Skip to Content

Evaluate Last Year’s Memory Keeping | Nerd Nest Challenge

January Nerd Nest Challenge

The January Nerd Nest Challenge is to Evaluate Last Year’s Memory Keeping.

Now that we’ve settled into the new year a little bit, it’s a good time to decide how you’ll like to tackle memory keeping for this year. Of course, you don’t have to change anything up for the year or even have any sort of system or plan, but I like this time as a reset, especially since my albums are ordered chronologically and a new year is a good time to initiate a change.

I find that evaluating the last year helps me to make decisions about the year to come. Did I take on too much? How much did I actually make verses how much do I plan to do? How much product did I buy / subscribe to vs. how much did I actually use? What are my favorite projects and which ones do I not like so much?

Answering these questions helps me to tweak what I’m doing to make things work better for me and doing a bit of looking back on what you made last year can do the same for you!

I’ll post my reflection and plan for 2018 next week, but for now I’m going to think it over and peruse my projects!

How can last year’s memory keeping help you decide your system for this year?

I want to see your take on the challenge! Share a link in the comments or use the hashtag #nerdnestchallenge on social media!

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites 5

1. It’s just better when everyday things are cute. It’s been really cold here in Kansas City, so a little Ototo Nessie Ladle peeking out of my soup is making me very happy right now. I also love that the ladle is practical–it stands up, so no more ladle sliding down and falling into the pot!

2. I read The New Yorker article How essential oils became the cure for our age of anxiety: Aromatic oils have become big business. But are they medicine or marketing? when it was first published last October, but I wanted to share it here because I’ve seen so many people gushing about essential oils and the company Young Living in the scrapbooking community lately.

The company is making very dangerous claims, is set up as a pyramid scheme, has participated in illegal trafficking, and there is evidence of terrifying medical malpractice from founder Gary Young: “Stirling said he was also alarmed by a video he saw of Young, whose only medical degree is a doctorate in naturopathy from an unaccredited school, performing gallbladder surgery and giving essential oils intravenously at the clinic in Ecuador.”

I love the scent of eucalyptus spearmint for a relaxing bath, but I’m not going to try to convince people it will take the place of a flu shot of cure their cancer.

If you don’t have time for the full article, I recommend at least taking in this snippit:

Representatives of both doTerra and Young Living like to highlight the medical benefits of their products. “There are literally thousands of studies on the benefits of essential oils,” Hill said. In fact, there have been very few large-scale, peer-reviewed studies of essential oils’ use on humans, and their conclusions have been relatively modest. It appears that lavender may improve sleep quality and duration, and that peppermint may reduce symptoms of headache and irritable-bowel syndrome. Many more studies have looked at oils’ impact on cell cultures in a lab, sometimes with encouraging results. Some oils have been shown to have antimicrobial effects, and to work synergistically with antibiotics. But the conclusions reached by scientists are beside the point for many consumers. “I’ll use my wife as an example,” Hill said. “She’s not going to be able to tell you the first thing about chemistry. Put a research paper in front of her—zero interest. And that’s probably how most people are. What’s real to them is the experience they’re having.”
The Food and Drug Administration is charged with preventing sellers of alternative-health products from making unfounded medical claims. Without ample independent testing, companies can’t assert that their products prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure disease. They get around this by relying on abstract words like “vitality” and “balance,” and by talking in vague terms about general body systems or mild issues that don’t rise to the level of disease. Young Living and doTerra have attorneys on staff to insure that product descriptions are within legal bounds.

3. Back to the lighter side of life, Bryers Salted Caramel ice cream is addicting. Add a little hot fudge? Oh my goodness.

4. I’m in home improvement research mode, and one of my favorite resources right now is See Jane Drill. Many DIY videos I’ve watched are light on the information in favor of giving a more polished presentation, but these are focused on actually helping you do things correctly. I’m using the amazing tips in how to caulk a bathtub next.

5. My mom gifted us this Orb mini pendant light for Christmas and it is a fantastic edition to our entryway! I love it from every angle. Here’s to slowly replacing the boob-looking lights in my house this year!

