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!

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trade Deadline and Nanifest Report

All I want for Nanifest this year!

I know what everyone looking is thinking! The non-baseball fans are wondering if I’m mad at David. The baseball fans are doing a double take and saying, “Huh? No way, they wouldn’t!” The casual-but-devoted Astros fans are either crying or throwing something and David is laughing!

Last week, in exasperation I asked, “What’ll it take to get Lance Berkman in a Reds uniform...and DON’T say “Halloween!” Well, the question is still the same, but today’s interim answer is “Photoshop.”

But I Just can’t accept Photoshop as my only answer, especially in light of today’s big trade news! Ken Griffey Jr. was traded to the Chicago White Sox. I’m not as much an American League fan as I am a National. My cousin emailed today, asking if I was going to be a White Sox fan now. Well, I am a Reds fan. My American League allegiance is to the Tigers. I cut my baby baseball teeth on them! The Braves are number two in the NL and then, it’s the Cubs. White Sox fan? HECK NO!

I still want to see Junior do well. I wish he could have retired at home, in Cincinnati, but as he is in the twilight of his career and it was pretty much accepted that Cincinnati wasn’t going to exercise their option on his contract for 2009 if he kept playing, it was sensible to make the trade.

That being said, I am NOT giving up the season for the Reds! Nuh-uh, no way! We’re only 9 games away from the wild card, 14 games out of first. But losing Griffey takes our number three hitter away! We need to do some shuffling, and we NEED Lance Berkman! The Astros will have to put him on waivers for me!

Okay, so, what’s in it for Berkman? No brainer there, Berkman is the hottest visitor in Great American Ballpark. His stats in Cincinnati are remarkable! Imagine his stats if he played more games at Great American Ballpark, say 81 of them. Can we say “Hall of Fame career?” So, there is no question that Berkman should be ecstatic over my idea!

What to offer in trade was a bit more difficult. Berkman is a first baseman and I am NOT giving up my adopted Rookie, Joey Votto, at first base. Berkman throws left, a great plus at the right corer. Votto, who has been putting extra practice time in on his defense, has great natural instincts and throws right, better for third anyway. So I suggest moving Votto to third and offering Edwin Encarnacion and a couple of prospects for Berkman. Hey, he’s a .300 career hitter withOUT playing half his games in Cincy. It’s not going to be a straight trade!

So, there is what I want the baseball gods to do for me for Nanifest XLII

Now lets talk cake!

It tastes BETTER than that!

“Plan A” for the Queen Cake was that I was going to make a black forest cake. We’d stop at Kroger on the way in Monday and I’d bake the layers before I took Tori home, finishing it at lunch time Tuesday. But then horror took over!

When I picked Tori up last Thursday, we had engine heat issues. We had to drive home from Fort Wayne with the heat blasting and the windows down. That’s what my owner’s manual said to do. It worked too! David was getting a little rattled at my lack of engine coolant knowledge. I know oil, not engine coolant! Engine knowledge is neither a requirement for Mensa nor a birthright in Detroit, so I don’t think I'm a special needs driver because I don't know coolant! I was on the phone with Scott on Friday and he was walking me through. My lack of engine coolant knowledge wasn’t so frustrating to him. I told him that I needed someone to think it was cute that I was a princess when it comes to radiators and he chuckled and said he’d talk me through it. That’s what big brothers who know cars do! They laugh at little sisters and play the part of the super-hero “Carman.” Well, with David’s help, I topped off the engine coolant overflow thingy, which Scott said should have fluid I could see. Then we left for Hershey in the rental car.

Following David out to take back the rental car, I had the same problem! No steam, but the gage read too hot and the “check gages” light came on. Now stress. I was afraid to go all the way to Fort Wayne to meet my brother half way to get Tori back. He had to work Tuesday and couldn't drive all the way up here.

We ended up meeting in Angola after I put the rest of the bottle of engine coolant in the overflow thingy. I got there and back, not turning on the heat and no overheating. It seems I just needed a little bit more in it. I also know where to check the engine coolant and I check the overflow thingy whenever I check the oil now. BUT in all the stress of the overheating engine, no cake!

So, Tuesday morning arrives. It’s my birthday. There’s no Queen Cake for Nanifest. As David was leaving, he told me not to worry, he’d make sure I had something to put my candles in.

“A Twinkie?” I asked.

“Or something chocolate!” He smiled.

So this incredible double layer chocolate with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache was the “twinkie” he brought home! My honey knows how to turn what was trying to be a kinda depressing birthday into a heavenly event! He brought me cake batter ice cream too! We’ve been enjoying that dessert a little every night since Tuesday. There’s enough left for tomorrow too!

So weighing out the good and bad things this week, and adding in some stellar postings I’ve found and applied to in the last two days and it’s been a great festival so far - and I’m only half way through!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Tori at Hershey's Chocolate World

The intoxicating smell of chocolate in the air,
the heavenly taste of chocolate on our tongues
and the happy smile of chocolatiering on our faces!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Naniday!

So, it’s official! In addition to David 48 days ago, I am now also THE ANSWER - to life, the universe and everything! WOO HOO! I’m Forty Two!

I’m not taking the holiday off, since I just got back from a long weekend, but I do think I’ll be having a chocolate lunch! Well, okay, maybe a chocolate snack, but In honor of Naniday, I am going to enjoy some of my souvenir chocolate!

