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The Never-ending Room Makeover

Light Purple and Medium Purple | The Nerd Nest

Fixing up our spare room has become the project that never ends, and I’m going to share a bit of the progress we made in 2014.

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 3

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 1

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 2

This room has been home to a few family members and friends since we’ve moved in, and when we found ourselves without an extra housemate last summer, Jake and I thought we’d dive in and test out fixing up this room so we could better decide how to carry on with the others.

The layers and layers of paint on the trim was chipping in places and the carpet was ugly, corse, and office-like, so we decided that we’d remove the paint from the trim and rip out the carpet.

Pulling up the carpet | The Nerd Nest 4

Carpet Padding | The Nerd Nest

Pulling Up Staples

Pulling up tack strips | The Nerd Nest

Getting rid of the carpet was the easy part. We just had to tear it up, roll it in a big burrito, tie it with string, and carry it away. Same goes with the padding. After that the only steps left in carpet removal were plucking out staples and pulling up the tack strips.

Paint on wood floor | The Nerd Nest

Then we were left with a gorgeous wood floor hidden under a ton of paint. This is where the cursing at the previous owner comes in: the trim had been spray painted and the ceiling painted without any care for the protection of the floor below.

Citistrip bubbling up paint | The Nerd Nest

Citistrip to remove paint | The Nerd Nest

Paint scraped off with Citistrip | The Nerd Nest

We put a pin in that for the moment and I started in on the trim. We used Citristrip paint remover, because it isn’t caustic and can be used indoors. It isn’t as effective as some other paint strippers, but it looked like the best choice for balancing safety and effectiveness after a little research.

Even though the gel isn’t caustic, I still had to be careful to wear a respirator, gloves, and eye protection.

Though the spray is shown in the photo above, I quickly figured out that “painting” on the gel was a better way to go–the gel was easier to use and less costly than going with the spray.

There are also lots of other methods of paint removal, but this was the safest bet for us because of the danger of lead paint in our hundred year old home. (But if you want to talk about lead paint, you’ll have to go to a professional. I’m not going there.)

Scrubbing off paint | The Nerd Nest

Paint Stripping in Progress | The Nerd Nest

The paint removal was crazy hard work. The top layers came off easily with the gel, but trying to scrub off some of the bottom layer spots clinging on to the wood was nearly impossible. Getting into all of the nooks and crannies of the trim sucked, and I could tell that doing this to the windows would make me hate my life. Also, I could only remove paint in small chunks because it hurt my back and made my hand all crampy. People who do this for a living are my heroes.

Another thing that happened: the quarter round trim was damaged in a lot of places and I couldn’t get the gunk from behind it, so I ripped it out and my very very nice grandpa cut and replaced it with new quarter round for us (don’t worry: we weren’t messing with anything original to the house).

Newly Painted Trim | The Nerd Nest

And then, when I had gotten pretty much all of the paint off of the trim, paint off of the trim, our time table got scrunched and we had to paint it back because we didn’t have time to get the tiny bits of paint from the underneath of the ridges, sand the trim, and stain it, much less be able to start in on the trim around the doors and windows too.

So we painted the base trim and the rest of the trim in the room my favorite white, Behr Powdered Snow.

This might seem like a waste, but the trim around the bottom of the room is now not chipping paint and the experiment has a result: we’re going with another layer of paint on the rest of the white trim in the house and are not going to mess with paint removal again. (Though I’d be happy to remove paint on, say, a piece of furniture. Never again on trim.)

Jake painting | The Nerd Nest

Light Purple and Medium Purple | The Nerd Nest

Purple Walls | The Nerd Nest

I wanted to paint the walls white too, but Jake vetoed me because he thought it would be basically blinding. I want most of our rooms white, but I can compromise on a few. We decided on three walls a very light color and one dramatic and landed on purple. The Behr website is awesome and has color matching suggestions, so I found the perfect purples for our white.

Clean up the floor with tea | The Nerd Nest

All that’s left now is to get that blasted paint off of the floor. We’re making good progress, but the method on that is a post for another day.

This is definitely not the sexiest project I’ve ever done, but it was very time consuming and difficult for me. And this, dear friends, is why I’m not a home improvement blogger.

