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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Splendor Blog Party

Welcome to the Fall Splendor Blog Party, coordinated by Wenchd Grafix - This is my first collab kit! I'm excited to be part of it! Kristine has been a great organizer with 70 designers all participating in a HUGE kit!

Along with photographing trains in all the gorgeous majestic color in these parts, one of the biggest celebrations of fall for me is apple picking! I love to go to the orchard during fall festival to pick apples and check out the many things to see and do. Most of the orchards I’ve picked a in Michigan have weekend fun to offer. There are games and Karaoke at Wiards in Ypsilanti, arts and crafts for the kids at Erwin's in South Lyon and the crafts barn and petting zoo at Erie Orchards in Erie. And of course, there is apple cider, hot, cold or as a slushie and donuts! NOTHING compares to cider mill donuts. It may be a little eating atmosphere, but sitting outside eating a cider mill donut is even better than a Tim Horton’s walnut crunch! (Especially if the cider mill donut is a pumpkin donut!)

So, of course, my contribution to the kit is very apple-pumpkiny! We’ll be picking soon and then the apple sauce, apple crisps and turnovers are made. YUM!! There are recipe cards in my part of the kit too!

The Digitalegacies freebie is only a small sample of the whole mega kit! Like I said, there are SEVENTY designers who have added to this mega kit. I checked out the previews at Blog Party Central and it is just a beautiful place. Start with the great color swatch we had and then add all that talent and it's all FREE! I'm just blown away with the company I'm keeping here. There are some of my favorite designers who have contributed to this kit! The Digitalegacies kit stands proudly next to them too!

Here is the Digitalegacies contribution to this huge collab kit!

Sorry, this link is expired.

Now, get on over to blog party central to see all the previews for this monster kit!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Finals Are Here!

That’s right, it’s down to eleven final contestants! To get you ready for voting, I have a sample of each designer’s contest work and a link to her blog! As may of you know, I really disliked the colors for the last round. A personal opinion, but I thought the gallery looked pretty dreary with all that brown. That’s a shame, because there were some great kits with rich, textured papers and quaint antique elements that would have just taken my breath away with a little bit of color! This round, the final round, was “show us your style.” There was no palette, no theme, completely free. This week’s gallery is GORGEOUS! The colors are bright and beautiful and the themes varied and versatile, including a couple of kits that I’d call great heritage kits! So now, I’d like to introduce you to my cast mates from the past month, who’ve made it to the final round! (Be sure to stop at their blogs for more examples and the extra promo freebies!)

1. Ambowife Designs
A Charmed Life
Click on image to go to download

2 . Aquarius Design - Aquarius Scrapability
Child’s Play
Click on image to go to download

3 . Charlen49 - Charlie’s Digiscraps
Paper Princess
Click on image to go to download

4. Designs By Karyn The Life and Times of Karyn
9 PM
Click on image to go to download

5 . Mitsybelle - mITSYBELLE
A Bit Of Bling
Click on image to go to download

6 . Noreimerreason - No Reimer Reason
Tea Party
Click on image to go to download

7. Piggy Scraps Designs
Falling Into Fall
Click on image to go to download

8 . QueenBrat - Bits N Pieces of QueenBrat Designs
Written In The Stars
Click on image to go to download

9 . Sooze - Srappin and Stuff with Sooze
Just 4 Fun
Click on image to go to download

10. Starlight - Monika Digital Designs
Click on image to go to download

11. Wimpy Chompers - Wimpy Chompers Creations
Pieces of Me
Click on image to go to download

So, there’s your taste of the scrapbook buffet at Stone Accents Studio. Only three of these incredible designers will join the SAS team. I still haven’t decided yet. This is by far the toughest round because this time there won’t be others to make up for the number 4 and 5 kits I don’t vote for. Flipping a coin is truly one wins, one loses! Loses this particular contest anyway. As I said early in this competition, we are all winners for having the courage to try. Look at the kits that have been posted in this contest since day one. That courage is part of the talent package! I’ll be doing some looking, thinking and sorting through the kits I downloaded and making that tough choice. SAS asks you to only choose 3! So please, look at the samples here, click on those blog links and get to know the designers, then click below and vote for your favorite three!

Monday Mug Shot

HPS Office Systems
Putting food in my nieces’ bellies!

This one is not my mug, but it’s the mug I drank Sunday morning coffee out of! This is where my bother works, selling business machines that....He told me the “official” wording of what they sell. But, it’s photo copiers, photocopiers and other machines to offices.

Sunday was a GREAT coffee day. Why so? Because I FINALLY had my first cup of PUMPKIN SPICE for autumn 2008!!

Okay, Let me back up a little. Pop and Aunt Judy were trekking to Indy to visit my brother and the family there. There’s a polka party show on the last Friday of the month and Dave’s been trying to coax Dad out to see it. Not a hard sell. Let’s see, an evening of very old school music with accordion and the opportunity to see his granddaughters. Yeah, Pop was there the next last Friday after Dave told him about it.

David had an extra day off Friday, but while polka music is part of my heritage and music from my childhood, my honey doesn’t share that past or the warm fuzzies from the Warsaw Two-step! We ventured out for some different old-school stuff in Indiana on Saturday. The CSX line in the Lafayette area still uses working semaphore signals! We left at “Oh-God thirty,” headed for Indiana and we were in Peru by sunrise. Over the course of the day, I accumulated 25 trains on my memory card, including a few with those semaphores in them. The semaphores are so cool to watch! My opinion they’re easier to read too. But they are also much more expensive to maintain, which is why there are so very few still in existence.

On Saturday, we morning we spent a few more hours in the land that railroad tm preserved before heading to Indianapolis for dinner and time with the family.