And now, in honor of my personal holiday, I have a gift for all of the scrappers who visit! password - Nanifest Birthday, named like the Beatles' song, is a festive kit that anyone can use, but it has a few very Nani elements to it!

Sorry link is expired

The colors are shades of my favorites. I love blue and green combined and blue and purple combined. In the right shades, they look great all together too! You’ll also find a baseball paper and a train paper and of course, a black forest cupcake! In all there are 7 papers and 17 elements with matching number candles from 0 to 9! It’s a great kit for scrapping anyone’s birthday, really! I hope you enjoy it! :)

As always, don’t share the link, share The Chronicles of Nani! And leave comments here rather than at 4-Shared.

Have a great Naniday!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Hershey’s Chocolate World
Hershey, PA

Another niece weekend, another mug? Last weekend was Tori’s turn to be attended to by her single aunt and uncle hopeful. Now, where Rina is the dependable railfan like us, who wants to spend A weekend, seeing ne places, chasing trains, visiting Sheetz and making sure we keep our train brains open to new train things, museums and excursions and such, Tori's not at all a railfan. Tori keeps us from getting pigeon holed into a routine and makes us open up to new experiences. Mind you, we still get to shoot some trains, but that’s not the focus of our trips with her!

A scrapbook metaphor would be that It’s kinda like challenges. There are the ones that give you some different perspective, but don’t take you out of your comfort zone, like a color challenge or an element challenge. There are also some that dare you to try new ideas completely, like a scraplift or ones that as you to use elements you never use. You get great pages as a result and trying both gives you the variety that makes a fantastic scrapbook. So it is with the interests of a variety of people in your life. Variety being the spice of life, that cornucopia of interests makes everything better!

So Tori’s trip this year was Hershey, Pennsylvania, the sweetest place on earth! Our first stop when we got into town was Hershey's Chocolate World! There is so much to see and do there! We went on the factory tour ride first. Upon entering the factory tour ride, everyone got two pieces of Hershey Bliss, the pushed candy du jour. The factory tour ride puts you in a car that takes you through a bit of entertaining song and the basics of mass chocolate production, including those bite-size chocolates made from droppers kissing the assembly line with milk chocolate! When the ride ends, assuming that you ate your first to on the ride, they gave you two more Bliss candies!

Nex we browsed in the gift shop. Tori had a list of souvenir chocolate to bring home! We decided that it would be safer to buy the take-home chocolate on Sunday before we left. We brought my refrigerator cooler that plugs in to the lighter port in the car and also bought an insulated bag and ice pack at the store, but it was still a better idea to buy the meltables just before we left. We did get a Reese's Pieces purse for Tori and this mug for me on Saturday!

Next was lunch at The Kit Kat Cafe. David and I had kinda pricey pasta and Tori had kinda pricey soup. Al I’ll really say about the Kit Kat Cafe was that it was convenient and we had a coupon! Hershey is known for chocolate, not pasta or soup!

After lunch it had become fairly sunny and David wanted to catch some trains at the chocolate plant. As I said before, Tori is NOT the railfan! We struck a deal with David that he could leave us there for a couple hours with our blessing if he sprang for tickets for the 3D show and Chocolate Tasting 101!

The chocolate tasting was very cool! We learned about the different levels of cacao and how that effects the darkness and sweetness of the chocolate. We learned that you can hear the flavor in the snap of the chocolate when it’s broken and you can see and smell the types of processing and amount of cocoa butter. We also learned that you’ll get teased for the rest of he tasting if you’re caught texting in class! (Truthfully, I think Tori liked that attention!) There were two milk and three dark chocolates that we tasted. Tori didn’t care for the darks and the last one, the darkest and bitterest one, I agreed! But the lovely parting gifts after class were another Hershey Bliss and jumbo 4.4 oz Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar that completely made up for that nasty dark one,!

Next was the 3D show which was a blast! We made sure we got some dorky pictures of each other in our 3D glasses beforehand. The show was a fun musical about chocolate that included a spray of water when elephants stomped in puddles, the feel of mice rushing around your feet when the box of them was spilled, a giant purple, therefore not so scary to me, spider that was squished and you got sprayed again with the guts, and streamers falling from the sky. It was just a laugh riot! Tori and I agreed, however, that we expected candy to fall from the sky too, but it didn’t. We did get sample packs of ice breakers sour strawberry chews on the way out. I don’t usually go for sours, but these ones were really good!

Next we called David to come back and meet us for ice cream. Tori, taking a break from the chocolate, had vanilla with sprinkles. David went with the chocolate mint sundae and I had the Reese's sundae that was delicious but almost too much peanut butter for me! It was chocolate peanut butter ice cream with hot fudge and peanut butter sauce with crushed peanut butter cups, whipped cream and a cherry! It was the first ice cream of Nanifest and it was worth waiting until day two for it!

On Sunday, after a sit-down breakfast at Eat-N-Park, where David and I both had a smiley waffle, we went to the Hershey Museum. and then back to Chocolate world before chasing a few trains on the way out of town. I did get a shot or two of the trains at the chocolate plant, so Railfan Nani and Chocoholic Nani were both satisfied!

