Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

The Chronicles of Nani On Video

I am overcoming my inability to type with my ability to talk (and talk and talk and talk) I'll be posting a video every week on my YouTube channel. I'll be posting those videos here too along with an occasional regular blog in the mix. (As long as my hands are up to doing the extra typing.)

You'll be able to watch the videos here, but I encourage you to stop by my channel at YouTube once I'm up and running to follow me and get my numbers started!

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the latte with a slice of black forest cake!

Contact Nani at

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Is M-DOT doing anything like this?

Send your "home town pride" hockey pictures to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com. If I get any hockey signs or fan pics for the Red Wings or the Penguins, I'll post them next week! The score on the ice will determine the best team, but who has the best fans??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I’ve Been Tagged and Tagged and Tagged...

Labor Day 2007
Kit - Dandelions and Thistle by Digitalegacies, Font - J.D.

First thing I’ll mention is that the Monday Mug Shot will return next Monday. By the time we got back in and situated last night, I was just too darn tired to blog!

I hope everyone had a great weekend, a great long Memorial Day weekend to my fellow Americans who read. David and I took advantage of better skies east of us and went railfanning in the Pittsburgh area. Lots of coal trains in Pitt, and I am really working on collecting coal trains for my end of the year show this year. It was also fun that the Penguins are in the Stanley Cup finals against Detroit. After so many years in “Hockeytown,” as a baseball fan and not really a hockey fan, it was refreshing to see the “Go Pens” signs all over instead of the same old “Go Wings” that I’d been barraged with until I moved to Ohio. This is my first full hockey season outside of Detroit and even with the Wings in the finals and Tigers doing so poorly, in the home of their AAA team, spring has been news of the Tigers, not the Wings. I have Red Wing fan friends that would go nuts here, but it suits perfectly!

Now for the tagging, I was tagged, I mean REALLY tagged! I was tagged by Vicki (DigiLover), My Treasured Scraps, Beckie (Beckie Wallace Designs), Charlie’s Nana (Sunshine Scraps) and Kristine (Wenchd Grafix) by way that she tagged “everyone” who reads her blog (if they want to do it)!

Now, my ego is swimming in this popularity! I read Kristine’s blog and was going to do it because I wanted to anyway, but I really do appreciate being tagged too. I enjoy doing the occasional meme or blog-to-blog game when I have a non-blogging day. I prefer not to blog more than once a day because many regular visitors to my blog only visit once a day. If I post 2 blogs entries, the first one doesn’t get as many hits. Like I’ve said before, I scrutinize the stats and try to keep an eye out for traffic patterns, return visits and the entries that get the most comments and hits. I blog for my own personal expression, but I also blog to entertain, that whole coffee shop concept, so pleasing my readers is important to me too! Since it’s a bring-your-own-coffee coffee shop, the very least I can do is make sure I’m putting the magazines my customers want to read on the tables, right?

Here are the rules in this tagging -

1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. Links to all my taggers are above - please visit their blogs! (When you leave a comment, mention that you visited to read their 7 after reading mine!) Rules also posted.
2. see below
3. I’m going to borrow Kristine’s idea and offer a “tag” to anyone who hasn’t done this yet and would like to.
4. Since I reversed the tagging, please leave me a comment if you do it so I can see yours!

Now back to number 2 :

7 points of Nanintrigue

1. I keep a dream diary and try different ways to remember my dreams better.
2. I love vegetables and always have, but I can’t stand lima beans.
3. I’m a control freak.
4. One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was Bewitched, because Darrin Stevens had the coolest job in the world. (Ad Designer)
5. In my teens/early 20s, I got copyrights for four songs that I wrote. I also wrote a hymn that I gave to the church as my service project for my confirmation.
6. I crochet and do counted cross-stitch.
7. Just after my 13th birthday, I was slapped in San Marino for shoplifting! I was so proud of my Italian that when I understood the shopkeeper asking me if I’d paid for an item I was holding, I confidently said, “Si!” She slapped me across the face and took the item away. She had actually asked “Are you stealing this?”

And now, after allowing me to shock, amaze or bore you with talk about me - A new freebie kit!

sorry, this link is expired

Dandelions and Thistle is a new color kit by Digitalegacies. It’s a color celebration of two of God’s wildflowers that are often referred to as weeds by the human masses. Using a palatte of the yellow and purples of the flowers and the green of the supporting plants, I’ve assembled a pretty kit with 10 papers and 29 elements.

The kit includes:
5 textured papers
5 patterned papers
3 bows
5 glass charms
3 braided cords
5 eyelets
5 frames
3 journal mats
3 sets of laces
2 word art - (1 with embellishments and 1 plain)

Yes, this is the influence for the dandelion pictures and weed quotes lately! I was so pleased to find a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson about weeds for the word art! I love Emerson’s works. “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” is from his essay, Fortune of The Republic. While my scrapbook kit won’t make dandelions and thistle as big as cotton, I’d like to think I can expose a little of their virtue in the summery colors they represent!

Even if you aren’t photographing weeds, I hope you can find this color kit useful in scrapping those children who “grow like weeds,” or use that quote to give some encouragement to someone who has yet to discover their own virtue!

As always, please direct people to my blog to download rather than share the kit and I appreciate any comments about the kit in the Chronicles of Nani comments. If you use the kit for a layout, please show me! I’ll send you a link for “A Perfect Summer Day!”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

RC Mama Designs is now at 2, that’s T-W-O stores!! Her products, including her wonderful new “Let Freedom Ring” kit are available at both Scrappin Freestyle and Digital Scrapbooking .org! I’m telling you, this week, when it rains it pours rainbows!

I’m showing off a couple of the layouts I’ve done with the patriotic kit, “Let Freedom Ring.” In celebration of Sherrie’s new store that carries her products and in observance of the American holiday of remembrance and gratitude for our many freedoms and the people who have served our country to make those freedoms a reality, it just seems right. David and I will be enjoying the official opening of summer too, so I’ll be back blogging on Monday night, probably a let Mug Shot. Have a great Holiday for those of us in the US and a wonderful weekend everyone else! I hope you enjoy my layouts, a celebration of family, the melting pot and protecting that melting pot!

