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EXPAND | OLW 2016

EXPAND - One Little Word 2016 | The Nerd Nest

For the fourth year, I’m taking Ali Edwards’s workshop One Little Word.

My word for 2016 is EXPAND.

I love that this word has practical and figurative meanings, so that it lends itself well to personal emotional growth as well as work and life goals.

I have some ideas already for how I’ll use this word to guide me in the coming year, but I’m also attracted to powerful imagery that I associate with the word, like a bird expanding its wings and the Grinch’s heart growing (three sizes that day!), pie charts filling up, and yeast expanding to fill a bowl. I’m not sure how those images will play into how I grow with my word this year, but like that the word that is strongly visual for me.

I even photographed and included a picture of a bird with a heart I drew as a teenager (which I think was based on a drawing in Spin or AP magazine for an article about Dashboard Confessional).

EXPAND - One Little Word 2016 | The Nerd Nest

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about relating to expand:

It’s my goal to expand my business this year. Some of these changes have already happened, including working with my amazing Creative Teams for Pocket Your Year and Nerd Nest Challenges, adding helpful additions to Pocket Your Year (lesson PDFs, creative team assignment takes, worksheets, and monthly giveaways), and working with friends on some future collaborations.

Other changes will happen later in the year, like releasing a bigger library of workshops and (hopefully) launching a small line of scrapbooking products.

I am always looking to expand my skill set, so continuing with 52 Recipes and 52 Projects will help me in that arena (the latter also helps motivate me to bust through my ever expanding to-do list). I’ll also be writing more: the best way to expand my skills is through practice.

I want to expand my knowledge, so I’m planning on reading more non-fiction this year. I want to focus especially on biographies and memoirs, so I’m expanding not only my knowledge base, but also my capacity for empathy as I immerse myself in others’ stories.

I’m also thinking about expanding hearts and how I want to approach this year emotionally. Last year was all about just keeping myself together (WEAVE was so perfect for that), but this year I hope to flourish as I continue to experience extended family conflict and difficult relationships.

Overall, I’m hoping for a productive year with a full, happy heart.

Are you participating in OLW this year? What’s your word?

EXPAND - One Little Word 2016 | The Nerd Nest

Selected Supplies: Ali Edwards One Little Word printables and Precision Pen / Seven Paper 9×12 Page Protector and Goldie Journal Cards / Dear Lizzy Sweet Swirl paper / Kelly Purkey White Alphabet Stickers / Dymo label maker.

7 Tips for Documenting Goals

7 Tips for Documenting Goals | The Nerd Nest

I share a daily(ish) memory keeping tip on my Instagram under the hashtag #NNDailyTip, then collect them here so you can find them easily later! This time I’m sharing tips for documenting goals:

How do you document your goals?

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

Keeping Track of Creative Ideas with Lisa | Nerd Nest Challenge

Today Nerd Nest Challenges Creative Team member Lisa is here to share her take on January’s Nerd Nest Challenge, Set Yourself Up for Success. Give a warm welcome to Lisa!

I love January for one reason; a fresh start. Am I right? A new year is a perfect time for that new project or goal to work for. What I usually do towards the end of December is to start thinking about different projects
I´d like to continue with in the new year, if there are some I want to be finished with and finally if there are any new projects I want to start. I let my thoughts brew a while, but I want to have my ideas ready for January 1st.

Keeping Track of Creative Ideas with Lisa | Nerd Nest Challenge

To help me keep track of my creative projects throughout the week/month I always have a new notebook for this fresh start. This year I decided to have a thicker one with tabs to divide it up in sections.

This year I am taking Ali Edwards´ One little word class so I made sure to have a section for that. The next section is for notes. This holds the largest portion of my notebook. This is where I scribble down quick ideas, quotes etc. for all my other creative projects. I am on a few design teams that I need to hold up with, so when I get an assignment I write them and any other info and ideas down here.

I also have an etsy shop so I have a section for orders and ideas.

The very last section is for sketches and such. This can also hold my never ending mind-maps :)

Use a Notebook to Keep Track of Creative Ideas | by Lisa | Nerd Nest Challenge

One other thing that makes a huge difference for me when it comes to being organized is that each week I write up all my fun, creative tasks all from which blog posts I´ll share, challenges I want to play with, photos to take to assignments I have to work on. Then when I am done I can either check it off the list or move the item to next week.

I hope that these ideas can bring you some inspiration!

