Planner Society Layouts

Being part of the Planner Society Kit Design Team has been so great! Every month I'm floored by Christy Tomlinson's creativity, talent, and style. This time around I decided to feature all my projects here since it's been months since I've posted. Usually I do a YouTube video on my channel, The Janette Lane, featuring this monthly planner subscription kit. However, I decided to switch things up a bit!

You can see two such videos here:
Easy Planner Layout Featuring the Planner Society Kit
Midori Layout Featuring the Planner Society Kit

Don't you love how summery and feminine this month's kit is? It makes me want to wear a dress and curl my hair, and that's saying A LOT, friends! Because for this girl, dresses are for weddings and for days when I've run out of clean clothes! (Am I right?!)

Thanks for reading!


SUPPLIES:

The Plannery Society Kit: http://www.scarletlime.com/plannersociety15.html
Planner: http://amzn.to/2anMjEe
Midori: http://tinyurl.com/heurm3z
Midori Inserts: http://tinyurl.com/h34bmjn



*Contains affiliate links

How is it March Already?

The past few weeks have been sort of a blur. I'm not even sure how it's March already! #waitwhat? Time is flying by so fast it seems. Is it going by quickly for you too? Anywho... Just wanted to share a few images from the past few weeks. Planners. The Planner Society Kit. Lovey in the mountains (He's in his element when he's there...). A picture of the barn where I'll be hosting my first, full-day Pocket Letters™ workshop in May (JOIN ME!).

Also if you're interested in seeing what I made last week, watch this video below. It's a Show & Tell style video where I share a few projects I've been working on. Check it out friends!







What have you guys been up to? Anything fun? Let me know!

Pocket Letters Makeshop





SPACE IS LIMITED! 
EARLY BIRD PRICING of $11 EXTENDED until 03/15/2016!
Regular price $16.50.

COME MAKE WITH US! Join Janette Lane & Angela Wonderland in ANAHEIM, CA on SATURDAY, APRIL 9th, 2016 (1-4pm) for a little pocket mail and pampering!

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

This is not a workshop, but a "makeshop"! There will be tables and chairs available for us to craft and get a little pampering too! So dress comfortably and be ready to craft, mingle, and work on your own pocket letters! Yup! Just bring your supplies from home and lets MAKE together!

-We'll have Sizzix die cutting machines for you to use.
-Giveaways!
-Snacks
-Goody bags!
-Our own space to craft and make friends for the afternoon
-Pocket Letter™ Products and Mary Kay items for sale.


*Once your purchase is made, your ticket, along with the address and other details will be emailed to you.



*** SORRY NO KIDS ALLOWED

5 Tips for a Successful Pocket Letter Swap


As owner of the Pocket Letter Pals™ Network and the Pocket Letter Pals™ Facebook group, I’ve had the opportunity to mediate a lot of failed swaps. Like. Heaps and heaps!  (I also want to take the opportunity to thank my Admins who also mediate and try to resolve these issues even moreso! Thank you!) It’s a fact, there are people who flake. They arrange swaps and then don’t follow through. It happens and I’m really sorry about it. I wish it didn’t happen, but it does.  Now I know it’s hard to believe, but the majority of the time, it’s not intentional. There are snail mail scam artists, but those make up a small percentage of failed swaps. People usually flake for one of the following reasons:

1. Overwhelmed with the amount of swaps they’ve taken on.
2.  Lack of communication.
3. Unexpected emergency.
4. Lost their penpal’s contact information (usually because of 1).
5. Lack of funds.

I can’t guarantee a 100% foolproof method for successful swaps, but I can share 5 HELPFUL TIPS for a smoother swapping experience!


GET CONTACT INFORMATION
I’ve run into many situations where one swap partner forgot to write down who they were swapping with and where they arranged the swap. It can get overwhelming especially if you’re swapping with multiple people at one time and reaching out across platforms. Some swap only on my network, others swap on Instagram… Regardless, WRITE IT DOWN. Get names and email address.  Better yet, get my Pocket Letters™ TrackerPrintable! It’ll help you organize all the details of your swap.


