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

Friday, October 31, 2008

It’s Begining To Shop A Lot Like Christmas

You’ve heard me complain about Halloween ending and Christmas starting right up in stores. While I do wish there was more of a decorating fuss about Thanksgiving, I realize that the big push is food for the kick off to the holiday season and the retail mainstay is Christmas as well as Hanukkah, the gift giving holidays! The other thing, I’m a realist. When the economy is bad and disposable income is down, you have to start holiday gift shopping early and the greatest gifts are the ones that have bonuses!

Now I’m not a hunter, but I want to tell you about the Nikon ATB line of binoculars, Nikon Monarch and Trailblazer Binoculars! I prefaced that with “I’m not a hunter,” because ATB is “All Terrain Binocular,” perfect for spotting a deer at a distance, but also great for identifying distant train signals and a good look at the engine. They are great for seeing right into the dugout to check out the hot baseball players this spring too! You know I love baseball as a sport first and foremost, but there are additional bonuses we that are attracted to the male gender enjoy at a game where they don’t have to wear a helmet!

My Dad gave me a pair of mini binos that he’d bought for hunting. He’s really not a hunter, just goes now and then with my uncle socially. Imagine that, a social hunter! What I found with the binoculars he gave me is that they are better quality than the standard consumer binoculars. I’d even want the hunting ones for bird watching or looking for ships on the ocean when I’m at the beach.

Now, the Nikon ATB line is appealing for several reasons. The very best cameras I’ve had have been Nikons. When I am ready to buy my good digital, I already have my eye on a Nikon. So, it’s a brand I trust. Plus, right now and through December, they are offering gift cards, up to $50, good for Nikon Pro Gear.

Nikon Pro Gear offers shirts, hats, outerwear and accessories, good for hunting or hunting bargains on cold days when your hunter is in the field. The thing that’s great with the promotion is you get two gifts in one really. The best gifts in economic hard times are the ones that give and give some more!

Nikon Monarch and Trailblazer Binoculars

Trick Or Treat Time!

Digitalegacies has a special Halloween treat for you! I’ve been learning some new things about word art, giving mine a little more pizzaz and I’ve bundled up a few that I was pretty pleased with for the scrapping goblins out there!

Okay, the goblin thing is from a conversation David and I had about Halloween advertising. Has anyone ever been visited by a goblin on Halloween? We’ve had ghouls...and ghosts, trolls, cats and dogs, witches and wizards...no goblins. Maybe it’s tax-time in the wizarding world? Sorry about the Harry Potter inside joke to those who haven’t read.

There is much that I still have to do with the afternoon after lunch, so lunch is even a little short today, save for the fact hat the afternoon will be devoted to finishing laundry, getting ready for the kids tonight and having an easy dinner ready too!

So here is your treat from Digitalegacies Designs:
Sorry, this link is expired.

As always, I love your comments here rather than 4-shared and use any Digitalegacies Designs products in a layout and let me know, I’ll send a link for Indian Summer!


Happy Halloween!

My first Jack-o-lantern!

I have a love-hate feeling about this holiday. There is only one thing I hate, but it is major. WHY oh WHY do people insist on thinking of spiders as “decoration?” My arachnophobia is on high alert at this time of year because those creepy things are looking to move into the house because it’s getting colder anyway. Giant arachnids on people lawns are NOT decoration! To me, they are paralyzing sight. If I had young kids that I went with when they trick or treated, they would not stop at giant spider houses. Yick!

I go so far as to refuse to download halloween scrapbook kits if they have spiders in them, even if they are free, even if I PAID for them. I don’t buy from displays that have the little plastic spiders on them and David has to get the bags of hershey’s halloween candy because they have spiders on the boxes.

I’m really not THAT bad, except at this time of year. There are so many of those things everywhere that it creeps me out to the point of sheer terror. I killed a real one in the house last week and was actually trembling for about 15 minutes after. David keeps threatening me with getting me cured, but the psychologist’s cure is to make the victim...I mean patient, face their fear and look at huge ones and even touch them! I can tell you from how I react at this time of year, that won’t work with me, it’ll make it worse, it does every October!

But other than a heightened sensitivity of my phobia, I love everything else about Halloween!

Last night I carved the pumpkin. It’s our first jack-o-lantern! We are such amateurs! Next year, we’ll be more careful to select a pumpkin with a flat bottom and a longer stem on top for taking the lid off to put in the candle! But, it looks okay. I’ll want to be sure to get a picture of the house with the pumpkin on the porch!

Another first for me, I roasted the pumpkin seeds! I ate about half of them too! I’d commented to David that I seemed to remember more seeds from a pumpkin when I was a kid. I suggested it might be the ozone layer, that global warming was responsible for a lower yield of seeds. Nah, it’s another case of my grown up brain reading a file my childhood brain created. It seems the mental notes in crayon were not drawn in actual size. The pictures of Dave and me building a snowman with Dad show a lot smaller snowman than I remembered too. I know those snowmen were usually as tall as DAD, not ME!

Tuesday I packed up the candy bags. Each bag has a fun-size chocolate bar, Snickers, Nestle Wafer or a choice from the assorted Hershey bag, either a mini pack of sweet tarts or Smarties and three tootsie roll midgies. I made 45 bags, in accordance with the number we had last year. I made 40 bags last year, but we had 5 more kids. (who got candy from the overflow bowl!) We make sure to have extras so we also have extra fun size bars and tootsie rolls if we go over last year’s count. We don’t have kids, so not having the expense of raising them, we can give a little extra for Halloween! It’s the one time of year that you can spoil a stranger’s kids without them wanting to look you up on the Internet for a record!

Last year I greeted visitors with my batty tiara. The kids who came to the door got a kick out of that. We actually had a great bunch of kids last year. Friendly and most of them even said “thank you! I commend the awesome parents in Toledo!! I even got that politeness from kids who were traveling with no parents, just other kids.

Trick or treating is from 6PM-8PM in Toledo, so with Halloween being on a Friday, adults can still have their parties after the kids are done. This year David and I will be attending a party that one of his coworkers is hosting after begging is over, so I’ll be in costume during the kids’ time. They’ll be greeted by a giant Mounds bar and if all goes well for David getting out a little early to help me, that Mounds bar will be sitting on the porch with a giant Almond Joy! We’re going to reprise our costumes from 2005, since it will be a new group of people seeing my costume handiwork!

I’ll be sure to get some pictures to scrap a few fun pages. Unfortunately, my memory will have to remember my favorite costumes like last year. It’s not cool to take pictures of other people’s kids on Halloween, but they are all so darned cute! I wish I could have taken video of our first trick or treater last year, both inside and outside the house!

I don’t know if it was just Halloween excitement or if she saw the two cats in the doorway, but our first trick or treater last year was about four or five, an adorable ladybug, who got to the the sidewalk in front of the door and just took off across the grass for the porch. Kaline and Baggle made a mad scramble up the stairs, Baggle first, then Kaline on top of him, it was like watching fleeing cartoon cats. I could hardly stop laughing! The little ladybug’s Mom caught up with her as I was opening the door.

