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Planet Comicon 2018

Planet Comicon 2018 | The Nerd Nest 1

Last weekend we went to Planet Comicon and I thought it would be fun to share a recap!

(In case you are also a fan, here’s my Captain Marvel jacket from Her Universe.)

Here were our favorite things this year:

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Jake really loved the amazing creations by the expert Lego builders at KC Brick Lab. Just look at some of this Rodger Rabbit set-up!

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The scale is mind boggling.

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Minifigs were a big pull for us on the sales floor too. Ava picked out some princesses, Jonas picked a few that could go well with sets he has, and Jake found some cool pieces that the sellers made up from existing pieces, like the Night’s King from Game of Thrones. It’s really interesting watching the kids make decisions when they have a set amount of money to spend.

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Eliza, Harley Quinn for the day, usually likes the panels the best, but unfortunately the ones we were interested in didn’t line up with when we went this year. Which made it feel a bit like we were spending a lot of money to go in and shop, but we’ll have to plan better next time instead of just assuming Saturday will be best for us.

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She was happy to find crafting stations and contests.

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Indiana Jonas was all about the robots. He’s definitely a future member of the Kansas City R2D2 Builder’s Club.

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He watched these guys move around the floor for so long. He was REALLY impressed with the Lego one and kept guessing how many bricks went into it. One of them had a lot of cool attachments–it even blew steam!

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And of course fandom mash-ups are always welcome.

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Ava decided to be Bumblebee for the day to go with Eliza dressed up as Harley and her friend Harley who was dressed up as Wonder Woman (that was a confusing sentence). Pro parenting tip: I go shop right after Halloween for super on sale costumes to use as Christmas presents for play clothes.

She was VERY into the cosplayers. She was a baby the last time we went, so she didn’t know what to expect.

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She stopped on the street and gasped when she saw Merida. She was ridiculously excited and after she took a photo with her, we heard Merida talking to her friend about how heartwarming Ava was. She’s really just contagious with her joy.

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She kind of turned into a stalker inside–hah! She’d be too shy to say something when the cosplayers she liked were near us, and then would follow them until they noticed her. She loved that Rapunzel answered all of her questions in character.

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Planet Comicon 2018 | The Nerd Nest 15

We also met the best Harley Quinn cosplayer we’ve ever seen: her cartoon-era Harley accent was perfect, she was walking around completely in character with spot-on movements and skipping. Ava chased her down (literally) and she played with her and talked to her for a long time. She was amazing.

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We kept things low stress this year. The streetcar made finding parking much easier since we didn’t have to get close.

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The kid play area gave us a much needed break when Jake and I were loosing stream and Ava and Jonas just REALLY needed to be able to touch things after a lot of time needing to be on their best behavior.

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We went with friends but split up for most of the time. But really quick–my friend Megan has the best pregnancy announcement ever.

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Here’s to fun family nerd adventures.

Start in the Middle | Nerd Nest Challenge

Start in the Middle | February Nerd Nest Challenge 1

The February Nerd Nest Challenge is to Start in the Middle.

Sometimes starting a bigger memory keeping project can seem daunting. Starting a weekly pocket scrapbooking / project life a few weeks into the year, documenting a big event like a wedding or vacation, beginning a mini album or themed book—it can be hard to know where to begin.

Sometimes it’s useful to have a plan and start at the beginning and follow through until the end. But if you are stuck and overwhelmed and those tactics aren’t working for you, try starting in the middle.

Edit just the photos that are exciting you, print them out, and get to work. Pick a story in the middle that is a little simpler and might be a good place to start. Just go! Don’t worry about having a color scheme, style, or products consistent throughout your project. Work on a part that you can finish, then continue to jump around from there OR work backwards or forwards from your middle position.

Giving yourself this freedom can get you past your block and can help you to finish your whole project! It’s amazing how less overwhelming things seem once you finish something, even if it’s just a small part.

Start in the Middle | February Nerd Nest Challenge 2

For my take on the challenge, I started on a few pocket pages that covered weeks that were a little “easier” (had fewer photos / events I wanted to document) for my pocket scrapbooking albums. I spent January working on holiday albums and 2017 pocket pages and I don’t have access to my craft space right now as my husband and I work on home improvement projects in there. So halfway into February, my 2018 albums were empty.