Coming To America

Credits: Kit - Let Freedom Ring by RC Mama Designs at digital-scrapbooking.org,
America Lyrics by Neil Diamond,
Font - Times New Roman, Britanic Gold and Chalk Board

Papa In Uniform

credits: Kit - Let Freedom Ring by RC Mama Designs at digital-scrapbooking.org,
Fonts - Georgia & Capitals

Check out the kit! Let Freedom Ring

Friday By Request

Nono somehow forgot that his first grandchild was supposed to be a boy...

This weeks request comes from Sheri. Hers is a simple request and surprising to us both, one I have never had for Friday By Request. Sheri asked “What is your most memorable moment as a child?”

This one will have a bigger lead-up than the actual request! Memory is one of those interesting things. First off how one remembers something and what actually happened, even what they actually felt at the time changes as it moves from event to memory to memorable moment. Taking the request at face value, to mean a chronological child, for me, they are all memorable moments now, and there are a ton of them!

We all take different things for granted. I was in my mid 20s before I realized that women’s dress shoes are not supposed to fall off your heel every time you take a step. Between Grandma coming home from a workday with sore feet, to television where the first thing a tired woman does to relax is shed the shoes, I always accepted that dress shoes were uncomfortable. When I started wearing them, I understood why. They fall off the heel with every step and you have to curl up your toes to keep the shoe from falling completely off.

I was around 26 when I made some comment about that, why dress shoes were terrible, to my shoe-freak Mother. She looked at me incredulously and asked me to repeat. It turns out that I have narrow heels on medium width feet. Dress shoes are not supposed to flip off the back of your feet when you step. I had no idea because all I’d known about shoes was that dress shoes were uncomfortable. Finding them suitably agonizing to endure, I accepted that things were as they should be.

A lot of things you accept as normal until you’re told you aren’t in the norm. With me, such is the case with memory.

I was shocked when in conversation, my brother said he remembered the Christmas morning he got his first drum set, but doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t have drums. That makes that Christmas his earliest memory. He was FIVE! I was shocked. But the reason I was shocked, shocked my parents.

You see, I couldn’t fathom someone, anyone, not remembering five years of their life, not even a memory of a moment. I am told that it’s not uncommon to not be able to remember the early years of one’s life. I have a lot of memories, moments form before I was five. In my earliest memories, I recall that my Mom was pregnant. Mom had 2 kids, me, then my brother. He is 14 months younger than me.

So, you see I have a bunch of childhood memories to choose from! But that realization of how far back my memory goes, is why I can, without a lot of trouble, answer the question Sheri presented.

My Most Memorable Childhood Moment(s)
for Sheri

My most memorable childhood moment is actually a set of moments. I think this particular set of memories became precious to me the day I realized that remembering moments that far back is unusual. It became something to cherish.

If my brother, grandchild number 2 on each side of the family, doesn’t remember before Christmas after he turned 5 and the next grandchild on my paternal side is three years younger than he is, then I am the only one of my paternal grandfather’s grandchildren that has any real memory of him. The day I realized that, is the day I came to cherish his memory even more.

My Mother had told me that Nono wanted a grandson. He warmly, but with resolve told his daughter-in-law that he wanted that baby to be a boy. For his grandson, he’d throw a huge Christening party. For a granddaughter, he’d throw a party, but not so big. When I came into this world, without the necessary appendages to be a grandson, Nono was the one at the glass of the nursery in the hospital with tears in his eyes telling anyone around that he had the “most beautiful grandbaby in hospital.” When Dad got to the factory he and Nono both worked at with cigars for all the guys, he found them already puffing and congratulating him on his girl. Nono beat him there with cigars.

I guess I erased some old-world notions there, huh? My actual memories about Nono are episodical, maybe a brief part of a scene or a word or two, a picture in my mind.

What I believe to be the oldest picture of him in my memory is the bar Nono frequented. I recall indoor neon from a jukebox and the signs in the windows. The view is looking up at the counter. I remember the sounds of happy voices. Mom told Nono not to bring me to the bar with him. The bar he was a regular at, much like men hanging out at a coffee shop now, was just on the other side of the railroad tracks of the park that was right next to their house. He took me with him to show me off to his friends. Mom said she could always tell when he took me because I came back with a fist full of chocolate covered quarters. Gifts from Nono’s friends. What I remember is that the lights were pretty and I was happy. I felt safe.

I remember a few years later. All three of the grandchildren that would be born in his lifetime were born, my cousin was a toddler. I remember the three of us with Nono in his backyard, it was spring because there wasn’t anything grown yet, but late enough spring that the fig tree was unburied. Dave, my brother “helped” Nono with a couple of things he gave him to do, my cousin, Johnny ran around and tried to climb into the garage attic, where Nono had birds. I think I’ve been told they were chickens, but I had remembered pigeons, I know there were pigeons back there. I followed Nono around the yard, holding things that needed held, helping as I was asked. I loved to be with him. He always smiled warmly when he looked at me. I realized later that the word for how he made me feel is cherished.

I had mentioned in a blog a few years ago about cake on my sixth birthday. By the time I turned six, Nono was dying. He had the advanced stages of cancer and was resting at home. There was no more they could do for him at the hospital. He was “fed” all his meals, by milling the food in a blender and feeding him directly into his stomach through a tube. I didn’t comprehend that he was dying. I new he was sick, but to a child, sick is something that gets better and you can ingest your meals through a tube indefinitely.

When we visited, which was fairly often as we lived very close, I would always stop and see him. I remember a scene of me sitting on his bed, showing him a book. He still had that same proud and warm smile for me. At my birthday gathering, I asked if a piece of my cake could be added to the blender for Nono. I don’t know what the answer would have been if he hadn’t heard me, but Nono said “yes” before anyone could say otherwise. After “eating” that night he told me it was “best birthday cake I ever eat.”

