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Project Life 2006 | Filling in the Gaps

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I’ve been working on filling in some of the story gaps in my 2006 album! This album is full of all-over-the-place layouts. My very first 12×12 pages are in here, but there are also layouts here and there that I’ve made in later years, as I didn’t start memory keeping chronologically until I started doing weekly Project Life.

I have a lot of photos unused and stories untold for this year in our lives (it’s the year Eliza was born) that I want to tell, and Project Life is a quick and concise way to to do it! I’m doing some companion pocket pages to older layouts, pocket pages with photos that have been left in boxes for years, and some pocket pages that will tell the stories that are missing. I’ll probably do a few layouts later as well. Today I’m sharing the first few spreads I’ve completed.

Click on the photos for a bigger view.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I started by seeing what I’d already printed. I pulled all of the 2006 photos from boxes and started to sort them based on rough chronology and theme. These were all taken with a point and shoot digital camera. I have the photos sorted in iPhoto, so I pulled iPhoto up to help me date the photos and figure out which photos I have that aren’t printed yet.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Some of the photos already had a companion layout waiting for them.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Pretty sure this was my first ever attempt at embellishment clustering.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

The Live Brightly value kit coordinated fantastically with the layout. It doesn’t matter if your style isn’t consistent if you can link past and present pages together with color or shape repetition.

I went with a Design D page protector to house all of the little horizontal photos I had already printed and then cropped a few additional digital photos to vertical orientation 4×6 to fill out the rest of the page.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Most of the photos I already had printed were a small size–2.5×3.5. When you have small photos, and easily solution is to frame them in 3×4 white cards (or 4×6 white cards for larger photos). This works for heritage photos too. I love the extra white space that the boarders add, I might start printing photos smaller and doing this more often on photo-heavy spreads!

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I used the same process with these already printed bath time photos. The Design F page protector was perfect the types of photos I had, and the blues and yellow in the Kraft edition matched up to Eliza’s bathtub and duck! I told the story of the song we sang to her while we bathed her.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: I spelled a word wrong and rather than pitch the card, I just trimmed a strip from another card and added the word in letter stickers. Now it just looks like I was trying to make that word stand out (lucky that it was the most important word in the sentence). Covering up mistakes with scraps or labels is a great fix. (Also, it left a weird blank space, so I doodled a cabbage.)

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: You might want to cover up parts of photos, too! I cut labels from the cards in this kit to cover up a few parts in these bath photos.

Tip: Have extra photos? Just slip them behind the cards.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

This spread is actually two unrelated pages, but as they are facing each other in the album, I used only the Penny Arcade Studio Calico kit (sold out) for both pages so that they’ll work well together.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

For the back of the Design F bath page, I chose a lot of little unrelated photos and stories from the month of May. Pocket pages are fantastic for collecting lots of stories that don’t need a whole spread.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Not everything you share has to be sunshiny! It’s totally okay to share details of being stressed or sad or scared. On this card, I shared how scary it is to have a baby because there are so many different things you can do wrong that can literally result in death. I wrote back with perspective on some of the things we thought we were doing right but later found out weren’t.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Sometimes there are bright moments in sad times. I let them mix in my documentation just as they mix in life. In 2006 we lived with my grandparents, and my grandma had breast cancer. Her cancer was part of our everyday lives, and even though it was sad and horrible and took her life later in the year, it still resulted in funny moments like baby Eliza wearing her wig. These good moments can be an “in” to talk about the things that suck, like Grammy loosing her hair and going through chemo.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I’m pretty sure every parent takes and loves messy baby-eating photos. Some of these were blurry, but I don’t care. I’m not throwing away that cute smile!

Using a Design A page protector was a no-brainer with the combination of three 4×6 photos and one vertical 2.5×3.5 photo.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: I love just slipping memorabilia into pockets, but sometimes it can slip out easily. I stapled a 3×4 card to a 4×6 card and slipped the memorabilia underneath.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Let products inspire you to go back and fill in the gaps! When I saw these fruit cards in July’s Studio Calico kit, I thought they were super cute but knew that they wouldn’t fit in with any documentation I’ve been doing lately. They reminded me of these baby photos of Eliza eating solids for the first time, and that spun off this whole thing!

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I love this cute page I made a long time ago about Eliza and her fellow baby cousins, but I knew I had more photos I wanted in there! I also didn’t note anything about the occasion (a family Father’s Day party) on the original page, so a companion page was a great way to get more story in as well.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

To match the colors of the original page, I needed to mix and match kits. I used cards from the Live Brightly value kit, Olive, and a card from the G’Day Studio Calico add-on.

Tip: It can be very hard to match a photo’s dominant color, like blue water or green grass, so go with complementary colors instead!

