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Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | April 19-25

Pocket Scrapboking April 19-25 | The Nerd Nest

This year, I’m making weekly pocket scrapbooking spreads in addition to other forms of memory keeping, like monthly spreads for Day in the Life and thematic pages. I include monthly breaks in my album for all of the extra documenting I like to include over and above weekly documenting.

*Blurs are due to our foster baby.

Click the photos for a larger view.

Documenting the Little Things in Project Life with Ali Edward's Story Kit | The Nerd Nest

This week, I used the Little Things Story Kit from Ali Edwards. I’m really loving this kit for pocket scrapbooking. By the time I made this spread, I’d already used almost all of the cards from the kit, so I used the embellishments establish a theme for the spread, help make the photo-heavy spread cohesive, and to help me stash-bust cards from older kits by using the large journaling spot circles on filler cards (which I rarely use).

Pocket Scrapboking April 19-25 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas “helping” Jake mow, the kids’ soccer games, Jake’s parents visit (Jake’s dad is swinging the baby up and it is adorable), and my friend Lisa with her babies Ava and Lydia.

Pocket Scrapboking April 19-25 | The Nerd Nest

Instead of writing journaling in sentences, I took a cue from the “Little Things” kit and just listed the things I loved about this week. Most of them were represented by photos, but not everything. Usually I stick journaling cards adjacent to the pockets with the photos the cards describe, but this time I wanted a full page with just photos and kept the journaling cards all in the left page of the spread.

Pocket Scrapboking April 19-25 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas proud of the cookies we baked, our foster baby making tons of messes, grabbing pizza at d’Bronx, our friends’ lovely flowering tree, flowers Jonas picked out, a coffee + comics date with Eliza, working on knitting the giant blanket I’m making for E (which, if I’m lucky, will be done by next Christmas), growing romaine in the window from scraps, and Jake and the kids building with Legos.

I attached the “little things” phrase on the outside of the protector using embroidery floss.

Pocket Scrapboking April 19-25 | The Nerd Nest

This spread was one of the 10 Catch-Up Layouts I made last month in addition to the other regular layouts I was making. If you need to catch up too, the next unit in Pocket Your Year is for you. We’re talking Catching Up and Batching!

There are 6 wonderful self-paced units waiting for you and 6 more to come as the year progresses. Join in now.

Selected Supplies: Ali Edward’s Little Things Story Kit // Amy Tangerine Rise and Shine Emery paper // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A page protector, Design P from Small Variety Pack 4, and journaling pens / embroidery floss.

8 Scrapbook Painting Tips | #NNDailyTip

8 Painting Tips for Scrapbooking | The Nerd Nest

Last summer, I began sharing a daily(ish) memory keeping tip on my Instagram under the hashtag #NNDailyTip. I took a little break, but I’m back at it with a weekly(ish) theme for those tips, which I’ll then collect and share here! This time I’m sharing painting tips for scrapbooking:

What are your favorite painting tips for scrapbooking?

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

July Day in the Life

In 2013, I documented using Ali Edward’s Day in the Life concept monthly and it was one of my favorite projects ever. For the third year, I’m repeating the project. On the 4th of each month, I’m going to document my everyday life. I like having a set day because I won’t worry about finding a “representative” or “normal” day. Wherever the 4th falls, that’s what I’ll document. (In 2013 I documented the last day of the month, in 2014 I documented the 15th. This year, I let a random number generator decide.)

Here’s Saturday, July 4:

*Blurs are our foster baby.

July Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

This time, Day in the Life fell on American Independence Day! This year was also the Anderson family reunion in Nebraska, which Jake’s (humungous) extended family hold every five years. Eliza went for the entire weekend with Jake’s parents, Jake and Jonas left in the morning to stay for one day, and I stayed back with our foster baby (because taking her out of state is a complicated process).

Jake, Jonas, the baby, and I went about our normal morning / breakfast routine, then I helped Jake and Jonas round up everything they needed. The baby and I waved them off around 10 AM and they set off for their 2 hour drive.

