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, December 31, 2021

Here Comes 2022 — QuiltsFromtheHeart ENDS with 3002!

UPDATE: In case anyone has tried to find me here, I've moved my blog (a year ago) to my website under https://www.territomoff.com/blog. There is where you will find me with the newly named blog: Manufacturing Sunshine! I hope you will join me in my new space. Thank YOU! 

I have to admit, ending my blog TODAY in this space is bittersweet. I'm thrilled on how much I learned and who I became as a result of sitting in the "hot seat" to pound out posts on my keyboard (or phone when not at my home or computer). Others, like the Seth Godin's of the world, who has been a huge inspiration to me,  have pounded out 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 posts in the last 20+ years. I am not like them. I am me. I leveled up to the "dare"my brother-in-law, Don Tomoff, suggested I do in December of 2011. I don't think he remembers that, but I sure do.

If it wasn't for the almost daily routine of writing, I don't know if the book I finished this year would have come to fruition (and a shout out to my biggest supporter and lead cheerleader in all of it - my hubby, Bill Tomoff!). As most of you know, I love to quilt. It's one of my life's passions. But...I have fallen in love more and more with writing, and the, ahem, "daily" writing, in the past few years. I am going to continue to write daily, but won't be posting in my blog, as of right now, almost. every. single. day. 

QuiltsFromTheHeart posts will be archived under my website: territomoff.com  Anyone can go look up a prior post, including me. That's the beauty of an archive so as long Google keeps the forum. Fingers crossed they do for years to come as lots of folks have blogged through their sites (Blogger, Blogspot etc.)

Consolidating all my entities under one roof has been my mission the last quarter of this year (Thanks, Bo!). In addition to my quilting and writing, I'm changing my blog title under the heading of Manufacturing Sunshine! I'll start a new decade with uplifting stories of quilting, soccer refereeing and, most importantly, life's musings. I'm excited to start including my favorite posts – #CelebratingOthers. I hope you will stay tuned.

I am sure this new blog will morph and change as well; the possibilities are endless. I am ready and willing to take on a "new" challenge in a new space. There may be kinks to work through, so I hope you will be patient with me. 

And, without further rambling, this last post needs no further introduction to end the year with a take on the lyrics of Seasons of Love from Rent: I love this Pentatonix youtube version you can click here and listen and watch if you so desire: 

Season's of Love!

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear (holding sacred space for so many)

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
In daylights, (Yes!)
In sunsets, (Love them all!)
In midnights, (Love those too when awake!)
In cups of coffee,(tea, please)
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife (Covid-19)
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life? (The daily writing)
How about love? (It's the only thing)

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan (wishful to travel once again when safe!)

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned (it's all about the people, people)
Or in times that she cried (several times through the year)
In bridges he burned (hopefully not!)
Or the way that she died (way too many around the world this year...)
Its time now to sing out though (scream it from the rooftops!)
The story never ends
Let's celebrate remember a year in a life (as best we could)
Of friends (and family)
Remember the love... (always remember the love)
(Oh you gotta remember the love)
Remember the love...
(Oh yeah, its a gift from up above)
Remember the love...
(Sing out, give out, measure your life
In looooooove...!)
Seasons of love...

BSolielle! This sign off has meant to BE SUNNY! I "invented" it way back in the early blogging days to remember, even on dark days, literally and figuratively, we can find a sliver of sunshine to light our path. 

I'd like to end on this; You, my readers, have been the wind beneath my wings. I am thankful for each and every one of you! I am wildly blessed and only wish for the best for you as we muscle through this thing called life with 7.5 Billion people on Planet Earth. I know everyone is trying to get your time and attention, so when you take a sneak peak in what I'm up to or writing, I am eternally grateful for those few minutes. I know your time is precious! 

My first post under Manufacturing Sunshine will be out tomorrow (still working on the intro). It will be under my website as mentioned above, but will be posted to Facebook/social media as well. Again, still working out the kinks. Thank you in advance for your patience. 

Happy New Year! 2022! I hope it's going to be a good one! Our world needs it.

Tomoff FamJam pic: Olivia, Bill, Ryan and me - Thanksgiving 2021 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

What is the Lesson 2021 Taught You/Me?