That’s okay! That’s why my memory keeping motto is Document Now, Make Later. It doesn’t matter when I make pages, as long as I have access to the photos and some journaling / tools to jog my memory.

Instead of beginning at the beginning–we started off the year on a weekend trip and I’m not ready to choose photos from it yet–I picked three spreads that had fewer photos and batch printed the photos for all three. I have trouble getting to my supplies in my construction zone office, so I grabbed a few kits to work with and kept the spreads very simple. I’ll share the spread for my January Day in the Life and the first week of February later, but for now, here’s the spread for January 7-13.

Selected products:

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Going on here: Ava and I after her dance class and my stretch & strength class, Eliza on her birthday with chicken pot pie (her favorite) and going out for dessert donuts, Ava “picking up her floor” by putting everything on her bed, Jonas and Paul playing video games, snuggling my friends’ baby E. (she’s Internet free, so there will be blurs) and my cat Lily, a before picture of the mold in the kids’ bathroom, Jake reading up on Nikola Tesla.

Start in the Middle | February Nerd Nest Challenge 4

I kept it to just photos and journaling cards for this spread and I like the result! Not that I won’t get back to embellishing more when I have my scrapbooking desk back–but I’ll probably be sticking to mostly very simple pages meanwhile.

Start in the Middle | February Nerd Nest Challenge 6

Going on here: Ava in the too small knit hat I made, Ava and Jonas snuggled up with their Star Wars gear, watching double babies (E. and my niece Tierney), Ava playing on the floor with real and pretend babies, knitting during Jonas’s tap class, new recipes I made for the week for my 52 recipes project, Kristin’s book launch party.

Start in the Middle | February Nerd Nest Challenge 7

I used three photo collages on this page, but on one of them I added white space in between the photos (the ones of Ava in the hat). I think the line looks really nice with the white borders around my photos–I might start doing it for more of my collages!

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Starting in the middle got me going with my pocket scrapbooking for the year, and now I can get on a roll. What project can you start in the middle to help you get going?

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

Friday Favorites

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1. Despite the alarmist title, the article Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? has some really interesting insights into the effects of smartphone use on youth, using generational statistics. There’s a lot of things to consider in there for my fellow tween (and teen) parents.

2. Jake and I went to see The Greatest Showman last weekend and now I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack. It’s so good. Also, the movie is in the #2 spot behind “Up” for movie that made me cry the fastest. And even though I needed a little feminist rant on the ride home afterwords, I loved it. I love musicals. Can my life just be a musical? Can someone trade vocal chords with me?

3. We stopped our subscription for a year because the boxes were taking over our house, but we started up a Tinker Crate subscription again for Eliza and Jonas last Christmas. They are loving it. Building things + crafts + learning about science is the perfect combination of things for them. I also love that getting to mess around with things like circuits and motors in these kits will help these concepts seem less scary to them if they want to pursue their own projects using them later.

4. As for a thing that everyone in the family enjoys, we’re really into this Pattern Play wood puzzle. The kids’ dance studio has one in the waiting room, so we picked one up because they love it so much. There are lots of cards with different configurations on them, so you can make a lot of different patterns on the wood blocks. And Ava just likes playing with them: talking about the colors, stacking them, pretending they are people. So there’s something for all ages.

5. My tiny baker is really into The Cupcake Deck. It’s a cookbook that’s not a book: it’s a box full of cards with cupcake recipes. Ava loves shifting through to pick ones to make. We’ve made two so far and they were delicious. I’m excited to make more! I’m definitely more of a cook than a baker, but baking with small children is an awesome time waster / introduction to fractions / fun way to make a mess and pour things / good way to practice instructions (with a delicious reward at the end), so I put it down as a fun activity even if things don’t always turn out well.

6. My mom took Jake, Eliza, and I to the Harry Potter Film Concert Series with the Kansas City Symphony and it was phenomenal. It’s so fantastic to see all of the hard work and talent that goes into making movie magic with a score! The movie plays behind the symphony. See if there’s something similar in your area–they do it with all different movies!

What are your favorites right now?

January One Little Word

January One Little Word | The Nerd Nest 1

Today I’m sharing my take on the January prompt for Ali Edwards’s One Little Word! You can read about why I chose my word for this year, Elastic, here.