We spent an hour or so playing in her room, reading books, building blocks, making messes (her) and cleaning them up (me). I cleaned while she had lunch in the kitchen: did dishes, fixed our avalanche game closet, broke down boxes for recycling, went through mail and school papers to be recycled, and swept. Afterwards, I gave her a bath and put her down for a nap.

During her nap, I took a nice luxurious bubble bath and read. Then I took advantage of the quiet house to get some work done: I worked on upcoming posts for my workshop Pocket Your Year. Then I watched a bit of Season 4 of Game of Thrones while I ate my favorite salad for lunch.

When she woke up, she had a snack and I vacuumed (which she thinks is hilarious). We took a walk to the hardware store to grab ear plugs, played in the backyard on the swing set, then went back to book reading and mess making until Poppy (my grandpa) picked us up to take us to a family party at 5. He was so nice to pick us up. We have one car, and it was in Nebraska.

We had great food, great conversations, and lots of fun watching the fireworks go off. The baby stayed up all the way through the grand finale after 10:00PM–I couldn’t believe it! She loved it and so did I. I didn’t catch any photos of the starbursts in the sky because I was far too busy snuggling.

Poppy took us home, I got the baby all tucked in, I texted with Jake a bit to check in, then I read until I fell asleep.

July Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

Jake, Eliza, and Jonas had a blast with all of the Andersons. There were SO MANY people there! That group shot towards the bottom? That’s just the Kansas City Andersons who made it up.

Jake brought his quad copter up and had fun flying it, the kids loved the slip n’ slide, and everyone had a great time visiting. (Not a fan of those sky lanterns–they set wildfires–but that is a gorgeous photo.) The Anderson party didn’t wrap up nearly as early as the one I went to–they were still setting things off and talking into the wee hours. Jake and Jonas thought they might drive back that night, but they stayed very late and ended up sleeping in Jake’s parents’ hotel room instead.

And that’s a very special holiday Day in the Life!

Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

One of our favorite events each year is Kansas City’s Maker Faire. It is basically nerd Christmas: artists, tech gurus, inventors, and makers of all kinds to share their passions. Here are a few highlights from this year’s event!

*Blurs are our foster baby.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Jake was excited to find fellow quad copter builders to talk to. These folks were REALLY serious about theirs. It was huge!

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

The kids always love the pop culture bits. There are many booths of costume builders, prop makers, and robot replica aficionados. It’s interesting to see how these ultra realistic things are made. It’s also a joy to grab a photo op with some favorite characters: K-9, R2-D2 (never gets old), a Dalek, Iron Man, and War Machine were top of the list this year. There was also a fantastic Groot walking around, but we never made it past the crowds. This is always my favorite part.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

I love that there are plenty of activities for the kids so they can get their energy out. Taking a break from the booths and going outside definitely extends the amount of time we can spend at the event: we were there with our three kids for almost six hours this year, and everyone was happy the entire time. This is no easy feat. Eliza and Jonas enjoyed LARPing and bouncy houses. Eliza rocked a climbing wall.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

There were lots of interesting things to see, but Jake and Eliza put trying out Oculus Rift (a virtual reality gaming device) at the top of the list.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Jonas was impressed with the Lego city.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

I loved all of the make-and-takes this year: the kids made wooden cars, birdhouses, and a lightsaber.

Maker Faire 2015 | The Nerd Nest

This Maker Faire was bigger and better than ever before, expanding through more of Union Station than in previous years. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next year!

There are Maker Faires all over the world. Find one near you!

7 Projects with the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

It’s reveal day for the July Freckled Fawn kit Silver Linings! Today I’m sharing how I used the kit to make SEVEN projects!

Freckled Fawn July Sneak Peek

First, you can see what’s inside the kit in Freckled Fawn’s video below. I always start by looking through my kit a few times so I can get ideas on how I’ll use it.