A couple hours after getting in, I took Tori back to our meeting place to switch her to the Indy-bound parental car with the borrowed refrigerator cooler. I think she definitely had a sweet time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nanifest XLII Kickoff

Credits - Stay tuned to this blog!

Today at 5:00 is the start of Nanifest XLII - Nani is the Answer! This year the actual holiday is on a Tuesday, so it’s just a one-week festival! I have a few things planned and one big thing I’m wishing for! Well, you all KNOW what that thing is! (begins with “j,” ends with “b” and has a big number BEFORE the decimal every couple weeks)

My 9 days run from today at 5 PM until next Sunday at midnight. I’m inviting everyone to join in on the festival! Treat yourself to some ice cream or black forest cake...or both! See a baseball game or some fireworks. Have fun! I’ll consider that my gift and thank you! The actual day is Tuesday and I’ll have a birthday gift for my scrapping visitors too!

So for the opening night of my festival, as a gift to me, take your kids out for ice cream and make sure to have a scoop yourself! If you don’t have kids, have a tub of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia or Cake Batter and eat it right from the tub!!

Friday By Request

One of Grandma’s quilts. I think she’s waiting
for me to learn how to put the backing on!

Today's request came from Dinphy. She sent the request last Friday. Now the FBR rules state that if don’t have a request, I’ll do leftover requests from the previous week. Since I don’t get requests every week, if I get a second request, it’s a pretty sure thing that request will be the next week’s Friday blog. But it also says that if I don’t do your request, feel free to resubmit! Right now, I seldom have to worry about an overabundance of requests, so I just keep track. If it becomes incredibly popular, then I’ll have to stick to the rules and request resubmitting the request. Can you imagine, to someday have multiple requests every week? Wow.

Anyway, Dinphy’s request ended up bumping my cousin, who had the number two request last week! Now, his request will be for NEXT Friday, but Rina has been encouraging her sister to give me a request too! FBR has a little surge of popularity going right now and I just LOVE IT!

So Dinphy’s request is a scrapbook request. She isn’t challenging me to do a layout, she is asking me to tell about a layout with more than journaling to it! Her request was “...I’d like a happy/humorous or fun post. A layout and the story behind the LO or how that LO got together, the photos or why you made it.” She stipulated that it was not to be a story journaled on the layout already.

Well, there is one layout that has a humorous story behind it that is NOT journaled on the layout. I don’t know that’s it’s “bust-a-gut” funny, but it is giggle-worthy!

Quilt For A Waterbed
For Dinphy

Credits - Inspired by Iken’s “Quilt” at Digital Freebies,
Quilt Pattern - John’s Pinwheel from the Quilter's Cache/Marcia Hohn,
Sea Swept Papers by Rachel Dickson

This was my first quilt! True, it was my first layout using a quilt pattern. I like to use quilt patterns as templates for scrapbooking. It adds a classic touch, especially great for heritage or country-style layouts. But there is a story behind this layout and WHY it was the spring board for me using quilt patters!

When my hands aren’t on the keyboard to do crafts, I paper scrap, I crochet, I do counted cross-stitch. I don’t quilt! Every woman in my family had a handcraft that was hers. I have a gorgeous hand-done quilt on my cedar chest that my Great-Great Grandmother made. I have throw pillows that my Great Grandmother made with smocking. Grandma did beautiful appliqué work when she wAs younger and my Mom did rug hooking. I guess I‘d have to say the cross stitch is all mine, because none of the other family women were known for it and because it’s the craft I’ve done the longest. I taught myself cross-stitch in my late teens with a mini-kit from Big Lots! That framed bling ship ornament hangs in our downstairs bathroom.

Grandma started quilting about ten years ago and she went full speed into her new hobby. It took her no time to amass a collection of fabrics, threads, templates and other notions. She has a number of quilt projects in different stages of completion. She’s been trying to recruit me for the last few years. She says “Somebody has to know how to finish all of my quilts when I’m gone.” My answer has always been, “Then I guess you’d better stick around and finish them! I don’t want to quilt.” It’s an expensive and time consuming hobby!

Not that my other hobbies don’t get expensive and time consuming too, I just don’t have a keen interest in quilting. I don’t have the bug! But I have watched Grandma quilt and do get the concept enough to make sure that I have all the stitching and the border on my layout!

This one is called “Quilt for a Water Bed,” since it’s showing off a few of my water towers. I told her I‘d made a quilt square for a water bed and she was skeptical. Then I showed her this, for a chuckle. Of course she smiled and said, “You’ve got the right idea! So, are you ready to learn quilting NOW?”

Just last weekend, Grandma was delighted when I told her that I thought I wanted to learn quilting. My Honey has a ton of t-shirts that are in different stages of worn out, but he won’t part with them! some are from places he’s been, some from events back in hs college days (he earned hs degree in 1988!) but they have sentimental value! I asked him if I made a quilt out of the most worn ones, would he part with them, making more room in his T-shirt drawer. He said he thought that would be an acceptable alternative to throwing them out. I think it’s an acceptable alternative to him wearing them, especially the ones that are more holes than t-shirt! Grandma as a friend who made a T-shirt quilt, and she says she’s gong to get me the instructions from her. So for Grandma, persistence DID pay off!