I remember that day in September of that year. At the end of the school day, Sister Ann, my teacher, asked me to stay when the class left, that my Mother was there to pick me up. Mom came in the room after my classmates had left and Sister Ann hugged her. Then she came to me and crouched down to look at me face to face. She said “I wanted to come tell you right away. Your Nono died this afternoon.” Then Mom broke down in tears. Sister Ann, whom I absolutely idolized, stood close enough to be comforting, but not so close as to impose. I hugged Mom and told her not to cry. I told her Nono was in heaven now and he would never have to eat through a tube again. "He can taste all the cake now."

Of course, I can’t type that now without crying. I think at that time I had no realization how permanent death was or how long “until we all meet in heaven” would be.

So, that’s my most memorable package of childhood moments, everything I remember about Nono. They are part of who I am, part of what makes me always feel safe and loved, part of what always reminds me that I was cherished.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whole Lotta Thursday!

breakfast - banana, 2 granola bars and coffee
with fat free coffeemate sand caramel Splenda
315 calories

I find photographing my food helps me maintain calorie discipline, so I’ll be occasionally sharing the photos if the presentation looks especially appealing. This one isn’t special, except that I LOVE granola bars and haven't had them in a long time, just a good photo to go with the introduction of the food shots here and there!

Ever have one of those weeks where you keep getting a day ahead? I’ve been that way all week! David asked if I was writing the wrong dates and I told him, “oh no, I have the wrong days of the week associated with the dates!” Today feels like Friday, Friday, May 22. Does that actually make me a whole year off?? It’s just been a busy and productive week. It makes me feel like I’m a year ahead!

Part of busy has been actually talking to a few people and a decent number of okay posted jobs in the during the day job hunt world. It’s a positive step! I’ve also been working on putting my portfolio together. I found a great site to guide me this endeavor. A portfolio isn’t just for people in a creative field. In fact, the first examples of types of portfolios they gave were a chef, a bookkeeper and a construction worker.

If you’re job-hunting, or even if your not, in this day and age you never know when you will be, check out the portfolio tips at Manifest Your Potential. Learn from what I’ve dug up being the person looking for work for so long so if it happens to you, it won’t happen as long.

I have always believed there is a reason for everything that happens. There is information I’m finding right now that will make a positive difference in my world, to me personally or to someone for whom I’m here. I just really hope I’m the example of what to do and not what NOT to do! But I think I’m doing okay.

With the exception of this morning, when I took part of the morning to blog, that’s been my before and after lunch days so far this week.


What did Donna Reed eat for lunch? To be honest, I haven’t seen a ton of episodes of that show, I just know Donna Reed as the icon of an 50s-ish American Housewife. That’s what she was, a television characterization of that anyway, not the supportive homemaker who takes care of the home, the budget, has her husband’s back and molds the kids or the stay-at-home parent who is an active participant in the teaching and nurturing of the kids while creating that comfort of home and hearth so the parent responsible for earning the family’s financial security can concentrate on his or her profession, the stereotypical housewife of the time before I was born, cooked, cleaned and said “wait ‘til your father gets home,” when the kids got in from school. You never see them eat. Maybe that’s why they are all thin. Maybe they eat at the commercial breaks. No, I think that’s when they fold underwear. You see them fold laundry, but never underwear.

Anyway,the Donna Reed question is because I, with a smile, call myself Donna Reed while I am job-hunting, tending to laundry and such and have dinner ready when David gets home. I eat. I get light headed if I don’t eat, but I prefer to watch calories! I don’t get the extra exercise of running to do another load of laundry for just the underwear. So, I’m going to share a yummy recipe that I had for lunch yesterday!

Creamy Carrot Soup

This is a filling, lo-fat lo-cal lunch, high on the veggie scale with the savory sweet flavor of carrots.

1 medium onion, diced
1 TBS olive oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 can chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
2 cups baby carrots or carrot chunks
3/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
ground black and white pepper to taste

In a sauce pan on medium-high heat, sauté onions in olive oil until soft. Mix in basil and stir until fragrant. Add chicken broth and carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let cook until carrots are very soft.

Uncover, remove from heat and allow to cool until steam is no longer rising when stirred. Put contents of whole pan into a blender and mill until all of the carrots are ground. Slowly blend in milk.

Return to stove on low heat, stirring constantly. Garnish with basil sprinkled on top and serve with a Hawaiian roll.

Makes 2 servings, About 250 calories, with one roll

And now, for everyone that read the soup recipe and was thinking, “Where’s the REAL food?”

Credits - Kit - Chryssie by Darlene Haughin, font - Girls Are Weird

This is a layout I did with Darlene Haughin’s Chryssie kit for the Newsletter Challenge at SAS. It’s from the last day of Nanifest XLI last year. Darlene commented that she might want to try the festival idea! Nanifest is my birthday festival. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a Birthday Festival, it goes like this:

As a kid, birthdays were all about parties and presents, it was the celebration of getting another year older and another year closer to new experiences. Those parties were attended by relatives and school friends, many of whom were not there last year and might not be next year. You were learning about people, about everything, and your world was in constant change.

As an adult you have your world more established. There are new experiences, but now the people who you share those experiences with are not ever-changing. The friends with whom you share those experiences now are part of your foundation.

I recognize my festival as starting at 5:00 PM on the Friday before my birthday and running until midnight after the Sunday that follows it, for just over a 9-Day festival. When my birthday is on a weekend, I get from Friday the weekend before my birthday weekend until Sunday the weekend after for a 2-week festival! (How totally cool to have turned 40 on a Saturday!)
Where as a child, you celebrated getting another year closer to experiencing it all, now you celebrate adding another year to all you have. To me a birthday is an opportunity to be with as many of those people who’ve given so much to my life as I can, to share their company and thank them for the part of me they’ve helped form. Having a Birthday Festival gives me the time I need to juggle work and home responsibilities with all the people I want to see during my festival. It also gives more nights for ice cream!!

In that layout above, David and I are having ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery in Maumee, Ohio. Mine was free! What better way to celebrate a birthday than FREE ice cream?? Now I want to share that secret, or not-so-secret, of the free ice cream (which at 42, is more exciting to hear than “free beer”) with you!