Lisa is a passionate memory keeper who loves to document her little family´s life in scrapbooks. On top of running an etsy shop she likes to throw in a few diy`s here and there.

You can find Lisa here: blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy.

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing how you keep track of your creative ideas! Do any of you keep idea notebooks? How do they help you take action?

Pocket Your Year 2016 - A Year Long Pocket Scrapbooking Course from The Nerd Nest

Giveaway closed January 31, 2016 at 11:55pm CT.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #nerdnestchallenge on social media!

Develop Your Plan of Action | Pocket Your Year

Develop Your Plan of Action for Pocket Scrapbooking | Pocket Your Year January 2016 | The Nerd Nest

January’s unit in Pocket Your Year is all about developing your pocket scrapbooking Plan of Action. We are talking about the advantages to different approaches, so you can decide what will work best for you!

There is no “right” way to approach memory keeping, but there is a way that is right for you–this unit is designed to help you find your way. Learn how to come up with a plan that will fit your documentation style, your space, your time, and your process. Developing that plan will help you to stay in action with your pocket scrapbooking this year, so you are making memories instead of stuck trying to figure out how you should record them!

The Plan of Action unit in Pocket Your Year 2016 begins this evening.

Join now and develop YOUR plan of action!

Pocket Your Year 2016 - A Year Long Pocket Scrapbooking Course from The Nerd Nest

Pocket Scrapbooking 2016 | January 3-9

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

I’m keeping with my 2015 format for pocket scrapbooking in 2016–weekly spreads with breaks in-between months for extra thematic pocket and traditional spreads.

This format works really well for me with the amount of documenting I do!

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

Last week included Eliza’s birthday, so I included an extra insert to make room for more everyday photos so I could dedicate a whole page to the birthday girl.

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

I won’t be sharing all of my spreads this year–I have a feeling they will be mostly blurred out because our foster baby is so very photogenic (and a big fan of getting her photo taken).

This page is mostly just photos of the kids playing together, with some journaling about getting back to normal after the two week winter vacation.

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

The photos were really busy, so I kept the cards simple, with white bases. They are mostly from the Ali Edwards New Year Journal Card Kit, which I love because of all of the journaling room.

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

The front of the insert includes me working to kick off the launch of Pocket Your Year, lots of laundry after Jake fixed our broken drier, and Charcoal, who is my shadow.

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

The back includes my grandpa visiting to watch the little kids so Jake and I could take out Eliza, a homemeade pizza, and Jonas and Eliza snuggling. I used the larger journaling space to write about random observations from the week, including some of the things not covered by the photos.

This is a great way to use diagonally striped paper, especially if the stripes are light!

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

The last page is photos from Eliza’s birthday–hot chocolate and muffins from a neighborhood coffeeshop before school, opening her presents from us, making her favorite dinner and having sundaes for dessert, and playing Harry Potter Clue after the little kids went to bed.

Pocket Scrapbooking January 3-9 2016 | The Nerd Nest

I really love this spread and I’m excited to make more to document the rest of the year!

Selected Supplies: Ali Edwards New Year Journal Card Kit and Precision pen // Freckled Fawn transparency hearts from the Capture kit and numbers wood chips // Kelly Purkey Today kit // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A and Design B page protectors, and Design H // We R Memory Keepers patterned paper // Prima ink.

Pocket Your Year 2016 - A Year Long Pocket Scrapbooking Course from The Nerd Nest

P.S. Today is the last day for the early bird pricing of Pocket Your Year 2016!

Da Vinci: The Exhibition

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Last weekend Jake and I took Eliza to Da Vinci: The Exhibition, a traveling exhibit at Union Station.

It was a wonderful testament to Da Vinci’s genius, with exhibits separated into different areas of study: flight, physics, architecture and city planning, exploration, music, warfare, anatomy, and fine art.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

The exhibition took sketches and plans from Da Vinci’s many codices and imagined them in real forms.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

It was so interesting to see Da Vinci’s ideas produced at a grand scale, with information on how he came up with his ideas through study of nature or improvement upon existing inventions, what was and wasn’t successful, and how his working ideas were put to use during his time.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Eliza loved the interactive elements. Some of the machines were testable, and it was so fun for her to feel and observe them. She loves engineering, so at once being able to explore the history of these inventions and the principles of physics that make the machines work was great for her (I’m assuming something in our house will be working with a multiple pulley system in no time).

