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52 Recipes Minibook

52 Recipes - Minibook Project from the Nerd Nest


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One of my ongoing goals in life is to try one new recipe a week. It doesn’t always happen–sometimes life gets too busy–but starting this goal is how I learned to cook years ago. It keeps me from falling into a rut of making the same 15 things over and over again (though there are plenty of recipes that are in my “repeat often” pile). It encourages me to expand my horizons.

And though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’ve never documented the process. Some new things I make are winners and get added to our recipe book. Sometimes, things are edible but I wouldn’t even make them again. Rarely, the things I make are terrible and we have to eat back-up frozen pizzas. Always, I learn something. This year, I’m making a minibook to document the new recipes I try to keep track of what I think of them, using the Recipe Template Sets I collaborated on with Alexandra Rae Design.

This round, I tried a lot of different meat dishes. We tend to stick with a go-to of chicken around here (chicken tenders and breasts, to be exact), so I tried to get out of my box a bit. A lot of the recipes were pretty simple, but that’s what I needed to focus on cooking the different kinds of meat properly.

I also tried turnips for the first time, made a new cookie recipe with Jonas, and took over one of the family recipes that Jake always makes.

Recipes Tried: 5. Asian Salmon in Foil / 6. Perfect Roast Chicken / 7. Roasted Turnips & Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Glaze / 8. Braised Lamb with Garden-Vegetable Medley / 9. Ranch Pork Chops / 10. Chicken and Dumplings / 11. Oatmeal Cookies from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book: 14th Edition / 12. Eggs in a Bowl

*I noticed after photographing that I wrote Ranger Cookies on the Oatmeal Cookies page. I’ll have to fix that!

52 Recipes - Minibook Project from the Nerd Nest

I’ve switched things up in my process a little bit since the first 52 Recipes Minibook update. Then, I was resizing our first Template Set, an 8.5 x 11. Now, the new sets include a 6×8 design, which is perfect for my minibook, as well as letter and half letter sizes.

I still wanted a bit of pattern behind the recipes, so I used the digital papers that coordinate with the recipe sets for digi pages (printing them off on letter sized papers with two 3×4 cards from the coordinating card sets). I scaled down some of the recipes to a width of 5.5 inches so I could print two recipes on a letter page and could use up some scrap paper to back them.

In addition to the journaling cards that go with the Recipe Template Sets, I used other cards from my stash.

With these changes, I kept a lot of things the same throughout the book: I’m using the same combination of stamps on each spread to rate the recipes, I’m using stickers and handwriting for the recipe titles rather than the title on the template, and I’m using little to no embellishment to ensure all 52 spreads will fit into this little minibook!

Keeping some things consistent in an ongoing mini like this allows for creativity in other areas, such as changing color schemes in each spreads. That way there’s both consistency and creative freedom!

52 Recipes - Minibook Project from the Nerd Nest

Do you have awesome recipes you think I should try next? Leave links in the comments, please!

Selected Supplies: Recipe Template Sets (6×8 Recipe Template, Strawberry Shortcake Cards and Papers, Salt & Pepper Cards and Papers, and Summer Vegetable Cards and Papers) // Studio Calico Handbook, 6×8 Page Protector 1, 6×8 Page Protector 4, stamp, cards from past Project Life kits and 4×6 paper pads // Project Life Ready Set Go Value kit, Midnight Core Kit/a>, and journaling pens // StazOn Jet Black ink.

June Day in the Life

In 2013, I documented using Ali Edward’s Day in the Life concept monthly and it was one of my favorite projects ever. For the third year, I’m repeating the project. On the 4th of each month, I’m going to document my everyday life. I like having a set day because I won’t worry about finding a “representative” or “normal” day. Wherever the 4th falls, that’s what I’ll document. (In 2013 I documented the last day of the month, in 2014 I documented the 15th. This year, I let a random number generator decide.)

Here’s Thursday, June 4:

JuneDITL

*I omitted several photos of our foster baby for this post.

This was the second day of Eliza’s brief Summer vacation before Summer camp / school starts, and we decided to take it easy since we were constantly on the go the day before. Eliza slept in while I fed Jonas and the baby. I played with the baby and cleaned a bit in the morning; Jonas played with Legos until his morning nap. Eliza woke up slow and grouchy, as she does.

While the baby took her morning nap, the kids worked on cleaning their rooms (you can tell that Jonas’s friends were over, because he’s usually pretty tidy). I worked on cleaning the basement a little, then worked a bit on editing posts and creating Pocket Your Year content. Poppy (my grandpa) popped in, and we sat and chatted. Eliza tried to get Jonas to show him the letters she’s been teaching him to draw.

