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Watercolor Crayon Resisting | 17/52 Projects

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

This week I’ve been playing around with watercolor crayon resisting. In one of my elementary school art classes, we did this project: you color on white paper with neon or white crayons, watercolor over it, and the wax from the crayon works as a resistor so the colored parts remain white (or neon). My elementary school creation was super neat and was framed in my mom’s bathroom for years, so I thought I’d give grown-up versions a go and teach the kids to do it as well.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Problem is, it wasn’t working at first. We were using watercolor paper, and it just wasn’t really resisting very well. That’s totoally fine: my policy is that art projects that don’t work can be cut up to be used for scrapbooking or other projects later.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

I even doodled a version of my first project so Eliza could see what it looked like.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

We switched to regular cardstock and that worked out much better.

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Watercolor Crayon Resisting  | The Nerd Nest

Even if we ran into trouble on our first round, the kids had a lot of fun painting layers of paper. Eliza made a tornado (like a true Midwesterner) and Jonas and I worked on a rainbow to improve his brush control.

I have the technique down now and I’m not sure if I’m going to try to do something awesome with it or if this playing around is enough.

Have you ever tried watercolor crayon resisting?

This year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects; an average of 1 a week. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 17 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art / 2: Striped Scarf / 3: Pillow Covers / 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines / 5: DIY Periodic Table Mirrors / 6: Band Pin Display / 7: French Monuments with Eliza’s Class / 8: Crystal Nail String Art / 9: Adventures in Dye / 10: Spring Poems / 11: Getting the Garden Going / 12: Le Petite Prince Painting / 13: DIY Cleaning Supplies / 14: Picking Up the Violin Again / 15: Shaving Cream Marbling / 16: Water Marbling.

My Scrap Room Organization

Scrapbooking Organization : The Nerd Nest

Having an organized space is so important to me. If my scrap room is organized in a way that helps me find things easily and work effectively, I get SO MUCH MORE done. My space evolves as my style and preferred products evolve. This space is tailored to my workflow and furniture, but hopefully you’ll pick up some ideas you can work into your scrap space!

Scrapbooking Room : The Nerd Nest

My space is situated in half of my weirdly long bedroom. Having it here works for me because I can squeeze in a bit of creating between loads of laundry, I can peak into Jonas’s room easily if he’s playing or picking up, and I can work alongside Jake when he’s coding at his desk, which is situated in the opposite side of the room.

My space centers around an architect’s table I received from my great-grandpa’s office after he retired. I love that I can work standing or sitting on a stool, that the table is deep enough to provide a lot of storage and workspace, and that it looks so darn awesome.

Album Storage : The Nerd Nest

In the other side of the room I have a shelf with my sewing machine and albums, a rolling cart, and a few storage bins. As soon as the nearby IKEA opens this Autumn, I’m grabbing a Kallax shelving unit for this space, because I’m obviously out of storage room for albums. The current shelf was made by my grandpa when I was little and will be moving to Jonas’s room.

Printer Cart : The Nerd Nest

My little rolling cart was a thrift store find and got a facelift with a little spray paint. It holds my wireless printer, photo paper, a photo album with to-scrap photos, a memorabilia box, a wire container with acrylic stamp packs, and a spinning organizer with random bits that could do with some cleaning out.

Bin Storage : The Nerd Nest

On the floor is bins that serve as temporary storage for notebooks, page protectors, and ongoing project folders.

Patterned Paper Storage : The Nerd Nest

My patterned paper is stored in a stacked organizer on this little built-in space. I picked up the organizer from a closing sale at a local scrapbooking store. Each level is for a specific type of paper: the top is paper I’ve bought recently, then next big scraps I intend to use soon, then page protector scraps and to-use-soon photos, then full sized to-use soon papers, then the rest of my 12×12 paper. Because I don’t keep a lot of 12×12 paper, I don’t feel the need to organize it by color or theme. It doesn’t take long to browse through it.

Behind the paper organizer is my paper trimmer. It’s bulky, so I only pull it out when I need it.

Within Arm's Reach Storage : The Nerd Nest

The top of my desk is organized so everything that I use frequently is at an arm’s reach. Things used less frequently are in hidden storage: embroidery floss in the grey metal index box, wet supplies like specialty adhesives and spray mists in a clear box, and inks and punches in one of the library drawers. Going vertical with the storage by stacking makes the clutter more visually pleasing and takes advantage of the space I have.