After writing yesterday's post of the top 21 Things in 2021, I received a message from one of my Writing in community (WIC) members. He read with interest my list, plans on writing up his thoughts, and his 21, and posed the question: What is the lesson 2021 taught me? 

Well, I had to sit for a bit and think. I did take some time to think through my 21 Things, but what did they all teach me. Hmmm. 

Here is my response:

The lesson that 2021 taught me is that our world revolves around people. 

I'm a people person. 

People need People. 

Those close to me have been the light for me on some dark days in 2021 as noted in my 21 Things. This all wraps up nicely with the WIC, the people here, and the chance to express ourselves through our words. Many of those words may stay dormant, but many of them will be turned into blog posts, newsletters and books that could change the world. 

And how does one do that? One person at a time. 



A Kelleys Island, Ohio sunset over Lake Erie 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What 21 Things Went Right in 2021?

Newspapers around the country (paper and online versions) are posting articles about year end and top songs/books/people etc. The Washington Post had an uplifting article recently about 21 Things that went Right this year. 

This got me inspired to make my own list. There is nothing like the power of a chocolate chip cookie and Gratitude to lift sagging and overwrought spirits! I invite you to make your own list - here is mine:

1. Placed in the care of great doctors at the beginning of the year after sobering uterine cancer diagnosis.

2. Healing went well after the (2) surgeries with my immediate family; Bill, Olivia and Ryan taking premium care of me for weeks.

3. Well wishes sent to me from around the world that catapulted me to where I am today: healthy!

4. Publishing my first book: The Focused Fight (March)

5. Thanking all the great folks who helped me shape that book to get the message of hope and inspiration out into the world (you know who you are!) 

6. Two Covid vaccinations and a Booster

7. The solid Writing in Community (WIC) that inspires my daily practice of writing.

8. My Quilts From the Heart blog readers! You rock!!!

9. A new microwave and whole house Insulation 

10. Quality time with my family that involved delicious food made on the trio of grills

11. A big book Zoom launch in March attended by many that love me and love my mission. Book signings in Crofton and Cleveland plus those who watched (30) 1 minute videos in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (on youtube)... and the Podcasts I've been asked to be on this past year to also help spread the message! 

12. Walking and Running the Crofton, Maryland Parkway almost daily

13. One week vacation on Kelleys Island, Ohio, in June. 

14. Summer travel for (8) weekends in a row for weddings/book signings/graduation parties

15. Two week vacation in Colorado with my hubby in August

16. Sleeping under the stars and full moon with just a sleeping bag (no tent) at 10,000 ft.

17. In shape enough to referee a full high school soccer season (over 40 games!)

18. Hearing from friends and family near and far for my milestone birthday (November) and hosting my college friends for a weekend of fun/hiking/dining-in in celebration

19. Hosting a beautiful Thanksgiving Day/Weekend for 12 in Crofton.

20.  All the T-shirt quilts and commissioned work I made for my clients throughout the year (especially at Christmastime!)

21. After 10 years of almost daily blogging, I reached a milestone I never dreamed of: 3000 posts! I am thrilled beyond words and appreciate anyone who has read my words through the years. My heart is full. 

I am working to switch over my writing under my website and the blog they offer through that. This way, everything will be under one roof! There will be an archive of all my QuiltsFromTheHeart posts as well as other announcements - like my next book and when it will be published.

Please stay tuned...



Forest Bathing in Colorado 2021

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

15+Hours of Quilting (Draft #3 from 11/10/12)

A long day sitting at my machine but oh so worth it. I'm thankful that the other 21 ladies on retreat pretty much feel the same way and we "cheer" each other on to complete quilt tops, place labels on the finished projects and, the big one, to "support" each other when squaring our pieced blocks.

Many beautiful quilts and other sewing related items are nearing completion while here from just about everyone. If and when a project is completed the finisher receives a kazoo serenade, oohs and ahs from the multitude and a tiara plus "the beads of being done"! I was able to wear the tiara for a good 5 minutes today!

My photo is the one quilt top I "finished" today.

BSoleille! The bright side of thinking "Who needs to sleep on retreat?"