We had pork dumplings for lunch because Eliza LOVES them and I try to have them for days Eliza is home to help make it special. The kids played video games for a bit, but mostly they were banished to their rooms to clean.

I washed and folded 5 loads of laundry throughout the day, but 2 of them were blankets, so it’s less work than it sounds like.

All three kids took a bath together in the afternoon, which was more of a rainy day we-wish-we-were-at-the-pool play session with a side of getting clean. They also spent a lot of time watching our new little hermit crab, Hannah.

I made Caribbean Jerk wraps for dinner. The kids played with toys, made a mess generally, and watched Charmed (Eliza is obsessed).

Our friend Virgil came over for dinner and to cut Jake’s hair, so he’ll look spiffy for a big tech talk he has coming up. Virgil had a career change, so we’re thankful he was willing to help Jake out.

Eliza, the baby, and I ran out to buy an awesome aquarium set up for our betta fish in a fantastic Craigslist deal. When we got back, we got the kids in bed and talked with Virgil until eleven or midnight or so.

Last, Jake and I spent some alone time together before snuggling up to go to sleep.

Murray’s Ice Cream | Pick a Year Challenge

Murray's Ice Cream | Megan Anderson for Freckled Fawn 1

This month’s challenge is to pick a year as a way to jumpstart documenting the past.

I’m working on 2011. For my first page inspired by this challenge, I focused on a photo that was very special from that year. For this page, I went for a story that I keep thinking about with summer upon us. An ice cream shop is opening up in my neighborhood, and every time I see the giant ice cream cone out front, I think of baby Jonas’s chocolatey goth looking lips.

Murray's Ice Cream | Megan Anderson for Freckled Fawn 2

Tip: I’d already adhered down some of the raised elements on the page when I decided to stamp part of the title, so I stamped on cardstock, cut around the letters, and adhered them down rather than stamping directly on the page–it would have been difficult to get a clear stamped image with embellishments blocking the way.

Murray's Ice Cream | Megan Anderson for Freckled Fawn 3

Tip: Themes can be subtle. Jonas’s onsie on this page reads “Potty Like a Rock Star”, which you can’t even read clearly in any of the photos, but it gave me the idea to use stars in addition to ice cream cones.

I’m enjoying filling in my 2011 album this month!

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!). Share yours with the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge


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: Freckled Fawn Carnival kit, Glitter Chipboard Stars, Lili Alpha Stamp, and Carnival cut file // Melissa Frances The Sweet Life patterned paper // Kelly Purkey Summertime kit // Echo Park paper // Studio Calico cardstock // Becky Higgins Project Life journaling pens // Prima ink // Silhouette.

May Garden Update

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 1

The year, I’m going to share monthly gardening updates! I love looking at the progress and keeping a gardening record helps me learn what works and what doesn’t.

I was actually a bit neglectful of my garden in May. It was raining almost all of the time and it’s hard to get digging with a mobile baby on the loose. But I kept everything alive and planted a few more things–so I’m calling May a success. I can work on weeding and adding mulch any old time.

The most exciting thing by far to happen on the garden front was the appearance of these soon-to-be blackberries. I planted thornless blackberry vines two years ago and I can’t wait to finally get to eat from them.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 2

The blackberry vines are going a little crazy.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 3

A few of the pumpkin sprouts I planted in April, which came up in my compost, took root. They are looking good and beginning to flower, which is hopeful!

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 4

One of three of Jonas’s sunflowers survived and is shooting skyward. We’re going to need to stake it soon.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 5

Most of the garden is in containers. Still waiting for the milkweed to germinate for the butterflies.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 6

Pretty sure the strawberries need to move somewhere sunnier.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 7

You can barely see them, but there are a few carrot greens poking up.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 8

And the two tomato plants are starting to get fruit.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 9

Growing romaine lettuce from scraps in water was working really well…until I forgot to change the water and some of them rotted. I’m starting over with new lettuce, but the one that survived that I planted is looking pretty pitiful.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 10

I never got around to staking the peas, so they are crawling over each other in desperation. Not sure what will come of them. I’m just going to let them do their thing.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 11

Last but not least: herbs. I think the results are in and only the lemon balm and chocolate mint are coming back this year. Time to buy more varieties to round out the herb garden.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 12

My basil held up really well near a sunny window inside, but at the end of May, it was finally warm enough join the rest of the plants.

May Garden | The Nerd Nest 13

I planted some cat nip seeds, but I’m also going to add rosemary, sage, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, and chives.