I taught her how to use the computer and she taught me to crochet. I thought it was even! Ah, but Grandma has always been the generous sort and as long as I can remember she ‘s had that gift Mom had. Give it time. In the end, she’ll have been right all along!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lunchtime Report

All fixed!

Stopping in for a quick bit of housekeeping. I check the comments every now and then on my 4-Shared account. As I’ve said before, I really don’t read them that often, so I prefer comments about my freebie kits left here, especially comments about a link being broken! Apparently i June the link to the Tuesday part of ‘in Only Seven Days’ wasn't working. I checked it and, sure enough, it was an invalid link! I re-stuffed and re-uploaded the Tuesday part and checked the other links while I was there. Everything else seems to be in order! So, if you tried to download par 2 of “In Only Seven Days” and it didn’t work, you can go back now and finally complete your copy of the kit!

I’m looking forward to the start of Nanifest XLII tomorrow at 5 PM! If you don’t know what Nanifest is, check the archives back on Yahoo! (Nanifest XLI) It’s only a one-week festival this year, well, 9 days. David still has to tell me what kind of cake he wants me to make myself...(Honey, if you read this, tell me to get the stuff for a black forest cake!) I’m also going through my calendar to figure out who I’ll get to see this year!

Now, I did get to see Grandma and much of the relative family last Sunday. I went up to Pop’s because Grandma was in town. I got to see Dave (brother) and Laura (girlfriend-in-law), Tori and Rina before they left. They were there Saturday and spent the night. I got to have dinner with Grandma, Aunt Judy and my Dad. Pop grilled bratwurst that he got at Alwards in Hale, Michigan, when he picked up Grandma. He also grilled zucchini just because I was there and I’m a zucchini freak!

On the way home I got to enjoy some Sunday style NPR. Public Radio is politics and classical music during the week. The weekends belong to Jazz and odd brainiac stuff. Yes, I can be a geek when it comes to my radio habits. I found out some cool stuff about fireflies. Did you know they glow to alert potential mates? I say alert, because the females, who don’t fly as often and glow as they sit on the ground waiting, don’t always mean it when they say “come hither.” They are the WORST kind of tease! Sometimes, “yes” means “I’m hungry!” The females find sipping the fluid that makes the males glow to be very tasty after they rip the males head off! It’s pretty and so peaceful to watch them glow. Who knew??

Okay, lunch time is over and this afternoon is my call list! I hate call days. I just don’t like talking on the phone. But if I need it as part of my job, I smile , let my voice smile and avoid the phone at home! Right now, the call list, for cold calls, is part of work with the hope that soon I’ll be earning a paycheck for that work! I also have to draft my letter for a VERY cool job found posted this morning!

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Welcome to The Chronicles of Nani 100th post on blogger! Boy it adds up fast, like watching a kitten grow!

I’d like to thank all of my regular visitors and everybody who has left a comment or sent me email. It’s your support and encouragement that keep me going!

Now the Mug Shot!

Cereal City USA
Battle Creek, Michigan

The first thing you’ve probably noticed is that today’s mug shot is NOT a mug! It is however my equivalent of a mug this time. They had mugs at Cereal City, but when I saw the cereal bowls, I knew this was a better mug than a mug for the main attraction at the breakfast cereal capital!

Cereal City USA opened in 1996 to replace the Kellogg’s Cereal Plant Tour. The first time I was there was a few years later. I remember walking in and feeling like I’d gone to advertising heaven! Everything was bright colors and all of the cereal mascots that had been icons in my world since I was a child. Remember, I was hat child that wanted o be Darrin Stephens when I grew up because he had such a great job. I always loved TV commercials. It wasn’t that they made me want the products, it was that I liked them as 30 seconds of television art. Cereal commercials were some of the best!

I had long gone on about some of my favorite commercial characters that had been ut on the unemployment line. Most notable of those were Tusk The Elephant, who represented Cocoa Krispies. I cited downsizing as the Kellogg Company's reason for laying him off. They still sold the product, just that now Snap, Crackle and Pop have the responsibility for Cocoa Krispies added to their workload. Just like corporate America, huh? Then there was also Milton the Toaster, who lived to toast Pop Tarts. I hadn’t seen that sweet talking toaster for years!

But Cereal City was a vault of old advertising and marketing! I go to see the wall papered with old cereal box wallpaper just outside the pseudo factory tour. There I saw Tony The Tiger as a child and the Monkey who retired, giving Tusk his big break. (Okay, but in all seriousness, the old boxes wallpaper was VERY cool to look at)

The replacement for the factory tour was a combination of replica machinery and video. It was pretty neat, quite informative, too! At the end of the “how to” presentation was a sampling spout where you could fill a cone with Corn Flakes to munch as you toured the rest of he building. I really don’t know if they had mini machinery that finished the baking process or if it was simply a heater container that held the self-serve flakes, but they were always warm and somehow tasted “fresher” than the Corn Flakes you get at the store!

There were also hands-on exhibits where you could learn about the three different ways cereal is made. It’s either cooked and rolled, like the Corn Flakes, exploded, puffed out like Rice Krispies, or made into a dough and extruded through a tube, like Froot Loops. There was also the chance that you’d bump into Tony The Tiger anywhere in the building and he was always up for a photo!

But my favorite place in the whole building were the commercial rooms! There was one theater that sowed continuous classic cereal commercials and if you craved more than they had on the loop there, the great room with the advertising and promotional products in the windows had viewing chars, where you could sit down and select more classic commercials to view privately.