Monday, December 27, 2021

Front Porch Flowers (Draft #2)

Here is another half-post that was never shared when I started it; May of 2012. I'm thankful to post it today:

Alas, I did not take a photo of the red geraniums I bought that will sit on the stoop of our "front porch" because I was drawn to these huge gerber daisy's at Lowe's this afternoon!  I know my soil/birds/dogs will not let these beauties survive all summer, so the next best thing was to take a photo of one of them.  I hope someone can grow them and they survive, as their heads are quite large and may droop should they get any bigger!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Posts That Never Made It (Draft #1)

When I mentioned yesterday that I reached 3000 posts, that also included the (6) posts that are still in draft mode.

I then figured why not add them to this bunch? Out of six, a couple draft posts were not done—actually half-written. I am going to include them anyway. Here is the first one dated March 22, 2012:

Daughter done with teenage years

A big shout of Happy Birthday wishes to my 20 year old daughter, Olivia. She is a beautiful, kind and compassionate young lady and I'm proud to be her mother! A true blessing in my life that's for sure!

Of course, these sentiments still ring true (9) years hence! 

I did not have a photo selected yet, so I'm including this one.

Olivia and Me (November 2021 at the US Supreme Court Building)

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas 2021 and My 3000th POST!

Christmas Haiku

Merry Christmas Everyone

Look: Santa's new ride

Ha! No more reindeer to feed.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday despite the virus wreaking havoc in our world. We have a nice sunny day with a balmy temperature of 66 degrees as I write this. It's a good thing too (no snow), because this made it easier for Santa to get around on his motorcycle! He ditched the reindeer and zoomed off without a care in the world. He's about the only one, huh? 

bSoleille! And drum roll please... this is my 3000th post (2994 published and 6 drafts since I started this blog in 2012 - I will have them all published by year's end (including those 6 drafts half-done). It couldn't have come on a more fitting day of the year. 


Beep Beep!!


Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas Eve 2021!

So many highlights of this year but narrowed down to a few on this e-card! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to You and Yours! 

I'll keep it simple today: 


Terri and my gang from Crofton, Maryland.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Car Stories and Bumper Stickers!

If you have been reading along with me, and I appreciate every single one of you, my sophomore book is about car stories. I've been zooming along with collecting them, curating them and going through my outline of stuff I want to include. 

My other goal is to write a book about something fun and uplifting to bring a smile, if not a laugh out loud. I think there will be both.

The last couple of days I've been writing about bumper stickers, magnets and window decals. I'm flushing (fleshing?) out a few things. It's raw, but worthy I'm suspecting.

Here is a peek at what I've been working on: 

Bumper stickers et al are a way to tell the world who you are, where you go to high school or college, how many miles you run (26.2 or 13.1 or 0.0), if you have a baby on board, what beach you go to (OCMD anyone? - meaning Ocean City, Maryland), your political party and a whole host of other information. When the kids were in college, of course, we had the obligatory stickers/magnets of that university to show that pride. My son’s car is loaded all kinds of stickers and magnets with mostly his favorite sports teams and a few more random ones for good measure.
Advertising for a business placed on the door panels seems wise. I’ve gotten a few handymen and landscaping guys that way.
Magnets (vinyl they say is best) are easy to move around the vehicle should one go that route in “advertising.” However, very hot days that turn into weeks can certainly melt those magnets onto the metal they are attached too. They are a bugger to get off the car. I wonder how magnets fare out in extremely hot temperatures like in Phoenix, AZ or in Dubai. It can’t be good.
I’ve never seen a bumper sticker on a Rolls-Royce, but I don’t see too many of them on the roads (if I do, in Washington, DC), just saying.

In the US, a bumper sticker may count as free speech and anyone asking you to remove it (from an employer, perhaps), maybe a violation of your rights.
Beep Beep!
A pet sitter magnet...and license plate holder found on a local vehicle! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Magic in Quilts!

For one family, Christmas came a little early for two handsome young boys and their quilts. Their mom commissioned me to fashion two quilts out of her boys' T-shirts. Every color in the rainbow from their youth (including when they were 2, 3 and 4 years old), plus when they started Kindergarten and beyond is represented in each quilt. They were fun to make and I'm thrilled that they liked them.

Mom-of-the-boys, Jean, couldn't wait to share their joy with me when they opened their quilts tonight. In addition to the photos below (taken by Jean), they also said, "Best blanket ever." "Shirts to remember." The eldest boy, Kyle said, "she's so talented." This compliment coming from a young man made my day, if not, my Christmas. It's the little things...