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: This photo is pixelated and kind of terrible, but you really can’t tell until you look up close. Sometimes it’s better to choose documenting memories over visual quality.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Next, I printed more baby cousin photos! To match the colors in the photos, I mixed the Live Brightly value kit and Olive PL core kit (on sale currently).

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: When using a lot of busier cards, alternate between colored or patterned cards and cards with a neutral background to give the eye a break.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I mostly worked on Spring photos, but when I found these little reindeer we made with Eliza’s foot and hand prints, I wanted to get them in the album right away. I made a companion page to a simple Christmas page I made for Eliza with the reindeer and the duplicate photos.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I used the Design E page protectors with pages from an older 6×6 Christmas paper pad by Basic Grey and wrote a little bit about the reindeer on a card from the DIY Shop value kit.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I’m excited to fill in more gaps in this album! I included a few post-its as I went and am going to start working on a big photo order so I can keep going!

How do you fill in the gaps in your older albums?

Randomly Right Now

Knope Waffles

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on around here lately.

Jake and I have been obsessed with Parks & Rec, and the show totally made me crave waffles. We go to brunch almost every weekend (we all love breakfast food…but not waking up early), and it took me a few weeks to get the waffles I wanted, because one of the restaurants I was SURE had waffles didn’t have them! When I finally ate them I had Jake take a Leslie Knope inspired photo series to celebrate.

Megan Lately

I’ve been obsessed with Final Fantasy VII, working on an exciting behind the scenes project, and visiting my new niece Ava. (Yes, now I have two nieces named Ava and one named Avery. It’s confusing.)

Sorting Photos

I’m tackling boxes of already-printed photos.

Office Rearrange

Office Rearrange

I rearranged my office / bedroom so that the printer is closer to my work table, and it is making a huge difference. It’s efficient for my workflow, but isn’t really decorated yet. I can’t wait until we paint the walls so I can start hanging stuff. And get rid of the horrible scratchy office carpet that came with the house.

We’re also getting an IKEA in the fall here in Kansas City, and I’m excited to put a KALLAX shelving unit in this space for my albums!

(I’m also excited about the FABRIKÖR cabinet.)

Stripping Paint

On the home improvement front, I’m slowly but surely stripping the paint from the trim in our spare room. When it is done, we’re going to use the room to shuffle everyone around so we can redo the other rooms too.

Power Washing

Jake’s home improvement project is power washing our super grimy siding. White siding + living by a busy street = gross.

Kids Summer

On the fun side, we’ve been all about summer adventures. Around the house, the kids have been into building forts, working on Jonas’s pre-school lessons, eating ice cream in the heat, and riding their scooters in the parking lot near our house at night, when it’s cooler.

Science City

Science City

There have been lots of trips to play at Science City.

Nelson Egyptian Sarcophagus

We took a quick trip to Nelson Atkins, with more to come. We wanted to compare the Egyptian exhibit there with what we learned from the Discovery of King Tut exhibit.

Nelson Roman Sarcophagus

Eliza also compared different cultures; she liked talking about the differences and similarities between the Egyptian and Roman sarcophaguses.

Nelson Atkins

Jake recorded some of the more funny reactions the kids had to art. Jake asked Jonas what he saw in the optical illusion sheet painting, and Jonas said, “A painting.” When Jake asked Jonas what was behind the cloth, Jonas said, “A boy messing up the painting.” Jake rushed him away. Hah! Jonas also had fun theories about the missing body parts on the Roman sculptures: “Someone must have eaten his nose.”

Eliza thinks the statues need clothes (“Geez!”).

We ran into one of Eliza’s friends in the African exhibit, and they had fun filling out the kids’ exploring cards together. There were videos of African dancing in the exhibit, and Jonas had a really good time learning new moves.

Robert Morris's Glass Labyrinth

We had a blast walking through Robert Morris’s Glass Labyrinth for the first time (the kids walked into the glass several times each…there’s an employee with a first aid kit overseeing for a reason).

Library

The kids loaded up on a gazillion books at the Plaza Library. The non-fiction books Eliza picked were correlated with the nerd adventures we’ve been having lately and the historical places featured in Doctor Who. She picked lots on Egypt, Rome, and a book on Stonehenge. It’s also really interesting to see her develop her tastes in fiction and poetry.

That’s a bit of what’s going on around here lately! What’s going on with you?

Project Life 2014 | May Mid-Atlantic Trip

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

My May Mid-Atlantic Trip is in the books! It’s common practice among weekly Project Life documenters to simplify vacations by sharing highlights or putting in a photo enlargement and calling it good. But my M.O. is going overboard, so that’s not what is happening here. I want my documentation to fit my story size, and a few days on vacation can be more vivid in your memory than weeks of routine. I love the everyday stuff, but I love the out of the ordinary stuff too. So I completed a spread (with inserts in most cases) for each day of the vacation.