Pop made cussione, which is an Italian spinach pie. I can’t think of a better way to describe it right off. They are pastry pockets with greens in them. The recipes I’ve seen call for onions and spinach, but Noni always used swiss chard and onions and of course, since that is our family tradition, that’s what my Dad uses. I love cussione, even though they are fried, I’ve loved them all my life. It’s comfort food. My father worries that I’m with a man who is not adventurous when it comes to food. “I know, ‘meat and potatoes’ guy. (Yawn)” he says. Pop was pleased that David tried the cussione. He didn’t care for them, but he did try and Pop sees that as “progress!” :)

Laura, the my girfriend-in-law, made a fantastic spice sheet cake that she frosted and Tori added decorations to. I brought my used candles and we put the #1 in the middle, putting one 4 in front of it on the ”Happy Birthday Dave” side and the other 4 after the one on the “Happy Birthday Rina and Tori side. How to make a 41 and a 14 when you only have one leftover 1 candle! LOL. I recited the greeting that goes with the used purple outlined candles on their cake for their September birthdays on the last weekend of the month:
“For a happy birthday you must have
Something late and something early,
something used and something purply!
Happy Halloween!”
Yeah, I wrote it. It completely fit the occasion of celebrating birthdays late with used candles! :) By the way, the life span of those number candles is 3 cakes! They’d all been used twice, once for David and once for me. The wicks, which do not run the length of the candles, were spent after this cake. Now we have a lonely 2 with only one cake-life left in it! Dave and Laura are planning to get married nex year, so maybe they could use it for their second anniversary?

We played Cranium until way too late, but it was fun. I say way too late, because David, Rina and I were doing some Indy train chasing before Sunday breakfast! We did manage to get up and out in time. It was a stop for coffee that awarded me my first real taste of fall! I walked up to the “cheat-a-accino” dispenser there in welcoming bold letters - “PUMPKIN SPICE!” NOW I understand why so many people rave about the Indianapolis Speedways!

After the trains, we headed back home for big Sunday breakfast. That’s when I had coffee in the cup celebrating Dave’s employer. It’s also when I enjoyed the best sausage gravy ever! Laura makes sausage gravy from scratch. I love sausage gravy and hers was phenomenal! I’m very pleased that Bro is keeping her!

Tori, Daddy and Rina - Birthday 414!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Around The Horn

For Me? More???

I am flattered to be a 3-time recipient of the “I Heart Your Blog” award! Karyn from “The Life and Times of Karyn” and also a cast-mate on the scrapping reality show at SAS presented me with the award last week. I’ve been kinda consumed with the designing myself, then the promoting of my “sisters in stress,” so my manners slipped a little. I am grateful for the recognition! :)


Okay, the iPod has been up for a while now. What say you, readers? Do you like it?

I made it a point to put it up high on the side bar so it’s an OPTION. If you click the play button at the bottom of the middle circle, it turns off. If I’m checking my own page and I’m listening to music on the iTunes, I use that button to turn it off as soon as the page loads. I hate blogs that have music that you either can’t turn off or the controls are at the bottom of a very long page.

My musical taste is pretty mainstream, but the variety of that taste is a bit eclectic. Where else can you go to hear Keith Urban, 112 and Glenn Miller? If you were here when “Letters From Home” was the current kit in the SAS contest, you probably noticed that you heard Letters first every time you visited. It’s in the rotation now and the iPod is again on random. When I was still trying to create a kit for week three, “Little Brown Jug” was in the rotation. It’s not there now because I “scrapped” the idea of using that kit name and there are Glenn Miller songs I like lot better.

It’s just a constantly evolving variety of songs that I’ve named scrapbook kits after and songs I just like. I’ve tried to stick to the most middle of the road songs in hopes that the selections aren’t offensive. I like a lot of Metallica and Iron Maiden too, but I don’t think you’ll hear them on my “Public iPod.”

I haven’t heard any negative comments about it thus far and I really like the ability to “set the mood” when I launch a new kit. So, I think Nani-Music is staying.

I promise to always have the iPod up high enough in the right column to turn off if you choose. This one’s for David, I also promise - no Iron Maiden!

Nani’s Grand Slam Breakfast!

Okay, the story here is one of the last zucchini a week and a half later, 2 grand slams in one game and an antique recipe book.

Nani, ‘SPLAIN!!

Hehe... Okay, the above breakfast loaf is homemade zucchini bread! Remember that last trip to the farmer’s market with Dad...in the rain? He loaded me up bags of several of my favorites. I had green beans and roma tomatoes and a beautiful cabbage and a bag of huge zucchinis, green and yellow ones, as part of that care package. I have been loving all the fresh veggie dishes and a couple batches of vegetable stew! I’ll have the last of that stew tomorrow for lunch. The good and bad about the veggie stew is that David doesn’t like it. That’s good because I get all the vitamins, antioxidants and wonderful lo-cal flavor all for myself! But not so good, because I like to cook FOR people and I especially like to cook for David things he likes. But on some things, if I don’t just go ahead and make them and enjoy them alone, I don't get them at all. So I have my homemade vegetable soup for lunches and when he has steak. Works fine for us!

Back to the zucchini... I used zucchini in my stew, made seasoned steamed zucchini as a side, had the pancakes again, (golly those are so good!) and I even broke down one night and made breaded and fried zucchini medallions for us. There was one yellow one left earlier this week that was getting brown splotchies on it! Now, brown splotchies on the outside doesn’t mean dead yet, but it does mean use it quick and preferably in a recipe where it doesn’t have to look good!


Zucchini bread! But I don’t have a good zucchini bread recipe! I started looking through my collection of cookbooks.

Now, remember that I chewed home run gum balls and ate BB Bats as a kid because they had baseball stuff on them. As a grownup I...well, I haven’t changed! I order Baseball Nut ice cream at Baskin Robbins or buy Toft's Bullpen Chocolate or Strawberry Strikeout at the store. If I can find the Hostess Baseballs, I buy them. Pretty much, if they make it look baseball-flavored, I’ll still pick that one.

In my kitchen collection I have a fund raiser cookbook from 1974. “Tigers’ Favorite Recipes,” the favorite recipes of the Detroit Tigers as cooked by the Tiger wives.

Among Jim Northrup’s accomplishments in his playing days, was hitting two grand slams in one game in 1968. He hit them in consecutive innings in a 14-3 slaughter of the Cleveland Indians. As I was flipping through the pages of the book, that if it weren’t a baseball cookbook, I’d have just checked the index, but now I was reading every page, I came across the Jim Northrup page and his wife’s recipe for Pumpkin Bread. I assessed what I knew I had in the house and what substitutions and changes I could make to turn it into zucchini bread and was on my way!

