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Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 11

Scrapbooking family portraits : The Nerd Nest

I take a silly amount of memory keeping classes online and I’m here again to share my takes with you!

For this round, I’m sharing layouts from Scrapbooking With Style by Kelly Purkey (currently 25% off) and the Big Picture Classes workshop Here and There Inspiration by Kelly Purkey and Amy Tan (now closed).

Documenting family portraits : The Nerd Nest

This page was inspired by one of Kelly’s awesome pages in Scrapbooking With Style. It features some family photos we took in 2011. Though I love candid everyday photos, I really cherish the photos of all of us together and individually, because we’re spending more time to get just the right shot. There’s less of a story with these kinds of photos, but I love getting a view of what we all look like at a specific point in time.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to make designs your own in classes that teach you to make a specific page! The original page had a single small photo, but I’m not one for leaving a lot of empty space on the page, so I made it my style by using a larger photo and a strip of photos at the top of the page.

Inspired by Scrapbooking with Style by Kelly Purkey : The Nerd Nest

I’m altering the layouts to fit my own supplies (though the class does have an optional add on of a cool Basic Grey kit–also on sale right now) and my own style, but I’m enjoying the challenge of getting a bit outside of my usual techniques, especially with embellishing.

Inspired by BPC Workshop Here and There : The Nerd Nest

The rest of the pages I’m sharing this round were inspired by Here and There Inspiration. This page is for Week 4 and was inspired by this front stoop. I used the inspiration image to choose the colors, textures, and materials on my page, which is about hanging out in our hammock with Jake’s brother serenading us.

Make one photo black and white in a color photo collage to make it stand out : The Nerd Nest

Tip: To make one photo stand out in a collage of equal sized photos, convert the focal photo to black and white (or convert all others to black and white and leave one in color).

Use up the rest of a sticker pack on one page! : The Nerd Nest

Tip: Challenge yourself to finish off an old sticker pack. I used 16 stickers from one sheet, slipping some partially behind layers, adding them in rows, and used them to direct the eye around the page.

Using Project Life for the Past 1

For Week 5, I was inspired by the colors in sunsets and by flora. I also used natural wood and cork textures to continue with the nature theme. Even though my photos from this 2011 Project Life page aren’t nature focused, the theme still works well with the colors of the photos.

Using Project Life for the Past 2 : The Nerd Nest

Tip: Combine multiple hand cut stamped images to create your own embellishments.

Using Project Life for the Past 3: The Nerd Nest

Tip: Add a small stamped image to a journaling card to add more color to your pocket–I needed this green to create a visual triangle!

Using Project Life for the Past 4: The Nerd Nest

Tip: Let some of your embellishments free! Letting a few things stick out of a pocket can make your grid page feel a bit more organic.

Project Life Page Inspired by a Magazine 1 : The Nerd Nest

For Week 6, I documented Eliza’s bit of modeling for a toy catalogue (one of our friends worked for the company and she got paid in toys–best deal ever).

Project Life Page Inspired by a Magazine 2 : The Nerd Nest

Project Life Page Inspired by a Magazine 3 : The Nerd Nest

I used the design of the catalogue covers to inspire elements on the page, like the tilted journaling spot that mimics the tilted logo and the flair that mimics the circle of text. I also used the colors found on one of the covers.

Scrapbooking Work Events 1 : The Nerd Nest

Week 7 was all about technology, and I documented Jake’s work developer conference.

Scrapbooking Work Events 3 : The Nerd Nest

Tip: Take a screenshot of your schedule to document an event!

Scrapbooking Work Events 2 : The Nerd Nest

Tip: House embellishments inside shapes in your patterned paper.

Color centric Project Life : The Nerd Nest

Document Relationships in Project Life : The Nerd Nest

For Week 8, about documenting relationships, I added a special relationship story to a Project Life page.

Combine 2 3x4 cards in a 4x6 Project Life pocket : The Nerd Nest

Tip: Tape two 3×4 cards together on the back side and use them in a 4×6 pocket. Tie them together further by having an embellishment, like this label sticker, overlap both cards.

*Supplies for these pages are mostly from Studio Calico kits and Oh Deer Me kits.

Most of these pages are for my 2011 weekly Project Life album, and I thought it would be fun to show how they went into the album! I had a few 12×12 pages from 2011 to work around, so I got creative expanding the weeks a bit.

Integrate Past Pages into a Project Life album: The Nerd Nest

Project Life meets Traditional Scrapbooking : The Nerd Nest

Traditional scrapbooking together with Project Life : The Nerd Nest

I loved making these pages for Scrapbooking With Style and Here and There Inspiration! I can’t wait to make even more for these workshops.