Oh Deer Me Kit Storage : The Nerd Nest

I joined the Oh Deer Me Freckled Fawn kit club for embellishments this year, and I decided to dedicate a drawer wholly to those kits. I’m much more likely to remember an embellishment I need by kit, so it’s faster than integrating these in with the rest of my embellishments.

Project Life Value Kit and 6x6 Paper Pad Storage : The Nerd Nest

I keep my 6×6 paper pads stacked in a row. I’ve been subscribing to Studio Calico kits for about a year now, and I use the old boxes to store partial Project Life kits I’ve split with friends and Value Kits, which come in less permanent boxes. I keep the most recent SC kit in its box, but the leftovers from past kits get integrated in with other storage.

3x4 Card Storage : The Nerd Nest

I keep my extra 3×4 cards in a little bowl so I can flip through them easily. They’re grouped in sets that I think would look nice together, so I have coordinated cards already to go if I have photos that fit their theme or color tone. They’re also grouped in manufacturer sections.

4×6 cards also have their own bowl, but I have fewer of those, so that bowl also includes small alphabets (arranged by color) and 4×6 paper pads.

Small embellishment storage : The Nerd Nest

Bowls are also my go to for other supplies. I have one for large embellishment packs, one for smaller packs, two for wood mounted stamps, one for flair, one for tiny scraps, and several for loose items like tags and other small bits.

I have some older embellishments in vintage suitcases slipped under my bed, and rotate through the embellishments in the suitcases and those in the bowls often to keep things fresh. I’m very much an “out of sight, out of mind” person, but having limited options helps me to scrap faster because there are fewer decisions to make (and things to look through).

External Harddrives and Project Life Mini Kits : The Nerd Nest

Project Life mini kits and card packs are stacked behind my computer by the external harddrives.

Trash Bowl and Project Life Core Kit Storage : The Nerd Nest

Underneath my table is a big bowl for recycling, my Project Life core kits, a file organizer with things like alphabets, printer paper, and memorabilia, and a few messy stacks of stuff I’m sure I’ll be getting to soonish. (It isn’t ALL organized.)

Embellishment and Tool Drawer : The Nerd Nest

In my smaller (but deeper) drawer, I have a few tools, needles, some more ink, adhesive refills, and flat embellishment sheets I don’t want to bend. These are mostly Kelly Purkey alphabets from her line with Simon Says Stamp, because I pretty much bought them out. I also have a few embellishments in there that I’ve set aside because they’ve given me an idea for a page to make.

Scraps and Most Used Tools Drawer : The Nerd Nest

I use the back of the deep shallow drawer to hold scraps. One section is white and cream cardstock scraps, then smaller patterned scraps, then scraps that I could journal on, then scraps with one size 12×12, then the thin strips that come at the bottom of patterned paper.

Pens and Loose Tools Storage : The Nerd Nest

I usually keep my drawers cracked open while I work, so I keep my most used tools in the very front such as pens, tweezers, a corner punch, adhesive, and scissors. A tray keeps the mess contained, but I don’t really mind that it doesn’t look nice because things are so easy to find. Alongside of the tray are my most used ink pads, post-its, pop dots, and a baggie of eyelets.

Washi Tape and Tiny Embellishment Storage : The Nerd Nest

I put teeny tiny embellishments that would otherwise be lost in the bottom of bowls in an old muffin tin. They’re organized by type: wood letter veneers, decorative clips, brads, and “other.” My washi tape is organized in ROYGBIV fashion in two Studio Calico Project Life boxes with the tops cut off. Decorative tape that is too tall for the drawer is next to the boxes.

My space might look messy even when it is clean, but this open storage really works for me!

What are your favorite ways to store your memory keeping / paper crafting supplies?

Savor June & July


This year, I’m participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word workshop. My word is savor, and I’m sharing a bit about how I connected with savor in the previous two months, how I did with my intentions, and my take on the prompts from Ali.

Here are a few ways I tackled each of my intentions the past two months:

Savor the journey Though there have been some stressful days that had me counting down the hours until the kids’ bedtimes (pretty sure every parent has those), I think I’ve been doing a good job of appreciating the in-between moments, not rushing things as much, and making sure I’m not just rushing from one thing to the next. I think one good example for me was going to the zoo with some friends. Jonas and his friend didn’t really care about the animals at all, they were more into running around together and climbing stuff. Where before I would have gotten frustrated that he was being exhausting, I kept in mind that the point of the thing was to have fun spending time with our friends, and that is totally what was happening.