The result, a successful “recipelift!” I finished the recipe off with a light sweep of a simple butter cream frosting. It is so tasty and moist like you wouldn’t believe! David’s not into sweet breads either, so half of that loaf is in the freezer already because I want to discipline myself. I don't want a celebration of "two grand slams in one game" to become “two grand flabs in weight gain!”

Perfect, just perfect!

I just love Beckie Wallace’s design work! Back in June, when I was a guest on her Creative Team, I found her kits were just so in tune with me and the things I scrap. You have to see her blog! She has a new elements pack in her store that is just SO Nani!

Coffee Talk is a set of 8 coffee mugs and a coffee ring for the table. Seven of the mugs are cool word art with one blank mug to “paint yourself!” Just too cool! (And now the very TOP of my Christmas list! LOL) I’m sending you to Beckie’s blog rather than right to her store, because she has a free sample with the link to "Coffee Talk.” The sample freebie was the OMG moment for me. Just a couple weeks ago, it was a coolish afternoon railfanning and I was ready for a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. David jokes about my pumpkin obsession and said “it’s that time of year again.” I told him that pumpkin spice coffee was the sign that fall is here.” And the sample mug? Well, let’s say it fits PERFECTLY with that discussion!

Go to Beckie’s blog, check out “Coffee Talk” and if you haven’t tried Pumpkin Spice coffee yet, put it on your “must try” list!!

FREE COFFEE form Beckie Wallace Designs

Photoblog Wednesday

Sand Patch, 2006

Fall colors and CSX trains in Pennsylvania, mmmm.....

Happy Fall 3rd, Everybody!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SAS-y Cheerleader!

Cheer button by Jessica Eriksson

The vote is finally up at Stone Accents Studio for round 3! It was late in getting posted, not sure why, but I know there were many current round contestants (and one drop out) hitting the refresh with much anxiety all night, all day for our finalists from down under!

A word about my status - As you know, I dropped out because I just couldn’t work with the palette. I found it not just uninspiring, but depressing. That’s just me. I know a lot of people really love the grungy-looking browns for heritage layouts. I prefer to use color to tell the parts of the stories that black and white photos don’t tell, so I just couldn’t bring myself to put together elements from items I’d scanned having to take the colors out and then get rid of the nasty black and white too!

Like I said, that's just me, but I can promise that there is not, nor will there ever be, a Digitalegacies Designs Scrapbook kit that I wouldn’t buy. That’s my benchmark for my work. When all is said and done, if I wouldn’t buy it, it’s not even good ENOUGH.

Now, here’s the bright news in that. I am so completely NOT anti-heritage kits! LOL If you saw “Even The Losers,” and you thought maybe you’d like my attempted kit but haven’t downloaded it yet, snatch it up quick! At midnight Eastern US Time, the link will expire. Now that doesn’t mean you’ll never have a chance to pick up those Digitalegacies artifacts again. It just means you’ll have to wait! I’m going to use those pieces as the beginning of a heritage kit I WOULD buy for next month! So stay tuned!

The working title for the failed kit was “Little Brown Jug.” With the Glenn Miller and record elements, you kinda get an idea where wanted to go with that. The kit will not be called “Little Brown Jug,” though. I have a few ideas in mind! Again, stay tuned!

The reason I’m waiting until next month to do this, is this month is all about the contestants still vying for your votes at SAS! Now, I’m head cheerleader and promoter for the wonderful designers still competing! There were 20 designers that made it to round 3. Two of us dropped out, but that leaves 18 of those heritage kits available for free! It’ll cost you free membership to Stone Accents Studio, a little download time and a vote! If you download even one of the kits, you ought to feel obligated to give at least that designer a vote! But see what’s there. My method, and this is not an SAS endorsed method, it’s just mine, is that I decide what kits really catch my eye to download, then I take a good look at the kits I’ve downloaded and vote for my favorite two or three. The narrowing down process if a lot easier than downloading everything and trying to choose from there. I look at the preview as an important part of the kit. In a shop, that preview has to be what prompts someone to buy. There is no free trial of the whole kit! So, the method I use checks that “would I buy it?” test.

I was disappointed that they took the limits off the numbers of papers and elements. There were several contestants that were struggling and some that just went to town when those gates were opened. It’s kinda like a kid who stays out all night the first night the curfew is removed. (I did that when I turned 18 hehe) But brown heritage kits are not the only things that sell and it put some very talented designers at a grave disadvantage in this round. I do implore you to not consider the number of papers and elements in the round 3 kits. Remember, in a store, those larger kits will cost you more money too! Try to limit yourself to only opening the same number of papers and elements for each kit when you judge them. Make it fair again.

After this round’s voting, ten designers will make it to the final round, where three will become SAS-y Ladies, Stone Accents Studio designers. I’m planning on introducing you to the finalists after Thursday, so come back for more!

For now, get your seat on the council for determining the future! Vote today!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Siena Heights University
Adrian, Michigan

Siena Heights, my alma mater! It was Siena Heights College when I was there, becoming a University just as I was finishing my degree. We have fun here with the differences in our schools. David went to one of those Ivy League schools back East. The difference between an Ivy League school and a private Catholic College? We have crystal stemware with the Cornell crest on it. For Siena Heights, we have a coffee mug!

So, I started and finished school in a private Catholic Institution. I went to St. Pius Catholic school in Southgate, Michigan for first though fourth grades. Then public schools for the rest of grade school, community college and trade school for the first two years of college.

I decided I would give it a go with the trade school certificate and my equivalent 2 years of college and not worry about the bachelor’s degree. The truth is, the money just wasn’t there for any more school. I had to go make some money before I could get more education anyway! And I was doing VERY well moving through internships, part time gigs, contract work as a camera operator for town meetings, then the job at Omnicom!

