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March Reads

March Reads | The Nerd Nest

March is Women’s History Month, so to celebrate I read only books written by women! I mixed it up by re-reading a few favorites, reading new-to-me books from favorite authors, and going into some entirely new territory. I picked out twice as many books as I actually read, so I’ll probably be spreading this celebration out for awhile longer.

March Reads | The Nerd Nest

Here are the books I read in March:

A Mercy (2008) Toni Morrison

In this beautifully poetic book, Morrison explores the impact of slavery and servitude on womanhood in 1680s America. The book centers around a community of characters without roots–Florens, a slave given up for a better life by her mother, Lina, a native American servant and the sole survivor of her tribe, Rebekkah, shipped to America to marry a man she’d never met, and other farm hands and indentured servants.

*I recommend listening to Toni herself talk about the novel.

I loved this novel and will probably read it again–more carefully–this year. Morrison has a way of dropping you into a story so that you don’t quite know what is going on for a few chapters, and then subtly moves the story forward. This book explores servitude suffered by women of different cultural and social backgrounds in early America: looking at slavery from a wide variety of angles.

I loved not only the story but also the way the book was written. The main character, Florens, speaks in the present tense and first person, while the chapters told from other characters’ perspectives are told in the third person. Morrison captures the minds of these characters so well; I was completely captivated.

The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir (2010) Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko laces together stories of family (both human and animal), the natural world around her home in the desert near the Tucson Mountains, and her view of the spirit realm.

I picked this book up because Marmon Silko wrote one of my favorite books, Ceremony. I want to read more works from authors who have written amazing things.

I was surprised that I had trouble putting this book down: after describing an interesting and often heartbreaking mixed heritage family background, Silko spends much of the memoir writing about her home, the trails around it, and the rocks and the animals she shares the area with. However, her descriptions of the setting are so vivid that I felt transported every time I picked the book up. I’m an extremely pragmatic person, so I did struggle through some sections describing other worldly spirituality and the personification of nature, but I believe that challenging myself to read from perspectives that so vastly differ from mind and really listen in my mind rather than debate helps me to become a better and more understanding person.

Ordinary People (1976) Judith Guest

After experiencing a family tragedy, Conrad attempted suicide. He tries to resume an ordinary life with his affluent suburban family while working to resolve his issues with a psychiatrist.

I connected with this book as a teenager because it was the first thing I’d ever read that showed depression in a way that was familiar to me. This makes sense, because this was the author’s goal:

“I wanted to explore the anatomy of depression — how it works and why it happens to people; how you can go from being down but able to handle it, to being so down that you don’t even want to handle it, and then taking a radical step with your life — trying to commit suicide — and failing at that, coming back to the world and having to “act normal” when, in fact, you have been forever changed.” -Judith Guest

Even if I couldn’t relate to Conrad’s affluent family, the Jarretts, or the availability of psychiatric care, the struggle of acting normal–what is normal?–and integrating into an ordinary world is not often enough explored because of the stigma against mental illness. This book does it so well.

Blue Shoe (2002) Anne Lamott

Mattie Ryder adjusts to life with her children after divorce. Her life is falling apart around her: her house, her relationship with her mother and her children, her will power, and her finances are all failing. While Mattie tries to navigate depression and her real life, she finds a clue–a blue shoe–that serves as a key to unlocking her family’s past.

The author, Anne Lamott, wrote Bird by Bird, one of my favorite books about writing. I was excited to read a novel of hers for the first time and chose this book as a selection for an online book club with my friend Wendy. We haven’t met to talk about the book yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the plot lines were too varied and conflicting. They also weren’t spaced well, so many parts of the book are dragging while others are kind of a jumbled mess. The protagonist isn’t very likable, but I’m not sure she needs to be.

I do, however, feel like this book is a realistic portrayal of how people behave when they have been hurt: often irrationally and erratically, often in hurtful ways themselves. Understanding the motivations and justifications behind these actions can, I believe, help the reader be more empathetic to real life people who may very well act in a similar way.

White Oleander (1999) Janet Fitch

Astrid comes of age in a series of foster homes after her mother, a beautiful, narcissistic poet, is incarcerated for murder.

