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How I’m Listing | 30 Days of Lists September 2018

30 Days of Lists Journal | The Nerd Nest 1

Registration for the September 2018 round of 30 Days of Lists is now open! I’m excited for another round of my favorite journaling challenge. I prepared, as usual, by getting a base all ready to go.

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I looked through my craft room for never used / abandoned notebooks and journals for this round, and realized I only used this upcycled catalogue turned art journal one time in 2012!

I went ahead and took out the page I made (I’ll just add it into a scrapbook) and I have a great base for the next round of 30 Days of Lists ready to go!

And if you are wondering, here’s how I knit the cover.

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I really like the cover page I made back in 2012, so I just took off the label sticker I’d written “2012” on and added letter stickers for 30 Days of Lists instead!

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Do you have any unfinished projects you don’t intend to complete? See if you can put what you’ve already done elsewhere and repurpose the rest!

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I’m planning on stash busting for this challenge and want to use up scraps of paper and washi tape for my lists. I don’t art journal and I love that this challenge is always a great way to break out and try something new.

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Are you listing in September? How are you planning on doing it? Remember, there’s no wrong way to list.

I’m on the 30 Days of Lists team, so I spread my love of the challenge in an official manner. 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.

Overlap | July Nerd Nest Challenge

July 2018 Nerd Nest Challenge

The July Nerd Nest Challenge is to Overlap.

Try these ideas: Change up a grid design by breaking a few elements over the lines. Fit more photos onto a page by slightly overlapping them in a collage. Offset one item in a grid to draw attention to it. Overlap an embellishment onto another layer on your page to ground it. There are lots of ways to use overlapping in design!

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For my take on the challenge, I documented a little bit of fun in downtown Kansas City, where I met Jake over lunch while he had jury duty.

I used three color photographs of murals by my favorite local artist Scribe as a background of sorts and overlapped a photo of Jake and Jonas playing pinball. Making the pinball photo black & white helped keep the photos from getting visually cluttered while helping me fit more photos on this 8.5×11 page. Staggering a black rectangle behind this photo helped it to stand out as well!

I mimicked the overlapped placement from the pinball photo onto the journaling tag as well.

And there’s one more example of overlapping: the wood veneer stars overlap the photo and the black rectangle behind it to help visually attach them to those elements on the page.

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I love how overlapping makes a bold statement on this simple page.

I want to see your take on the challenge! Share a link in the comments or use the hashtag #nerdnestchallenge on social media!

Currently List Extended

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This year with my office a mid-home-improvement-project mess and most of my spare time spent on home improvement projects, I’m really embracing my Document Now, Make Later memory keeping philosophy. I’m not able to spend a lot of time actually scrapbooking right now, but I’m still recording memories, taking photos, and writing journaling, so that when things calm down again I can bust out tons of pocket pages and traditional layouts.

I have made sure to keep up with some things as I go, though, which will help me to capture some of that in-the-moment documenting I’d miss out on when I’m going back and scrapbooking the past. One of my favorite things I’ve been doing this year is filling out a weekly Currently List Extended card.

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I’ve done the original Currently cards in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever kept up with it this consistently (though sometimes I do “catch up” and fill out two weeks worth at once, dating them on Fridays and using my photos / notes to remember what was going on a week previous).

Kristin made the extended version at my request this year to add on some additional prompts that I really wanted (eating, playing, and learning are my favorites). The original cards are 3×4 and these just extend them out to 4×6.

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I’ve just been slipping them into a pocket page for each month and it feels nice to have something current in my album when I’m still working on February spreads. And I really love that these cards help me record some of the things I don’t capture in other ways, like TV shows I’m watching and what’s going on in my head.

I’m thankful to have them and it’s one of my favorite low maintenance projects so far this year.

How would you fill out your Currently list right now? What are you watching / reading / listening / making / feeling / planning / loving / eating / playing / learning / exploring / thinking / knowing / choosing?

You can find all Currently products here and can connect with the Currently community on Instagram through #currentlylist.