I mixed traditional layouts and pocketed spreads together to document the trip. I’ve shared a lot of the traditional pages already, but I wanted to show how it all came together, so I’m showing the layouts in action and I’ll link up the posts that show the layouts more in-depth.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

The first day was in Philadelphia, which was also May Day in the Life.

The photos had a lot of neutral colors with bright, fun pops here and there, so I was able to work with a bright color scheme! I used cards from the Amy Tangerine Plus One mini kit (I only have three cards left!), cards from Studio Calico Project Life kits (mostly cards that were similar to Plus One designs), and cards from a Kelly Purkey travel kit (her monthly kits sell out fast).

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Include an insert just for journaling if you don’t have room for all of the words! I used a purple background patterned paper to bring in more color (I was wearing a purple shirt). I checkered cards from the Kelly Purkey kit (and one Studio Calico card) with 3×4 white cards. I turned the cards horizontally and trimmed about 1/3 off so the background would show more. This would also be a great solution for turning filler cards into journaling cards!

Tip: I’m out of 6×12 page protectors, so I cut a 12×12 down with my paper trimmer and stapled it shut.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I included 8.5×11 photo collages to get more photos in. This page has my favorite photos from Penn Museum.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

In the center is a double page 8.5×11 spread about how much we loved the SEPTA rail system with the route we took through the city.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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Another collage, this one of the cool architecture.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I think this spread represents our day in Philadelphia really well!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

The next day of the trip was a traveling day, so I documented leaving Philadelphia, the rail ride to New Jersey, and hanging out with Kristin and Jeff.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Look for similar tones when mixing kits. This spread features a mixture of a lot of different kits, and I chose light blue/green tones with brownish greys and bright red. Those were the colors I needed to balance out the colors in my photos! I used a few Studio Calico cards, the Wellington mini kit (which is school themed, but can be used for more), and a card each from Jade, Cut and Paste, and Seafoam.

Tip: There are no rules! This is a spread about Friday, but one my photos from dinner Saturday didn’t fit in with the beach spread, so I included them here. Make it work!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: In Photoshop, the effect “Stroke” will give an image a border. You might have used this effect on a font title, but using it on a photo within a photo gives you a digital photo mat. You can even choose a color from the photo as your border!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

This spread is about our Saturday at the Jersey shore. I just needed a pocket page to go with my Jersey Shore layout!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I kept this pocket page very simple so it wouldn’t overwhelm the layout. Luckily the light green in the Jade edition correlated perfectly with the June Oh Deer Me Kit!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Last up: Sunday in New York City. This spread starts with Jake and I with Kristin and Jeff in Times Square, then has several 8.5×11 insert layouts, which I’ve shared in this Confessions of a Class Junkie post.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Create simile layouts to use as inserts, as the bigger pages will work as backgrounds for the inserts in your album and can easily make the layout appear cluttered.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

I filled this pocket page with highlights of the rest of our day: checking out the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, and taking in the views.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Using a consistent color palette isn’t the only way to get inserts to flow well with the rest of the spread: repeating patterns or embellishment shapes works too!

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Hide memorabilia that doesn’t match your layout. You can always slip it behind a card, but I created a little pocket within the pocket by adhering a smaller card to the Project Life card on the bottom and sides.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: When trying to capture the flair of a place, include both wide view and detail shots.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t ditch a group photo just because one person looks goofy! This is a fantastic photo of Kristin and Jeff, but I wouldn’t even show you what I looked like in it (and I’m cool with some pretty silly pictures of me floating around). A little creative cropping, and the photo was saved!

I’m so happy with these pages and how well they represent the best trip Jake and I have taken in years! Now I’m off to start on June pages, which are going to have to be very flat if I’m going to fit them into the same album as this crazy bonus section. Hah!


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.

At 27 I…

At 27 I... | The Nerd Nest

Today is my 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 me as I turn 27.

At 27 I…

  • …take several pictures every day, usually with my phone.
  • …am all of the way obsessed with memory keeping and Project Life.
  • …read 7-10 books a month.
  • …am in 3 and a half book clubs. (How did that happen?)
  • …think that pajama bottoms are the best clothes.
  • …wear mostly solid t-shirts and shirts from Sevenly.
  • …love Doctor Who the very most.
  • …also love Games of Thrones, Parks and Rec, Cosmos, The Daily Show, and Last Week Tonight.
  • …like playing the same video games I played in middle school.
  • …love having shorter, no maintenance hair.
  • …would rather sit around talking and eating with friends and family than do anything else.
  • …am figuring out my career path.
  • …listen to a wider range of music than I used to, but still stick with old favorites about half of the time.
  • …could look at Kansas City’s skyline for hours.
  • …am on a home improvement kick.
  • …like strong, dark Guatemalan coffee with a tiny splash of milk and plain lattes (big change from my carmel vanilla loving past).
  • …want more tattoos.
  • …am so thankful to be able to video chat with long distance friends.
  • …go to museums for adventure.
  • …am savoring.

