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April Awesome Ladies Night!

Megan's April Awesome Ladies Project Close-Up

Awesome Ladies Project Community Workshop

It’s the last Friday of the month, and that means it’s Awesome Ladies day!

My friend Kristin challenges you to pledge two hours a month making something that makes you feel awesome.

In addition to an awesome community, this year Kristin has introduced a FREE classroom that includes a monthly sketch challenge and a place to share your awesome ladies projects. There’s also a chat tonight at 10PM EST!

Megan's April Awesome Ladies Sketch Close-Up

Sign up and see my pages for the month and the other works from the Awesome Ladies team. Then take on the challenges yourself!

I hope you join in on the Awesome Ladies Project!

Don’t forget that everything is on sale at the rukristin shop for Awesome Ladies weekend! Get 10% off of your purchase Friday-Sunday evening.

I’m an rukristin affiliate, so purchases made through that link helps to support the Nerd Nest.

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 1

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 the photos for a larger view.

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 2

Super simple spread this time around. This spread covers only three days, because the 4th is Day in the Life.

Just one kit (It Factor by We R Memory Keepers) and a few button stickers from an older Dear Lizzy line. I wasn’t sure about the It Factor kit because I couldn’t see past the sunglasses and pineapple icons, but once Kristin showed it to me more in depth, I realized that I love the colors and the journaling card patterns. And the B sides of the icon cards are way better for me. I need to remember to look at whole kits vs. the icons that are used to catch people’s eye to sell the kit.

Plus there are die cut cards, and that’s cool.

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 3

Going on here: Buried in babies (I watched my niece one day in addition to Jonas and our foster baby), Jonas and the babies waiting for Eliza to come home, Eliza making a drawbot with this month’s Tinker Crate, and feeding the baby (which feels like 45% of my life right now, at least).

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 4

Going on here: Spring coming! Yard work, new leaves, and rainy skies. Also a bit about the kids’ fashion choices (Jonas has been trying to wear 10 shirts at once and always wants superhero clothes, Eliza is experimenting with mixing and matching), Jonas loving Star Wars Lego III from my Dad, re-arranging furniture, Eliza working on a Darwin biography project, scrapbooking, and a visit from my sister-in-law Savannah.

April 1-3 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 5

Selected Supplies: We R Memory Keepers It Factor Albums Made Easy Journaling Cards // Becky Higgins Project Life Design S page protectors from Variety Pack 5, Design Y pocket protectors from Variety Pack 5, and journaling pens // Dear Lizzy wood buttons.

Cupcake Inspirations

Cupcake Challenge | Megan Anderson 3

Earlier this month, I participated in a Cupcake Challenge with some of the other members of the Freckled Fawn creative team! The cupcake challenge site is fun: they find images of pretty cupcakes and provide you with a color combination to be inspired by.

Our color combination was grass, berry and cream. I think Earth Day is a great day to bust out that color combo!

Cupcake Challenge | Megan Anderson 1

The colors automatically got me thinking of Easter, and since I received the challenge before this year’s Easter, I went back in time to a year I hadn’t documented yet.

For the patterned papers, I cut up Project Life filler cards. I’m more of a journaling card person, so I know I’ll never get through all of those patterns if I only use them in pocket pages. I also cut up the bag from a Freckled Fawn embellishment kit for some of the pattern spots!

Cupcake Challenge | Megan Anderson 2

Now I’m off to do some recycling / growing Earth Day crafts with the kids!

Supplies: Freckled Fawn April Oh Deer Me kit (wood chip butterflies, rhinestone image stickers, bag, and felt stickers), March Oh Deer Me kit (triangle epoxy stickers), February Oh Deer Me kit (vellum phrase stickers), Puffy Number Stickers, White Puffy Alpha Stickers, jewels, and label // Becky Higgins Project Life Live Brightly Value Kit and pens // Studio Calico Cream cardstock // Prima ink.

