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Kristin and Jeff Take KC

Kristin and Jeff Visit KC | The Nerd Nest

A few weeks ago, Jeff and my soul lady Kristin came to stay for a long weekend. Visits like these are my favorite because it not only means long stretches of amazing friend time, but also that I get to do some of my favorite Kansas City things and play hometown tourist. They were also here for Halloween, which made the day way more fun.

Breakout KC  | The Nerd Nest

City Market  | The Nerd Nest

Of course that means barbecue and lots of other delicious food, but the highlights of the trip were our adventures out. We went to Breakout KC with our friends Steve and Michelle. It’s a game–there are tons of difficult clues set up in a room, and you have to use them to find keys, decipher clues, and find hidden hints to get out of the room in an hour time frame. We did it! Which is pretty amazing, because less than a quarter of groups make it out. This was ridiculously fun and I want to go back and try out the other rooms.

Afterwards we went to the farmer’s market.

Gaming  | The Nerd Nest

Batman Themed Halloween  | The Nerd Nest

The rest of Halloween was mostly spent chilling out while I finished up costumes last minute. There were a lot of staples involved because I ran out of time. I made 5 Batman themed costumes, though, and even though they were kind of thrown together, it was still a lot of work. (Still counting them towards my 52 Projects. Our foster baby’s Batgirl costume is not pictured.)

Our friends Paul and Anne came over for video games to help entertain everyone.

Kristin and Jeff went trick-or-treating with us, which was adorable and exhausting. Then we went back home for chili and lots of baseball. The World Series was the week they visited, so watching the Royals and the Mets was a big part of their trip.

Prints at the Nelson Day of the Dead Celebration  | The Nerd Nest

Eliza and Jonas at the Nelson Day of the Dead Celebration  | The Nerd Nest

Food at the Nelson Day of the Dead Celebration  | The Nerd Nest

Megan, Kristin, and Jeff at the Nelson Day of the Dead Celebration  | The Nerd Nest

Nelson Day of the Dead Celebration  | The Nerd Nest

Sunday we went to the Nelson’s Day of the Dead celebration. There was so much going on at the museum, but we missed out on the visual arts and dance part. We listened to live music, ate some pretty awesome snacks, and the kids made a lot of art projects: a print, buttons, and seasonal produce masks.

KC Soda Co  | The Nerd Nest

Kristin at KC Soda Co  | The Nerd Nest

Kristin loves craft soda, so we also made a visit to Kansas City Soda Co and got lots of different things to try. How awesome is that bottle tile?

We went back and watched the Royals win the World Series, so they got to see the city go nuts. There were fireworks and “whooing” well into the wee hours.

Murmuration  | The Nerd Nest

Kansas City Painted Royals Blue by Jake Anderson  | The Nerd Nest

Royals Take the Crown | The Nerd Nest

Our last big outings were to stroll around Liberty Memorial and Union Station. We watched a murmuration, saw some of the set-up for the World Series parade, and caught the city painted up in blue lights as part of the celebration.

Smash Up | The Nerd Nest

We spent our last hours playing Smash Up, which was probably a bad idea because of how early we had to wake up to get to the airport. Well worth it, though.

I’m so glad Kristin and Jeff were able to visit and am thankful for all of the adventures we were able to fit in the few days they were here.

Simple Twin Sized Striped Knit Blanket

Huge Knit Blanket for Eliza | The Nerd Nest

Twin Sized Knit Blanket | The Nerd Nest

Knit Blanket a Year in the Making | The Nerd Nest

I knitted a giant blanket for Eliza and it took me a year to complete! I started last November with a bunch of yarn and a very vague plan.

Yarn Colors for Knit Blanket Project | The Nerd Nest

I chose the colors based on the nesting doll curtains and dark teal furniture in Eliza’s room.

Giant Striped Garter Stitch Knit Blanket | The Nerd Nest

I didn’t plan out the size of the blanket, I just knew I wanted it to be huge. So I cast on as many stitches as I could comfortably fit onto my needles and set off. No gauge swatch, just tons and tons of the garter stitch (knitting every row).