*There are resin shapes included in the kit not shown in the video.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Often, one embellishment in the kit will remind me of specific photos I’ve taken. This kit, I started with this flair. It reminded me of the reads photos Jake took of me recently, and the colors were perfect. I started thinking about the other ways I could use the kit to make an awesome reads / currently pocket page as I printed my photos.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I used square Currently cards for this month. I always combine Currently cards with my reads photos, so I knew they’d be in play on the page. The spot I had in my album for this page did’t use square pockets, so I decided to mount them onto plain white cards, which I patterned using the silver washi tape from the kit.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I wanted to have lots of color for the title card, so I got out the acetate alpha & numbers. (The first thing I did with the kit was alphabetize these in the packaging, which sped up my process tremendously. Also, remember to take the protective film off of the back!)

The 3×4 cards were too small to use the acetate letters for a full title, so I began each word with the acetate alpha and used the Lili Alphabet Stamp to finish the titles.

I adhered each letter down using the phrase stickers, and I liked the way they looked so much that I decided to keep going to use the phrases to make a pattern. I cut bits of the colors off of the stickers to extend the pattern all of the way across the page on portions that didn’t have room for full phrases. I also tried to stick to phrases that made sense for the page.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I finished the page with the details stamp from the Add-On “This Is My Story” Stamp, which I stamped on white cardstock, cut out, and put on the photo with a pop dot. A bit of journaling in the white space of the photo and around the flair and I finished my first project with the kit!

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Next, I went to a story I’ve been wanting to tell. My birthday is coming up at the end of the month, but I never made a page for my check-in list from last year. I thought I’d better get on it before I start a new list for this year. I chose a photo I used in the blog post about my 27th year and one from my birthday party with family for this pocket page. The photos aren’t very colorful, but my daughter’s swimming suit and the colorful elements in the kit inspired me to use rainbow techniques on the page! The great thing about neutral photos: you can do pretty much anything with them.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I used the “This Is My Story” stamp from the Add-On Stamp to create a background pattern for each card, then stamped and cut out multiple labels using the stamp set to house my journaling (except for red–I used the red labels that came in the kit for that).

I included one embellishment on each of the cards that matched the card color–enamel dots on the red, resin star and arrow on yellow and orange, and enamel asterisk on blue. For the green and purple cards, I used clips that are now sold out in the Freckled Fawn shop. But there are a ton of other clips available and there’s a buy two sets get one free clip flash sale going on until July 2 at noon MST!

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

For the title card, I used thin washi tape to create rainbows on the top and bottom of the card: red, orange, and yellow from this set, seafoam and plum from this set, and aqua from this set. I sewed on the numbers for my title, added retired Freckled Fawn stickers to create the rest of the title (along with an “i” stamp from the Lili Alphabet Stamp), and added some more enamel shapes.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

After two pocket pages, I wanted to create a traditional page. Probably because I was working on a few of the gaps in my 2014 album with the last page, I automatically thought of my husband’s grandparents’ 65th anniversary. What better use for the “love, love, love” wood veneer?

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I used the resin hearts along with the “Let’s Celebrate Today” cork sticker, which were fantastic for the anniversary theme.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I used more of the numbers for the title, this time attaching the acetate letters with brads. To finish the title, I used another label stamp (that will fast become a favorite) along with letter stickers from the July 2014 kit.

To balance out the hearts and cork, I included three (sold out) cork hearts on the top of the page.

I finished off the page with orange washi on the top and bottom (from the Wanderlust kit) and thin seafoam washi (from this set) on the sides.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I knew I’d be using the 8.5 x 11 anniversary page as an insert for a pocket spread, so I wanted to make the rest of the spread using the kit so I could tie the whole thing together.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Just a few embellishments can go a long way, especially on busy spreads full of photos. I used washi tape (seafoam and forrest green from this set and orange from the Wanderlust kit) and phrase stickers from the kit to cover up the strips on this card that weren’t quite matching, then covered the sentiment on the card with a cork sticker that made more sense with the spread.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

On the other side of the spread, I used elements from the anniversary page’s title for the date card.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I also added a cork sticker and resin arrow to jazz up the cards a little.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Using matching cork stickers and washi tape brings all of the pages of this spread together. This is especially helpful for stash busting cards–I was using cards and patterned papers from a lot of different companies, so the embellishments were important to bring a consistent thread through the whole thing!