I’d love to know what classes you’re taking or some of your past favorites!

Affiliate links used when possible. Using these links to buy anything, even items other than the linked items, helps to support the Nerd Nest.

Here’s the deal: because I have friends who teach things and because I teach at Big Picture Classes, I get to take classes for free sometimes. So I end up taking more classes at once than I would if I were paying for them. I’d want to make sure I had time to do ALL of the projects in a given class vs. dipping in here and there if I were working within my crafting budget, so I’d probably limit myself to much less at a time. But as it is, I don’t need to do that, so keep that in mind. I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to be taking a stressful amount of classes. Choose classes based on what you think will be the most inspiring or the best fit for you (and your budget).

Project Life 2014 | June Part 1

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

I love documenting my life with weekly Project Life spreads! At the end of each month, I batch edit and order the previous month’s photos and then work on spreads in batches. This week, I’m sharing three spreads from the beginning of June.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

June 1-7

This spread was made with Studio Calico kits and 4×6 paper pads, a card from the Seafoam Project Life core kit, and Design A page protectors.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest - 3

Going on here: The kids having fun spending the night at Jake’s parents’ (I love that they send pictures) and Jake and I spending lots of time together doing (and eating) our favorite stuff while they were gone.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Run out of room on your journaling card? Finish your sentence on an adjacent card with a label.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Take representative photos for the things you do. For instance, I took a photo of The Fault in Our Stars book because Jake vetoed the photo we took together at the movie theater, which is sad, because it totally looked like Augustus was kissing Jake (the movie poster was behind front us). But Jake had a weird blinky face and deleted it. Boo. Even if I hadn’t used the book photo, it reminded me that we went so I’d jot a little note about it.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Technology makes it so easy to use others’ photos in your Project Life! Jake’s parents text photos they take on their phones or iPad to me, and I save them to my camera roll so I can include them along with my own photos.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas’s fancy ways of playing, board games, getting my hair chopped off, Eliza and Jonas playing on the iPad, Eliza reading to Jonas and having him repeat the story after her, and Poppy visiting us.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Adding labels doesn’t just give you extra space for words, they also give you a little extra white space on your page to help direct the eye around.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

June 8-14

This page uses the Amy Tangerine Cut and Paste Mini Kit, Rukristin for Freckled Fawn labels, Design A and Design F page protectors, and a few bits from Studio Calico kits.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The awesomeness of my new haircut (Jake takes the best portraits), Jonas making up stories in his books, and (surprise, surprise) brunch.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Surprise birthday party for Poppy! It was his girlfriend’s idea (she’s awesome), he didn’t know it was coming, and it was great!

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Using the same sticker sheet across a whole spread helps bring cohesion.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t have just the right insert? Try cutting down a bigger protector. If you cut just outside the sewed lines between the pockets, you don’t even have to do anything to seal the edge! If you’re cutting through the middle of a pocket, you can seal it with a sewing machine, staples, or washi tape.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Flying a kite, Jonas’s weird rigging of our swing set, and Jake’s cousin’s graduation party.

Going on here: A (really) late mother’s day celebration for Jake’s mom, tricycling, Eliza’s first day of summer school camp, doing shaving cream marbling, my mom’s just for me just because chocolate chip cookies, and Jonas reading to the cat.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Tip: If your journaling card has one decorative side, keep that side by the edge of the page.

Project Life June Part 1 - The Nerd Nest

Let me know if you have any questions about these spreads or about pocket scrapping / scrapbooking vacations in general!

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Project Life is a memory keeping concept created by Becky Higgins.

BUILD Virtual Retreat


This weekend you’ll find me parked at my computer in between furious bouts of working on class content. The occasion? Amy from Lemon and Raspberry is hosting a virtual retreat for registered BUILDers.

You’ve heard of BUILD from me before: I’m one of the guest contributors in the ecourse*. Amy interviewed me about my top 7 tips for guest posting… a video interview that clocks in at just under an hour. Even though I’m one of the expert guest interviewees in the course (along with folks like Elise Blaha Cripe, Sara of Yes and Yes, Rachel of Smile and Wave, Kara Haupt, Mollie of Wild Olive and Kam of Campfire Chic), I’m still a student. I’ve been using BUILD over the past year to help me to re-focus my content, more effectively monazite, improve my social media presence, and focus my energies to align with my goals.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been spending a FULL YEAR working on this course, that’s because it’s not the fluffy “this is how I’ve become successful” pretty photo driven “how to blog” content you may have seen in courses elsewhere. This class is more like an in-depth college course. It’s serious stuff, and it’s a lot of work. It’s not magic. But it WILL help you figure out how to build your online platform if you put in the work.

