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Can’t Beat That Color | Fall Leaves Photo Walk


Every year, I obsess over all of the wonderful colors of the ash trees in my neighborhood. And every year, I fully intend to photograph them, but a windy day or a rainstorm thwarts my plans. Not this year! I remembered to sling my camera over my neck when Jonas and I took a walk yesterday to capture all of that fall goodness. (He took this picture of me with my phone. How cute is that?)







I’m hoping to get out for a few more photos to capture the rest of the color range (they turn maroonish at one stage!), but even if they all fall off tomorrow, I’m happy my procrastination didn’t get the best of me this year. Next time I’m cursing Kansas City weather in the dead of winter, I can look at these photos to remember that living in a place with actual seasons is totally worth it.

Let Your Photos Inspire Your Color Scheme | Red Barn Farm PL Page

Red Barn Farm | The Nerd Nest

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been in the mood to document some of my past Autumns lately. As I was browsing through my 2010 photos, I came across these cute shots from one of my favorite Fall traditions: the pumpkin patch. We’re likely skipping that activity this year and will be grabbing our pumpkins at the farmer’s market instead, so that made me want to make something with these photos all the more.

Because I had a lot of photos and I wanted them to stand out, I decided to make a pocketed page with them. I knew I needed to keep the products very simple and minimal to keep the focus on those photos! But I also needed quite a bit of room for words, and simple white cards weren’t working.

To keep the balance of the page going in the journaling pockets, I chose cards that mimicked the background colors of the photos (blues and greens) with embellishments that mimicked the focal colors in the photos (orange and purple). This kept the color balance going throughout the whole spread.

This color trick won’t always work, especially if your photos have clashing colors or colors that are difficult to match, but it’s a good place to start when you are picking your color scheme!

Red Barn Farm Close Up | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Don’t have embellishments in the color you need? Try cutting out a stamped image.

Tip: Try attaching resin shapes with embroidery floss.

Red Barn Farm Title | The Nerd Nest

Tip: I’m a big fan of covering up parts of products that don’t work for my story. This strip of washi tape serves not just as a decorative element–it also covers up words that didn’t make sense for my page!

Tip: Repeat a stamp to frame your title.

Supplies: October Oh Deer Me kit, The Underground Studio Calico kit, Project Life Design D page protector, Project Life corner rounder, Project Life pens, Purple Rain ink, embroidery floss.

Tips for Documenting Autumn

If you’re gearing up to document Autumn, you might like this old Tips for Documenting Autumn post.

6×6 Minibook Insert Video Tutorial

6x6 Minibook Project Life Insert Video Tutorial | The Nerd Nest

Last week I shared a minibook insert I created for my Project Life album. I’m back with another album insert today to give you an additional look at how the technique can be used!

To learn how to make this simple minibook for yourself and how to get it in your album, watch this tutorial:

I love this simple mini book so much. These photos have been sitting in page protectors waiting for me to fill out cards for a year, and this is a much better (and cuter!) solution for these photos in my book. (Pun intended.)

Simple handmade minibook with washi tape - video tutorial | The Nerd Nest

Simple handmade minibook with washi tape - video tutorial | The Nerd Nest 1

Simple handmade minibook with washi tape - video tutorial | The Nerd Nest 2

Simple handmade minibook with washi tape - video tutorial | The Nerd Nest 3

Simple handmade minibook with washi tape with video tutorial | The Nerd Nest

I’d love to see your take! Please share a link to your own washi mini or minibook insert in the comments if you try out these techniques!

Selected Supplies: Oh Deer Me kit, Basic Grey Attach Me Stickers, Red Tape, and Crate Paper Notes & Things ephemera pack.

Mini album Project Life insert | Megan Anderson

To see another album using this technique, check out my Birthday Party Minibook Insert.

Fall Favorites

Fall Faves Title | Megan Anderson

It’s been a rough few weeks around here. Autumn is my favorite season, so I’ve been trying to savor it to find some joy. I’m not quite ready to make things about now, so I went back and made some 2010 pages.

Fall Faves | Megan Anderson

I used old blog posts and photos to make a page celebrating my favorite Fall things in 2010.

The page is very simple: I used plain white 8.5×11 cardstock and the October Oh Deer Me Kit to put it together. I made an unmeasured grid with washi tape dividing the page roughly by thirds both horizontally and vertically, printed my photos at all sorts of weird sizes based on the measurements I took from the rectangles, and filled in the empty spaces with words and little embellishments. Cute and quick!

Ash Trees | The Nerd Nest

I thought it would be fun to make a similar list (and, later, another scrapbook page) about what my favorite things about Autumn are now, four years later.