I wanted this to be a project I could pick up to keep my hands busy while watching TV or sitting in the passenger seat on road trips, so I decided I didn’t want to count. I created stripes of color based on what I thought looked good and balanced the blanket as a whole, and making different sized stripes meant I didn’t need to pay attention to how many rows of each color I was knitting.

Eliza's Giant Knit Blanket | The Nerd Nest

I kept going until I was about out of yarn, and the result is just the right size to cover an adult completely when they are laying down and for Eliza to wrap around her shoulders to drag around with her when the house is cold. Hopefully it holds up and E will be doing that for years to come!

DIY is Best - Hand knit blanket is like being wrapped in Mom's love | The Nerd Nest

We joke around that, because that blanket represents countless hours of knitting, that covering up with it is like being literally wrapped in mom love. That, my friends, is the power of DIY.

Next up: a blanket for Jonas. I’m picking out black and lots of bright nebula colors for his! I’m sure that one will take me another year to complete.

Have you ever embarked on an extremely time consuming craft project? What did you make?

Easy Garter Stitch Striped Knit Blanket | The Nerd Nest

This year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.

This is project 21 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1: Class Quilt / 2: Valentines with Eliza / 3: Crabitat / 4-7: Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors + Other Room Updates / 8: April Gardening / 9: Handprint and Footprint Butterfly Pots / 10: Ornate Frame with Clipped Photos / 11: May Gardening / 12-15: DIY Play Dough, Beach Painting, Badge Magnets, and Friendship Bracelets / 16: Fish Bowl Succulent Terrarium / 17: Summer Gardening / 18: Blackberry Trellis / 19-20: Stamped Fabric Harry Potter Pillow and Embroidered Anniversary /

December 30 Days of Lists is Open + My Handmade Album Base!

My 30 Days of Lists album using an old book! | The Nerd Nest

I’m getting ready for the December 2015 round of 30 Days of Lists! Registration just opened up and I just finished prepping my album base. I love it so much I’m a little sad I have to wait for December to get started!

In case you haven’t heard of it before (which means you’re new around here, because this is my tenth round participating in the challenge–welcome!), 30 Days of Lists is a journaling challenge with a daily prompt for 30 Days that gets you writing about yourself! Even though I take the fancy scrapbooky approach to #30Lists, all you really need is a pen and paper (or the digital version of those things) and five minutes a day to dedicate to documenting YOU.

Kam and Amy, the ladies behind 30 Days of Lists, really pack the challenge full, so registration comes with more than the prompts. Check out the registration page to learn about giveaways and all of the bonus goodies included.

December 2015 30 Days of Lists Album Base | The Nerd Nest

For my album, I used the cover of an old book and stitched in folios of patterned paper to make my own custom mini! I included 32 pages–one page for each list and enough room for a title page and a cover page. The pages measure 6×8, which is a fantastic minibook size, especially if you are using 3×4 journaling cards.

Hand stitched pages into an old book cover for 30 Days of Lists | The Nerd Nest

I’m working on a workshop teaching multiple methods for making minibooks and journals from old books called Rebook, so if you’re interested in this method, make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter to be the first to know when registration opens up (and to get an exclusive discount).

Handmade mixed paper mini book for 30 Days of Lists | The Nerd Nest

Handmade mixed paper book for #30Lists December 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Stash bust your paper pile with a mixed paper book | The Nerd Nest

Stitched in folios for handmade book | The Nerd Nest

This album was great for stash busting through my older patterned paper–I mixed the old and the new! I went with a few winter-themed pages, but mostly just stuck within a color story of true blue, navy, robin’s egg, browns, pink, and a tiny bit of green and yellow. I used the cover as a jumping off point and found papers that coordinated with the patterned papers I had with the colors of blue I needed in them.

Ideas for December 2015 30 Days of Lists | The Nerd Nest

I haven’t decided 100% what I’m doing for my inner pages this round. I know I’m going to be using the rukristin 30 Days of Lists stamp to make my own journaling cards for the lists themselves and the 3×4 cards from the Ashley G December Daily Add-On Kit to number the lists.

