My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

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The Difference Between Planner Meet Ups, Planner Cons and other planner events.

Planner and Travelers Notebook Stack
A few of my readers have emailed me and ask what the difference is between Planner Meetups, Planner Retreats (like the Marion Smith Planner Retreat), and Planner Con type of events are.
Planner Sticker Supplies

Planner Meetups, Planner Retreats, Planner Socials, and Planner Con are similar
Elite Planners Club

in nature since they usually have pop up vendors, games,
Example of a pop up vendor

An Example of a prize I won at a Planner Event

product demonstrations
click chick creates stickers
and other related planner activities. Additionally, some of the planner events have themes.  The Marion Smith Retreat had a circus theme.  I have been to events that have a "Hello Kitty" theme, a holiday theme, a color theme, and more.  There are also manufacturer sponsored events like the Prima Marketing Launch Party where the theme was based on their new planner line. The presentation of their new planners was so well thought out.  This is a picture of one of the place settings

which included a new planner,
Juli Nutting Planner by Prima Marketing
a swag box full of Prima Marketing products, and other fun items.

The prima event was held at their new event house in Temecula which is stunning.  One of the mini projects was to make an insert page like the one below.

I love Prima Marketing Papers and accessories so making this page was so much fun.  Plus I got to meet Frank Garcia who is so talented.  He taught a planner charm class at the event.

Planner Cons, Planner Retreats (like the Marion Smith Planner Retreat), the Prima Launch Party and other large venue planner related events usually have large crowds that exceed 50 people.  The Prima Marketing event was large but so well organized that we all had an opportunity to do a class (depending on which planner you wanted), do some "Make and Take" mini workshops, shop, plan, eat, and make new friends.

  I also did a watercolor "Make and Take" where I learned some helpful techniques

and got to try out the new Prima Marketing Watercolors.  The Prima Marketing event was worth every penny I paid for my ticket.

Another large scale planner event that I also attended had around 150 people.  That turned out to be  too large a group to work within the schedule the hosts had posted.  There were too many people there to have time to visit each vendor, participate in the "Make and Takes", gift exchange and other activities.  The wait to check in was around 20 minutes (there was only one person checking all those people in).  That particular event had about 16 vendors, and two "Make & Take" workshops. One of the workshops involved working with polymer clay which can be tricky.  They only had one toaster oven and one table that seated eight people (which included the teacher).  Needless to say, not everyone who attended got to do that particular activity.  Another issue that was a problem was the gift exchange.  If you consider the amount of time it takes to process two hundred people participating in the gift exchange which is approximately 2-4 minutes per person to walk up to the stage and choose their gift (4 minutes multiplied by 200 is 800 minutes), it will take all day for the process to be completed.  And yes I this happened.  It took over two hours for them to finish the gift exchange (possibly more since I did not participate I took advantage of the opportunity to shop at the various vendors).  Needless to say, some of the other planned activities were ditched due to time constraints that day.  One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to check out the sponsors of each event. Go on YouTube, Facebook, and even google to see what other people who have attended their past events are saying.  It is a good way to measure whether or not this is the right event for you.

The Swap process went far faster at that large event, than the gift exchange, because everyone just walked around and swapped with whomever they choose too.  That was really fun because I got to see a wide variety of swap items and enjoy the creativity of so many individuals.

I did not make 200 swaps, that would have been really expensive to do. I made about 70 and traded with the same amount of people.  Due to time constraints, I swapped rolls of washi (I had a large collection and this was the opportunity to give them to folks who would appreciate them), instead of making anything.

The shopping at the larger events are usually crowded but fun.  I have been able to see some unique products that I had not been able to find at my local stationery supply stores.  So I really enjoyed that part.  Also since the larger events are held at venues that can accommodate 100 or more people, the ticket prices will usually be far more expensive than some of the smaller events.  One event I attend was well over $125.  Comparing that to the fee for one my local planner meet ups which is $15.  That is a significant amount of money.  However, the bigger venues are great way to meet a lot of new people.  I meet so many lovely ladies who shared my enthusiasm in using planners and travelers notebooks.