I loved the job at Omnicom! I was the Public Access Producer and Local Sports Director. I coordinated, wrote class materials and taught public access classes and I produced high school and community sports programming. I worked and average of 55-60 hours a week on salary and I LOVED my job! That salary had progressively gone up every year. In fact, my raise was above company average after my second year. That was merit. I’d turned around the image of the local sports programming, offering a balance of men's and ladies’ coverage and boldly covering sports that hadn’t been televised in Southeast Michigan before. I also worked with a great group of young professionals, many of whom are still good friends today.

But in 1995, Omnicom was bought out by a larger company. The first thing the new company did was review records and give everyone raises in compensation to “industry standard.” It was a sizable raise and I wasn’t unhappy about that! But then, the other shoe fell...hard. In the new world order, my job wouldn’t be Public Access and Local Sports. Those were very separate parts of local programming in the new company. I was not going to be the Public Access Coordinator anymore. I was also NOT going to be the Sports Director. I was going to be one of the producers in the local origination pool. That’s like being the office manager and being given a raise before they put you into the secretarial pool!

I’d turned the image of the sports department around in the eyes of the high school sports directors. I’d increased the number of people who attended public access classes and that increased the number of community produced shows. I’d won a statewide award for my editing work and was on a first name basis with the elected officials in the five municipalities we served. Why was I being demoted? When I asked, I was told that they wouldn’t even consider interviewing me for the job I’d had for over four years because I didn’t have a degree. I was only still there because I was grandfathered in.

To say I was upset was an understatement. If wasn’t a devoutly nonviolent person, I could have gone postal before going postal was cool! But, I also realized that if I wanted to go anywhere in my chosen profession, or any profession, I needed the degree!

Siena Heights is in Adrian, Michigan, but was just starting a program for degree completion with satellite campuses scattered around Southeastern Michigan. When I sat down with the admissions counselor, he went through my transcripts. I had my 2 years from community college and credit for trade school. I would also get credit for all of my internships and many of my classes for my major with a letter of recommendation and verification form my program director. If I passed the testing to get into the program for the accelerated classes, and didn’t take summers off, with a full class load, I could be finished in a year and a half.

I took the necessary tests, got the letter from my PD and started in the accelerated program at the Southfield campus. It was a grueling year and a half! I left the old job and coordinated three part time jobs with school to maximize the class schedules available to me. This slow reader was reading 10-15 chapters a week, writing papers, preparing for tests and driving between all my jobs. My daytimer and my coffee cup we my best friends!

I’m proud to say that I made it trough that time! In June of 1997, I took my last exam and in August, was awarded my degree in Broadcast Communications with a 3.8 GPA. I was 31 years old. Times may be tough right now. They’re tough everywhere. But, I do know that when things get better, I have that piece of paper that will make a difference again some day. And I also stand as shining example. I am both proof that you’re never too old to get that degree, but the tiring way I finished it stands as a testament to the preferred way to do it, right after high school!

If your are over thirty and without a degree, know that you too can have a mug like this and earn the right to say “my alma mater.” But if you are reading this and you’re still in high school, YOU still have a chance to earn the stemware!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Even The Losers...

Just not feeling all the brown for old stuff!

For the record, if you aim for the batter, the ump will eject you. If the manager pulls you before you get that desperate, you don’t get to play anymore innings in the game, but you won’t miss your next start either.

So, the manager of Digitalegacies, oh, that’s me, came to the mound for “the talk”

“Do you think you can get this next kit out?”

“You know I’m not gonna say I can’t.”

“If you can’t get this next idea, I’m pulling ya.”

So, Coach goes back to the dugout and I sit in front of the computer, staring at the swatch before me with glazed eyes. I made a couple elements. The first one was low and the batter didn’t even flinch. The second one looked good, I thought it was close enough inside of the high and inside corner. Not so much.

I did a paper. That was foul. I tried recoloring it and it never made the catcher’s mitt. Out of the park.

Coach comes back to the mound.

“I’m sorry, you really tried, but give me the mouse.”

I’m sorry to all of the scrappers who read this blog and don’t know baseball. I’m also sorry to the baseball fans who don’t know scrapping.

David and Seamhead Gypsy get it though. ;)

In a nutshell, I pulled myself out of the design competition. I’ve tried several things and have nothing to show for it but a few ideas that I think are good ones but I just can’t do them within the palette! As I paraphrased in the contestants lounge at SAS “It’s better to post nothing and be thought not talented enough to compete than to post a kit that removes all doubt!”

I will still be involved as a cheerleader to my fellow contestants and I’m trying to organize a cast party after the scrapping designer reality show has completed and the last three cast members stand to receive their reward! The great news for scrap fans about the cast party? FREEBIES! Stay tuned as I hopefully get things organized.

Also, as a thank you for your support as I attempted to become a SAS-y Lady, I do have a final contest freebie for you! Like I said, I had a few decent ideas, but I just couldn’t bring myself to drain the color out of them to fit the palette. I created those things anyway!

Well, I’m not going to use them alone!!!

Okay, I guess it’s sorta like trying to feed all the leftover cyber Jell-O to my avatar after a failed attempt at a computer bake-off so she gains 20 pixels, but it’s just too many pixels to sit dormant in my 4-shared account for me alone! And besides, only avatars get fat from cyber Jell-o! (That’s why they prefer black forest cake!)

Here are the efforts that were worth sharing!

(sorry, link is expired - These elements will be back as part of a new kit next month!)

Named for a Tom Petty song, “Even The Losers” has only one paper and 6 elements. Three of the elements are in violation of the palette anyway. (Meaning the ump would have thrown me out of the game for a spit ball!) :) I do reserve the right to use these elements in future kits, where appropriate!

Of course, just as with any Digitalegacies kit, use any part of “Even The Losers” and send me a file or URL, and I’ll send you the links to an even better prize, “Indian Summer!”

Make sure you stop at Stone Accents Studio and check out the contest gallery where you can download some HUGE kits from contestants who did figure our how to do something with this palette!

Wait 'Til Next Year!!

Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, Home Run KINGS!

I keep telling David, WE ARE GONNA KICK SOME BUTT NEXT YEAR! The Reds beat Milwaukee 11-2 Friday night, ELEVEN TO TWO!! We don’t have Ken Griffey, Jr., We don’t have Adam Dunn and we don’t have Lance Berkman...yet. But what we do have is a growing core that’s completely nuclear!