But I don’t know how I’m setting up my pages yet. I really loved adding a photo for each list in my September 2015 list album, but I’m participating in December Daily this year and don’t know if I want to do a photo in this album AND photos in that album. There are pros and cons: this album is not focused on being holiday-y and is about me rather than my whole family, so the photos for each will be very different. But it will also be nice to do this project in a simple way during a busy season. We’ll see!

If I end up adding photos, they’ll probably be 3×4 and I’ll split up each page in the album into four quadrants–one for the numbered card, one for the list, one for the photo, and one for the patterned paper background. If I don’t, I might just center the numbered card and list side by side and border them with washi tape or ribbon, leaving the patterned background to show on the bottom and top of the page. It all depends on if I decide to go with photos!

30 Days of Lists Album Base | The Nerd Nest

Are you participating in 30 Days of Lists this round? What are your plans for the challenge?

I’m an ambassador for 30 Days of Lists, so I spread my love of the challenge in an official manner. You can see why I love #30Lists here, and I’m an affiliate so any purchases you make through these links support the Nerd Nest! Sign up for the #30Lists Newsletter so that you can keep up with #30Lists news.

4 Projects with the Freckled Fawn Together is Best Kit

Inspiration using the Freckled Fawn Together is Best Kit, like this ombre wood chip, at The Nerd Nest

I’m totally in love with this month’s Freckled Fawn kit, Together is Best.

Together is Best Freckled Fawn Kit

This month, I made 4 projects with the kit! Here’s what I made and how I went about deciding how to use the kit:

Ideas for working with busy patterned paper backgrounds | The Nerd Nest

The kit has a lot of things that are great for documenting Thanksgiving, even though it doesn’t have an overt harvest / Autumn / grateful theme. So I went back to the most recent Thanksgiving I hadn’t documented yet, which turned out to be 2009, and found photos I wanted to use!

I didn’t have much to say about this big extended family gathering (I don’t remember anything specific about this Thanksgiving–one reason it’s a good idea to write some journaling in the moment even if you won’t get to memory keeping an event for a long time), but I love the big group photo.

Because I knew this page would be mostly decorative, I decided to play around with busy patterned paper from Basic Grey that went well with the kit!

Document family gatherings with Freckled Fawn's Together is Best kit | The Nerd Nest

To make sure that the family photo would still be the focal point, I enlarged it and double matted it–once in cream and once with a coordinating dark teal patterned paper. I used chipboard phrase stickers from the kit to add to the Thanksgiving vibe, since I don’t have any food photos, with phrases like “let’s eat” “tradition” and “it’s a party.” I also added one of the adorable faux letter stickers to the photo.

Find natural places in busy patterned paper for your photos | The Nerd Nest

Mount photos and use directional embellishments to ensure they stick out on busy patterned paper | The Nerd Nest

I had smaller photos to include of Jake and his siblings as well. To make sure those stood out, I matted them in cream and used faux letter arrow embellishments to draw attention to them.

I included a 6×12 accompanying page for some of the photos and the title so that more of the patterned paper would still be visible.

Inspiration using the Freckled Fawn Together is Best Kit, like this ombre wood chip, at The Nerd Nest

My favorite part of this page is the “Together is Best” wood chip. I created an ombre effect using Hero Arts Ombre ink pads. I used pool to navy and one color from mint to green to make a four color effect. I’ll be sharing a video tutorial on how to accomplish this soon!

Cool double page horizontal 8.5x11! | The Nerd Nest

While I was browsing through my 2009 photos, I found these pictures from a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show in a park in my then-neighborhood. We watched the movie a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to my specially tailored musical Pandora station non-stop, so I was definitely in the mood to make something with these photos!

The story that goes with them is funny too–when we went, I brought then 3 year old Eliza because I forgot all about some of the more risqué bits. My sister ended up walking her back home for me–hah! Bad parenting decision aside, the experience of being in a live audience for this movie is incredible experience, because it is truly participatory. Plenty of people dress up in costume, bring props to throw, and shout extra audience dialog. It’s so fun.

