Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lots Happening This Week

Big week this week!

Rina is visiting for the week, so we’ll get to have some fun Aunt-Niece time, including inviting ourselves to Pop’s for dinner. Rina hasn’t seen her Papa in a while. Dave and the rest of the family will visit him on the 4th of July weekend, but we’ll meet them in Indiana on the 5th so she can join them on the way home. Rina just didn’t want to be this close and not see her grandfather. So, I figured if my dad was all welcome smiles when I invited myself for Fathers Day, surely, he’d be just as happy to have Rina do that. Well, I’m sure you all realize that the Indy granddaughter calling to invite herself because she misses him is an even bigger event than the daughter who is only an hour away!

We’ll be at the festivities of the annual Mensa Gathering this week and the holiday weekend. It’s in Detroit this year, which means we can save some money compared to last year in Pittsburgh. Travel, a week in a nice hotel, dinners out and needing to get a cat-sitter all add up to Pittsburgh being personally bigger and cost bigger too! The path between Michigan and us is pretty well worn anyway! Davis will be presenting an auto-industry specific train slide show at the gathering. I helped with the sound for the show, so I feel pretty included in it too!

I’m waiting for a new study-guide text for the CompTiA A+ exam. I’m going to need certification in A+ as well as Network+ to get ready for my first job in my new career! The material for A+ was generally covered in my first networking class, but this guide will be a little more exam-specific. That’s scheduled to arrive in mid-July.

In the Scrapbooking world, Darlene Haughin is back after her 6month hiatus!! I’ll be posting some stuff with her newest kit very son!! Her stores will reopen July 1!

In the mean time, you know I haven’t been without new stuff to play with! Nibbles Skribbles has a new kit that just came out yesterday that is perfect for the entire picnic, parade and fireworks pics you’ll take this coming holiday!

It’s called Purely Patriotic and if you’re celebrating the US Independence day, that’s just what it is!

I love, love, love that skyrocket! I didn’t have the right place to use it on the sample layouts, but we’ll se what I have from the coming weekend and I’m also trying to plan a fireworks game for David and me at the Mud Hens n a couple of weeks!

Here are my sample layouts to inspire you for this must-have kit!

As you can see, Purely Patriotic is perfect for patriotic celebrations and the celebration of things Americana too!

Purely Patriotic is on sale right now at Digital Scrapbooking Studio for only $2.99! There is also a complementing mini-album page set, with six brag book sized pages that will showcase a dozen of your holiday photos. Those are also 25% off at just $1.50!

Head on over to the Nibbles Skribbles store to snag this great Independence Day kit and see all of Manda’s products, available exclusively at The Studio!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Kitties???

No, it’s not what you think! But just look at this sweet girl!

Help Lacey get her purr back!

Her name is Lacey and she is a Paws and Whiskers cat looking for a forever home. If you’re within realistic driving distance of Toledo and there is some room in your heart and home for a sweet kitty, consider Lacey!

David and I went in to Paws to pay our membership dues for the year and make a memorial gift in Grandma’s name and met Lacey while we were there. We sponsored her, so she’s available for $40 of the regular $70 adoption cost. She is four years old and spayed, so all she needs is regular vet visits, food, cat nip and love! When I met her she was very sweet and cuddly, but she didn’t purr. Shelter cats don’t purr. If you slept in a cage every night, would you purr?

Carla didn’t purr when she was living at Paws either, but she sure purrs like crazy now. Love and comfort is essential to a cat for purring!

For more about Lacey and the sweet cats looking for homes, visit Paws and Whiskers!


Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter
32 Hillwyck Dr., Toledo, OH 43615 • Phone: (419) 536-1914

Lacey’s Page at Paws

Friday, June 18, 2010

Big Blue Radio Buh-Bye!

The Big Blue Radio is the 57” widescreen projection TV that was in our living room. My Mom bought it in late spring 2003. She only got to enjoy her huge TV for a few months before she passed in September, but she loved that TV!

