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Class Quilt

Class Auction Quilt | The Nerd Nest 1

Every year, each class in Eliza’s school creates a craft project to sell at an auction as part of the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Last year, I did my part making a French Monument Bean Bag Toss game. This year, I was in charge of the whole class project!

When I was brainstorming ideas for a project to make, I tried to think of things that all 22 kids could contribute to that wasn’t a big piece of art. The only functional thing I could think of was a quilt, so I enlisted my mom’s help and got the kids to paint fabric squares!

Just so we’re all clear: this project is 40% the kids, 50% my mom, and 10% me.

Class Auction Quilt | The Nerd Nest 2

First step was the fabric squares. I cut down white quilting muslin to 12×12 squares (making sure to bring a few extra) for each child to paint with black matte fabric paint. I decided that going monochromatic minimized the risk of a big brown mess and would also help the quilt to look more modern.

I taped off the first couple of squares with one and a quarter inch painter’s tape so that each square would have a white border and so we’d have room to sew. Rather than use rolls and rolls of tape, I removed the tape from painted squares and used it to prep the next batch while the kids were painting.

I had the kids paint on a trash bag covered table 4 at a time and gave them lots of different paint brush sizes and complete creative freedom.

I brought parchment paper to separate each square so I could take them home to dry rather than leaving them out at the school.

I love how creative the kids got with the squares! Animal themes were popular, but there are also cool patterns, a black hole, and the grim reaper.

Class Auction Quilt | The Nerd Nest 3

I can sew a straight line, but I’ve only made one quilt and my mom helped me every step of the way with it. My mom is an expert quilter, so I had her hold my hand again. She picked the best pattern for the squares, told me how much fabric to buy, and cut down all of the black fabric.

I started out doing all of the sewing, but when it came time to put the rows together and nothing was lining up because my seam allowances weren’t consistent, she took over while I spent some time with the seam ripper of shame. (Hah!)

She also added the borders, the batting, the backing, and the binding. And quilted it. AND she whipped up a pillowcase in a flash for the extra fabric square. So you can see how giving myself 10% of this project was maybe a little too generous. My mom totally rocks.

Class Auction Quilt | The Nerd Nest 4

Class Auction Quilt | The Nerd Nest 5

The resulting quilt is gorgeous and these indoor photos I snapped in a flash before I turned it in don’t do it justice at all. Hopefully the bidders feel the same way! I’m so proud of the amazing work the kids did and so very thankful that my mom could make my idea a reality (because no one is going to throw Benjamins at the wonky quilt I’d have sewn if left to my own devices).


This year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering projects in the order I’m sharing them rather than the order that they were made so things will be simpler. This is project 1 of 52!

Documenting Inside Jokes

Shut Your Whole Mouth | The Nerd Nest 1

This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is you only know if…

Last week I talked about family language, and this take is similar. This time I went for inside jokes with friends.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Shut Your Whole Mouth | The Nerd Nest 2

This story has to do with the phrase “Shut Your Whole Mouth”–an inside joke between Jake, our friend Paul, and me. Because the phrase is used to tell a person to suspend disbelief when they’ve found a hole in a television story line, I chose a photo of the three of us watching a show.

I’d already included this picture in a Project Life spread, so I decided to take a chance to play. I changed the hue of the photo and repeated it three times in different colors, which reminds me of old TVs with bad reception.

Shut Your Whole Mouth | The Nerd Nest 3

The journaling reads:

“When I was reading articles to help me figure out where to jump in to Doctor Who, one had an FAQ section that had an answer ‘SHUT YOUR WH**E MOUTH and suspend disbelief like a good fan’ to a question about the TARDIS looking like a phone box. Paul, Jake, and I adopted a PG version of that whenever someone calls out a story hole in a show.”

Shut Your Whole Mouth | The Nerd Nest 4

Do you have inside jokes with friends? What’s your you only know if… take? Share your take with a link in the comments below! You can also use the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge on social media.

Make sure to check back on Mondays throughout the month for other takes from me and guests.


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.


Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn February Oh Deer Me kit, September 2014 kit (Say What? sticker), and December 2013 kit (arrow and epoxy button sticker) // Elle’s Studio Sycamore Lane Happy paper // Echo Park paper // Kelly Purkey card // Project Life journaling pens // Studio Calico Hello Forever sticker // Amy Tangerine stamps // Color Box ink // Prima ink.

