Thursday, December 26, 2019

How to set up a planner


This short little “how-to” is to assume that you already have a planner and the accessories for the planner.  If you do not or plan to get one, look here for inspiration:

If this is you, that’s great.  Otherwise, let’s get started in the art of setting up your planner.
First, I want to get this off my chest:  I know many of you feel like that this cannot be done, but it can, and I encourage you to give it a try.  I can rest assure that the planner police will not come to revoke your planner card because you did not put your stickers in the right place.  I have not seen one yet.
The planner is a part of you.  You are putting part of you in this book.  This book will help you remember where you are going on a certain date.  It will help you figure out your financial woes and highs.  You will know where you and your family are supposed to be at all times.  It will spring memories.  It is sort of like a scrapbook where you can put in photos to remember a date, a time, or space where it was joyful or sorrowful, uplifting or fearful, birthdays and deaths.  It is   Planners are not just a one year thing if you let it.  I have all of my Erin Condren life planners from the time I started buying them, which was 2015, and I will continue to have them. Yes, will be a time when I have to get rid of them, but I am not ready to do that.  I will discuss it later.
all right there for you to look at.
Photo by DraCat for Pixabay
For right now, it is all about your planner, and it does not matter if you have an Erin Condren Life Planner, A Happy Planner, A Carpe Diem planner, a planner from Dollar Tree, or even a handmade planner from a binder.  The point is that we (including me) arrive at the same conclusion, and that is to be in a time management mode, where you are not running around wondering where did the time go.  You can even do this on your smartphone, computer, or tablet.  For right now, we are going to concentrate on the paper planner.  There are two styles to everything, including the planner.  There is your standard planner, manufactured by the company who made it and frankenplan it. More on frankenplan in a moment.


Standard planner.
I will be using my 2019 Erin Condren Life Planner for this example.
You will need:
  • Your planner
  • Your planner’s accessories
  • Any pens or markers you want to write with.  Make sure they do not bleed through to the next page. You can do a pen/marker test. I use the Erin Condren Dual tip markers and the Sakura Pigma Micron 01 – Pigment Fineliners.   I have tried many types of pens, including the Spectrum Noir which I found that is strictly for scrapbooking and cardmaking.  Since I was a cardmaker, I thought, “Why not”.  These markers do bleed through on the other side.
Frankenplanning
Frankenplanning a planner is just that.  You are taking two or more planners and placing them in one planner setup.  This takes a little bit more doing, but it is doable. This is for the person who wants to carry only one planner but likes more one layout.
Example:
I have 4 planners.  They are all from Erin Condren, and they are
  • The Erin Condren Life Planner-Horizontal layout
  • The Erin Condren Life Planner-binder style.  Horizontal layout
  • The Erin Condren Life Planner Petite Folio
  • The Erin Condren Life Planner Deluxe Monthly Planner
One of the things to note:  I can frankenplan the following into one.
Example #1: Combine Erin Condren Life Planner spiral into Erin Condren Life Planner Binder to put the personal and business planners together, order extra pages for the binder to create a Home, Budget, extra business section.
Example #2: Combine the Erin Condren Life Planner-Deluxe Monthly Planner and the Erin Condren Life Planner -Binder Style in with the Erin Condren Life Planner, keep the spiral look to it by taking it to Staples, or another binding shop, and have them do it.  The problem is that most bookbinding shops give you the argument about the policy of planners being are under copyright law (at least in the United States), they will not take on a job like this, but you will have to explain to them that the planners are your personal planners.  You can always do it yourself.  All you need is a spiral hole punch that fits the Erin Condren Life Planner holes. 
Example #3: take example #1, and put the whole thing in a 2” or 3” binding system.  The problem is you cannot carry it around.
Now you see why I am not into Frankenplanning a planner.  I can separate my areas and work them that way. Maybe one day, but not today.
So let go back to if you have a standard planner (no frankenplanning involved)-Yeah!
I am going to assume that you have one planner.  These things can get quite expensive.  Here is a hint.  Get them on sale 6 months before the year starts and/or sign up for the following on the Erin Condren website:
  • Newsletter
  • Rewards
  • Inside scope
  • Affiliate if you write a blog as I do. 
  1. Collect all of your dates that you have standing or received between July 2019 and now.  They must have the 2020 date on them.  For example, my last doctor’s appointment was in July, and I was not scheduled for another until next month (January 2020).  I only had my binder at the time, which is a 2019-2020 binder (July 2019-December 2020).  Now that I have one, I wanted to place inside of my main planner.  I wrote a note in my current 2019 Erin Condren Life Planner and my Erin Condren Life Planner -Binder Style until setup time.  I had the pages, but I took them out until it was time.  I also placed the appointment on my Ipad.
  2. I use the Deluxe Monthly layout Planner as a budget, so I need to set that up with all of my bills and incomes. 
  3. For my Business life planner, which is the binder, I will be putting in my income (as a snapshot), video and blog post ideas, as well as handmade product ideas.  I will also be keeping an eye on my social media stats in this binder.  Craft supplies (personal and business) inventory are kept in a pink binder.
  4. For the last planner, I am doing a bullet journal.  It is the Erin Condren Petite Folio.  Now I will admit that I was not fond of the folio at first, nor the concept of a bullet journal.  After some research, I found that the bullet journal may make a place in my heart, although, I have some reservations about it.  The reason is I have to learn how to write small again.  This is the one thing I like about the Erin Condren Life Planner horizontal layout.  In the horizontal layout (there is also the hourly and the most popular vertical)- I have lots of room to write big, write out detailed instructions, write multiple events.
I have not figured out a home schedule yet.  The reason is I do not want to.  My nephew and his girlfriend are still living with me until the first of the month (maybe, at least that is what my mom says).  When they move out is when I have full control of my house again, and I can have a cleaning schedule, a wash schedule, and a meal schedule again.  Once I have that, then I am ready to organize the craft room to go upstairs to their room.   OK, I am typing ahead of myself. 
I hope that this gives you some pointers on how to set up a system that is pleasing to you.  As I said in a previous post, you can decorate however you want to.  I will not judge.  Stick to a sticker and accessory budget that does not break the bank.
I would love to see your layouts, so place in the comments section your thoughts on setting up your planner for 2020.