I’m planning on posting more in-depth about the specific changes I’ve made because of BUILD, but that sort of thing will take me forever to write. I didn’t want to put off talking about BUILD until I’m finished with that long post: I wanted to pop in before the virtual retreat this weekend and before the price of the course goes up September 1 to reflect the new content Amy is adding.

I am so looking forward to this opportunity to discuss my goals with others, ask questions in the many topic sessions (design, content, monetization, marketing, and maintenance), and hang out with other BUILDers. I’ve built strong businesses relationships with these online business savvy people in the BUILD mastermind Facebook group, and having us all in one place at one time with Amy at the helm is going to be crazy motivating.

My main goal for this weekend? Hopefully, it will give me the push I need to finish that darn site redesign that is SO long overdue. I’m stuck in a few places, so talking it out will help me extraordinarily.

P.S. If you want to see the quality of content Amy puts into BUILD, I definitely recommend you sign up for the free weekly BUILD newsletter.

* Because I’m a contributor, I’m also an affiliate. So, you know, if you purchase the course through these links, yay! You’re helping me pay my bills! Amy didn’t ask me to write about the retreat and these are all my own opinions and words.

Day in the Life // August


Last year I played along with Ali Edward’s Day in the Life monthly and it was one of my favorite projects ever. This year, I’m repeating the project. On the 15th of each month, I’m going to document my everyday life. I like having a set day because I won’t worry about finding a “representative” or “normal” day. Wherever the 15th falls, that’s what I’ll document.

Here’s Friday, August 15:

I woke up first, so I made coffee and read a few chapters of Cane River before the kids woke up.



Jake went off to work and the kids and I did morning stuff, cleaned a bit, and the kids earned playing a bit of Katamari Damacy for cleaning up their rooms. While they were playing, I furiously sent as many e-mails as possible.


We made lunch together (frozen Trader Joe’s potstickers, raspberries, and carrots) and watched an episode of Top Chef Masters while we ate.


After we cleaned up lunch, we played with Play Doh and I had a LONG conversation with Eliza starting with ancient religions to different denominations of world religions to marriage practices of different cultures because Eliza asks the best questions. The whole conversation was spurred by the Top Chef episode we were watching.



After that we were getting stir crazy: we didn’t have a car (a friend is borrowing mine) and the mosquitos are too bad to play in the back yard right now. So we took a walk to our neighborhood used bookstore. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but the kids each picked one book and one activity book.


Then we had a snack at a coffeeshop. Lattes are my favorite thing in the world: usually Jonas and I go about once a week and I go by myself once a week.


I marveled at the weather on the way back: we’ve been having weirdly cool weather for August.


When we got back, Jonas and I made pizza dough. He loves baking: measuring and dumping things are awesome.


Eliza’s main daily chore is emptying the dishwasher, and she taught Jonas how to put away the silverware.


Then the kids played in their box fort, read their new books, and played school while I cleaned a bit.


Then we watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and I got some more work done. I’m developing class content, but I can’t say much more than that yet!


Paul stopped by for a minute and told us a work story. Jonas was trying to mess up his hair and thought it was hilarious (obviously). Paul is Jonas’s favorite adult.





When Jake got home (a bit late), we were intending on going to the Ethnic Enrichment Festival to see my cousins’ fiancé’s band and general cultural awesomeness, but ran into some issues. It was a last minute plan, we were already late getting out of the door, the ATM we went to for ticket money wasn’t working, the next ATM we tried via our phone directions was in a closed building, it started raining hard, and we were already to the time point where we’d miss the concert. We gave up and went to get our favorite mac and cheese in town as comfort after the series of unfortunate mishaps. There was a long wait, but Jonas kept himself entertained with playing cards and Eliza read the third Diary of a Wimpy kid book we’d purchased earlier in the day.


When we got home, Jake started to get the kids ready for bed and I made myself some tea and read some Keats to keep myself from freaking out about work stuff.


I read a few books to Jonas and we tested his new glow in the dark stickers. It was too late for me to read to Eliza, because we’re trying to get her back on a school schedule, so she just read to herself before bed. She ended up having trouble falling asleep and staying up late anyway.


Jake watched Merlin and I finished up as much work as possible so that I’d be ready to film and photograph in the morning. I did a bit of yoga midway through to refocus.


Jake read on his iPad before bed and I read more Cane River until lights out.

Are you playing along with mid-month Day in the Life? Make sure to share a link with yours if you are!!!

Check out my other Day in the Life posts, including how I put them into Project Life.

Project Life 2014 | June Day in the Life

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

On the 15th of each month this year, I’ve been documenting a Day in the Life, a concept originated by Ali Edwards. Last year I used Ali’s templates to include a 6×12 insert for every Day in the Life I did, but this year I wanted a bit more wiggle room. So I’m throwing a full spread in between weekly spreads (extra full spreads in addition to weekly spreads is sort of my M.O. this year).