Joey Votto and Jay Bruce both went yard twice, making up over half of the Reds record SEVEN home runs in the game.

After losing the first series of September 2-1 to the Pirates, the Reds have won every series this month. They are 10-6 for September so far.

Heck with October, I can’t wait until April 6!

We are gonna kick some BUTT next year!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday By Request

It has been a BUSY couple of weeks! I don’t scrap during the day. If I tried to scrap during lunch, it would end up being a four-hour lunch Before I knew it and I’d have wasted any time to get resumes emailed while someone is there or get to the post office if I needed to. So, scrap-time starts at five. Now remember, I’m earning my room and board playing Donna Reed right now too! So, Donna has to make sure there’s food on the table when Alex gets home from the office!

David and I were joking about that yesterday. Alex Reed was a physician. Donna was living the dream of the day. She snagged her a doctor! We agreed that if it was back at the time of The Donna Reed Show, I wouldn’t be in bad shape having snagged a newspaper man, either. Ah, but in today’s world, newspapers have a lot more competition and in this economy and job market, the newspaper big shots take as much advantage as anyone does! Maybe a TV producer would be the lucrative mate of today? Oh, wait. That education and background is ME, and I’m not making that big money either. One of us needs to go to med school! (Or I gotta see if Uncle Vinne is modern enough to let me into the family business!*)

The point is, my after 5 hours are pretty booked too. I have the heritage project that I am ever feverishly working on and right now, almost constant designing!

For the record, I made the cut for round 3 of the contest at SAS! Now I have to come up with one more kit by Monday! We have a theme AND a color palette this time around. It kinda squishes inspiration possibilities a little bit more. You can’t get much more dull than the palette we have to work with and my job is to make something interesting within the theme. But that’s the essence of a contest like this. Can you still take to the mound and register the outs when there is almost no strike zone? Well, I’m gonna do it or bean the batter trying!

But enough scrap-talk! Let’s get on with Friday By Request...which is more scrap-talk this week! hehehe

Lora sent me an email with her request. At first she asked if I could do a kit, but then referred back to the “official rules” for FBR and acknowledging the “no kits” clause asked if I could help her locate the kits she was looking for. THAT I can do!

Lora’s daughter is in her 3rd year as a cheerleader for their town’s youth league. She sent me a photo. She is an absolute doll in her cheer-gear! What Lora’s request is, what she’s looking for is scrapbooking kits for cheerleading. So she and I agreed that I’d compile a list of scrap supplies for the cheerleading theme.

Seems like it should be a simple enough request, but nuh-uh! It’s easier to find fairy kits than cheerleaders kits! Personally, I don’t get that. There are more cheerleader pictures to scrap than fairy pictures! But I spent a couple of evenings searching the net, freebie places and scrapbook stores. I even posted a query in the contestants lounge at SAS. where I got a tip from Amber at No Reimer Reason and one form Katlen at Katlen Kreations, but everyone in the contestant forum agreed that it was odd, but true, that cheer leader kits are not in abundance!

So, here is everything I could find this week:

“Gimme an S, Gimme a C, Gimme an R-A-P!”
For Lora

We really do need more kits for shots like this!

This ended up being quite a challenge! Honestly, none of the girls in my life have done any cheerleading, though with Tori and Rina starting high school this year, I suppose that could change. At any rate, I haven’t had the need to look. So, here is the list of what I could find this week. If you know of more, please share them in the comments!

Red titles are free, Green titles are for sale.

Shell’s Designs has a set of freebie brushes that are pretty nice (although I looked quick and grabbed the url and clicked out - halloween arachnids! YICK!!!!)

Scrapbook Scrapbook has a number of freebies

Breezy Design has some shapes and word art for sale. There is information at this page about purchasing these items coordinated to team colors.

Scrap Girls has some cheerleading stickers for sale

Nexas Blog
This blog entry is a year old, but the really cute buttons freebie is still a valid 4shared link! Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case with an older blog entry, I could not locate the sweet kit on the same page!

Thanks to Amber from No Reimer Reason for pointing out the kit at Digital Candy! Actually, The Digi Twins have a few things at Digital Candy.

There are a couple of megaphone element packs here and here, and a kit called “Catch The Spirit” which is dance and cheer

There’s a really nice Collab kit at Inspiration Lane called Popular that has me nice cheer word art in it.

Katlen, from Katlen Kreations pointed these ones out to me.

We’ve Got Spirit from Digitals

and 8 hits on a search at Digital Scrapbook Place I really like the “We've Got Spirit” kit at DSP!

* I don’t have an uncle Vinnie and my family is not even from THAT part of Italy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Wonderful Gift!

Layout with “I Cross My Heart” by Sherrie of RC Mama Designs

I made the big “my ego can take it” plunge and asked for a serious CC (constructive critique) n my latest kit. Sherrie, RC Mama Designs, one of “my designers” that I CT for, offered that if I wanted it, she’d be brutal, but fair in fine tooth combing my kit. Now, in a competition with deadlines and marathon creating, there just isn’t time for a good CC and adjusting before uploading. IF I got my entry in on time, there’d be no time to promote! But I asked Sherrie to take a look at “I Cross My Heart” and let me know where I can improve the kit for after the competition, and where I can do better if I make it to the next round.

So, I got my kit back with all the mistakes and “needs improvement” circled. It was just like my Mom used to do with my papers in high school. But that’s not at all a bad thing! Mom’s red circles in High School made me a better writer. I’d say it had something to do with my high GPA in college too! (If only David could do that to my typing!) So my design work will be getting better and better. Even if I’m done after this round in the contest, I’m committed to getting better!

There was one point she didn’t mention in her critique that she added later, perhaps not realizing she added it to the critique when she did the layout above, but I completely agree with her. I was so worried about making authentic elements for the theme in this kit, that I neglected to add some rectangle or square frames. Now, there was a size limit as to the number of elements, but I didn’t do any parallelogram frames in the add-on either. Note to self - most photos start out as rectangles!

Sherrie’s comments were not all the places that need improvement! She did make a special mention of really liking the aida cloth with all the needles in it paper in “I Cross My Heart.” She used it in her layout and she gave me the most lovely gift! She made that fabulous layout a quick page for me to share with all of you!