I was always smiling and “buzzed” from the antique ads fix when I was there. The last stop on the way to the exit took you through the gift shop, of course, gotta love that marketing to the end approach! When you exited the gift shop, there were always single-serve boxes of the cereal of the day to take home for free! That’s where you came back into the current day with a free taste of the newest Kellogg’s products!

The saddest thing about this “mug” is that Cereal City closed its doors in early 2007. It was just after I moved out of Michigan, but I take no blame for it! Truthfully the mismarketed all the great marketing inside! The replacement for the Kellogg's factory tour was so NOT the Kellogg's Factory Tour. It would have been better packaged as an antique advertising museum.

I’m hungry for a bowl of cereal now. Think I’m going to put this “mug” to work!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scrappin’ Saturday

Nothing says summer like a funnel cake, right?

Okay, click the image to go to the page for Heavenly Funnel Cakes. What a great page of ideas! The one pictured, of course, is a BLACK FOREST FUNNEL CAKE! Yum!!

It’s been a couple busy weekends in a row! Since we have one day with nothing to do this weekend we’re doing a stay at home and veg day today. I like those! David is kicked back on the couch playing online poker and watching the Red Sox game for me it’s a scrap in my jammas day! I’m hoping to get a few more pages done for my heritage project and I have a new kit that I’ve been working on too. Right now is take a break to blog and share some fun and interesting stuff! I’ll probably go watch some of the Sox game in bit!

I hope you’re checking out the sites in my “Blogs I Read” section on the right. That’s me sharing my Google Reader with all of you! I wanted to call attention to two new blogs that I’ve added in the last week!

Lady Larissa Designs has some just fabulous kits! Larissa also offers coordinating mini kits as freebies to wet your appetite. Okay, I admit, it was a post promoting her freebie mini kit for “Brain Freeze” that initially caught my eye. As you all know, my weakness for ice cream is almost as bad as it is for black forest cake! But she also has some other great kits, even a steam train kit, I just gotta give props to any designer who has a train kit in her store, ya know?

I put this page together for my regular scrapbooks to show off Larissa’s Brain Freeze mini. I just HAD to do a layout to use that Sundae! Still working on catching up, the photos are from a Dunkin Robbins evening in May 2006 with Scotty and Roger.

Credits: Brain Freeze by Lady Larissa Designs, Fonts - Trebuchet MS and Times

Visit Lady Larissa Designs Blog to get you own inspirations and the kits to make them happen! Make sure you check out her newest, “Black, White and Red All Over.” The mini kit is free for now before it moves into her store!

My other new must-read blog is Dinphy’s ScrapSpot.

The color swatch for KimB’s Color Challenge at DSO for July is nice, but it didn’t inspire me to do a kit. That’s nothing at all against the colors! July is a very booked month in my world, plus I have the job hunt by day and something going on every weekend. Also in a couple separate visits, I have each of my twin nieces over. They are old enough to keep themselves occupied for a half day while I’m doing working on working stuff, but then I give them the other half day and the evenings they are over. It only amounts to abut four days total that I give up scrapping and half day of job stuff, but add that to busy weekends and I’m working to keep up on my personal pursuits as well. Not so great for designing inspiration. I have that kit I’m slowly working on that spoke of earlier, but since I’m till relatively new at this designing thing, it takes a little more concentration than I can spare this month!

So, I needed a kit to do a layout with for the color challenge. There are always some wonderful kits done as part of the challenge, and the one Dinphy did, Old Love, really caught my eye! It was perfect for this layout for my heritage project -

Kit - Old Love by Dinphy (Free at her blog!), Base - Dani’s Girls July 08 Template,
Inspired by“Sand Baby” by Memory Keeper (at SAS),
Fonts - American Typewriter, Chalkboard, AKA Frivolity

I loved reading her “7 Things” blog, I think we’ve all done the 7 Things blog. Dinphy is Dutch and English is not her first language. You’d never know that to read her blog though! But in her 7 Things, she tells of looking spellings of words in English up and that reading blogs is refreshing her English, but don’t ask her to speak it! I had t laugh because my French is the same way! I read and write it better than I speak or understand it spoken! I think I type better in French too, because I type slower in French.

So, head on over to Dinphy’s ScrapSpot and download the Old Love kit, it’s just beautiful! She has other color challenge freebies and quick pages, so I’m sure you’ll find something there that will inspire you!

Finally, great news that many of you may have heard, Beckie Wallace could not keep away from designing! YAY! I love her stuff! You’ve heard me rave about kits that practically make the pages themselves. Beckie was going to take a break from designing with the birth, very soon, of her third daughter, a new lioness due next week! I think she was out of “the Biz” for about 2 weeks. She sees designing as a creative outlet she’ll need with three little ones at home. I’m glad she’s back! She’s now selling at Sunshine Studio Scraps and this weekend is her grand opening sale there, 20% off everything in her store.

Part of the celebration includes several new designers at Sunshine Studio and a huge collab Kit called Mango Tango. This mega-kit is just gorgeous and it’s a total freebie! It takes some blog hopping to get all of the pieces, but that also gives you an opportunity to visit the designer blogs and get to know each of them and their work. When it’s done, you’ll have visited some very talented people’s blogs and you’ll have a great kit too!