30 Days of Lists

30 Days of Lists March 2015 | The Nerd Nest

30 Days of Lists is back for another round this March!

#30Lists is my favorite challenge. Making a list once a day is something I can always do to document myself. I really love looking back at my past lists, because they capture who I am at the time better than any other project I do. (Learn more here if you’re new to #30Lists.)

I like to be prepared, so I’ve whipped up my base now so I’ll be ready to go in March! There’s no wrong way to make a list, but here’s how I’m doing it this round:

#30ListsMarch 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Like the last few rounds, I’m using a Design F page protector to put #30Lists into my pocket scrapbooking album. The 30 lists take up two protectors (three sides).

This time I’m using one of the free printables from the class, designed by Megan of Marmalade Mementos for my lists. The lists are pre-printed, which looks nice and will save me a bit of time, but also means I had to do a bit of blurring so there would be no spoilers!

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.

*In addition to 30 Days of Lists and free printables, you’ll find discounts from the other sponsors and ambassadors in class too! If you’ve been considering signing up for Pocket Your Year, the discount for PYY in the #30Lists classroom is actually more than the cost of #30Lists! That’s a rad deal if I ever heard one.

February Day in the Life

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 2

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 Wednesday, February 4:

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 1

After getting Jake and Eliza off to work and school, Jonas and I had the house to ourselves for the day. We kicked off with him playing with Legos after his breakfast (he’s getting really funny with them, using his imagination and making up character dialogs) and with me doing a few chores, because we seem to be incapable as a family of doing the dishes at night. Also coffee. Coffee is important.

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 2

After that, Jonas watched a movie (Box Trolls) and I took a shower and got some work done. I had a video chat meeting with Allie to finish talking through an upcoming product update and to brainstorm for a future collaborative class.

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 3

I ordered lunch to be delivered because our fridge was empty and we have one car. Some weeks I am on it with meal planning and grocery shopping, others I suck. This is one of those no plan weeks.

Jonas and I played a “Lion Lunch” game while we waited for lunch to arrive. There are lots of food chips, and you have to draw a card and try to throw the indicated food chip into the lion’s mouth in a silly way directed by the card (under your right leg, over your shoulder, etc.) We quickly discovered that those chips are in no way making it into the lions mouth unless we basically drop them in instead of throw them.

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 4

After lunch (spaghetti with meatballs and sweet and spicy wings), we worked on letter sounds for a bit with a Leapfrog magnet toy. When you put a letter magnet in the toy, it sings a song about the sounds that letter makes.

Then we went back to doing our own thing. Jonas played with toys a bit more and then played the Harry Potter Lego video game for a bit, I finished reading Beloved with the cats and watched the snow fall.

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 5

When Eliza got home, she had a snack and then did her homework. Jonas did “homework” with her. I made and photographed a layout while they were busy with that.

Jake picked up a frozen pizza on the way home (because again, no food). We ate it while watching an episode of The Flash together, then Jake showed the kids some magic / brain tricks. Then we had a very short little dance party and started getting the kids ready for bed.

February Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest 6

After the kids were showered and in bed (Eliza read that Batman comic before going to sleep), I took a bubble bath (even thought I’d already taken a shower–I was very cold and wanted quiet) and started reading The Maze Runner. I finished up a bit of work and half watched New Girl with Jake (can’t decide how I feel about that show), then I read more in bed and Jake read articles on his iPad before 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!

Family Language

Document inside family jokes - January Nerd Nest Challenge 1

This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is you only know if….

One of my favorite ways to document with this challenge is to capture family language. My family has tons of weird things we say that started as inside jokes and have woven their way into our word banks. My mom and I still say “skibit” instead of “biscuit” sometimes because my little sister couldn’t pronounce the word when she was little. Lots of our family members jokingly say “fick it” instead of “fix it” because Jonas said it so much as a toddler (“I broke it, I broke it, I’ll fick it.”)

Some of our family language is born from cute child mispronunciations, but there are lots of other ways that we work things into our language too, such as with quotes from movies (“Way harsh, Tai.”).

Today I’m sharing a story behind one of those mispronunciations that is now worked into our family language.

(Of course this works for friend language too: I’m sharing a page about one of those later this month!)

Document inside family jokes - January Nerd Nest Challenge 2

This story is about Eliza going to the OBGYN with me when I was pregnant with Jonas. It was long and boring for her, but she loved the part when she got to hear the baby’s “heart beep”.

Document inside family jokes - January Nerd Nest Challenge 3

Do you have a family language story? What’s your you only know if… take? Share your take with a link in the comments below! You can also use the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge on social media.

Make sure to check back on Mondays throughout the month for other takes from me and guests.