Because my thing is to document now, make stuff later.

Here are some of my favorite things about Fall right now:

  • Ash Trees I love that these trees can have three or four different colors in them at once: They move from bright green to deep maroons, rich reds, bright yellows, and subtle oranges. I’m so happy that there are so many in my neighborhood.
  • Pumpkin! I love baking pie pumpkins and using them in all sorts of recipes, like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin bread. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing.
  • Cold Nights During Summer, there is a lot of arguing about where the line in the middle of the bed is and who may or may not be crossing over to the other side with their horrible body heat. But now, there’s tons of snuggling in the warm blanket bubble. (A curse on whoever lets cold air in!) It does make it harder for Jake and I to be on time in the mornings, though.
  • Leaves Raking them might not be one of my favorite things, but I love the smell of the leaves fallen from the deciduous trees and the sounds the make rustling in the wind or beneath my feet.
  • Comfy Clothes If I’m not in pajamas, you’ll find me in jeans, long silly socks, a t-shirt, and a jacket. The best.
  • Fall Food. I love the produce that’s in season now (Squash! Apples! Brussels sprouts!) and the hearty meals that come with them. Some of the things I’ve been making lately: creamy chicken apple chili, pea risotto with squashy soufflé (with fresh squash subbed for frozen), chili, and spaghetti squash alfredo (I used this recipe’s method for squash baking and this easy sauce). This is making up for a few weeks of hospital and frozen food. We even had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner one night, no lie.
  • Perfect Weather Kansas City usually hovers somewhere along the freezing or gross/hot/humid degrees, so I’m going to enjoy the few weeks out of the year when taking a walk, watching the kids’ soccer games, or playing in the park is pleasent instead of miserable.

Fall Faves Close Up | Megan Anderson

What are your favorite things about Fall (or Spring, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere)?

Kristin Fills in her Orphaned Photos mini-album

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 1 | rukristin

This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is to fill in memory keeping gaps. For an extra dose of inspiration on this challenge, I asked my friend Kristin to share her take with you!

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 2 | rukristin

Hi hi Nerd Nesters! I’m Kristin from rukristin: feminist scrapbooker. Today I’m tackling the October Nerd Nest challenge: Fill in Memory Keeping Gaps by sharing one of my favorite go-to projects: The Orphaned Photos mini-album.

I don’t really do chronological scrapbooking. I keep a Project Life album and update it (mostly) regularly, but my layouts and mini-albums are pretty scattershot — my memory-keeping inspiration comes in waves.

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 3| rukristin

That being said, I do find myself with a lot of leftover photos, usually from Project Life spreads. One of the things I try to do every month is to print out all the photos I might want to use. Naturally, I’m going to wind up with a bunch of extras. Sometimes a story doesn’t really fit into the theme of the spread. Other times I have a few extra pictures from an event & and I want to document a fun detail.

The leftover photos get thrown in a bottom drawer and they tend to get left there for a while. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then there are volumes and volumes stuck in that drawer. One day last year I decided that I wanted to do something with these orphaned photos and I created my first Orphaned Photos mini-album.

One photo + One journaling card = One story told

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 5 | rukristin

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 4 | rukristin

For this album, I used 3×4 photos and 3×4 Project Life cards (mostly orphaned themselves from previous Studio Calico kits). To create each page, I took a 3×4 photo and adhered a journaling card to the backside. I then wrote down some journaling on the back of each card to provide a little bit more context for each photo. To finish it off, I added a few embellishments and punched a hole in the upper left hand corner of the photo with my Crop-a-Dile punch tool — although a regular office hole punch would work as well.

Aside from a great way to fill in gaps, it’s also an excellent way to use up the little bits and pieces of your stash and all the cool supplies that you’re into right now. If you’ve been holding onto that one journaling card that is just so cool but hasn’t quite fit in anywhere, this is the perfect place to finally use it. Same thing for that picture with a great story that might not be right for a full layout or PL page.

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 6 | rukristin

Add the card/picture combo to a binder ring and move onto the next photo.

Orphaned Photos Mini-album  7 | rukristin

Repeat en masse. Usually I’ll do somewhere between 8 and 12 pages in a mini-album.

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 1 | rukristin

This is one of the easiest ways to fill in those memory-keeping gaps. You took those pictures for a reason! Now it’s time to document those reasons. Not everything has to fit into a perfectly manicured memory-keeping system. Real life is messy and complicated and you make it work for you — do the same with your memory-keeping. Use your pictures, use your supplies, and then just string it all together. It doesn’t matter that those photos don’t have a cohesive storyline — the cohesive storyline is that you picked out these photos to document right now, and these are your thoughts on them right now. That’s all you need. It’s your story.