At 27 I... | The Nerd Nest

Check out other birthday and anniversary check-in lists.

The Discovery of King Tut

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

Recently, my family was able to go to the The Discovery of King Tut at Union Station, an amazing interactive exhibit on the discovery of young Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun’s tomb and the contents found inside.

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

We were so lucky to attend a community lecture by Egyptologist Stacy Davidson beforehand, which Eliza loved and spent taking pages of notes. Our group went on tour with Davidson and she was amazing at answering our questions. Eliza’s face here was after learning about the Rosetta Stone and that both English and French (the languages Eliza speaks) are both rooted in Latin. It’s her “Huh? Seriously?” face.

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

It was one of the most fascinating and informative exhibits I’ve ever attended, complete with an audio tour and video. The first part of the tour (no pictures allowed!) included a screened video telling the story of the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun, then a move through a recreation of what archaeologists found in the different rooms of the tomb. Each room had a video describing what was found in each room with a full sized recreation, so that we could understand where the artifacts presented in the second part of the tour were placed within the tomb itself. Our audio players described this part of the tour in sync, and we were able to choose numbers to hear presentations on the artifacts in the second part of the tour.

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The artifacts portion of the tour featured over 1,000 to-scale replicas, which were amazingly detailed. Originals are no longer allowed outside of Egypt, but I’d have never known I wasn’t looking at the real thing. The methods used for recreation was facinating–Tut’s mummy was recreated with a 3D printer!

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

I was thankful for the lecture beforehand and the audio tour, because in addition to appreciating the sheer beauty and workmanship of the artifacts, I could also understand the intended purpose of the objects and meaning behind the symbols included on the works (as well as a few of the hieroglyphs!).

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The stories depicted in the art on the objects were also amazing.

There were over 80 pieces of footwear buried with Tut (which makes much more sense to me after learning that the glyph for “life” is a sandal), and the sandals shown above depicted his enemies so he would symbolically trample them as he walked. On the softer side, his throne pictured a sweet domestic scene with his wife of the sort not usually found in Egyptian royal art.

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

I’m so thankful we were able to see this amazing exhibit! I’m inspired to learn more about ancient Egyptian culture with my family! Do you have any favorite books about Egypt?

The Discovery of King Tut | The Nerd Nest

Kansas City readers, the exhibit is open at Union Station through September 7. It is coming next to San Diego in October!

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

I take a silly amount of classes (mostly on memory keeping and blogging) online, and I’m here again to share my takes with you!

For this round, I’m sharing takes from Use Your Stash, Scrapbooking With Style, and Big Picture Classes workshops (Phone Photography Project 2, Hello Story, and Here and There Inspiration).

That sounds like a ton, but I just did a project or two for each.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

For Week 2 of Here and There Inspiration with Kelly Purkey and Amy Tan, which is all about translating inspiration you find out in the world into your memory keeping, I documented going to Smorgasburg with Kristin and Jeff in Brooklyn.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: If you’re layering a photo on a photo background, make your smaller photo stand out by raising it up with pop dots or by adding a cardstock mat.

Tip: If your cut-out embellishment isn’t noticeable enough, try adhering it to cardstock and cutting around the edges, so the negative space in the embellishment is filled with a color different than your background, as I did with the exclamation wood veneer.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Stamping an image onto cardstock and then cutting it out to add to your project gives you more chances to recover from mistakes. Usually when I do this, I’ll cut out the title in a block, but I had some extra time on my hands while having a Doctor Who marathon with my family, so fussy cutting was in the cards.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

For Week 3 of Here and There Inspiration, I documented seeing Newsies on Broadway. I used the wardrobe design from the musical as inspiration as I was choosing patterned papers.

Tip: Need background paper for a double page spread, but only have single sheets? Cut paper into strips and lay the strips side by side so the pattern continues across both pages. Just make sure that all strips are shorter than 6 inches tall if you are using 12×12 paper so that you have enough for both sides! By using a stripe of a second color through the middle of the layout and framing it with matching strips of paper, you create the illusion that the pattern covers the whole background.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t have room in your design for journaling? Include interactive hidden journaling. I included journaling on the back of and behind my photo mat, which lifts up.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: If your twine or embroidery floss is unraveling on you when you’re trying to thread it through embellishments, try wrapping a bit of tape around the end so that it is stiff enough to pass through.

(Here and There Inspiration is a 12 week class and registration is open until July 30th.)