Use word strip embellishments to describe an experience | The Nerd Nest

I was originally planning to make a 12×12 page, but after I’d printed my photos, I realized that wasn’t really going to work. I went with a double page 8.5×11 spread instead–I have a lot of those horizontal US Paper size page protectors lying around!

Find fun ways to combine word embellishments to support your story | The Nerd Nest

I kept the left page pretty simple and had fun using the phrase stickers to help tell the story. Some of the phrases were about movies (like “lights, camera, action” and “movie night”), some went with the theme of the show or matched show quotes (“don’t judge me” “be happy” + “just the way you are” “simple pleasures”), and some went with my story (“wait, what?” “no clue”).

Tell a story about a cultural experience! | The Nerd Nest

On the right side, I included a cool photo Jake took of a building over the trees and a marketing image for the film along with my journaling and a large title using the vellum letters from the kit.

I also ran out of room for my journaling, so I finished up on a label sticker.

Sew on vellum letters | The Nerd Nest

I used my sewing machine to attach the letters! I think I use that thing for paper way more than I use it for fabric.

Cut up bits of washi tape to make your own patterned paper background! | The Nerd Nest

For my next layout, I went back to my more recent photos and looked through to see what stories I wanted to tell that would work well for the kit. The sheets on Jonas’s bed jumped out at me–they go perfectly with the sequin hearts in the kit–and I’ve been wanting to document how he keeps falling asleep covered in books.

Cut strips from striped washi to make your own plus pattern background | The Nerd Nest

To create my own background for this page, I cut off strips from the striped washi tape and made little pluses with them! This is a great way to get more from your tape.

Frame your photo with embellishments and journaling | The Nerd Nest

I used more washi tape, embellishments, and journaling to frame the photo on the page. Anchoring the resin “story” with the label sticker helped it stick out as a title!

Adhere vellum letters with word embellishments | The Nerd Nest

Next, I knew I wanted to make a pocket page. All of the foodie embellishments in a kit helped me to zero in on just the story I wanted to tell–my weekend in Austin with my little brother and my first step-mom (my family is complicated) in September.

I started with the idea to layer vellum letters “ATX” over a photo of the city. I adhered them on with chipboard phrase stickers!

Use all of your pockets for photos and add embellishments! | The Nerd Nest

Documenting a weekend trip to Austin | The Nerd Nest

Because I’m going to make a minibook all about this trip, I wanted to just share highlights for my pocket album. I decided to skip cards all together and fill all of the pockets with photos.

I included an insert with 4×4 photo spots just for food photos, because food was a definite highlight of the trip. I want to go back just to eat more.

Freckled Fawn's Together is Best kit is great for foodie adventures! | The Nerd Nest

Obviously the “yum” flair belongs here.

Project Life with just photos and embellishments | The Nerd Nest

Share the highlights of a vacation in your pocket album, then share the details in a minibook! | The Nerd Nest

Use labels to add journaling when you skip the journaling cards | The Nerd Nest

I tucked in just enough embellishments to add a bit of fun to the page and to explain what was going on. I used label stickers to include the story behind the trip, phrase chipboard stickers directly on photos, and the “great day” wood chip to help show the feeling of the vacation and the time frame we did all of this in (we only spent a day and a half in Austin).

My Freckled Fawn Together is Best kit after 4 projects! | The Nerd Nest

I still have a lot of the kit left to use! I usually keep going and make more projects, but I want to save some of the kit to use to document this Thanksgiving! Stick around to see more of it in action next month.

Like the kit too?

Start a subscription or buy your Together is Best kit here.

I’m on the Freckled Fawn Creative Team and thus receive free and discounted products.

At 29, Jake…


We recently celebrated Jake’s birthday! I think birthdays are a great time to capture a bit of what someone’s life is like in the moment, so I documented some of the things that really characterize him as he turned 29 (with his help).