Related Articles:

It is almost Time (Planner Set Up)
Planning for Beginners the 2020 edition part 1

Monday, September 2, 2019

"Hello, My Friend" Friendship card


I have been very neglectful of this blog, P. Lynne Designs for quite a while.  The reason? I have been doing other things that do not have to do with THIS BLOG. When you have plans to change the platform (Wordpress) on all of your blogs, then run into a number of problems, you tend to get discouraged, and that has been me lately.
Instead of getting into this funk, including having a recent client, who turned out to be a scammer, I decided to go full steam ahead on what I have, and along the way make lemons into a beautiful pitcher of lemonade.  
So, for this first post in a very long time (2 months), I decided to do a small swap with someone.  In the past (and hopefully in the future) I have been in swaps hosted by Tmika P, AKA Swapdaworld.  She has a YouTube channel, and for most of the year, once a month, she host a swap, where you make, for example, a loaded envelope for a group of 4 people, 5 if you include the host (which I usually do), 6 if you want to make one for yourself (which I do not).  Making swaps is a good way to expand your creativity, and you usually get some nice goodies on top of that too because everyone always includes a goodie bag with the swap it (it is not required, but you’ll feel bad if you do not)
Tmika’s requirements are simple.  Follow the instructions, have crafty videos on your YouTube channel, and you have not flaked in any of the previous swaps. 
The swap I was involved in for this month was not hosted by Tmika, but a person from a Facebook group, Scrap of Color.  It was a card swap, and I had to make a friendship/sisterhood card.  The instructions were simple, make the card, and send it to your partner.  It was a two-person swap.  I have not done one in years.
Time to see the card:
Photo By P. Lynne Designs © 2019








This card was made with a pre-made green blank card.  The corner pieces were paper from DCWV’s paper stack Maps, Text, and Ledgers stack.  I believe this was the last thing I bought at the Scrapbook Expo held in Columbus back in March.  I finally got to use a couple of pieces.  Instead of cutting it with my Cricut Maker, I freehand cutting the corners.  I did the same for the inside as well.
I took a doily and placed in the center of the card, followed by a butterfly from the same ephemera pack that the doily was in.  I stamped, “Hello My friend”, which is a stamp from The Stamps of Life.com. The stamp pack is called Picnic2stamp.  The ink is a Colorbox Pigment ink.  I usually stamp all my sentiments with Tim Holtz’s Distress ink in a Black Soot.
The inside of the card:


Photo By P. Lynne Designs © 2019





I decided to go for a simple flat inside.  I did the same thing, only without the doily, and I put a saying, “I am Thankful for You”. Nothing fancy.
Incidentally, I received my card from my partner, and she put a doily on her card too, LOL.
Well, that is it.  Short and sweet.  I will be doing more of these tutorials/showing of the card I make in a future blog.  Be on the lookout for:
  • Fall cards
  • Harvest cards
  • Thanksgiving cards (October (Canada) and November (United States))
  • Things for my trip I make for the kids
And many others, including I, hope the launch of my website and update on my Etsy shop.
Until then, happy Labor Day Weekend.

Friday, May 31, 2019

When you need a card right away…


or 

How to creatively cheat your way into a card.

Either title works for me. Blogger only allows one title, that’s it. 