The little ladybug had twinkling eyes and the most excited smile on her face as I put the candy bag in her pumpkin bucket. With wide eyes she said “Oh Boy!”

Her Mom reminded her, “What do you say?”

“Trick or treat!” a pause, “thank you!!”

Yeah, after so many years in a neighborhood where we didn’t have ANY trick or treaters, I was so excited to give out candy that I didn’t wait for the “trick or treat.” But with the exception of terrorized cats, the rest of the night went smoothly.

I can’t wait until tonight! Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Got Costumes?

What are you going to be for Halloween? Have you decided yet? Tomorrow is the big day!!!

Well, okay maybe it’s not really tomorrow. The coolest thing about Halloween being on a weekend is that you get the whole weekend to PARTY! Whether it’s an adults only party, a kids party or a family party, you want to look in the spirit of things!

David and I are planning to rehash some old costumes for greeting the sweet ghouls and goblins tomorrow night and there’s a party after trick or treating, but I was looking at a site with some pretty good ideas for Halloween Costumes!

Halloween Adventure has costumes for everyone, even pets! Yeah, somehow I just don’t see Baggle and Kaline dressing up. They’re already black and orange as a pair, besides, they are afraid of trick or treaters! Way cool at this site too, they even have plus sizes! In fact, 29 pages just of plus size costumes for men and women! That includes sexy for size sixteen and up!

The costume pictured is the one that fits me, no really, it does! Halloween is a time not so much for being what you’re not, but for being what you are in your happiest imagination! That’s the Spicy Senorita Elite Collection costume. I love lacy things and off the shoulder and well, it would give me some incentive to use the Spanish I’ve been working on to get in character too! I know it would make me feel feminine and pretty! It makes me feel kinda sexy looking at the costume... Come on, you know what I mean! I don’t go to those kinds of parties, but a costume like that would be perfect for an adult or family party. Bonus - they have a Zorro costume for David too!

There are decorations and accessories at Halloween Adventure too and they have overnight delivery! So if you’re still looking for ideas or if you get invited to a party at the last minute, Halloween Adventure is definitely worth checking out.

So, what are you going to be this year? (Or what at the site looks like you? There’s a ton of choices!) Let me know in the comments!

Happy Eve of All Hallows Eve!

Happy All Hallows Eve-Eve! I’m getting ready to run some errands for Grandma. She and I go in together on the Thanksgiving planning. We changed a few logistics things last year, so I’m still working on the new things. First off, I won’t be making the dressing this year. Dad will do it. He’ll have Mom’s recipe, the one I use, but this will be the first year he’s done it...and he doesn’t like stuffing! I think he’ll still put the love into it, even if he won’t eat it. Grandma and I have already discussed the shopping she and Dad will do after she gets to hs place. Last year they went to do the shopping and everything was good, except... Dad bought gravy mix! IN AN ENVELOPE!! I went into the kitchen after the turkey came out to make the gravy and Dad told me he already made the gravy. I didn’t even know he knew how since he isn’t a gravy guy either. Then he told me he bought a couple packages of gravy and already made them.

I was speechless. He could tell from the look in my eyes that I wasn’t pleased as the next thing he said was, “It’ll be okay. It’s good gravy.”

It was NOT good gravy. It was packaged grocery store gravy on national home cooking day. BLAH!

You know there are food stories, Thanksgiving food mishaps that have become family legend with us. There was the year my Great Grandmother made the dressing, gizzard dressing with the gizzards IN it. I think that was the last year she made the dressing. One year, Grandma made the deviled eggs and grabbed the wrong red spice for garnish. Instead of paprika, they had hot pepper on them! Now, Pop is the proud perpetrator of the fabled mishap for his generation - thinking packaged gravy could every replace the traditional family recipe! YEESH!

Grandma is going to keep an eye on him. He will not be permitted to put an envelope of anything in the cart this year!

So, Thanksgiving dinner is now at Dad’s place, roughly in the middle point for Grandma in mid-Michigan and us in Toledo. Last year, I loaded up the cooler with the stuffing and turkey cookies. This year, David is working Wednesday night, so, we’ll take off early Thanksgiving morning for the Motherland. The nice thing about it being at Dad’s house, is it’s a little over an hour drive. Grandma is about four hours for us! So this s year, I won’t be bringing the stuffing because it has to be in the turkey Wednesday night to cook bright and early on Thursday to be done in time for dinner! I will still make my cookies, though!

About the cookies and the errands, my responsibility is to get a paper table cloth with matching paper napkins and plates for dessert. The stores slip from Halloween right to Christmas and it’s so hard to find anything Thanksgiving except for a few things in limited quantities. So, I need to get out today, before Halloween, so I have a little selection and things that actually match!

That’s personal peeve of mine. We have a few gatherings for Christmas and our UNO and The Fabulous Dessert Bar, but Thanksgiving is the one big home cooking and stay in one place all day thing. Everyone moves around on Christmas, but Thanksgiving we are together all day. To me, that has always made Thanksgiving very special and I want to totally immerse myself in that day. It took me three years before I finally found a pouffy turkey paper decoration for the dessert table! And a turkey or otherwise Thanksgiving appropriate cookie cutter? Forgedaboutit! Then, in 2006, at Target, in the bargain section...TURKEY COOKIE CUTTERS! You KNOW I bought those! Now I make decorated turkey-shaped cookies to add to the dessert table!

Before I go out to get those paper products for Thanksgiving, I wanted to announce that I’m now a two-time recipient of the Kreativ Blog! Aquarius Scrapability has bestowed the award upon me!

This week the award calls for 7 things I love and to pass it on to seven people. So, here goes...

I love...
Pumpkin Spice coffee
Mr. Goodbar
Giving candy to the Trick or Treaters
Thanksgiving decorations
Being able to have scrapbooking time while David is playing online poker
Knowing the off season is only a few months and baseball will be back!

And now I will pick seven wonderfully creative people to whom I’m extending the award!

Kim’s Scrappin
Kalo Designs
The Pink Touque

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

After 28 Years...

The Philadelphia Phillies
2008 World Champions

It was not the most commercially ideal World Series in baseball history and it was strange with a 40-some hour rain delay in the final game. And now, it’s over.

I am sad.

Oh, not sad at all that Philly won! I am so happy for their fans who’ve waited 28 years for tonight - and it ended early enough that they can celebrate and still make it to work tomorrow! The kids might have even been able to stay up late enough to see it on TV!

I’m sad because it’s over.

106 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training!
(The Reds are gonna kick some butt next year!)

Photoblog Wednesday

So Sad! The season is ending

Baggle's and Kaline's favorite show, "Chipmunk," is coming to a close for the season. Unfortunately, there are no reruns on CAT TV!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

First off, let me make it clear, if you ask me about my school, I’ll tell you I am a Saint, a Siena Heights University alumna. But, I did take a class at Ohio State. I did not take an Ohio State class. I took a class AT Ohio State. This mug doesn’t get me all worked up about semantics, but it does make me think about football, people's odd obsession with football teams from colleges they didn’t even attend and it does bring to mind the real purpose for me having this mug!