Crafty Ass Female Podcast Guest

Crafty Ass Female | Episode 25 | Crafting + Kids w: Megan Anderson

The amazing Amanda and my soul-lady BFF Kristin asked me to be a guest on their podcast, Crafty Ass Female. The episode Crafting + Kids is live today, and we’re talking all about crafting WITH kids, crafting for myself when there are tiny humans who need constant supervision present, and how I tell my memory keeping stories for myself while being respectful, because I’m telling more than my own story. There’s also some great personal stories you’ve never heard from me before!

We also get real in the Crafty Ass Female Patreon exclusive ‘After Chatter’ show, where you can sign up to listen to audio or watch a video of us three chat about some deeper topics: how I craft with children climbing on me, why I create my scrapbook albums for myself, how structural social forces impact where I am in my career and the direction of my life path, and how mental health finds its way into our creative journeys.

Head to for more information! And make sure to check out the show notes for the episode for links to a lot of the things that we talked about so you can see visuals!

Borrow a Photo | May Nerd Nest Challenge

May Nerd Nest Challenge

The May Nerd Nest Challenge is Borrow a Photo.

This month’s challenge is to scrapbook with a photo you didn’t take! Maybe you remember a friend or family member taking photos at a get-together and you didn’t take many. You can ask them to text or email it to you! Ask someone to send you a photo that they’ve shared on social media–this is a great way to document online friendships and long-distance relationships. You can also borrow official event photos from an event where no photography is allowed.

This would also be a good time to dive into scrapbooking older photos. Ask your parents or older family members to borrow old photos from an album or frame in their home so you can scan and print them for your use! You can use this method to begin a heritage album or to write down family stories from before your time that you want to remember.

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For my take on the challenge, I borrowed an event photo! This page is about a play my husband and I went to see with friends. Of course, professional theater is not a place for personal photography, so I used a promotional photo from KC Rep in addition to the program to document the show.

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I love how photos like this can remind me of details of a play that I would have otherwise forgotten. In addition, its WAY better quality than anything I could have gotten from my seat even if photos were allowed. So this might be something you want to try even if you are somewhere where you can take photos, like a concert.

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Usually these types of photos are easiest to find while the promotion period for the event is going on, so it’s best to look for them soon after or right before the event. Otherwise, looking up reviews or newspaper articles about the event might be your best bet for finding promo photos.

I want to see your take on the challenge! Share a link in the comments or use the hashtag #nerdnestchallenge on social media!

Last Chance for 31 Challenges!

31 Challenges Sneak Peek

New workshops are coming and it’s your last chance to get 31 Challenges in its current self-paced email format!

Are you ready for a daily dose of pocket scrapbooking inspiration?

You’ll start with a few emails to help you get ready, then you’ll get a pocket scrapbooking challenge every day for 31 days after you sign up!

Get inspired and motivated with challenges in photography, journaling, design, making it work, storytelling, and process.

31 Challenges - Self-Paced Pocket Scrapbooking Workshop | The Nerd Nest

Each challenge has an exclusive example project from me, including several tips and tricks to take from each project. There are over 100 bonus tips in all!

31 Challenges - Self-Paced Pocket Scrapbooking Workshop  | The Nerd Nest

Challenges were written with every kind of pocket scrapbooker in mind. Whether you are a physical scrapbooker who sticks to one core kit a year, a kit loving scrapper who layers on the embellishments, a digital scrapper, or an app user, there are suggestions to make every challenge work for you.

31 Challenges - Self-Paced Pocket Scrapbooking Workshop | The Nerd Nest

In addition to an exclusive project from me for each challenge, you’ll find an example from a Nerd Nest Creative Team member! Seeing different takes on the challenges with a variety of methods and styles will help you decide how to fit challenges to your own style.

Here’s a sneak peek of projects from the amazing contributors:

Sneak Peek 31 Challenges | Michelle O | The Nerd Nest

Michelle O

31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Anna | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Jen | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Emily | The Nerd Nest

Emily Murray

31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Laura | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Melody | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Kelly Jean | The Nerd Nest

Kelly Jean

31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Emily F. | The Nerd Nest

Emily F.