Planner meet ups tend to be smaller. I have attended some in West Covina, CA that had a limit of 30 people.  This event had a disney type theme which I loved.  Below is a picture of the adorable swag bag that the sponsors of the event made for us.

It was held in a scrapbooking store which had a great sticker selection.  Plus the owner of the store designs her own planner stickers.

The smaller meet ups like this one are great.  I have found that groups of 30 and less tend to be the perfect size for my personal preference. It gives everyone a chance to do the "Make & Take Projects".
This event had two projects which were so much fun to do. One was to make a micro travelers notebook.

The other project was this adorable Disney themed jar to hold washi tape or candy.

Additionally, they also had someone from Sizzix demonstrating dies like the pineapple planner clip die from their newplanner collection.
These planner page has some of their other dies on it.

The event also provided actual time for planning. It was a lot of fun to see how other people set up their planners and travelers notebooks. Each person has their own style and it is always great to learn new tips from others on how to stay on schedule.

Additionally, since there were only 30 people, it was a lot easier for me to actually make something for the swap items.  Below are just a sampling of some of the swap items that I traded for.

This is one of the fun things about themed events.  Many of the swaps will reflect the theme and are so creative.

I also participated in the gift exchange where I gifted some "Hello Kitty" dies and stickers.  I picked a package from Connie who fed my washi addiction by giving me a huge box of washi tape that I did not own.  Luckily for me, she picked my package and I was able to feed her "Hello Kitty" addiction in exchange.  They also fed us a really nice lunch at that event and provided beverages throughout the day.  This event was around $30 which included supplies, a swag bag, lunch and activities.

I also attend a Planner Social event (sponsored by Green and Lyme) that was smaller and located in Buena Park, CA. It was a fun event that featured some fun pop up vendors and a great set of sponsors.  Here is a peak at what was in that swag bag.  I think this one was around $25 to attend which included a light lunch (Subway Sandwiches, potato chips and a beverage), a swag bag, games, raffle prizes and some pretty cool local Etsy pop up Vendors.  I really enjoy the smaller meet ups because it is easier to meet new people.  The Green and Lyme event was also a partial fundraiser for a local charity (after costs of the event) which was an added bonus.

Another type of Planner meet up is an actual "Meet Up".  These meet ups can be two or three times a month and are usually located in stores or similar venues.  The meet ups are advertised through the meet up app which anyone can download and join.  I found my local planner meet up by searching for planner meet ups in Orange County, California.  I really enjoy this type of meet up because if it is fun way to meet fellow planners.  It is free to attend the meet ups.  However, there is a $10 or $12 yearly fee to join that particular group (the fees pay for the administrative costs only).   The Orange County Planner Meet Ups in Southern California usually include some type of tutorial and a lot of sharing between members on planner layouts, stickers and more.  These meet ups are specific to actually working on your planner.  Most of the folks who show up, bring their planner supplies and actually work on the their planners and/or traveler notebooks.  I attend one that meets at the Rancho Santa Margerita Michaels store and at the local JoAnns store.    That one is great event to meet up with fellow planner enthusiasts,  to set aside time to work on your planner, and to learn from your fellow planner.  This particular one often offers a tutorial at the event (each person brings their own supplies or purchases them at that location) where they learn to make a variety of fun planner related items.  The last one I attended at the Michaels store, we learned how to made planner charms for our various planners using really large beads.  I have made them before just using charms but had never considered using these cool beads before.

There are usually 12 -20 ladies present at these events.  They are free to attend (once you pay the minimal subscription fee to meet up) and a great way to put aside some actual planning time.

If you are looking for a larger type of event then you will enjoy planner events like Planner Con, and some of the other Manufacturer Sponsored Planner Events. These types of events are usually fee based to cover the cost of the venue, snacks and the swag bag.  Each one will vary in cost and in accordance to what company is sponsoring the event and the location it is being held at. Also, there may be additional fees like parking, hotel, etc.  Most of the bigger events will post information on their websites that tells you what activities they have planned and any rules for swaps and gift exchanges, as well as warning people if there is a fee for parking.