Go to the Cold Stone Creamery web site and sign up for the birthday club. For your birthday, they’ll send you a coupon for a “love-it” size ice cream creation. That’s it, no charge to join, no taxes or fees, just free birthday ice cream. It’s just good promotion, and you know how much I like good promotion. Chances are you’ll bring a friend when you get you freebie, maybe more!

This link
takes you right to the birthday club page!

I have one more announcement as I bring this LONG blog to a close. I have been invited to be a guest Creative Team Member for Beckie Wallace designs!

I was excited when I first went to her blog and saw the preview for Batter Up. Yeah, I’m sure that’s not a surprise that I’d get excited abut that. But she has so many kits that are just phenomenal! The first one I got to work with is Save The Last Dance. I’m telling you, I didn’t have to do any work with this kit. I opened a picture file, set up the review pane and selected papers and elements to open and they practically put themselves together. It was such an easy kit to use and it completely captures the spark in this great photo of my grandparents taken just before the were married. I just sat and looked at it for a little when it as done. I LOVE that photo and just didn’t have any elements I thought would scrap it properly. This kit just captured the romance of a WW2 elopement! I couldn’t believe I was the one who did the layout, which is why I said the kit did it itself!

You can checkout Beckie’s kits at Digital Candy and Stone Accents Studio. The CT blinkie on the right links to her Digital Candy store!

Whew! Now, make sure you read this and sign up for your Cold Stone freebie because there is Friday By Request coming tomorrow and tomorrow night will be the weekend blog with exciting new patriotic pages I did with a new kit from RC Mama Designs! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Spring Train

A loaded coal train, flanked by budding and flowering trees and bright yellow common wildflowers, in Romulus, Michigan, on May 4, 2008

Yeah, I know some call them weeds, but they sure are pretty against the green in the foreground!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Huckleberry Railroad at Cross Roads Village
Flint, Michigan

Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad is an attraction in Flint, Michigan. There is an old world village with working shops and 35 minute steam train excursions that, when I was there, included the train being held up at “gun” point by bandana wearing train robbers with a shoot out that passengers could watch out the windows. Yes, a bit cheese-ball, but entertaining.

I went for a day at Crossroads Village with my Mom just a few years ago...

It was August of 1992. The Huckleberry Railroad restoration shops were open for rail fan weekend to members of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS) and a guest. Mom was my “and guest” as she often was for train stuff. No, Mom wasn’t a rail fan, but I wasn‘t a big boat fan either and I was her “and guest” when she wanted to go look at boats. We did a lot of train and boat things together.

It was a very cool day! The restoration shops were not open to the public and only open to the registered historical rail fans occasionally. We got to see engines, cars and cabooses in different states of despair to repair and ask any questions we had about what they were doing in the restoration process. My first real interests in trains beyond riding them or looking at them and saying “oooo pretty,” were steam powered locomotives and the engines on the Huckleberry Railroad were vintage steam. I love being by the open windows on steam excursions and having the air and cooled ash hit my face. Yeah, okay, so maybe that’s strange, but generally, I’ve always accepted that fans of trains are regarded as strange anyway!

After touring the shops, Mom and I went on that fateful train ride that got held up by desperadoes before going into Crossroads Village to see the old railroad town and stop at the gift shop. That’s where I got this mug and my squished penny.*

The drive home was talk about the restoration shops, that Mom enjoyed too, but with the knowledge that now, I definitely owed her some lake freighters!

* When I was a child, my brother and I would sneak out through the hole in the fence at the playground by my Noni’s house to put pennies on the train tracks when a train was coming. We’d stand back and watch the trains go by and then retrieve our squished beyond recognition pennies. When they started making those machines that embossed the pennies as souvenirs it was a natural attraction for me!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dandelions & Other Stimulating Thoughts

Oh, hardy flower, disdained as weed,
Despised for head of feathery seed,
Your unsung virtues rate a ballad,
Choice roots for wine, crisp leaves for salad.

- Betty Gay, Dandelion

It’s been a busy week! That’s good for job hunting by day and scrapbooking by night, not so great for blogging ad other things!

I got my welfare check. Oh wait, those are called STIMULUS checks. But when you don’t have an income any more, it’s welfare, the government laughing at you because you had a job last year and now you don’t. Of course the government isn’t doing anything about the job market or inflation, they are just Robin Hooding the money at the eventual expense of infrastructure or social programs that have proven they work. Anyway, I’m a bad American. I’m not rushing out to buy something big, half of which would have to go on credit, to rescue the economy. I’m going to pay bills and next month, maybe a little will be left over after I pay bills again. When gas has gone up to $4 a gallon, the “stimulus” just keeps enough in your tank to get to work if you have a job anyway!

Ah, but it’s Saturday and I don’t want to dwell on the negative! I actually finished this week with a list to pick up where I left off Frday, so I have to say it was a good week.

Last night and this morning I was working on a new scrapbook kit. I find scrapbooking relaxing and making kits to be very therapeutic. As I’ve said before, It’s my way of giving back for the freebies I’ve received, but coming from a graphics background, making the kits feels like working. I’m not out of work because I don’t want to work, I actually like working! But in the case of the kit-making, working also lets me explore and learn. Last night, I figured out how to make glass-globe charms.

Like a new whammy bar, this new kit has an excess of charms, five right now. I’m going to try to wait until the next kit to do more.

Okay, “whammy bar?” Let me explain!

In my earlier years, back in the 80s, I did promotion and made costumes for a local Detroit band, Tempest. A whammy bar is that bar on an electric guitar that when you put pressure on it, makes the sound of the guitar go “wah, wah, wah...” Tempest’s guitarist got a whammy bar, a new toy, for his guitar. For a couple weeks, ALL his solos included that “wah, wah, wah...” Since that time, my circle has referred to anything new-and-overused as “a whammy bar.” I don’t do mega-kits, so five glass-globe charms in one kit is definitely my whammy bar!

While I was looking for a quotation to use in word art for the new kit, I came across this one that is just SO Nani a quote!

"But make no mistake:
the weeds will win: nature bats last."

- Robert M. Pyle

Speaking of baseball, as a sample of my endeavors last night, I’m offering a small freebie today.

sorry, link is expired.