My office is currently not functional as we work on some home repair projects, so I went for a super simple layout–just cards from the digital One Little Word kit with a single photo. I used an 8.5 x 11-inch pocket page for the cards and a 6×8 protector for the larger sheets.

January One Little Word | The Nerd Nest 2

I’m not going to type out everything I wrote because it’s mostly repeated from the post where I shared my word. I’m glad to have this record in the books: I made it all about the words, because this is something I’ll refer back to throughout the year.

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Instead of having a separate album for One Little Word, I include it in my regular chronological albums. This works out really well for me.

For this one, I’ll probably put another One Little Word-related page on the back of the pocket page. I like Ali’s idea of choosing one thing to do each month relating to your word, and for January that was starting a stretch and strength class. That will be the perfect place to document that!

January One Little Word | The Nerd Nest 4

(I just realized I never finished the last sentence on this one. I probably got distracted, because I was working on this while helping Ava with an art project. It should read “Seeing the kids grow and change.”)

I’ll be sharing some of my takes throughout the year, but I expect some of them will be too personal.

Have you chosen a word for the year? How are you documenting?

Kids’ Artwork Scanned for DIY Valentines

Kids' Artwork Scanned for DIY Valentines | The Nerd Nest 1

In 2014, Eliza decided she’d rather have valentines with her art (and her fandoms) than store bought ones. Rather than hand-make 30 odd valentines (we’re way too procrastinatey for that), I scanned her art, added words, and printed them in school valentine sizes.

Jonas jumped in on the tradition last year and this year Ava made some too.

Kids' Artwork Scanned for DIY Valentines | The Nerd Nest 2

For Ava’s valentines, we made a tiger out of construction paper hearts and I scanned that. She said she wanted a mama and a baby tiger, so I shrunk a copy and added “You’re Puuuurfect Valentine!”

Tigers are her favorite animal right now, so these really are puuurfect.

Kids' Artwork Scanned for DIY Valentines | The Nerd Nest 3

Jonas went for a more abstract design with hearts and a fist with the number 1 in them so his friends know they’re #1.

Kids' Artwork Scanned for DIY Valentines | The Nerd Nest 4

Eliza made a bunch of cat drawings for hers. To transform her pencil drawings, I used the magic wand in photoshop to select the lines she drew and fill them with black. The snorkeling cat required a bit of digital coloring-in as well.

I’m so glad the kids get to give out little works of their art and have this form of self-expression. I love seeing what they choose to make from year to year.

The kids’ past valentines: Jonas’s 2017 Robot Valentines / Eliza’s 2017 Hamilton Valentines / Eliza’s 2016 Harley Quinn Valentines / Eliza’s 2015 Spooky Valentines / Eliza’s 2014 Doctor Who Valentines

Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 4 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.

How I’m Listing + 30 Days of Lists Registration Now Open!

I'm a lister because | The Nerd Nest | 30 Days of Lists

30 Days of Lists registration is now open! I always take an opportunity to get my list base together at this time so I’m all prepped and ready to go when my favorite journaling challenge starts. If you don’t know about #30Lists learn about it here!

When I was deciding how I’ll be listing this round, I had a lot of things to take into consideration. I wanted to switch things up from the traveler’s notebooks I did last year. I needed something that isn’t supply heavy because my office is currently a construction zone. I wanted to include photos, because my favorite list projects do (though it’s not always manageable for me to include them). And it needed to be easy, because my life is VERY full right now and I don’t have a lot of extra time and energy.

I landed on doing photo backgrounds with a color overlay and text on top. I like that this is completely digi, so I can do it quickly on the computer.

I made a “I’m a Lister Because” list to test out my format and create a template. It also gives me a cover page!

I’m a Lister because

* I love documenting what’s on my mind in the moment
*It gives me great self reflecting opportunities
*It’s fun
*I love looking back on my list collection
*I like getting a look into other people’s lives and perspectives
*I get to do something with my long distance friends
*It’s a manageable daily creative exercise I can FINISH!

I used Photoshop–I made the photo black and white, then added a no-fill rectangle over the top with a 50% opacity cover overlay. (You can get the same look without photoshop with Canva.)