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Next I moved to my favorite embellishment left in the kit so far–the “the best” wood veneer. I thought about the things that I haven’t documented yet for 2015. What was “the best”? Planet Comicon, hands-down. I know I want to make several pages about the event, so I decided to enlarge two of my favorite photos of my family and our friends to work as an introduction to the event in my album.

Once I chose the red paper, I had the idea to line the rest of the red labels along the top of the photo. (I left one for the bottom corner.) I used a small amount of adhesive on the labels to hold them in place, then sewed them on for a more finished look. As a border between the photos and patterned paper on the bottom, I lined up the remaining silver foil phrase stickers (you can sure get some miles out of that sticker sheet).

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I gathered some of the enamel shapes around the wood chip so it would stand out even more.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I added two more small embellishment clusters to the page to create a visual triangle. I mostly stuck to the kit, but I wanted a few more tiny bits to work with, so I used some puffy stickers from the Carnival Kit and a pink resin star that matched the patterned paper.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Next, I really wanted to use the cute Digital Cut Files for this month, but I need a new blade and mat for my Silhouette. So I decided to go a different route! I created two patterned papers with the digital images–one with the clouds, the other with the hot air ballons–by coloring the elements and repeating them over and over. I picked colors that would work well with the Mother’s Day gifts that I made with my kids.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Then I added color to the phrases and a few shapes and cut them out with a craft knife. Not as pretty as they would have been if I’d had my digital cutter, but it still totally works.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I finished off this little 6 x 8 page with a acetate letter to start the title, the rest of the title on a stamped label, an enamel asterisk tucked behind the photo, and a few more phrase stickers.

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

Last but not least, I used the washi tape and the acetate letters for a minibook about my favorite books. I just added the tape and letter to the back of the photos and journaled right there. For each page, I used the dots on the washi to line up part of the thick washi to the top, then cut off the excess carefully so I could add the other part of the strip to the bottom!

You’ll see more of this project in the FREE workshop Find Your Voice

How I Used the Freckled Fawn Silver Linings Kit | Megan Anderson

I used most of my kit for these 7 projects, but I still have even more that I can pepper into future projects! I hope you liked a peek at how I used my kit this month. I’d love to see how you use yours!

Freckled Fawn July Sneak Peek - Subscribe

Start a subscription or buy your Silver Linings kit here.

I’m not an affiliate, but I’m on the Freckled Fawn Creative Team and thus receive free and discounted products.

Freckled Fawn July Sneak Peek

Freckled Fawn July Sneak Peek

It’s reveal day for the Freckled Fawn July kit! I wanted to share one last sneak peek before the full reveal this afternoon. (You can find more on my Instagram).

Freckled Fawn July Sneaks | Megan Anderson

I’ll be back this afternoon after the kit reveal to share the 7 (that’s right–SEVEN) projects I’ve made with the kit so far! Usually I spread out team projects when I share, but I thought it would be more helpful to show how I use the kit from start to finish.

Freckled Fawn July Sneak Peek - Subscribe

Start a subscription or reserve your July kit here.

Pocket Scrapbooking 2011 | June 11-18

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 1

For this month’s challenge to Pick a Year, I’m going to be working on filling up my 2011 pocket scrapbooking albums. I decided to go back to June 2011. In 2011, I did a 365 project, so I’m able to make weekly spreads and include detailed journaling for the year.

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 2

For this spread, I kept it simple and focused on journaling.

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 3

Going on here: At a Flatfoot 56 show at the end of the Scottish Highland Games. I was expecting (then 5 year old) Eliza to stick to the hay bales, but she wanted to dance and mosh with my friend Harvey and me.

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 4

I printed out the band’s logo for one card, which is a great option for documenting events where good photos are difficult. I also added a strip of washi to a plain white card for more journaling room.

