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At 9 Eliza…

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 1

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 2

Last week was Eliza’s birthday! I think birthdays are a great time to capture a bit of what someone’s life is like in the moment, so I documented some of the things that really characterize her as she turned 9:

At 9 Eliza…

  • …wants to be an artist and spends most of her free time making things.
  • …is super into Diary of a Wimpy Kid (she devoured the most recent 4 books of the series in just a few days).
  • …is very interested in engineering. She learns about software and web applications from Jake and is so excited to learn more about mechanical and electrical from Tinker Crate.
  • …likes to teach Jonas. They play school almost every day.
  • …is in love with French and France and all French / France related things.
  • …is obsessed with Doctor Who.
  • …brings a book (what she’s currently reading, Shel Silverstein, or a Doctor Who book) everywhere we go. Usually she has a bag of art supplies too.
  • …has the messiest room in the house.
  • …likes to dress up in my old homecoming dresses.
  • …finally had a growth spurt, but is tiny for her age.
  • …has wonderful comedic timing. (Her favorite jokes involve pointing out the literal meaning of what a person said and proving them wrong.)
  • …is really into archeology and ancient history, especially Egyptian history.
  • …shines when she’s in a defender position in soccer.
  • …is becoming a master Lego builder. Loves that her Robotics team uses Legos for their projects.
  • …makes up her own song lyrics and loves to perform.
  • …says the hair brush is her arch enemy.
  • …hates raw onions, tomatoes, and brussels sprouts.
  • …is into Doctor Who, The Flash, Sci Show, Cosmos, Brain Games, and Fetch!.
  • …loves potstickers and chicken pot pie.
  • …is so very loved.

Eliza at 9 | The Nerd Nest 3

Savor | One Little Word 2014

Savor - One Little Word 2014 | The Nerd Nest 1

Last year, like this year, I took Ali Edward’s workshop One Little Word. My 2014 word was savor and, though I dropped off in sharing here halfway through the year as things started to get rough, I still found a lot of comfort in checking in with myself by doing the prompts for class.

For most of these, I watched the content as it was released, took notes / wrote a bit, and then made actual pages a month (or several) later. I also swapped the order of the prompts a bit to suit my needs.

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In August, I did an action driven prompt to do a thing in each of three categories: self care, give something, and celebrate. I included photos that represented each of these three areas and then wrote about them in a bi-fold card.

Supplies: Freckled Fawn November Oh Deer Me kit // Project Life Midnight Core Kit, journaling pens, Design 4 pocket pages, and Project Life corner rounder.

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For September, I wrote about the “real” story with my word. I focused on the ups and downs: when I did well with savoring and when I didn’t, the importance of having fun with my family even when I feel like I have no time, and my need to take the time fully feel and process my feelings when very stressful things happen in my life.

This page is also an example of one way to document the hard things when they relate to other people: I focused on my feelings, so I “kept it real” and recorded something that was (is) a big part of my life, but I’m not going into telling someone else’s story or immortalizing someone else’s hardships.

Supplies: Freckled Fawn heart washi from the August Oh Deer Me kit // Project Life Cut and Paste Mini kit, Lovely mini kit journaling pens, Design F pocket pages, and Project Life corner rounder // Ali Edwards Get Real Story Stamp.

One Little Word October | The Nerd Nest

October was so very hard, as you can tell from my painted title up there. I taped two pieces of 6×8 patterned paper together so I could write myself a letter inside. It’s something I’ll want to reflect on, but not something I’d want to read every time I’m flipping through my album, so hidden journaling is a great solution.

Supplies: Studio Calico Project Life kit and paper add-on // Pink Paislee Color Wash letter stickers.

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In November, I included ways I was savoring and ways I was thankful. I really focused on the end of the month here. Savoring helped me to feel better, at least in the moment. The beginning of the month was just me sad in pajamas eating Halloween candy. And teaching Catch Up with Project Life.

Supplies: Studio Calico kits // Project Life Lucky Carm Value Kit, journaling pens, and Project Life corner rounder // We R Memory Keepers pocket page protector.

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For December, I reflected on my intentions for Savor and evaluated where I succeeded and where I fell short. I actually just completed this prompt, and it was very helpful to me to review last year’s intentions, as a lot of my intentions for this year with weave will be continuations or expansions.

Stay Creative Through Different Emotional States

Stay Creative Through Different Emotional States

This content originally appeared in an issue of Nerd Nest News in July 2014.

Today I’m going to get a little personal with you.

I want to tell you that I (and you) can be creative no matter how you are feeling.

I’ve been working through some tough emotions lately. That’s both in the more figurative sense of trying to work out the root of my emotions and in the more literal sense of trying to continue my creative work while I’m not feeling sunshiny.