There was also an optional smart phone audio tour (bring headphones!), so she and Jake could be seen walking close, sharing earbuds, while I wandered around and read posters and placards instead.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

I loved that many parts of the exhibit were specifically for kids. It is so much easier to spend a long time walking, looking, and learning if kids can get their hands on some action periodically.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

I learned so much. Da Vinci made forays into so many more areas of study that I’d known–even inventing an early scuba suit!

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

I also had no idea he made so many military inventions–including a scythe lined horse cart to protect supply horses, an easily deconstructible bridges, and this tank!

You can also see a screen in the background–this was a rich multi-media experience.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

The scale of the art replicas was amazing, as was the background information about why and how each piece was created, its history in the world (including refurbishment and ownership), and modern ways of finding out more about the paintings, like using x-ray technology to learn which portion of a piece was created by Da Vinci and which portions were made by his mentor.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

We also had fun finding the Golden Ratio in his work and in modern works of art and advertising. And of course, no Da Vinci exhibit trip is complete without trying your had at the Mona Lisa smile.

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

Da Vinci - The Exhibition | The Nerd Nest

This was such a rich and inspiring experience. I can’t wait to use the exhibit to teach Eliza even more about Da Vinci and some of the things he studied!

Have you visited any exhibits about a single artist or inventor you loved? What were they about? What was your favorite part?

Papier-mâché Death Star Piñata

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest

Jonas’s only request for his fifth birthday party with his friends was a piñata.

I was all set to buy one, but then an artist friend inspired me–she told me about how easy and cheap it is to DIY (though she made a very involved Tie Fighter that sounded amazing and much more involved than this project). I decided to go for it. I remembered really enjoying the process when I made them as a kid.

I quickly gravitated towards a Death Star for the piñata–it’s already a circle! I can do a simple version that will still look good! It’s a satisfying symbol to beat down!

Usually I’d go straight for a balloon, but browsing online to check out the amazing work of those who have gone before me, I spotted this Death Star using a beach ball as a base. Brilliant!

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 2

We already had a popped beach ball (I taped over the hole) to work with. I got to work using strips of newspaper (I used grocery sales ad mailers) and paste (two parts water, one part flour) to cover the beach ball, setting it on a trash can to prevent it from rolling around. Jake also laid out a bunch of towels for me, because 12 seconds in and I was already splashing everywhere.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 3

The papier-mâché part was simple, if not a little time consuming. Dip a newspaper strip in paste, sluice off the excess paste with your fingers, and lay the strip on the beach ball, smoothing it out. I made sure to overlap strips slightly and change direction of the strips for each layer for extra strength. I did about four layers of newspaper overall.

If you don’t want to paint your project after it dries, you can also do papier-mâché colored tissue paper to decorate it!

This would be a great project to make with kids, if, you know, you weren’t making it the night before you were intending to use it (ahem).

So I had to keep chasing Jonas away or there would have been paste on EVERYTHING.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 4

I let the Death Star dry overnight, but the part inside the trash can didn’t dry. If you are not a procrastinator, you can flip your project after the top is dry to let the bottom dry. Because I was now at the morning of the party, I grabbed my heat gun and used it to set the still wet papier-mâché.

I used a bowl as a template and cut out a circle for the laser portion of the Death Star. This is a really useful part of the Death Star Design, because I was also able to remove the beach ball through the large hole, add the candy, and put in the hanging mechanism.

I saved the cut portion so we could inverse it and add it back to the project.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 5

I mixed some white and black acrylic paint and the kids and I went to town painting!

I added the black detail, but I did a very simple version–rectangles and thick lines were enough to show what it was supposed to be–a thing that is going to be destroyed two hours after completion does not need to be super detailed.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 6

Jake cut a hole in the top of the piñata to thread the rope through. He used a bit of plastic milk carton behind the knot so the knot wouldn’t pull through when the piñata started to get hit.

Then we stuffed it with candy and taped the laser circle back on!

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 7

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 8

Jake also figured out a creative way to hang it.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 9

This one project was enough to keep the kids happy–with a bunch of five year olds, one to two structured activities is enough. They mostly want to run around.

Tie Fighter Cheese and Crackers Activity | The Nerd Nest

We also had a little tie fighters cheese-and-crackers station to keep the kids busy while I was finishing up burrito fixings, an idea I got from this desert.

I also dropped some dye into milk to serve up blue milk, which probably only I got as a Star Wars reference, but made the kids happy anyway.

DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest 10

Overall this is was really fun project, and you’re sure to find a Doctor Who or Harley Quinn version in a few weeks, as Eliza really wants to do this for her party now too!