Here’s June Day in the Life:

Click the photos for a larger view.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I keep super simple with my Day in the Life spreads so I’ll have lots of room for photos and words. This time I stuck with the Seafoam core kit (which is seriously discounted at the time of writing), 3×4 white cards, Project Life journaling pens, and minimal embellishments.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I started with the back of a Design F page protector, but had mostly horizontal photos. So I printed the photos at 2×3 (4 to a 4×6 photo) and added them to white cards and seafoam cards so the cards would be half and half with photos and journaling.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I used a Design H insert to include a bit extra.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Then finished off with a Design A protector!

A few tips to take from this spread:

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

If you end up not being able to fill up a whole journaling space / run out of things to say, include a centered embellishment to balance the card.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Have more to say? A lot of journaling cards have more journaling space on the back. Just add an arrow to indicate that there’s more to read.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

A strip of washi tape is an easy way to add more color to a card. Add it to several cards throughout the spread to create a visual triangle across the spread as a whole. This polka dot washi is from the July Oh Deer Me Kit.

June Day in the Life in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Are you doing Day in the Life this year? How are you containing your documentation?

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Project Life is a memory keeping concept created by Becky Higgins. It can be anything you want it to be.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting | 17/52 Projects

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

This week I’ve been playing around with watercolor crayon resisting. In one of my elementary school art classes, we did this project: you color on white paper with neon or white crayons, watercolor over it, and the wax from the crayon works as a resistor so the colored parts remain white (or neon). My elementary school creation was super neat and was framed in my mom’s bathroom for years, so I thought I’d give grown-up versions a go and teach the kids to do it as well.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Problem is, it wasn’t working at first. We were using watercolor paper, and it just wasn’t really resisting very well. That’s totoally fine: my policy is that art projects that don’t work can be cut up to be used for scrapbooking or other projects later.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

I even doodled a version of my first project so Eliza could see what it looked like.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

We switched to regular cardstock and that worked out much better.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Even if we ran into trouble on our first round, the kids had a lot of fun painting layers of paper. Eliza made a tornado (like a true Midwesterner) and Jonas and I worked on a rainbow to improve his brush control.

I have the technique down now and I’m not sure if I’m going to try to do something awesome with it or if this playing around is enough.

Have you ever tried watercolor crayon resisting?

This year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects; an average of 1 a week. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 17 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art / 2: Striped Scarf / 3: Pillow Covers / 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines / 5: DIY Periodic Table Mirrors / 6: Band Pin Display / 7: French Monuments with Eliza’s Class / 8: Crystal Nail String Art / 9: Adventures in Dye / 10: Spring Poems / 11: Getting the Garden Going / 12: Le Petite Prince Painting / 13: DIY Cleaning Supplies / 14: Picking Up the Violin Again / 15: Shaving Cream Marbling / 16: Water Marbling.

My Scrap Room Organization

Scrapbooking Organization : The Nerd Nest

Having an organized space is so important to me. If my scrap room is organized in a way that helps me find things easily and work effectively, I get SO MUCH MORE done. My space evolves as my style and preferred products evolve. This space is tailored to my workflow and furniture, but hopefully you’ll pick up some ideas you can work into your scrap space!

Scrapbooking Room : The Nerd Nest

My space is situated in half of my weirdly long bedroom. Having it here works for me because I can squeeze in a bit of creating between loads of laundry, I can peak into Jonas’s room easily if he’s playing or picking up, and I can work alongside Jake when he’s coding at his desk, which is situated in the opposite side of the room.

My space centers around an architect’s table I received from my great-grandpa’s office after he retired. I love that I can work standing or sitting on a stool, that the table is deep enough to provide a lot of storage and workspace, and that it looks so darn awesome.

Album Storage : The Nerd Nest

In the other side of the room I have a shelf with my sewing machine and albums, a rolling cart, and a few storage bins. As soon as the nearby IKEA opens this Autumn, I’m grabbing a Kallax shelving unit for this space, because I’m obviously out of storage room for albums. The current shelf was made by my grandpa when I was little and will be moving to Jonas’s room.

Printer Cart : The Nerd Nest

My little rolling cart was a thrift store find and got a facelift with a little spray paint. It holds my wireless printer, photo paper, a photo album with to-scrap photos, a memorabilia box, a wire container with acrylic stamp packs, and a spinning organizer with random bits that could do with some cleaning out.

Bin Storage : The Nerd Nest

On the floor is bins that serve as temporary storage for notebooks, page protectors, and ongoing project folders.