There are two versions of this quick page. The Grandma version, just like her layout, and one that isn't “addressed” so you can love anyone “SEW” much!

You can download the quick page-set here: Sorry, this link is expired.

Make sure you stop by Sherrie’s blog, RC Mama Designs, and let her know you go t the quick page and tell how awesome she is for making for all of us!

If you haven’t voted yet or haven't downloaded all the great kits from round 2, what are you waiting for?? Remember that you need to be logged in at SAS to download and vote. If you aren’t a member, it’s free and painless to join and downloading the kits in this contest alone are worth the trouble! But I bet you’ll find all kinds of reasons to stay once you’re in! Make sure you vote. Vote for the 3, maybe 4 kits you like the best. I’d really love it if one of those boxes you check is “I Cross My Heart” by Nani (That’s SAS member- language for Digitalegacies!)

Photoblog Wednesday

Alexis Kaline has been with us 3 years!

This is a very special Photoblog this Wednesday! Today marks the three-year anniversary of Kaline coming home! I’ve blogged about our baby girl a lot in the past three years! I thought I'd reprint the bad-poem (rhyming) that I wrote for a past Friday By Request about that night in 2005.

Kaline’s Wish

Her momma cat gone, she’s on her own,
Not old enough - hunt skills unknown,
Not enough teeth for hard scraps or fish,
Feral baby’s, maybe last wish.

That tiny waif on a chilly night,
Cried for someone to see her plight,
In the truck stop, homeless, left to roam,
Two kind souls came and took her home.

A new adventure, riding by car,
Look out the window, wish on a star,
“Feed and love me and keep me tonight,
Then I’ll be yours, this feels so right.”

Now there’s a room, a box and a bowl,
So much excitement at five weeks old,
Two people on the bed stare and smile,
“I think I’ll stay under here a while!”

Her little eyes open with sun’s gleam,
She’s in a house - it’s not a dream!
She hears voices from the bed above,
Last night they came, picked her to love.

Too high to jump, she climbed up the bed,
“My Mommy, My Daddy,” thoughts in her head,
Showered in scritches and loving voice,
“I found a home, Oh boy! Rejoice!’

“My people, I’ll love you through the years,
You saved me from all of my fears,
You give me love and food in my dish,”
Mommy and Daddy - Kaline’s wish!

If you’d like to read or reminisce about that first blog about Alexis Kaline, here is the link to the archives entry about it - “I’m A New Mommy!”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just a reminder...

As promised, I have a new freebie for you today made with “I Cross My Heart” and a reminder to vote in the Next SAS-y Lady Contest at Stone Accent Studios!

I’m not saying you have to vote for me. I know that I’ve seen that word you don’t want to see when you’re in a popular vote contest, “different.” But if you think different is good, if you want something new, something exciting in your scrapbook layouts and you think the Digitalegacies brand of different is one that expresses your own “different,” please, consider checking off the box next to “I Cross My Heart” by Nani at SAS!

Sorry, this link is expired.

Today’s freebie to celebrate the start of voting is a set of 5 brag book pages made with “I Cross My Heart.” I’m not doing this one as an SAS exclusive because this round, the gallery is set so that if you aren’t signed in, you can’t download. I really do want you to sign in and vote. I’d love it if one of your votes was for me. But more than anything, I started doing the freebies because I like giving gifts! I want everyone to be able to enjoy the gift, whether or not you sign in, whether or not you vote for me!

Vote for me! Well, vote for the kit or kits you like the best, but I hope I’m one of them!
Thanks for your support!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Galveston Island, Texas

It’s a topical mug today. It’s heartbreaking to see the photos of Galveston Island after Ike blew through. Yes, homes in more opulent beach front areas were destroyed. Homes, beautiful homes, owned by people that chose to build there for the beauty and pleasure of the location. I’m not going to imply that they are “faultless victims.” When you can afford to build where you want and you know the risk of living where you do, you’ve carefully weighed out the pros and cons. You’ve decided to take that risk because you worked hard to earn the ability to live in your version of paradise. And now, many of those people have no home to go to. Their mayor has told them “don’t come home,” even if their home is still standing. Even knowing the risk, it’s still a devastating blow!

I can’t imagine being homeless, I have someone who loves me enough to be sure I have shelter, as I’m sure many of the refugees from Ike do, but I do know what it feels like to know that if it wasn’t for that love from someone else, you’d have nothing. Just losing physical property is not exactly having “nothing.” Insurance will help to rebuild and replace, but there is that interim time of helplessness that’s incredibly stressful. That feeling I know well!

Mom and I were in Galveston in September 1999. We’d taken a long weekend and met friends in Houston to see the Cubs and Astros last series at the Astrodome. Our friends, a family we’d met through a baseball chat room on AOL, were Astros fans and Mom and I were there to cheer on her Cubbies. It was a fun rival weekend. We stayed at the same hotel the Cubs did. That wasn’t planned that way, it just happened to be that way! We went on one elevator ride with Jeff Blauser and got a glimpse of Sammy Sosa and entourage headed out to the team bus before the Sunday game. Baseball travel always brings about some fun memories and brushes with the stars.

On Monday, we headed out to Galveston. I’d never been to the Gulf of Mexico before and wanted to put my feet in the water before an anticipated lunch of fresh, I mean FRESH, gulf shrimp. I love palm trees and I just marveled at the beautiful homes and shops and all the palm trees. Then there was the water, all glistening and an oil rig in the distance. I’d never seen an off shore oil rig before either! We picked a nice beach spot and parked.

As soon as I hit the sand, as is my custom, off came the shoes! The sand was warm, pleasantly warm and odd for a then Michigan girl in September. Then I waded in, up to my knees. I just turned around looking at Mom, smiling.

“It’s BATH WATER! It’s just like walking in BATH water!”

The water was so warm! After being in the water of the Great Lakes all my life, and even when I’d been to the Atlantic Ocean, it was in the cooler off-season, the Gulf of Mexico was just a shock, a very pleasing hock, but still a shock. In the hottest part of summer, Lake Superior will still turn your feet blue if you stay in too long! The Gulf was like a hot tub!