If you ever run into a place in time where you need a card.  My parents had that experience today.  A few days ago, my parents were invited to a friend of the family’s birthday celebration.  Now, this was when I should have sung into action and offer to make a card for them to give to her or they should have asked.  Either way, the card was not made.  Fast forward to today, and no card. In fact, they had to get the card on the way to party.
I know, I know, I should have had a card ready for them to get, but I am now getting back into making anything. I had a slumming period of over a year, and my stash of cards ran out to the point where even I was running out to the store to buy a card.  I also was slumming in my writing, everything, and I talk about it over on the My Ambiance Life Blog for the reasons why, as well as the first post a few months ago on this blog. 
I rather not get into it now because as my pastor said in a meeting Monday, The past is the past and I do not want to discuss it.  Let’s move on.

Where was I?  Oh yes, my parents, the party, and the card. Ok, skip it.

The point to this is sometimes, life gets in the way, as well as you lose that creative mojo, and soon you find yourself in a rut.  I am on several Facebook creative groups, from Cricut groups, paper groups, and planner groups, where people have mentioned that they were in some kind of creative funk.  My creative funk was combination of life issues, financial issues, parents’ health issues, my health issues, find enough time, and feeling that you have made the “same thing over and over again, but different colors and different themes”.  No matter how hard I tried, it had gotten to the point where even Pinterest did not help, and I am big Pinterest addict. 

Around October 2018, I was asked to participate in a craft fair.  This was the first craft fair since Longaberger closed, which I always took their product to the craft fair because that was what the organizer wanted.  No matter how hard I tried to tell them that I also make products too, no, it had to be Longaberger or else. Well, in May 2018, Longaberger closed it’s doors, so the organizers had no choice but to accept my products.  The craft fair was to be held the first week of December, so I had plenty of time to make some products.  The Craft fair was also held at the same school my eldest nephew went to from Kindergarten -5th grade. (same name, new building).  I managed to make some bookmarks, little notebooks, and some Christmas cards.  I also managed to make some business cards and sent the design to Vistaprint to get them printed.

So that’s the end, right?

Wrong.  I started working on my website again. I put some designs on Zazzle, Redbubble, and started looking at my Etsy store again.  In fact, I received two orders for composition notebooks, had a few bad months, and this month I received two more orders.  It is wonderful to be working again.

Back to the last minute card….

You did not think that I forgot about my parents last minute card roundup, did you?  Well the rest of it comes in the form of sometimes you have to let other people do your work.  Yes, I know, it cost more to buy cards these days, and you are better off buying the materials for the card, and it can be made on the cheap.  No, that is not the case.  In fact, we were the one that made everyone step up on their designs in the first place, and I am not ashamed of it.
When you find yourself in a slump, go to the store and find a nice card to give at the last minute.  Again, there is nothing wrong with it.  It shows that you care about that person and you really put the time and effort to find that perfect card for them. 

I want to talk to you about American Greetings.  They sell more than just greeting cards.  They sell party supplies as well as gift wrap and gifts, and when you shop, you get 30% off all greeting cards, party supplies, and gift wrap.  Part of this is to help get those last minute things, include party stuff for your graduate, last day of school, even first day of summer.  Hurry, this last until May 31st.

So, where was I? New subject, my craftroom.

I have a goal for June, to finish my craftroom.  I know what I want, and I need to build the Kallax unit I already have, get another one to replace my broken bookcase (the dumpster is ready to receive it), and so on.  I also need to get the Alex drawers, and if you can guess, yes, it is all coming from Ikea.  The only thing that will be left is my computer desk, two 5-tier shelves, and the 9-cube unit, which is going in my room.

Takeaway moments:
  • It is ok, to be in a crafting slump, but do not be there too long.  Rather this is a hobby or a business venture, you have to get out it.  Find out why you do not have the stream to keep crafting.  It maybe one the things that put me into a slump, or it maybe something else.  If you think it is mental, seek help because it could start off as not wanting to craft, then it could turn into not wanting to get out of bed.  Trust me, I have been there.
  • If it just not having the ideas coming, seek pinterest, Instagram, or if you are not social media savvy, turn to books at the library or anything that sparks an interest in your head. 
  • When it comes that idea, draw it out, use a sketch pad, or if you have one of the drawing pads that attaches to your computer, use that.  This process helps because I can use it for future card making processes as well.
  • Finally, do not be afraid to admit that you were either too busy to make a card or let time slip away, allowing you to visit the neighborhood drug store, card shop, or even have another crafty friend make one for you.  Life has a way of slipping by, so enjoy those moments.  You are not week or lazy.  Life happens, and we all are human.
Enjoy this day, do not skip the small stuff, admit at least to yourself your mistake, and move forward and let it go.