This book is one of my favorites. It is full of tragedy, as Astrid is shuffled through a series of terrible foster homes and horrible experiences. The novel handles Astrid’s journey towards her identity beautifully. She is pulled by her mother’s strong view of who she should be, the expectations of the many different environments she must live in, and her own inner voice. This is a book about mothers and daughters, as Astrid is brought up by so many different kinds of mothers who shape who she becomes, and challenges assumptions about motherhood and what it means to be a woman.

The Color Purple (1982) Alice Walker

Celie, a woman of color living in rural Georgia in the 1930s, writes letters, at first to God, that tell the story of her life over a 20 year span. Celie has been abused and neglected her whole life, and through her story and the stories of the people around her, we can see the consequences on the human spirit of the near powerless social status black women had in America.

It is difficult for me to even know what to write about a book this good. It has the power to reach the reader at a deeply emotional level through its descriptions of abuse and statements on the transformative power of love. Its power does not diminish no matter how many times I read it. It is one of the few books that really changed me, and I am thankful to Alice Walker for having written it.

I also started White Teeth by Zadie Smith in March.

March Reads | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Challenge 1 | No Longer There

Memory Keeping Challenge at the Nerd Nest | No Longer There #NNChallenge

I’ve missed doing the Document Life Workshop challenges, so I decided to start them up again here! I’ll be hosting bi-weekly memory keeping challenges here on the Nerd Nest every other Monday. Join in the challenge in whatever way you choose: with scrapbooking, blogging, photography, journaling, project life, videos, artwork, or any other method you love. Wahoo!

For the first challenge, I’m documenting something that is no longer there. For your take, this can mean a building that has been demolished, a local business you love that went bust, a person now estranged or passed, or a physical or metaphorical thing you’ve lost. Because there isn’t necessary a visual reminder of places, things, or people that were once part of our lives but are no longer with us, we can forget to include them in our memory keeping. But loss is part of our story, and can change the trajectory of our lives.

Memory Keeping Challenge at the Nerd Nest | No Longer There #NNChallenge

For my take on this challenge, I documented the tattoo shop where I got my favorite tattoo done. I thought I’d go back there for any future tattoos, but the owner committed a horrifying crime and the shop has since shut down. It may re-open under new ownership, but the horrible news story made me want to document my feelings about the place, which will be different whether or not it re-opens.

Supplies*: Studio Calico kits.

Memory Keeping Challenge at the Nerd Nest | No Longer There #NNChallenge

Tip: There’s no rule that says you can’t reuse photos! I’ve already included these photos on a page about the tattoo but used them in a different way for this page.

Inspiration Vacation ebook

Prize: Inspiration Vacation!

Share your take on the challenge, and you could win a copy of Inspiration Vacation, an ebook by Allie and myself that helps you to decide where to put where you go. Here’s a bit more about the prize:

Decide where to put where you go with Inspiration Vacation, an idea ebook full of tips for documenting trips. Documenting vacations, with the oodles of photos and stories that come with them, can be tricky. It can be hard to decide how and where to document all of those memories that may not quite fit into your everyday memory keeping system. That’s why we’ve created a resource packed full of inspiration using four different formats: layouts, mini books, pocket scrapbooking, and photo books. We’re showing you examples of how we use each of these formats, and telling you when we think each format is the best fit. Learn about the pros of each format, and get awesome tips for making amazing vacation projects too!

Learn more or purchase Inspiration Vacation here. If you purchase now and win, Allie will reimburse you for the prize!

Memory keeping is in no way a contest, but I know that prizes can be a fun motivation! One person who shares a take from their challenge will be randomly selected to win the prize. If you have a memory keeping business and would like to donate a prize for a future challenge e-mail me!

Memory Keeping Challenge at the Nerd Nest | No Longer There #NNChallenge

Share your take with the widget below! You can also use the hashtag #NNChallenge on social media. I’ll be adding takes I find to the new Nerd Nest Challenges Pinboard too!

See you in two weeks for the next challenge and the announcement of the winner of this challenge!


P.S. The first creative jumpstart newsletter goest out tomorrow! Make sure you’re signed up.