Patterned Paper Storage : The Nerd Nest

My patterned paper is stored in a stacked organizer on this little built-in space. I picked up the organizer from a closing sale at a local scrapbooking store. Each level is for a specific type of paper: the top is paper I’ve bought recently, then next big scraps I intend to use soon, then page protector scraps and to-use-soon photos, then full sized to-use soon papers, then the rest of my 12×12 paper. Because I don’t keep a lot of 12×12 paper, I don’t feel the need to organize it by color or theme. It doesn’t take long to browse through it.

Behind the paper organizer is my paper trimmer. It’s bulky, so I only pull it out when I need it.

Within Arm's Reach Storage : The Nerd Nest

The top of my desk is organized so everything that I use frequently is at an arm’s reach. Things used less frequently are in hidden storage: embroidery floss in the grey metal index box, wet supplies like specialty adhesives and spray mists in a clear box, and inks and punches in one of the library drawers. Going vertical with the storage by stacking makes the clutter more visually pleasing and takes advantage of the space I have.

Oh Deer Me Kit Storage : The Nerd Nest

I joined the Oh Deer Me Freckled Fawn kit club for embellishments this year, and I decided to dedicate a drawer wholly to those kits. I’m much more likely to remember an embellishment I need by kit, so it’s faster than integrating these in with the rest of my embellishments.

Project Life Value Kit and 6x6 Paper Pad Storage : The Nerd Nest

I keep my 6×6 paper pads stacked in a row. I’ve been subscribing to Studio Calico kits for about a year now, and I use the old boxes to store partial Project Life kits I’ve split with friends and Value Kits, which come in less permanent boxes. I keep the most recent SC kit in its box, but the leftovers from past kits get integrated in with other storage.

3x4 Card Storage : The Nerd Nest

I keep my extra 3×4 cards in a little bowl so I can flip through them easily. They’re grouped in sets that I think would look nice together, so I have coordinated cards already to go if I have photos that fit their theme or color tone. They’re also grouped in manufacturer sections.

4×6 cards also have their own bowl, but I have fewer of those, so that bowl also includes small alphabets (arranged by color) and 4×6 paper pads.

Small embellishment storage : The Nerd Nest

Bowls are also my go to for other supplies. I have one for large embellishment packs, one for smaller packs, two for wood mounted stamps, one for flair, one for tiny scraps, and several for loose items like tags and other small bits.

I have some older embellishments in vintage suitcases slipped under my bed, and rotate through the embellishments in the suitcases and those in the bowls often to keep things fresh. I’m very much an “out of sight, out of mind” person, but having limited options helps me to scrap faster because there are fewer decisions to make (and things to look through).

External Harddrives and Project Life Mini Kits : The Nerd Nest

Project Life mini kits and card packs are stacked behind my computer by the external harddrives.

Trash Bowl and Project Life Core Kit Storage : The Nerd Nest

Underneath my table is a big bowl for recycling, my Project Life core kits, a file organizer with things like alphabets, printer paper, and memorabilia, and a few messy stacks of stuff I’m sure I’ll be getting to soonish. (It isn’t ALL organized.)

Embellishment and Tool Drawer : The Nerd Nest

In my smaller (but deeper) drawer, I have a few tools, needles, some more ink, adhesive refills, and flat embellishment sheets I don’t want to bend. These are mostly Kelly Purkey alphabets from her line with Simon Says Stamp, because I pretty much bought them out. I also have a few embellishments in there that I’ve set aside because they’ve given me an idea for a page to make.

Scraps and Most Used Tools Drawer : The Nerd Nest

I use the back of the deep shallow drawer to hold scraps. One section is white and cream cardstock scraps, then smaller patterned scraps, then scraps that I could journal on, then scraps with one size 12×12, then the thin strips that come at the bottom of patterned paper.

Pens and Loose Tools Storage : The Nerd Nest

I usually keep my drawers cracked open while I work, so I keep my most used tools in the very front such as pens, tweezers, a corner punch, adhesive, and scissors. A tray keeps the mess contained, but I don’t really mind that it doesn’t look nice because things are so easy to find. Alongside of the tray are my most used ink pads, post-its, pop dots, and a baggie of eyelets.

Washi Tape and Tiny Embellishment Storage : The Nerd Nest

I put teeny tiny embellishments that would otherwise be lost in the bottom of bowls in an old muffin tin. They’re organized by type: wood letter veneers, decorative clips, brads, and “other.” My washi tape is organized in ROYGBIV fashion in two Studio Calico Project Life boxes with the tops cut off. Decorative tape that is too tall for the drawer is next to the boxes.

My space might look messy even when it is clean, but this open storage really works for me!