Monday, April 15, 2019

What I use to create cards


Disclaimer: Patricia Logan and P. Lynne Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Ok, I am finally putting out a crafting post.  Apologies for not having one.  I wanted to introduce myself to some people and reintroduce myself to others who have been here waiting so patiently for that first post in over two years! Yikes, I did not know I was out that long until I just thought about it.  Again, so sorry.  Life and family got in the way, but you must take care of those you love first.  I am quoting the late Dave Longaberger, who used to tell his home consultants at Longaberger that God and family come first.  Everything is secondary or not needed at all.  I feel that sometimes Americans, as well as most of the Western World have forgotten about that aspect of our lives, and it is now money, how to earn, and how to spend it.
Well, I have not forgotten, or I would not be having this conversation with you.  I care about those who read my posts, but I also must take care of those I love.  This means my parents, taking care of myself, and giving God all the praise, but not in that order.  God comes first, always.
With that being said, today’s topic is not a series.  Oops, did I say that?  I mean everything is based on a series and I thought for once I would write down a single post, which has no rhyme or reason, but it has to do with my creative process.  This is one of many things I do in my shop, which also has been neglected until recently. 
No today’s topic is the art of making cards for my shop.  Currently, I have not stocked up since Christmas, and I need to.  After all, I missed Valentine's Day, St. Patrick’s day, and I am about to miss Easter, which is next Sunday.  Mother’s Day is around the corner, as well as Father’s Day, Arbor Day (Does anyone celebrates that anymore?) graduations, and Memorial and Fourth of July (for Americans).  I just thought of this, when 4th of July rolls around, half the year will be gone.  I now feel like Christmas was last week.
Anyway, in addition to showing you what I use, I want to take you briefly in my world on my process of making cards.  Did you know there are different methods to achieve on the endgame, which is a beautiful card? 
Oh, Toodles!
Sorry, Disney ™, I had to steal Mickey’s line when he calls for his Moussaka Tools.  If you are a parent, aunt, or uncle of a small child, you know what “Oh, Toodles” means, and you know how to use it, and this aunt knows how to use it. So, let me get my “Moussaka” Tools.  (Ok, I will stop talking childish now)



The basics
Yes, I do on occasion use my ruler, scissors, and paper trimmer, with bonefolder to cut and score my paper.  After all, this is how we all started out.  This is the simplest form of card making there is, and ever will be in my opinion, but I have also moved up and I will show you.
Cutting machines (Manual)
When I needed a little help, which is quite a lot these days, I break out the tools to make the card look pretty.  I have the following manual cutting and embossing machines.
Cuttlebug.
I use the Cuttlebug for embossing and die cutting.  I have one of the first ones that I bought for $72 on sale at Michaels.  I found out that Provo Craft Novelty has discontinued the machine as of January 2019, but you can still find the newest model in the stores.  It is best to use a coupon whenever you can to purchase tools like this and the electronic cutting machine that I recommend but beware.  Sometimes the coupon will say at the bottom, that it cannot be used for any tools (including sewing machines, and other electronic goodies).  Anyway, embossing folders make an impression on the cardstock, then you can get a die cut to place on the front of the card.
We R Memory Keepers Evolution
I also have this machine, but I do not use it for embossing and die cutting.  I use it for letter pressing.  You can use ink on the embossing folder and make an impression with ink.  They also make plates that you can use for the letter pressing.  In fact, I prefer this method better than using embossing folders.  In either case, please wash them before storing the folders or the plates.  Not good when you go to use them for your next project.
The way it works for both the Cuttlebug and the Evolution are you have a plate/paper/cutting die, embossing folder, or plate/outer plate sandwich, use the handle to pass this sandwich through the machine, and create a design.  Trust me, there are YouTube videos on both machines, and it is much easier than I am making it sound. 
Electronic Cutting machines…
If you do not want to create cards by manually feeding paper through a machine, put a little electricity behind it.  There is an electronic attachment for the Evolution Advance cutting machine, which costs extra (or get it in a bundle from Amazon or HSN), or you can go all out and buy a Cricut, Silhouette, or Brother 2 machine.  I have the Cricut Explore and Cricut marker, both do the same thing, except the maker cuts more materials than just paper.  It cuts fabric and thin sheets of wood (Bussa).
With both of these machines, I can cut a blank card with envelope, emboss with the scoring wheel (On the Maker) or stylus (on the Explore), and print from my printer and cut out the image on the cutters (print then cut feature).  I can make multiple cards with this machine by cutting everything at one time (if I use both machines).  This is the fastest way I can make a card, but I still have to put it together.
Adhesives (Glue and tape)
My most used tool of this form is a double-sided tape.  I use the brand, Scor-Tape, which if you are like me, you stock up on this tape and use it sparingly.  I use it in addition to a wet glue, which is Aleene’s Tacky Glue, that I have found, in all places, Dollar Tree.  (3 fl. Oz, so get plenty).  I also found small bottles of Mod Podge at the Dollar Tree too.

Finally, let’s put it together..