I picked the mug up at the campus bookstore in Columbus. Heather H and I went to Ohio State in July of 1995 to take Intro to Avid training, a 3-day course, being offered by Avid and taught at the Wexner Arts Center on the OSU campus. The dead of summer was the slow time for community sports at Omnicom, only little league baseball and there were just too many teams to be able to fairly select games to cover in full, so we did a scoreboard show for little league. The timing enabled both the producer and associate producer to take the same week off. The scoreboard show was Rich’s brainchild when he was a sports intern and he kept up the show while we were out. Truth is, he had time to do a lot with the scoreboard show anyway and he enjoyed doing it. Finding pleasure in a job is the key to being a star doing it!

Heather and I left on Saturday morning for the Monday-Wednesday class. We decided to make a vacation of it, leaving early to have time to settle in and catch a ball game on Sunday in Cincinnati. As I recall, my Reds beat her Cubs in extra innings. Looking at the old box score I remember, Mark Grace’s 2-run homer in the top of the 10th had Heather gently razzing me. Then after one run in the bottom, Brett Boone went yard with 2 on to finish with an heroic walk-off! Heather and I had known each other less than a year at the time, so I didn’t razz back that much. I suppose if it were now, we’d be a little more colorful in CONTINUED jibes after the game. A year later we saw the Cubs shut down the Braves 12-0 in the days of my plans to move to Atlanta and live out the rest of my days as a home team Braves fan. She still occasionally reminds me about that!

Since we were going to be as far south as Columbus, Ohio, anyway, we decided to go on to Atlanta for the end of our trip. John and his Dad were going to be stopping in Atlanta on their way home from vacation in Florida, so we all met up for the evening laser show at Stone Mountain and dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe. It was my birthday weekend, so I got free dessert. Free ice cream to me is better than free beer! Heather asked me which birthday it was for me. I told her that for a year, I’d tell the truth and everyone would think I was lying about my age. I was turning 29!

It was a fun trip and I got great memories with friends, my Avid class certificate and a wonderful college “weapon” to use at home.

My Dad is a University of Michigan football fan. He is not a graduate of any college, but he has more UofM logo stuff than I have of all the schools (junior college, trade school and university) that I went to combined! It has always puzzled me and always will, how it is that people who didn’t go to the school can be SO passionate about the football team.

I had often grilled him about it. He, with exuberance, cheers for the “maize and blue” when they play Michigan State in the annual state rivalry. His nephew. my cousin, John, is an alumnus of MSU. Family ties are not as thick as this curious loyalty to the team of a school with which he is completely unaffiliated.

I had asked him, “What if I had decided to go to Michigan State? Would you cheer for the team of the school that had YOUR money?”

His answer was “But you didn’t go to Michigan State.” He was completely unable to fathom the thought that his daughter would go to a rival school!

So I asked, “What if I’d gone to Ohio Sate?” UofM’s MAJOR football rival.

“Oh, you don’t want to be a Buckeye!!”

I guess that was the equivalent of “over my dead body.”

I don’t find it offensive, but fascinating. There are so many people who give their loyalty to football teams for colleges to which they have no attachment and couldn't care less about the school, just the football team. The University of Michigan turns out fantastic doctors and does wonderful research work at the UofM Hospital. They have one of the best MBA programs in the country. My Dad wouldn’t even know that if I hadn’t told him! Yet, he trash talks about “his” football team to actual alumni from other schools!

I called him on that. When he and Heather H, like my cousin, a Spartan alum, were talking football. I asked how he could be such a die hard fan of a school he never attended. He told me that he had attended the University of Michigan.


He claimed that because he took trade school classes at their Dearborn campus, he was in fact, a Wolverine.

Bet ya can see where the mug becomes a weapon, huh?

When I got home from that trip, I made a point of drinking out of my new mug while having coffee with Dad one morning.

“What is that?”

“It’s my Alumni Mug! I’m a Buckeye now, Pop!”

The look on his face was priceless. A little stunned, a little confused, I could have told him I smashed into his car in the driveway, I was coming out and wanted him to meet my girlfriend, I’d eloped with a total stranger or was moving to Bangladesh and he would have been able to comprehend and accept the statement better. I smiled and explained that if a few classes on the UofM campus made him a Wolverine, then my Avid training made me a Buckeye.

Pop hasn’t claimed to be a Wolverine since and he is a quieter Wolverine football fan now, at least around me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday By Request

Today’s Friday By Request is a baseball one! Seamhead Gypsy wanted to know my take on the World Series this year, who am I rooting for?

Do It For The REAL Fans
For Seamhead Gypsy

The Philly Phanatic - They’re standing to see his team in Philadelphia

I kind of alluded to my preference in this week’s Mug Shot. Edna figured it out correctly. I hope to see the Phillies bring the pennant home to Philadelphia.

I want to see the Devil Rays, yes, DEVIL Rays, DEVIL-DEVIL-DEVIL Rays lose about as much as I wanted to see the Cubs win it LAST year or any year before that and absolutely not THIS year.

Superstitions are fun to play with, but they aren’t real. The “curse” on the Cubs was that there would be 100 years between their last World Series victory and the next. 100 years would have been this year. I wanted to see them get bounced out in September, but losing the Division series was good enough. The validity of the curse is now proven nonexistent. The Cubs have officially undermined their entire organization for over 60 years. The curse is over. The team was great. What happened? Subconscious, psychological cancer that has festered for decades. It’s just a baseball cold sore, right? A curse? Whatever. Now they need a new scapegoat for failure on the north side. Wait a minute. Goats were where that all started!

So, now we have the DEVIL RAYS. They changed their name at the beginning of the season. There seems to be so many opinions and documented “reasons” for the name change. Of course, not one of them has anything to do with the players or coaching staff. It’s just more superstition, or worse, kowtowing to PC extremists who aren’t even fans, just picked on the team as the cause of the day.

A popular excuse is that a fanatic religious group demanded they drop the “devil.” Okay, why was it okay for 9 years and then suddenly not okay? Wasn’t Satan a bad guy ten years ago? Did I miss a church memo?? And if it is true that extremists wanted the change, who cares if they did? Attendance figures don’t show any increases for changing the name. The religious zealots are still not fanatics about the team!

Okay, how about this one? Equal time for all those species of the ray family in the Florida area? Somehow, I just don’t think so. But organizing 500 representative fish to file a grievance does make sense as to why it took 9 years to make the change. Wow, I didn’t even know the fish HAD an organizer! That organizer is as awesome as Gary Sheffield’s agent when it comes to selling new clothes to the Emperor!

I love this excuse. The principal owner, Stuart Sternberg, says of the change, “It’s ‘The Rays,’ as in rays of sunlight.”

Okay, if that’s the case, where are the rays of brain power in marketing, who took the Devil off the jerseys, BUT NOT THE FISH! Oh, and if it’s sun rays, why do they block out the very thing they're named for with a domed stadium??