This glass globe charm complements “A Perfect Summer Day.” which you can get for free by sending me a layout done with any of my kits! Yes, that’s a tease, but I really want to see your layouts! If you’ve downloaded the kits, I’m figuring you might have had something in mind, and you scrapbook anyway, so consider it my challenge to you! Send those layouts to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com along with a statement that lets me know if I can put it on the blog, and I’ll send you the link for “A Perfect Summer Day.” And wouldn’t it just go great wth the globe you’re going to download??

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Starbucks Mug
St. Louis, Missouri

This is half of a pair of twin mugs that were purchased in 2004. The other half is in Sikeston, Missouri. It’s kinda like those hearts that say best and friends and each friend wears one, but for these two people, coffee mugs are SO much more fitting!

In 2003 after my Mom’s funeral, Kelly stayed an extra week to be with me and make sure I was okay. During that time we had many hours of reminiscing about Mom and about the bonds that years of our friendship had made between us. In the past couple of years, we’d had long phone calls when I had man trouble, when she’d had a house fire, we’d been together when she came back to Michigan when her Dad was very sick and for Mom’s funeral. We realized that our friendship, based on similarities and differences in our personalities and enriched by wonderful experiences when we were younger, had reached the point of holding each other up in bad times more than anything else. While grateful that we had each other for the bad times, we decided we needed to create some new good memories too! Before Kelly went home, we decided that in the spring, we’d do a “just us” weekend.

In April, I flew to St. Louis and Kelly drove up to meet me at the airport. The first stop was Starbucks in the airport for what Kel’s hubby refers to as “a five dollah coffee.” Carl just doesn’t understand the power of a really good cup of coffee on coffee loving women! We got our drinks, a latte for me and a caramel machiato for Kelly and sat down, smiling, hugging and planning the next two days.

We were eating dinner at the Bissell Mansion that night for the murder mystery dinner theater. We’d both requested speaking parts in the audience participation play. So of course, the first stop was the salon at Union Station Mall! We had to be pampered a little and look good for our scenes! I got a manicure while Kelly got a cut and style. After primping and stopping at Starbucks for another five dollah coffee, we went browsing at some of the Mall shops, then went to check in to the hotel.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in a room with a spectacular view of the Gateway Arch. We unpacked and talked and got out the map to Bissell Mansion and talked some more, happy laughing girl time. It was awesome!

We got dressed and made our way to the dinner theater. What a fun dinner! The show was called The Ghosts of Casablanca. Kelly was Marlene Ditch-Rick, Rick, of course being the club owner. I was Rick's jealous lover, Yvonne Mee. We totally hammed it up! Kelly was sultry and mysterious and I was shrill and accusing Rick with a french accent! At a table of eight people, 6 new friends by the time the salad course was over, which was a good thing for me! Yvonne Mee was found dead just after the salad course! I needed friends! I especially needed friends because most of the audience, including me, thought Marlene was the killer! Imagine, killed by my best! “Zat Hozzy!”

But as it ended up, it was another jealous would-be over looking to frame Marlene. I don’t remember who he was framing her because he was in love with. Maybe it was me, everybody “vonne mee,” right? hehe

After dinner we went to a pub for drinks, laughing at the fact that neither of us went to bars anymore. But it was nice to act like a kid again. Then we returned to the hotel and did honey and oatmeal facials that we’d bought at the mall earlier. We made a point of taking pictures of each other with our hair in towels and goop on our faces. Too much fun! It ended up being a late night before an early morning.

The next day, we started the day with coffee at Starbucks and went to the Gateway Arch. The line to go to the top of the Arch was so incredibly long and we’d both been before, so we decided to check out the museum a bit and go to the oldest Catholic Church west of the Mississippi. It’s beautiful old church! We went in after mass, but as it was Palm Sunday, we got palms to take home and we both lit candles for Mom.

We returned to the Union Station Mall where we took some pictures and had souvenir pictures done with graphics and the Arch in Spring backdrop. Then we went to the Mall Starbucks for coffee while we decided on where lunch would be. That was when we each bought one of these mugs. An identical souvenir from our trip. Every time I drink from this mug, I think of Kelly! And I do drink from it often! It holds a heck of a lot of coffee! But it still isn’t big enough to hold all the smiles and good things of that weekend. To hold all of that, it takes 2 mugs!

Da Boss Done Good!

I hope all of you Moms and influencing women out there had a great Mothers Day! If you’ve been a reader of The Chronicles of Nani for a while, or if you’ve read any of the archives, you know I add the influential women because there are a lot of cases where you don’t have to have kids to be a “mom supporter” They don’t have holidays for men and women without kids who make a difference in kids’ lives. Teachers, coaches, aunts, older sisters neighbors, they’re all part of that group. When a Mom sends her kids off to school in the morning, to sports practice, dance lessons, even Sunday school, they are entrusting their children to the care of other adults. They are letting their kids leave their influence and trusting another influence to guide them for a while. You don’t have to have kids to be a good influence, a role model, or a positive example. But you do make a difference and you do assist the Moms out there! So Happy Mothers Day to the Moms and Happy Mom Assistants day to all of us!

I’ve had a somewhat motherly relationship with my twin nieces ever since they lost their Mother in 2000. So, based on the fact that we look so much alike, people who know the three of us casually think they are mine. I guess maybe they might think I’m their grandmother too. They call me “Nana.” My little brother was almost 30 when they were born, so I guess I might look like a young grandmother. I have a friend who is a little younger than me who is a grandmother! But whatever the reason, when I’m wished a “Happy Mothers Day,” I always smile and say “thank you.” I love kids and I take the honorary greeting as a trust, even from strangers, that I’m a good influence and an asset to the adult world!

But my pre-mug shot blog this morning is not to celebrate me, it’s to celebrate another Mom! As many readers here know, my first scrapbooking creative team position was with RC Mama Designs. When Sherrie welcomed me on her team, her kits were all freebies offered on her blog. Her team helped promote her to get CT experience and to help elevate her designs to a level of exposure that might make her able to “go pro.”