Ok, before we can put something together, my process is very simple.  This is before we use the tools I mention, or if you have made cards before, use the tools that you have.  I always say that this business is an investment.  If you are not in it for the business, then it is a hobby.  Either way, you are investing time and money for this, so, if you plan on buying any of the tools that I mentioned in this post, you have to want to use them.  Do not buy for the sake that I told you to buy them.  This can be a waste of your money and time.  If you are making cards one time, save the trouble and the headache of learning something new and fun, and buy something from Hallmark or American Greetings or hire someone like me to make you a card.  If you want to make something, there are kits at Joann’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby that are a lot cheaper then buying a big machine you are going to use one time and let it sit there to collect dust.  When you buy a machine, even a manual machine like a Cuttlebug, you are investing in yourself the time and the money.  The hobby is relaxing and calming and the endgame is to cheer someone up or to celebrate an achievement.
My process
I plan, a lot.  I want to know what the theme, topic, whatever.  I have a sketch pad to draw it out.  I used several methods in the past, but my go-to method is sketch pad first, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop second if I have to draw out something for my machine to cut out.  Sometimes, I skip the Adobe sisters (yes, my software are female) and go straight for Design Space.  This is online software that allows me to talk to my Cricut Maker or Explore.
With Design Space, I am allowed to use the shapes and images to cut out for the card.  I can import what I draw on the Adobe sisters, which is saved as a Jpeg or PNG file. Once imported and/or brought to the work area, I can tell the machine what to do.
In my planning, I may also incorporate a little stamping or some other technique for the card before putting it together.
Once I am done with the cutting and technique process, I put it together.  If there is more than one, I do it assembly style, grabbing each piece, stamping, or inking process one card at a time. I used to do an assembly method where I would do one piece at a time, like putting trees on each card, then stamping, and so forth, but I found the process tedious and boring.  Doing it the way I do it now is better for me because if I have to stop, I know where I am on the card, and I can get back to it where I left off.
This is my method of making cards, both a single card and multiple cards.
My points:
There are tons of tools out there for card making, from the simple to the more complex.  I have given you information on basic tools and more advanced tools.  You can find many techniques in your free public library and your free video library called, YouTube.
Also, many of the products listed can be found through Amazon, including the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2 (I have the original Explore with the Bluetooth adaptor).
Have fun if this is a business and allow your creativity to shine but keep the customer’s interest at heart.  Remember it is about them.  Even if it is not a business investment for you, still have fun.  You never know whose heart you may touch through your work.
Finally, do get inspiration from everywhere in order to make your cards.  It may be from a stamp set, a walk through the woods, date night, a color palette, or a board on Pinterest.  Whatever the inspiration is please take it as inspiration and not as your work.  Cards are a work of art.
If you are in Central Ohio Area, I would be more than happy to teach you the basic of card making or any technique of papercrafting.  You can send an email to Admin@plynndesigns.com (new email address).  Also, you can send any questions you have on papercrafting through this address.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Progression is so sweet and the rewards…

Have you ever worked towards something that you really wanted?  The closer you get, the more excited you become as each task is completed.
Well, that is how I am feeling about now on my new website.  Ok, call me a nerd or a geek, will you, but it is true.  I feel that there is a geek inside of each of us.  You do not have to be a techno geek.  You can be a foodie (food geek), an auto geek (lover of cars and anything with wheels), or a fashion geek.  To me, being a geek is cool, and if being a geek means I have more knowledge in that subject, then that makes me an expert.  I will cover what makes me an expert in the crafting department some other time.
I am having a blast working on this little project, following step by step instructions at the hand of Renae Christine.  I have mentioned her several time on the My Ambiance Life blog, and how I got started with this website.  I feel like can freely talk about tech stuff there than on P. Lynne Designs.  First off, if you can follow instructions step by step, you can create a website/blog.  That website can be either in WordPress or Blogger.  If you are a beginner, I suggest that you go no further than these two platforms because once you go beyond Blogger, and you are scared of breaking your computer, WordPress is your only option before signing up for a college course in Joomla, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, or an HTML course. Renae makes it so that you do not need a college course at all when creating a website, so if those names I gave you makes you sweat, do not worry about them at all.  I do not mind these website languages at all and been hearing about them since I left my job at CompuServe.
What does it mean to have rewards?
On My Ambiance Life, I finished a blog post talking about my social media, blogging, and YouTube channel stats, and I am not happy with them, but I am not sad either.  Why?  Because it is a work in progress. Once this website is up and running, it will be rewarding.  I will be a week late from my intended time, which was yesterday.  The reason is I had some things I needed to work on, such as getting a new protective hairstyle and working with my CPA on my taxes, as well as dealing with someone who is not pleased with me having a business. (There is always that one family member, trust me). Anyway, that blog post on My Ambiance Life should be published on Friday, it is a matter of Blogger doing its thing and publishes it at 12 Midnight.
What’s new on P. Lynne Designs?
OK, I am rambling, but these are the things you can expect to see on my new website.
  1. Handmade products of cards, mini brag books, bookmarks, and custom orders of scrapbooks and wedding, graduation, and birthday invitations. You may see planner supplies and gifts too
  2. Services such as freelance writing and graphic design. 
  3. Scrapbook supplies from Prima marketing, Graphic 45, and American Crafts (including We R Memory Keepers and Bazzill).
  4. Affiliate sales from companies like Cricut
  5. And this blog.  Yes, I will be transitioning this blog over to WordPress.  The old blog posts may stay here, and when the need allows me, I will put an updated version of an old blog post on the new site.
This should be fun, and I will have things for you to come back to, such as discounts and other goodies.
Guess what?  You do not have to wait for the action.  Why?
You can go over to the new website right now to be on my email list.  The URL is https://plynndesigns.com and you will get to a coming soon page.  Signup and you will be one of the first to be notified when the site goes live.  I hope to see you soon.
One final tip:  do not be afraid of trying something new.  This is one way that you can grow and understand.  You are a wonderfully made geek, and it is fun to be an expert.  My charge for you is to try something new and exciting and to offer advice when asked.
Have a wonderful week, and God bless you.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On The Road to WordPress