31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Lisa | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges Sneak Peek | Priya | The Nerd Nest


31 Challenges - Self-Paced Pocket Scrapbooking Workshop  | The Nerd Nest

Here’s what students from the original run had to say about the workshop:

“The challenges and the the various creative takes on each challenge really helped me get back in a groove and I have made great progress catching up!!! The small community here has been kind and amazingly supportive. Thank you!!!!”

-Michelle M.

“I’ve very much enjoyed this challenge! I have several more photos selected for the rest of the challenges, these have been terrific! As I mentioned, this is my first time Pocket Scrapping so your tips/tricks were helpful. I plan to finish all the challenges, I just ran out of page protectors, LOL! Thanks”


31 Challenges 2017

Learn more here or join now!

Workshop avalible for purchase through May 31, 2018.

Week in the Life 2017

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I’m so excited to participate in Ali Edwards’s Week in the Life next week! I’ve been looking through my past projects in preparation. I haven’t shared my Week in the Life projects for the past few years, since it was so difficult and time consuming to make sure Ava was blurred out of the pages while we were fostering / before adoption was final.

I really love how last year’s project came together, so I thought I’d share it before I start on the next one!

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I’ve been participating in Week in the Life yearly since 2012 and it is one of my favorite projects. My first year, I made a separate album, but since then, I’ve included the project in my regular yearly 12×12 albums, including one pocket page spread for each day of the week.

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In most of those years, I focused on one family member each week day, then documented everyone’s day on the weekends. This helped me focus and helped me to not get overwhelmed by documentation and really helped me to capture the routine of each person in my family. You can hear me talk more about that on my guest appearance on The Scrap Gals

Last year, however, was very hectic. I wanted to capture that, so I decided to try to capture the routine of the whole family for each day.

Including lots of collages helped me to include a ton of photos on each spread and visually represent how much was going on. Most of the photos were focused on people (and pets) rather than objects, which tends to be my memory keeping style overall. I do love that this project reminds me to capture what’s going on around me as well though!

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Using Ali Edward’s kit for this project made it very easy to design and allowed me to focus on the photos and the words. I repeated the same design on each page, which cut down on decision-making time. Trying to decide how to incorporate the different repetitive elements on each page made it come together for me.

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I used the transparent dividers as an insert for each spread and added my journaling on white card stock. I then used a decorative paperclip to attach the large day of the week letters over the top of the journaling. You can still see the words through it, but it’s easy to lift up for a clearer view.

I’m definitely repeating this journaling method this year because it frees up so much pocket space for photos!

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I included embellishments in similar spots on the spreads throughout and kept the main color scheme for each spread to just a few colors from the kit.

Watch out for those rubber embellishments! Kristin warned me that glue dots will cause a reaction with the rubber embellishments, sliding off and leaving a sticky, greasy stain on the paper. I used wet glue on this project, and the same reaction occurred! Stick with red tape, a tape runner, or staples for this product.

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So I wasn’t wasting a pocket on a title card for each spread, I included a cardstock strip with the date stamped and a wooden day of the week on the photo in the top left of each spread instead.

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I also included phrase strips in the middle of some of my collages.

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I had more photos for a few of the days, so I included an extra 6×12 insert to fit them in. Putting a tab sticker on the side of the insert tips off the people flipping through the album that the insert is there, because otherwise it blends in and is easy to flip past.

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Seeing these pages filled with the people I love gives me so much joy. It’s amazing to look through and note how many things are the same (frequent zoo trips, babysitting for friends and family a lot, lots of extracurriculars) so much about our routine has changed already (going from one car to car + van was a game changer). This project is such an amazing time capsule.

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I think last year’s project captured what life was like really well and I can’t wait to see how this year’s turns out!

Awesome Ladies Live Registration is Open!

Awesome Ladies Live

Registration for the Awesome Ladies Live Retreat 2018 is now live!

It was so amazing to hangout with so many awesome ladies IRL last year to tell our stories. It was absolutely wonderful to spend time crafting, eating, and talking with my best friends and building new lasting friendships.