Best in show still goes to the chocolate mint, which smells so very wonderful.

I have a few garden-related projects planned for June, so hopefully there will be most interesting things going on next update!


This year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.

This is project 11 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1: Class Quilt / 2: Valentines with Eliza / 3: Crabitat / 4-7: Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors + Other Room Updates / 8:April Gardening / 9: Handprint and Footprint Butterfly Pots // 10: Ornate Frame with Clipped Photos.

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 1

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

Here’s May Day in the Life:

Click the photos for a larger view.

(Blurs are our foster baby and Jonas’s friend.)

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 2

This day was all about lazy hanging out with Kristin to recoup after a packed weekend together, Star Wars Day, the start of the 2015 edition of My Details, and playing with the kids.

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 3

I really like the plus pattern photo / patterned paper arrangement in this protector (Design K from Variety pack 3)–definitely something I’ll be repeating.

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 4

Tip: Rub an ink pad directly on wood veneer to change the color.

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 5

Lots of pictures of us sitting around, but it’s been easier for me to take pictures in the calm moments lately. It’s also a great way to get lots of people in photos together, acting naturally.

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 6

I used Studio Calico digital journaling cards for my typed text. The digital versions of the cards in their Project Life kits are available for only a limited time and change out each month.

If I love lots of the cards, I’ll get the full physical kit, because printing all of them off is more expensive when I account for the digital price, paper, and ink. But the digi kit is a great option if I want to use only a few cards, or if I want to alter them.

To get these to print with squared off corners, I filled in the background of the pink card in Photoshop with the pink used in the card (which filled in the corners) and enlarged and cropped the striped card slightly. I added a white text box to the yellow striped card so my text would show well.

I printed these cards both on a 4×6 piece of cardstock and printed them at 97% scale to account for bleed in borderless printing. It worked out perfectly!

May Day in the Life | Pocket Scrapbooking by Megan Anderson 7

Now I’m off to document June Day in the Life!

Selected Supplies: Amy Tangerine Rise and Shine Wood Veneer Tags, Emma paper, Emery paper // Kelly Purkey Summertime kit // Ali Edwards Little Things and Gather Story Kits // Becky Higgins Project Life Design K from Variety pack 3 page protector, Design A page protector, and journaling pens // Studio Calico kit stamp and Carolina Moon digital journaling cards // Radiant Neon Electric Purple ink // Garamond font.

Ornate Frame with Clipped Photos

Ornate frame with cliped photos | The Nerd Nest

In 2012, I painted this frame aqua and made it into a necklace holder for Eliza. She recently decided she was over it–she thought it would be better for our foster baby’s room. So I painted it black, to better go with the room’s color scheme, and switched up the function to a photo frame.

Ornate frame with cliped photos | The Nerd Nest

Most of these are placeholder photos so I could take pictures for the blog, but I’m putting pictures of the baby with her parents as well as with us up.

Ornate frame with cliped photos | The Nerd Nest

For string, I used one of the shoelaces from last month’s Loot Crate–it has a subtle black and grey Marvel superhero pattern. Last time I used string for the first version of this project, I held it in place under the screws in the back. This time, because I didn’t want to damage the shoelace in case we want to actually use it as a shoelace later, I used red tape coverd in washi tape to hold it in place on the back of the frame.

To clip on the photos, I used short classic arrow, star, and long arrow decorative paper clips from Freckled Fawn.

Ornate frame with cliped photos | The Nerd Nest

The frame is super cute in there and will look great with the other projects I’m planning to pull everything together. We’re going with sort of a juxtaposing ornate + superheroes thing. Lots of Storm and Batgirl.

Next up: Making a pillowcase so we can get that filler (but cute) raspberry pillow out of there.

Ornate frame with cliped photos | The Nerd Nest


This year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.

This is project 10 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1: Class Quilt / 2: Valentines with Eliza / 3: Crabitat / 4-7: Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors + Other Room Updates / 8:April Gardening / 9: Handprint and Footprint Butterfly Pots.

June Challenge | Pick a Year

Cousins | Pick a Year Nerd Nest Challenge

Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nest Memory Keeping Challenge!

This month, your challenge is to Pick a Year.

It’s easy to get caught up in memory keeping the present–after all, it’s what’s on your mind and you want to record what’s happening before those memories get fuzzy and unclear.

But you probably have memories from the past that are important to you–memories that are, as of yet, untold.

