, ultimately led to a 20 year career in the sports and entertainment industry on a much larger stage. This was the time the whole family took the plunge and moved to Washington DC in 1996, as the then, MCI Center, was being built.

In addition to the sports world, Bill worked with some smaller businesses in and around the Washington DC Metro area before being pulled back to work in sports with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But because our kids at the time were in college (in Virginia) and high school (local), it was best that the family stay back while Bill commuted back and forth when he could (and us to Cleveland as well).

That summer, while Ryan and I volunteered at our local pool hosting the Cameron Diamond Swim Meet, we met the owners of InstallNET, Karen and Dale Ewing, who are big supporters of the Diamond Family and this community swim meet. While enjoying the event, Karen casually mentioned to me that InstallNET was hiring and would I be interested in applying. A resounding "yes" from me started the whole ball rolling. By the first week of September I joined the InstallNET family and began working as a Project Coordinator in Crofton, Maryland. InstallNET is a project management firm that specializes in nationwide office furniture installations. I really loved working in the business, but after a few months learned that the owners were looking for a new finance director and mentioned my husband could possibly help.

In March of 2014, Bill had the opportunity to join InstallNET as CFO, at which time I left the company. The six year run that ended today was beyond what anyone would have scripted, both for me, and of course, Bill. In talking with Bill, he is so thrilled with the growth of the business, and the opportunity he had to contribute with the finance team. More importantly, the relationships built with his colleagues in the day to day efforts to help InstallNET's success is what he enjoyed the most.

This morning's "going away breakfast," of which I attended, was touching and emotional. The theme of kindness, like Mr. Roger's Red Cardigan, was simply wonderful. As Bill expressed to me, these were not emotions of sadness, but rather gratitude for such an incredible journey. "It's a Beautiful Day IN THIS Neighborhood!" -Mr. Rogers

BSoleille! The bright side of 39 is mighty fine!


Working until the last bell!

Finance Team

Bill with Karen and Dale Ewing

INstallNET wears Red!

Finance Gals and Bill: Karen Serafini, Bill and Sue Mainhart

Thursday, March 5, 2020

US Federal Courthouse Quilt Show - Greenbelt Maryland

Every year, quilters from a couple of guilds in Maryland could possibly get selected to show a quilt or two at the US Federal Courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland. This year, it was opened up to folks around the state of Maryland where approximately 46 different quilters are showcased on three levels of the courthouse. I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of my quilts: "Choppy Seas" that hung in our guild's quilt show last year. The show opened February 5th and runs through April 24th 2020.

A couple of days ago, I went with fellow quilter, guild member and friend, Barbara Dahlberg, where we lingered around the courthouse and checked out every quilt in the show. It's fantastic I must admit.

And due to the fact photos are discouraged while the courthouse is in session, I was unable to take a photo of "Choppy Seas" hanging in a "prominent" spot. However, there is a reception in a couple of weeks where I will be able to do just that. Shhh, we snuck in one photo that is shown below!

If local, check out this lovely venue for showcasing about 50 quilts on three levels (there are elevators and escalators) at the US Federal Courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland.



Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Spring in the Mid-Atlantic? Maybe So

Hopefully, without "jinxing" spring this year, I think it just "sprung" here in the Mid-Atlantic. A few weeks ago, folks were definitely posting daffodil photos from their yards which seems to be that it's a sure sign spring is here or almost here.

While out in my own backyard this morning, with southern exposure, I noticed a few daffodils blooming quite handsomely in the early morning sun. It was yellow all around, and a good sign warmer days are ahead. I think we are all looking forward to the longer days soon (and the flu to vamoose) as we push our clocks forward an hour this weekend.



Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Lingering Thoughts of Aruba...

The beautiful tropical island of Aruba was stunning (and looked fake in a lot of our photos), but the dedicated time spent with "The Best Daughter" was the biggest treat of all for me. Sure, the turquoise waters and snorkeling adventures in that sea were out of this world, but our true bonding time spent as a Mom/Daughter team captured my heart most of all.

As I reflect back on our almost week there, thoughts of gratefulness dance around my head, and I could not be more proud of the wonderful young woman my daughter has become today. This was evident in all the people we met in our travels around Aruba, along with both of our reactions and conversations with the folks we met from all over the USA and beyond. It's funny to think we "know" our kids, and we do, but I think we get to know them a wee bit more when there is travel and tight quarters involved. But isn't it the "reacquainting" with our now adult children that we learn can now be our friend? I think this is the greatest blessing of all for sure.

Cheers to an awesome trip with an awesome gal that I am humbled to call my daughter, and my unrivaled friend.

BSoleille! The bright side of the Mother/Daughter relationship!