I wanted to wait just a little so she could savor it a while, but now I’m going to burst if I don’t shout it from the rooftop of my own coffee shop - SHERRIE HAS GONE PRO!!!!!!!!! She has a couple of kits available for purchase at Scrappin’ Freestyle.

“My Little Guy” and “Paisley Sunshine” are the kits in her store, with I’m sure, more to come! I gotta tell ya, it just feels awesome to be on that team! It’s sorta like a scrapping playoff win.

Here are a couple of layouts made with RC Mama Designs products:

Noni at Work
Kit - Paisley Sunshine by RC Mama Designs at scrappinfreestyle.com
font - Matura MT Script & Arial
Link to kit

It’s A Cat’s World
Kit - Felt Flowers by RC Mama Designs, Template by jasjul at Stone Accents Studios
Fonts - Apple Chancery, Book Antiqua
Available at the SFS blog for free, (April 24)

Stop by Sherrie’s blog. RC Mama Designs http://rcmama.blogspot.com/ and drop a comment of congratulations and encouragement! I am a PROUD CT member!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tips and Ideas From Friends

Credits-"A Perfect Summer Day" by Digitalegacies
Fonts - Rickles

I have loved advertising and marketing almost as long as I’ve loved baseball. When I look at a ruler, the first thing that flashes through my brain is “Honey Combs big, yeah, yeah, yeah.” As a young baseball fan, my final decisions for just about everything, even more than dancing or a good book as a dancer and member of the library book club, were based on what spoke to me as a baseball fan. I ate the home run gum balls that had different plays written on them, BB Bats, David brand sunflower seeds because that was the brand big leaguers chewed if they didn’t chew tobacco. If it had a baseball logo on it or came in the shape of a baseball, that was my choice as a kid. As an adult, I still have a hard time not choosing Baseball Nut ice creams as one of my flavors in the summer and I’ve served baseball shaped pasta at World Series parties. It’s with that passion for marketing and my analytical tendencies that I approach everything in which I invest my personal time.

I read Bubbles Babbles on a regular basis. Vicki is not only the Quickpage Queen, but she has some fun anecdotes and one small chip on her shoulder. I say it’s small because I don’t think she’s asking too much!

Vicki offers her quick pages as freebies. She just asks that visitors to the blog read her blog before they download! A small price for a juicy freebie, I think! Her downloads are all password protected and the password is hidden in her entry! It forces visitors to read! I’m not going to put passwords on my freebies, but I did take a piece of advice from her by eliminating a source of grab and run freebie hunters!

There are many factors working with my freebies. I can’t afford to purchase my scrapbook supplies right now, so my hobby is digitally existing on the tradeoffs for the promotional work I do as a creative team member and freebies. My amateur kits are all offered as freebies for two reasons; to give back to the digital scrapbooking world for the freebies I download and to promote The Chronicles of Nani.

This is my online hobby and I get “paid” with an inflated ego. Well, okay, it’s an ego boost! My freebies are kind of like those samples they offer at the store on weekends. If you shop at Costco, you can pretty much eat lunch there on Saturday for free. Personally, I don’t sample things I think I might not buy if I like them. That’s my personal style. There are people who will sample everything, indenting to buy nothing. They don’t care what they’re eating or what the brand is that’s feeding them for free, they just take because it’s free. I’m not saying that’s wrong in a “buyer beware, seller beware” world. Of course, if I don’t even read a package or talk to the company’s representative and just take and eat, it’s no one’s fault but my own if I pass out from the MSG!

But a seller does things to try to control giving up samples to people who aren’t the slightest bit interested in the product so the samples are there for people who might actually buy it. They don’t have to buy it, but the seller would prefer that they at least be interested when they try it! Maybe they won’t buy today, but maybe they’ll think of that brand NEXT time. It also makes the job more gratifying for that person who is spraying all that canned cheese on those crackers!

I check the details from my hit counter every day. It tells me where in the world my visitors come from, what pages they read here, how long they stay and what sites they followed a link on. When I see visitors who come in and don’t even stay long enough to register a second on the counter, I know they either clicked by accident (the page they came from and went to is the same), saw the logo and weren’t interested (they usually don’t have a destination - the window was just closed) or came in, grabbed a mini dog on a toothpick and don’t even know if it’s snouts and tails or all beef.

I’ve noticed that a majority of those freebie grab and run hits link from once place! The Chronicles of Nani is no longer linked to that place. This blog is listed on several sites and I promote when I have a new freebie at 8 scrapbook sites. Hits linked in from those sites tend to stay longer and view more pages. So, I’m going to concentrate more on promoting there.

Vicki got rid of the link to that same place and said it only curbed but didn’t get rid of the grab and runs. That’s okay for me. Even in the places were there are fewer people grabbing the samples without reading the box, there are still some. Hey, if they end up REALLY liking the teriyaki beef on a stick, maybe they'll come back anyway! In the mean time, I have more respect for and will cater to the folks that read the information, ask questions and say “thanks, it’s good product!”

Is It Blackmail? Hmmm....

This idea s borrowed from Veelana of Veelana’s Vastly Varicolored Vortex, a freebie that was available at her site in trade for a layout with her “It’s A Spring Thing” kit. In this case, “It’s A Spring Thing” is a 2-part kit. Part one for free, and part 2 for trade for a layout with part 1. I love good marketing ideas and this one is fabulous!

Here’s my take on the “trade ya for a layout.” Since all of the kits I’ve done, a whopping 6 to date, are freebies right here, download any of them, or all of them if you’d like. Send me your layout done with any of my kits to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com and I’ll send you the link for “A Perfect Summer Day.”

A Perfect Summer Day shares it’s title with a painting and gospel album by Thomas Kinkade. The kit is based on the blue skies and green grass with some of the pastime essentials that make a perfect day for playing hooky!

A Perfect Summer Day -
6 papers
3 flowers
2 frames
4 ribbons
5 theme elements - sun, baseball, frisbee, sunglasses and butterfly

One last note on the preferred freebie etiquette, and I do consider it my preference, not a rule, but I’d really appreciate comments here rather than on 4-shared. I LOVE the feedback, but I now have enough kits on my 4-Shared site, that there is really no way I can know what has new comments to keep up with reading them. Blogger tells me when there are new comments to moderate as soon as I log in! If you can comment here while you’re looking at the preview for the kit, all the better! But if you comment on 4-Shared or even if you don’t comment at all, I still appreciate your interest in my work...and that you read the other content on The Chronicles of Nani as well!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday - No Request

They both need to get back on track
for this to happen again this year!!