When I was younger, I suffered from serious depression. I used to think that my depression was an integral part of my creativity. It made sense to me: I used art and writing as emotional outlets, so when I was feeling extreme emotion I was at my most creative. In addition to the evidence of my creative output, I noticed that the authors, musicians, and artists I loved weren’t exactly happy people.* And, as far a storytelling goes, I had that self v. self conflict DOWN.

Part of me was even scared to get better, because I thought it would crush my creative spirit and change me as a person. My mental health ended up trumping my fear, and, thank goodness, the creativity didn’t stop. My creative endeavors, however, did change.

It’s a little ironic that my main forms of public creativity now, blogging and memory keeping, have the opposite emotional expectations. Being happy and bright can seem to be a prerequisite for these creative fields.* No matter how often bloggers and memory keepers reiterate that they’re just sharing the highlights and that they have problems too, it can feel isolating in these creative areas when I’m not feeling happy.

But guess what? You don’t have to be happy to scrapbook or blog. I did some “happy times” scrapbooking when I was feeling sad and it made me feel better. I did some hidden-journaling-upset-topic scrapbooking and that made me feel better too. I’m staying honest about not feeling wonderful on my blog and have received uplifting support. (Thank you friends!)

I can write and paint when I’m happy and I can memory keep and blog when I’m sad.

However you are feeling, let your creativity flow from that place instead of worrying about how your feelings might stifle it.

The thing you create might change based on your emotional state, but you don’t have to feel a certain way to MAKE.

(And if you need help, don’t be like me from the past. Get it.)

I stuck with a personal account in this jumpstart, but if you’re interested in the correlation between emotions and creativity, you might want to check out this article. It turns out that different moods and emotions can effect creativity in different ways, so you might want to change up your creative task depending on your mood.

I’d love to hear how YOUR emotions feed into your creativity!

*Obviously there are happy books and songs and sad blogs and scrapbooks. This is based on the media I was / am consuming.

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 (and coupons and updates too)! The next installment is going out this Wednesday!

Day in the Life // January

January 2015 Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 1

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 Sunday, January 4:

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On the 4th, we were visiting my friend Jessica in Colorado.

It was the last day of a long stay; we left the following morning.

After a lazy morning and a bit of indecision, we chose to drive up to Boulder to take in the mountain views and enjoy the snow covered everything while the road conditions were good. It’s not often that a trip out there happens to coincide with both of those things. On the drive from Denver to the mountains, I was in the back seat with the kids and took turns with Eliza reading a Doctor Who book out loud. When we were done with that, Eliza and Jonas took turns playing Mario on a Nintendo DS and I knitted. Jessica also read to us out loud a bit from a weird facts book. I also read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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Our first stop was a park with a good bottom-of-the-mountains view. We drove around looking at the sites, pulled over for a few photos, then headed up Flagstaff Mountain.

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We drove further into the mountains than we have before, but turned around past an area effected by forest fires. The residential roads weren’t as well cleared, so we turned around when things got steep.

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On the way back down, we stopped at Flagstaff Summit. The views there are incredible. It looks like we’re standing on a cliff in the photos because of the way the rocks slope down, and walking among the rocks make the kids feel like they are really “climbing a mountain.”

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Jonas, Jessica, and I tried to walk down a short trail in the snow, but we didn’t last long. Jonas’s little legs got tired fast. (Jake didn’t have the shoes to even attempt it.)

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When we got back to Denver, we hung out with friends, gave the kids warm baths, and made chili. We all watched the Christmas special episode of Doctor Who and Jonas gave our friend Jackii one million kisses and climbed all over everyone. Jake got the kids into bed in their closet fort (which is their favorite part about staying with Jessica) and us girls watched Gilmore Girls.

Then Jake and I did dishes and laundry and packed up our stuff as much as we could so that it would be an easy morning leaving the next day. He watched a show on the iPad and I read more Harry Potter before bed (I read a bit over 200 pages over the course of the day), then lights out!

Are you playing along with monthly Day in the Life with me this year? I’d love to see a link to your take!

Pocket Your Year January

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I’m so excited to kick off the January lesson in Pocket Your Year today!

This month is for Establishing a Documentation Routine–it’s all about the photos and words, so establishing an early routine for capturing your life as you go is key! Let’s get good habits going early to keep you from getting overwhelmed later.

In addition to the main assignment and video presentation, there will also be weekly idea sparks in blog post format.

January’s sparks include:

  • Types of photos to take
  • Journaling ideas
  • Ways to back up your data

After this month of inspiration, you’ll never feel like your life is too boring to document again.