6. I read about the bi-monthly book subscriptions from The Alignist in Poets & Writers this week and I’m very excited about it! The fiction books are deep dives into different regions of the world and are accompanied by information and expert analysis to understand the real-world conditions that the characters face. There is also a subscription that includes ethically sourced items from the region and recipes to help the book come to life. My two greatest loves are literature and sociology (experimenting with food is high up there too), so this seems handmade for me.

What are you loving this week?

2016 December Daily Album

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 1

This week I completed my December Daily album for 2016!

Last year, I did not make anything for this album at all: an extra craft project was not realistic at the time. But I did the documentation, chose photos for each day and put them in a folder, so I could Document Now, Make Later and work on the project when it made sense for me.

In November (maybe it was even October?), I decided to harness my excitement about the upcoming December Daily after getting my supplies for 2017 and got to work on my 2016 album. Before December started, I got all of my photos printed for this album, got them into page protectors, and chose / slipped in cards from the 2016 December Daily kit that I wanted to use.

Then I set it aside and worked on my December Daily 2017 album once December rolled around.

(Click on the photos for a larger view.)

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 2

Selected Supplies:

I used the numbers that were in the 2016 December Daily kit for last year’s 31 Scary Days project, so I decided to dig into my stash of 2015 December Daily supplies for numbers to use in this album. I needed more than one set, because I started the album in November instead of December to accommodate “early” Chirstmas-y stories, so I alternated between using gold numbers from one of the 2015 mini kits and numbers from the December Daily Kelly Purkey Mini Kit. The gold numbers only went up to 25, so I did some creative cutting when I used them for the days after that.

Other than the numbers, sticking to two kits to complete this project + having all of the photos printed out made it easy to work on this a bit here and there on my kitchen table during winter break when the kids + extra babies were chaos and I didn’t have much time at my desk.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 4

It’s really December+ Daily, since I included a few days in November that had holiday stories I wanted to tell. Sometimes I start in December, a few times I’ve started with Thanksgiving. Sometimes I stop at December 25, usually I keep going until the end of the year. I don’t worry about the albums being consistent from year to year, I just think about what stories I want to tell each time.

In 2016, November included hanging Christmas lights, going to see holiday decorations at Crown Center, buying our ornaments for the year, and Eliza’s school winter concert, so I started with November 27th.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 5

I liked using the 2×2 pockets pages when I had a bunch of photos to include on a day. I really liked the combination of the small photos and large photo print on this spread.

I also like the peek into the next page: I left three of the squares empty except for a few star sequins in each.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 6

To work with the 2×2 page protector on the reverse side, I cropped a 4×6 photo into six 2×2 photos. I backed the other filled squares with a bit of patterned paper.

I love including the story of the ornaments my family picks out each year. For 2016, I chose the Iron Throne from a Game of Thrones, Jake chose a Rouge One Storm Trooper, Jonas picked Kylo Ren, Eliza chose Harley Quinn, and Ava picked Dory. I love that our tree will tell the story of what we each were into over time and pop culture that is important to us over the years.

The other ornament is from my friend Steph’s awesome pottery shop.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 7

Eliza’s winter concert + going to see Zadie Smith speak. (Eliza always asks questions at these sort of events. I love how brave she is.)

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 9

Lunch at school with Jonas for birthday month celebrations + stamping Christmas tags with the kids, who wanted in on the craft action while I was making my #30Lists book.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 11

Picking out our tree and bringing it home in our little red wagon + a lunch date after a rough day–my great-grandpa passed the night before and we had just come from a fostering case plan meeting.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 12

Getting the lights up + Jonas’s winter concert.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 13

First snow and Jonas’s Lego ornament creation + Ava and Charcoal getting warm on top of the heat vent.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 15

Decorating the tree.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 16

The Book of Mormon with family.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 17

Reindeer pulling the covered wagon in our neighborhood.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 18

My great-grandpa’s funeral service + the joy Ava brings (she just radiates).

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 19

Jonas’s class party + some of the holiday art he made in class.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 20

Eliza’s class party.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 21

Pretty frosted window + snow day: shoveling snow, drinking hot chocolate, seeing Rouge One, painting ornaments.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 22

Letter to Santa + holiday food shopping.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 23

The birth of my niece Tierney + a semi-date with Ava (what we called “dates” without the big kids since not many people were approved to babysit her and we took her with us on dates a lot).