At 29 Jake…

  • …is VERY into his quadcopter hobby and has moved up from the one he built from scratch to a racing model.
  • …has an uncanny talent for finding weird ways to fund his hobby projects.
  • …was promoted from software engineer to software architect!
  • …video chats with his dad and his older brother a lot.
  • …switched from Chucks to Vans, and can usually be found in jeans and a polo shirt or a dark button down.
  • …has discovered the joy of audiobooks (really into The Martian).
  • …packs his weekends with family adventures and visits to extended family, but loves lazy days around the house the most.
  • …always finds us awesome science-y things to watch on You Tube.
  • …is a research master.
  • …has retained his baby whisperer skills.
  • …is a very patient homework helper and also likes to teach Eliza about whatever random thing he’s researching (most recently the five stages of tribes in group behavior).
  • …is becoming a better cook and still rules in the bread department.
  • …wants to start learning more woodworking.
  • …is a good man in a storm.
  • …recently discovered a love for craft pop.
  • …is my very best friend.

Check out other birthday and anniversary check-in lists.

Stamp your own Fabric Pattern | Handmade Holidays Blog Hop

Wizard pillow - stamp your own fabric pattern! | The Nerd Nest

Today I’m sharing a handmade gift tutorial (and a bonus idea) using rukristin stamps to make your own fabric patterns.

Fan art fabric pattern using stamps! | The Nerd Nest

I use rukristin stamps in my paper crafting all of the time, so I thought it would be fun to show you a gift that steps away from the paper!

Creating your own fabric using stamps is a great way to personalize a gift. Make a pillow using the wooden wizard stamp set for the Potterhead in your life as I did, or stamp a alphabet pattern for your favorite pre-schooler. Make a fun multi-colored pattern with the circles stamps in this set, or make a statment with oversized wooden words. The pattern possibilities are endless!

Stamp your own fabric using the rukristin wizard stamp set | The Nerd Nest

If you are stamping fabric to create a pillow, you can buy a plain pillowcase to stamp, or you can make your own! I love this tutorial from Vintage Revivals for making envelope pillows, and this is the method that I use.

Pay close attention to the weave of the fabric when selecting a pillow or fabric to use to make your own. Smooth fabric will give you the best stamping results; bumpy, textured fabric will result in spotty stamped images.

Test different sorts of ink you own to see what is washable, but I used tried and true StazOn solvent ink to ensure my stamped images will last. You can also try your hand at rolling on fabric paint or finding ink specially sold for fabric.

Make sure you have a flat, sturdy stamping surface to ensure you can get a clear stamp on the fabric.

To get started, just load your stamp with ink by pressing it into the pad firmly and evenly, then stamp it onto the fabric straight and firm, taking care not to wobble the stamp.

Reload your ink each time you stamp.

Stamp your own pattern on fabric | The Nerd Nest

You can always measure out an even repeating pattern with your stamps, but I love a more freeform pattern look. To accomplish this, I repeated stamps tilted in slightly different directions and spread the stamps evenly over the fabric, working my way from one side to another. To give the fabric a continuous look, I placed scrap paper under the edges of my fabric so I could stamp the image partially along the edges to give the illusion that the pattern is continuous.

Harry Potter pillow with rukristin stamps | The Nerd Nest

I love the completed pillow and I may be addicted to stamping on fabric!

Make your own pillow to perfectly pull together your space -- stamp your own fabric! | The Nerd Nest

I’m keeping this pillow for my foster baby’s room–it really pulls it together and improves the look of the old chair it rests on–but I can wait to make more as gifts for my fellow Harry Potter fans!

Embroider an important date to you - using rukristin stamps | The Nerd Nest

As a bonus, I have one more fabric stamping idea for you! Try using stamps on fabric to create an embroidery template. I used rukristin basic number and 30 Days of Lists stamp sets to make a little embroidery piece featuring the date of my husband’s and my first date. This would be a great gift for the newlyweds in your life!