No requests again! Everyone, please, don’t be shy! Just about anything is game, aside from requesting scrapbooking kits. You can request layouts, articles, photo and video, almost anything that’s okay for 13 and over. Checkout some of the previous FBRs here and on the archive - Friday By Request. If you’ve made a request, feel free to request again!

Good Friday everyone! The weekend is just a few hours away as I write this. Boy, it was a quick week! Boston took 3 out of 4 in their series with the Tigers and the Reds dropped 2 in their three game series with the Cubs. The saving grace was Atlanta sweeping the Padres, but it’s rough to get too excited when the Reds and Tigers are struggling!

I’ve been a Reds and Tigers fan for nearly all my life, over three decades of it anyway. Back in the late 80s, I became a Braves fan because I guess I just love an underdog. Boy they were awful then! But there was a thrill in watching them grow too. I saw the Braves at Fulton County Stadium in 1991, back when the whole notion of adopting the Tomahawk Chop was still new. I was in training to become a homer in my new hometown.

Things change, life moves on. I got a job in Michigan, so the moving south dream was on hold until I got some experience under my belt. I was still going to eventually be in Atlanta. I bought a new NOT AT ALL Michigan car in 1994, I peppered Atlanta with resumes and the Braves finally won the World Series in 1995.

My goals have always been planned with the affirmation “this or something better” as the final line on my written commitment to them. Something better came along!

Ah, those dreams of the 90s! Then this Michigander fell in love. Yeah, I know, how fickle is woman for the beating of her heart and all. In the grownup world you make the best decisions you possibly can. It’s usually this or that, this AND that isn’t a choice! I think I got the better end if it all. A hot set of wheels won’t be as much fun to drive when I’m 50 anyway, the state of business says that no job will be faithful to me until retirement regardless of how faithful I am to it and I can bear winter if there is someone to keep me warm. Well, okay, I could bear a Georgia winter easier with someone to keep me warm too, but my someone hates heat and will in no way consider Georgia as a place to live because of the summers! So a decision - Georgia or David. Well, duh! That one was easy! But, I do still reserve my right to be a kid sometimes and get 2 different flavors when I go to Baskin Robbins. Of course, they have 31 flavors so I STILL don’t get it all, but at least I get more!

So, back to my roots, I’m cozy between the Tigers and Reds with the Mud Hens to keep me happy at home. But as my affection and loyalty runs for them like siblings in my baseball heart, the Braves are still like a beloved favorite cousin! So the Braves winning is SUPPOSED to be icing on the cake when the Reds and Tigers win!

Anyway, that’s the long version of why the week went so quickly! Baseball! And ice cream...

So, those of you that aren't big fans of the personal long-winded baseball soliloquy, get me a request for next week! (haha) Of course, if you ARE a fan of the baseball soliloquy, make a baseball request! And for the scrappers, regardless of your baseball preferences, be sure to check out The Chronicles tomorrow for a freebie...with a price!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Toledo, Ohio
May 4, 2008

I haven't posted a train pic in a while, but then again the weather hasn't been so great when I've had time to shoot trains in a while!

This was some fantastic end of the day light on the way home from SEMMantics and I love those shots on curves where you get nice angles and a view of the train's cars!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SEMMantics Weekend & A New Kit!

The final table at the Poker Tournament
Dana (upper right) , who was also on
the winning Mensa Bowl team, won it all!

This past weekend was SEMMantics, Southeastern Michigan Mensa’s regional gathering, the one where David and I met in person. This year, the gathering started on the three-year anniversary of our first date.

It was a fun weekend! Mensa gatherings are always fun. We get to spend time with good friends that we only see a couple of times a year, try new games, see interesting speakers and poker! This year, we both played in the early Saturday morning tournament. I didn’t win, but I outlasted David!

Friday was a lot of hospitality, talking and chocolate! Melissa gave her presentation of pictures she’d take in China when she was in college. It was some great slides and informative discussion. You know when you go to something to support a friend and walk away thinking you would have missed something great if a stranger had been doing it? That was me after Melissa’s presentation. It was very cool, from the glimpse of the world of communism to the world’s largest Buddha, all of it very fascinating! (But I wouldn’t want to do the freezing miles of mountain walking for fun!)

After Melissa’s talk, I stopped at the ice cream social and brought David a sundae cone at the Euchre tournament where he was finishing up his game. I got little razzed and asked if I was taking ice cream orders, but after all, that was our Dativersary dessert!

Saturday evening was the beer tasting. I’m not a big drinker. I like my “adult beverages,” but I don’t drink them in excess or even with any regularity, but I like to take advantage of the opportunity to try new tastes! I discovered some that weren’t bad. A few that were okay, but not a beer I’d buy and even a couple that I promptly poured into the waste bucket and asked for more of the first one to get the taste out of my mouth!

We played a small buy-in cash game in the evening and I was out before David but not until after I sucked in a few chips with FOUR ACES! I looked back at my hold cards and my mouth was trembling inside as I kept the wide smile off my face until I’d finished my betting. David said he thought maybe I had an ace to go with the 2 on the table, but the whole table erupted when I showed the two aces in my hand. It felt good to hear people saying how well I played the hand. A couple of hands later, Shirley relieved me a bunch of those chips with a nut-flush. I debated for a while and finally decided she was bluffing when she went all-in. Note to self for future - Shirley doesn’t bluff!

After the closing ceremony and awards, we went with a small group to Max and Erma’s for lunch before saying goodbye and sending everyone home or back to the airport. David and I chased a few trains with the remaining daylight hours.

Yesterday was a headachy, eye itchy day. Bleh! I’d heard that the pollen was supposed to be bad this year. I felt awful when I woke up and when David came back from getting gas for the lawn mower, he said he knew why. The truck was covered in powdery yellow tree pollen! So, I deal with it. Not that I have a lot of choice! I mean, where can I live that there are no trees?