Orphaned Photos Mini-album 8 | rukristin

rukristin is a feminist scrapbooker, lady-blogger, paper-crafter, & kick-ass memory-keeper. She is the founder of #CurrentlyList, #Thursday3, & the #AwesomeLadiesProject. Find her new line of Currently Journaling scrapbook products in her online scrapbook boutique. Get to know her better by letting her drop you a note each Friday morning.

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

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

Project Life 2014 | August 24-31 + Minibook Insert

Mini album Project Life insert | Megan Anderson

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. Today I’m sharing a spread from the end of August–with a mini album insert!

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Project Life Layout | Megan Anderson

August 24-31

Project Life at The Nerd Nest | Megan Anderson

Going on here: Jonas and I feeling the joy after a feel-better walk in the rain, pictures of cats and Eliza for Jonas’s ABC book , Jake taking the kids to Science City, hot gross weather, love for Oynx coffee.

Project Life with Live Brightly PL kit + October Oh Deer Me Kit | Megan Anderson

Tip: Get the best of both worlds with the look of a title card and the room for words of a journaling card by adding a large title or image. Use hand-lettering, stickers, or large title words. The “currently” title I used is a transparency die cut from the Oh Deer Me kit.

Cover up icons with stickers in Project Life | Megan Anderson

Tip: I’m a big fan of covering up things that aren’t working for you. I really love the colors in the Live Brightly Value Kit (which I used throughout this spread), but the nature motifs don’t always fit in. I slapped a little sticker over the flowers–way better for this spread.

Combine filler and journaling Project Life cards| Megan Anderson

Tip: I’m up to using the trick of filler card + partial journaling card almost every week now. I love getting in more color and pattern, but still leaving room for words. Otherwise I’d never ever use all of those filler cards. Try combining two cards to see if it works for your style!

Mini book insert in Project Life | Megan Anderson

Tip: Use a minibook as an insert. (Why have I not thought of this before?)

You can watch the video of how all of this moves in the album, which shows this concept a little better:

I used Basic Grey Attach Me Stickers with a bit of extra adhesive to attach the cool zippered pouch from the October Oh Deer Me kit so I could slip a little minibook inside.

I stapled a camera transparency on the outside for just a little extra bit of cuteness.

The mini album is a simple 6×6 handmade album I made to include extra photos from my niece’s first birthday party. I wanted it to be fairly flat so it wouldn’t bulk up the Project Life album too much. I’m going to show you exactly how to make this album next week, but for now I’m just sharing the basics.

Mini album Project Life insert | Megan Anderson

The front and back pages are made of cardstock. I stamped and clear embossed the little diamond borders, pressed an inkpad directly on the wood veneer owl to turn him teal, and attached the frame and owl with red tape, which is a strong adhesive I love for small embellishments. The “happy birthday” sticker is from the Freckled Fawn birthday kit, a bonus kit subscribers can add on. I used stickers from this sheet throughout the album.

Owl Birthday Mini Insert | Megan Anderson

The making of this little album is simple: I taped down the center of two pages with washi tape. Instead of working front to back to connect all of the pages in the order that you’ll see them in the book, I alternated between taping the front pages and the back pages so that everything would be the same height when I got to taping the two halves together in the middle of the minibook. If this isn’t making sense to you, check back next Wednesday for a tutorial.

Birthday Mini | Megan Anderson

I kept this book very simple with old papers from my stash, labels for a few lines of journaling, and a few embellishments for balance.

Opening Presents in Birthday Mini | Megan Anderson

Jazz up wood veneer with ink and glitter | Megan Anderson

Tip:To make this little wood veneer glitter owl, I first pressed an inkpad to the owl so it would have a similar color to the glitter. This makes a huge difference in how well the color of the glitter shows up. I let the ink dry before spreading wet adhesive on the owl and pouring on the glitter. I used a sewing pen to make sure no glue + glitter obscured the inner shapes in the owl.

Simple handmade 6x6 minibook| Megan Anderson

Clear embossing on minibook | Megan Anderson

I love the way this little album turned out and think it’s a fun little edition my big Project Life album!

Project Life | Megan Anderson

Collages in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Doctor Who Guess Who, Eliza and Jake’s stop motion Lego horror movie, both cats snuggling me and touching (it’s a big deal: they never snuggle each other), the kids playing together and putting on a music show, taking a walk from Liberty Memorial to the Lego store.

Add similar colored washi tape to stripes on Project Life cards| Megan Anderson

Tip: Add washi tape to similarly colored stripes on Project Life cards.