I saved the .psd of this file so that I can copy the layers and I don’t have to re-measure my text box or create the color rectangle every time, which will make it so much faster when I’m making my lists! I also am planning on peaking at the lists this month and choosing / taking my photos for them ahead of time. I usually like the surprise of what the list will be each day, but I know that the prep work will help me be able to list daily. (Also it’s unlikely that I’ll MEMORIZE them just by looking ahead to choose the photos. So there will be SOME surprise.)

I can make a little book out of them when I’m all done!

30 Days of Lists

And a little note about a change this month–you can now register for March 2018 individually or sign up for a membership, which will give you access to March, September, and December!

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

I’m on the 30 Days of Lists team, so I spread my love of the challenge in an official manner. I’m an affiliate so any purchases you make through these links support the Nerd Nest! Sign up for the #30Lists Newsletter so that you can keep up with #30Lists news.

Friday Favorites

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1. I’m so excited for my favorite challenge, 30 Days of Lists, to start up in March! Registration begins tomorrow (I’ll be sharing how I’m listing this round then). If you sign up for the 30 Days of Lists newsletter, you’ll know as soon as the registration opens up! You can see all of my past lists here.

2. We’ve lived in our house for 7 years now, and all this time we’ve been dealing with all of the negative aspects of low humidity in the winter: dry noses, dried out cracking wood, colder feeling air, and longer living viruses. Our humidity was down at 12%! All because we thought that a humidifier is WAY more expensive than it is. Our Aprilaire 600M Whole-House Humidifier was delivered last week and Jake and his dad (who is a plumber) got it installed. It has made such a big difference already.

Though as it always is with home improvements, Jake found more problems while they were working. Looks like we’re going to be learning how to repair duct work now.

3. To trick myself that spring is coming, I bought a crocus plant at the grocery store and it’s cheering me up. (Though not as much as the first crocus popping up in my yard will.)

4. I’ve started more structured pre-school at home with Ava recently and a big winner in our learning toys stash has been this Wooden Alphabet Giraffe Puzzle. It has letters on one side and numbers on the other, so you can work on both. The chunky pieces are great for little hands learning precise dexterity, the wood holds up well after a bazillion uses (Jonas loved this too), and the different colors help her to find the right piece. (We’re looking for the “K”! It’s green! Can you find it?) The order the pieces go together is a bit tricky, so younger kids really need parental help.

5. It’s Girl Scout Cookies time! I sent Eliza to school with money so she can bring home cookies from her girl scout friends–I doubt any of them will still be in the house by the end of next week. Last year we bought A LOT and the girl scout kindly let me know that they freeze well, but I just laughed. They certainly won’t last that long, girl scout buddy. I like Caramel Delights and Lemonades the best. What’s your favorite?

6. The best article I’ve read lately that helped me to understand why the positions left unfilled (or filled by unqualified people) in the executive branch really matters: Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat may be Coming from Inside the White House. If you’re not sure what the Department of Energy does, give this a read.

7. It seems like every home tour I click on lately has these Carlisle Metal Dining Chairs. I guess I’m on trend, because grandpa bought me them for Christmas. They are sturdy and comfortable and are working great in our breakfast nook, which is really a Lego / art room for the kids. The hand-me-down wicker chairs we were using were not a good choice for the place where paint and Play Doh happens. These clean up really easily! There are 10 different colors to choose from: I have navy and mint green. I’m excited to finish up the room they are in so their colors really pop.

What are you loving lately?

Fix-it Blitz | Sewing Edition

Fix-it Blitz | Sewing Edition 1

Because I put off repairing things, I like to gather all of the toys and small objects that need fixing in one place so I can do them in a big batch when the mood strikes (or the basket is getting full).

Last time I did a lot of hot gluing, and it was mostly sewing stuff left over.

So the for two weeks during breaks / TV time I sewed up a lot of holes: stuffed animal limbs, a coat button, sock and footie pajama holes, Ava’s torn Ariel dress, a big pillow rip.

Fix-it Blitz | Sewing Edition 2

Nice to use my hands for something productive while I’m being a couch potato! And it’s nice to have this stuff back to being useful.

Next up: another round of embroidering shut chair holes.

Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 3 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.