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 24

The beginning of the Christmas parties! Christmas Eve Eve with my step-mom’s side of the family and brunch with my Dad’s side.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 25

Christmas Eve continued with Ava’s first Dad’s family and Jake’s Dad.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 26

Christmas morning + scavenger hunt game.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 27

Christmas brunch with my Mom’s side.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 28

Us in Christmas jammies + Christmas dinner with Jake’s Mom’s side.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 29

Making a tree trunk candle holder with my father-in-law + Ava visiting her Granny and Friendsmas.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 30

Aunt Savannah brought a gingerbread house for the kids to make!

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 31

Jonas’s birthday + Eliza and Jonas decide to both open their birthday presents from us on Jonas’s birthday (since our family party for both of them is by her b-day a week later).

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 32

Ice skating with friends on Jonas’s birthday!

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 34

Finishing up my 52 new recipes for the year + a chill New Year’s Eve at home.

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 36

A pocket for all of the holiday cards we received!

Holiday Album 2016 | The Nerd Nest 37

I’m so happy to have this album finished! I hope this inspires you to work on an older project–it’s never too late!

Now I’ll be working on finishing up my 2017 December Daily. I worked on it real-time for the first half, but then just focused on the documentation part for the second half of the month. Now it’s time to make later!

Too Small Knit Hat

Too Small Knit Hat | 52 Projects The Nerd Nest 1

I finished my first project of the year…and it didn’t turn out how I intended.

I’m a beginning knitter and have mostly made very easy projects like big all-garter stitch blankets and a few scarves. I tried making hats a few years ago, and I love them even though they’re a little bit on the gnome-looking side.

I decided I was going to make a hat for my step-mom for Christmas and set off to make a Red Heart East-Fit Ribbed Hat, a pattern I found to go with the Petunia Red Heart Unforgettable Yarn I thought she’d love.

Too Small Knit Hat | 52 Projects The Nerd Nest 2

This was my first time knitting a hat that was meant to be sewn together at the end instead of in the round and I feel silly for not realizing how small it was until I started putting it together at the very end. I started laughing so hard when it was basically looking like a doll hat that I couldn’t even tell Jake what was so funny through the laughter tears. So instead of a hat for my mom, it’s a hat for Ava. Or maybe even my baby niece.

I would have caught this if I’d made a gauge swatch like you are supposed to, but I was having trouble getting started and by the time I got to a point where I was doing it mostly right, I wanted to keep going. I hadn’t purled in over a year and it took awhile to get back into the hang of things.

I also kept adding and dropping stitches and tried to self-correct as I went, but by the end I realized what I was doing wrong (mostly purling incorrectly at the beginning of rows) and had stopped doing it, so my lines will be much straighter next time too!

Too Small Knit Hat | 52 Projects The Nerd Nest 3

Messing up is part of being a beginner. I learned from this one and the next one will be better! And I won’t have to restart it five times (hopefully) like I did this one. I really thought this project would take me a week, but since it took two months and I need to make it larger, it might not even be cold anymore by the time I’m done. So I guess that will mean I have a gift ready for next year: hah!

Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 1 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites 4

1. I was sick recently and binged myself a bunch of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – and now I’m re-watching it agin from the beginning with Jake. Feminist musical comedy? Yes please. The first two seasons are on Netflix. (Kristin has been trying to get me into this for like a year.)

2. One of my favorite additions to my kitchen arsenal last year was a Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker – It has removable plates so it’s easy to clean, satisfies my inner Leslie Knope, and is great for so much more than waffles!

3. Which leads me to this book: Will It Waffle? The subtitle of the book says it all: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron. There are a few actual waffle recipes in there (all delicious), but mostly the book is dedicated to other things you can make in a waffle maker. Everything I’ve made has been excellent. My favorites are rosemary waffled hashbrowns, blueberry muffles (muffle waffles), and fwaffle (waffled falafel). Bring on the crispy goodness.

4. Jake’s been a big fan of his big Yeti for a long time now, and he got me my own aqua 20 YETI Tumbler. I LOVE that it keeps my coffee hot for hours–which is lucky because when I bought a replacement coffee pot recently I accidentally got one with no heat plate under the carafe. After I’m done with my coffee for the day, I clean it out and fill it with ice water–there’s still ice when I wake up in the morning after filling it before bed! It’s kind of a miracle.