What are your favorite ways to store your memory keeping / paper crafting supplies?

Savor June & July


This year, I’m participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word workshop. My word is savor, and I’m sharing a bit about how I connected with savor in the previous two months, how I did with my intentions, and my take on the prompts from Ali.

Here are a few ways I tackled each of my intentions the past two months:

Savor the journey Though there have been some stressful days that had me counting down the hours until the kids’ bedtimes (pretty sure every parent has those), I think I’ve been doing a good job of appreciating the in-between moments, not rushing things as much, and making sure I’m not just rushing from one thing to the next. I think one good example for me was going to the zoo with some friends. Jonas and his friend didn’t really care about the animals at all, they were more into running around together and climbing stuff. Where before I would have gotten frustrated that he was being exhausting, I kept in mind that the point of the thing was to have fun spending time with our friends, and that is totally what was happening.

I’ve also been a lot better of scheduling extra time to build in moseying, so I (and the kids) can stop and look at or check out cool stuff on the way to our destination.

Savor the season I’m not actually a huge fan of summer. (Kansas City is very humid: I’m a Spring / Autumn lover.) But even though I tend to stick to the indoors during summer almost as much as I do in winter, I definitely spent at least some time savoring the season in June and July. My family sat outside to watch for lighting bugs and to listen to the cicadas, we took nice long walks on cooler days, Jake and I took the kids to a spray park, and we went to a nearby lake with Jake’s parents. Where I’m definitely failing on the summer front is swimming. I haven’t gone swimming at all this summer (not counting the lake day). I’ll work to remedy this in August.

Savor lost Bogging for sure hasn’t lost its savor for me (though I did work through a bit of negative feelings about it), but I did realize that I needed to cut back for the summer if I wanted to have time to do everything I want and need to do, so I switched from 5-6 to 3 times a week. I’ll be bumping up to 4 starting this week.

Savor 4 The four of us have been on so many mini adventures the past two months that I can’t even remember everything without looking at pictures (which, of course, is one of the reasons I love memory keeping). We’ve had tons of great brunches together (breakfast food + sleeping in is a house favorite on weekends). We’ve flown a kite (harder than it looks), went to our favorite annual event, the Maker Faire, saw The Discovery of King Tut exhibit, went to the Nelson and the library. We all also did a lot of cool things with friends and family like birthday and holiday celebrations, going to the lake with Jake’s parents, and going to The Sound of Music and a neighborhood Google block party with Paul.

I look back at our summer and see a good balance of weekend adventures and lazy at-homeness with Doctor Who marathons, Lego building, and book reading. (Though, again, also a fair amount of wanting to tear my hair out. In those cases, I get some quiet alone time or do some yoga and I’m back in the swing of things.)

Savor homegrown I wish I was still going to the farmer’s market weekly as I did last year, but I’m still going to either the farmer’s market or the little farmer’s stand in my neighborhood about every other week. That’s still pretty darn good. I’ve been less zealous about the garden in these months (I’ve been a little neglectful), but most of my herbs are still hanging in there, and some of my produce plants have yielded a fruit or two.

Savor relationships This area has been totally rocking lately. As I browse through my photos from June and July, they’re filled with extended family parties, friends coming over for dinner, mini adventures with people we love, and dates. We also joined a community group and I’m excited to start building relationships through that.

Savor every bite So maybe I haven’t been savoring EVERY bite (there have been more than a few quick dinners on nights I am super tired), but the good food I’ve had has certainly been savored. I’ve been keeping up with trying a new recipe a week most of the time (I shared a few of the new recipes I’ve tried here) and have been really enjoying weekly-ish family brunches out and some fantastic food cooked by family.

Savor the moment This intention is all about spending less time stressing out and worrying and more time appreciating what is in front of me. I’ll always be a planner and a worrier, so what I’ve found this year is that I actually do much better with this if I give myself time to focus on the stressful thing fully so that I can think things through, sort through my emotions, or figure out a plan of action that solves a problem. This has meant a few Saturday mornings brainstorming in coffee shops or sitting on the front porch crying by myself. Giving myself this time helps me to not let whatever is bothering or distracting me take over for long periods of time. I can either let something always be sitting in the back of my mind trying to take over, or I can give myself over to it for awhile and get back to enjoying things.

Also, so many kuddos to Jake for knowing exactly what things make me completely happy after I’ve had time to wallow.

Savor the little things Some little things I’ve loved lately: exploring and learning about nature in my backyard with the kids, ripe peaches with juice dripping down my elbow, and listening to summer sounds.

Savor excitement Most of the things that made me excited this month fall into the family adventures category, but there was also things like starting to replay my favorite video game, Final Fantasy VII, starting to share little daily memory keeping tips on Instagram, and having my very first emotional sports experience at a Sporting KC game.