I inherited the TV and it came to Toledo with me in March 2007. David and I enjoyed the picture that was really too big for the room it was in, but we watched many baseball and football games on it, including the Red Sox winning the World Series in 07 and the Giants and Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2008. Then the blue lines started to appear, a prelude to the picture tube dying. After the tube died, the audio was great, but it was just a blank blue screen, thus the Big Blue Radio.

The Big Blue Radio took a huge truck to get it to Ohio and three men to get it into the house. David and me getting it out of our home on our own wasn’t going to happen. Even with help moving it, it wasn’t going to get anywhere strapped to the roof of a Camaro! Even David’s sport utility didn’t have the room to transport it.

So, it sat there. We had a small TV on my cedar chest hooked up to the cable and the Big Blue Radio stood next to it collecting dust. We had no idea how to get rid of it. It was over the weight limit for garbage pick-up for a TV and it would have been very expensive to rent a truck to take it somewhere. It was a huge, non-functioning, piece of furniture taking up space in our living room.

Last night, after a last call to the city to try to get it removed if we could wheel it out, David suggested putting it on Craig’s List. “Free to a good home.” Well, free to ANY home!

I posted it in the Toledo free section this morning and had an email box with about 8 offers to come and get the TV. The first email was from someone hoping there was some kind of working picture on the TV but the second email was from someone who works with TVs, broken ones that need work. He came over this evening, around 8:30. David helped him get the Big Blue Radio out of the house and into his waiting van. The he helped David bring the TV that we brought from Grandma’s out of his SUV and into the house. Very cool reciprocal aid!

Gotta love the Internet for this. Yes, this type of transaction must be done with care! I used my “extra” email address in my ad and didn’t offer a phone number until a few emails were exchanged and I was sure the move was going to happen. It turned out that the man and his wife who claimed the TV were very kind and also grateful for the free TV. We were equally grateful for free removal of it!

In the end, our east side of town neighbor got a TV to fix up and sell, and the Big Blue Radio is still worth some money as a working TV if he has any luck with fixing it. We finally get the broken TV that was too big for the room out of our living room without having to pay movers or disposal fees. And we got the new TV moved into the house for free!

The Internet rocks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wake Up – It’s a SIGN!

In 2004, Solid Rock Church near Cincinnati, Ohio, erected a huge statue of Jesus Christ in the large pool in from of their church. The statue was the image of Christ waist deep in the pool with his arms reaching towards the sky. Last night lightning struck that statue and it burned to the ground.

Personally, I’ve always found the huge sculpted image that you can’t miss seeing from its highly visible position facing the I-75 a little, well a little creepy. I don’t recall any Bible stories that include Jesus sinking and arms stretched to Heaven. I remember he was baptized. I remember him asking “the cup” not to be his and the “why have you forsaken me?” from the cross. But I don’t recall ever reading anything about Jesus in standing water up to his waist looking up like he needed saved. I always though he DID the saving.

David and I talked a little about whether or not they’d rebuild the statue. He says he thinks they will. I think they shouldn’t!

Think about it. Your church’s giant “hey look at me” statue gets struck by lightning, by LIGHTNING! I think if I was a member of that church, the first thing I’d want to do is really look at what’s going on in my church. Is there corruption of some sort at the top that the statue was struck down? Even if it’s just an aesthetic opinion, He took time away from holy wars in the Middle East to flick the statue off His church grounds!

Yes, that’s a little tongue in cheek, but only a little. Lightning striking things is and has long been, significant in religions. I do know that the giant image of Jesus is a source of many jokes in the area. Like the bible thumpers who push themselves on people in coffee shops, I can’t help but wonder if it did more harm than good for their cause.

Like I said, I thought the drowning Jesus was creepy before, but the church is even creepier now that it’s been struck down!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Cleanup Is Done!

My brother and I with our spouses and occasional other family members have been going up to Michigan every few weekends since March to work on cleaning up and out my Grandmother’s house and prepare things for the estate sale and sale of the house. Yesterday, we loaded furniture into a huge rented truck to travel to an auction house in Indianapolis, which will be handling the cataloging and sale for us. Before leaving the small town that was my grandparents' retirement paradise, we stopped at the real estate office and signed the papers for sale.