I did a little attendance stats comparisons. Here are the sample games I took:

The Phillies are selling past capacity, which means they are selling SRO tickets. Phillies fans will pay to stand for 9 innings of baseball and neither of the Devil Rays’ fans can even bring enough friends to fill the park for a World Series game.

I have heard references made to “long suffering Rays fans” by the media. WHAT? The Phillies haven't won World Series in 28 years. Whatever the sports media guys are smoking, I wish they'd share it with the powers that be who can't agree on why they changed the team's name in Tampa Bay. The Phillies fans have been “suffering” longer and there are one HECK of a lot more of them! Baseball is 137 years old as a professional sport. The Devil Rays are TEN years old. Neither the team nor either of their fans are long standing anything, not even in the bathroom lines at Tropicana Field!

True, that I’m more of a National League fan. Like Gypsy, I can easily do without the designated hitter, and generally I do, watching more Reds than anything. But look at the numbers, the fair weather fans didn’t even show up until mid September.

The Phillies fans deserve this more than the Devil Rays fans, even if they’ve both been there all ten years, there are Phillies fans who’ve waited longer.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

"We don’t need no stinking sport utility!"

A 14-year-old, 6-cylinder, train-chasing Camaro gets 28 MPG on the highway, 22 in the city...15 in a corn field.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cool Stuff

Chronicles of Nani - saving your avatar from that fattening cyber-jello!

I promised I’d let you all in on a little bit of the cool stuff from Yesterday. You probably noticed the new widget in the right column, especially since it’s up near the top. The Chronicles of Nani is now a blog for hire. Well, anyway, there may occasionally be brief posts about products.

Pay-Per-Post is a network that offers people selling products or services an opportunity to promote those products or services for a modest cost. That modest cost goes to the blogger promoting for them. The prices vary from product to product and blog to blog. The way it works at the main PPP site is someone posts a product to be blogged about and what they’ll pay for a blog post. Bloggers can accept those jobs if their blog is qualified. That is, some advertisers require a certain Google rating or number of previous PPP posts for a blogger to take a job. I'll know if I'm qualified for anything after they do their check on my content.

The cool thing about the Pay-Per -Post is that their rules stipulate that there must be regular blog entries before and after any PPP post. That means the actual blog content doesn’t get booted for pay posts! The other cool thing is I pick what I will or won’t promote. My standards won’t get compromised with the service.

That widget on the side means anyone can “hire me” to promote a product by sending a message through the main site, This means that someone with a product to promote can see the widget and click on it to offer me personally a job. Now, I could have put a minimum dollar amount on the widget, but I can’t do that without changing the minimum at the site! That kinda sucks, because the minimum I’d ask for promoting a product for a Chronicles reader is less that I’d ask a stranger! That has a lot to do with showing some loyalty to my readers, but also because I would think I’d expect more to promote a product someone is selling to make a serious profit than if, for instance, a designer with a new store wanted a nod and some good copy that could also be used in other forums. See, I’d get to call those shots if the post is negotiated through use of the widget. There’s just a higher profit margin for design software that there is for design classes, ya know?

If I’m doing a post for PPP, It’s going to have a “PPP” tag on it, but I’ll also write it in a way that you’ll know it’s a “hired post.” I can also say “no” if it’s a product I don’t feel comfortable getting behind. So you’ll never see me promoting anything that's not fit for a “family friendly” blog or anything that just doesn't fit with The Chronicles of Nani code of ethics.

This is all a way to give me a little boost, financially and in spirit. Unfortunately job-hunting isn’t free! I’m hoping I can at least afford ink and resume paper, postage and some raw materials to do a lot of crafting for Christmas this year! (not even looking to make enough to buy gifts, just the stuff to make them!) I also figure, this could give me a little bit of promoting copy to add to my portfolio.

So my only pitch (because I do graphics and promoting, not sales) - if you have an item or service you want some promotion for and you think The Chronicles of Nani might be a decent place to promote it, click the widget! Make me an offer and we can negotiate a price that works for both of us.

creative offers, creative awards!

Another of the not lucrative, but nice things that made me feel good yesterday, was that in my Chronicles of Nani email I had offers, not offer, but offers, for places to show off my creativity in creative teams or collaborative design efforts. If you sent me an email over the weekend or yesterday and I haven’t answered yet, I’m going to reply. I just need to look at the offers, my schedule, see what I have time to do. I‘m not being rude. I’m being contentious and giving real thought to the emails before I respond.

I am proud to show off a new plaque on the awards wall! Vicki, of Bubbles Babbles, has presented me with the “Kreativ Blogger” award! What a cool award! I was so flattered when I saw my name on Vicki’s blog because she called me a “designer.” With the exception of my cast mates in the SAS contest and things I’ve written myself, I’ve never seen me called a “designer” before. I pretty much consider myself a blogger who dabbles in digi scrap design, so it was a nice ego boost to see someone call me that! Thank you, Vicki!!

Now, to earn the award, I must share six things I love. Six things is easy, only six is a little tougher!
I love waking up and the promise of hope that every new day brings. It’s the opportunity to put anything bad from yesterday away and focus on making tomorrow better.

I love kissing David good morning, knowing he’s here for me, protecting me from poverty of not just the material world, a roof over my head and something to make for dinner, but the poverty of will and spirit that can so easily accompany job seeking woes.

I love my family, the relatives and friends who are the base of who I am and those whose pride means so much to me.

I love Kaline and Baggle, my furry kids and the unconditional love they give. (Well, unconditional as long as the kibble bowl is full!)

I love kissing David good night, knowing he’ll keep me warm in body and heart and that he’ll be here in the morning.

I love going to bed at night knowing that I have done all I can to make it a happy and successful day and that I have survived any challenges I’ve faced.

Yeah, I know that’s a mushy, poetic cop-out, but it kinda make ya go “aw,” didn't it?

And now, I’ll leave you with A FREEBIE!!!

credits:Kit - California Dreaming by Darlene Haughin at stoneaccentsstudio.com,
(free with purchase in October) Lyric quote from Diamond Rio,
“I Know How The River Feels” Template Four Corners by Digitalegacies (Nani)

I’m still working on a half dozen scrapbook projects right now, but this one turned out pretty neat. I did the above layout with Darlene Haughin’s California Dreaming. It’s a beautiful kit that’s available at Stone Accents Studio as a “free with purchase” bonus right now, 18 papers and 40 elements, paired up with a kit from anther designer for free when you purchase $15 at SAS. Check out the whole bonus.

I did a couple of templates in the template swap at SAS for their birthday bash. It was fun and I LOVE templates! I had often created templates as a foundation for my layouts anyway and I use both mine and templates from others a lot in my larger projects or ones where I have a deadline in mind. The layout above was one of my own templates and I have packaged it as a Digitalegacies Designs template, my third official template offering and my first one at The Chronicles of Nani. I’m still kinda new at packaging and sharing my templates, so if you use it, I’d DEFINITELY like to see and get your feedback on it, ease of use, etceteras. Of course, if you show it to me, you’ll get that link to “Indian Summer” too!