I’ve also been a lot better of scheduling extra time to build in moseying, so I (and the kids) can stop and look at or check out cool stuff on the way to our destination.

Savor the season I’m not actually a huge fan of summer. (Kansas City is very humid: I’m a Spring / Autumn lover.) But even though I tend to stick to the indoors during summer almost as much as I do in winter, I definitely spent at least some time savoring the season in June and July. My family sat outside to watch for lighting bugs and to listen to the cicadas, we took nice long walks on cooler days, Jake and I took the kids to a spray park, and we went to a nearby lake with Jake’s parents. Where I’m definitely failing on the summer front is swimming. I haven’t gone swimming at all this summer (not counting the lake day). I’ll work to remedy this in August.

Savor lost Bogging for sure hasn’t lost its savor for me (though I did work through a bit of negative feelings about it), but I did realize that I needed to cut back for the summer if I wanted to have time to do everything I want and need to do, so I switched from 5-6 to 3 times a week. I’ll be bumping up to 4 starting this week.

Savor 4 The four of us have been on so many mini adventures the past two months that I can’t even remember everything without looking at pictures (which, of course, is one of the reasons I love memory keeping). We’ve had tons of great brunches together (breakfast food + sleeping in is a house favorite on weekends). We’ve flown a kite (harder than it looks), went to our favorite annual event, the Maker Faire, saw The Discovery of King Tut exhibit, went to the Nelson and the library. We all also did a lot of cool things with friends and family like birthday and holiday celebrations, going to the lake with Jake’s parents, and going to The Sound of Music and a neighborhood Google block party with Paul.

I look back at our summer and see a good balance of weekend adventures and lazy at-homeness with Doctor Who marathons, Lego building, and book reading. (Though, again, also a fair amount of wanting to tear my hair out. In those cases, I get some quiet alone time or do some yoga and I’m back in the swing of things.)

Savor homegrown I wish I was still going to the farmer’s market weekly as I did last year, but I’m still going to either the farmer’s market or the little farmer’s stand in my neighborhood about every other week. That’s still pretty darn good. I’ve been less zealous about the garden in these months (I’ve been a little neglectful), but most of my herbs are still hanging in there, and some of my produce plants have yielded a fruit or two.

Savor relationships This area has been totally rocking lately. As I browse through my photos from June and July, they’re filled with extended family parties, friends coming over for dinner, mini adventures with people we love, and dates. We also joined a community group and I’m excited to start building relationships through that.

Savor every bite So maybe I haven’t been savoring EVERY bite (there have been more than a few quick dinners on nights I am super tired), but the good food I’ve had has certainly been savored. I’ve been keeping up with trying a new recipe a week most of the time (I shared a few of the new recipes I’ve tried here) and have been really enjoying weekly-ish family brunches out and some fantastic food cooked by family.

Savor the moment This intention is all about spending less time stressing out and worrying and more time appreciating what is in front of me. I’ll always be a planner and a worrier, so what I’ve found this year is that I actually do much better with this if I give myself time to focus on the stressful thing fully so that I can think things through, sort through my emotions, or figure out a plan of action that solves a problem. This has meant a few Saturday mornings brainstorming in coffee shops or sitting on the front porch crying by myself. Giving myself this time helps me to not let whatever is bothering or distracting me take over for long periods of time. I can either let something always be sitting in the back of my mind trying to take over, or I can give myself over to it for awhile and get back to enjoying things.

Also, so many kuddos to Jake for knowing exactly what things make me completely happy after I’ve had time to wallow.

Savor the little things Some little things I’ve loved lately: exploring and learning about nature in my backyard with the kids, ripe peaches with juice dripping down my elbow, and listening to summer sounds.

Savor excitement Most of the things that made me excited this month fall into the family adventures category, but there was also things like starting to replay my favorite video game, Final Fantasy VII, starting to share little daily memory keeping tips on Instagram, and having my very first emotional sports experience at a Sporting KC game.

I also enjoyed checking in with my word with the prompts. I usually make each prompt after the month is over, and this time I decided I wanted to swap the August and July prompts. So these are FOR June and July, but they’re actually the prompts for June and August.



June’s prompt was simply filling out a check-in worksheet. I was out of nice white card stock, so I cut some 12×12 down. I accidentally cut it to 8×11 instead of 8.5×11, so I cropped each side down a half an inch and added it to a patterned vellum trimmed to 8.5×11 instead.