Jean closed her text to me and stated that Kyle is truly in awe

When I take on projects, most of them T-Shirt Quilts, my goal is to wow my clients. I go the extra mile to make them all special. I love creating treasured keepsakes for years to come. If the quilts are taken care of, these two boys will have them and enjoy them for a long time. 

That is the best gift of all.



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Mouse Follow-Up

Two weeks after I published The Focused Fight, I bought a mouse...for the computer...on March 29th 2021. I did one other post on how I liked it within the month. I did!

Now, eight/nine months later, I'm LOVING it. Many asked how I could just use the swipe pad on my Macbook, but that is all I knew. I never thought I needed an outside mouse/source to help me navigate. Boy, was I wrong! This thing zooms all over the place. It helps me grab documents with ease, click through all kinds of stuff, again with ease, and really is an overall game changer. 

I didn't know what I didn't know. Isn't that what happens in life?

And how about today being the Winter Solstice on 12/21/21? Pretty cool with the numbers I've got to say. Tomorrow, it will be lighter at night; incrementally, but the earth tipped a bit on the axis today to once again bring back our longer sunny days.



These two cutie reindeers are ready to get onto Santa's sleigh! 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Seinfeld Reruns

The streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney + etc., are great to binge watch, as well as the biggie: NO commercials. I think having no interruptions is my favorite part of it all. On "regular" TV, I would catch various episodes of bygone shows like Seinfeld, I Love Lucy and M*A*S*H, but dislike the commercials immensely. Streaming services that buy into the older and much loved shows and, of course, don't waste my time, get my/our dollars. It's very difficult to go back to watching regular TV unless it's taped (I now do that to one or two of my favorites). 

For now I'm thoroughly enjoying Seinfeld once again. Oh, I faithfully watched it every Thursday night from 10:00-10:30 PM, from 1989-1998 (9) seasons, but for the life of me, did not retain much from the individual shows. A couple of weeks ago I decided to start from the very first Seinfeld episode. I am currently in season 5. It seems all new to me, and funny as all get out. But it is the characters of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer what I remembered the most. 

In the next week I plan to watch more episodes, plus a few Christmas movies and the new Beatles Documentary (finished Episode 1). I only watch TV at night. It truly relaxes me.

What will you watch over the holidays? Suggestions?



Photo taken at Homestead Gardens 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

#CelebratingOthers-Light- with Julie Hughes

I am a huge fan of #CelebratingOthers and today is no different when Writing in Community (WIC) author Julie Hughes' book, My Road, My Road hit the front stoop by an Amazon delivery person this week. We are thrilled that Julie not only published this book, but her book of poems, Run to Boston, as well.

Now the two of us will be wrestling on who gets to read Julie’s book cover to cover first. Reading along with many in WIC is different than holding the finished book in my/our hands.

Cheers to Julie! Cheers to snuggling under the quilts and reading books (and watching the Beatles new documentary)! Let the downtime (chill) take over the house this holiday season. 

Yours too!



Saturday, December 18, 2021

Good Cheer at Homestead Gardens

In my very first post on January 1, 2012, I included a photo of our Christmas tree that year in twinkling white lights. Over the last 10 years, I've whittled down quite a bit on the whole decoration thing. I put up that same tree for a few years, got a smaller table top one, and decorated those smaller trees with just a few ornaments. For another few years, I only put one ornament on the tree. 

This year, I went with the two dwarf pine trees sold by a neighbor Boy Scout as I did last year. It came with garland, a star, and twinkling white lights. I even placed one ornament on one of the two trees. It's easy. It still has all the spirit of a big tree and we like it that way.

But after all my quilts (finished yesterday) and baking (today) were done, I suggested to my guys to ride down to Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, MD. It's a huge garden center that has wonderful Christmas displays and a huge Christmas Village train set up for all to admire. It was the perfect visit to admire all the decorate trees and vignettes spread around this huge garden center. 

The three of us rode back home in the holiday spirit of Christmas.




Friday, December 17, 2021

Christmas Customer Quilts are DONE!