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 5

Going on here: My grandpa’s birthday party, a typewriter sale for my Etsy shop, and a family baby shower.

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 6

Pocket Scrapbooking the Past | June 11-18 2011 | The Nerd Nest 7

I didn’t have cards in all of the colors I wanted for this page, so I made my own with stamps. I stamped the word “celebrate” to create a background pattern alternating yellow and grey and then repeated the “Sun” tab stamp for a bit of decoration on the journaling card. If you aren’t finding what you need in your card stash, make your own!

*A note that Nerd Nest Challenges will be taking a break for the rest of the summer!

Selected Supplies: Ali Edward’s Go Story Kit and Daily Story Stamp // Studio Calico digital card // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A and Design D page protectors and journaling pens // Freckled Fawn washi tape and typewriter alpha stickers from the March 2015 kit // Studio Calico cards from past Project Life kits.

Jen on the Pick a Year Challenge

This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is to Pick a Year. For an extra dose of inspiration on this challenge, my friend Jen is here to share her take with you!

I love having goals in my scrapbooking. It keeps me on track with telling the stories I want to tell. I have many many lists of pages I’d like to make, and I love checking them off. If I start getting bored with a particular topic, I can always move on and come back to it later.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of a very important year in my life. 2005 was the year I met and married my husband, the year my sister graduated from high school, my last year of college, so many things! I want to concentrate on scrapping some of those memories before they fade away.

Figuring out a way to tackle 2005 has been a bit challenging. Prior to last year I hadn’t scrapped much about 2005. I don’t have very many photos, and a lot of them are pretty bad. But I’m not letting that stop me. I’ve found a lot of inspiration, sometimes from unexpected sources, for scrapping my stories. Here are some of my favorite places to find inspiration, and how I plan to use them to continue to document 2005

Take a class

Taking a class can give you a lot of inspiration to scrap a particular year. Taking the Romantic Scrapbooking class from Noelle Hyman was the catalyst for me to start documenting the origin story for my relationship with my husband. But you can really take almost any class and use it to document a particular year, whether it’s a layout design class or topic-based. I’m looking forward to using prompts from My Details and Journal Your Christmas later this year.


Mine for stories

Another big inspiration for documenting 2005 was Megan’s “mine for stories” challenge post awhile back. Since Jason and I were in a long distance relationship, we have practically our whole lives documented in emails, chats, and my (very embarrassing) old LiveJournal blog. It’s been a lot of fun going back and finding things to scrap from those, many that I’d totally forgotten about! Earlier this year I got a bunch of documents from one of my dad’s old computers that I used during 2005. I’m hoping it has old college work or something I can use to document that part of my life.

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Get inspired by product.

Sometimes you see a kit and a story just hits you and you have to scrap it right.this.second. That’s what happened to me when I saw this honeymoon kit and this ampersand text path. Things magically clicked in my brain and it’s one of my favorite pages. I don’t usually advocate waiting for the “perfect” kit to scrap your stories, but if the perfect kit just happens to come along, use it!

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Use your photos.

So let’s talk about wedding photos for a minute, ok? (Stay with me, this can apply to any big event, vacation, etc.) This might sound weird, but I don’t ever want to have a completed wedding album. I love the idea of revisiting these photos year after year and telling different stories. Or no story at all. Sometimes I just want to scrap a pretty photo in a pretty way with pretty supplies. And that’s ok! There is room for all kinds of pages in my books. Sometimes you just have a ton of photos without a ton of stories, so go ahead and make something pretty.

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Go photo-less.

Or you can forget about that altogether, and just go photo-less. Since most of my stories from 2005 don’t have pictures, I made the decision early on to scrap them anyway. It’s been a challenge to figure out ways to make my pages look different, but I’m not super worried about that. You can take almost any photo spot in a sketch or template and use a journaling card or tag instead. Thinking of it that way opens up a whole world of possibilities for your layout design.

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Add to a story you’ve already told.