Hello, sorry I have not posted anything since before Christmas.  I have been very busy making P. Lynne Designs, the website a reality and I have been mostly behind the scenes on WordPress.  What I am about to say may go over most people’s heads, but I will try to explain it in layman’s terms as much as possible because I am still learning it all myself.  Before I do that, a little backstory on this whole process.
As many of you who have been reading this blog off and on know that this is my first blog and it started in 2010.  Coming from a minor background in writing (meaning having only a bachelor’s degree in marketing and being a crafter), I decided to take a chance in blogging.  What you also may or may not know, is I wanted a business too of my crafts, either making crafts and selling my designs or doing custom work for people on a commission.  This came about when I was working at Archiver’s, A Memory Store when I would constantly get requests from customers if the store had an area where a customer can ask for these products (like cards and scrapbooks) to be made.  Of course, the answer was always, “No we do not have that type of service”.  After all, the store was like Michaels and Joann’s where you buy the craft supplies and make the projects yourself.  I left in 2010 and the store officially closed in 2014. 
It was around 2011, after I had started this blog and left Archiver’s, I thought about having a little online shop and eventually a physical store to create my designs from and sell, but I did not know how to start one, and I thought that I needed thousands of dollars to get this done. 
In came this woman on YouTube who talked about starting your own online handmade store, and I subscribed to her channel.  She was very funny but had some major points that I understood about opening a business online. Her name was  Renae Christine, and she had this face that while she was spraying Cheese Whiz into her mouth while making a point about how she started her 6-figure stationery business, it was really convincing. 

Rich Mom University

On one of her videos in 2013, she mentioned that she was holding a free webinar on how to start an Etsy store.  Now I was already on Etsy because for one, I wanted a couple of products on there and two, I needed some money, so a made a couple of composition notebooks and they had sold, so I wanted more, and Renae was willing to give it to me.   I took the course, and while I was listening, she had decided to work on websites of her listeners who really wanted to make some money.  The price was too high for me, and I cried, but I also told her that I could not because of my money situation at the time.  Her fiancĂ©, Tom, emailed me back and told me these words, “if you cannot take a chance on yourself, who will?”, so I thought, “OK”, and signed up for the website makeover.
The website did not work out, and I thought that I was being scammed by her, but then she came out with this new course called Ultimate Architect, that was a game changer, and the best news was I did not have to pay for it.  My membership in the other course was my payment. So, I jumped right in and I loved doing it myself.  Renae provided the instructions and I followed along.  The only problem at the time was and still is to this day is I am not a programmer, never was but someday I hope I can get behind the hood of my work, and it is all because of UA.  I zipped through modules 1-3 like I have been programming all my life. “I can do this,” I thought as I rounded the corner to Modules 4 and 5, then life got in the way.

Had to stop.

Around 2015, I had to stop because not only did I start having health problems, including a car accident, which totaled my well-beloved Honda Accord, but my parents' health.  Not only that, I was neglecting my Etsy shop and other things. I am not going into details, but I had to stop working on my website.

Skipping ahead to 2018

Things settled down in 2017, and I decided to pick up where I left off on my website in November 2018, on October 2018, I received a strange call from a person who wanted to get rid of the malware on my site, P. Lynne Designs, the site I was getting ready to work on.  I thought that he was a scammer or desperate to find something to do, and I did not know that Google had flagged my site, so I thanked him, but no, after he quoted the price to fix it. So, I looked into it.
I logged onto my site at three in the morning, and I saw what was a red sign warning me not to go into it, and Google Chrome would not let me either, so I called Hostgator, and they pointed me to SiteLock where I had a not so the pleasure of talking to a Sean. When he quoted to me on how much it would cost to fix the problem and monitor it, I almost fell out o my chair but thought that OK.  The debit card would not go through (thank God).  God had another idea.