Whether or not anyone reads this, my backlog of Christmas quilts are done! I am over the moon that now I can enjoy the holiday. I've got one more baby quilt to Longarm quilt, but that won't take me too long to do. I'll take the weekend off and finish Baby Reid's quilt on Monday, or at least that is my plan. 

I need to step away from my machines for a spell. 

I'll refresh myself with some Christmas baking and watching some holiday movies. That should definitely get me into the holiday spirit.

BSoleille!  The photo below is a huge repair I did on a 40 year old quilt. I used my scalpel (scissors) and DSM (domestic sewing machine - table top) to meticulously cut and sew squares on top of the ripped and torn out ones. My client was ecstatic at the surgery and transformation for use once again. That is always my mantra! Use the Quilts!!


The Boss T-shirt Quilt(s)!

One week before Christmas and my sweatshop, AKA NeedleOnFull.com, is winding down with customer quilts. I do drive my machines at over 100 MPH, but haven’t been pulled over…yet!

It has been a busy season and I am truly grateful for all of it.

My last customer is a guy that came to my house with 82 Bruce Springsteen T-shirts a couple of months ago. The quilts are for him, a huge fan of the “Boss.” I had to call him a few days ago to apologize that his quilts kept getting bumped by folks wanting to give their quilts to their kids for Christmas. He took it all in stride, thankfully.

So, today I give you a sneak peak at that magic of what I do—here at my DSM (table top Domestic Sewing Machine). I really love to create treasured keepsakes for my customers. It brings value to their world and memories, and I get to do what I love— make quilts but don’t have to keep them (I have plenty here in Crofton, MD!).

For ‘housekeeping’ in the 41 second video I say 82 quilts (my daughter is a good editor and called me soon after hubby Bill shared with the family). What I meant to say is 82 T-Shirts.

Are you Born to Run? 

Click below the link:

The Boss in 82 T-Shirts (41 second video)  

You may have to click through twice to get to Youtube. The link works!



Thursday, December 16, 2021

Can we be Ambassadors of Something?

When I was in the 12th grade, I had an English teacher named Mrs. Anderson (I think I had her my 11th grade year too). She was a stickler for grammar. You know the drill, dangling participles, modifiers, and clauses that you got right, or not, with cuts across a page of prose with a red ink pen. But we learned. We tweaked and nurtured the words to get them just right for a good grade. 

Those were the days, uh? 

Whether or not writing our autobiography in our senior year was a part of the Cleveland Public School curricula, Mrs. Anderson did her own thing and threw the gauntlet down for her classes to write one. I think it was a great exercise. I wished I still had my paper/autobiography that I wrote, but it is long gone. 

However, I do remember some main points I wrote about that have stuck with me all these years. One was to graduate college. I checked that box, thankfully. I wanted to marry and have children, and again, that box has been checked. The most interesting thing I remember is that if I played my cards correctly, I would end up in Washington D.C. and be asked to be an ambassador...to a country. I know that is some cockamamie thinking, but I had dreams like any other kid. Ms. Magazine was out by then, and the sky was the limit for young girls to follow the path to do anything. If boys could be an ambassador, girls could too.

What I didn't fully realize then is that we can become an ambassador of a lot of other things in life. My hubby Bill is an ambassador of continued learning and kindness. So instead of having the dream of becoming an ambassador to some cool place like France or Italy, or Polska-Poland, I unbeknownst became an ambassador of parenting a childhood cancer kid/adult/survivor. I even wrote a book about it (grin).

What are you an ambassador of today? 



A spectacular December sunset!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

World-Wide Writing Community

If you have read along with my blog, you know that I like/love those milestone posts! One day I may need to look back at some of them to check on an event; like who was there, where it was etc. A memory refresher, if you will. 

What I've also learned about writing is that everyone has a story - of course! Those #celebratingothers stories I have posted in the past have all been wonderful. My goal is to slant my writings towards that once again in 2022. I believe I've got a line up in the coming months to share some fantastic people (cue up the Chris Young song - Famous Friends). 

One of the best moves I did was sign up for Seth Godin's Akimbo's Writing in Community 1 during the Covid lockdown - the first one began on June 9, 2020. Even if I don't post in this Blogger forum, I do write and post daily there (now Writing in Community 3). I write with people from all over the world and it is very cool. All genres. Safe to explore anything you want to write about without judgment. 