In 2014 it was my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is projects 28 through a bazillion of 52! I’m clicking reset to see if I can get closer to 52 in 2015. 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 / 17: Watercolor Crayon Resisting / 18: Doctor Who Guess Who / 19: Spray Painting My Way to a Fancier Porch / 20: Project Life Stop Motion / 21: The Great Lego Reorganization / 22: Pikachu Costume / 23: Blossom Costume / 24: Rorschach Test-esque Paintings / 25: Hand Turkeys / 26: Glittered Pinecones / 27: Family Calendars.

January RESET with Amy

RESET-Goal Setting Project with Amy

This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is to document your goals. For an extra dose of inspiration on this challenge, I asked my friend Amy to share her take with you!

As we head into February and the rest of 2015, I hope you have set some goals or at the very least have some hopes about how the rest of your year will look. The whole argument for or against setting goals is a totally different post, so for the purposes of today we will assume that you have 1 or 2 goals you want to accomplish this year.

Our January Challenge has been to Document your Goals — and this, of course, is wide open and I love how many ways it could be interpreted. A quick journaling card in your week 1 of Project Life. A homemade ‘tattoo’ for a few days. A note to self on your bathroom mirror. A series of photos that represent your finished product. So awesome.

There’s nothing magical about January, but I personally love this beginning month to just reassess what has been going on, what needs to change and how to change it. You can do this any time of the year, and the project I’m going to show you can be absolutely adjusted to your preference. But since it ties in so well with the Nerd Nest challenge …

I would love to introduce you to my new favorite project – January RESET. I’ve been spending all month journaling about my goals in a specific 6×8 pocket album. I plan on revisiting every 3 months to check in on progress, and then doing the whole project over again next year.

I love a good, fat scrapbook as much as the next nerd, but there’s something intimate and special about photo-light, journaling-heavy memory keeping.

I teamed up with Alexandra Rae Design to put together an awesome digital kit with printables to make the whole process a little easier. The kit is 100% not required to do this project, but love it as a base.

Here we go …

I began with a simple title page and a little intro journaling about me, my life, and my (related) One Little Word for 2015. You can click through to the full post to see more pages, details and supplies.

You’ll notice in these photos there are blank spots, pockets that really will have a photo in them. But showing you these layouts without them is a by-product of doing the journaling in the moment, each week throughout the month, rather than get it all ready ahead of time like a fancier blogger. I order my photos to be printed, and they’ll get here eventually.

January Reset title page

The first week (January 5) we journaled about Reflection. Looking back at the previous year and making a note of what is working and what is not working. I also included some ‘before’ photos of house projects I want to complete this next year. I made a list of things I want to stop doing and I will be inserting some photos from last year.

This was the hardest part for me. 2014 wasn’t the best. But a reflection and assessment are so necessary to move forward with clear eyes.

January RESET Reflection on last year

The next week’s journaling prompt was about RIGHT NOW. How does your life look in this moment? How do you fill your days? How close is today to your ideal day?

Right Now - January RESET project

Week 3 journaling was about BIG GOALS. I have 4 big important goals for 2015, and a couple small ones. I’m a big planner by nature, so it was nice for me to have this dedicated space to day dream and commit and really admit my big ambitions.

Goals - January Reset

The final prompt is ACTION STEPS. Because it’s all well and good to say I want to publish 4 novels, but that will never happen unless I can break it down into managable chunks.

Action Steps - January Reset

Now, I fully admit that this is probably one of the more elaborate version of this month’s challenge that you may have seen. But if you can at all find the time I 100% recommend dedicating this kind of space to your goal setting. ESPECIALLY if they are important to you.

I got everything printed at Office Max at the end of December, and spent maybe 30 minutes each week putting the pages together. The longest process is no doubt going to be be finding the photos and getting them printed to insert. This is an absolutely customizable and approachable project and I really hope you join me!

Like Megan mentioned in her intro post, it’s totally okay if I don’t accomplish all of these. If I do, then 2015 will be even more awesome than I expect. But I definitely taking the time to write about how my life is right now and what I want for the future. The January Reset project will be a staple for me for the future.