Enter Siteground.

Google continued to block my site after one of Renae’s Guru’s Benji told me what to do, so in January 2019, I severed my ties with Hostgator (who Renae no longer recommends, and neither do I), and took up SiteGround as the host of my website and blogs.  The process is so simple.  I got my domain names at GoDaddy.  The new domain name for P. Lynne Designs is https://plynndesigns.com (You will see a coming soon page, and I will notify you when the site goes live).  I also have the domain names pldmdn.com, patriciallogan.com, and I still have plynnedesigns.com, and I am working with Google to release it so I can put something on that is hopefully more awesome and amazing for you.


 P. Lynne Designs and Blogger

This past week, like I said, I am working on the website, and this blog will be switching over to that platform as soon as the website is finished.  So far, I like what I see, but it is not up to me, I want you to enjoy it too.  This site will also be compliant with the GDPR agreement, even though I may never plan on doing shipping across the big pond (as it is rather expensive to ship from the U.S.), but just in case someone from there wants to sign up for a newsletter.  It is better to cover all bases, then to get hit with some kind of fine because someone from Italy wants to order a card or two.
Also, this means the end of my Blogger blog, but not yet, I will still have this blog until the website goes live.  I have not decided if any of the posts from this blog will transfer over or not.  If they do, you will know, and I only transfer the newest ones. Sometimes, you just want a change and sometimes not.  My reason is to be more consistent, and well, with WordPress I will feel that.  I know a lot of people still use Blogger, so, it is a matter of preference.  Besides that, Google will still be monitoring my blog.  After all, that is how my old website was banned.
So, this is an update on what I am doing on this blog and with the website.  If you want to be notified when my new website and blog will go live, go to https://plynndesigns.com and sign up.  I do not share personal information (I do not like it either), and you will be notified.  By the way, this is my new font that is going to be on the website, so let me know what you think of it, and if it is readable.  If you have any other comments, list them below.

Thank you for your patience, and God bless.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Part 2 of Holiday Destressing Making Homemade gifts and Craft Shows

(Disclosure:  This post contains links to which I may or may not be affiliated with.  With these links, it allows me to earn a commission.  This allows me to pay for things such as blog fees and other business items.  You are not obligated to make a purchase.  

I love to make things.  It is the reason why I craft, and it is the reason why anyone with a creative bone in their body likes to do.  With prices going up on already items like blankets, clothing, and stationery, a person who is gifted will often make their stuff.  In fact, everyone should at least try to make anything except technology, and even with that, there are people who build their own computers.  All you need are the right tools and parts to basically come up with your own take of products.  Of course, if you ending up selling to the masses, there are certain rule and regs you have to follow, especially for technology and food products you make.  I will get into that later on hopefully in this post.  If not, I will save it for another time.
Today, in Part 2 of destressing your holidays, with Part 1 on my blog My Ambiance Life, I am going to explore the world of the crafter and all things gifts and craft shows.  Before I do that, I want to talk a little bit about my business P. Lynne Designs so you can get to know it a little bit better.
P. Lynne Designs got its start around 2009 as MDN Creates.  In 2012, I changed the name to P. Lynne Designs to refection more on the company and less about why it was named MDN Creates in the first place.  You can read more on the story on my post, Reintroduction to P. Lynne Designs. P. Lynne Designs is a stationery design company, but I design more than just stationery, I freelance writing and freelance graphic design as well.  This list includes greeting and business cards, invitations, documents, and blog posts, logos, “Save the Date” postcards, mailing labels, spreadsheets.  Many come as a package set, custom package set, or Ala Carte.  If you have any questions, email me at plogan721@att.net or you can contact me through social media.  My information will be at the bottom of this post.  Anyway, back to today’s topic.
Gifts
People, in general, are hard to shop for, but there is no reason to not get someone one anything, even if it is a gift card. Making something as simple as a scarf shows that you at least attempted to give from the heart.  What you cannot make, you can buy.  I will cover buying gifts in part 3, which will be on my other blog, At Home with Tricia's Baskets.  For right now, this post will cover gifts that a crafter, a graphic designer, or those who attempt to make something as gifts.