Dave and I agreed that the small town in the woods we enjoyed so much since 1982 didn’t have the charm as a destination anymore. The magic was seeing Grandma and Papa and visiting with them. I remember having enough comp days after the busy spring season when I worked as a producer for local TV that I had an extra week in the summer to spend with them. It was always wonderful! I got to be a spoiled little kid again!

In May 1994, the day after I got my new Camaro, I drove up to visit them for the weekend. I didn’t tell them I’d gotten a new car. When I went in, I tried to sound appalled when I said I’d taken my car in to the dealer for repairs and “you have to see what it looks like now!”

Papa casually got up from his chair and said, “Come on Mom, let’s go see her new car.” Guess I wasn’t hiding the excitement well.

For the first year I had the car, my grandfather was the only person who wasn’t me who’d sat in the driver’s seat! When we went into town to buy some groceries for dinner, they had smiling plush fruits on a display and he grabbed the cherry one. He told me that it would match my “candy-assed red car.” That stuffed cherry still lives in my 16-year old muscle car today!

After Papa died, Grandma took over hosting Thanksgiving Dinner there. Mom and I would go up a day or two earlier and the three of us would prepare the meal. I usually finagled a couple extra comp days or vacation days to make it a week so Grandma and I got some extra “just us” time, which usually included a drive into West Branch for Chinese lunch and a stop for cappuccinos at the coffee shop across the parking lot from the Chinese restaurant.

We have taken home a few mementos and a couple of useful things from the house. Dave‘s stepson is a huge WW2 buff and he’s making a framed shadow box with some of Papa’s Navy memorabilia. I brought home all of the old photos. There are a ton of them! Now I have the scan and document project that will probably keep me busy for a few years!

Yesterday, I found the last very special piece that I was afraid had been lost! Grandma collected coins and she got me started. The pennies, American and Canadian, are my very favorites, especially the old ones, but I enjoy all the old coins and we’d spend lots of time when I visited going through the many dishes of coins she had and finding the ones that were needed to fill the books. She had an Indian head penny book. I really drooled over those! There was of which she had doubles and she gave it to me. She told me, “One day, the rest of them will be yours.” She left the whole coin collection to me, but at that time, she was talking about the Indian head pennies I loved so much.

I was stressing because the Indian head book was missing. We found it at my Dads house, where some of the more valuable things had been moved. David laughed at me because the Indian head penny book only has seven pennies in it. “All that anxiety over 7 cents?” Aside from the fact that an Indian head penny is worth more than a cent now, everyone knew it was so much more than the pennies that was the source of my anxiety. Those were very special pennies, they were Grandma and me pennies.

And now, it’s done. The next time I’ll go up there, it will be to close the last account in Grandma’s bank after the closing on the house. I won’t have anyplace to go when I’m there. It’s very bittersweet.

I was born into a world where I had four grandparents of whom I have fond memories. I was also very close to my great-grandmother. As children there was always that safe place where Dave and I were loved unconditionally and spoiled like a prince and princess. Even as adults we enjoyed those visits where we did no wrong. Noni always told me I had the face of an angel and insisted that I didn’t need to diet because I wasn’t really overweight! Mums, our great grandmother, loved Dave’s long hair in the 80’s and bragged about how handsome her great grandson was to her friends. Grandma and Papa knew and enjoyed our friends and always encouraged us to bring all of them with us when we visited. Now, at 42 and 43 years old, the last house where there are enough photos of us through the years to call it a “Dave and Nani museum” is empty. The last photo we packed yesterday was of Dave and me with Santa, dated 1972.