At Lemon and Raspberry, Amy T Schubert helps you tell your story, build your platform and find your GREAT WORK … and how those all combine to help you live your best creative life. Check out her free guide to jumpstart your creativity and sign-up for her newsletter for when she publishes those four novels! Follow Amy on Twitter and Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at building a freelance, fiction writing life.

Thanks Amy for sharing how you filled in your memory keeping gaps with us!

Remember that you can share your take on the January challenge too. Use the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge on social media or leave a comment so I can add your take to the Nerd Nest Challenges Pinboard.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 1

This year, I’m making weekly pocket scrapbooking spreads in addition to other forms of memory keeping, like monthly spreads for Day in the Life and thematic pages. I include monthly breaks in my album for all of the extra documenting I like to include over and above weekly documenting.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 2

Last week was a pretty wonderful and busy week, so I kept to everyday + party photos for this spread and saved the photos from two other events: playing pinball with friends and going to a friend’s concert, for extra layouts.

For this spread, I used the colors in the Uno cards as a jumping off point. I decided that this would be a sort of stash-busting spread, so I pulled out all of my embellishments from past Oh Deer Me kits that were in my color scheme and then chose patterned papers and cards from there.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 3

Going on here: Teaching Jonas and his friend to play Uno, Jonas building Legos, hanging out with our friend Paul, Jake playing Destiny, Eliza doing her homework, Jake and Eliza snuggling while watching TV, Jake working on his quad copter while the kids play Harry Potter Lego, watching friends’ babies, the kids playing with their friends, Eliza helping Jonas put together his first Kiwi Crate of his very own, cat snuggling, and Jonas break dancing. A whole lot of little everyday moments.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 6

Tip: Photos don’t have to be Earth shattering. They might be downright mundane. It’s that normal this is the sort of stuff we do documentation that is going to be so very meaningful years down the road when things will be different.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 5

Tip: If you, like me, have trouble just sticking to a Project Life core kit, try buying patterned paper from a line that coordinates to your kit so that you can combine PL cards with cards of your own making.

I love the colors in the Jade Core kit, but have trouble using more than a few cards at a time from the kit because the style leans a little cute and sentiment heavy for my taste. Papers from Second City coordinated and gave me the color vibrancy and subtle patterns I wanted for the spread.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 7

Going on here: The kids’ joint family birthday party (we were out of town on Jonas’s actual birthday and this was the first date that worked for the majority of guests). We bought a giant pizza, which is pretty much the coolest.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 9

The great thing about making your own cards with embellishments is that you can add your own visual meaning. The cork frame gave me an idea to have Jonas’s age in one area and Eliza’s in the other, so it would be immediately obvious that this is a birthday celebration for both of them. I used rub-on numbers to indicate their ages, added labels with their names, and then adhered the cork frame to the outside of the pocket. I replaced the heart in the middle of the frame with a pinwheel epoxy button, because the pinwheel reminded me of pie charts and pizza (again: giant pizza!) and that shape also represents sharing to me.

Sometimes my embellishment choices are just based on what is cute or looks nice, other times I’m going for more of a metaphor. And if I’m the only one that’s looking that far into stickers, that’s fine by me. I have fun doing it.

January 11-17 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 8

I made two final cards by bordering a white card with washi tape and including a fun stash-busting sticker sneeze on the other.

Here’s to using that stash to capture awesome memories in 2015!

Selected Supplies: Basic Grey Second City 6×6 paper pad and Black Mono Micro alpha stickers // Freckled Fawn Oh Deer Me Kits: epoxy wood button sticker from October 2014, cork shape from September 2014, epoxy stickers from July 2014, foam white letter stickers, rub-on numbers, and chipboard stickers from May 2014, epoxy stickers from October 2013 // Project Life Jade Core kit, 3×4 white cards, Design A pocket pages, and journaling pens // Kelly Purkey I Love It label stickers, white letter stickers // Garamond font // Paint color chip.


Today in Pocket Your Year we’re talking about Journaling ideas.

Don’t miss out on weekly pocket scrapbooking posts with monthly video presentations and process videos! Sign up now, before the early bird price ends January 31.