Each 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 in the order these projects are shared.

This is the first project for 2016, but I still have a few 2015 projects to share! I share my projects on social media under the hashtag #megandoes52projects, but since a lot of people expressed wanting to join in this year, share yours with a community of 52 Projecters at #52Projects2016!

Set Yourself Up for Reading Success with Emily F. | Nerd Nest Challenge

Set Yourself Up for Reading Success with Emily F. | Nerd Nest Challenge 1

Today Nerd Nest Challenges Creative Team member Emily F. is here to share her take on January’s Nerd Nest Challenge, Set Yourself Up for Success. Give a warm welcome to Emily!

Hello. Today I am sharing my take on this month’s challenge: Set Yourself Up for Success.

I have many goals that I want to accomplish this year and one of those goals is to read more. Last year, I purchased a ton of books, but I didn’t get to read much. I was either too busy or I just didn’t plan enough time. That is all going to change this year because I am going to take steps to accomplish this goal.

Set Yourself Up for Reading Success with Emily F. | Nerd Nest Challenge   2

There are three things that will help me accomplish this goal. First, I plan to set an alarm before bedtime (after my boys are in bed asleep). I plan to set an alarm at least 15 minutes after the boys are in bed so that I can be reminded to be prepared to read, get my book, and get a snack. Another alarm will be set that which will be the one where I am supposed to start reading. I would really like to read for 30 minutes everyday so I am setting an additional alarm which will let me know that my time up.

The second thing that will help me accomplish this goal is to only participate in one book club or challenge. Last year, I found out about several book clubs and was not able to finish a lot of books because I kept trying to keep up with so many books. This year, I will only participating in the NovelTea Book Club so that I won’t get overwhelmed with the number of books that I have to read.

Set Yourself Up for Reading Success with Emily F. | Nerd Nest Challenge  3

Lastly, I will be documenting how many times I read in a week as well as how many minutes I read in my planner. Since I check my planner multiple times a day, I will always be reminded that I need to read and write down my times and other book information.

I am certain that I will be able to accomplish this goal by using these three steps/ways. Here’s to a new year and newfound hope of accomplishing goals.

Emily is a blogger and memory keeper who loves spending time with her family. She is obsessed with planners, books, and making new things. You can find Emily over at The Emi Times, on Instagram, and Pinterest.

Thank you, Emily, for sharing how you plan to take action on your goal and document it! I’m sure a lot of you have similar reading goals this year and can benefit from Emily’s tips! Do you have any reading tips to add?

Pocket Your Year 2016 - A Year Long Pocket Scrapbooking Course from The Nerd Nest

Giveaway closed January 31, 2016 at 11:55pm CT.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #nerdnestchallenge on social media!

At 10 Eliza…

Eliza at 10 | The Nerd Nest

Harley Quinn Child Cosplay | The Nerd Nest

Today is 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 turns 10:

At 10 Eliza…

  • …is a total cat person and dreams of opening up a cat cafe / no kill cat shelter with art programs that teach you to make art (you guessed it) depicting cats.
  • …reads a ton and brings a few books with her everywhere. She especially loves books similar to Diary of a Wimpy kid right now.
  • …wants to know how everything works and does cool engineering projects.
  • …loves teaching her siblings and spends a lot of time reading to them and showing them how to do things.
  • …is still in love with French and France and all French / France related things. She’s also so excited about all of the Lafayette parts in Hamilton.
  • …is obsessed with Doctor Who, Hunger Games, and Harley Quinn.
  • …builds in Minecraft whenever we’ll let her.
  • …still has the messiest room in the house.
  • …is interested in designing fashions and has her own fashion sense–usually a combo of loud leggings, a sparkly skirt, a t-shirt, and boots (when she doesn’t have to wear her school uniform).
  • …is tiny for her age–she’s the second smallest kid in her grade at school.
  • …loves finding the inaccuracies in things and thinks it is hilarious to correct you (“Well, technically…”)
  • …basically just wants to learn everything she can.
  • …decided to stop playing soccer, as the increased competition and aggression is not her thing (nor is waking up early on Saturdays). She’s focusing on learning more swimming techniques so she can join a swim team.
  • …directs little movies on her older no-service cell phone using Barbies or Lego characters. Dreams of starting a You Tube channel documenting her life.
  • …makes up her own song lyrics, draws little comics, writes short stories, and loves crafting.
  • …HATES getting her hair brushed / fixing it.
  • …has a strong since of justice and gets upset when she sees people get made fun of or discriminated against (real or in media).
  • …is in a strong vampire / magic / spooky phase and likes shows like Charmed, Vampire Diaries, iZombie, and Goosebumps.
  • …loves eggs in a bowl, potstickers and chicken pot pie the best.
  • …is so very loved.