Now’s the time to start recording some of those memories. Your challenge will help to keep the task of beginning to document the past from being overwhelming: pick a year. Think of a single year, and start with a few of the major events, special photos, or savored everyday memories. Narrowing down your focus will help you to spend less time picking stories to tell. Framing your perspective in this way will often get your brain going and help you flow right into the next idea.

Cousins | Pick a Year Nerd Nest Challenge

For my first take on the challenge, I started with one of my favorite photos from 2011–my kids and their cousin Nathan. Nathan is 2 weeks old in this photo, and it was the first time all three of them were together. To make a big impact, I chose a big photo.

I also used the journaling from an old blog post to help refresh my memories.

Cousins | Pick a Year Nerd Nest Challenge

Tip: Have an embellishment pack with lots of a repeating shape? Try making a pattern with the embellishments on a strip or block of patterned paper. Trailing the embellishments off of the edge and trimming them down gives the illusion of a repeating pattern design and gives a much cleaner look than a simple gathering of shapes.

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!). Share yours with the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge


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: Freckled Fawn Carnival kit // Dear Lizzy paper // Echo Park paper // Becky Higgins Project Life journaling pens.

May Awesome Ladies Night!

May Awesome Ladies Project | Megan Anderson 2

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!

Awesome Ladies May Sketch | Megan Anderson 2

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.

P.S. The Awesome Ladies Project is taking a break for the summer.

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 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 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 2

Blurs are our foster baby and our kids’ friends.

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 3

Going on here: Eliza teaching Jonas pre-school math on her homework website, our foster baby’s check-up, Jonas “at sea” with his friend, and Jake balancing a rake on his chin for the kids.

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 5

Tip: Usually I make sure that journaling cards are touching the photos they describe, but directional elements like arrows help to tie the story and the photo together if your design doesn’t allow for adjacent cards and photos.

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 4

Going on here: The start of our mummified chicken legs, surprise pumpkin sprouts in our compost, me playing Harry Potter Lego and giving up on picking up baby toys, Jake and I after voting, and a bunch of photos of Jake and the baby playing.

April 6-11 | Pocket Scrapbooking 2015 by Megan Anderson 6

Selected Supplies: We R Memory Keepers It Factor Albums Made Easy Journaling Cards // Becky Higgins Project Life Design A pocket page protector, Design O page protector from Variety Pack 3, and journaling pens // Studio Calico April wood veneer from the Lisse Street Project Life kit and die cut label from the Grand Central kit // Freckled Fawn label stickers.

M&K – Documenting Friendship

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This month’s Nerd Nest Challenge is to Take Two. I’m using my extra ideas to create even more projects for My Details prompts, but you can use the challenge to go back through any class for a second take on assignments.

As I sat down to document a recent visit from my friend Kristin, I was inspired by one of the recent My Details prompts to start by documenting our relationship rather than just dive in to telling the story about what we did while she was here.

M&K - Document Your Friendships

I’m not very comfortable sharing my feelings in most instances, so writing my journaling as if it were a letter to Kristin was a huge help. I am totally fine sharing feelings if they are in a love note to a person I care about. I focused on how lucky I feel to have found her in the whole wide world of people. (Jake calls us soul ladies, and that’s how I feel.) I wrote about what we rock at doing together and the ways in which our friendship manifests. And also our plans for world domination, because obviously.

Making travel themed supplies work for a friendship scrapbooking layout

I used the Freckled Fawn Wanderlust kit for this layout, and I had fun translating the products, which at first glance are meant for travel, into support for a relationship page. It will be years until I’m traveling the world, so those cork stickers would be gathering dust if I were to use them for that purpose. Instead, I used them to support the themes “what a wonderful world” and “I found you in the vast world of people.”

I have other plans for the rest of those stickers: I’m documenting how amazing it is that My Details students are living all over the world / how the Internet connects friends by interest instead of geographical proximity. I’ll use the third sticker for a page about Eliza learning about the world. Remember that even themed products have a whole list of uses beyond the most obvious.

Layering using paper from a 6x6 pad

I used 6×6 paper pads (Basic Grey Highline and Capture pads) to layer the background on this layout. You can do a lot without 12×12 sized patterned paper–try mixing full sheets of paper from a 6×6 pads with paper split (4 inches and 2 inches or 3.5 inches and 2.5 inches). The paper placement I used it totally scrapliftable if you are trying using 6×6 pads for the first time!

Friendship layout with the Wanderlust Freckled Fawn kit

Make sure to check back next Monday for June’s Nerd Nest Challenge! (Remember that YOU can pitch a guest post if you’d like to join in on a challenge!). Share yours with the hashtag #NerdNestChallenge


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.