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As always, I appreciate any of your comments, preferably here rather than at 4-Shared, so I’m sure to see them!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Busy, busy, busy... Just the way I like my Mondays! Oh, it’s not a job offer Monday or anything, but lots of little nice things Monday. I’ll blog about some of those things later tonight or tomorrow. Today is a kinda creepy Mug Shot!

Philadelphia. Pennsylvania

The 2008 World Series will be the Philadelphia Phillies vs The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. YAWN um, excuse me, sorry about that. Yawning at the announcement of the pinnacle series of your favorite sport is seldom polite, is it now? It’s just with a marketing and television sports background, it’s hard to do anything but feel sorry for FOX Sports. Going into the post season, the Red Sox and Cubs were what the advertisers wanted to see! Then in the LCS tier, just bring on the Red Sox and Dodgers, so many stories! The Red Sox back-to-back possibility , the Red Sox-Manny Ramirez controversy, Joe Torre back in the Series the year after the Yankees gave him the snub when they were home all October. There were just so many vignettes waiting to be produced for that World Series! Even if it couldn’t be both, either team would add so much to entice advertisers with for top dollar. But the Dodgers aren’t in the World Series. The Red Sox aren't in it either. It’s the no skeletons in the current closet Phillies and the Devil Rays that didn’t even have fans until half way through the season.

:::crickets chirping::::

FBR this week will be about my decision of for whom I’m rooting, but if you read this post and know baseball a little, I bet ya already know! ;)

But on to the mug shot story!

My mug rack covers a substantial portion of one of our breakfast nook walls, so I can only look at the ones on the top. I can’t drink out of them, because I can’t reach them! Dad placed the top rows of mugs when he put the racks up for me and when I want a mug from up there down, I need help. Today’s mug was David’s assistance for choosing it, as well as getting a few Mondays worth mugs down to photograph.

One of the first Mug Shots I ever did was The Old Bookbinder’s Restaurant in Philadelphia. Now, I’ve only been to Philly once, so the mug brings up memories about the same trip. David picked this mug today because of baseball. But the rest of the story from that trip is SO October in another creepy, Halloweenish way!

Mom, Tracy, Heather H and I left from Detroit on Spirit Airlines, a value airline that flew into Philly. As I recall, our flight was delayed about an hour leaving Detroit because of fog in Philadelphia. Starbucks wasn’t open yet when we originally got there, but the delay gave us an opportunity to have a latte before takeoff. That delay was almost half the length of our flight! We joked about the plane being a small plane and there were a couple hits of turbulence on the flight. I know I joked about hoping it wasn’t going to drop us out of the sky, but we landed safely and were on our way around Philadelphia.

We’d visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and had lunch before we checked into the hotel. When we got to our room we wanted to see what the weather was scheduled to be like for the game. It had started to rain and we hoped we wouldn’t get rained out! After all, the history was a bonus - it was a baseball trip, a rain check would NOT be a cool souvenir when we were all there to see a new park! (It turned out that there was a couple hours rain delay, so we REALLY got to see the park! Then the home team lost 11-3!)

When we turned on the hotel room TV, we didn’t see quite what we were prepared for. That morning when we’d left Detroit, was May 11, 1996. When we had checked into the hotel early, just after 3 PM, all of the network channels and many of the cable channels, including CNN, were reporting a plane crash. It was the day Valujet flight 592 crashed just after takeoff from Miami headed for Atlanta, killing all 110 people on board. The flight is about the same amount of time as Detroit to Philadelphia and that flight too, a discount airline, took off about an hour after scheduled due to weather conditions in it’s destination.

We all stood in front of the TV, a bit shocked, a bit nervous. Had we really just been on a similar plane and joking about turbulence and the plane nose-diving? It was a little bit chilling, a creepy sensation, like there were two so similar flights and fate flipped a coin. The odd parallel, the same length of flight, the same delay, a discount airline - But that flight was going to Atlanta. We landed safely in Philadelphia - to see the Phillies... and the Atlanta Braves.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stuff - Lots of Little Stuff

So how do I strike you? Eeyore or Dumbo?

Do you think I am left or right in my politics?

The truth is I’m a bit of both. Some of my opinions are totally bleeding heart liberal and some of them would frighten the most staunch Republicans into thinking they had become a Democrat. I’m American. I vote and support American stuff. In a democracy, everyone voting keeps anyone's far left or far right ideas from becoming law. That’s the way it should be. So if you are American and of legal age, make sure you vote. No matter how many people agree or disagree with your ideas, everyone expressing their thoughts in the polls is how we keep it all in balance. It’s the only way we’re truly represented. If you give up your portion of the apple pie, we all starve!

Nani Steps on the Political Soap Box

And that’s pretty much all I’ll say about that here. The Chronicles of Nani is my happy and friendly blog. It’s my personal world, free from more than a passing mention of work, politics or religion. You all know I’m looking for work right now and I have very strong political and religious convictions but you know what they say about discussing religion and politics! Those are the two areas that people are so passionate about they cause arguments. Generally, I’m a non-argumentative person. That’s why I have the Soap Box blog, to scream when I feel like I need to scream. So, if you promise not to come back to The Chronicles screaming at me, but please do come back to The Chronicles, you can read my brief scream about the US election, Dignity, at the Simply Davine Soap Box. (Feel free to scream back at me there, but let’s just respect our right to disagree!)

Optimists Baseball Club, Anyone?

As I was telling David yesterday, and I also want a certain Red Sox Nation cousin of mine to know too, if the Red Sox don’t win the World Series this year, it won’t be my fault! I’M still sending my positive thoughts of support!

“Toast.” David used the word and Seamhead Gypsy used it in a comment he left here. “The Red Sox are toast.” Yeesh!

In 2004, when they were down 3 games to nothing to the Yankees, they came back, won it and swept the Cardinals in the World Series. Last year, they were down the same 3-1 they were at the beginning of the game last night and came back, beat the Indians and then swept the Rockies. You’ll recall, The Rockies had an “OMG where’d THAT come from?” end of the season last year, similar to the Devil Rays’ entire 2008.

The Red Sox were down 7-0 in the seventh inning last night! Tied 7 all, the Sox had come back from the largest deficit in LCS history as the bottom of the ninth started. With 2 down, JD Drew’s walk-off single scored Kevin Youkilis from second for an 8-7 final! What a finish!

The Red Sox do that comeback thing well and I for one, won’t give up the cause. 2 more victories and it’s back to the World Series.

How do I like MY toast, guys? In a champagne glass!

Saving a Watermelon

Some time back when David and I were doing the fruit and veggie thing with my Dad, Pop bought me a watermelon. I LOVE watermelon, really!! But I don’t buy whole watermelons because that’s a lot of watermelon and there are just two of us here! But I sure wasn't going to say no to a watermelon gift! I figured I'd just be eating a lot of watermelon.

I was a few days and just under half melon in, when David and I were leaving for the weekend. So, I chunked up all the remaining watermelon, two containers full, and popped it in the freezer.