Stamp on fabric for an embroidery template | The Nerd Nest

I used StazOn Opaque Cotton White ink, so it would show up on the black felt I used. To insure that the stamped image would fit once I added the fabric into the embroidery hoop, I used a quilting ruler as a stamping block and readjusted my clear acrylic stamps as needed.

Use stamps as an embroidery template! Important date gift using rukrisitn stamps | The Nerd Nest

I used the stamps as a guide and filled in the stamped numbers with embroidery floss! This is a great DIY gift to work on when watching TV or waiting in line at the grocery store.

This was sort of a test run for me; the result will look much cleaner with better quality embroidery floss and cotton fabric rather than felt. We’ll call this a proof of concept!

My next project with these stamps and fabric? Stamped ruffle cafe curtains!

I’m also planning on using rukristin stamps for more of my holiday gifts this year. I give my parents and grandparents handmade photo calendars each year as Christmas gifts, and this time around I’m using rukristin basic month and 30 Days of Lists clear stamps sets to create my calendar pages. Stay tuned for that.

This year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.

These are projects 19 and 20 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1: Class Quilt / 2: Valentines with Eliza / 3: Crabitat / 4-7: Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors + Other Room Updates / 8: April Gardening / 9: Handprint and Footprint Butterfly Pots / 10: Ornate Frame with Clipped Photos / 11: May Gardening / 12-15: DIY Play Dough, Beach Painting, Badge Magnets, and Friendship Bracelets / 16: Fish Bowl Succulent Terrarium / 17: Summer Gardening / 18: Blackberry Trellis.

I have so many more projects queued to share with you in the next few weeks!

I’m a rukristin creative team member, so I receive these products for free or at a reduced price. Affiliate links used–purchasing through these links helps to support the Nerd Nest so I can fund more projects like this one!

August Reads

August Reads | The Nerd Nest

In August, I didn’t have a lot of free reading time or brain power to dedicate to complicated concepts, as I was busting out a video a day for our 31 Days of Challenges unit Pocket Your Year. So I finished up the next volume in a series I’m reading this year and picked up a new children’s series.

August Reads at the Nerd Nest

Here are the books I read in August:

Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower, Volume IV (1997) by Stephen King

I started reading this series in middle school and never finished it, so this year I started over to see what happens. This is the book I remembered most from that age, and I’m pretty sure it’s as far as I got in the series.

This volume of the series is basically one giant flashback framed with the main story line. There isn’t a lot of movement forward with the plot as a whole; it’s basically just the backstory for the protagonist, Roland.

There are some things that are problematic about this book. It’s set in an old Western style in an area that is supposed to be reminiscent of Mexico. Yet people of color and the book’s version of Spanish speaking people are an underclass and there are no developed characters from this group. In addition, this is supposed to be a version of the future that has been driven back into a lifestyle like the past, mostly because a lack of resources, but the double standards surrounding virginity for men and women are still present. It’s one of the main themes of this book. I was very annoyed by this throughout.

But on the whole, when I could turn the sociology brain off, I enjoyed it.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Books 1-4: The Lightning Thief (2005), The Sea of Monsters (2006), The Titan’s Curse (2007), and Battle of the Labyrinth (2008) by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a children’s series about a Greek demi-god set in today’s times.

These were great light reading for before bed after a hard day’s work. I really enjoyed them and I think Eliza will like them too. I love that these books are getting kids into Greek mythology and ancient history. I want to read the author’s other series about different pantheons too!

Aside: I didn’t much care for the movie versions.

And for comics:

  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #2
  • Princess Leia #3
  • Harley Quinn Convergence #1-2

August 2015 Reads | The Nerd Nest

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Make sure to put a big SPOILERS warning in your comment to warn others if you have ‘em.

Reading anything good lately?

I’m a Powell’s Books affiliate. Purchasing anything through these links helps to support the Nerd Nest.

5 Ways to Fit Traditional Scrapbooking in Your Pocket Album

Project Life 2013 | Week 10 by Megan Anderson

May Awesome Ladies Project | Megan Anderson 1

I love pocket scrapbooking and have made it my main form of scrapbooking, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give up on “traditional” scrapbooking! I love including layouts in my Project Life album, and today I’m sharing 5 ideas on ways to include those traditional pages in your pocket album!