Today is for

Clean up the floor with tea | The Nerd Nest

Scrubbing away at the paint on the spare room floor with tea. Totally works, takes a lot of elbow grease. So ready for this project room to be finished.

Playing the Harry Potter Lego game on our PS3 with Jonas.

Watching Jake master flying the quad copter he built.

Working on the February video for Pocket Your Year.

Taking a long walk with Jonas and enjoying the unseasonably non-freezing weather.

Watching yesterday’s State of the Union address.

Making an art project with Eliza of her choosing.

Cooking salmon and giving some to the cats on my vet’s recommendation. Jake hates fish, so he gets popcorn chicken.

Knitting the blanket I’ve been working on for months (and will probably be working on for months more).

Answering lots of e-mails.

Texting my lady friends and loving them deeply.

Planning some big business moves for the next few months.

Playing with the February Oh Deer Me kit.

Finishing this month’s Novel Tea Book Club selection, Emma, starting to beta reading my friend Amy’s novel manuscript, and probably also starting Ragtime, for my in-person book club.

This exercise is a great way to document your right now. Make sure to share a link if you write what YOUR today is for too.

52 Recipes Book

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 1

The current Nerd Nest challenge is to document your goals, and as much as I love the idea of just listing out general goals and having that to refer back to, I wanted to document a goal over a longer period of time even more.

One of my ongoing goals in life is to try one new recipe a week. It doesn’t always happen–sometimes life gets too busy–but starting this goal is how I learned to cook years ago. It keeps me from falling into a rut of making the same 15 things over and over again (though there are plenty of recipes that are in my “repeat often” pile). It encourages me to expand my horizons.

And though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’ve never documented the process. Some new things I make are winners and get added to our recipe book. Sometimes, things are edible but I wouldn’t even make them again. Rarely, the things I make are terrible and we have to eat back-up frozen pizzas. Always, I learn something.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 3

I decided to use a Studio Calico handbook I had on hand to document each new recipe I make this year and my thoughts: it’s part recipe book, part review.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 4

I use the Recipe Template Set designed my myself and Allie for my 8.5 x 11 recipe book, so I decided that for this smaller version, I’d just reduce the size of each recipe to a width of 5.5 inches and back it on 6×8 paper. I could have printed each recipe at 6 x 8, but going a bit smaller means that I can fit two recipes on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and I can have a bit of fun by including patterned paper. My reviews are on 3×4 and 4×6 pocket scrapbooking cards, because I have plenty of these on hand and have lots of pocket protectors in this size I’d like to use up.

Here are the first three spreads about the first three new recipes of the year. Click on the photos for a larger image.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 5

The first new recipe I tried this year was French Onion Soup from The Farm to Table French Phrasebook. This is mainly a French food phrasebook and cultural guide, as the title suggests, and I was sent the book for review. Before I give it a full review, however, I wanted to try some of the recipes included in the last chapter. (I’ve already tried two others.) This one was pretty good for my first attempt, but it was definitely a beginner recipe and I know that I can achieve a fuller flavor by cooking the soup much longer than the recipe suggests. I gave it a 6 out of 10.

And hey–these simple recipes are getting me over my fear of French cooking. So maybe I can go for much more complicated things as the year progresses.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 6

This recipe for Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken from The Comfort of Cooking was delicious. 8 out of 10! (Just so you know, I’m judging really harshly. If something is a 10, it basically means I could eat it every day for the rest of my life.)

The skin was crispy and flavorful and the chicken was wonderfully moist.

I also made sure to note the reactions of other family members–the rating is what I think, but I need to remember if everyone else will eat it too.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 7

The third recipe, White Bean Soup with Crisped Prosciutto, was not a winner. I made a lot of changes, which I noted in my journaling, so the fact that it was terrible could be completely user error. We had to eat back-up pizza.

I gave it a 2 out of 10, which basically means that it was inedible, but at least I could choke down a bite or two without spitting it out.

52 Recipes - January | The Nerd Nest 2

I’ll keep updating this recipe book monthly and will share the results with you! I’m excited to see what I can cook up. And please, if you have awesome recipes to share, link them up!