For the paper crafter
If you are a paper crafter, you have a unique position, at least I think I do.  You can make mini books, scrapbook albums, greeting cards, invitations (more on that in a minute), even things like coasters, and office supplies.   My process for making an item is I first plan out what I want to make.  Next, I go based on who the person is, and what they might like.  Do not go by what you might like because everyone’s tastes are different.  This includes colors and themes.  What are themes?  Themes cover a variety of areas from brands (think Disney, Barbie, or Harley Davidson), gender (Boy, girl, male, or female), seasons (which I do not recommend, this can limit the time the recipient uses it), or subject (frogs, unicorns, or their love for Star Wars). Once I have those things in mind, I do a rough sketch of the item.  If I am stuck, I turn to Pinterest, Etsy, and my Facebook groups for inspiration only.  Never copy, especially if you are selling online.  Now it is time to go shopping.
A word on getting supplies:
Sale, sale, sale.  A Michaels coupon here, a Hobby Lobby discount there. Signup to get discounts especially if you are in business.  Every penny counts.  If you are in business, this is a tax write-off, but check to see what you can write-off because every state and country is different.  Even if this is a one-time thing that you are doing, signup to get their mailings. Use the weekly ads and look for specials on craft supplies.  When you shop, search the aisles for clearance items.  I was in Walgreens two days ago getting some allergy medicine, when I spotted a pack of 12 Post-a-Notes.  It was $12.00 down to $2.00.  Score!!! I snatched those pads up in a hurry before someone else spotted them.  I am making notepad holders for the craft fair.  I could have gotten two, but I only saw one.  Also, hit up Dollar Tree and Dollar General (or a dollar store like them) because I am starting to see more and more craft items like them.  Do check for quality in the crafts stores. If there is a material that is highly flammable or toxic to people or the environment, I will not buy, especially if there is a craft fair hosted by a school.  I do not want to get anyone sick.
Graphic Designers
You are in also in a unique position where you do not have to rely on other people’s products (except maybe paper) to make your gift.   I was fortunate enough to learn how to create on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and Microsoft Publisher, as well as PicMonkey and know my way around Canva, but it can be any program, either paid or free-based. Some programs like Adobe Photoshop allow you to try them for free for a limited period of time.  I have made my business cards and other items, and what a gift you can give a soon to be graduate with a set of their own business cards and stationery.  Once I made my design, I sent it to Vistaprint and paid $17.00 USD.  The breakdown goes like the this: normally, it would cost me $24 USD, but it was on sale, then I went through Swagbucks to get a discount of $10.01 USD, which brought it to $9.99 or so.  Next, I was given a discount of $.60 because I was a merchant (I did not realize that I was.  This was on 500 cards.  Again, I saved a ton of money.  Shipping is $6.00, which would have normally raised the price to $30 USD or so.  The last part was my tax, which the only way you can lower the tax is lower the price, but the United States usually will tax on the original price and not the sales price (go figure). So, for the State of Ohio where I live, the tax is around 8.0% or so, depending on where you live.  So, those living outside the US, the tax bracket can get pretty pricey.  I just checked, and my cards should be here tomorrow at the end of the day and I ordered them on Tuesday.  If you are designing for a company to print them for you, I would get started now before the rush starts.  Shipping may get worse, especially after December 15th. The closer to Christmas you get, the longer it will take to get to your house.
I only talked about the areas that I create.  For things such as woodworking, textiles (sewing and needlework), pottery, and Jewelry making, it is the same process; plan what you want to make for the people on your list, plan out your materials and start in plenty of time so the gifts can go under the tree.
Now for a Word on Craft Shows ….
Many of the things I talked about in gift creation goes for craft shows as well. The one thing I want to stress out is your income.  I guess I should have addressed this in the gift-giving as well but have a budget.  Nothing says going into debit-like not having a budget.  Lay it out in either paper or digital form.  I did both.  The reason is I can lose the paper, or the power can go out.  I have a backup plan for the digital:  I also can get to the digital through my Ipad. I have a three backup system:  I make and enter information through my desktop, and I can access it through my Ipad and my smartphone. Also, now is a good time to figure out how much you want to charge for your goods.  When I did crafts shows with Longaberger products, I had to choice but to sell them at the price that Longaberger charges for their products in the catalog.  The only time I was allowed to change prices as if I owned a retired product.  I still got my commission, but no one was really interested in the prices in the catalog.
Price items that will at least make you feel like you have got back the cost of the supplies you bought, but at the same time, make the items so people will want to pay the price.  For instance, bookmarkers will be $.75 or 2 for $1.  (meaning the second one will actually cost $.25).  If you have a business, be sure to bring your business cards.  You can also ask for clients while you are there, but make sure you focus on what you have on hand and have plenty.  The fair I will be at next week will be from 10 AM to 2 PM, so I need to make sure I do not run out at noon.
One final tip before I go, make sure if you sell anything you give the state what is due if you have it listed.  I have P. Lynne Designs listed with the state of Ohio, so in January, I have to report it. (bummer).  This means to keep track of my money.  Have plenty of change because most people will not be coming with a credit or debit card.
Be sure to check out parts 1 on My Ambiance Life and 3 on At Home with Tricia's Baskets.  Part 3 will be on decorating, organizing, traveling, and taking care of the family during this time of year.

Until then, Peace on Earth.