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Project Life 2013 | Week 6 by Megan Anderson

1. Include smaller page “inserts” in the center of Project Life spreads.

I love using this technique to create traditional pages that relate to my weekly spreads. Creating smaller pages, such as 8.5×11 or 6×12 layouts, helps me to focus in on a single topic I’d like to highlight for the week without interrupting the flow of my Project Life album. The variety of size options also keeps designing these small layouts interesting!

You can see an example of this in my super insert heavy 2013 Week 6 and my 2013 Week 10 spread, which included a layout with a handmade stamp background about my yoga progress. I included another layout on the backside, but other options include adding extra journaling or simply backing the layout with a pretty patterned paper.

Creative Jumpstart 2015 #1 | The Nerd Nest News 2.jpg


2. Stick full-sized layouts in-between Project Life spreads.

Another option is to simply put whatever 12×12 layouts you are making in-between everyday life spreads. This option works really well for those Project Lifers that don’t adhere to a weekly take on Project Life. I like to do this sometimes, but want to make the weekly time-frame of my albums obvious as well, so I use 11×12 layouts and cut an inch off of a 12×12 page protector. I then seal the protector with washi tape or a sewing machine (a trick I learned from Ali Edwards).

I used this technique to document my son’s birthday with a pocketed page protector birthday spread and a traditional 11×12 layout. This example is from my Week 52 2012 spread. I love that using a large traditional page helped to visually separate my son’s birthday from the documentation about our holiday festivities.


3. Create breaks in your albums to leave room for traditional pages.

In my 2012 albums, I made it work for me by creating monthly review and introduction pages in between weekly spreads. This left room for traditional pages in between each month.

I’m not repeating that technique this year, because the extra bulk from the monthly review and introduction pages, in combination with my insert addiction, resulted in four albums for 2012! I’m going to keep it to three this year. But I can see this technique working very well for those doing monthly Project Life spreads.


4. Use a traditional page as half of your Project Life spread.

If you’d like a break from pocketed page protectors every once and awhile or want to draw focus in for a particular event, you might try combining a traditional layout and a pocketed page protector in a Project Life spread.

I did this in my 2012 Week 51 spread in order to highlight my daughter’s school Christmas party. I knew I wanted to use a lot of journaling, so a traditional page was the best way to go! Wondering what happens on the other side? Sometimes I make another traditional page, and other times I mimic the look of a pocketed page protector (I did the latter in 2013 Week 8).

Project Life 2013 | Week 7 by Megan Anderson

5. Stick them in at the end.

Probably the least complicated option for including traditional layouts in a Project Life album is to simply add them into your album. This essentially breaks the album into two sections: a Project Life section (which may be chronological) and a traditional section (which may be thematic). I’m planning on doing this with any layouts that don’t quite fit into my weekly spreads this year.

I hope these tips on including traditional layouts in Project Life was helpful! I’d love to hear how you work traditional layouts in.

*This post was originally written as a guest post for the Big Picture Classes blog in April 2013.

October is my Favorite

October is my favorite | The Nerd Nest

October is by far my favorite month of the year, and although I’ve been low energy for most of it due to some bad allergy / sinus stuff, I’m pushing through and packing in as much Autumn fun as possible.

I’m working on a lot behind the scenes–two new workshops, a bonus unit for Pocket Your Year, lots of craft projects, and a bunch of pocket scrapbooking catch up–but I’m also filling my weekends with amazing family adventures.

Here’s some of the stuff we’ve been doing this month:

Plain White Tees Barktober Fest | The Nerd Nest

Barktoberfest  | The Nerd Nest

We went to Barktoberfest, a pet and music festival that was completely free! We went with extended family, and when they invited us, we figured it was just a fun, quirky, free thing to do. But then we realized the Plain White T’s were playing!

That made it that much better.

The festival was great–there were bouncy houses, a petting zoo, plenty of food, and (of course) dogs. Our foster baby was so excited about the crowd full of puppies. She met tons of strangers, sat on their laps, and tested out all of the dogs she could.