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

I’m also taking Scrapbooking With Style: Clean & Simple Layouts by Kelly Purkey at Craftsy. (It’s currently 25% off!) This is a video based class with step-by-step layout instruction, so it would be fantastic for beginners. Though I’m not in need of learning basics, I still love Kelly’s style and am excited to make a few layouts inspired by the class.

This Central Park layout was based on Lesson 1, but I replaced the patterned paper with photos, because when you take a thousand photos on vacation, you squeeze them in where you can.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Cut two circle embellishments in half and arrange them around a rectangle or square shape to create an interesting pattern.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: If you are writing on a dark background, try a light colored ink instead of a black pen. I prefer this white gel pen.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Use Your Stash by Elise Blaha Cripe is a fun little mini class with tips for using up scrapbooking products. I was inspired by Elise’s washi lesson to make these striped cards that coordinate with the books I read in May. I also included my Currently cards for May.

Tip: Spread a photo over several pockets to make a big impact! I printed this one out as two 4x6s and cut the bottom one in half to fit into two pockets.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t throw out a card because you make a mistake! I accidentally wrote “June” instead of “May”, so I colored over the word June in white gel pen (next best thing to white-out), waited for it to dry, and wrote the correct word over it. You can’t tell unless you look close! I’m also a fan of throwing label stickers over mistakes.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Add a 3×4 journaling card to a cool patterned 4×6 card so you can have the best of both worlds: words and awesome design!

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Add more into your Project Life by including photos or tags on the back of cards. Just have a bit peeking out so that you’ll know there’s more to see back there!

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

This layout is for Week 12 for Hello Story from Ali Edwards, which means that I made at least one layout for every week of the class this year! Finished! Wahoo!

I listed 10 “House Rules” around here.

Tip: Use wet, clear drying glue for small accents like these wood veneer letters.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t have a group photo with everyone smiling? Use two. Each one here has one grumpy looking kid and one excited kid, and together you get the big picture.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: If your background is white card stock, it is easy to slice apart your layout and move segments if you make a mistake. I originally had the cork house stickers lining the very top of the layout, but it looked imbalanced. It is difficult to remove those stickers without tearing them, so I cut the top off of the layout, moved the strip of houses down, and adhered another strip of white cardstock to the top so the layout would be 12×12 again. The washi strips makes this change virtually unnoticeable.

Confessions of a Class Junkie Vol. 10 | The Nerd Nest

I also just started Big Picture’s Phone Photography Project 2, which centers around helping you to improve your phone photography. Class just started yesterday and is open for registration until July 30. Follow along on my Instagram to see my takes on class challenges as the class develops. (I’m also doing daily memory keeping tips there!)

This class is a sequel to last year’s (now self-paced) The Phone Photography Project: Summer Challenges. I had fun completing all of the challenges for that class– check out my takes on last year’s challenges!

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).

Day in the Life // July

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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 Tuesday, July 15:

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

I woke up at 6:45 with a really strange dream in my head (probably shouldn’t watch Doctor Who before I go to sleep) and helped Eliza get ready for summer school camp. Tuesdays are a bit easier in the mornings, because she eats at school (she’s been bringing her lunch the other days of the week).

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

After she left, I went and snuggled back up with Jake until Jonas woke up and started climbing on us. Jonas drew us pictures on our new Boogie Board writing tablet while Jake got ready for work. Jake didn’t want me to share his silly sleepy face photos. (Hah!)

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

After breakfast, Jonas worked on picking up his room a bit. He sorted different brands of building stuff into the correct containers, mostly.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

While he picked up, I finished a page in my Project Life album, inspired by Elise Blaha Cripe‘s Use Your Stash class.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Jonas earned a TV show for cleaning his room. He chose to watch Johnny Test and the timing was great, because I had a video meeting right then for class planning.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Then bath time for Jonas. I cleaned the bathroom counter while he played. Obviously I didn’t get to the mirrors.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

We walked to get lunch at Jerusalem Bakery with our friend Paul. The weather was crazy gorgeous for July; it felt more like early October.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Jonas and Paul both fell asleep on me when we got back, so I took that as an opportunity to get more scrapbooking done. I also shared a memory keeping tip on my Instagram, which I’m thinking of making a daily-ish thing. I just need to think of a good hashtag.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Eliza got home from school around 4:00. How awesome is her sense of style? I love it. She showed me the project she made in art class and told me a bit about her day. She learned about using acrylic stamps and paper crafted next to me. We were totally planning on going to the park when Jonas woke up, but he slept forever. (He was up really late the night before, he doesn’t usually take naps.)

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Paul took almost as long a nap as Jonas. We hung out a bit while Eliza did her chores and watched Last Week Tonight with Jake when he got home. I made dinner, which had to be impromptu because I forgot a key ingredient for the planned meal. There were too many Legos on the dinner table to eat there, so we ate on the couch and watched Monday’s The Daily Show while the kids at at a children’s table we have.