Selected Supplies: Recipe Template Set // Studio Calico Handbook, 6×8 Page Protector 1, 6×8 Page Protector 4, stamp, and bits from past Project Life kits // Freckled Fawn Large Wood Numbers, washi tape and 2015 clip from the January Oh Deer Me Kit, food stickers from the August Oh Deer Me Kit // Basic Grey Black Micro Mono Alpha stickers // Amy Tangerine Stitched Bobbin paper // Elle’s Studio Sycamore Lane Together // Project Life Ready Set Go Value kit, Live Brightly Value kit, Seafoam Core kit, and journaling pens // Kelly Purkey stamp // Momento Gray Flannel ink.

Homemade Recipe Book using Recipe Template Set by Megan Anderson

If you like this post, you’d also like to read about my recipe book and how I put it together.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 1

As a family, science and art museums are kind of our thing, so of course when my friend Jessica suggested we visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science while we were visiting her a few weeks ago, we were all in. We even landed the visit on Jonas’s birthday.

Even better, because we’re members of Union Station here in Kansas City, we got in free. If you like science museums too, check out the Association of Science-Technological Centers Travel Passport program. There are 300 museums on the list, and if you are a member of your local museum, you might be able to get into others for free or at a discount if you are traveling! Pretty cool.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 2

At 4 Jonas | The Nerd Nest 1

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 3

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science was awesome. We spent at least four hours there, and didn’t even get through all of the exhibits!

Jonas’s favorite was the space exhibit, which featured so many interactive learning displays. He loved the pretend play space made to look like the inside of a spaceship the most, and Eliza loved the “astronauts” answering questions about what the surface of Mars is like.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 11

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 12

Eliza’s favorite part was the Egyptian exhibit. The exhibit was small compared to some of the others we’ve been to, but there are always awesome new things to learn and see, including the difference between the mummification rituals of the nobles and the commoners. (Though initially in ancient Egypt, only the royalty were mummified. Fun fact.)

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 1

At 4 Jonas | The Nerd Nest 2

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 4

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 5

The museum had the most amazing and vast collection of minerals and gems I’ve ever seen. This is the very tippy top of the iceberg.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 6

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 7

We also spent some time watching a kids’ presentation on bees and playing in the kids discovery area. It’s so nice to have a place where kids can climb and be loud and touch things, which was a much needed intermission for Jonas after the less interactive minerals exhibit. The discovery area was fairly small, but their water tables were a sight to see, with huge arcs of water going from table to table and cyclones and floating wonders galore. There were other cool things too, like a dino dig space, but those water tables are always a huge hit.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 8

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 9

Denver Museum of Nature and Science | The Nerd Nest 10

My favorite part was the evolution and dinosaur exhibit, which we had to rush through a bit because Jonas was getting antsy at this point. We did a quick run-through of the temporary whale exhibit too!

The kids absolutely loved the museum and learned a lot, but there’s way to much to get through with a newly turned 4 year old in a day. I’d love to go back and catch the exhibits we missed and take a little more time to read more of the placards (which is tricky when you have a teeny escape artist with you).

Do you know of a cool science museum we should put on our someday travel itinerary? What sorts of places do you always try to visit when you’re on vacation?

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 1

I am so excited about pocket scrapbooking in 2015, I almost can’t wait for each Saturday to end so I can go through my week’s photos and pocket them up.

This year, I’m printing at home and making spreads the week following the documentation. I’ll save the batch ordering of photos for when I need to “catch up” several weeks of spreads.

I’m still going for weekly spreads + a day in the life spread each month + monthly breaks for any extra layouts or thematic spreads I want to include. I am a pocket scrapbooking overachiever, but I totally love it.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 2

For this spread I used mainly the Far Far Away kit from Studio Calico. It worked out well that these cards featured lighter shades of the colors in my photos, which makes for a great compliment.

I love that typed journaling gives me more room for decorative cards and that the white borders give even my photo-cluttered layouts white space and rest for your eyeballs. (There are 18 photos in this one!)

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 3

Going on here: Coming home from our Denver trip, Eliza’s birthday (the celebration of which is crazy spread out over weeks), and fun everyday stuff like an ice TARDIS, Jonas flying Spiderman, my cat stalking me, the face Eliza put on her mouse pancake, and a super deep cleaned fridge.