When we’d driven onto the main road by the water in the morning, I saw the restaurant I wanted to have lunch at. There was a huge shrimp in front of it! I had to have pictures of the shrimp anyway, so why not stop for lunch, right? We had lunch at Casey’s restaurant at Gaido’s Inn. I had grilled shrimp that had been swimming that morning! It was SOOOO good!

But now, as I tuck those wonderful memories back into their mug, I wonder, I worry, about that great restaurant and the giant shrimp with which I was so enamored. You see the address for Casey’s and Gaidos is on Seawall Boulevard. I really don’t even want to know.

More Scrapbooking Meets Cross Stitching!

Get the quick page as part of “I Cross My Heart”
available for download at Stone Accents Studio!

I hope all the scrappers who visit he Chronicles of Nani are enjoying the abundant freebies at Stone Accents Studio and the increased freebies from Digitalegacies when you visit here this month! There are so many talented amateur designers in this contest that even if I don’t advance, I’m going to try to stay somewhat involved in the contest, maybe in support of one of the other designers who do advance as a guest CT or something. Then again, I may advance to round three for next week myself, so I’m not committing to anything yet! We’ll see what happens. I’ve already learned quite a lot in this endeavor, which is worth the price of admission. That price of admission is, of course, the free kits which are not downloadable from The Chronicles. We pay with advertising for SAS, by bringing our readers to their site.

It’s a brief entry today! I wanted to show and offer! Show you this:

And offer it for free here:

Sorry, this link is expired.

This add on is all the extra elements I did last weekend and the numbers 0-9 to go with “I Cross My Heart” which I hope you’ve already downloaded, but if not, get it here:

Sorry, this link is expired.

Voting starts tonight at 6 PM Central Time. I hope you’ll consider checking off the box next to “I Cross My Heart” by Nani when you vote!

Now back to my daily Monday grind. Scrapbookers and non-Scrappers alike, look for the Monday Mug Shot this evening! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Scrapping Hermit Comes Up For Air

No, I didn’t work on the new kit steady for 2-1/2 days. I don’t scrap during the weekdays 9-5 and well, I left that telegram yesterday! We played drowned water rats in the Motherland for much of the day!

We met Dad and Aunt Judy at the produce market in the Motherland just before 10 AM. It’s a huge market! I ended up bringing home a watermelon, a cabbage,some zucchini, tomatoes, grapefruits and a pomegranate. David says the pomegranate is ugly. I think that has more to do wit having never had a pomegranate before, t just looks strange to him. We bought a bag of Tootsie Pops before we went on our Labor Day trip. Tootsie brand has been introducing some new flavors into the Tootsie Pops. The new flavors are in specially marked bags of the pops, one new flavor to a bag. I’ve tried the watermelon, cotton candy and green apple, but tis bag had a new, new flavor, pomegranate!

Pomegranate is a fruit that has a higher appeal! It’s featured in Christian, Muslim, Greek and Roman art as a fruit to serve to God or the gods. I loved to eat pomegranates as a kid. (delusion of grandeur that long ago, huh?) Both of my parents were avid fans of fresh fruits and veggies and trying new things, but my Dad was especially a fan of trying things he’d never had before He’s in his 60s now and I’d be surprised if there’s a fruit he hasn't tried! Well, the pomegranate tootsie pop had enough of the actual pomegranate flavor to give me a taste for the real thing. Yanno, pomegranates are just not your usual Kroger fare! So, one came home form the market with us!

I also got some risotto rice, that might end up being part of dinner tonight. The afternoon will be a baking afternoon. David’s been craving cake to go with ice cream for dessert. I’m making a yellow cake with fudge frosting to go with the David’s mint chip and my pumpkin ice cream in the freezer. Pumpkin ice cream, mmmmmm..... I LOVE this time of year!

Whew! This week’s designer challenge was really a challenge for me! But pulling me out of my comfort zone is the purpose for this contest, right? We were given a color palatte to use to make a kit. My biggest problem and the source of my initial block was that I’m in full fall mode as far as designing and decorating goes. This swatch is definitely NOT autumn! I stressed over this one for a while, then inspiration hit me!

“I Cross My Heart”, shares its name with a song by George Strait, but George was singing about love, this kit is the love of the craft. My heart is cross stitched! I’ve been doing counted cross stitch since my high school days. I found a starter kit for it in the bargain bin and thought it would be interesting. I was hooked! Now I have all kinds of decor and kitchen stuff that’s cross stitched, including a train ornament that’s on a shelf in the living room. The great thing abut this kit is that even if you don’t cross stitch,it as that warm country feeling for scrapping other things too!

We had structure that we had to follow too. Our kits have to have 10-20 papers 15-20 elements, the alpha counts as one and two of the elements have to be layered elements. I have a layered frame and an embellished journal frame. We also had include one quick page.

Of course, for the competition, you’ll need to go to Stone Accents Studio to download the kit for free! You don’t have to be a member of Stone Accents Studio to download,but you do need to be a member to vote,, and I do hope you’ll consider voting for “I Cross My Heart!”

Download “I Cross My Heart” at Stone Accents Studio

I’ll have an add-on embellishment pack up this evening some time for you that you can download here. I’m also planning on doing some brag book pages for Monday night to remind everyone to vote!!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Letters From Home Quick Page

See what you can do with Letters From Home???

Dropping to say “hi!”

Did you like the Photoblog today? See IQ is just a number that doesn’t mean a whole lot in the greater scheme of some things. Take for instance toaster ovens. When a toaster oven is getting up there in years, just because something has always worked doesn’t mean it always will.

For as long as I’ve lived in this house, with this toaster oven, the “toast” setting has sufficiently toasted a corn tortilla. I mean, better than just sufficient, corn tortillas, that I get at the local dollar emporium in a pack of 36, toast up to perfection by putting two in side by side and pulling the lever down. When it pops, the tortillas are ready for a slice of cheese or a little jam for a great sack.

Ah, but Monday was not like that! Monday was torchtilla day! I turned around from finishing my coffee to see smoke rising up from the opening of the toaster oven! I pulled open the door, and flames spewed out!