It’s sad to say goodbye to those wonderful people, grandparents, who loved so much and were always wonderful rocks on which we built our self-esteem. I mean think about it. Through our grandparents, we all get to watch our personal museums grow! When I visit the home my Dad and Aunt share, there are photos through the years of the seven grandkids they have between them. Not so many photos of the kids unless they are in one with their kids! But I don’t mind that there really aren’t pictures of Dave and me at my Dad’s house but photos of Rina and Tori instead. After all, Grandma and Papa, Noni and Nono and Mums did the work of reminding Dave and me how awesome we have always been. It really is Dad’s job to do that for the girls. Fortunately, that’s a job a grandparent always finds easy to do.

To all of the grandparents reading, thank you for the important job you do in shaping the psyche of the next generation and for all you do to keep us always loved and safe!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

End of Journal Camp

I want to thank everyone who has left comments or sent emails and taken part in Journal Camp! I also want to thank my sponsors one more time for the great prizes and support they’ve given over the past 5 weeks!

Since the beginning of May I have posted a new tutorial abut journaling and brought those tutorials gradually from the most simple types of helper journaling to a full page of journaling. I’ve looked at every layout, commenting where I could. It really felt good for me to watch everyone’s journaling evolve!

I hope you enjoyed Journal Camp as much as I enjoyed doing it. I also hope you’ve become a bit more comfortable with journaling, or learned some new skills, got some new ideas, to add to your journaling. As with anything creative, the key to continuing to get better at it is practice! Journaling is such an important part of scrapping your memories. A simple photo tells a thousand words, but only you can point out which hundred of those words are the correct ones!

Everyone who has completed the exercise for all 5 weeks will get the bonus bundle from Digitalegacies Designs with the top three sellers from my former store at Scrap Bird! If you did some of the exercises, you can still finish up the missing ones and earn the bonus through the end of June. In fact, if this is your first visit to The Chronicles of Nani, you can go back through Journal Camp and do all 5 exercises by the end of June and get the bonus bundle! As with all Chronicles of Nani freebies, the Journal Camp freebies will remain available for downloading from the blog for a year. After a year, you’ll need to email me to ask for them, but they have to be officially expired to make room for new ones at 4Shared!

I want to announce the final winners in the random drawings for sponsor prizes!
... ...
Flower Scraps Gift Certificate
#13 - Michelle
Makenzy's Garden by Pixel Perfect Designs
#8 - Edna B
Congratulations to this week’s winners and to all of you who completed Journal Camp or found any nuggets of inspiration to make your journaling, and thus your memory pages, even better!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Journal Camp Week 5

Week 5 – scrapping when you don’t have a photo (putting it all together)

Last week's winner at the end
Now it’s time for the scary finale!

Oh come on, it’s not THAT scary anymore, is it? Since the beginning of May, I’ve put out a pretty long post about journaling every week. We started small and got a little bigger each week This week, we’re going to talk about journaling when you have no photos at all, but there is still a big reason you want a moment or a feeling, good or bad, documented as part of your history. That’s when your layout depends completely on your journaling to make it more than, “oooh, pretty.” I’m not saying it shouldn’t be pretty! You want to take extra care to scrap those moments with the papers and elements that tell the reader what kind of journaling they’re reading.

The Madness

Some examples of times you’d want to do a journal-dependent layout include kids. You know and I do too, that every moment is special and has worth-documenting potential with kids. But you don’t have the camera handy or an opportunity to get a photo when you’re driving and conversation in the car is priceless, right? It’s times like that, the ones that are special beyond words, that you want to find the words to remind you of the feeling!

What about an engagement? Sometimes, someone knows and snaps a photo the first time the bride-to-be sees that ring, but more often that moment is captured in the pictures in your mind too. News on the phone can be scrapped with a photo of the phone, but the story is completely journal-dependent. There is the option of just scrapping the moment, with stock images and a simple title, but you have to journal it to tell the story.

Take a moment and think about something that happened that you don’t have photos for five years ago, just five. Did you scrap it? Did you document it? Do you really remember the details and the feeling? Even a short journal page can bring you back to the moment and the emotions that went with it.