February Reads

February Reads | The Nerd Nest 1

Pretty wide range of books read in February! I devoured comics, dystopian YA, classics, historical fiction, and lovely literature. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Here are the books I read in February:

February Reads | The Nerd Nest 3

Beloved (1987) Toni Morrison

In this Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Sethe escapes slavery to the free state of Ohio, where she must protect her children and live with the ghosts of her past.

Toni Morrison’s writing is haunting and beautiful. I picked this up after reading A Mercy last March and these two books were all I needed to convince me I want to make my way through Morrison’s complete works. If you have a favorite, let me know.

This novel shows the depth of the psychological impact of slavery more than any other I’ve read, using supernatural themes to explore trauma. The emotions I felt reading this novel stayed with me long after I was finished, and I spent a lot of time exploring the meaning of the text.

(This is one of the works covered in Crash Course Literature, which I love.)

Illiad (760–710 BC) attributed to Homer

This epic poem tells the story of the Trojan War. At the end of the ten year siege of Troy by Greek states, battles and conflicts build to a face off between the most famed fighters from each side, Achilles and Hector.

War stories are not my favorite. I read this for academic purposes rather than for enjoyment. (I want to read all of the classics, because I enjoy understanding allusions to them in other works.) I went to see a theatrical interpretation of the epic in February, so I thought that was the perfect reason to motivate myself to read this.

It was difficult for me to read, mostly because I hated all of the characters and it was hard to get past all of the casual mentions of habitually raping “prize” women. Maybe I’ll do a little better with The Odyssey, because I’ve read and liked selections from it.

Also: the Trojan horse thing is not in the Iliad! I found that surprising. And Helen is pretty much an afterthought. Everything I thought I knew is a lie (or, rather, part of Virgil’s The Aeneid).

The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner

The Compsons, once Southern aristocracy, fall slowly into ruin in this family tragedy.

This book was really hard for me and I’ll need to read it again to fully understand it. The stream of consciousness style and time jumps made it hard to pick up what was going on: I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of a movie and the camera only gave me close-ups. I couldn’t get the big picture until nearly the end. I was a little lost. But now that I’m clear on everyone’s relation to each other and the main plot line, I can read it again and pick up on the things that weren’t making sense to me the first time through.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (2013) by Therese Anne Fowler

Based on the lives of writers Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. From Southern belle to Jazz age adventurer to woman trying to find her identity in the midst of a troubled marriage and looming mental illness, this book is an attempt to give depth and beauty to the life of Zelda, often written off as simply crazy, giving her the voice that was so often silenced while she was living.

This was the Novel Tea Book Club selection for February. I mostly listened to it on audiobook. I’m glad I did, because I can’t read with a Southern accent in my head and I think Zelda Fitzgerald’s voice came through so much better in the audiobook than it ever could have had I been reading it traditionally.

I really loved this book. Zelda was feisty and opinionated, but made sacrifices so she could be swept up in a dream world. Where most romance stories end, Zelda’s is just beginning.

The Maze Runner Series: The Maze Runner (2009), The Scorch Trials (2010), The Death Cure (2011), and The Kill Order (2012) by James Dashner

This YA dystopian series begins with a group of trapped, memory-wiped boys working to solve a maze to escape with their lives. They must learn about the people who put them there and the world outside.

I liked the world-building and the big-picture plot outlined in these books, but I didn’t like the writing style or the methods used to move the plot action forward.

The first book was my favorite, with a very Lord of the Flies feel. Talking about any of the following books in the series is impossible without spoilers, but I just didn’t like them very much—they were pretty much all get captured / escape / run over and over, and the answers to the questions that are supposed to keep you interested are pretty obvious. That said, there were some shining moments with very creative and imaginative situations (I really liked the beginning of The Scorch Trials), but those scenes weren’t enough to keep me. And the motive makes no sense.