COMMUNICATE
It’s important to COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. You need to be willing to discuss details of your pocket mail swap so that everyone is on the same page. Here’s some questions to ask: Will this be a one-time swap? Will there be a deadline?  Will your letter have goodies? Will there be a theme? When will the “send-by” deadline be? Use the FREE POCKET LETTER COMMUNICATION GUIDE (click link to download) to make your swap go smoothly, and if there’s something you’re concerned about, like allergies, please mention it to your Pal. Once communication breaks down, it’s a good indicator of what’s to come—a bad swap. Also remember to be open and flexible to themes, styles, and ideas. There are some who have used the POCKET LETTER COMMUNICATION GUIDE as a “LET ME COMMUNICATE MY DEMANDS” GUIDE. Being communicative does't mean you have to be mean.  Be cool guys! Be cool!

CHECK YOUR PAL’S SWAP HISTORY
Sometimes it’s best to do a little research! I’m not talking about full on Facebook, social media-stalking. I’m talking about searching through profile and group history for swap confirmation!  If you’re on the Pocket Letter Pals™ network, go to your potential Pal’s page and look at their profile. Are there messages from past swap partners thanking them for their fulfilled swaps? Are there pictures of their creations (both incoming and outgoing letters)? The same goes for the Pocket Letter Pals™ Facebook group.  Search the group history by putting your partner’s name in the Search box. Are others posting that they’ve received their snail mail? Are they active group participants? Are they arranging too many swaps? (This can be a RED flag!) These searches can be so telling!

BE PATIENT IF THERE IS A SETBACK
I want to say that half of late swaps are due to delivery services. So much can go wrong with your letter in transit (insufficient postage,  s l o w  service, illegible handwritten address, and inclement weather) I’m serious. Sending something via mail can be risky business. I’ve had a few letters get mangled in sorting machines only to get the pieces returned to me in a sandwich bag. It happens. So just keep that in mind. Also remember that LIFE HAPPENS. People get sick. Sometimes they even forget about a deadline without any sort of malicious intent. Some people are naturally forgetful. Like ME!  If your partner communicates a setback (within reason), then just wait it out. Be patient. It will most likely work out!

GET TRACKING
This option does not work with international mail, but you can definitely get tracking information and confirmation for domestic deliveries. This helps for multiple reasons. Mainly, if someone reports a member for a failed swap, they can prove it by showing that a letter was sent and delivered. A lot of times the person reported will say that they never received anything. Tracking helps clear up any confusion quickly!




I’ve had my share of failed swap experiences. Trust me. However, the good experiences BY FAR outweigh the bad ones! 

I hope these tips were helpful! You can always share your tips too! And also please don’t forget to check out my Pocket Letters™ Tracker! It helps! Plus when you make your purchase, the file is yours to keep and print (as many copies as you need)!

Thanks for reading Pals! Until next time!



3 Tips for Better Planner Pictures

planner pictures

I’m not an expert but I know some basics that might help you with your planner pictures, especially on platforms like Instagram and Tumblr. Today I'll be sharing 3 tips you can use and incorporate into your own photography (even if you don’t do planners), I truly believe these suggestions will improve your images and help you take better pictures in general.

Some of these things I learned along the way in my own papercraft/planner journey. Originally my Instagram account (if you scroll back that far) was about my daily life. If you wanted to see grainy food and outfit pics, my account was the place to go! I kept thinking, “Why don’t my pictures look better?” “Do I need a better phone camera?” “What’s going on?!!”  After doing a little research and investing a few more minutes into my photography, my pictures started to improve, as did my social media accounts. And NO you don't need a better camera or lighting equipment (this is the kind I have).

1. LIGHTING

For the love of all that is tasty and good! DO NOT take pictures under a regular house lamp or light! The yellow hue that results is not very attractive.. Always try to take your pictures under natural light (ie bright daylight). Can’t afford lighting equipment? No worries! Just take your pics next to a bright and open window or go outside (but don't set up your shot in direct sunlight). This single step changed my images overnight!


2. BACKGROUND

 I feel like the best planner pictures are the ones where the planner is clearly the star of the show. This doesn't mean you can't show your craft space in the background. But you're gonna need a nice setup, friends. And if you're starting out, then plain backgrounds are your friend. If you want your planner to be the focus, it's best to lay it on top of a plain desk or tabletop. Don't have a plain desk? Then get a poster board! YES! A plain white poster board from the dollar store. Set it down by an open window, then pretend that's your desk, and lay out your planner supplies on top. Easy peasy!