One of my biggest sources for inspiration is my own scrapbooks. I love looking at the pictures and reading about things I haven’t thought about in years. It almost always triggers more story ideas. Sometimes it reminds me that I have more to say. I’ve already scrapped the story of receiving these flowers, but looking through my scrapbook reminded me of some pictures I had of my sister’s cat with them. And who doesn’t need more kitty pictures in their scrapbooks, right?

Pick a Year Challenge - Tips for documenting a year in the past with Jen of hclappy scraps

Writing this post has given me even more ideas of things to scrap. Here are a couple more sources of inspiration I plan on using throughout the year to document 2005.

Use a current photo to tell an older story.

We take a lot of photos of seemingly random places and things. I think of them as my own personal stock photography library. They don’t necessarily tell a story in the moment I take them, but often they can be used to illustrate another story. I’m so glad we’ve taken so many pictures of the places we go, because a lot has changed over the years.

Do a Now and Then page.

I love telling stories that span over several years. That’s really one of my very favorite things in scrapbooking, making connections over time. I did this when we went to New Orleans last year. Jason and I are planning to visit some of the places that have been special in our relationship this year. I’m hoping that will give me lots of opportunities for more Now and Then type pages. They will go in this year’s album, but they’ll be inspired by photos we took in 2005.

I hope this has given you a few ideas to scrap a particular year from your past. It can be challenging, especially if you’re limited on photos. But it’s so rewarding! And stories breed stories. Once you’ve started documenting a year in-depth, you’ll probably discover you have a lot more to say than you originally thought.

I’d love to hear if you try any of these, or if you’ve ever taken the time to concentrate on one year in your life.

Jen Johnson is originally from Nashville, but ran away to South Florida to marry a boy she met on the Internet. She has always been a memory keeper, but never realized it until she discovered digital scrapbooking in 2009. Now she loves to document her life in SoFlo with her husband, stepson, and cat, cleverly named Miss Kitty. Her biggest scrapbook is the “All About Jen” book. She worries that might sound narcissistic, but who else is more qualified to tell her story? She loves to travel, read, eat good food, and watch bad TV. She has a blog, hclappy scraps, where she writes about digiscrapping, minimalist Project Life, (step)motherhood, and her search for that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle” everyone talks about. She says Y’all and Yonder a lot, loves run-on sentences, and finds it a bit awkward talking about herself in third person.

March Reads

March 2015 Reads | The Nerd Nest

I have been reading A LOT the past few months, so writing these posts is taking longer! I’m going to have a reads post every week or two to catch up to the present. In March, I read a good dose of sci fi, comics, and non-fiction for my book clubs. I re-read an older favorite and found a new favorite.

Here are the books I read in March:

March 2015 Reads | The Nerd Nest

The Lowland (2013) by Jhumpa Lahiri

This family saga follows brothers Subhash and Udayan Mitra and their family from the 1960s Calcutta through war and rebellion to present day America and India.

This is one of the best books I’ve read recently. The language in this novel is absolutely beautiful, with rich, detailed settings that wisked me away and complex, flawed, and haunting characters. I’m excited to pick up Lahiri’s The Namesake next.

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint (2001) by Brady Udall

Edgar Mint’s head was run over by the mailman when he was seven, and his life gets weirder from there.

Over the past few years, I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite books and writing little essays about them to better understand why I love them so much. This is one of those books; it was recommended to me by my favorite creative writing professor in college. I love it for its amazing coming of age first person point of view, the narrator’s unique outlook on life in the face of tremendous suffering, and the bizarre, creative plot.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2013) by Susan Cain

With a combination of case studies, biology and psychology research, and persuasive argument, Cain focuses on the value of introverts in a society that isn’t listening.

I read this for Novel Tea Book Club. It was selected by Amy, who lead the group in March.

I am an introvert, but I am certainly not quiet, so this was a very interesting read for me. I loved the research and the case studies (the description of Harvard Business School and its impact on America was terrifying) and found myself referencing things I learned from the book often in conversations with friends.