5. I’ve been reading more home improvement / decor things lately to help get me into the mood to work on my house, and a long time favorite I keep going back to is Vintage Revivals. Her tagline is “Fearless DIY” and that about sums it up! Mandi and her husband are currently renovating an industrial building into their new home and I’m really enjoying following along.

6. I’m super excited to see ladies tell their stories with the Awesome Ladies VIP Book of Me workshop this year! I haven’t decided how I’m going to play along yet, but if you are participating, I’d love to hear your plans!

What are your favorites right now?

Mantras That Motivate Me + Creative Jumpstarts

Nerd Nest Creative Jumpstarts Newsletter

Are you signed up for my weekly creative jumpstarts newsletter? This month I’m talking about different creative mantras that work for me–and each one comes with a free printable!

Document Now, Make Later | The Nerd Nest

Today’s newsletter is about my memory keeping motto: Document Now, Make Later. It comes with this free printable so you can keep the reminder visable. (Don’t worry–if you sign up after today’s goes out, there will still be a way to access missed jumpstarts.)

I hope sharing what motivates me to do what I love helps jumpstart your creativity so you can do more of what you love! Sign up here.

52 Projects 2017

52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest

I started making it a goal to complete 52 projects in a year in 2014 as a way to inject more creativity into my life and to motivate myself to do projects that aren’t so fun. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. They can be done by myself or with assistance. The point is to MAKE.

I love the goal of trying to complete a project about once a week, though I end up completing of them at the end of the year as gifts and due to extra free time with my husband Jake’s long December time off.

Most of the time I’ve lost count, but this year I kept up with sharing on Instagram. Here’s a recap of my 52 Projects for 2017!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 1

1. Music Video Extra – My friend Jesse from The Sexy Accident invited me to be an extra in their music video, I’m Going to Love Your New Boyfriend, shot by Friend Dog Studios. It was such a cool experience to get to see behind the scenes to see how a professional music video is made. I loved walking around and getting photos for the band throughout the day to record the experience. (And hey–I’m even in the still frame for the video on You Tube! Pretty cool.)

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 2

2. Jonas’s 100 Days Project – For their 100th day of school, Jonas’s class had a pizza party and made posters with 100 items on them–10 groups of 10. This poster represents a couple of hours in glue dot helping.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 3

3. Fixing Blitz – I have the kids put all of the broken toys in one spot and then I go on a fixing blitz every few months. Taping board books, sewing up split seems, re-attaching legs, that sort of thing.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 4

4. Eliza’s Hamilton Valentines – I turned Eliza’s Hamilton drawings and phrases into Valentines for her! I scanned in her images and added a Hamilton star, then printed a bunch out on pages so we could cut them up and she’d have her own personalized Valentines to hand out.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 5

5. Jonas’s Robot Valentines – I did the same thing for Jonas, scanning in his robot drawings, adding punny sayings, and throwing in a heart image.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 6

6. Cardinal Stocking – I couldn’t find a stocking that matched the 4 felt ones we had, so after a few years of Ava having a mis-matched stocking, I made one! (Though they swapped around and Eliza called this one.) couldn’t find another stocking that went with the four we already had, so I made a new one! I used a cardinal pattern from Down East Thunder Farm. My hand stitching isn’t great, but I think they look good all hung up together!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 7

7. March Gardening – Daffodils popping up meant it was time to get the gardening going. I planted fairy rose clippings (which didn’t take), cleared up my chocolate mint (smells so good), popped some bulbs into the ground and did a ton of raking.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 8

8. Embroidered Chair Holes – Embroidered shut some chair holes during movie time over a few days. At least the holes won’t get bigger now. (Cats + kids = can’t have nice things.)