I also enjoyed checking in with my word with the prompts. I usually make each prompt after the month is over, and this time I decided I wanted to swap the August and July prompts. So these are FOR June and July, but they’re actually the prompts for June and August.



June’s prompt was simply filling out a check-in worksheet. I was out of nice white card stock, so I cut some 12×12 down. I accidentally cut it to 8×11 instead of 8.5×11, so I cropped each side down a half an inch and added it to a patterned vellum trimmed to 8.5×11 instead.



August’s had to do with picking song lyrics that speak to your word. I loved Ali’s take, so I repeated her basic card structure and then used stickers from the Studio Calico Music Lover’s mini kit (it was limited edition, I think). Some songs came immediately to mind, but for others I just thought through the music I’ve been listening to lately to see if anything applied.

P.S. This 6×8 page protector fits into the 12×12 Project Life albums!

How are you doing with your word?

Project Life 2014 | July Part 1

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

I love documenting my life with weekly Project Life spreads! At the end of each month, I batch edit and order the previous month’s photos and then work on spreads in batches. This week, I’m sharing three spreads from the beginning of July.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 1-5

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Meeting my new niece Ava, who was born July 1.

*Just a note that the shiny gold on this page doesn’t photograph well, so some of the things that look black are actually gold.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: I used a bi-fold card to get in some more of the story. If you want bi-fold cards to blend in a little more, round the corners on the folded edge.

The bi-fold card is from the Honey core kit. I don’t have a full kit; I just swapped title cards for bi-fold cards with someone.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jake meeting Ava, Science City with Jonas, the kids finding their uncle’s old Lego stash at Jake’s parents’, taking a mental health day and Jake’s awesome happifying Megan powers, the zoo with friends, cooking with Jake, and changing a tire for the first time and epically failing (I changed it incorrectly, busted the spare, and Jake had to come save me).

This page has mostly Studio Calico cards and bits and the black journaling card is from the Seafoam Project Life core kit.

Also, I don’t usually mention which Studio Calico kits I’m using because they’re generally sold out before I’m writing about them, but if you’d like to see what I’m using specifically, make sure you’re following me on Studio Calico. I include all the kits I use in my supply lists there!

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: A good way to make a 3×4 photo feel balanced in a 4×6 space is combining a patterned paper 4×6 background with a horizontal 3×4 journaling card.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Cut a 4×6 card in half and put it on the ends of your 3×4 pockets to “frame” the spread.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: It can be difficult to figure out how to include the ugly parts of life in Project Life. For this week, I went with just saying that I was upset and focusing on how Jake helped me turn it around with a lot of alone time to get my thoughts straight (including coffee and bookstore time), dinner at one of my favorite far-away restaurants, and a date at a lake featuring a magic-feeling walk through fireflies. I don’t think it is always necessary to focus on the good parts, but this is a way for me to include the negative stuff without sharing things that went wrong that fall into the “not my story to tell” category.

Also, my brain filled in the blank on that “when skies are grey” card, so I’ll need to go back and add the word “happy.”

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 4

Tip: Have too many photos from a special event to fit into a weekly spread? Include an extra spread just for the event.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Going out on the boat with Jake’s parents on the 4th of July!

I included a bit about what we did and a few “boat rules” for fun.

This page uses more Studio Calico cards, the Midnight Project Life core kit, and a wood number from Freckled Fawn (which you can buy individually).

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Interactive elements don’t work as well on left pages because you can’t get to them easily, so I took advantage of these translucent pockets and included a number to stand as a date instead of a tag.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The evening on the 4th! Fireworks at Jake’s parents’ after we got back from the lake, then an evening with my dad’s side of the family.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Something crappy happen but you don’t want any old person flipping through your album to know about it? Write it on the back of a card. It’s there, but it’s rare that someone is going to pull it out and read it just on the off chance.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Combine patterned paper and horizontal journaling cards for a colorful journaling solution. (I never ever have enough 4×6 journaling cards.)

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 6-12

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Date with Jake, starting to work on refinishing our spare room, and everyday stuff like brainstorming over coffee, the cat snuggling me while I had a headache, and our first homegrown blackberries.

The cards for this spread are all from Studio Calico.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use one card as a jumping off point for your color scheme. This gives you ideas of what will go together and will help to make the use of a variety of colors more focused. (I started with the “There’s no place like home” card.)

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Brunch, a neighborhood block party at the Google Fiber space (Paul had a remote there for the radio station he works at and we benefitted with cotton candy and face painting. Wahoo!), frozen yogurt for Harvey’s birthday, video chatting with Annette, Jonas snuggling with Paul, live music, Eliza’s brilliance at using Lego Friends minifigs as companions for her teeny Doctors, Jonas’s hair trim, and my nightstand.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: If you can’t get a group picture, take several that, together, include everyone at an event.