This year’s retreat theme is self-care, and here’s what Kristin has to say about it:

This Year’s Theme: Self-Care Through Storytelling

You are the storyteller, your stories matter, and even more — they are essential to your self-care. This retreat is about spending a weekend with rukristin + the Awesome Ladies learning tips, tricks, and techniques for documenting your own life in a way that makes you feel empowered, impassioned, and in a way that’s all your own

Through four workshops, a live Crafty Ass Female podcast recording, and a panel discussion we will dive deep into storytelling, personal style, and more. You’ll leave with a scrapbook album filled with different paper-crafting techniques, ideas for introspective journaling styles, interactive page styles and more.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the inaugural retreat last year:

Awesome Ladies Live

Awesome Ladies Live

Awesome Ladies Live

Awesome Ladies Livw

Awesome Ladies Live

Awesome Ladies Live

Awesome Ladies Live

I’m excited to repeat the best parts of last year and for new things too: the live Crafty Ass Female podcast recording will be amazing and I’m leading the panel discussion!

Awesome Ladies Live

See the schedule of events and learn more about the retreat here. Spots are limited and this event is expected to sell out. I hope to see you there!

5 Ways to Teach Primary and Secondary Colors

5 Ways to Teach Primary Colors | The Nerd Nest 1

Ava is three and a half right now and stays home with me during the day, so this year we started on a preschool routine. Most of our day is spent playing, but we always try to get some direct learning activities in there. She likes to do “homework” (filling out pre-school workbooks) because she sees Eliza and Jonas do homework and wants her own. But we also do fun projects that I try to circle back to a theme.

I don’t think the themes themselves are that important. I usually pick something that she’s interested in. This is more about learning how to learn and themes also help me to come up with different fun ways to teach the same thing, which helps it stick.

Our last theme was primary and secondary colors and she had a blast with it! Here are five ways we learned about primary and secondary colors (in addition to completing a little color workbook).

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1. Paint!

Of the art supplies in our arsenal, paint is the easiest for a preschooler to mix to see the effects of color mixing. Crayons or colored pencils will work too, but at this age, it’s hard to press down hard enough to really start seeing the mixing.

Cheap watercolors are the least messy way for her to paint right now. She’s really proud of her paintings and has them all hanging up in her room! Pro tip–save plastic tablecloths from birthday or holiday parties to put down before painting with a tiny one.

Painting is something that she wanted to come back to again and again to see color mixing, and she remembered / understood more every time.

Our next color mixing activity with paint will be these shaving cream color mixing bags.

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2. Mix sidewalk chalk!

Sidewalk chalk is another easy medium kids can mix on their own. Just color two primary colors in an overlapping spot, then rub to make the secondary color appear!

We also drew rainbows with sidewalk chalk and talked about the order of the rainbow and that the secondary colors are between the primary colors that combine to make them.

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3. Do Science!

Feeling like a scientist is really fun for little kids and doing activities that seem like chemistry are a big hit with all of my kids.

We added water colored with food coloring dye in test tubes, then poured the primary colors together in a beaker to see the secondary colors appear! We discarded the water from the beaker into a flask to show that all of the colors mixed together made brown.

Of course, you can mix together primary colors in regular transparent cups, but the kids have endless fun pretending to “do science” with their Science Lab Activity Set.

I made the kids stay back during the dye part because I’ve learned the hard way what happens if they get ahold of those tiny bottles! I also try to keep a towel I don’t mind getting stained on hand if we’re doing anything with dye.

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4. Make Play Dough!

When Play Doh dries out, I just save the containers until I’m ready to replace it with a homemade batch. It’s really easy to do and is a great project for a tiny helper. (Is there anything more fun to a preschooler than dumping in ingredients?)

This time around, I used this recipe for homemade play dough and added a little bit of vanilla extract so it would smell better.

I used food coloring dye to make the colors–I did the actual mixing part while Ava watched. I make a little pocket inside each ball of dough to add the color and then knead it in, but be careful, because the dye can squirt out! I opted to show Ava that mixing two primary colors of dye into the center made a secondary color, but if you want your child to take a more active role, you can make several batches of primary colors and have them mix those together instead.