Captain Marvel – Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight (2013) by by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author) and Dexter Soy (Illustrator), Emma Rios (Illustrator)

Captain Marvel Volume 2: Down (2013) by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author), Christopher Sebela (Author), Dexter Soy (Illustrator), and Filipe Andrade (Illustrator)

Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More (2014) by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author) and David Lopez (Illustrator)

What 9 year old me would have done to have a comic book character like this. Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel, takes the mantle of Captain Marvel and then goes on to totally rock. I like the more recent ones the best–super funny and set in space!

*I also read some issues of X-men, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn.

February Reads | The Nerd Nest 2

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.

Build on What You’ve Already Created

Creative Jumpstart 2015 #1 | The Nerd Nest News 1

A version of this content originally appeared in an issue of Nerd Nest News in January 2015.

Right now, think about something you’ve done in the past that you can build upon. Maybe it’s a scarf you started knitting and didn’t finish. Perhaps it’s the graphic design skills you learned that can be honed and improved. Maybe you have a blog post you could expand into a series.

Instead of starting from scratch, what can you expand or improve?

Creative Jumpstart 2015 #1 | The Nerd Nest News 2.jpg

For this one, I built on what I already created. I’m adding to my past albums, building on what I’ve started, when I’m all out of things I want to document about the present. For my 2010 album, I knew I wanted a page about the way my loft apartment was decorated.

I hunted through the pictures from 2010, picked four that represented some of my favorite corners of the place, and then got stuck. The photos were just what I needed in terms of documenting, but they weren’t very inspiring in terms of design.

Instead of starting a page from scratch, I took a look at where I’d be putting the page in the album. I was totally inspired by the colors I used in this layout I made last year. The page would be right next to this layout in terms of chronology, so I selected a few cards that just happen to match perfectly from the Lovely Project Life mini kit.

Creative Jumpstart 2015 #1 | The Nerd Nest News 3

I couldn’t make something I loved when I had the pocket page on its own, but when I built upon what was already in the album, I completely loved the result.

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!

Teachers from Around the World | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

Teachers from Around the World | Pocket Scrapbooking from 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 the photos for a larger view.

Teachers from Around the World | The Nerd Nest

This is one of those extra in-between monthly breaks thematic pages! This page proceeds the first March weekly spread.

I documented how thankful I am that Eliza has teachers from all over the world and the benefits I see from learning from people from different cultural backgrounds. The photos are of maps displayed in a hallway in Eliza’s school. The maps pinpoint where in the world the different teachers originally lived.

Teachers from Around the World | The Nerd Nest

I originally had a bit of trouble with this spread. I printed out the photos and moved on in my album, because all of the products I tried felt a little “blah”. Sometimes it is hard to work with photos that are mostly neutral colors if you don’t have just the right products to enhance the photos.

The maps in the Odyssey Studio Calico kit and the April Oh Deer Me kit got me out of that rut: they yellows, blues, and tiny bits of green pulled the colors out of my photos and the products supported the theme perfectly.

Teachers from Around the World | The Nerd Nest

Because weekly pocket scrapbookers like myself document as we go, you might feel like you “have” to complete a page or spread even though you are stuck. But as long as you have the photos and the stories to draw from, there’s nothing that says you can’t skip it until you get that inspired lightbulb moment!

Selected Supplies: Freckled Fawn April Oh Deer Me kit and wood chip words // Studio Calico 4×6 paper pad and Project Life kits // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A pocket protector and journaling pens.

Announcing My Details 2015!

Document YOU with My Details 2015, a workshop from Megan of the Nerd Nest and Kristin of rukristin.

Kristin of rukristin and I are back with another edition of My Details!

As memory keepers, we are often telling the stories of others. It’s important to document yourself too! This workshop will help you to capture meaningful details about your life so that YOU shine through in your recording.

My Details Sneak | Kristin's Album

My Details is for all sorts of memory keepers: we’ll be sharing examples in minibooks, traditional pages, pocket pages, and art journal pages. However you want to record your details is awesome–there’s no wrong way!