Spending time decorating my planner and getting to see how other folks set up their planners and travelers notebooks in one of the reason I like to attend these types of events.  Plus, I have made some new friends who share my love of planning.  It is can be so fun to meet other people who share your enthusiasm for travelers notebooks and journaling.  Some of the meet up groups have changed their meet ups to include and accommodate those interests.  Each meet up has a different focus (like journaling, scrapbooking, planning and more).  Below is a sample of one of the pages that I decorated in my travelers notebook at one of the events (this stickers and wood bits are from @mydecoratedpage) I attended.  The washi tape used on this page was from the Hobonichi website. If you like the die cut style of washi tape, you can still find it on the Hobonichi website along with some other patterns.  I think I ended up order 5 different patters from the site.  They are really cool in person and thin (so they work well in my Hobonichi Weeks Planner).

Once again, these types of events do vary in costs, while I paid around $125 for the Marion Smith Planner Retreat (and that is not the most expensive one I have attended), there are many other events that are priced to suit various budgets.  I recently attended a really fun planner event that was around $15.  That event had some really fun tutorials, pop up vendors, snacks were provided, a swag bag, and we got to do some planning.

Additionally, the length of each event varies with the company or person who is sponsoring it.  My local meet up events are around 1.5 to 2 hours.  I have attended a planner event that was 10 hours long. That might seem like a long time but with all the activities that were planned for that event, the day just flew by.  Each event will list it's starting and ending time.  The ones I currently attend vary in accordance to my work and school schedule.    I recommend joining planner Facebook groups in your area to get the inside information on the various planner events being offered in your area and to read their tips, recommendations and personal experiences at the various planner events.

Note: This is not a sponsored post, I paid for my tickets to these events just like everyone else did.  Also this is just my opinion of the events I attended.  Others may have a completely different take on the same events.  The best way to figure what is best for you is to just check out a few and see which kind of events you enjoy the most.

Review of the Jane Davenport Gel Medium & Gesso Made by American Crafts

The Jane Davenport Matte Medium and Gesso (Gess-oh) are versatile and very easy to use on my multi media projects.  I love how easy they are to use.  In case you did not know, Jane Davenport released a line of Mixed Media Supplies with American Crafts in January.  Below is a video by Jane Davenport that goes over the new product line.  She several other videos available on her YouTube Channel and the website.

The Jane Davenport Multi Media product line will be sold both through the Michaels Crafts store and through the Jane Davenport website.  There was a lot of thought put into this line of products.  Between the packaging, the selection and the quality of products I am truly impressed.  The back of the box has two great examples of a page done with each one of them and how using the various mediums can change the look of an art journal page.

I also like that the two mediums have different twist caps.  The Matte Medium has a translucent cap and the Gesso has a white cap.  This makes it easy to know which cap belongs where when I am creating with them.

I tried out both of the products and loved them.  The gesso is not overly thick so it is really easy to use. I was worried that my pages would curl from using the gesso but there was not issue with that. I put a little of the gesso on parts of the page below. You can tell which parts by how smooth the ink is on those areas. This is painted on some heavy watercolor paper so there is a lot of texture in the paper.  I just love how it provided a smooth surface for me to test out my inks on.

The next picture is using both the Matte Medium and the gesso.  I used one of the Jane Davenport Butterly Effect Book Stencils with the Gesso (which I mixed with some of the Jane Davenport acrylic paints) to get a layered effect.  Once again, both products worked beautifully for me.  

I really love this product line and am enjoying using them in my art journals.  There are a few items that I still haven't purchased and will review those once Michaels gets them back in stock.  I have listed some of my previous reviews on her product line below.

Click here to see my review of the Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers.

Click here to see my review of the Jane Davenport watercolor palette sets.

NOTE: I do not work for Michaels, American Crafts or Jane Davenport.  I purchased all the above items with my own money at Michaels.  I am not affiliated with any of the above companies, either.
My opinions are my own, and may vary from others who use and review the same products. Also the colors of the paints will vary in accordance to the equipment the viewer is using.  I personally love the product line and hope they add more colors to both the acrylic paint line and watercolors.