*Affiliate links used when available. Using these links helps to support the Nerd Nest.

Day in the Life // April

homeworking

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 chose to do this in the middle of the month this year instead of the end of the month like last year. This way I’ll get different holidays and will have an opportunity to more easily make a day up if I forget all about it. I also 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, April 15th:

Eliza bus

morning

Mom leaving

working

Jonases

Morning: I got Eliza off on the bus with only a few hair brushing related tears while Jake and Jonas slept in (we take turns getting up earlier). I felt horrible as soon as I woke up, but decided to use the morning quiet to get some work done with a cup of coffee after Eliza went to school. I checked the My Details Facebook group and did a bunch of administrative stuff. Jake came down and we watched a sitcom (The B in Apartment 23) until Jonas came down. He was really cute and snuggly. He tried to block my mom’s way so she couldn’t leave for work (she’s been staying with us). Jonas also cried when Jake left, which is unusual and a sign that he felt pretty crummy too. It’s not a good time for allergies.

When Jonas and I had the house to ourselves, we snuggled and watched a bit of Pingu. I usually have screen time limits, but when he or I are feeling sick, I have no problem adding on time so we can be borderline catatonic. Then we did a bit of cleaning up (lots of loads of laundry, picking up toys, and left-from-yesterday dishes over the course of the day) and both of us had some creative time. After our drawing / scrapbooking, I had Jonas pick up his room while I uploaded and edited photos. These things make a good combination because I have a good view into his room from my desk. He mostly just made more messes, but that’s okay.

I also tried using the Neti pot for the first time, which didn’t help much the first day, but has gotten me completely off of sinus medication for the rest of the week. (Thanks for the recommendation, Instagram friends!) Weird but effective. I took a quick shower while Jonas was cleaning up / playing in his room.

Jonas’s friend J. came over to play. He’s been coming over a few times a week because his mom got a sub job and Jonas couldn’t be happier about it. They had a ton of fun playing with toys and then chose playing Katamari Damacy for their screen time. It is super cute to watch three year olds play a video game.

Me + blocks

Lego

Jonas + reading

homeworking

me sick

Eliza Jonas cartoons

Afternoon: The boys and I had a slow moving day: we made giant block towers, played with Legos and Play Doh, and read a bunch of books. They had way more energy than I did towards the end of the afternoon, so after lunch I sat and read a book (American Gods) while the boys chased each other pretending to fly airplanes. Jonas pushed the button on the DSLR self timer a few times because he thinks it is hilarious.

My friend Steph came over to pick up J. and to intercept her other son T. (Eliza’s friend) when the bus came. The kids all wanted to stay and play together, but not this time. Errands awaited. I hung out with Eliza and Jonas some but was almost sleep walking. So E volunteered taking over Jonas duty so I could lay down. She did her homework and helped him do his “homework” in a practice writing book. I read and catnapped. They were making giant messes and watching TV when I came to check on them. They did art projects, book reading, and more pretend homework in the afternoon too.

Jake and Mom

dinner

sing

brush teeth

paul

Evening: I rested more. When Jake got home, he talked to me about an interesting website idea that he had and then he spent most of the night toying with the development. My mom took over dinner so I could stay curled up in bed. We had dinner together and then Jonas came up to make me feel better by singing the ABC song to me and telling me a story. Jake helped Eliza get ready for bed and I helped Jonas brush his teeth. He’s really independent, so we have to have a deal wherein he gets to brush his teeth after I do it for him.

Then I went to go pick up our friend Paul from work. I hate driving, but it was great to sing Fun. at the top of my lungs on the way there and talk to Paul on the way back. I dropped him off at an open mic night and then tried to work a bit before bed while Jake developed. We like working in the same room. Then we snuggled up and watched a bit of stand up on our iPad before falling asleep. I fell asleep without reading, which is REALLY REALLY rare for me.

That’s a day in the life at the Nerd Nest! This one happened to be pretty darn mundane, but that just goes to show that there’s always something to document, even on a day when you don’t get out of your pajamas.

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.

Project Life 2014 | Late March

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

This year I’m using weekly spreads in my Project Life albums with breaks between each month for extra pages. Today I’m sharing the last two weeks of March.