If you are reading this and wonder if this would be something you may be interested in (writing, but there are other Akimbo workshops too) check out this website full of information:  https://www.akimbo.com/go



A meet up with two writers in Boulder, Co this summer: Angus Lockyer, Bill, me and Annette Mason!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Blog Post Stats

As I wrap up the last nine posts (I may go over 3000 for good measure), I perused the stats that Blogger provides. Interestingly, over the last 10 years, QuiltsFromTheHeart has had over 537,000 views. Some posts received 5K, 10K, and one, over 25K views! I never knew until I looked this stuff over. 

However, during my first year in 2011, and according to Blogger, I did not have any views. I'm not sure what analytics they are using (perhaps folks had to sign in?), but I did have readership (or at least that's what my family told me). Apparently, readership picked up the following year. 

What I've learned doing an almost daily blog is that I could do it, even after the gauntlet went down on me in December of 2010 by my brother-in-law, Don Tomoff. It was not a dare per se, rather an idea to pursue. 

Reflecting back, I'm thrilled that I took the bait. I dove right in. That first year I did not miss one single day - 365 posts, thankyouverymuch. I've learned more about myself, and about writing, than if I chose not to do it at all. I further believe that all that blog writing helped catapult me to start writing a book about Ryan's and my family's cancer journey in 2016. This eventually led to The Focused Fight, fittingly published this year.  It's an accomplishment that I am very proud of and very thankful to all those who helped me in the process. I could never have done it alone. THANK YOU to all who helped me along the way in that wonderful journey!



Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Santa Elf Story

My F. A. R. T. (Fabric Acquisition Road Trip - Thank you Leslie Sumner for the acronym) excursion yesterday helped turn this Santa Elf in finishing projects for Christmas. When two desperate clients called me recently, both referrals from other clients, I had to help them. That’s what Santa’s selves do at this time of year. Oh sure, I could have told them I was done taking business for the year and to contact me in January, but that is not me (nor any of Santa’s elves if memory serves me correctly).

Since I know it means a great deal for both clients to have their treasured keepsake T-Shirt Quilts for their children to open on 12/25, I knew I’d have to work especially hard to get them all done so I can enjoy my holiday too. Right now I am in the thick of it, but do see the light at the end of the tunnel. After I finish these two, I have two more to go.

Crunch time for sure. I kind of feel like a CPA/Accounting Professional (I happen to know one), ahem, during busy season. Instead of crazy spreadsheets of 10,000 lines of data, double checking financial statements and monthly closings, I am measuring twice and cutting once, sewing at my DSM (table top domestic sewing machine) for hours at a time, pressing all my fabrics before the next seam; then Long- Arming on my Handi-Quilter Avanté to put the finishing touch with quilting the snot out of it (quilting all three layers) until the last step of binding it all together.

But hey, I’m thrilled to be an elf at this time of year and have the privilege to create wonderful keepsakes for many satisfied customers.

And…between the quilts I snuck in making an apron for one special little girl (7 years old) that I’ll be sending out with baking supplies and a present for her baby brother on Monday.

All in a day’s work for one of Santa’s Elves!



Friday, December 10, 2021

Fabric Acquisition Trip Today!

Loads of fun were sprinkled among three cars up to Hinkletown PA (called Twinkletown by my bee-mates during the holidays), from the Route 3 Corridor in Maryland. We left at 7am sharp and scooted up to Lancaster and the surrounding area with little traffic! 

Our trip was a fabric acquisition trip along with hanging out with our favorite Amish (Mennonite?) buddies (the Zimmerman Family) who sell more Bernina Sewing Machines in the whole world (and they have plaques in their one classroom to prove it.) Since a couple of bee-mates needed some maintenance on their machines, 10 of us decided to make it a full day outing. It did not disappoint!

Since there were two bees (quilting bees, that is) going in three cars, we call this kind of trip “cross-pollination.”  This trip was the first time three of the "cross-pollinators" have ever been to Hinkletown which also included several fabric shops, Goods and Shady Maple, the shops in Intercourse, PA , then ending our day (before the drive home) at the Round the Clock Diner for dinner! 

We all had a fabulous day together. I got some great fabrics for the projects I'm currently working on and then other fabric for future projects. 