Day in the Life // July at The Nerd Nest

Paul left to go to a friend’s concert and I read a book out loud to everyone (mostly Eliza). We’re reading The Giver. Jonas stayed up for the first chapter or so, playing with Legos, and then Jake put him to bed. Jonas kept getting confused. “Am I in that book? Hey, I didn’t to that!”

We also had a fun answering-Eliza’s-questions session. This time we mostly talked about puberty. By the end of the third chapter I read, she was fighting to stay awake so I sent her to bed.

Jake and I headed up to our room / office. I totally planned on working on the spare room we’re refinishing (I’ve been stripping paint a bit every day), but I was too tired. I got into bed and read Invisible Man for about an hour while Jake coded.

*In addition to the normal stuff I document, I also kept a list of people I talked to on the phone, through texts, and through e-mail. That will make an interesting addition! Next time I think I’ll list the chores I do, because there was a lot of laundry and dishes in between these daily highlights.

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.

June Reads

June Reads | The Nerd Nest

In June, I read a really wide range of books. I picked a few works of literature I’d been wanting to read (both contemporary and classic), re-read a favorite, celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month with a few novels and essays, and finished the May/June book for the L&R Book Club. I also read a young adult book and a children’s book, which helped me work out a few ideas for my own creative writing. I feel like I’m jumping all over the place, but it’s keeping my brain busy.

June Reads | The Nerd Nest

Here are the books I read in June:

The Human Stain (2000) by Philip Roth

Writer Nathan Zuckerman unravels the complex secrets of his neighbor Coleman Silk, a classics professor driven nearly mad after he is forced into retirement under false charges of racism.

This novel is a wonder. Roth’s carefully crafted use of language and the insidious unravelling of plot are captivating. I also appreciated that the story challenged my personal moral judgements. I’m excited to read more from Roth, including the two other books in this trilogy.

The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood, a young woman living in the early sixties, gains an internship with a New York magazine but is unhappy about the possibilities in her future after graduation from school. She begins to not only feel trapped by the roles of women, but by her mind as well.

This book is a realistic depiction of mental illness and of patriarchal society in mid-century America. Even though women today have many more options, I think many will still identify with Ester’s concerns about the loss of one’s self to domesticity and the oppressiveness of the men surrounding her.

I’ve honestly been avoiding this book because all I’ve ever heard about it is its description of depression, so I wanted to read it while I’m in a good place with my own feelings. I didn’t feel that way at all–there were even sections that were extraordinarily funny. I wish I hadn’t put it off for so long.

Middlesex (2002) by Jeffrey Eugenides

Cal–né Calliope–Stephanides takes us back through three generations in a Greek-American family saga to discover a family secret.

I loved the interweaving of the lives of several generations, the amazing experimental and complex narrative style, and the life breathed into the settings in the book. A coming of age novel, taboo romance, American immigrant story, and nature vs. nurture identity formation all in one, this book is in no doubt deserving of Eugenides’s Pulitzer Prize.

*There are some problematic passages involving sex acts without consent that aren’t called out as such and that really bothered me.

Life of Pi (2001) by Yann Martel

Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy who grew up in a zoo, adopts a complicated spirituality and fights for survival–with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

*Avoid synopsis of this book if you don’t want spoilers–almost all of them give away the first twist and the ending.

I thought this book was wonderfully descriptive and made a seemingly impossible story come to life. I know that an author has done a good job if the summery of the plot would sound ridiculous to me, but the events seem plausible while I’m reading. That said, I hated the first third or so of the book and almost stopped reading it. Though I think that the writing in itself is beautiful in places, I strongly dislike the core message of the book (which seems to be what had critics raving in the first place).

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov describes a day in his life as a political prisoner in a Siberian labor camp (gulag) in the 1950s.

This is one of my favorite books from my high school literature class. I love it because it humanizes what I was learning in history. It shows a darker side of human nature–how we can be controlled through food deprivation. I am amazed at the author’s heroic activism, as this novel gave a forbidden peek behind the Iron Curtain into the human rights violations of the Soviet Union.

**If you read this (or any Russian novel), keep a list of character names, as most characters are referred to by multiple names throughout. Read the short resource Understanding Russian Names in Literature to get your bearings.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (2010) by David Sedaris

A collection of humorous, R rated animal short stories.

Sederis uses the form of animal fables to point out modern particularities in human interactions. The humor is odd and raw, and pushes far at some points (you’ve been forewarned).

*The book is illustrated by Ian Falconer, writer and illustrator of the popular children’s series Olivia. It’s weird to see his style in some of the more messed up animal depictions.

Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) by Rita Mae Brown

Molly Bolt, a poor Southern girl who doesn’t fit the roles pushed upon her, describes her coming of age in this classic lesbian novel.

Radical for its time, this book serves as a historical depiction of the extreme discrimination and otherness lesbians experienced in America. While the sex scenes were shocking at the time this novel was written, I found most of them to be almost poetic, especially as Molly matured.

I identified with a lot of the beginning of the novel, as I struggled with gender expectations as a child, but found a lot of the attitudes towards consent, heteronormativity, and heterosexual relationships found later in the novel to be problematic.

The Creative Habit (2003) by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp, world renowned choreographer, takes the mystery out of creativity and shares a guide for turning creative work into a habit.

This book was the May/June book for the L&R Book Club. I found it well written, loved learning about different famous creatives’ processes, and appreciated the exercises at the end of each chapter and the introspection into my own creative process that the book sparked.

I do think that Tharp has a bias towards her own process and was disappointed in her distrust towards the science behind creativity.

(I’m probably more critical because I’m very interested in the subject of creativity. My newsletter centers around the theme.)

Paper Towns (2008) by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen is enamored by his enigmatic neighbor Margo Roth. After Margo pulls Q into her life to aid her in a revenge mission, he becomes a teenage detective, trying to decipher the clues she’s left for him.

This is one of the few young adult books I’ve read I want to be SURE my kids read when they are older. I loved that this book turned the white night rescue / girl as a prize cliche storyline on its head and centers around the theme that it’s difficult to really know other people.

In June, I also read the children’s book The Wind in the Willows (1908) by Kenneth Grahame and a bunch of short stories by lesbian authors from a Women’s Literature textbook in celebration of LGBTQ month.

June Reads | The Nerd Nest


Because I read 10 books this month, I tried to keep each synopsis and review extremely concise. If you want to know more about any of these, just ask!

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.

We are Powell’s Books affiliates. Purchasing anything through these links helps to support the Nerd Nest.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | 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 two and a half spreads from the end of May.

Click on the photos for a bigger view.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

May 18-24

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas being a bad influence for little Ava, who thinks that his jumping on furniture is the funniest thing (there’s a photo of him trying to make his cousin Avery laugh too–such a little entertainer), hanging out with friends and family, DIY Cleaning Supplies, and the wonder that is finding the walrus and winning a sucker at Trader Joe’s.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Sometimes imperfect photos tell the story better. This photo of jumping Jonas as a blur captures his movement and personality way better than the in-focus photos of him in mid-air.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: If a journaling card works with your color scheme but has words that don’t quite fit, just cover up the bit that doesn’t apply! This Studio Calico card said “Hello Summertime.” I loved the color, but it didn’t work on this Spring spread. I used a label sticker and a felt flower to cover up what didn’t apply.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: This insert has the sky on a gorgeous day, going to see X-men: Days of Future Past with our friend Paul (taking a picture in front of a movie poster is a house rule), a funny story about Jonas trying to take a picture of one bare spot on his floor to trick us into thinking he cleaned his room, Charcoal stretching for a belly rub, and reading on the porch with Jake (we’re loving the late post-kid-bedtime sunsets!).

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Add in more words with label spots directly on photos or by combining a photo with a journaling card adhered to the back of it, as I did to make this 3×4 photo fit into a 4×4 spot.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The back of the insert has dinner with friends, which was almost ruined due to a black-out right before (a downside of having an electric stove), me taking a breather after the kids were driving me up the wall, and Eliza working on her last spelling list for the year (yes!) and how proud I am of her for working so hard on them over the year.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: When you’re working with double-sided cards and inserts, set them up so you can use both sides!

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Out to brunch, Jake’s awesome photo at a Royals game (amazing seats!), Jonas playing with his friend, and playing at the park.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Repeat a stamp so it becomes a design element. When you get to the edge, slip a piece of scrap paper underneath so that you don’t make a mess when your last stamp goes off of the card. (This this week stamp is one of my most used!)

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

May 25-26

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Our friends’ wedding!

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Make your own 4×6 journaling cards! There never seem to be enough in the kits for me, so I’m just going to jazz up white cardstock cards from here on out. (There are plain 4×6 cards if you don’t want to cut down and round the corners of your own!)

This card combined a strip of washi tape, a design punched with a circle punch from a 3×4 card, and a little label die cut.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The roadtrip part of going to Nebraska for our friends’ wedding. I included pictures of the Eliza reading to Jonas in the car, the kids loaded up with stuff in the lobby of the hotel, swimming in the hotel pool, the trip back with our friend Jack along for the ride, walking to get coffee in the morning, and going to eat at the mega-truck stop our friends’ family owns.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Jazz up a 4×6 card as a photo mat by lining the edges with washi tape.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: When two pages in a spread don’t match very well thematically (even though these photos are all from the same trip, the road trip photos and the wedding photos don’t exactly go together), choosing a more neutral color scheme and carrying the main POP color across the whole spread will help tie them together.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: You don’t have to have a date card! Just write the date wherever you have space.