7 Tips for Evaluating Memory Keeping | #NNDailyTip

7 Tips for Evaluating Memory Keeping | #NNDailyTip | The Nerd Nest

On my Instagram I share a daily memory keeping tip with the hashtag #NNDailyTip, then collect them here so you can find them easily later!

Today I’m sharing tips for Evaluating Memory Keeping:

For this week’s #nndailytip, we’re going to be talking about evaluating last year’s memory keeping to help you plan for this year—which is this month’s #nerdnestchallenge Looking at what you’ve done can help you tweak your process to make things work better for you. One question to ask yourself: How much did I actually make verses how much do I plan to do? Obviously circumstances change and you may have more or less time to dedicate to memory keeping this year than you did last year, but looking at the total volume of what you made in 2017 can help you to decide what projects to let go of or add in 2018. I do a lot: weekly+ pocket scrapbooking, thematic layouts, monthly Day in the Life, Week in the Life, One Little Word, December Daily, (obviously I’m an @aliedwards fangirl) and vacation albums. I fill up four 12×12 albums a year. That’s intense, but it’s what’s working for me (and I live in the Midwest, so there’s less of a concern for me that albums will take over my living space). I have a lot left “undone” for 2017, but I know that my current plan is working, because my volume of what I made surpassed the amount of new things I documented—I’m just more into working on the past than in-the-moment things right now. What about you? This is not meant to be stressful—don’t worry about those gaps or not being “caught up.” This is only to help you try to tailor your documenting process to your output!

A post shared by Megan Anderson (@megan_nerdnest) on

This week for #nndailytip we’re talking about evaluating last year’s memory keeping to help plan for this year. It’s also this month’s #nerdnestchallenge Ask yourself: how much product did you use vs. how much did you buy? Maybe you are running low and could use a new subscription to inspire you. Maybe you are overwhelmed by product, which makes scrapbooking take longer because you are paralyzed by decisions. Try to think about what inspired you to make things and what you hoarded to help you make purchasing decisions that will fit your budget this year. I tend to like to subscribe to kits for a year (cheaper per kit) and then unsubscribe for a long time so I can use up all of the supplies. Then when I’m low again I start back up.

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What motivated you to work on memory keeping the most last year? Did a class inspire you? Did you get excited about a new kit and get to work with it right away? Were you more likely to work if you tried making things soon after an event or did you like to wait? Think about what gave you a spurt of motivation last year so you can repeat those conditions for yourself this year. Last year, batch making 31 new projects for my workshop 31 Challenges was a huge motivator. Challenges help jumpstart ideas for me and get me inspired to make more. I won’t have much time for teaching this year, but I know that I’ll want to do another edition of 31 Challenges because I love the result in my own albums so much. #nndailytip

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What are your favorite tips for evaluating memory keeping?

Follow me on Instagram to see the tips in real time!

Knit Hat Take Two

Knit Hat Take 2 | The Nerd Nest 1

My first project of the year was a knit hat, but it turned out much too small. I definitely should have made a gauge swatch, but I was having trouble getting into the groove after only knitting garter stitch (only knit, no purling) for so long so I just dove right in (and re-started about five times).

I am totally fine with having to make this twice–the two small hat is in use on a baby friend and I learned so much making mistakes on it. I made WAY FEWER mistakes on this one and it came together in a bit over a week instead of over several months.

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The pattern is Red Heart East-Fit Ribbed Hat, which goes with the Petunia Red Heart Unforgettable Yarn.

I love having simple knitting projects for something to do with my hands while watching TV, long stints in the passenger seat in the car, or sitting around chatting with friends or family. It’s keeping busy and relaxing at the same time!

Knitting also helped a lot with my cramped hands after spending hours and hours removing plaster and mortar from the brick chimney I exposed in my office. More on that project soon! Chipping slowly away at it (pun!).

Knit Hat Take 2 | The Nerd Nest 2

I still have some of the first skein next and a whole other skein, so I might be making more of the same hat. You might get sick of my making the same thing over and over again, but repetition is key to getting better as a beginner. And I’ll get better and faster every time!

Who knows, in two years I might actually be making a sweater. But in between hats, I’m mostly knitting another giant knit blanket, this one for Ava. You can check out Jonas’s and Eliza’s.

Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 2 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.