August’s had to do with picking song lyrics that speak to your word. I loved Ali’s take, so I repeated her basic card structure and then used stickers from the Studio Calico Music Lover’s mini kit (it was limited edition, I think). Some songs came immediately to mind, but for others I just thought through the music I’ve been listening to lately to see if anything applied.

P.S. This 6×8 page protector fits into the 12×12 Project Life albums!

How are you doing with your word?

Project Life 2014 | July Part 1

#projectlife by Megan Anderson 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. This week, I’m sharing three spreads from the beginning of July.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 1-5

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Meeting my new niece Ava, who was born July 1.

*Just a note that the shiny gold on this page doesn’t photograph well, so some of the things that look black are actually gold.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: I used a bi-fold card to get in some more of the story. If you want bi-fold cards to blend in a little more, round the corners on the folded edge.

The bi-fold card is from the Honey core kit. I don’t have a full kit; I just swapped title cards for bi-fold cards with someone.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jake meeting Ava, Science City with Jonas, the kids finding their uncle’s old Lego stash at Jake’s parents’, taking a mental health day and Jake’s awesome happifying Megan powers, the zoo with friends, cooking with Jake, and changing a tire for the first time and epically failing (I changed it incorrectly, busted the spare, and Jake had to come save me).

This page has mostly Studio Calico cards and bits and the black journaling card is from the Seafoam Project Life core kit.

Also, I don’t usually mention which Studio Calico kits I’m using because they’re generally sold out before I’m writing about them, but if you’d like to see what I’m using specifically, make sure you’re following me on Studio Calico. I include all the kits I use in my supply lists there!

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: A good way to make a 3×4 photo feel balanced in a 4×6 space is combining a patterned paper 4×6 background with a horizontal 3×4 journaling card.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Cut a 4×6 card in half and put it on the ends of your 3×4 pockets to “frame” the spread.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: It can be difficult to figure out how to include the ugly parts of life in Project Life. For this week, I went with just saying that I was upset and focusing on how Jake helped me turn it around with a lot of alone time to get my thoughts straight (including coffee and bookstore time), dinner at one of my favorite far-away restaurants, and a date at a lake featuring a magic-feeling walk through fireflies. I don’t think it is always necessary to focus on the good parts, but this is a way for me to include the negative stuff without sharing things that went wrong that fall into the “not my story to tell” category.

Also, my brain filled in the blank on that “when skies are grey” card, so I’ll need to go back and add the word “happy.”

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 4

Tip: Have too many photos from a special event to fit into a weekly spread? Include an extra spread just for the event.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Going out on the boat with Jake’s parents on the 4th of July!

I included a bit about what we did and a few “boat rules” for fun.

This page uses more Studio Calico cards, the Midnight Project Life core kit, and a wood number from Freckled Fawn (which you can buy individually).

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Interactive elements don’t work as well on left pages because you can’t get to them easily, so I took advantage of these translucent pockets and included a number to stand as a date instead of a tag.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: The evening on the 4th! Fireworks at Jake’s parents’ after we got back from the lake, then an evening with my dad’s side of the family.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Something crappy happen but you don’t want any old person flipping through your album to know about it? Write it on the back of a card. It’s there, but it’s rare that someone is going to pull it out and read it just on the off chance.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Combine patterned paper and horizontal journaling cards for a colorful journaling solution. (I never ever have enough 4×6 journaling cards.)

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

July 6-12

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Date with Jake, starting to work on refinishing our spare room, and everyday stuff like brainstorming over coffee, the cat snuggling me while I had a headache, and our first homegrown blackberries.

The cards for this spread are all from Studio Calico.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: Use one card as a jumping off point for your color scheme. This gives you ideas of what will go together and will help to make the use of a variety of colors more focused. (I started with the “There’s no place like home” card.)

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Brunch, a neighborhood block party at the Google Fiber space (Paul had a remote there for the radio station he works at and we benefitted with cotton candy and face painting. Wahoo!), frozen yogurt for Harvey’s birthday, video chatting with Annette, Jonas snuggling with Paul, live music, Eliza’s brilliance at using Lego Friends minifigs as companions for her teeny Doctors, Jonas’s hair trim, and my nightstand.

#projectlife by Megan Anderson at The Nerd Nest

Tip: If you can’t get a group picture, take several that, together, include everyone at an event.

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

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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

July Reads

July Reads | The Nerd Nest

This month I read ten books: two for book clubs, one deeply haunting American classic, one recommendation from Eliza, and a lot of YA. I chose the YA in part because I’m doing creative writing research. I also wanted to pinpoint what I liked about a few books I loved when I was younger.