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 4

Tip: The amount of pockets / space you give an event tells your eye what’s important. If I’d just included the picture of Eliza’s birthday feast without including a whole card for birthday journaling and a themed card, a casual viewer would totally miss that it was her birthday. Not that it matters, the birthday celebrating will be obvious with party photos later, but consider making room for a few themed filler cards if you want to make a certain photo or event stand out a little more.

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 5

Tip: Don’t have enough photos to fill out your collage? Crop one photo differently and have it take up two collage spaces!

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 6

Going on here: Kids’ haircuts (which is a big deal in this family), snuggling the cats and reading Harry Potter (cat lady’s dream), my sister-in-law’s birthday, going to brunch with friends, Jonas’s expert noodle slurping, and Eliza reading to Jonas before bed.

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 7

Tip: I’m adding white borders to photos this year, and sometimes I’ll be adding a smaller photo to a card, like I did here. Square corners on the bottom and rounded on the top? No problem!

January 5-10 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 89

Tip: Want to include 4×4 photos in 4×6 pockets, but don’t know what to do with the extra space? Print the photo on a 4×6 paper and use the white space for journaling or embellishments.

Selected Supplies: Studio Calico Far Far Away kit // Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit // Project Life Design A pocket pages and journaling pens // Garamond font.


Today in Pocket Your Year we’re talking about Types of Photos to Take.

Don’t miss out weekly pocket scrapbooking posts with monthly video presentations and process videos! Sign up now, before the early bird price ends January 31.

At 9 Eliza…

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 1

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 2

Last week was Eliza’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 her as she turned 9:

At 9 Eliza…

  • …wants to be an artist and spends most of her free time making things.
  • …is super into Diary of a Wimpy Kid (she devoured the most recent 4 books of the series in just a few days).
  • …is very interested in engineering. She learns about software and web applications from Jake and is so excited to learn more about mechanical and electrical from Tinker Crate.
  • …likes to teach Jonas. They play school almost every day.
  • …is in love with French and France and all French / France related things.
  • …is obsessed with Doctor Who.
  • …brings a book (what she’s currently reading, Shel Silverstein, or a Doctor Who book) everywhere we go. Usually she has a bag of art supplies too.
  • …has the messiest room in the house.
  • …likes to dress up in my old homecoming dresses.
  • …finally had a growth spurt, but is tiny for her age.
  • …has wonderful comedic timing. (Her favorite jokes involve pointing out the literal meaning of what a person said and proving them wrong.)
  • …is really into archeology and ancient history, especially Egyptian history.
  • …shines when she’s in a defender position in soccer.
  • …is becoming a master Lego builder. Loves that her Robotics team uses Legos for their projects.
  • …makes up her own song lyrics and loves to perform.
  • …says the hair brush is her arch enemy.
  • …hates raw onions, tomatoes, and brussels sprouts.
  • …is into Doctor Who, The Flash, Sci Show, Cosmos, Brain Games, and Fetch!.
  • …loves potstickers and chicken pot pie.
  • …is so very loved.

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 3

Savor | One Little Word 2014

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 1

Last year, like this year, I took Ali Edward’s workshop One Little Word. My 2014 word was savor and, though I dropped off in sharing here halfway through the year as things started to get rough, I still found a lot of comfort in checking in with myself by doing the prompts for class.

For most of these, I watched the content as it was released, took notes / wrote a bit, and then made actual pages a month (or several) later. I also swapped the order of the prompts a bit to suit my needs.

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 2

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 4

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 5

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 6

In August, I did an action driven prompt to do a thing in each of three categories: self care, give something, and celebrate. I included photos that represented each of these three areas and then wrote about them in a bi-fold card.

Supplies: Freckled Fawn November Oh Deer Me kit // Project Life Midnight Core Kit, journaling pens, Design 4 pocket pages, and Project Life corner rounder.

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 7

For September, I wrote about the “real” story with my word. I focused on the ups and downs: when I did well with savoring and when I didn’t, the importance of having fun with my family even when I feel like I have no time, and my need to take the time fully feel and process my feelings when very stressful things happen in my life.