The following week, I pulled out one container to thaw some of the chunks for dessert. Melon freezes okay, but it’s on the slimy side when it thaws. David is not the watermelon fan I am and wouldn't eat it slimy.

Solution? Watermelon ice! I took the remaining frozen watermelon cubes and crushed them in the blender. I made a couple tubs of snow cone that was very richly watermelon flavored and a wonderful treat, no slimy texture!

It’s simple to make, cut-freeze-crush-keep in freezer, and a large scoop (1 cup) is about 56 calories. It lasts well too! I’m getting near the end of it now, but it’s still wonderful! I had a scoop of it with my granola bar for breakfast this morning. YUM!

Contest Entries Come Home

I made a few changes on my SAS gallery for the previews for my two contest kits. I’ve been allowed to remove the links since the contest ended, but my evenings have been baseball, planning the cast party and a personal project that I‘ve been working on, so I hadn’t moved them. But now, they have come home to The Chronicles of Nani, so ALL of the Digitalegacies kit are here again!

If you didn’t want to join at SAS, accidentally deleted files juggling all the freebies there or are a first-time visitor to The Chronicles, all of the links for the complete kits are below.

Sorry, these links are expired.

Sorry, these links are expired.

I appreciate any comments and if you leave them here rather than at 4-Shared I’m sure to see them! (Especially if there is a broken download. I have so much at 4-Shared that I depend on you letting me know here if something needs fixed!)

As always, if you show me a layout done with any Digitalegacies products, I’ll show you the link and password for “Indian Summer!” Pretty cool deal - use a freebie, get another freebie!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

“Holy broken Windows, Batman! It’s the Apple signal!”

I discovered this on Sunday and didn’t know what it was at first, until I looked at it the right direction! At this time of year, when the sun sinks down in the, about 5M sky, it shines in the window and hits the silver Apple logo on my computer. That projects up on the ceiling for a cool glowing apple overhead. It’s pretty cool!

Okay, or maybe I’m just a geek! :)

Come Snag Some Swag!

Well, today is the day that I see if I learned my lessons well! Kristine, Wenchd Grafix, did such an amazing job planning the Fall Splendor blog party! I was especially impressed with all the work she did organizing “blog party central,” that single page with the previews for all the contributions and links to the blogs all in one place. She was phenomenal!

Our cast party for the scrapping reality show, better known as The 2008 Next SAS-y Lady Contest at SAS, is a smaller group, way smaller than Fall Splendor was, and I really do appreciate Kristine’s work even more! But, tipping my hat to her genius with the idea, I used the same idea for our Cast party, and “got us a room” to party in!

For the Cast Party, members of the whole group from the contest, including all three of the newly crowned SAS-y Ladies are offering our scrapping version of the Hollywood Swag Bags with a gift, to say thank you to all of our blog readers and fellow scrappers who were such great support in the competition! After you download the Digitalegacies thank you gift, make sure you click on the logo to the Cast Party room to see what the other girls have created to say “thanks!”

“Thank You” from Digitalegacies Designs is a set of brag book pages made with 6 of the kits you’ve seen here, including, “Train, Train," “She Said YES!,” “Birthday,” “In Only Seven Days,” “Dandelions and Thistle” and “Daddy’s Little Girl.” The set also has a bonus full-resolution Cook Book Page from Davlicious Recipes for my Tigers-inspired Cranberry-Orange Zucchini Bread. The page is done with the Digitalegacies contribution to Fall Splendor.

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If you haven’t downloaded the corresponding kits for the brag book pages, you’ll find them all here fore free at The Chronicles of Nani! If you download any of them and show me a layout you did with them, I’ll send you the link for “Indian Summer!”

Be sure to stop at the Cast Party room to see what the other designers have added! There are more brag books, quick pages, desktops, mini kits and some really great new ideas like baby announcements and kids party invitations! You just have to see what all there is!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photoshop Blog Wednesday

Photoshop at it's pure and simple freebies best! ;)

The Next SAS-y Ladies Contest Cast Party

The party officially starts at 12:01 AM Eastern US time, but the freebies will be posted throughout the day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

B&B Riverboats
Port of Cincinnati, Ohio

The first thing you’ll notice about this mug is the handle. It has one of those spinny things I like so much. Last time I showed a mug with one of these, it was for the Football Hall of Fame, with a spinning football. This one has a spinning paddle wheel like the one one the riverboat. VERY cool!

No picking on me for the fascination of spinning things that I can flick with my thumb while I’m holding the mug. I am 42. I handed the mug to David, who is also 42. The first thing he did with it was give the wheel a flick and make it spin. Perhaps spinning the things on the mug handles is part of “the Answer.”

Okay, and sure, I have spun the spinny-things on mug that have them for many years, but practice, ya know? I mean, really, doctors give shots and stuff as interns before they become doctors. So, AS the Answer, I say that part of the Answer is spiny-things on coffee mugs.

Now back to how I came about owning this mug with necessary for enlightenment handle spinny-thing...

It was an August trip to Cincinnati, so that could only mean it was a baseball trip! Mom and I went to catch the Saturday night game and the Sunday afternoon games against the Montreal Expos. And I got to speak some French!

Yeah, I do know that they speak English in Cincinnati and that just like so many hockey players that play in the US are Canadian, a fair number of the baseball players in Montreal spoke Spanish... What? There are a LOT of very talented Latin players! But I still, with a smile, got to say a few French things. I don’t know if “Vouz sucez!” actually means anything in French, but the direct translation is “y’all suck!” hehehe

I’m kinda bummed that the Expos left Montreal before I got to go to a game where I could see un match de baseball avec une de mes equipes favorites as the visiteur, eating a Quebecoise hot-dog and washing it down with good Canadian biere! Mom and I had talked about possibly going to Montreal, but the air fares were so expensive! I had to settle for seeing the expos in the US and getting my yucks in at home!

The Reds won both games we went to and oh, but what a great game the Saturday game was! Aaron Boone & Eddie Taubensee both hit grand slams! I’d never seen two slams in one game before! A BIG bonus that they were both for my team! It was a very god baseball weekend!

We left early on Saturday morning for the 5-hour drive to Cincy. With an evening game on Saturday, we’d have some time for some fun before the game, so I’d booked us lunch passage on the Belle of Cincinnati, leaving Covington Landing at noon.

Mom loved boats, from watching the lake freighters in Sarnia or at the Mackinac Bridge or riding paddle boats or sightseeing boats, Mom loved them all! The summer before she and Dad met, they were both at the Hydroplane Gold Cup races in Detroit, but on opposite sides of the river. That was something she and Dad always enjoyed together. She had fond memories of sailing on the Queen Mary to Italy on her honeymoon and we went to Tall Stacks in Cincinnati in 1995 together. If it floated on water, Mom was sure to find a way to be there to see t or ride on it!

When the two of us made our Southern trip in 1989, we went on a dinner cruise on the Cumberland River in Chattanooga, so we were seasoned river diners!