3. USE AN APP

I'm not the best at phone photography to begin with, but I do know that using an app to edit your pictures will make it seem like you know exactly what you're doing. Here are a few of my favorite and most used apps:

-VSCO CAM
-INSTAGRAM (Probably my most used! My favorite features are Saturation, Highlights, and Fade.)
-COLOR STORY
-FACETUNE

My suggestions are to EXPERIMENT! Play with the filters. Up the exposure. Increase the Saturation a little bit. You don't know how many times a picture went from ho hum to holy moly!  by just increasing the exposure. Try it!


Well I hope these tips for improving your planner pics were helpful. If you incorporate these three suggestions into your planner documenting routine, I know you'll see a BIG change. If I can do it, you can too! Trust me! I think I might do a video on my YT channel showing exactly how I edit my pictures. Would that be helpful to you? Let me know!



Mail Wrapping Inspiration

pocket letters

I love pretty snail mail! I love everything about it. Making it. Mailing it. Getting it. It's just so fun! I think my favorite part about the whole process is wrapping it up. When I send little parcels or even a pocket letter to my friends, I usually wrap what I'm sending in a fun way. It adds an extra element of excitement! At least for me! Today I'm sharing a few packages I've wrapped and sent away to my penpals. And if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, I also shared a video about how to wrap pocket letters. The techniques and tips I shared in that video can be applied to any snail mail. So please take a look!
snailmail

pocket letters

pocket letters

pocket letters
Here's a quick tutorial on how to wrap your pocket mail. Check it out!

Make it a Party with Sizzix Book



For those of you that don't know, I work as a Craft Designer for Sizzix. I got the job after someone came across me and my work on the Pocket Letter Pals™ network and YouTube channel. It was kind of amazing and I'm so thankful to the person who reached out to me (Thanks Laura!). I LOVE my job! I love my coworkers. I love my boss! It's been a HUGE blessing all around. I basically get to craft all day long. Like, literally. Like. Lets talk more about that in a future post cause it's actually not as easy as it sounds... lol

About 2 weeks after I got hired, I got an assignment to make some projects for a book that was being released in January 2016 (which was months away at the time). I was taken aback because A. I was new to the industry. B. Did they really have faith in me to be able to create book-worthy projects? and C. Did they forget that I just got hired?? Like. I hadn't even had my new employee orientation. My phone line was still disconnected. lol It was a lot to process, but I took on the challenge gladly. I created some projects for a Birthday and a Baby Shower since the book was featuring party ideas and themes. I was thrilled with how they turned out!

It's been months and I haven't been able to say much about it, but I am SO excited to finally be able to share this with you! Make it a Party with Sizzix is full of fun party ideas, themes, and decor. All projects were contributed by some extremely talented artists in the craft industry. Seeing their pictures and names next to mine is a little surreal! I keep thinking, "Wait! What's my face doing in this book?! I don't belong here!" It's been wonderful!

Elephant Diaper Cake made by me!


If you'd like to purchase a copy you can do so by clicking here: Make It a Party.* (affiliate) Thanks for your support friends!

DIY Paint Chip Notebooks

paint chip notebooks diy

I think paint chips are so inspiring! I used to have a stash of paint chip brochures and samples and every once in a while I'd pull them out and just look at them. I finally decided to do more than just stare like a weirdo! I made some notebooks out of some brochures and they're perfect for my Midori! You can watch how to make your own notebook here: How To Make a Paint Chip Notebook or you can click below!

Pocket Letter Pieces



Usually when I make my letters I work on all 9 pieces at the same time... Gluing and layering here and there, styling all 9 cards simultaneously. The past 3 pocket letters I've worked on I've taken a different approach. I've been styling each card individually, embellishing only one with whatever supplies I have on hand and then only moving on to the next card until the previous was finished.

It worked really well and I feel like it's a less time-consuming method because I just focus on one card at a time. It all seems less daunting this way, and I encourage you to try it! I'll be sharing the complete letter soon! I really love how it turned out!
So what's your decorating process? I'd love to know!



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Here's some links you should check out too if you're new to pocket mail.

What are Pocket Letters? 
Janette Lane's Pocket Letter Guide
Pocket Letter Basic Tutorial 
Pocket Letter Ideas
Pocket Letter FAQs.
Pocket Letter™ Shop

Introducing Pocket Letter™ Inserts!