Stop at Beckie’s blog to get more details and all the links to her new store and the fabulous designers who have contributed to Mango Tango!

Visit Beckie’s Blog

Last, but certainly not least, a freebie from ME, a quick page done with Dandelions and Thistle!

Here’s My Layout -

Credits - Dandelions and Thistle quick page by Digitalegacies, Font - Times

The word art layer is included as a separate file.

As usual, please leave comments at The Chronicles rather than 4-Shared and if you’d like to pass this quick page along, please send friends to my blog for downloading! Enjoy!

sorry, this link is expired

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday By Request

The cute kids on the merry-go-round are siblings, actually me and my sibling! That photo was taken when we were camping in Canada in the early 70s. I think we’re 4 and 5. We often went to Ipperwash campground around the time of Dave’s birthday in September, so he would be JUST 4. That photo was made into a 5X7 print and growing up, until way into my adulthood, I say it framed and on a wall in both grandparent houses! As I look at it, if they were my kids, I’d probably have that shot blown up and framed for both sets of GPs too. It’s a good photo!

Now, what does this have to do with this week’s request? Is it a request for a cute vintage photo of kids? No, no, no! But the photo DOES have everything to do with the request and I thought it would be fun for the requester to see!

This week’s request comes from my sweet niecie, Rina! I asked her if she’d give me a request for this week and she told me she’d need to give it some thought. I asked about it on Monday. Wednesday night, my Dad came over and Rina and I went with him to get her sister. The girls and my brother are Hoosierganders now. They relocated to metro Indianapolis after school let out and as Dave’s new job in Indy was starting. We met my brother and his girlfriend with Tori in Fort Wayne. The girls were going to my Dad’s place for a few days before going to a pool party in their old neighborhood on Saturday so they could visit with Grandma, who is staying at Dad’s for a few weeks. I went along because Dave promised ice cream! ;)

For lack of a real ice cream parlor at the exit where we met, we had Mc-Ice Cream. I found out that they don’t take it with a smile if you approach the McDonalds counter and say, “What kind of Mc-Blizzards do you have?” They are Mc-FLURRIES! (hehe) I ordered a Snickers McFlurry. When they asked what size I wanted, Dave told me, “You drove all the way here with Dad, you deserve a large!”

After a little bit of gabbing in the parking lot, we said our goodbyes and the girls climbed in the back seat for the ride home. After being apart for a week, there was much giggling and chatting between the two of them. Not long before they fell asleep cuddled next to each other, Rina gave me her blog request. She said, “I want you to do ten pros and ten cons of siblings.”

The Good, The Bad and The Sister
For Rina

Don’t they just look happy? That’s Tori and Rina at the Plymouth Whalers game in 2004. A good way to start the ten pros!

Ten “pros” about siblings

1. Photo ops! having siblings balances out the photo, and besides mascots just love posing with a kid on each side!
2. There is always someone to play with. My Mom was an only child and she often used that to resolve the sibling disputes. “What if you had no one to play with?” (as a kid it really didn’t work, but you appreciate stuff like that in retrospect!)
3. An in-home defender! Whether it’s your twin sis agreeing that the guy that broke up with you is a jerk, or, a few years back, a big sister to punch the kid next door for making you cry, siblings live by the rule that “No one but ME can make my sibling cry!”
4. They are a fan club! Dave and I were the loudest voices in the stands when we could get to each others hockey games (a lot of times we were playing at the same time - I was on a travel team) Tori and Rina have that same family pride when they see each other perform.
5. You have someone who totally understands your family issues.
6. You get to explore things at a younger age because there’s safety in numbers. Siblings give you more “independence.”
7. Gift ideas! As a child, something you make with your sib is always an even more special present. When you are adults, a portrait of you with your siblings is always a great gift for your parents or grandparents.
8. As adults, free baby-sitting!
9. Better chance of getting Dad to get ice cream if you’re not begging alone!
10. The punishment hurts less if you’re not in trouble alone!

Ten “cons” about siblings
1. Sharing a bathroom! If it’s brothers or sisters sharing a bathroom, that’s rough. “Dude, that was my last razor!” “You used all my hair spray AGAIN!” but my nightmare growing up? Sharing a bathroom with a brother! The worst of that was, in the 80s, he was a long-haired drummer - HE used the last of my hairspray! (Thank God, he was too macho for my girlie razors!)
2. No secrets and when you argue, they use them against you! “I’ll tell Mom I saw you smoke!” “I’ll tell that guy you like him!” “Don’t forget I know where you REALLY were last night!”
3. When you're around them so much, you see every little annoying thing they do!
4. They don’t know how to stay on their own side of the back seat!.
5. They always upstage you! (Okay, this is STILL, two weeks after I got a brand new car with no cosigner on the loan, I get a call, “Guess what? It’s gonna be TWINS!”)
6. The first one married, doesn't matter if it's son or daughter, will drain the parental wedding budget. (Viva Las Vegas for the rest?)
7. They borrow clothes and jewelry without asking! (same with that 80’s drummer brother stealing earrings)
8. In pairs, one will always be thinner, while the other one is always luckier. Neither one will ever know if they got the better end of that!
9. When you’re adults, at family gatherings, your siblings will always remember the most embarrassing things from your childhood when everyone starts reminiscing!
10. Teachers in school who know you as someone’s brother or someone's sister. Sheri and I met each other when we were “Mel’s Sister” and “Dave’s Sister.” Imagine how bad that sucked, since I was the older one!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Horseshoe Curve
Altoona, Pennsylvania

This week’s mug shot is brought to you by last weekend! We just got back from Railfest weekend in Altoona with Rina.