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If you are already signed up, head to class to get started! If you aren’t, what are you waiting for? Sign up before the early bird discount ends!

Still on the fence? Check out the pre-class materials to see a sample of what will be included in the class.

Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunt

Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunt | The Nerd Nest 5

For the third year running, the highlight of Christmas morning around here was a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt thing started in 2012 as a way to make the big present (the Harry Potter movies) more exciting. Jake and I came up with Harry Potter trivia clues that had Eliza searching all through the house. Next, in 2013, we did a Doctor Who theme with a fake adventure and little presents at every clue stop. Christmas 2014, actual stuff wasn’t at the top of both kids’ wish list—the scavenger hunt was. So we did it again, this time with a nerd mash up adventure.

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I wrote the clues out on Project Life cards, just because I have a bazillion of them, not even thinking about how I would document the scavenger hunt later. But at the end, when the kids had gone through their adventure in which Pikachu, the Doctor, and the Guardians of the Galaxy helped them to rescue Harry Potter and the DA from Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, I realized: Hey! I should save these and slip them right into the pockets. (Also, I’m pretty darn proud of myself for coming up with a story that connected all of the awesome nerd culture stuff we collected from sales throughout the year.)

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I used a photo from each stop on the scavenger hunt coupled with the card found at that spot. I numbered each photo with the numbers in this month’s Oh Deer Me Kit and included a comic book pow outline stamp (also from the kit) to back each number. This brought a bit of color into a really black and white spread. The little wood veneers also lent themselves to the nerd hero theme nicely.

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I thought that the Classic Geotag paperclips were a fun edition to each clue card too.

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This spread is pretty darn simple, but it got a LOT of photos and words into a small space, with a few embellishments that gave it a fun look that a tradition this awesome deserves.

How do you document your holiday traditions?

Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit and Classic Geotag paperclips // Project Life Midnight Core Kit, Design U pocket pages from this variety pack, and Project Life corner rounder // StazOn Jet Black ink.

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

At 4 Jonas…

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Last week was Jonas’s birthday! I think birthdays are a great time to capture a bit of what someone’s life is like in the moment, so I documented some of the things that really characterize him as he turned 4:

At 4 Jonas…

  • …loves babies and can make them giggle like magic, even if they are crying.
  • …could play with Legos all day long.
  • …prefers clothes with superheroes on them. Especially Batman.
  • …looks up to Eliza in the most adorable way.
  • …sleeps in a big kid bed.
  • …talks a bunch of gobbledygook and insists it is French.
  • …likes Eric Carle, Dr. Suess, and Olivia books the most.
  • …loves learning about science, especially space.
  • …is into Aquabats, Doctor Who, Adventure Time, Pokemon, My Little Ponies, and Star Wars.
  • …calls everyone his “beeeest friend.”
  • …has a ton of energy. All of the time. He’s going until he’s out cold.
  • …is always asking to spend the night at “Abba’s house” (his grandparents’).
  • …says, “Please? Nicely!” when he wants something.
  • …wishes that every meal could be macaroni and cheese.
  • …is so very sweet and considerate.
  • …climbs everything and has unnatural upper body strength.
  • …has long “rock star” hair.
  • …break dances whenever we turn on music.
  • …is constantly unintentionally hilarious.
  • …keeps his room super tidy, unlike everyone else in the house.
  • …thinks the best seat in the house is snuggling a friend.
  • …is so very very loved.

At 4 Jonas | The Nerd Nest 2

January Challenge | Document Your Goals

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Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nest Memory Keeping Challenge!

This month, your challenge is to document your goals.

With talk of resolutions, One Little Word, and the fresh reset feeling that the new year brings, you might have your goals for 2015 on the brain.

Getting them out on paper can help you figure out exactly what direction you want to go in the coming months, is a wonderful time capsule of who you are right now (I probably don’t want many of my goals from, say, 2007 in my life anymore), and is something for you to refer back to in a couple of months.

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For my take on the challenge, I decided to just have fun and get messy.

For the background, I played with watercolor. I set it aside for a few days, not positive where I’d go from there. When I really like backgrounds, I have trouble covering them up!

When I got this “Good Vibes Only” card from the Grand Central kit and it happened to match my watercoloring perfectly, I knew that they had to go together, but I wasn’t sure how. That question was answered when the Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit Arrived at my door–the huge cork 2015 and goal oriented transparencies are perfect for the goal page I had in mind. I had a serendipitous supply situation going on for sure.

But when I got all of my supplies together, I just couldn’t bear to disrupt the balance with my actual goals. So I did what I do when I run out of room on a Project Life spread: I attached the top 4×6 card to another card with washi tape so you can unfold it and read the journaling underneath.