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.


Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn February Oh Deer Me kit August 2014 kit and April 2014 kit (letter stickers, found in the subscriber shop) // Project Life journaling pens // Basic Grey Aurora 12×12 Cardstock Stickers Cancer paper, and Lynx paper.

Projects in the Works

DIY Valentines from Kid Art

I generally have tons of craft projects going on at one time, and right now is no exception. I feel like I didn’t finish much in January outside of the work / memory keeping realm (which is no small feat), but if I keep to my guns, February is going to be a different story.

This weekend, Eliza and I are making Valentines in the same manner as last year’s Doctor Who Valentines. Not sure what the theme will be this year, but I won’t be surprised if they’ll end up being different Doctor Who takes. But who knows, she might bust out some Egyptology or Mount Vesuvius. Because that’s Eliza.

Today I’m braving leading an art project with 21 third graders, which they make for an auction fundraiser–the kids are painting fabric squares, and my wonderful mother and I are making those fabric squares into a quilt. I figure the auction has enough big decorated pieces; I wanted to make something more useable. True to my style, however, that also means that I made it more complicated than it needs to be.

I’m working on finishing up family calendars, because recipients of my handmade Christmas gifts know to expect their presents in February. (Sorry, family.)

If we get any warmish not-windy days, I have some furniture to spray paint and a chair to dye.

I’ve been working on some Batgirl and Joker paintings I hope to finish up soon!

And my best guess is that the giant twin size blanket I’m knitting won’t be done by the end of February, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t add on another few feet.

What craft projects do you have in the works?

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | 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.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

This spread was inspired by my Doctor Who color crush!

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jake’s dad’s birthday, Jake’s step-mom teaching Eliza and Jake to play jacks, #Thursday3 selfie, buying new Converse shoes (10th Doctor burgundy!) and a TARDIS backpack for Eliza (it was 50% off at Hot Topic), the popularity of the Nintendo DS in the car, and my wonderful teddy bear cat.

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Tip: Rub ink on white cardstock if you don’t have the color you need on hand! I have NO burgundy paper for my yellow / gold / blue / burgundy color scheme and not enough golden yellow, so I used this trick twice in this spread. I then stamped a pattern on one card and layered embellishments on the other.

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Going on here: Jonas playing with my niece Ava (One of two. I know, it’s confusing.), Jake rocking a Space Invaders tie, donating blood, Eliza and Charcoal, more Ava, weird January rain, Jake testing out a standing desk at work, coffee with my Aunt, and dinner with friends.

January 25-31 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest

Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn February Oh Deer Me kit, January Kit (gold labels), September Kit (pearls), and star washi tape // Studio Calico Project Life kits // Project Life Lucky Charm Value Kit, Design A pocket page, Design O from Variety Pack 5 and journaling pens // Basic Grey Aurora 12×12 Cardstock Stickers and Pisces paper // Prima Farmer Jeans ink, Raspberry Pie ink, and Coitsfoot Stemens // Chic Tags gold letter stickers.

Pocket_Your_Year_Ad

Today in Pocket Your Year we’re talking about Fitting it all in. This month’s video presentation is all about choosing page protector designs!

January Reads

January Reads | The Nerd Nest 1

January is a big reading month for me because all I want to do is snuggle under a pile of blankets in my jammies and read a good book. This month was mostly all about Harry Potter, but I also read two book club books, listened to my first audiobook, and beta read a novel manuscript for a friend. Pretty wide range, despite how that stack is looking.

January Reads | The Nerd Nest 2

Here are the books I read in January:

Ragtime (1975) by E. L. Doctorow

This was the selection of my in-person book club.

Set in the early 1900s but written during the Ragtime music resurgence in the 1970s, this book is like the Forrest Gump: fictional characters seem to meet everyone and be everywhere important to the time period in America, historically speaking. It weaves historical characters such as Houdini, Ford, Freud, Booker T. Washington, Emma Goldman, and Evelyn Nesbit into the fictional story.

The issues of the day mirrored those at the forefront when the book was written: social stratification, structural racism, women’s sexual revolution, black militancy, lack of equality in the eyes of the law, and workers rights.

Over one hundred years after the book takes place and 40 years after it was written, these issues are still relevant. The book reminds me both how far we’ve come and how little we’ve changed.

Yes Please (2014) by Amy Poehler

I love Parks & Rec and Amy Poehler, the Internet is crushing on this one hard right now, and I needed something to listen to while cleaning. Let’s go.