My twin nieces and I are very close and it was important to me that they met and liked David when we were first dating. I’m sure that the next thing that happened after they were introduced was that we went to parade was a big help in them deciding it was okay if I kept him! We share interests with each of them too and we spend a weekend with each of them individually to enjoy those things. They like that because the things they have in common with us are different and it gives them a week away from the “other” twin.

Rina’s interest in common with us is trains. We left Friday night right after David got home from work, staying in Cranberry, PA. Then Saturday was up at “oh-God-thirty” to chase Norfolk Southern Trains along the way into Altoona, where the Railfest was held. Rina’s favorite railroad is Norfolk Southern because of their bold black and white engines with the horse on the front, so a day chasing trains in Altoona, NS country, was a day well-spent.

Altoona is also the home of Sheetz and their fantastic MTO (Made To Order) take out menu. Rina discovered on our railfan weekend last year that Sheetz is a great place to find good vegetarian food, which is good news to Sheetz pretzel-melt loving me! We even found a veritable Sheetz Castle, that had a sit-down area and gelato! There were quite a few to go meals from Sheetz this weekend!

Sunday was our big Railfest day! We rode an excursion ride to Horseshoe Curve, riding behind 1940s era E-Unit locomotives. When we got to the station it was starting to rain. Rina said she thought it would be cool to ride the train in a thunderstorm and mother nature obliged! Once we got on board, the rain started coming down harder with a few flashes and rumbles. As if she’d commanded the whole thing to follow her script, the rain had stopped and there were even a few patches of blue sky by the time we got back!

I think the coolest part of riding Horseshoe Curve was looking out the windows and being able to see the front of the train...and turning to look the other way and seeing the back of the train! It’s a totally cool piece of track!

After the excursion train got back into town, we went over to the museum, where we walked out to the turntable to see the NS tuxedoed F-Units. I love those classy black, white and gold locos and I was excited to show them to Rina. She loved them! I have a picture of her just before she turned 7 standing next to a steam engine at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Now I have one of her standing next to the F-Units at almost 14. I wonder what engine I’ll photograph her in front of at 21?

David worked the late shift tonight, so we had a few hours to play this morning before we headed back into Toledo. We got a few trains in Western PA and Eastern Ohio, before a final Sheetz stop to pick up lunch for the rest of the ride home. Rina had been eying the Chocolate Mint shakes all weekend, so the last of the railfan weekend treats for her, was a you mix-it shake from Sheetz!

Tonight we watched some TV and relaxed a little after an active weekend of early mornings and many, many trains! I think she said something about waking her up at noon tomorrow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Taste of A Perfect Summer Day

Today’s blog is a short one but a big one! Again, the freebie isn’t from me, but it’s with my kit! Vicki, of Bubbles Babble, the quick page queen, did this fabulous layout with my “A Perfect Summer Day.” “A Perfect Summer Day” is available as a bonus to anyone who posts a layout done with one of my kits or parts of any of my kits or scrapbooking elements and sends a link or jpg file to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com.

You can score a quick page of this layout at Bubbles Babbles. Remember to read the whole entry or you won’t have the necessary password and you’ll miss out on the thoughts and stories she includes in her blog too! While you’re there, if you haven’t visited her blog, check out the other quick pages and anecdotes she offers. Her blog is on my blog roll because it’s just a fun read! Leave a note in her comments to say “Hi” and let her know you stopped by and as Vicki says “remember your manners” and if you download the quick page, leave a “Thanks” in the comments at 4-shared or Bubbles Babbles!

Enjoy the freebie and if you’d like the whole kit, send me your layouts!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

The Spehtune Nebula in...

Nah, this is FIREWORKS!
From the Mud Hens game last Sunday
at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio

It does kinda have a space-ish look though, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Happy Tuesday carefully disguised as a Monday!

Okay, the Mug Shot is late this week. Ya know how when there is a holiday the garbage is picked up a day late?

Bad analogy. The Mug Shot is NOT garbage! But we are in the test area for an automated garbage pickup here. We have two mini dumpsters on wheels. The gray one is for garbage. It holds a TON of garbage, more than we have in a week, all in one mini-dumpster that even I can wheel out to the curb! I do admit, it’s easier when it’s empty, but even full, I can manage it! I found that out when David was on vacation last month and I had to take it out. Every other week the blue one, for recycling, gets picked up. When the garbage truck comes, it pulls up to the curb and extends a large clamping arm that grabs the mini dumpster at the middle and lifts it up to the opening where the garbage goes in the truck, turning it upside down and emptying it. When the arm turns the dumpster right side up, the lid comes back down and it’s placed back on the curb.