Click the photos for a larger view.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

March 16-22

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: A tea date with my friend Megan 2, saying goodbye to Megan and Ryan (they live out of town), kicking off Spring Break, taking a walk with Jonas, and a playdate that had five kids at my house. The older three started having deep philosophical conversations and then got out a stack of books to share ideas and debate, so I had to document my eavesdropping and amazement.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Layer a 4×6 filler card and 3×4 journaling card to create a title card. This is a great way to use a card that doesn’t fit with your pocket orientations.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: I love using Timer Cam to get myself into the picture, but sometimes hearing that count down beep can keep you from acting natural. I turn the sound on my phone off before starting the timer, so I can get back to whatever I was doing and get a more realistic picture. (And yep, people give me funny looks when I do this sort of thing in a tea shop. That’s fine.)

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Make sure to get full body shots of family members and/or yourself–you’re documenting clothing too, which will change with changing tastes, growing people, and changing popular styles. (I have a feeling this Dalek hat is going to be on Jonas’s head every time we go outside for the foreseeable future.)

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use stickers to cover up parts of cards that aren’t working for you. I included a 3×4 picture on this 4×6 card and the photo cut off part of the second word on the card (“enjoy today”). So I put a sticker over the cut-off word and you wouldn’t even know that it wasn’t part of the design plan all along.

IMG_0319 copy

Going on here: Saint Patrick’s Day insert! Parade with friends and family and then a big Anderson family party.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Have strangers in your shot? Cover them up with stickers. I know that was sort of my last tip, but I used it in two different ways, so it totally counts.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: on the back of the insert, I have visiting my great-grandpa on his 86th birthday, doing yard work, and a picture of my friend Paul at the radio station where he works.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Taking photos of people taking photos can capture a sweet moment.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Let kids take photos! Jonas took this photo of me and his finger is partially blocking the shot, but it’s awesome to spark his interest early and neat to include photos from his perspective.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Dyeing onsies (one of my 52 Projects for this year), Jake’s and my 10th dating anniversary dates, working on growing some starter plants, seeing our friend Jesse’s band The Sexy Accident play locally.

(Speaking of The Sexy Accident, they are releasing their next album as a book with lyrics, paintings, illustrations, interviews, and commentary and a download for the music. I think this is an amazing project and I’m really excited about it. I’m going to share more later, but check it out for yourself now! So cool!)

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Let your photos choose your color scheme for you: the products I chose were based around the colors in the photo of the onsies I dyed.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Slip memorabilia right into a pocket with a photo. All sorts of real-world stuff can become embellishments, like these plastic sword toothpicks that Jake and I had a lot of fun with.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use a Facebook or social media ad or announcement as digital memorabilia for an event.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t be scared to use green and red together. As long as it’s not GREEN green and RED red together, it won’t look Christmasy. They’re complimentary! They belong together! Give them a chance!

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

March 23-28

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

My spreads typically run from Sunday to Saturday, but Saturday was a big day and I decided to give it its own spread. They’re not really rules: they’re guidelines. (And now the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song is stuck in my head.)

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Chillin’ with baby Ava, a before and after of Jonas’s haircut, Eliza getting into Shel Silverstein poems, and planting seeds in eggs.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Add a label to the patterned section of a journaling card to visually distinguish two separate journaling spaces.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas passed out between Paul and I watching TV, me squished between my baby nieces Ava and Avery, a visit from Poppy (my grandpa), Jonas asleep in the car at Eliza’s soccer practice, Jonas cooking as Batman and climbing on our swing set, and a visit to get to have a cousin hang out.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

Tip: I use 4×6 spaces for journaling often, and I run out of 4×6 journaling cards much faster than 3×4 journaling cards. To make up for the difference in my kits, I cut down regular patterned paper to 4×6 to add to my card stash any time I have scraps that are lightly patterned enough for my writing to show up.

Project Life with tons of tips | The Nerd Nest

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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


Selected Products Used:

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


Project Life Lessons begins today. Don’t miss it!