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 9-11_2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 9-11

9-11. Coaching / Model / Poster for Jonas’s Robotics Team – I’m so proud of Jonas’s robotics team! Coaching the little kids required infinite patience, but it’s so cool to see what they can accomplish. This year they needed to research an animal that shares a habitat with bees and propose a solution to a problem that habitat faces. They learned that bees and several species of birds both need dead trees to live in, but people cut them down so they aren’t in danger of falling. They built a model of a fake hollow tree in a park as a solution, complete with a motorized pulley platform to help move injured or baby birds. They won the teamwork award at the competition!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 12

12. School Action Art Project – This is the art project for Jonas’s class’s contribution to the school auction! The kids did a thumbprint background and I used Kansas City skyline clip art to make a stencil and painted that on. The goal was actually to paint in the background and have them make a thumbprint skyline (idea from Pinterest), but the thumbprints took too long and I didn’t get enough of them, so I improvised. Kindergarteners are the cutest artists.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 13_2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 13

13. Attack of the Attic Squirrels – My house was leaking and we thought that it was because squirrels had chewed a hole somewhere, because we could hear that they had invaded the walls in a room in our finished attic. Jake cut a hole in the wall and we cleaned out gross, squirrel-lived-in insulation, but the leak ended up being a separate problem. My grandpa sealed the leak on the roof, which was happening at the chimney’s flashing, with Flex Seal Spray Rubber Sealant Coatingand also used sheets of metal to patch the hole in the side of the house where the squirrels were getting in. This kicked off our project of getting the space behind the wall turned into a usable storage space.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 14__2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 14

14. April Gardening – I planed a lot of flowers with Ava in April–though she’s mostly into gardening for the “squirmies” (worms). She was very excited to use the gardening tools my mom got her for Easter.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 15

15. May Gardening – My favorite thing I planted this month was a rhododendron, which will grow huge and eventually give us a bit more privacy in our front yard, which is on the edge of the neighborhood near a very busy road.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 16

16. Building Ava’s IKEA bed – Ava was ready for a big girl bed! Jake and I spent a big chunk of a weekend building this bed, which is so cool. It has drawers underneath and a rolling shelf that pulls out of the headboard, so that freed up a lot of playing space! (Thanks, mom!)

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 17

17. Repainted Herb Tree – Sanded down, rust brushed, and repainted the herb tree my grandpa made. Last painting was in 2013, so it needed it.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 18_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 18_2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 18_3

18. Wedding Photography Assisting / Second Photographer – Jake and I shot a wedding for family of family. My main job was assisting–coming up with the poses, helping to position people, angling the reflector, and make everyone feel comfortable for natural looking photos. I also was the second photographer during the ceremony. I got some usable shots, but I’m so glad we rented a Canon 5D because our 7D really wasn’t up to the lighting challenges. First two photos by Jake with me assisting, last one is mine.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 19

19. Powerballs – I did a bunch of crafts with the kids during their short break between school and summer school. We needed to make a dent in the kits they got for Christmas/ birthdays that require adult supervision! We made bouncy balls, which are pretty cool but not very bouncy.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 20

20. Stepping Stones – I helped the kids make a bunch of stepping stones! I used molds from a kit for the circles ones and a mold we had leftover from last year for the owls. The kids painted and decorated them. The paint didn’t last long outside (these were a gift), so I’m going to try painting them with better quality paint with the kids and then sealing them.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 21

21.Photo Transfer Shirt – Ava went to Michigan with Jake and I for the Awesome Ladies Live retreat. She was still in foster care at the time and photos of her couldn’t be in the Internet, so having this shirt for her at the BBQ saved me from having to go around repeating this disclaimer (because when you hang out w/ a bunch of memory keepers, there will be photos). Thanks for the idea, Allie!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 22

22. Rainbow Popsicle Stick Bird Toy – I made a toy for my parakeet Apollo. I’ve seen similar things as budgie toys online and decided to make my own! To make it, I dyed popsicle sticks in water and food coloring (I had to leave them in the water for about a week), drilled holes in them, and threaded them with non-toxic beads. This is still a favorite toy months later!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 23

23. June Gardening – The herbs really got going this month!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 24

24. July Gardening – We ate tons of homegrown basil in July and the blackberries started producing too!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 25

25. Wood Mobile – I painted a Handmade Modern Wood Mobile in different shades of blue and teal for our front porch! It slowly rotates back and forth in the breeze and is kind of mesmerizing to watch.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 26

26. August Gardening – I spent less time gardening in August because I had a serious allergic reaction and couldn’t tell what caused it (probably poison ivy, but we didn’t find the poison ivy). I still kept everything alive, so I count that as a win.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 27