Sometimes I forget things. Little things, like my cell phone. And big things...Like this... This is a BIGGY! About a month ago I launched my very first manufactured Pocket Letters™ brand product and I forgot to share it on my blog. Yikes! *hides face in hands* A lot of you are not aware that I own the Pocket Letters™ shop. Up until now I've mostly sold digital products, like these Pocket Letter™ downloads (more designs coming soon!). So having an actual product is so exciting!

Pocket Letter™ Inserts are a big accomplishment for me! And I pretty much love them because I've included a flap that helps keep the contents of your letter more secure. I don't know about you but 9 times of of 10 things fly out of my inserts! It's frustrating and messy. The secure flap is meant to provide peace of mind that things won't likely fall out. Obviously, you can't stuff these to the brim, and you have to remember a few other things (which I've explained further in my video titled: How To Use Pocket Letter™ Inserts).


pocket letter inserts
 Another thing I'd like to say is that these inserts are not available in stores...yet! (Lordwilling someday!) For now I'm shipping them out from my home and I'm still trying to figure out what online postal service to use (Any suggestions are welcome!). I'm learning the ropes though and soon I hope the kinks in my shipping process are squared away. (And by "kinks" I mean tracking information. My orders get processed quickly, but tracking is a little tricky!) I plan on adding more Pocket Letter™ brand products to my store so please stay tuned and don't forget to subscribe to the Pocket Letters™ Newsletter for any news and updates!
I'm so thankful to everyone who has been cheering me on! If you're subscribed to the Pocket Letters™ newsletter, you've known about and joined me on this fun journey. Thank you! Words cannot express your encouragement and support!


To order your Pocket Letter™ inserts, click here!



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Here's some links you should check out too if you're new to pocket mail.

What are Pocket Letters? 
Janette Lane's Pocket Letter Guide
Pocket Letter Basic Tutorial 
Pocket Letter Ideas
Pocket Letter FAQs.
Pocket Letter™ Shop

CHA Booths & Recap

CHA has come and gone! I can't believe it! I was literally preparing for it for months and months. It's kind of surreal that it's over now, but I feel so accomplished! I had the opportunity to design for three product lines at Sizzix: Sharyn Sowell, the Sizzix Planner Line, and the Sizzix Home Decor Line. (Just to clarify, when I say "design" I mean I design and create the projects for the correlating products which are designed by our licensed and in-house artists.)

So for example, this line of dies and embossing folders by licensed artist, Sharyn Sowell (below), was designed by Sharyn herself.  I was her designated craft designer and created the projects featured on her packaging, in her booth, etc. If you ever head to Michael's and see her products there, I created the projects on her packaging for this particular line, Garden Party.
sharyn sowell art
The Sizzix Planner Line was probably my favorite to work on because I got to buy heaps and heaps of planners, stationery, and planner supplies to feature the stamps and dies in the line. (I work hard for my money! lol) Plus the booth display was one I really enjoyed putting together! It felt most like "me" plus I love planners!

sizzix planner line


sizzix planners
Above: My planner is so GIGANTIC! Never thought I'd see one of my layouts in this size!

The last line I worked on was the Sizzix Home Decor Line. Our artists did such a good job designing these dies. They're so versatile for projects around the home. Speaking of home. See those letters that spell out "home"? So I dropped the "M" the day we were packing up our booths to ship them to the convention center. It shattered and I panicked and rushed back to Hobby Lobby to see if they had any more. Luckily I purchased the last "M" they had! PHEW! #goodtimes
sizzix home decor
Above: My AMAZING, CREATIVE, AND WONDERFUL IN EVERY WAY coworkers & boss!
Above: Close up of the planner I worked on.

My favorite part about CHA, besides that the Sizzix booth space won an award (YAY!), was meeting people! It was a real treat putting real live faces to names. I was able to meet Kathy of Crafty Chica, some planner lovelies, Florence and Tiffany, as well as other licensed artists, Lori Whitlock, Eileen Hull, and Stephanie Barnard (well I've known her for a while, but I finally got a pic with her. lol)



You know what made the whole CHA experience extra wonderful? The fact that it was my first time. I never in a million years imagined myself there, showcasing my projects, and hanging out with talented people in the industry. It was AWESOME! For more of my CHA adventure, check out this video:




PS. Also, I was given the opportunity to contribute some projects for a DIY party theme book! Can you believe it? Someone pinch me! Click here for more on that!