I was still stuffy and a little achy last night while David was at work. Last week was a busy week for me and I have a bunch of calls to make for the middle of this week because of it. That’s a great thing! At least, I really hope it is. But a busy week followed by a Mensa gathering weekend means little time for scrapbooking! So, I sent David off to work on the night shift and got ready for an evening of laundry, baseball and scrapbooking!

There is still more laundry to do, but I got a good start on it. The Reds finally won, although a certain someone sent me a “Red Sox Win!” text from work to rub it in. Yesterday a Red Sox win was a Tigers loss. And I got a kit done that I’d designed in my brain on Sunday.

“She Said Yes!” is the new kit from Digitalegacies. The kit shares its name with a song by Chad Brock which chronicles his meeting and engagement to his first wife. So the kit is a romantic one just begging to scrap hearts and bling! It’s also my entry for this month’s color challenge at DSO.

My sample layout features a Christmas Eve photo from when my parents were engaged.

Credits - Kit She Said Yes! by Digitalegacies, font - Lucida Handwriting.

And here is “She Said Yes!”

sorry, link is expired.

As always, I’d love to see layouts with any of my kits! In fact, very soon, there will be an incentive plan to show me some!

Send me your layouts or any questions or correspondence to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

(Windsor, Ontario)

I LOVE the Beaver on hockey skates on this mug! It was obviously a made-to-order for tourists mug and was bought in a souvenir shop in Windsor that was owned by an immigrated French national. The fact that the shop was run by a Frenchman is very important to the mug’s story!

In March of 2003, Kelly and Brooke came up to Michigan to visit for Spring Break. It was a “Zoo Holiday,” as Kelly’s visits usually are, for the whole family, a week of gatherings, dinners, and fun activities. One of our day trips was John and I taking Kelly and Brooke to Canada for lunch and a visit to the sculpture gardens in Windsor. I was Brooke’s first visit out of the country!

Brooke was 17 and having spent a decent portion of her years in Missouri, had that funny way of always asking “What accent? I have no accent! Y’ALL have an accent!” She was also excited about going to Canada to hear another language!

Canada, our sister-country to the north has 2 national languages. All the packaging in Canada is written in both of them as are the road signs. This recognizes English, the language spoken in most of Canada and French, the language spoken as a first language in Quebec, the only language in some areas of Quebec. Brooke was completely naive of the fact that there were two languages and that English is still the most common of those spoken there. In fact, she refused to believe that she wouldn’t be showered in French the moment she crossed the border.

Well, as much as the 3 adults, who’d been to the foreign country 20 minutes away from our places of birth many times, told her that in Ontario they speak English, she insisted in knowing how to say “hello,” and other key phrases in French before we got over the border. With a chuckle, I obliged. When we parked the car near the Big Tomato, where were having lunch, the giggles in the three of us became stomach aching laughter as Brooke, insisting that she was going to proudly speak the Canadian language, began to greet people loudly in her “accent free” Missourian tones “Bone-Joor!” The reaction she got was sometimes a laugh, sometimes a quick look away and even quicker steps away and sometimes a look like we were taking our patient out for some fresh air!

She was troubled that our waiter didn’t speak French, not even when she asked him to! She continued to greet strangers at the outdoor sculpture garden with “Bone Jour” and continued to get the typical responses. No one said “Bon Jour” back!

Of course, she did realize that we were being straight with her when we said that they speak English in Canada, but was having a grand time TRYING to embarrass us. When you are a teenager, you don’t realize that the older you get, the harder it is to embarrass you! Actually it was a barrel of laughs and smiling memories for us all!

The end of our day in Windsor was stopping at a few of the souvenir shops. Kelly and I were still browsing in one shop when Brooke drug John along to a store a couple doors down. When Kel and I walked back onto the street, Brooke was excited. “I FOUND MY FRENCHMAN!”

Kelly and I looked at each other, a little surprised but laughing. John was shaking his head and smiling. He told us, it wasn’t even a French-speaking Canadian. Brooke drug us all into the shop. The shop keeper, who was about a grandfathers age to Brooke and spoke English just fine, was laughing at Brooke with adoring eyes. He spoke a few more lines of French to her and she gushed with approval and satisfaction. We were 5 people smiling and laughing nonstop.

Before we left the store, I found this mug, very touristy-Canadian and NOT with any writing in French. But the mug is still filled with great memories of family, fun and a sweet man from France, who absolutely made an American girl’s day speaking his native language to her in his new home country on her first trip to Canada.

Bone Joor, Y’all!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday By Request

I’ve been playing with some simple animation in the form of learning how to make blinkies. Yeah, I know, that’s not part of my catching up goal for this year, but the brain gets all mooshy if you don’t let it have some exercise now and then!

So, I’ve created my very first blinkie for The Chronicles of Nani! I’ve been wanting to mess with doing that for a while. I have never in my life done any, even simple, animation. So, now I can say with certainty that I can do simple animation. A little bit of understanding about video comes in handy. When I think of the countless hours I’ve spent in my lifetime watching video one---frame---at---a---time, it makes the whole concept of what I need to do to make a still object move a lot simpler. LOL

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I finished up the blinkie Wednesday night, just before David got home. I was pretty pleased with my first attempt and was excited to show David. We talked a little about it then and during dinner, and the request for this Friday was born. Yes, requests for Friday are supposed to be in by midday Wednesday, but living under the same roof, gives David some extra time!

David wanted a blinkie. He doesn’t have a current blog or website and really doesn’t participate in any forums where blinkies are used in signatures. So, I asked him where he was going to use the blinkie. I needed that to determine size. His final decision was that he wanted it to be an animation logo of the kids and put on MY blog in honor of our third Dativersary. It works out well for FBR because our Dativersary is today! Our first date was May 2, 2005. Three years later we pretty much figure this is a serious thing! I mean, if we didn't stick together now, there'd be a messy custody battle and all!

Here is David’s request. In honor of our third Dativersary and celebrating the glory of our cat-parenthood, I bring you our cat-parent blinkie!

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