So, what does this modern woman with a high paper IQ do? I yelled, “David! Help!” Then I started blowing on the flames like it was a birthday cake!

In my own defense, that did help. The tortillas ignited, not the toaster over, so once, the tortillas were out, so was the fire. But oh, the kitchen smelled like burnt torchtillas all day! Yuck!

Oh, while all this was going on, my macho and equally high IQ man was wresting with the kitchen fire extinguisher. We’re still not completely sure how it works. Looks like we both need to spend some time doing home fire safety studying!

The layout at the top was done with “Letters From Home.” That’s my Papa when he was in the Navy. The wife and baby are Grandma and my Mom. I’m really pleased with how the layouts I’ve done with that kit have turned out! I’ll be posting a sample layout with “Indian Summer” soon too. Between my 9-5 working on working, evenings with the Design challenge, my CT layouts and my heritage project and trying to find new ways to burn down the house, I’m pretty occupied!

In celebration of NOT burning the house down with a toaster oven and the possibility that I still might pull through to the second round of the contest, I decided to make that layout a quick page! I also made one with the Mommy and Wife stamps and bundled the two into one freebie!

Here’s the catch with this freebie - In thanks for hosting the design contest and giving the opportunity to all of us who entered it to try our hand at a possibility of a professional design placement, I’ve decided that I‘ll make this freebie a Stone Accents Studio exclusive for the duration of the contest. So, you can snag the freebie from the layout page at SAS!

If you are a member and haven't voted yet, won’t you please consider me as one of your votes? If you’re not a member, you can still download the freebie from the link in the gallery, but check out some of the other stuff they have in the shop and the challenges there! If you're downloading the quick page, you must scrap at least a little! Joining to try it out is free and if you do join, you get to vote! You don’t have to vote for me, but I’d really love it you did!

Download “Letters From Home Quick Pages” at Stone Accents Studio

If you have't voted yet, consider checking the box for "Letters From Home" by Nani!

Voting ends tomorrow at 6PM central time. I admit I’m kinda nervous about this last day. I’m not sure if I should be ready to delve into another design marathon Sunday or just a quiet day of scrapping or baking. I’ll know in less than 24 hours now!

Okay, back to scrapping for me!

Photoblog Wednesday

Tortillas En Fuego
(don't ask!)

Mi casa no es en fuego. Gracias Dios!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vote For Me...Please??

No, I am NOT bribing you!!!

The voting has started at Stone Accents Studio. It’s been a disappointing start for me, but judging from the number of comments and downloads of other kits, I’m not surprised. I just don’t quite have my finger on the digital scrapbooking community’s pulse. I’m not dead yet, but at current rate, I’m liable to just skate by if I do make it to the next round. If you are a member at SAS or if you’d consider joining, please vote for me? My bruised ego would be grateful. If I am going to make it to round two, I’d prefer if I feel I at least had a chance of making it farther to feel inspired for round two! :)

You can go to the voting at SAS here. You can vote for as many as you like, but they’d prefer everyone to pick 3 or 4. I would really love it if I was one of yours!!

Interesting day in the Catdom. We took Baggle in to see the vet this morning. He’s had some trauma at the litter box and the he developed a spot where his fur was thinning on his back. The vet checked him out and said she believes it’s allergies. They are sending out the littler box sample to be checked and she gave him a steroid shot. On the way home, I asked David if he thought Baggle would be able to hit a home run now. ;)

When we got back, I let Baggle out of the carrier, a much happier boy because he was home! Kaline wasn’t so happy a girl though! There was a little sniffing, then some whining and even some hissing! David and I think that maybe the shot mixed in with Baggle’s chemistry enough to make his scent a little off. Kaline was acting like, “Okay, who are you and what did you do with my brother?”

David is home this week on vacation. The weather wasn’t up to snuff anywhere to justify the gas and lodging in his opinion, so he’s home. It’s a little distracting having him here during, my daily job-hunting stuff, but I’m glad for the company at lunch time.

Now, I have to finish up the designing part of a collab kit I’m doing and off to scrap a page or two!

Thanks for looking in...VOTE FOR ME!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Add-on for Letters From Home

Boy, keeping up with everything in my world right now is kinda hectic! I job hunt during the day, taking breaks like I wold during a regular workday, but even an hour lunch isn’t enough time to do any serious designing. So, I design and scrap by night and on the weekends. It’s just organizing everything right now so I can competently keep up!

I’ve been getting nice comments on “Letters From Home” at SAS. I don’t know if those comments will translate into votes, but I’m hopeful. I’d really like to make it to the next round, but there really are some talented people in this competition! I like the challenges!

I am encouraging everyone who is a member at SAS to vote. If you are a scrapper and not a member of Stone Accents Studio, I encourage you to join! They have great designers there, and I’m not just saying that because Darlene sells her wares there, she is a great example of SAS’s quality! Several designers’ blogs in the margin of The Chronicles are SAS designers! THe other thing that is wonderful at SAS is the challenges. They have great challenges and the more you do, the more mega your posting bonus kit is. Most of the challenge prizes are created from one swatch and theme for a team mega kit. What an awesome concept, huh?

Voting has officially started and ENDS on the 11th. I was so worried about the deadline for getting my kit in that I mistook the end of voting for the beginning! Glad I got that straightened out! You can vote for as many designers as you like, but you can only vote one once. Of course, whether you are a member or thinking about joining, if you like what you see in “Letters From Home,” I humbly ask for your support by selecting me as one of your choices in the competition!

Here is the add-on for “Letters From Home.” I wanted to get this out to everyone before the next level of the competition starts! It’s just a few extra pieces for the kit. Included are 1 paper that I was pretty pleased with, a title postmark, a child art doodle, a frame and son and daughter stamps to go with the Mommy/Daddy and Husband/Wife stamps in the kit.

Sorry, this link is expired.

Whether Digitalegacies goes on to level 2 in the competition or not, I’ll keep designing. I hope you find good use for “Letters From Home” in your layouts!

Don’t forget to get your copy of Letters From Home at Stone Accents Studio! (And vote for Digitalegacies Designs, my user name is Nani)