There are no photos of the spontaneous “picnic in the upstairs living room” I did with Tori and Rina when they were little. I woke up thinking we were going to the park, like we often did, but the rain made us come up with a back-up plan. It was a fun day and a great lesson learned about not letting a change of plans get you down. It really does deserve a place in my scrapbooks or a keepsake book that the girls can enjoy. I had to remember the pictures in my mind from that day and caption them before any more of the memory goes away!

Here is Rainy Day Picnic:

Credits: At The Park by Nibbles Skribbles
Background paper by Nibbles Skribbles from Cock-A-Doodle Moo
Journaling style – Storyboard

The Method to The Madness

Doing a full journal layout is really just wrapping up all of the tips we’ve talked about into a bundle of journal blocks. My final project page will go in my 2009 scrapbook, right after the page from dinner with my husband to celebrate our first anniversary of our marriage. I used the Letter to a Friend style in the form of a letter to him. I used the tools we’ve worked with the past four weeks in creating that letter.

Thinking back to week one, I used a couple of helper journals. My grandparents eloped in 1944. Grandma told me about that when I asked her why I’d never seen her wedding pictures. She said about eloping, “If it’s good enough love, you don’t NEED a wedding.”

I always told my Grandma that I didn’t need to get married and I’d get married if I ever found a man that would love me as much as Papa loved her. She told me I’d never get married because they don’t make men like that anymore. I had told her that I had found a man that could love me enough and she seemed to have a sense of pride about it when we eloped too. It seems so fitting to remember that quote when I think about my marriage.

I also made a couple of lists.

Why eloping was the right thing for us
• Private
• no stress
• sneaky
• we got to surprise people

How you make me feel
• Loved
• Beautiful
• Safe
• Strong

Revisiting weeks 2 and 3., I wrote a caption for the three photos from the day we were married, although I’d already scrapped those photos in 2008 so I didn’t use the photos again. Then I added captions for the pictures n my mind too. There is the one of us holding hands in front of the judge on our :”wedding” day. The thought of me standing on the corner where he dropped me off waiting for him and watching the snow fall. The two of us standing in front of the closet a week before, deciding to wear outfits that matched and laughing, saying our wedding colors were blue and blue!

Following the tips from week 3, I used answers to the journaling question and commas to make my lists into blocks, or paragraphs. I embellished my captions and put them together.

The big finishing touch in putting it all together is from week 4. How does celebrating being married for a year make me feel? More in love than ever!

Exercise 5

This week’s exercise is a full journaled page. Remember that how large or small the text is completely up to you. Say all you want to say, but don’t feel obligated to write more than you need to tell your story.

Think of a special moment or a strong feeling that you don’t have pictures to go with and paint the pictures with words. Don’t forget to use the journaling skills you’ve worked on! Use some borrowed journaling for a word art or even for a first line in your journaling. Make a list of things you want to say and embellish the points to create journal text. Look at the pictures in your mind and write down captions for them that you can string together into a block, Answer the “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.” Use the techniques that you are most comfortable with and construct a detailed journal, a story about an event in your life, an emotion in your heart or a tale in your family history

Use as many papers and layers for your base and embellish with elements, clusters, whatever you’d like, but this week, NO PHOTOS!

This week’s freebie is a four template set for full-page journals, although you can use them for a base for photo scrapbook pages too.

Click preview to go to download
Password is more-words

Here is my first anniversary page:

Credits: Kit – Cherish by SKrapper Digitals
Template – Journal Camp Template Finale 4 by Digitalegacies Designs

Remember to leave a link to your layout here. Everyone who leaves a link by June 7 will get the full kit Because of You by Digitalegacies Designs.

One random winner from the posted layouts will win a Journal Camp sponsor gift certificate for Flower Scraps’ store valued at $3.99, which will buy a full free kit!
Another random winner will get Makenzy's Garden by Pixel Perfect.

I hope you’ve had fun at Journal Camp and that you’re taking away some tips to make it easier to add great journaling to your layouts! I can’t wait to see your full journal pages!
Last Week's winner of a coupon to Scrapp Cocoa's Ginger Scraps Store
#4 - Silly Saskatchewan