My Details Sneak | Awesome Class Documenting YOU from Megan of The Nerd Nest and Kristin of rukristin

This edition, Kristin is focusing on documenting her present while I’m focusing on documenting my past. Learn tips of documenting your life from both time perspectives!

Sign up for My Details -- a workshop all about YOU!

Class begins May 4–but don’t miss out on the live video chat for class with Kristin and I on May 2, (Inter)National Scrapbooking Day!

Sign up now and join in the amazing My Details community. Pre-class, filled with documenting tips and the original 10 prompts, is waiting for you!

8 Wood Chip Tips | #NNDailyTip

8 Wood Chip Tips | The Nerd Nest

Last summer, I began sharing a daily(ish) memory keeping tip on my Instagram under the hashtag #NNDailyTip. I recently decided to stick with a weekly(ish) theme for those tips, which I’ll then collect and share here!

Here are 8 of my favorite tips for using wood chips:

Add wood chips to the outside of pocket layouts as a way to break outside the grid. #nndailytip

A photo posted by Megan Anderson (@megan_nerdnest) on

What are your favorite wood chip tips?

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

Mom & Me

Mom and Me | Collaborate by asking family members for memories | April Nerd Nest Challenge

Looking through my childhood pictures, I found this photo of my mom and me in my grandparents’ pool when I was a baby. Of course, being a baby, I don’t have any memories from the time the photos were taken. So, in the spirit of this month’s Nerd Nest Challenge to Collaborate, I called my mom and asked her.

Mom and Me | Collaborate by asking family members for memories | April Nerd Nest Challenge

She knew exactly which photo I was talking about, but couldn’t remember anything about swimming with me when I was a baby (though she knew we did it a lot throughout my life). She did remember an awesome swimming story from when I was two that I’m saving for later!

I asked her a few questions, like “When did they get the pool?”. She remembered it was right around the time I was born and also remembered a few things about the atmosphere around the pool–the smell of honey locus trees and leaning over the side to see the bullfrogs that hung out at the base of the above ground pool.

Those sorts of things seem small, so it might take some questioning to get to information like this.

Mom and Me | Collaborate by asking family members for memories | April Nerd Nest Challenge

Who can you call to help you find more of the story behind the photos?

Make sure to check back on Mondays throughout the month for other takes from me and guests (remember that YOU can pitch a guest post!). There are so many great ways to collaborate in memory keeping.

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. You don’t have to be a memory keeper in the traditional sense–these are great prompts for blog posts too!

Supplies: Studio Calico cardstock, label stickers, and cards, wood veneer, and stars from past SC Project Life kits // Freckled Fawn letter stickers // watercolors and watercolor paper // Becky Higgins Project Life journaling pens // Prima ink.

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 1

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 the photos for a larger view.

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 2

I kept this spread pretty simple, using The Sweetest Thing kit from Kelly Purkey (sold out, but you can find the digital files for the stamp set here).

I like Kelly’s kits because of the simple graphic designs paired with bold colors. They’re very text based, which doesn’t always work for me, but when one speaks to me and I get it, the pages come together like magic.

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 3

Going on here: Jake and Jonas shoveling snow, Eliza getting into her hydraulics Tinker Crate, the kids and their cousin Avery piled on grandpa, the refinished hardwood floors and the mostly-decorated foster baby’s room, all ready for her to move in.

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 3.5

I stamped “love” on white cardstock and cut it out because it wouldn’t have shown up well on that busy background unless I’d have used black ink. Bonus: if you do this, you can easily stamp again if you missprint!

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 4

Going on here: The birthday card Jonas made for a friend, me reading (always), the kids painting backgrounds for the new critters, a bit about our new hermit crabs and betta fish, Jake vacuuming with help from the baby.

March 1-7 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 | The Nerd Nest 5

Selected Supplies: Kelly Purkey The Sweetest Thing kit and Amsterdam stamp set alpha // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A pocket protectors, Design M pocket protectors from Variety Pack 3, and journaling pens // Prima ink / Garamond font.