Eliza at 10 - Check in list at The Nerd Nest

Use check-in lists to document who your family members are near their birthdays! | The Nerd Nest

30 Days of Lists | #16-30

My 30 Days of Lists album using an old book! | The Nerd Nest

I participated in the December 2015 round of 30 Days of Lists and I’m here to share the second half of my album with you!

I kept it simple this round with a handmade minibook from an old book. On each spread I included an Ashley G number card, a 3×4 blank card wrapped in thin washi tape (mostly from Freckled Fawn), and number label die cuts from an old Studio Calico kit.

Here is the second half of the book (you can see the first half here):

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 16

16. Let’s Go…

  • to DaVinci: the Exhibition
  • ice skating
  • glass painting at The Wine Barn
  • to Christmas parties
  • last-minute shopping
  • see Star Wars!!!

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 17

17. Favorite Things to Wear…

  • pajama bottoms
  • sports bras
  • silly socks (esp. fandom ones)
  • simple tank tops as undershirts
  • v-neck t-shirts
  • thermal shirts
  • simple cotton / flannel in black, grey, or other dark colors

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 18

18. I am Waiting for…

  • Sunday so we can see The Force Awakens!
  • The Christmas party bonanza to begin tomorrow
  • Tomorrow to start going over Pocket Your Year / NN Creative Team submissions

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 19

19. Overrated Trends…

  • cake pops
  • terrible for you diets and cleanses (looking at you this year, Whole 30)
  • anything w/ cultural appropriation
  • weaved wall hangings
  • essential oils as pseudo science

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 20

20. I Have Plenty of…

  • washi tape
  • books
  • tea
  • board games
  • scarves
  • Pop figures
  • pets
  • blankets
  • ornaments
  • scrapbooking supplies
  • records
  • tin globes
  • toys
  • But…

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 21

21. Signs I am EXCITED

  • I talk fast
  • And I talk a lot
  • I get silly
  • My eyes go wide
  • I try to talk you into watching / listening to / reading something (so I can talk to you about it)

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 23

23. Say yes to…

  • self-care
  • new adventures
  • requests for forgiveness
  • yet another photo (please)
  • pajama days
  • 5 minute dance parties
  • play
  • help from family and friends
  • spending time with loved ones

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 24

24. How I can help others…

  • donate presents to kids in need
  • host holiday parties (3 this year!)
  • watch friends’ kids
  • lend an ear
  • tutor
  • ask how I can help
  • give blood
  • donate food at Harvesters

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 25

25. Favorite gifts to give…

  • homemade photo calendars
  • box of cookies & treats
  • scavenger hunt for the kids
  • practical things loved ones need
  • meaningful surprises (Newsies tix for Beth!)

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 26

26. Things that can wait until tomorrow…

  • post-party dishes
  • gathering up all of the recycling
  • any responsible adult task
  • going out of the house
  • figuring out where to put all of the awesome new toys

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 27

27. My favorite things about this time of year…

  • usually Denver trip, but chilling this year
  • Jake vacation days
  • warm drinks & fuzzy blankets
  • playing in the snow
  • curling up to read
  • winter books
  • the big kids’ birthdays

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 28

28. How to push my buttons…

  • belittle me (esp. when I’m already angry)
  • tell me I just don’t have a sense of humor when you spout sexist / racist / homophobic bullshit & I call you out
  • call me pet names if I don’t know you

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 29

29. Resolutions I kept…

  • swim more
  • forgive & rebuild
  • be more independent in business
  • go to more concerts
  • take more time for non-goal stuff like video games
  • 52 projects / 52 recipes

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | List 30

30. Highlights of 2015

  • [Our foster baby] moving in
  • seeing the kids grow
  • dates with Jake
  • Pocket Your Year
  • visits from Kristin & Jessica
  • Austin w/ Kelly & Dustin
  • Maker Faire
  • Planet Comicon

*I shared list 22 as a guest in the class!

30 Days of Lists  | The Nerd Nest | The End

Did you participate in 30 Days of Lists this round? Share a link so I can see yours!

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 support the Nerd Nest! Sign up for the #30Lists Newsletter so that you can keep up with #30Lists news.