I was annoyed by the perspective presented in a few of the chapters, mainly because I felt that there were missing arguments that led the author to a misleading conclusion in some cases (I’m looking at you, Chapter 8), but this is to be expected in persuasive non-fiction.

Seven Years in Tibet (1952) by Heinrich Harrer

Harrer was a famous mountaineer and Olympic skier. When World War II broke out, he was an Austrian national in India and was detained in an internment camp. This is his first person account of his escape into Tibet, where he learned about the culture, which was closed off to the West, and befriended the Dalai Lama.

This memoir was the selection for my local book club with friends. I found the travel adventures of the author extraordinary, the descriptions of the culture fascinating, and though the author was often ethnocentric, his love and respect for the Tibetan culture was clear. This book also has an important place in history, as it preserves what life was like before the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950.

P.S. My book club friends and I thought this 9 Tricks to Look Smart in Book Club article was funny, and we got a kick out of threatening to use #2 as an excuse, because Harrer was technically a Nazi.

Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline

In 2044, much of the world is in poverty, but there’s an escape: the OASIS, a virtual reality utopia that connects the world. Wade Watts goes to school, meets with friends, and games, all in the OASIS. But his real mission? Unraveling the puzzles left by the creator of OASIS to try to win a contest that would change his life.

This book was in one of our Loot Crate boxes and I’m so very glad it was. I loved it, and I started reading it aloud to Eliza and Jake soon after I finished it (though I’ll have to censor a few parts). It’s good nerdy fun, and all of the 80′s pop culture and gaming culture references are just the best.

Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert

On the desert planet Arrakis, the newly ruling Atreides family must navigate traitorous plots against them to remain in control of one of the universe’s most valuable resources.

I love sci fi and this is a science fiction classic, so it’s been on my to-read list for quite some time. I thought the world-building was amazing–the cultures created are so complex–but I’m not a huge fan of the writing style. There’s way too much showing rather than telling. The author over-explains what characters are thinking instead of letting their actions speak for themselves. And the blatant foreshadowing just seems like a cop-out for a predictable plot. I still liked it enough to want to know what happens next in the series, so I picked up the next few books in April and May.


The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories (2011) by R. A. Salvatore

Read by an all-star cast, including Felicia Day, Tom Felton, Wil Wheaton, and Ice-T, this audiobook gathers short stories from The Legend of Drizzt, which were previously published in anthologies and magazines.

I think that these stories might be confusing for those not familiar with the series, but they provide some fun backstory for fans of Salvatore’s work.

The Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 1 (2009) by Robert Kirkman (Author), Charlie Adlard (Illustrator), Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator), Tony Moore (Illustrator)

Collecting the first eight volumes of The Walking Dead, issues #1-48, this series follows the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

I first read this in August 2012, so you can read my thoughts there.

*On the comics front, I also read Spider-man and the X-men #1, the Harley Quinn Valentine’s Special one shot, and a few Gambit issues from the ’90s.

March 2015 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.

Reading anything good lately?

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Find Your Voice

Need help documenting your story this summer? Find Your Voice is a free workshop to help you do just that!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be contributing to Find Your Voice this July! Find Your Voice is a FREE 6-week storytelling workshop from rukristin. If you want to develop your storytelling skills, this is the workshop for you.

Class begins July 1, but pre-class is open now.

If you’d like to stock up for supplies for your class projects, there’s a Find Your Voice Kit available.

Personally, I’m working the assignments into my pocket scrapbooking albums rather than making a specific book for the class. I bought the Find Your Voice Embellishment Kit, Add On Paper Kit, and (sold out) Insta Add On Kit for my class projects. I’ll also be using the Find Your Voice Stamp Set and Alphabet Stamp Set, which Kristin lovingly sent to me (as well as other rukristin Stamps Basics, because I’m using them on just about every project currently). Of course you don’t need these supplies to join in–you can use whatever you’d like or can complete assignments with no supplies at all but a pen and paper.

Learn more about this free workshop and sign up here.

I’m an affiliate for rukristin and a contributor to this workshop, so purchases made through these links help to support The Nerd Nest.