July Reads | The Nerd Nest

Here are the books I read in July:

Invisible Man (1952) by Ralph Ellison

A nameless black man works hard to become educated and gain success, but is treated as if he’s invisible and devoid of humanity in a deeply racist American culture.

This book was intense. I actually had to take breaks while reading it because it affected me so deeply. The plot was a whirlwind: the narrator seemed to be everywhere important for the time period, which was not always believable (kind of like an intellectual version of Forrest Gump). Still, the points in the plot serve as an allegory for racism in America and paints the breadth of the male black experience in the time period.

As for the writing style, at times it was a little difficult to read, because the perspective of the narrator was so close. Descriptions were very detailed and in the present. There weren’t many bird’s eye views or time fill-in summaries. This added to the intensity of the book and made it easier to empathize, but I really had to pay attention so as not to miss all of the little things that were going on. I can see a reader easily getting lost.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (2012) by Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon, a Silicon Valley web design reject, takes on work at an old bookstore and must recruit a wild cast of characters to discover the secrets buried in the dusty shelves.

Here’s July’s selection for Kristin’s book club Novel Tea. It’s one of those books that is far better if you don’t REALLY know what it’s about, so be weary of reviews if you intend to read it.

It thought it was a fun, page turning mystery that marries the old knowledge of books well with the new capabilities of technology in its themes. I wasn’t always thrilled with the way women were portrayed, but appreciated the wide variety of creatives and geniuses that filled the pages of this book. I had almost as much fun reading about the characters’ different jobs and skill sets as I did reading about the unraveling mystery. The ending wrapped up a little too neatly, but I personally think it was right for the story. Mysteries can just feel a little too much like a formula to me sometimes.

Aside: the cover glows in the dark. That’s just cool. Jake made fun of me because of how excited I got about it. I had to make us get under a pile of blankets to see because it doesn’t actually get very dark in our room (I can almost read by the neighbor’s floodlight).

Slam (2007) by Nick Hornby

Sam, a British teen obsessed with skateboarding and idolizing Tony Hawk, finds himself on the coming of age fast track.

This is another book for which the main plot is a huge spoiler. Stay away from all reviews and Wikipedia. Let’s just say it’s not about skateboarding, really.

Hornby is one of my favorite contemporary authors. He does so well at helping the reader to really understand people, complete with their flaws, but still makes you laugh. This was certainly maintained in his switch to writing for young adults, but I was a little disappointed by the message, considering the audience. His characters generally move from narcissism and selfishness to a greater understanding of others and acceptance about their lives, but I felt like there was a missed opportunity for Sam to really be able to understand things from others’ (namely girls’) perspectives. It just never happened really, and that was a letdown for me.

There was also a bit of misinformation that never got addressed, which drives me crazy because of the amount of teenagers I know making horribly uneducated choices. I’m not saying it’s a fiction author’s duty to straighten out all of their characters’ misconceptions or anything, but in this particular case it got on my nerves.

This month I also read Diary of a Wimpy Kid on Eliza’s recommendation. I love that she’s into chapter books, staying up late to finish them, and getting other people to read them so she can talk about them. We’re pretty much starting our own mom-Eliza book club in addition to the books that I read out loud to her. This book is geared towards middle school students, but I laughed out loud at the funny stories and cartoons. E and I are both going to read more in the series.

I re-read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which I talked about in this post on frequently banned books, and Deenie, which I remember really liking in my middle school years.

I went back to the first (I think) fantasy series I fell in love with and re-read The Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem). I still enjoy the books, but the characters aren’t developed deeply, there are way too many adverbs, the language tone is inconsistent, and there’s far too much showing rather than telling going on. They’re a fun read, but they aren’t nearly as well written as 12 year old Megan thought they were.

I read Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity for L&R Book Club (didn’t love it). I don’t want to say too much because if you’re along pace with the book club you haven’t finished it, but you’ll find me whining and disagreeing over in the book club group about it periodically over the next month. And even if I’m not loving the material this time around, the discussions Amy generates are still fantastic.

July Reads | The Nerd Nest

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

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

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!)

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nest Memory Keeping Challenge!

This month, the challenge is to do the prep work.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with or get started on a project because it seems overwhelming. I’m personally goal oriented, so I feel a sense of accomplishment if I cross something off of my to do list. I sometimes trick myself into getting that feeling by breaking down a project into multiple parts, so I feel like I’ve gotten something done even if the whole project isn’t finished. I HAVE to do this if the project is huge, or it feels insurmountable.