Other Supplies: Project Life journaling pens, Design A page protectors, Project Life corner rounder.

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

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Catch Up with Project Life

Check out Catch Up with Project Life for Progress, Process, and Productivity for Pocket-Page Scrapbookers!

Build Your Creative Confidence

Build Your Creative Confidence | The Nerd Nest

Putting your work out into the world is scary. Heck, just creating itself is scary. To get past the fear and onto creation, we need to BUILD CREATIVE CONFIDENCE.

But before you can have confidence in the creative work you’re doing and the ideas you have, you need to have self confidence. That’s what we’re going to work on today. Before you read today’s jumpstart, I want you to watch this video. It’s 20 minutes and 59 seconds long, so if you don’t have the time now, don’t worry. Write a note to yourself and come back. I’ll still be here. If you’re a long time reader (or a fan of TED Talks), you’ve probably seen this before. That’s because the video “Your body language shapes who you are” by social psychologist Amy Cuddy contains my favorite life hack of all time.

Are you back? Did you watch it? Good.

Now you know that how you hold your body can change your hormones, and thus change how you feel and how you are perceived by others.

So why does this matter? What does it have to do with your creativity?

Well, first of all, stress is a well known creativity killer. So if you can change your cortisol and testosterone levels to lower your stress with your body, that is great for your creativity.

Another reason: distraction helps the incubation period of creativity. So getting away from a project to move around can help you to incubate great creative ideas. (This concept is the same reason you get ideas in the shower.) If stopping to do something else is awesome; you might as well make that something else work for you in other areas as well, right?

This life hack is fantastic to build confidence when sharing with others: I myself use it when I’m nervous before I record a video, when I receive video or phone calls from important people, and any time I’m metaphorically in the stage wings.

Jake, works in a very creative field of software engineering, and he uses this life hack before important meetings so he has more visible confidence when he’s pitching his creative ideas. When I compare how both of us presented ourselves before knowing about this hack with after–the difference is so visible.

Those are all examples of how to use this to boost your creative confidence when you’ve already created something but are just trying to get over nerves, and that’s a sort term (but helpful) solution. More importantly, in my opinion, is that this life hack can help you to build self confidence when used over time. Integrating powerful poses into your routine to boost your confidence can, in theory, help you to build your creative confidence daily. I do this before I start making stuff and before I sit down to write a blog post. I did it before I starting writing this newsletter. Adding this into my creativity routine has made me more confident in my creative work (and helps me to focus…but that’s a different e-mail.)

You might expect me to talk more about our fears of failure or of judgement: those are important creative roadblocks that need to be addressed. But today I want to pass on a simpler message to help you build your creative confidence: change your hormones to change how you feel about yourself.

With powerful poses can come powerful creativity.

Have something to say about using this life hack to build creative confidence? Leave a comment and let us know!

Use the hashtag #NerdNestJumpstart on social media so I can find you!

Creative Jumpstarts from Megan Anderson | The Nerd Nest News

This post was originally sent in a newsletter. Sign up for The Nerd Nest News Creative Jumpstarts so you can get more awesome content like this delivered right to your inbox! The newsletter is bi-weekly (though sometimes I take a break). I’ll also send you a little reminder when there’s BIG news around here. The next installment is going out next Wednesday!

If you already get Creative Jumpstarts, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Project Life 2014 | August 1-9

Project Life 2014 | August 1-9 at 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. Today I’m sharing two spreads from the beginning of August.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Project Life 2014 | August 1-9 by Megan Anderson

I make extra pages in between each month of weekly spreads in my Project Life album. Usually, if I have a partial week, I’ll either make an additional spread or I’ll absorb those days into a weekly spread. This time I did things a little differently and made two spreads for a bigger date range, just because it made more sense for the design to sort things more by theme.

This spread uses the Midnight Core Kit, Studio Calico Project Life kits, and Oh Deer Me kit embellishments.

Farmer's Market in Project Life - Megan Anderson

Going on here: Farmer’s market and brunch with my dad, Jonas masters the looking down at his feet selfie, Eliza reading to her cousin Ava B.

Use wood frames to ground photos - Megan Anderson

Tip: I often make collages of 2×2 Instagram photos, but this time I cut up the 6 square photos to use throughout the spreads. Little photos can be great additions to title cards or decorative cards (though sometimes they need a frame or matte to stand out against a busy patterned background).

Don't fold bi-fold cards - The Nerd Nest

Tip: The fold in bi-fold Project Life cards isn’t too noticeable: use them as 4×6 journaling cards too.

Everyday moments in Project Life - The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Voting in a special election, Jonas scaling the columns (as one does), Legos, weird cat habits, technology galore, and a visit from my grandpa and nephew.