They say a photo is worth a thousand words so check out our group pic among the prettiest fabric in the shop! We all bask in the color, the feel of the fabric and the designs dancing in our heads screaming to get out and become a quilt.



L-R: Wendy Allen, Susie Stevenson, Debbi Carter, Leslie Wójtowicz, Deb Hoppe, Jacque Nino, Karen Todd, Cappy Phillips and me 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Christmas Party Pivot

Since my quilt guild's regular meeting place is not ready for hosting anything due to Covid, of course, we pivoted. Guild member Debbi Carter is not only the new Program Chair, but single handedly invited the members to her home with the party in her beautifully heated garage decorated with quilts, a tree and a  chocolate fountain on the dessert table. Debbi (and husband Tim) hosted 21 of us for a catered dinner—reminiscent like we were back in 2019. 

Can I say it was fantastic to be with all my quilting peeps for a couple of hours!? 

In addition to catching up with one another IRL, several participated in our annual holiday 12" block swap. I did too. I decided to make a few blocks this afternoon and made quick work of a cute reindeer block posted below. I came home with a lovely angel block made by Robin Stinchcomb. I loved all the Christmas sweaters, jewelry and festive atmosphere. 

I am officially in the Christmas spirit for 2021! A huge shout of THANKS to Debbi and Tim Carter!



Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Insulation! Gotta Have It!

After living in our Crofton, Maryland home for over 24 years, with very little attic insulation and many complaints that folks living here or visiting us here are “freezing,” we bit the bullet to hire a company and put in proper insulation. It’s not cheap. It’s a necessity though for so many reasons. One could say (or is it just me saying that?) we’ve been heating the whole street for years since so much of our heat was escaping through many holes and various hatches found in the roof and surrounding areas. 

While watching the company we hired beginning last week, it’s a dirty job. Anyone coming in and out of the house were in white “bunny suits” AKA hazmat suits. They removed all the old insulation to a tune of 100 industrial sized garbage bags. Luckily, it wasn’t too thick because most of it had deteriorated, more or less, over the last almost 50 years. The house was built in 1974 - a rancher style with no basement and a huge and wide attic. Oh, sure, there was some extra batting-type insulation thrown around for good measure from the previous owners, but nothing that would help save the heat and heating expenses through the years. 

I’m giddy about, not only saving a few bucks on the heating bill, but being more comfortable all around - winter and summer. Anything has to be better than what we’ve had to get used to for far too long. The whole process has turned to a four day job; totally understandable now. 

As I thought more about insulation of our home, I began thinking about our own bodies insulation. Fat (called adipose tissues) insulates our bodies from an organic place when exposed to cold temperatures. Clothing, like wool, down, and other animal fibers, can help keep us warm too which is a kind of insulation against the cold for sure. Sheep wool is one of the best animal insulators of all time. Also insulating our bodies are plant-based insulators: hemp, cotton, cellulose, wood fibers and cork. 

My mind then wandered over to animals and their insulation from the cold. It is the arctic foxes, in winter, that insulates them from the bitter cold more effectively than the fur of any other animal in the world, including the polar bear. I have to admit though, it was the polar bear that first popped into my mind about being the one animal with the best insulation. I’m sure they are not too far behind in the insulation category from icy waters, extreme cold and the expansive tundras that is their playground than those beautiful arctic foxes.

I cannot wait to see if insulating our house “properly,” (we chose the blown in kind with foam around all the duct work) will be noticeable. They say it will be. I’m hoping on that promise since this new insulation, unlike us or an animal, will act as a protective barrier between us and the outside world.

Fingers crossed to a new era of insulation in keeping the heat in and the cold out. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a warmer house in winter and cool/er house in summer! 


Attic insulation prep work in action

Monday, December 6, 2021

December Rose

Living in the Mid-Atlantic, it seems unusual for a rose to bloom in December. When I poked my head out the door to see if the mail was delivered, I noticed a rose bud getting ready to bloom. This particular rose bush was planted by the previous owner over 25 years ago, and frankly, it's quite temperamental. Some years it never blooms. Some years I have to trim it back mid-summer because it gets so wild. 