Bonfire  | The Nerd Nest

Fall means family parties and bonfires. So thankful to get to spend cool, crisp nights around a wonderful smelling fire with people I love.

Alma Mater | The Nerd Nest

Homecoming Game  | The Nerd Nest

We took the kids on a tour of my high school and then to the Homecoming football game. That’s not the sort of thing I usually do, but I saw the invite in my Facebook alumni group and thought it would be fun, especially since Eliza’s been so curious about the whole growing up process lately.

I also don’t want to intentionally pass down our indifference about sports to the kids–they can decide if it’s something they are into. High school football is an inexpensive way for them to get the game experience.

We sat right in front of the cheerleaders and next to the band, so the kids were totally entertained by that. The baby danced at every opportunity and Jonas and Eliza practiced some cheer moves. Eliza wanted to stay until the king and queen were crowned. We left right after because Jonas was falling asleep.

Jonas said afterwards, “I didn’t know football was so boring! But cheerleaders are part of football, and I like cheerleading, so I guess I like football.”

Maybe we’ll go to Jake’s school’s homecoming game next year.

Yard Work  | The Nerd Nest

More on this in a gardening post coming up, but we’ve been spending a lot of time outside doing yard work. We’re growing pumpkins (two, to be exact) and finally got around to building a trellis for the blackberry vines we planted two years ago.

School Festival  | The Nerd Nest

Eliza as Harley Quinn | The Nerd Nest

Eliza’s school has an awesome fall festival every year. We had a ton of fun at that! The awesomeness includes a costume contest, trunk or treating, hitting a teacher in the face with a pie, a big potluck, bouncy houses, live music, games, and a haunted hallway. I’m not done making all of our costumes yet (we’re all going as Batman characters), so the baby and Jonas wore stuff from our playclothes and Eliza just went as a less complicated version of Harley Quinn.

We also took Eliza to a REAL haunted house for the first time. She’s spent the whole season convincing us she’s ready. And she totally was. I was impressed that she stood in line with us for three hours and that she was so brave throughout the whole thing, even in the room that made her face her particular fear (rope bridge).

I loved overhearing her describe the haunted house to her grandparents while FaceTiming the next day, “Each room is based around a different phobia so there’s something that would scare everyone!”

Picking apples  | The Nerd Nest

Wildflower  | The Nerd Nest

Apple picking  | The Nerd Nest

We usually go to a pumpkin patch around this time of year, but this time we decided we’d get our pumpkins at the farmer’s market and go to an apple orchard instead. The kids picked bags of golden delicious apples for pie and we rewarded our hard work with apple cider and apple donuts.

October has a lot more in store! This week I’m going to concentrate on finishing our costumes so we can wear them to the trick-or-treating at my great-grandpa’s assisted living facility this weekend. We’ve got pumpkin carving, Jake’s birthday, more walks to enjoy the fall foliage, and a visit from Kristin and Jeff coming up too!

Do you have a favorite month? Why do you love it? What’s your favorite thing to do in October?

31 Scary Days / Awesome Ladies Project Returns!

31 Scary Days List for October 2015 by Megan Anderson of The Nerd Nest

Rukristin’s Awesome Ladies Project returned this month with the volume turned up–a challenge each week! I was inspired by the first challenge to create a 6×8 page documenting my “31 Scary Days” this October. I’m tracking the scary shows and movies I watch, books I read or listen to, and games I play throughout the month. I love getting themey with my entertainment in October and it’s fun to keep track.

Lots of the things I’m doing stretch over multiple days (books especially), but I’m just picking one different thing each day to track. I also doodled little icons so I’ll know later if the title is a move, book, or game. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have stamps on hand for this stuff–if anyone has recommendations for stamps with these sorts of icons, please comment! (Planner addicts, I’m looking at you.)

Awesome Ladies Project Challenge #1.1

Make sure to follow the Awesome Ladies Project on Instagram to get the first view of challenges every Friday!