Project Life Lessons

For more Project Life tips, check out Project Life Lessons at Big Picture Classes. I’m teaching with two of my favorite Project Lifers, Elise Blaha Cripe and Annette Haring, all about our tried-and-true tips in the areas of photo management, storytelling, organization, assembly, and more! The class starts April 17, but a plethora of bonus materials–including videos, photos, worksheets, a quiz, printables, and a manifesto–already awaits you in the pre-classroom. If you have any questions about the class, I’d be happy to answer them! For you Project Life Lessons veterans: the content is the same, except for a video from each of us updating you on our process for 2014 and refreshed message boards and chats.

Introducing The Nerd Nest Newsletter!

TheNerdNestNews

I’m so excited to announce that I’m starting a newsletter!

The Nerd Nest News is a bi-weekly e-mail series of creativity jumpstarts. Here’s what I’ll be sharing in the newsletters:

  • Ideas for finding inspiration and following through on creative endeavors
  • A peek behind the scenes
  • Reminders and updates
  • Special discounts

Subscribe now before the first newsletter goes out Tuesday, April 22!

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

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

Here’s March Day in the Life (which just happened to be a day our out of town friends stayed with us so we could all go to Planet Comicon):

Click the photos for a larger view.

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

I kept the products simple for this page–I stuck to using just the Kraft Project Life Core Kit with only a stamped title and memorabilia for embellishing. I like things fancy, but sometimes the words beat products out.

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

This day was really special, so I decided to use several inserts to document it instead of trying to squeeze it all in a small space. I even included photo enlargements of my favorite moments. (All of these photos are printed by Persnickety Prints and they are fantastic.)

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

I included a whole insert with journaling cards adhered to cardstock to get in the whole story. I didn’t have a pocketed insert in this design, so glue worked just as well.

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

Project Life 2014 | March Day in the Life

I love this project and am happy to be doing it today too! Happy mid-month.

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

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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


Selected Products Used:

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

Project Life Lessons

For more Project Life tips, check out Project Life Lessons at Big Picture Classes. I’m teaching with two of my favorite Project Lifers, Elise Blaha Cripe and Annette Haring, all about our tried-and-true tips in the areas of photo management, storytelling, organization, assembly, and more! The class starts April 17, but a plethora of bonus materials–including videos, photos, worksheets, a quiz, printables, and a manifesto–already awaits you in the pre-classroom. If you have any questions about the class, I’d be happy to answer them! For you Project Life Lessons veterans: the content is the same, except for a video from each of us updating you on our process for 2014 and refreshed message boards and chats.

Day in the Life

February Day in the Life in #ProjectLife | The Nerd Nest

Today I’m documenting a Day in the Life, a project aimed at capturing everyday routine with photos and words. Originally inspired by Ali Edwards, I began documenting a Day in the Life the last day of each month last year. This year I wanted to switch up the dates to the 15th of each month so I’ll capture different holidays. It’s my favorite documentation project by far, because having a set date to record the little details of everyday life stretches me creatively to look for moments I’d have otherwise never thought to record. This process has made me a better documenter and has helped me to see my life through a new lens.

Get your camera ready and play along today too, follow along with some of my documentation on Instagram, and come back later today to see how I documented March’s Day in the Life in Project Life. I’ll be sharing the rest of my documentation Friday, but for now you can check out my Day in the Life posts.

Are you documenting a Day in the Life? Make sure to share a link with me if you do!

Your Story Matters

Megan 3 Ways copy

One of the steadfast principles guiding my life is the belief that everyone’s story matters.

That means yours.

While I was working on this blog post, I asked the awesome group in My Details to share the answers to a few questions: What makes documenting yourself difficult? What is holding you back?

The responses made me change my trajectory, because there are so many forces large and small that can stop a storyteller in his or her tracks. Too many to fit into one blog post.

Many of us stop ourselves from documenting our own stories because we are afraid or insecure. These sound like big, scary words that might be too severe, but these feelings are real for many documenters (including, in many instances, myself). It is hard to take and use photos of yourself if you don’t like the way you look. It’s hard to document in the moment if you’re worried people will judge you for taking pictures. It’s scary to put down your perspective when it may change later or others may read it and react.

These aren’t fears that are easy to break away from. It’s my hope that My Details as a workshop helps others to find value in telling their stories and breaks them down into a way that feels manageable, but I’d love to go a little deeper. I’d love to open up the conversation even more.