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I just brainstormed goals without overthinking it. The actual goals would probably be slightly different if I did them at another time, but having a list like this really helps me to figure out the big picture of what I want. This helped me choose WEAVE, my One Little Word for 2015.

I love that when I start to feel like I’m getting off track, I can come back to this list. It also doesn’t really matter if I accomplish all of these things: just having what I want in writing helps to motivate me to get more done, and more is what I’m going for. Not necessarily all. (All can be crazy stressful.)

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What are your goals for 2015? 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.


Supplies: Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit // Studio Calico Grand Central kit // watercolors.

*I don’t remember where the washi tape came from, but I think a Studio Calico kit. I should start writing company names on the inside.

Project Life 2014 | December Day in the Life

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On the 15th of each month in 2014, I documented a Day in the Life, a concept originated by Ali Edwards. Each month, I added a full spread in between weekly spreads (extra full spreads in addition to weekly spreads is sort of my M.O. this year).

I’m doing this on the 4th in 2015, so set your calendars and join in this Sunday!

Here’s December Day in the Life:

Click the photos for a larger view.

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I usually start with cards when it comes to decorating spreads, but this time I started with the January Freckled Fawn kit. I had fun testing out ways to make my own cards with stamps, embellishments, and a mix of papers from 6×6 paper pads with white card stock.

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For this page, I made a title card by adding a tag and decorating it a bit with the end of the 2015 stamp from the kit, a sewed on Dec transparency circle, and the “today” leather diecut (which I added with pop dots). Writing around the tag gave me extra journaling space.

To make the 3×4 cards, I repeated the cloud stamp to make a filler card (alternating colors of a single stamp is a great way to create a pattern!), added a strip of days of the week washi tape to one card and put the date stamp over the day this spread covers, and added parts of white cardstock over patterned papers to give myself room to write.

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I decided to keep going with the sewing on this page as well!

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For this card, I added lots of itty bitty iridescent stars in a strip and sewed them on. To attach them initially, I ran a straight line of adhesive down the side of the card and added them onto the adhesive strip in a randomized manner. Then I ran the card through my sewing machine to adhere them more permanently.

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I added a strip of cardstock for journaling to patterned paper and embellished with a resin cloud and leather cloud. Sewing along the borders of the cardstock gave the card a more finished look.

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I still needed more room for journaling, so I added a bit of white cardstock to the negative space to the bottom left photo, added a stamped label to the bottom right photo, and attached on an extra white card to the back of the right photo with washi tape for even more hidden journaling. I’m planning on adding more digital journaling in 2015 so I won’t have to do this so often.

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I really love the way this spread came out, and I’m looking forward to making a lot more of my own cards in 2015.

What’s your favorite way to make your own cards?

Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit // Basic Grey Second City 6×6 paper pad // Studio Calico Take Note 6×6 paper pad // Project Life 3×4 white cards, 4×6 white cards, Design A page protectors, and Project Life corner rounder // StazOn Jet Black ink // sewing machine.

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Testing Out White Borders + Digital Journaling

Testing White Borders and Rounded Card Corners in Project Life | The Nerd Nest 2

One of the challenges in the open-to-everyone pre-class material for Pocket Your Year is to try out something you might want to implement into your pocket scrapbooking process for 2015. I decided to create several spreads with photos from December 2010 to test out white borders on photos. I also want to use more digital text in 2015, so I gave that a go and thought I’d share the results with you today!

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Going on here: Eliza dancing to the Nutcracker, our tree all decked out, my brother-in-law’s holiday concert, and super pregnant me.

The white boarders are really working for me, especially for these darker photos.

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I tried adding digital text to one of the (embarrassing) photos to include a funny story about trying to get up off of the floor whilst super pregnant.

I love that typing gives me room for more words. I just need to remind myself that the extra step doesn’t actually take me more time than handwriting.

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All of my spreads for December 2010 are Christmasy, but I didn’t want to stick with the same sorts of colors for them. Taking Eliza’s dress and my sweat pants as a queue, I mixed light blue and grey cards with white and gold for a pretty winter feel. I used cards from lots of different kits, but using the gold labels throughout helped to tie everything together.

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Going on here: The Anderson family Christmas party + a wedding celebration for Jake’s uncle and aunt.

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Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn January Oh Deer Me Kit // Studio Calico Walden Project Life kit // Project Life Gold Foil value kit, Live Brightly value kit, Midnight core kit, Design A page protectors, and Project Life corner rounder.

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

I’d love to see your take on the pre-class material! Share in the open-to-everyone Pocket Your Year Facebook Group.

I want to thank everyone who has already joined in. I’m so looking forward to pocket scrapbooking through the year with you! Registration will be open the whole year through, but take advantage of the early bird discount now!