(Also, because I had so many photos from this trip, I decided to dedicate a weekly spread to it and put the photos from the rest of the week on the next page.)

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

May 27-31

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: More Ava and Avery babysitting, Eliza’s last soccer game, going out to eat with my dad, gardening at Jake’s dad’s, bouncy houses at Eliza’s end of year school picnic, at the hospital with Jonas after he smooshed his finger (no breaks!), and picking up the violin again.

Project Life 2014 | May Part 2 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t have number stickers on your alphabet sheet? Spell out the numbers instead.

P.S. The sheet on top of patterned paper on the facing page is the song list for Eliza’s school concert. The layout I made for the concert is on the back of this page.


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

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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

Savoring Lately

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This year, I’m trying to make a new meal every week. I’ve had some winners, so I thought I’d share some of the results of a few awesome chicken meals and side dishes with you!

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I subscribe to Rachel Ray Everyday magazine and I always try a few recipes out of every issue. Usually they’re approachable and budget friendly, but I also don’t see the point of getting a food magazine if I’m not going to make anything from it!

The Rachel Ray recipe I’ve tried most recently is curry chutney chicken salad, which has raisins and sliced apples in addition to the ingredients obvious from the title. The harmony of the ingredients was fantastic and the mix of textures was pretty much perfect. The only alteration I’m going to test next time is trying yogurt as a base rather than mayonnaise.

I served it on warm naan from Trader Joe’s (their frozen naan is surprisingly delicious).

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In a quest to find a way to like beets (They’re good for you! And cheap! And the farmers that sell them are nice! And they’re so pretty and fuchsia!), I found this recipe for beet roesti. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that, but it’s basically a beet, potato, and green onion hashbrown. And it was delicious: I had my dinner guests going back for seconds (and thirds). Try it out if you’re a beet hater and let me know what you think.

I paired it with roasted chicken, because in the event that the roesti went wrong, it’s hard to screw that up.

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If you’re looking for a crunchy crusted chicken tender without resorting to deep frying, you might want to give almond rosemary crusted chicken a go. This was actually my second time trying this recipe, and this time I doubled the rosemary called for because my first try at it was a bit bland.

I don’t recommend the orzo recipe that is linked with the chicken. Jake made fettuccine alfredo to go with this instead. (That’s one of those add stuff until it looks and tastes right recipes around here. We don’t really measure, it’s just a roux with a quarter cup each of butter and flour + milk + heavy cream + toasted garlic + shaved parmesan cheese + salt and pepper.)

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This chicken souvlaki with cucumber tzatziki and pasta salad doesn’t look very fancy, but there were some crazy flavor explosions going on there.

I love Mediterranean food and thought that the yogurt, lemon, and herb marinade for this chicken sounded fantastic. IT WAS. (I skipped skewering the chicken and just sautéed it instead and went with fresh oregano instead of dried.) The fresh and bright cucumber tzatziki sauce paired perfectly. These are fantastic for summer.

Because these two complemented each other so well, I wanted a simple side dish that could easily be slathered in the tzatziki. I made bowtie pasta, chilled it by rinsing it several times in cold water, and added a bit of olive oil, feta, black olives, and diced bell pepper. This is a mixture commonly served up at Jerusalem Cafe and Bakery, our local Mediterranean buffet.

If this all sounds good to you, it’s a good time to start an herb garden. This recipe was super cheap for me to make because I could snip bits of oregano, rosemary, thyme, and mint from my front yard, but buying cut herbs at a grocer’s can be way more expensive than just buying herb starter plants. If you need convincing, here are some of my favorite herbs and how to use them.

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Here’s another simple chicken meal created because I wanted to test out a new side dish! It can be hard to get Jake to eat his veggies, so when he ate fresh green beans with lemon and garlic at a local restaurant, I knew that I had to try to recreate them at home. The green beans were quickly sautéed in a bit of olive oil with a squeeze of lemon, a bit of lemon zest, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. It was good, but wasn’t quite right. Next time I’ll roast and mash the garlic instead.

We pared this with bacon wrapped honey dijon chicken and roasted rosemary potatoes. I marinaded the chicken in the honey dijon mustard for about a half an hour, wrapped each chicken tender in a half a strip of thick cut bacon, then cooked them over medium heat until cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. I had to drain off some bacon grease halfway through.

For the rosemary roasted potatoes, I used baby potatoes tossed in olive oil, about a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, sea salt and course ground pepper, baked for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees F.

I hope you try out some of these recipes and like them as much as I did!

What awesome recipes have you found lately?