So please, share what makes documenting yourself difficult for you. I can share my perspective on how I got over some of these roadblocks in future posts; I’ll also be honest about where I still struggle, and am planning on including tips from others as well (so share tips if you have them!).

Band together, community! Let’s lift each other up and tell our stories.


My Details starts today! Kristin (from rukristin) and I have teamed up to help you document your details. With amazing pre-classroom materials that will help you get comfortable documenting yourself and 10 detailed prompts to help you record the important areas of your life, you’ll be inspired to document yourself in a meaningful way. Whatever your creative outlet — scrapbooking, pocket pages, mini-albums, journaling, etc, we’ve got you covered with fabulous ideas to get your details down on the page.


P.S. This year I’m documenting a Day in the Life every month on the 15th. That’s tomorrow if you want to play along! I’ll be sharing some on Instagram as I go.

Project Life 2014 | Early March

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

This year I’m using weekly spreads in my Project Life albums with breaks between each month for extra pages. Today I’m sharing the first two weeks of March.

Click the photos for a larger view.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

March 1-8

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: A wide range of weather temperatures, Jonas with his Batman umbrella and “fishing” in a puddle on a walk, and weekend brunch.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Take cues from your products when deciding on embellishments to use. I chose this purple card from a past Studio Calico Kit because it matched the purple found in three other places in the spread—Eliza’s hat, a Play-Doh lid, and Eliza’s jacket— and it helped to brighten up the spread and make the color in those photos pop. Adding the spread’s dates to it could have been tricky with it’s busy background, but I found stickers* that mimicked the red focal word on the card, “Today,” and added them at an angle. This makes the date easy to read on the busy background and integrates my addition into the design of the card.

*My favorite white Kelly Purkey stickers are no longer available, but the Red Alphabet Stickers used here are!

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Stamp directly onto photos to add phrases or patterns. I like StazOn ink for photos!

Also, this photo was taken through a window, which is a good option if you don’t want to deal with the weather. Hah!

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Sometimes I forgo a squeezed together group selfie and get two photos instead. At brunch, I took a picture of Jake and Jonas, passed the camera phone across the table, and Jake took one of Eliza and I. Try spreading out “group” photos into multiple pictures to make sure YOU, the photographer, get into the picture too!

Really want to be in a photo all together? Do a hold-out-the-arm selfie, use a camera self timer (or, if you’re using a phone, an app like Timer Cam), or ask a passerby to take the photo for you. People can be really nice about that.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Labels are probably my most-used embellishment (I really like these labels), and they’re awesome not only as an extra space to add more words, but also as a way to get in a little color. This is especially useful if you’re working with a bunch of gloomy “when will Spring REALLY be here?” photos. Hah!

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The French Post-Impressionist Monuments Project I did with Eliza’s class, Jonas making stuff with Play Doh, hanging out in the backyard with our friend Paul, Eliza’s mad climbing skills, Instagrams from the week (how our friends decorated with records we gave them, kitty cat vet visit, Jonas not feeling well, going on errands selfie, Jonas learning about static electricity, working), climbing at the park, Jake cooking brunch, a visit from my grandpa, and Eliza homeworkin’.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use patterns to tie journaling cards visually to photos: I chose a card from the Amy Tangerine Cut and Paste Mini Kit with dots around the boarder that was reminiscent of the thumb-print background of the monuments artwork. You can do the same with patterns found on clothes, walls, or in nature.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: When I make photo collages, I think about where the photo “sends your eye” when deciding where to place it within a collage. For example, your eye will naturally follow a direction of a person’s gaze. So because Jonas was looking down and to the left in the photo of us snuggling, I placed the photo in the upper right corner. The same goes for the photo of me in the lower left: I’m looking up and to the right. This way the viewer’s gaze stays within the collage and doesn’t go wondering off. I like to think of it like visual pinball: You want the eye to go off in a different direction within the collage at every stop and don’t want it to drop off of the edge!