When we boarded, we posed for the obligatory photo on board. If you resist having the photo taken, they’ll tell you it’s a photo record of whose on board, “should anything happen.” Truthfully, it’s a souvenir they’ll try to sell you as you get off the boat! I know. I have many of those purchased photos! Then were found our table number.

The table was by a window facing the Cincinnati side of the boat. Not that it matters, because the boat will turn around and you’ll see the other side after dessert. I don’t specifically recall what we had for lunch. It was buffet style standard big lunch fare, roast beef, a chicken dish and a very nice spread for a sandwich option. After dessert and coffee, we went upstairs to the open air portion of the boat. It was a beautiful day, not too hot and a nice breeze on the river. The view is wonderful on the part of the Ohio River that goes through Cincinnati. There is the city skyline on one side, and Cincinnati is one of the prettiest skylines, every building seeming to belong with the others, and the more quaint Covington, Kentucky side, with a smaller town appeal contrasted with some beautiful newer architecture. That appealed to me, the architecture aficionado!

After the boat,we visited the Newport Aquarium, in Newport , Kentucky and the dinner before the game. The Sunday game was an extra innings game that the Reds won. For a baseball nut and the woman who raised me to be a baseball nut, there’s nothing like free baseball to top off a fantastic Mother-Daughter weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saving The Planet (One Cup of Coffee at a Time)

This one’s a long one so, get a cup of coffee and a piece of that black forest cake!

Who knew saving the planet could taste so good?

That’s right, uh-huh, just call me SOUPER JAVA NANI, defender of Mother Earth!

:::moment of silence with a impish grin on my face:::

Yeah, okay, I’m not really a super hero, even in my own ego, but I do my part where I can to preserve our planet!

David and I were surprised by a fact revealed on The Weather Channel a few weeks back in the segment done by Bill Nye The Science Guy. Bill had posed a question about how many gallons of water could be save annually just by turning off the water when you brush your teeth. I’ll be honest I don’t remember the number, I just remember that it was an astronomical figure that shocked both of us! I’m making a concerted effort to remember to turn off the water between the initial “add a little water to the brush to moisten the toothpaste” phase and the rinse.

But it’s rough to break an old habit. I mean, I’m 42 years old and most of those 42 years I’ve had teeth! I’m a pretty devout brusher. I’m even one of those strange people who actually flosses every day. My oral hygienist back in Michigan said it was a pleasant surprise, most people don’t. But for decades, brushing my teeth has meant, put toothpaste on the brush, run the brush under a little water, brush back and forth, up and down and in little circles and rinse. THEN turn off the water and floss. It never occurred to me to turn off the water while I did the back and forth, up and down and little circles!

So now, how do I remember to try to retrain myself? When I brush my teeth, I think about coffee!

Get that surprised look off your face! I’m not thinking about coffee as mouthwash or anything! Keep reading!

How does coffee make me think about water conservation? Well, I always make my coffee with rescued water! David and I keep a half gallon and a gallon jug on the counter near the sink. When the water is just running, we let it run over a jug. Think about all the times you just let the water run while it’s getting cold enough to drink or hot enough to rinse or wash dishes. It adds up. We fill those gallon and a half worth of jugs in a day easy. Those jugs are “rescued water,” water that didn’t just flow down the drain unused. Cats don’t drink cold water, room temperature is perfect for the kids and I also use the rescued water to make soup, lemonade, cook vegetables and make coffee! So, my coffee could be considered “ecocoffee!”

A New Notch On The Wall

I am proud to announce that The Chronicles of Nani is now a two-time winner of the Proximidade award for fostering friendship and providing special content around the cyber world!

Monika, of Monika Digital Designs bestowed this award this time. I definitely do extend that hand of friendship, but the specialness of content is totally up to my readers. I truly treasure every award you all feel I deserve!

Like I said before, I’m working on ideas of an award of my own to give out. You know I have “a list!” :) But I will be awarding people soon!

It’s Simply Davlicious!

What a way to start the day! This morning I brewed the ecocoffee in my grinder/coffee maker with a cinnamon stick in the grinder half. It ground the fresh cinnamon and added it to the coffee grounds as it was brewing. I used the caramel Splenda that David bought me last weekend for a sweet morning treat! YUM!

And speaking of “yum,” I’ve been tweaking a new recipe for baked apples that I’ll probably be doing a new “Cook Book Page” for, but in the mean time, I’m working on the Davlicious page in The Simply Davine Group to finally get it updated. Davlicious Recipes are all the archived recipes from Simply Davine. Simply Davine was essentially my “life and times of me” before The Chronicles of Nani. A regular blog is much easier to update several times a week than a website. Now that website is the portal to all my web stuff and the Davlicious link is just the archive recipes page. I’m going to be reconstructing that page with all the archived recipes and the original photos from when they were on the website. I’ll also be adding new recipes from time to time. But first, I want to make the archive more user-friendly!

Davlicious Recipes are all original or family recipes that I share with anyone who wants to try them. I did a set of “Cook Book Pages” last month and offered them in full resolution to anyone that wanted them. There were a few requests, which made me smile. I think that’s the “inner Italian grandma” that Noni left with me. So look for “Davlicious Recipes Cook Book Pages” from time to time on The Chronicles of Nani! Hint - when the Davlicious site is ready for the grand re-launch, look for a page or two to celebrate it!

Scrap News

Because I don’t have enough to fill my days...if you haven’t already seen the sarcasm in THAT statement, please apply it liberally and read it again...I suggested and am organizing an event with many of the contestants from the Next SAS-y Designer contest. We’re having a “Cast Party” for our after the scrapping reality show event, which includes cast members from the first week and ALL THREE of the winning new SAS-y Ladies!

So, what makes this something worth telling everyone who was NOT part of our cast?

You’re all invited! This cast party is our opportunity to say “Thanks” to all of you who read our blogs, voted and read almost daily pleas for votes in the contest. Now, we’re saying “thanks” with a whole slew of freebies, no strings attached - no begging, just a gift...a bunch of blog-hopping gifts for all of you as party favors!

The party starts next Wednesday, so make sure you visit here for a link to the party room where you'll find all the previews for your gifts and links to the blogs where the gift-givers have them offered. How cool is this?? I’ve already seen a lot of the previews. Trust me, it’s VERY cool!

Jessica Sprague

While browsing some scrapping blogs this morning, I came across The Digital Life and Times of Meg. Meg’s first blog entry on this blog was in August, but she has some interesting scrapbook ideas, a few freebies and a link to an interesting tutorial and classes site! Jessica Sprague is offering a free class at jessicasprague.com in November!

This is not a personal endorsement of the class, since it’s all totally new to me, but the topic caught my interest and I intend to sign up for it when it’s available for registration on the 20th.

Stories At Hand advertises itself as a class for developing the “missing moments” in between photos and scrapbook pages. The promo suggests it will help capture those untold memories in scrapbook pages when you don’t have photos or in video or blogs. From the promotion, I’m getting that it will help you write better, be a better storyteller.