Breaking down a project and doing the beginning–the prep work–isn’t only useful to keep a project from feeling overwhelming. Doing the prep work can help you be more efficient while you’re working, because you are prepared.

For scrapbooking, this might mean gathering supplies that you may use beforehand so you’re not off sorting through embellishments for thirty minutes in the middle of a page. It might mean sketching your rough layout design ahead of time so that you order the right size of photos or so that you’re not spending most of your scrapping time moving things around a page until they feel right. For a month of Project Life or a minibook this might mean selecting and editing 50 photos. Writing out your journaling in a Word document or on a piece of notebook paper ahead of time will ensure you’re not drawing a blank staring at an empty journaling spot on a page.

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

For my take on the challenge, I made the base for 30 Days of Lists! This is one of my favorite workshops, and registration opened today. Listing starts September 1, and even though it only takes 5 minutes or so for me to write a daily list, it’s hard for me to list daily if I’m also doing crafty stuff to the lists. Making the lists ahead of time gets that out of the way for me, so all I have to do when the workshop starts is just write.

I loved the ease, look, and small space using two Design F Project Life protectors for my March 2014 lists, so I’m going for the same method again!


For the first page, I used the exclusive #30Lists digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Designs. This kit is only available to those who register before September 1, so make sure you join in early! After you register, make sure to download it while it is still available.

The kit includes lots of embellishments and papers, as well as “quick pages” that are pre-designed square pages you can use in a minibook or on Instagram each day of the challenge. I decided to go a simple route with the printable 3×4 journaling cards. I wanted a bit more variety, so I used the kit to make a few extra cards with the papers, embellishments, and labels.


These are going to be even more fancied up because I’m adding the list title labels (also in the kit) ahead of time, but no spoilers, so you won’t be able to see those until the lists go live in September.

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

I was going to make more pages with the kit, but I decided that I have way too many Project Life cards to let this opportunity to use 22 of them go. I used the Amy Tangerine Cut and Paste mini kit on one page.

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

For the third page, I used leftover Studio Calico Project Life kit cards. Many of them are filler cards, so I added parts of grid cards and white cards to give myself room to write and to cover some sentiments that don’t apply to me. I use way more journaling cards than filler cards in general, and this is one of my favorite ways to make the cards really fit my needs.

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

My #30Lists are going to be cute and super easy this time around! All because the prep work is done. Wahoo!

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

I’ve done some other prep work lately too! I grouped my leftover Studio Calico cards into coordinating batches, so I can use them easily in the 2006 album I’m working on.

August Challenge | Do the Prep Work (and #30Lists Registration is Open!) @The Nerd Nest

I also batch ordered a big stack of photos from Persnickety Prints to prep for my Project Life!

Doing the prep work is going to make these projects so much better. Sharing your take on the challenge will give others ideas on how to prep, so make sure you’re sharing if you join in:

Share your take with a link in the comments below! You can also use the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge on social media.

I’ll be adding takes I find to the Nerd Nest Challenges Pinboard! Share your links to past challenges too so I can add them.


P.S. I’m an ambassador for 30 Days of Lists, so I spread my love of the challenge in an official manner. You can see why I love #30Lists here, and I’m an affiliate so any purchases you make through these links supports the Nerd Nest! Sign up for the #30Lists newsletter so that you can keep up with #30Lists news.

Nerdy Shares

Astrology Isn't Harmless

I’ve found some cool (nerdy) stuff on the web lately. Here’s some of it for you to enjoy!

What interesting things have you found around the web lately?

Want more? Read other sharing posts.

Project Life 2006 | Filling in the Gaps

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Click on the photos for a bigger view.

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Filling in the Gaps in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Randomly Right Now

Knope Waffles

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

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

Megan Lately

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

Sorting Photos

I’m tackling boxes of already-printed photos.

Office Rearrange

Office Rearrange

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

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

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

Stripping Paint

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

Power Washing

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

Kids Summer

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

Science City

Science City

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

Nelson Egyptian Sarcophagus

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

Nelson Roman Sarcophagus

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

Nelson Atkins

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

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

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

Robert Morris's Glass Labyrinth

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


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

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

Project Life 2014 | May Mid-Atlantic Trip

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest


Another collage, this one of the cool architecture.

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

Including a trip in Project Life | The Nerd Nest

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

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

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

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

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