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

March 9-15

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: A date to Happy Gillis, River Market Antiques, and The Downtown Library, cute kid photos, crystal nail string art, and our car getting wrecked / Jake driving to work on his scooter.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t want a transparency to be transparent? Place it over a blank white card or cut-down colored cardstock. The hearts transparency card went amazingly with the crystal nail art and I wanted to make sure it showed up! Sometimes transparencies don’t show up very well when not placed on a background, but it’s cool that the background is up to you!

Also, my Project Life corner punch is not great at cutting transparencies, so I line them up with another card and hand cut the corners.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Another transparency tip: cut them up when putting them over photos so they don’t block important parts. There are many ways to attach a transparency to a photo, but my favorite is just with a simple staple.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Me in a Spiderman mask at Jonas’s request, a visit from Jake’s brother and his family, Jonas nerding out with a microscope, a visit from baby Ava, and the beginning of a weekend visit from our out-of-town friends Megan 2 and Ryan.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: For this week, I decided to try to use up some of the many 6×6 paper pads I have floating around. I love papers with lines, because it makes it so easy to add journaling. When adding a 3×4 vertical photo to a 4×6 horizontal space, I typically love to center the 3×4 card, add journaling to one side with a tiny bit of embellishing (like the circle of patterned paper here) on the other side.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: When using patterned papers instead of cards to hold photos and journaling, look for patterns that already have natural spaces for words, such as in these picture frames.

Tip: To get a photo to pop on a patterned background, draw a line in white pen around the photo.

Project Life post with tons of tips! | Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Spread your story in photos and words over multiple pockets. I like to create shapes for those stories using several adjoining pockets, like the “L” shape used for the story of Megan’s and Ryan’s visit.

I hope you liked these two spreads! Stay tuned this week, because there are TWO more Project Life posts coming up!

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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


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Project Life Lessons

For more Project Life tips, check out Project Life Lessons at Big Picture Classes. I’m teaching with two of my favorite Project Lifers, Elise Blaha Cripe and Annette Haring, all about our tried-and-true tips in the areas of photo management, storytelling, organization, assembly, and more! The class starts April 17, but a plethora of bonus materials–including videos, photos, worksheets, a quiz, printables, and a manifesto–already awaits you in the pre-classroom. If you have any questions about the class, I’d be happy to answer them! For you Project Life Lessons veterans: the content is the same, except for a video from each of us updating you on our process for 2014 and refreshed message boards and chats.

Photography 101 Giveaway from Elisha Snow and Big Picture Classes *CLOSED*

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Today Big Picture Classes is giving away a spot in Photography 101 to one lucky reader of the Nerd Nest! Photography 101, taught by Elisha Snow, teaches you to make the most of light, composition, and settings for any camera (or smartphone).

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Here’s a bit more about the class, which starts April 17 and costs $89:

You would never say to a master painter, “What a beautiful work of art—you must have a really nice brush.” It’s the same with photography. A nice camera makes it easier to take good photos, but it’s the photographer (that’s you!), not the tool, that will ultimately produce frame-worthy photos. All you need is a basic knowledge of the elements that work together to create memorable pictures. (Hint: it’s all about light and composition!)

Whether you want to take better everyday photos with that smartphone, or you have a nice new DSLR camera that you’re dabbling with, this interactive online workshop will put you on the path to better photos. In six weeks, you’ll learn to master the rules of composition, make the most of available light, and get more out of your equipment—no matter what kind of camera you’re using.

Would you like to feel more confident in your photo-taking abilities? To find beauty in everyday objects, and see attributes of people you’ve never noticed before? Photography 101 with Elisha Snow will teach you to look at light, shadow, shape, and color differently, and most importantly, to develop a passion for preserving the beauty that surrounds you.

You can learn what’s included in the class and register here.

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Enter to win a spot with this widget!

Can’t see the widget? Click on the blog post title to view the post individually and it should show up!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t wait and decide to purchase the class before the giveaway is over, Big Picture Classes will reimburse you if you are selected as the winner!

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We’ll announce and contact the winner after the giveaway ends. Watch the countdown on the widget to see how long you have left to enter! The winner will have to claim their prize before registration closes April 24, 2014.

We are Big Picture Classes affiliates. Purchases made through these links support the Nerd Nest.
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