I didn’t read this one, I listened to the audiobook. It’s the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook as an adult, but I figured listening to someone read their memoir to you, especially if that person is a hilarious comedian, is the way to go (especially if they invite other fun guests to read too). If you’ve got audiobook recommendations, I’d like to hear about them.

I thought the book was both funny and soulful, but I’m not sure if celebrity memoirs are really my cup of tea. I connected with Poehler’s perspective on how difficult it is for a woman to carve a place for herself her industry, but I think that I’d personally rather hear about that struggle from someone in a different field.

Poehler is so likable that I found myself nodding along to things that I disagree with; I had to take a step back. I know that there has been a lot of support around Amy’s, “Good for you, not for me.” I’m not a fan. There’s a difference between respecting others’ choices and being an advocate for change. I think fighting misinformation is more important than making sure others don’t feel judged, because those feelings are often what prevent people from admitting they are wrong when there are facts right in front of them. It’s not woman on woman violence to disagree with someone or to argue your perspective. Saying otherwise is just another way to silence women.

Emma (1815) by Jane Austen

This was the January selection for the Novel Tea Book Club.

Funny story: when I was younger, I loved the movie Clueless, which is based on Emma, so the whole book was narrated in a Vally accent in my head. Couldn’t help it.

I loved the development of Emma’s character and reading about the results of her meddling, but books about “society” are not my favorite. Nor are romances in general. I’m irritated by social niceties and subtleties, but even so, reading into the subtext of Austen’s dialogue was interesting. It was like solving a puzzle.

This is a book I’d probably enjoy reading in a literature class than for pleasure.

(I watched a movie adaptation after finishing the book, and it was one of the very rare instances wherein I like a movie more than the book: Gwyneth Paltrow rocked it.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) // Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) // Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003) // Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005) / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) by J. K. Rowling

This month I also finished up my almost annual re-reading of the Harry Potter series. This time it was even more fun, as I was reading along with a group. These books feel like home to me and I get something different out of them every time I re-read them.

This time I paid close attention to Rowling’s character markers and how she creates such a large and diverse cast of memorable characters. I also read from a feminist critical theory perspective to reflect on some of the series’s shortcomings.


This month I was also a beta reader for my friend Amy’s upcoming book. I’ll share a full review when the book releases, but meanwhile check out her author site and get on her mailing list so you’ll know when the book releases!


January Reads | The Nerd Nest 3

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.

January Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

On the 4th of each month in 2015, I’m documenting a Day in the Life, a concept originated by Ali Edwards. Each month, I’m adding a full spread for Day in the Life in between weekly spreads into my pocket scrapbooking album.

Here’s January Day in the Life:

Click the photos for a larger view.

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

Super simple spread this time with an insert so I’d have room for lots of words! I might stick to this format for the rest of the year.

January Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest

If you are playing along, charge your camera batteries for tomorrow!

Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn February Oh Deer Me kit // Studio Calico Project Life kits // Basic Grey Aurora Taurus paper // Dear Lizzy paper // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A pocket protector, Design T from Variety pack 5 page protector, 6×12 page protector // Kelly Purkey letter stickers // ribbon // Garamond font.

February Challenge | You Know If…

Document the things you only know if...- January Nerd Nest Challenge

Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nest Memory Keeping Challenge!

This month, your challenge is to you only know if….

Document secrets, inside jokes, or other things that only a select group of people know.

Think things you only know if you grew up with your family, live in your region, love your sports team, are a part of your fandom, work at your job, listen to your music, or were born in your generation. These are the things that can bind groups of people together and are fascinating to those not part of the “in group.”

Document the things you only know if...- January Nerd Nest Challenge

For my take on the challenge, I decided to document things about my house you only know if you live here (or hang out here as often as my friend Paul does). These are little quirks of the house you have to know to keep things running smoothly in it.

I love that this is the sort of documentation that is ongoing, so it can be used to fill in gaps in a chronological album. I took the doorknob photo last November and made the rest of the page last week, but the page is on the back of a One Little Word assignment for November. It’s way more fun to fill those spaces with information like this than it is to just slip some patterned paper back there and call it a day.

Document the things - January Nerd Nest Challenge

What’s your you only know if… take? Share your take with a link in the comments below! You can also use the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge on social media.

Make sure to check back on Mondays throughout the month for other takes from me and guests.


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 February Oh Deer Me Kit, cork arrows, and transparency // Becky Higgins Project Life Midnight Core Kit and journaling pens // Allison Kreft transparency card // Coco Daisy letterpress card // We R Memory Keepers page protector.