At first I didn’t like the idea. The automation would displace workers. While I‘m not happy that where we had one person driving and two picking up the garbage before and now there are one or two people in the truck, I also see more smaller trucks doing other things while the garbage is being picked up. My thought, my hope, is that a large number of former trash pickup employees were reassigned rather than laid off. As part of the unworking class, I want to see advancements made for the good of people, not just for the good of money. Laying people off only puts fewer people who have buying power and that’s bad for the economy, which in turn, causes more jobs lost! It’s a vicious spiral. But it seems like the new idea for trash pickup is not convenience at the expense of people or the economy and at least for now, there is no increase in the taxes for trash pickup, which, regardless of what they complain about on the radio, is not at all expensive here and we get a tax cut for recycling!

So, the Automated trash pickup doesn’t seem to have displaced many workers. I can definitely see the safety benefits for the trash collectors in not having to lift the cans or bags repeatedly which can cause all kinds of strains or spams from the repetitive motion, let alone the dangers of doing that while sanding on ice in the winter! It’s also kinda cool to watch the metal arm grab the mini dumpster like it’s a cup of coffee and chug it!

So, it’s safe, cool and fun. NOW the analogy works! So, the Monday Mug Shot is delayed one day after the holiday, just like the safe, cool and fun garbage pickup!

Monday Mug Shot

The Professional Football Hall of Fame
Canton, Ohio

Before we talk about the visit to the Football Hall, lets first talk about the mug. I love this mug! I have a few like this and I love them all! See the football on the mug handle? It spins! I hold the mug by the handle and I can flick at the football with my thumb and it spins! How cool is that?

Okay, I’m a dork. But I’m a happy dork in my little world with toys on the handles of my coffee mugs! Yanno, it’s a good life lesson. If you can find joy and a smile in the smallest things, you’ll always be able to find some good in a bad situation. I look for the little things that make me happy all the time and I always have something to smile about. Of course the flip side of that is that I am very emotional and when there is REAL cause for joy, I’m often moved to the point of tears. But I found during Nanifest XL that my teary joy moved other people too. That was good for more hugs and who doesn’t want more hugs from the people they love?

Okay, now I guess I’d better get on with how I came to own this mug with the cool spinning football!

In the late 90s and early 00s, I wrote for an indoor soccer publication called The Great Indoors. The editor and I traveled to a couple of out of town games and we discovered that we were good travel companions and had some similar interests beyond indoor soccer. It was on one of our nonbusiness trips that I went to my first Minor League Baseball game and became thoroughly hooked! On one visit to the Cleveland area, where the newsletter is published, we went to Canton, to the Football Hall of Fame.

I am a casual football fan. I like the game and love to watch it played when it’s played well. I love sports anyway, my sports knowledge, not for the pro players, but for the rules and strategies of the games, is what gave me the edge over two already in-house men who were the other finalists for my sports producer position in the early 90s. I liked football and I loved Friday nights in the fall at work. At the high school varsity level, they play was enjoyable to watch. But I was not a devoted Sunday afternoon armchair quarterback. I liked the hometown Lions, but I suppose when your home-team only makes the high school teams look better, it does deter one from becoming an avid fan of the game!

So, I agreed to go to the Football Hall of Fame, but didn’t expect it to be anything more than maybe an opportunity to tuck some trivial pursuit sports answers away. I discovered that I knew more about the NFL than I thought! I didn’t feel like such a student.

There was a video presentation, the NFL Experience, that was pretty cool to view in a theater setting that was like sitting in a locker room to watch the movie. Then we went into the museum to see the exhibits.

I was pleased to find that I knew names and accomplishments, I learned new things too, but it was what I already new that surprised me. It wasn’t such a dry day after all. It was an interesting day of football discovery and self-discovery. I’m not as detached a casual fan as I thought.

I guess, once a tomboy, always a tomboy, at heart anyway. I still wore skirts to work on the days that I wasn’t climbing on top of the production truck in the field, but that part of my nature that played hockey, collected gardener snakes and spent half of my allowance on baseball cards before I was ten was still alive and kicking. When I graduated from trade school and interviewed for both a video job chasing trains and one producing high school sports, that was my inner tomboy. And now, well I watch the Patriots with David and a better team to watch has made me a little more into the pro game. And I still don’t like shoes - the tomboy lives!

Oh, I’m still a casual fan, but a fairly knowledgeable one...for a girl! ;)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all of us in the States!

David and I just got in from a couple of days chasing trains in Maryland. The furry kids were so happy to see Mom and Dad home! We had some nasty storms with lots of rain in Toledo while we were gone, so I suspect we had a couple of cats under the bed upstairs for a while!

I came in to post a quick blog to direct fellow scrappers to The Scrappin' Freestyle blog for a Digitalegacies freebie! No, It’s not “me” being featured, but it’s none other than Sherrie, RC Mama Designs, who is the featured designer today! I did a layout and quick page with her “Let Freedom Ring” kit, an awesome kit, great for Americana stuff and versatile enough to do some other great layouts too. Sherrie is offering my quick page as the freebie on the SFS blog, so be sure to stop by, read the interview part of the spotlight and get to know this talented designer and fantastic person who welcomed me on her Creative Team when I was just a novice. I’m proud to promote for her and create with her wonderful kits!

If you like the quick page, take advantage of the opportunity to get Let Freedom Ring for 50% off during Scrappin' Freestyle’s birthday celebration!

Scrappin' Freestyle Blog
RC Mama Designs Blog

Wednesday, July 2, 2008