27. September Gardening – I planted some new flowers for fall (mums, coneflowers, an orange hibiscus) and I think that this giant hydrangea is the solution to what can go in this box with my chocolate mint.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 28

28. Tye-Dyed T-Shirts – My sister had a shirt tie-dye activity for the kids when we visited. I helped them get their tie-dye on (so hard to keep them from making giant messes) and figure out the configurations they wanted. I also did all the rinsing at home, which is the most time consuming part of the process.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 29

29. October Gardening – I saved the plant babies from the frost! I brought all of my potted plants inside to our hydroponic room until I can get them re-potted and spread throughout the house.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 30

30. Jack-o-Lanterns – Better late than never! We carved pumpkins November 2-hah! Jake got fancy helping Eliza with her cat and drawing a ghost for Ava. I had fun cutting out Jonas’s many faces and making a simple scary face for the last one. We considered just carving in turkeys, but the kids voted to keep the Halloween spirit going on a bit longer.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 31

31. Front Attic Closet Clean-Out – While we were working on a new closet / storage area for the back room in our finished attic, we thought we’d start to work on the area in the front room too (the hole in the wall and door was already there for this one, at least.) This one had a squirrel infestation that predated us buying the house, so I finished cleaning out all the gross squirrel-lived-in insulation and random stuff from previous owners in the second future closet space on our third floor. We found an old coin collection under the floorboards while cleaning up there!!!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 32_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 32_2

32. Slime – We got in on the slime craze and made slime using this recipe, which uses contact solution instead of straight borax. (We had an unsuccessful slime attempt earlier.)

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 33

33. Watercolor Garland I made a watercolor crayon resist garland with Ava for the front door. I drew Chirstmas shapes in white crayon and she painted away! Inspired by this mitten garland.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 34

34. November Gardening – Did tons of outside yardwork to get ready for winter, planted garlic (which needs a few freezes and will be ready for harvest in June if the squirrels leave it alone), and worked on repotting the potted plants inside.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 35

35. Reflect One Little Word Painting – Every year I’ve participated in Ali Edwards’s One Little Word project, I’ve painted my word on this canvas. I love painting over it again and again, which the knowledge that my words for each year are layered on top of one another. The metallic paint is perfect for my 2017 word REFLECT.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 36_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 36_2

36. Dyed Table Runner – My winter table runner had a red stain on it, so I dyed it teal. You can still see the stain if you look REALLY close, but I’m calling it a save! I used Teal Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 37

37. Marbled Clay Dishes I made these marbled clay dishes from a from a Brit + Co kit. The supplies were great but the instructions weren’t awesome. I did a bunch of alterations—things like the amount of clay the instructions said to use made no sense with the amount of bowls the kit was supposed to make. The bowl shapes weren’t happening, so I molded the three ones that turned out well onto the bottoms of upside down bowls and baked them that way. We used the leftover clay for a little ornament pendent.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 38

38. Ava’s Weather Cafe Curtains – I finally made curtains for Ava’s room! I have this type of curtains in all the kids’ rooms because they show off the leaded glass windows but still give enough privacy. The pattern is from the book One-Yard Wonders (though I cheat on the ruffles). Fabric is Fun Weather by Stolen Pencil on Spoonflower.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 39

39. Felt Garland – I made a simple felt wonky circle garland for our dining room window! Super quick and easy project–I just cut out wonky circles from a felt squares pack and sewed them together, one after another. I saw some in a room in HGTV magazine and thought it was perfect for this spot.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 40-46_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 40-46_2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 40-46_3

40-46. Family Calendars – We made 7 family calendars this year, for our parents (blended families), my grandpa, and Ava’s first parents. Love this tradition, but it’s a LOT of work! About 8 hours per calendar after choosing photos, editing, making collages, printing, and binding. We do different versions for everyone to include the different family branches. I left a few blank spaces in some so the recipient can add photos. Calendar printable from Paper Trail Design. For a video flip-through of these, click here and here (swipe to the second photo).

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 47

47. Christmas Scavenger Hunt – This year’s Christmas scavenger hunt was a success! We had them running all through the house, collecting “badges” with their clues to presents—camping gear leading up to a six person tent. Here’s to being more outdoorsy in 2018 (and to the Amazon alert app which let us watch that tent and pounce on it when it was on super sale).