This page is also an example of one way to document the hard things when they relate to other people: I focused on my feelings, so I “kept it real” and recorded something that was (is) a big part of my life, but I’m not going into telling someone else’s story or immortalizing someone else’s hardships.

Supplies: Freckled Fawn heart washi from the August Oh Deer Me kit // Project Life Cut and Paste Mini kit, Lovely mini kit journaling pens, Design F pocket pages, and Project Life corner rounder // Ali Edwards Get Real Story Stamp.

One Little Word October | The Nerd Nest

October was so very hard, as you can tell from my painted title up there. I taped two pieces of 6×8 patterned paper together so I could write myself a letter inside. It’s something I’ll want to reflect on, but not something I’d want to read every time I’m flipping through my album, so hidden journaling is a great solution.

Supplies: Studio Calico Project Life kit and paper add-on // Pink Paislee Color Wash letter stickers.

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 8

In November, I included ways I was savoring and ways I was thankful. I really focused on the end of the month here. Savoring helped me to feel better, at least in the moment. The beginning of the month was just me sad in pajamas eating Halloween candy. And teaching Catch Up with Project Life.

Supplies: Studio Calico kits // Project Life Lucky Carm Value Kit, journaling pens, and Project Life corner rounder // We R Memory Keepers pocket page protector.

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest  9

For December, I reflected on my intentions for Savor and evaluated where I succeeded and where I fell short. I actually just completed this prompt, and it was very helpful to me to review last year’s intentions, as a lot of my intentions for this year with weave will be continuations or expansions.

Stay Creative Through Different Emotional States

Stay Creative Through Different Emotional States

This content originally appeared in an issue of Nerd Nest News in July 2014.

Today I’m going to get a little personal with you.

I want to tell you that I (and you) can be creative no matter how you are feeling.

I’ve been working through some tough emotions lately. That’s both in the more figurative sense of trying to work out the root of my emotions and in the more literal sense of trying to continue my creative work while I’m not feeling sunshiny.

When I was younger, I suffered from serious depression. I used to think that my depression was an integral part of my creativity. It made sense to me: I used art and writing as emotional outlets, so when I was feeling extreme emotion I was at my most creative. In addition to the evidence of my creative output, I noticed that the authors, musicians, and artists I loved weren’t exactly happy people.* And, as far a storytelling goes, I had that self v. self conflict DOWN.

Part of me was even scared to get better, because I thought it would crush my creative spirit and change me as a person. My mental health ended up trumping my fear, and, thank goodness, the creativity didn’t stop. My creative endeavors, however, did change.

It’s a little ironic that my main forms of public creativity now, blogging and memory keeping, have the opposite emotional expectations. Being happy and bright can seem to be a prerequisite for these creative fields.* No matter how often bloggers and memory keepers reiterate that they’re just sharing the highlights and that they have problems too, it can feel isolating in these creative areas when I’m not feeling happy.

But guess what? You don’t have to be happy to scrapbook or blog. I did some “happy times” scrapbooking when I was feeling sad and it made me feel better. I did some hidden-journaling-upset-topic scrapbooking and that made me feel better too. I’m staying honest about not feeling wonderful on my blog and have received uplifting support. (Thank you friends!)

I can write and paint when I’m happy and I can memory keep and blog when I’m sad.

However you are feeling, let your creativity flow from that place instead of worrying about how your feelings might stifle it.

The thing you create might change based on your emotional state, but you don’t have to feel a certain way to MAKE.

(And if you need help, don’t be like me from the past. Get it.)

I stuck with a personal account in this jumpstart, but if you’re interested in the correlation between emotions and creativity, you might want to check out this article. It turns out that different moods and emotions can effect creativity in different ways, so you might want to change up your creative task depending on your mood.

I’d love to hear how YOUR emotions feed into your creativity!

*Obviously there are happy books and songs and sad blogs and scrapbooks. This is based on the media I was / am consuming.

Creative Jumpstarts from Megan Anderson | The Nerd Nest News

This post was originally sent in a newsletter. Sign up for The Nerd Nest News Creative Jumpstarts so you can get more awesome content like this delivered right to your inbox (and coupons and updates too)! The next installment is going out this Wednesday!