Let me know if you have any questions about these spreads or about pocket scrapping / scrapbooking vacations in general!

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Project Life is a memory keeping concept created by Becky Higgins.

July Reads

July Reads | The Nerd Nest

This month I read ten books: two for book clubs, one deeply haunting American classic, one recommendation from Eliza, and a lot of YA. I chose the YA in part because I’m doing creative writing research. I also wanted to pinpoint what I liked about a few books I loved when I was younger.

July Reads | The Nerd Nest

Here are the books I read in July:

Invisible Man (1952) by Ralph Ellison

A nameless black man works hard to become educated and gain success, but is treated as if he’s invisible and devoid of humanity in a deeply racist American culture.

This book was intense. I actually had to take breaks while reading it because it affected me so deeply. The plot was a whirlwind: the narrator seemed to be everywhere important for the time period, which was not always believable (kind of like an intellectual version of Forrest Gump). Still, the points in the plot serve as an allegory for racism in America and paints the breadth of the male black experience in the time period.

As for the writing style, at times it was a little difficult to read, because the perspective of the narrator was so close. Descriptions were very detailed and in the present. There weren’t many bird’s eye views or time fill-in summaries. This added to the intensity of the book and made it easier to empathize, but I really had to pay attention so as not to miss all of the little things that were going on. I can see a reader easily getting lost.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (2012) by Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon, a Silicon Valley web design reject, takes on work at an old bookstore and must recruit a wild cast of characters to discover the secrets buried in the dusty shelves.

Here’s July’s selection for Kristin’s book club Novel Tea. It’s one of those books that is far better if you don’t REALLY know what it’s about, so be weary of reviews if you intend to read it.

It thought it was a fun, page turning mystery that marries the old knowledge of books well with the new capabilities of technology in its themes. I wasn’t always thrilled with the way women were portrayed, but appreciated the wide variety of creatives and geniuses that filled the pages of this book. I had almost as much fun reading about the characters’ different jobs and skill sets as I did reading about the unraveling mystery. The ending wrapped up a little too neatly, but I personally think it was right for the story. Mysteries can just feel a little too much like a formula to me sometimes.

Aside: the cover glows in the dark. That’s just cool. Jake made fun of me because of how excited I got about it. I had to make us get under a pile of blankets to see because it doesn’t actually get very dark in our room (I can almost read by the neighbor’s floodlight).

Slam (2007) by Nick Hornby

Sam, a British teen obsessed with skateboarding and idolizing Tony Hawk, finds himself on the coming of age fast track.

This is another book for which the main plot is a huge spoiler. Stay away from all reviews and Wikipedia. Let’s just say it’s not about skateboarding, really.

Hornby is one of my favorite contemporary authors. He does so well at helping the reader to really understand people, complete with their flaws, but still makes you laugh. This was certainly maintained in his switch to writing for young adults, but I was a little disappointed by the message, considering the audience. His characters generally move from narcissism and selfishness to a greater understanding of others and acceptance about their lives, but I felt like there was a missed opportunity for Sam to really be able to understand things from others’ (namely girls’) perspectives. It just never happened really, and that was a letdown for me.

There was also a bit of misinformation that never got addressed, which drives me crazy because of the amount of teenagers I know making horribly uneducated choices. I’m not saying it’s a fiction author’s duty to straighten out all of their characters’ misconceptions or anything, but in this particular case it got on my nerves.

This month I also read Diary of a Wimpy Kid on Eliza’s recommendation. I love that she’s into chapter books, staying up late to finish them, and getting other people to read them so she can talk about them. We’re pretty much starting our own mom-Eliza book club in addition to the books that I read out loud to her. This book is geared towards middle school students, but I laughed out loud at the funny stories and cartoons. E and I are both going to read more in the series.

I re-read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which I talked about in this post on frequently banned books, and Deenie, which I remember really liking in my middle school years.

I went back to the first (I think) fantasy series I fell in love with and re-read The Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem). I still enjoy the books, but the characters aren’t developed deeply, there are way too many adverbs, the language tone is inconsistent, and there’s far too much showing rather than telling going on. They’re a fun read, but they aren’t nearly as well written as 12 year old Megan thought they were.

I read Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity for L&R Book Club (didn’t love it). I don’t want to say too much because if you’re along pace with the book club you haven’t finished it, but you’ll find me whining and disagreeing over in the book club group about it periodically over the next month. And even if I’m not loving the material this time around, the discussions Amy generates are still fantastic.

July 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.

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