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 48_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 48_2

48. Tree Trunk Candle Holder – Every year, we made a candleholder out of the bit of trunk cut off from our Christmas tree. This year’s Christmas tree trunk bottom is way shorter than the others, but the wonkiness is part of the charm. This time I used my father-in-law’s fancy drill press, but in past years we’ve used a bit on an electric screwdriver.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 49_2

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 49

49. Fix-it Blitz – A few times a year, I go on a fixing things rampage. I try to keep most of the broken toys in a central location so I can batch fix. I lost track of my hot glue gun forever, finally found bought a new one, then (of course) found mine two days later. So I hot glued all the things. That Iron Man has been waiting for his head black for over a year! And basically all of the Infinity Star Wars lightsabers has broken off. Lots of the old handmade ornaments needed new google eyes or parts glued back on. Fixed now!

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 50_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 50_2

50. Sub-Flooring in Back Attic Room Closet – Jake and I put in sub-flooring in one of the two attic closets we are making (We were surprised to find that one of the closets already had a floor)! Jake did the measuring (nothing is squared up and all of the measurements are weird) and the sawing, I held things and carried things and screwed some of the boards down. Taking it slow and step by step with this project. Jake also moved an outlet and widened the door frame.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 51_1

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 51_2

51. December Gardening – I’m so happy to have herbs in the winter I can’t even tell you. Bringing in all my potted plants was the best decision! I got all of these repotted in December and got some brick in a wrap around garden bed in the front of my house.

Megan Does 52 Projects 2017 | The Nerd Nest | 52

52. Ornament a Day – This project is really 25 projects in itself! The kids and I finished the last ornaments for our ornament a day project! Eliza and I did this project years ago, making an ornament each day in December until Christmas, but that got tricky as our family grew. This year she wanted to do it again, so we went with a more lax “it counts if ANY of the kids make an ornament” and made up our missed ones after the New Year. Love seeing these tiny trees filled with their creations! You can scroll through photos of ornaments here and can find the inspiration for these plus a lot more on my Pinboard for this project.


I’m so proud to have completed 52 projects for the year!

I plan on blogging more about projects as I do 52 projects this year, but you can also follow along with the hashtag #megandoes52projects.

If you’d like to join in and do this project with me, use the hashtag #52projects2018.

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites 3

1. My best friend Paul’s band FACEFACE just released their first music video: “We Awesome” (NSFW language). The song won’t get unstuck from my head and the walk-through video is all the more amazing because it was all done in ONE TAKE.

2. So the Kallax from IKEA is a scrapbooker’s dream, because there isn’t a lot of furniture that’s good for those 12×12 (actually bigger than 12×12) albums. I love the one in my office and we just bought another one for the weird hallway-ish space in our finished attic. We’re trying to make our third floor functional instead of half Eliza’s post-tornado room and half Room of Requirement. Can’t wait to put it together this weekend!

3. If you have an older iPhone like me and want to throw it after the recent update because it is so dang slow: never fear! It was an intentional decision on Apple’s part to try to prevent random shut-downs from older batteries that aren’t up to the job anymore. The solution isn’t a fancy new phone, it’s a battery replacement. They’re offering a replacement for cheap as an apology for not being very transparent about what they were doing, but it might take awhile for you to get your fix. Don’t wait: the drastically reduced price for battery replacement is a limited time thing.

4. It’s just better when regular things are cute. I received this Black Cat Teapot (The top comes off and is the cup! The infuser is right in there!) and I love it. My mother in law totally gets me.

5. My favorite place on the planet is City Museum: so happy to have gotten to go back for the third time last weekend. It’s indescribably cool and is sensory overload in the best way. You need to go. Plan a trip. Just do it.

6. My bestie Kristin and the amazing Amanda have started a podcast! Do yourself a favor and start listening to Crafty Ass Female stat. I’d love the content anyway (BECAUSE IT ROCKS), but it’s even better to feel like I’m getting to hang out with Kristin when I’m doing the dishes, so it’s extra special to me.

What are you loving right now?