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5. Go Translucent!

Play with materials that let light through, like tissue paper or gel plastic, and layer primary colors to see secondary colors! This worked when we held tissue paper up to the light, but the tissue paper overlapping didn’t show the color underneath like I thought it would when we Mod Podged tissue paper onto this bunny. It worked in a few spots though!

What are some fun little kid learning activities you know and love? We’d love to try them!

P.S. The kids like the You Tube channel The Slow Mo Guys and they have some fun slow motion plaint mixing videos!

Each year it’s 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. Play Doh was project 6 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.

Friday Favorites

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1. The Crafty Ass Female podcast has been my favorite thing to listen to this year, and I’m excited that they are now on Patreon! My favorite perk of supporting the show is “afterchatter” for the episodes.

2. The thing I’ve read that has freaked me out the most lately is this article: When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home. I’d never seen a stinkbug before this winter here in Kansas City, but now we usually find at least a few each week. Turns out that this is just the beginning. If you are in the US and your state hasn’t seen a stinkbug boom yet, it’s coming. Read this so you can prepare as best you can. Also, it’s just so well written and fascinating!

3. I’m on a Spring cleaning kick around here, which is making me appreciate my e-cloth Home Cleaning Set more. I’ve been using them for years and I highly recommend them–they’ve also held up that long.

There are specialized cloths for different tasks, like stainless steal, glass stovetop, bathroom, and kitchen (which has a little scrubby corner that works great). I use the dusting one a TON (attracts dust like a Swiffer duster, but I never have to buy another Swiffer!)

I’m thinking about getting a second set this week so I can keep them in my cleaning rotation when the used ones are being laundered. You don’t have to use cleaning sprays or soaps with them and they still work great.

I still use sprays and rags or paper towels for the really gross stuff, like toilets and cleaning the counter after dealing with raw meat, but mostly it’s just these guys.

The one that probably makes my life easier the most is the glass cleaning + polishing cloth. When Jake and I wash the outside of our around 40 windows each year, we do them all with one window cloth, two polishing cloths, and a bucket of water we replaces as it gets gross. That’s it. Super fast, no streaks, no juggling bottles on a ladder.

This isn’t a sponsorship thing or anything (though I use affiliate links to Amazon when I can), I’m just REALLY into these things.

4. With Spring coming (sort of–still getting a lot of wintery weather in KC), I’m teaching Ava about life cycles. My favorite life cycle video is Smarter Every Day’s Butterfly Farming IS AMAZING – (Full Life Cycle). THEY ACTUALLY CAPTURED A CATERPILLAR COCOONING ON CAMERA. I always thought the butterfly made the cocoon, but it’s body splits and it is the conoon. Science You Tube for the win.

5. FaceFace, my friend Paul’s band, just released their first full length album MMmm and it is ridiculously amazing. You can listen to it for free on Bandcamp and throw them any amount of money you’d like if you want to download it. I’m so freaking proud of him.

6. Back to the Spring cleaning: IKEA GODMORGON Boxs with lids are really helping me to get organized! I’ve gotten two sets for the bathrooms–the smaller ones are great for little things like cotton swabs, hair ties, bobby pins, and chapstick. I’m using the bigger ones for brushes, combs, and headbands. I’m going to pick up two more sets next time I go to organize Jake’s little electronics parts and my sewing notions.

I like that they stack easily and the lids are easy to get on and off with the little holes on top.

7. I’m in the middle of a bunch of grout removal so I can regrout tile, and I’m using my Rigid Job Max 4 Amp Mult-tool for the job. I started with a Bosch OSL234HG Starlock Hybrid Grout Blade, 2-3/4″ and I just ordered a cheaper option, so we’ll see how that goes.

I tried a hand grout saw at first, and I got more done in 10 minutes with the power tool than in an hour with the hand saw. I can’t imagine how long regrouting all of this tile would take without it!

What are you loving lately?