Add direction with stickers | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use directional strip stickers or washi in an alternating pattern to enhance the design of a striped card.

Project Life 2014 | August 1-9 - The Nerd Nest

For the second spread for this date range, I used the Lovely Mini Kit, and more of what I used in the previous spread: Midnight, Studio Calico, and Freckled Fawn.

Project Life with Studio Calico + the Lovely edition | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Cupcakes at the water park, working on making videos for Catching Up with Project Life, going to see Guardians of the Galaxy with Jake’s brother and his girlfriend, enjoying rainy Kansas City, and chilling with Ava H.

Cover up parts of a card that don't apply with a photo | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use small photos to cover up words on cards that don’t apply to the spread.

Draw a boarder around a photo on a journaling card in Project Life | Megan Anderson

Tip: Drawing frames around photos grounds them. I like the wobbly hand drawn lines, but if you like things nice and neat, go for a ruler.

Balloons! The Nerd Nest - Project Life

Going on here: Jake’s parents took the kids to the Midwest Balloon Fest.

Tip: My in-laws took most of these photos and sent them to us via text! If someone sends you photos through text message, be sure to save them to your camera roll so you will remember to use them.

Jazzing up Project Life cards with scraps and washi | The Nerd Nest

Basic Supplies: Project Life journaling pens, Design A page protectors, Design F page protectors, Project Life corner rounder.

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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

Catch Up with Project Life

Check out Catch Up with Project Life for Progress, Process, and Productivity for Pocket-Page Scrapbookers!

Have questions about the class? Check out this sneak peek + FAQ.

5 Ways to Document Now, Make Stuff Later

5 Ways to Document Now, Make Stuff Later | Megan Anderson

My memory keeping philosophy is document now, make stuff later. This philosophy keeps me documenting with photos and words in the present but allows me to kick any guilt about being “behind” right to the curb.

I’m over on the Big Picture Classes blog sharing my 5 Ways to Document Now, Make Stuff Later right now! Hopefully these tips will give you a few ideas on how to easily gain rich details of your life from here on out so you can use them when you get around to scrapbooking in the future.

What are your favorite ways to document now so you can make stuff later?

Annette Fills in Her December Project Life Gaps


This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is to fill in memory keeping gaps. For an extra dose of inspiration on this challenge, I asked my friend Annette Haring to share her take with you!


Hey everyone! It’s Annette and I’m so excited to be here at the Nerd Nest to share with you one of my “fill in the gaps” projects.

I will be the first to tell you, I learn a ton from Megan!! One of the biggest things I learned after preparing our upcoming class, Catch Up with Project Life, is that I accomplish so much more when I focus on a smaller time frame.

For example, I thought I would be burned out after preparing all the class content, but now I’m more motivated than ever to fill in gaps! I have unfinished December Dailies and two Week in the Life projects that need finishing, plus a lot in my various years of Project Life. If you have watch my welcome video in class you will see that there.


The first thing I did was write down some of the projects I want to work on right now. My first instinct is to tackle it all! So you can see on the left is the list of things I want to finish and on the right I narrowed down my focus for just finishing up December 2013 Project Life.


The first spread I tackled was my monthly introduction page, where thankfully I did not have that much to fill in! I wrote up my month in review card and printed that out, then went looking for a few favorite photos for the bottom spaces.





I usually use photos from my big camera on these pages and it was fun looking through my December photos and editing a few of my favorites. I used the same techniques that I go over in the class to help me narrow down and choose these. While I was editing them I added some digital word art right on the photo before printing.







I’m really happy with how it turned out and now I have a start on finishing up my December 2013! With that done and the big two month gap filled in for one of the class challenges, I am on my way to actually finishing a Project Life album!! How exciting is that?!

I hope you will join us in class and we can have fun working on filling in gaps and learning techniques to help with catching up and keeping up! It’s going to be fun! See you there!


Annette Haring lives near Austin, Texas, with her recently graduated husband (yay!) and their sweet four year old daughter. She has been scrapbooking since childhood, when she loved adding memorabilia and photos to her journal.  Project Life® has been a way for her to continue her love of scrapbooking and memory keeping while working as a physical therapist for the past 10 years. She loves to learn and to teach others and has recently been a contributing teacher to Project Life Lessons at Big Picture Classes, a contributing author to the eBook Project Dig Deep by Ella Publishing/Big Picture Classes. She is currently on the digital creative team for Ali Edwards and is a co-teacher along with Megan for the upcoming class Catch Up with Project Life (read her post all about the class here)! She shares her work most actively on Instagram and on her blog when she can. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest too!

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

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