Elastic | One Little Word 2018

One Little Word 2018 | Elastic | The Nerd Nest

For the sixth year, I’m participating in Ali Edwards’s One Little Word. My words so far have been finish, savor, weave, expand, and reflect. This year, my word is elastic.

There are a lot of unknowns in the coming year, and I know I’ll need to be flexible. I like the image of a rubber band–stretching to adapt to situations, holding things together, but retaining its original shape when the stretching is done.

It’s also a reminder to myself to not stretch myself too far. I’ve been thinking a lot about Sia’s song Elastic Heart: “Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart… / I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard / But I may snap when I move close”

I need to keep my goals elastic, because there are changes coming that might make long-term planning difficult. I don’t talk about our adoption story much because there is too much of it that is not my story to tell. I’m sensitive to that information being searchable in the future and during the fostering stage we couldn’t say much about our case. Our story is different that what you typically see depicted but is very common: we began as emergency family (kinship) fostering placement. This year I’m preparing myself for the possibility of starting the process over again.

The physics definition is “(of a collision) involving no decrease of kinetic energy.” Getting my energy up was a big focus for me last year, and I want to keep that up this year. I also like thinking about this metaphorically: if there’s a big emotional collision in my life, I want to be able to keep up my energy and not mope.

I also like the physical implications. Right now I’m watching a friend’s baby during the week and my one year old niece in the afternoons, and taking care of tiny ones requires a lot of sitting (feeding them, snuggling) and hunching (diapers, diapers). I know that, to feel good physically and mentally, I’ll need to do a lot of stretching to counteract that. So I’m going to try to start up daily yoga again and I’m signing up for my first ever exercise class: the kids’ dance studio has a stretch and strength class for adults during Ava’s dance class on Saturday mornings, so that will be perfect.

I think this is going to be just the mindset I need for this year.

I’m excited to dive into January’s prompt and to explore where elastic takes me this year.

December Day in the Life | Pocket Page

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 1

I still have a few more to make, but I’m so happy that I finished documenting Day in the Life monthly in 2017! I’ve been doing this monthly since 2013 and change up the day that I record monthly each year. 2017 I did it on the first, this year the random number generator determined it will be on the 10th.

Freckled Fawn December 2017 Kit

I was excited to finally get to dig into my December 2017 Freckled Fawn Kit and journal cards–I’m going to be on a roll with this kit this week!

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 2

I decided to use a repetitive layout for this spread so it would come together quickly. I used two Design P (all 4×4 square) page protectors and alternated photos (some full 4×4, some with 2×2 photo collages) with journaling cards. Since the cards were 3×4, I used 4×4 cardstock and framed two sides of them with washi tape, adhering the cards in the middle. I love the plus pattern that the cards make on the pages!

Selected products:

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 3

Going on here: Waking up to cat snuggles, casual day for the big kids, watching my friend’s baby, Ava taking a LONG bath, scrapbooking, cleaning out the freezer, planting garlic, going on a walk, feeding the baby.

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 4

I kept the embellishing to a minimum on most of the spread, since there’s a lot going on with all of those patterns and that awesome shiny glitter washi, but I did have some fun with the title card!

I used the word “December” from the vellum stickers to start and wrote “Day in the Life” with the red puffy alpha stickers. I used the tiny rhinestone heart stickers to separate the words, since they were close together and needed a bit more of a visual break. Lastly I added a cardstock diecut so I could include the date.

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 5

For the rest of the spread, I added a cardstock diecut to the center of each of the photo collages to finish off with embellishing.

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 6

Going on here: My sister-in-law dropping my niece off in the afternoon, clean fridge, Jonas is verIy proud of his Book-It certificate, big kids hanging out after school, baby #1 pick-up, feeding baby #2, cooking dinner (tried out Plated for the first time), pie for dessert, kicking off Ornament a Day, watching my niece until late so my SIL could go out, Wizard School for the first time for game night.

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 7

Other than starting Ornament a Day, Christmas celebrating was not in full swing around here on December 1. I wanted the spread to feel wintery, but not Christmasy, so I left out the green from the kit. The kit is much more versatile if you stick with including red OR green for non-Christmas layouts.

December Day in the Life | The Nerd Nest | Freckled Fawn 8

Are you planning on doing Day in the Life this year? Ali has three days planned for 2018–I highly recommend it!