It just has me intrigued and it’s a free glimpse into her class style. So, I’m going to give it a try! Some of The Chronicles of Nani readers have expressed an interest in being better storytellers and some in journaling better. This might not be a bad idea! Another thing, the post I was reading at jessicaspreague.com also says this class is not just for scrapbookers! (that kinda adds more intrigue to me!)

Links Back Up

I think I’ve decided that I’m just not the type to “go pro” at scrapbook designing. I don't like rules and deadlines put on my creativity all the time unless I’m getting a big paycheck when its done!

Oh, I may try the designer contest thing again because I made great new friends in it and I learned a LOT about designing and really a lot about what to design for other people, what people would be able to enjoy and use in their own layouts. This does not mean that I’m going to shy away from doing kit themes that there just aren’t kits for, on the contrary, I think after comments I received about “I Cross My Heart” and the FBR search I did for cheerleading kits, the Digitalegacies brand of theme kits are sorely needed!

Flowers, fairies and frillies are nice. They make pretty, artsy pages and there are tons of gorgeous kits available for making those works of personal art. But in a market saturated with the scrapbooking supplies that thrill the creative little girls in all female scrappers, there are pages to be done about everyday things, sports, men and there are even men who scrap! This grown-up tomboy will always be looking for the elements that represent those memories too and when I can’t find them, I‘ll design them...and share them!

So, now I’m totally overloaded with stuff on my “to do” list! I have a ton of inspired ideas swirling around in my head, including that “heritage” kit I’m hoping to launch this month. But in the mean time, there are a few things I’ve done.

I’d expired some of the older freebie links in contemplation of what I might want to put in a store someday. Those links have all been reactivated and “Train, Train,” “I’m All In,” “Printmps Classique,” “In Only Seven Days” and “She Said YES!,” are once again available for free download. “In Only Seven Days” is now a link to the directory for all seven downloads from the main page introducing the kit

(click on the previews to go to the original post)

"Train, Train"
password is railfans

"I'm All In"
password is royalflush

"Printemps Classique"
password is itsFrench

"In Only Seven Days"
password is Freddie

"She Said YES!"
password is marry-me

Well, I’ve been adding a new piece to this blog entry every now and then all day, which makes for a LONG blog! But this is my scrapping day, so there is much to still be done with the rest of the evening and my presence is requested downstairs for Red Sox, game 2 on TV!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Norfolk Southern’s beautiful F-Units
on the business special in that warm,
end of day light I love so much last Saturday

How my plans for a two-day cyber-crop were thwarted!

David was going to be gone all weekend, but the weather where he was headed was supposed to be lousy. He stayed home. We had some sunny days here. He seduced me! He promised the business train on Saturday and a train by the Pioneer Sugar Canisters on Sunday - He knows my weaknesses too well!

Then both Friday and Saturday nights, he made me watch baseball...Okay, well he turned the game on. I was just going to have the pitch-by-pitch on mlb.com while I worked.

I got ONE, just one, page done ALL WEEKEND! YEESH!

But the Red Sox and The Dodgers are advancing and the train pictures were fabulous! I’m not really complaining! :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee

This is such a fun mug to me. I like the shape and that it looks small, but holds a full regular size cup if coffee. Okay, sure, I usually drink my coffee in the bigger cups, but this one is still a full regulation size cup for socializing! I could drink coffee in it at breakfast if David and I are both having coffee.

As the seasons are changing and really meaning it now in Northwest Ohio, with warm oranges and yellows in the trees and a cool bite in the air, I look at this mug and feel happy memories flood my mind...and a craving for good Mexican food!

In 1993 when Mom and I went on vacation taking advantage of Thanksgiving weekend to extend our week’s trip, it was just a little cloudy on the second day. That was the day we were headed to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and through The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We got into Pigeon Forge right around lunchtime. The traffic in Pigeon Forge was PACKED! I’ll say two things that will explain it all - outlet mall shopping and the weekend after Thanksgiving! We did a little Christmas shopping on that trip, but not any shopping for things we could get in Michigan, so, after driving in and realizing that the road we needed to take to the park was right through outlet central, we were ready for lunch when we finally got into Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg was a sweet town, all decked out for Christmas with the crisp late November mountain air and the smells of apple-cinnamon potpourri coming from the gift shop doorways and the welcoming aroma of restaurants at lunchtime in the air. Mom and I caught a whiff of a familiar smell, but here? Really? It was a smell of REAL Mexican food, not fast food garbage or homogenized Tex-Mex, but authentic South of the Border fare. We had a favorite restaurant in Walled Lake, Michigan, that served authentic Mexican that we just loved and this was a smell like that.

I suppose the first thing you want when you walk into any ethnic restaurant is to hear the cook using the native language as a first language. We were greeted by the host, who spoke accented English, a server who spoke slowly with an accent and a smile, and other members of the staff who seemed to understand a little English, but sure didn't seem to speak any. But they were all so courteous and proud of their food, and with reason! Mom and I agreed that it was even better than our favorite at home, although we agreed we could be eating a little atmosphere too. But there were tamales in real corn husks, flautas and rellenos stuffed with just perfectly spiced queso, my mouth is watering remembering it! We weren’t expecting authentic Mexican in Gatlinburg. We were thinking we’d be enjoying some local cuisine, but boy we were not at all disappointed!

After lunch and a little shopping in the shops on The Great Smoky Mountains Parkway, we got back in the car and went deeper into the park.

The plan was that we’d drive through the park and then take the Blue Ridge Parkway through into South Carolina. What a thrilling drive! It was the first time in my life I’d ever used low gear on my car, and I used it a LOT on those roads! In the National Park, there are some very steep grades, but guard rails all the way through and a lot of traffic but not too much. The scenery was just gorgeous! By the afternoon there was just a little bit of sun coming through the clouds and the tops of the trees. We stopped a few times to take it all in and get a couple of pictures.

The real thrill came on the Blue Ridge Parkway! (If David reads this, he’ll be amazed that I lived to blog about it one day!) The Blue Ridge Parkway is not a National Park. Much of the Parkway his no guard rails and the drops are, well, into the mountains. The drops are like jumping off a cliff! The grades were still steep in places and there were one lane tunnels, where the signs instruct you to turn on your headlights and honk your horn before proceeding! We hit a very dense patch of fog that I was VERY nervous driving through. I couldn’t see a thing and I knew the drop was a big one if I ran off the road. Needless to say it was a slow drive at that time. We continued up until the fog dissipated and we stopped at the next turn off to take a break. You know, pry my white-knuckled fingers off the steering wheel!

We got out of the car to stretch and just take a look. What a view at that turn off of the mountains and clouds below. CLOUDS BELOW? Mom and I just laughed at ourselves. It wasn’t dense fog, I’d driven through a cloud! WOW!

The rest of the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway was a bit more routine. We got off the parkway in South Carolina, before dark. (I think we would have been sleeping in the car that night if it had gotten dark before we were off the mountain) and caught the freeway into Columbia where we stayed for the night. Sleep was pretty easy to fall into that night after our exciting adventure driving in the mountains with Jonathan, the Mountain Marauding Camaro!