I think our wacky weather has something to do with this single bloom with today's temperature rising over 60 degrees this afternoon. Then it is supposed to plummet tonight accompanied by high winds (already started as I write this post). I'll have to check to see if that rose bloom has retreated tomorrow when blustery winds and cold temperatures rush in overnight. 

Interestingly enough, look at how pink and perfect this rose is ready to sprout its petals. I'm duly impressed...nature has a way to do that to me when I tune into it as I did today. 

Gotta love a December rose!



Sunday, December 5, 2021

Back on the Pitch!

After a little reprieve from high school soccer, I refereed a full slate of games in a tournament (Southampton Cup) this weekend; (8) total. Though cold at the start both mornings, the sun warmed up the fields nicely. Surprisingly, I refereed the younger age groups (mostly Boys U12). That is something I do not do much of anymore - the younger ones. 

The good thing was that the games were on the hour with 25 minute halves. The play to score has to be quick - because there is no time to waste with this weekend's format. 

I could certainly do without all the SCREAMING from the parents, but that is all part of the game. The big thing from all the yelling and screaming is that the players cannot hear the proper instruction from their coaches - the biggest travesty of all. Being cool calm and collected while flipping cautions (yellow cards) to several players throughout the weekend was, frankly, the best way to combat unsporting behavior I witnessed. 

A few people have asked me lately if I referee soccer or futsal indoors? Nope! Not a chance. I love being outdoors; even on a cold winter day. Not many like to referee in rain, and I'm in that camp too. Plus, I could not take the all the blasting whistles while indoors. That's like murder to my sensitive eardrums. 

Cheers to fresh air, getting in a lot of miles (fartlek) and having fun with my fellow refs!



Friday, December 3, 2021

Happy Birthday Bill (and Twin Don)!

Birthdays;  they come and go and add years to our lives! Yikes!! That's why it is important to acknowledge the day one enters this world, warts and all. So let me take this golden opportunity to wish my hubby Bill a very Happy BirthDay today. I know he will take the challenge on his 64th lap around the sun (he is 63 today in case you are wondering and don't want to get a headache doing the math). 

Cheers to Happy! Cheers to Kindness! Cheers to some Mission he will be on in the next year (although he could be planning something the next minute/day/week/month - who knows?). 

BSoleille! The bright side of Birthdays, today and always! I love this guy to the moon and back - maybe a couple of times...


Bill and his book he wrote last year Living Life Off the Track- an autobiography. He only made two copies, one for us and one for his twin. He's working on another book to be, fingers crossed, published in 2022! 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

CONTEST: Where Am I?

The first person to respond in the comment section on where I am (those are my boots), I'll send you a signed copy of my book, The Focused Fight. 

bSoleille! And yes, this counts as one of my posts! 



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December is Here and Nearing 3000 Posts!

It was my brother-in-law, Don Tomoff, who threw down the gauntlet on me to start a blog in December of 2011. I mulled it over in my mind for several weeks before I took the plunge on January 1, 2012 with a mission of writing a couple of sentences on what I'm grateful for each day and one photo. I definitely fulfilled that promise and then some. 

This blog has morphed, changed, blocked and tackled for close to 10 years. It has been one heck of a ride. I couldn't have done it without YOU, my readers! Thank YOU! Some have actually read all my posts (maybe one or two, but that doesn't matter!). I'm thrilled if you found something I wrote profound, funny, sad, poignant or just plain silly. I've covered international and domestic travel; a good movie; quilting; soccer; 5K's 10K's, triathlons and half marathons; great Netflix shows; high school and college graduations; celebrating others stories; plus some of the journey while I worked on my book, The Focused Fight; milestone(s) anything; holidays and haikus; my Mom's passing (and others) and my family/son's cancer journey over the last decade. I can't believe it as I approach 3000 of these bad boys. 

Really it's a mix bag of stuff; just like life itself. 

I've been thinking on what I want to do next. I'll be mulling over ideas over this final month of the year. I plan to keep my readers apprised of what I plan to do in 2022 regarding a blog, or some type of newsletter - most likely not anything daily. Although it's been fun, it is a lot of work that I realize I've been privileged to do. 

I am in the midst of working on my sophomore book about cars! I'll share more as December unfolds, and may even share a story or two that will be in the book. A sneak peak if you will. Beep Beep!



Tis the Season