My Craftcation Conference Experience

Made it!

I got back from my trip to Craftcation a week ago, and I'm finally starting to get back into the groove of things. I felt like my head was spinning for a few days afterwards, there were so many great people, good food, fun times, and TONS of information (and business cards) to take home with me. I have nearly fifty photos I could share (that's the edited version), but I'll try to make it short and sweet.


First off, a HUGE thanks to Nicole Stevenson and Delilah Snell who dreamed up and made the conference happen. This was the first year for the Craftcation conference (with many more to come, I hope), and they did an amazing job with the location, workshops, guest speakers, sponsors and happy vibes over all.


This was my first trip out to California since I was five or six years old, so I was very excited (and nervous) to make the trip. It was hard saying goodbye to Chris and the kids (I told you about Liam crying at the airport), but by the time the plane took off (and I found myself sitting with some friendly mamas) my nerves were settled. I flew out to L.A. the night before the conference and stayed with my wonderful cousin Amira whom I haven't seen since I was a wee little one.

My Craftcation

She had the sweetest (and cleanest) apartment and she made me feel very much at home (as her note in the bathroom vanity instructed me to). It was fun catching up even for just a little bit, and she generously took the time to drive me the hour out to Ventura and my crafty-weekend adventure began!

Crowne Plaza in Ventura


Craftcation was held at the Crowne Plaza right next to the beach in Ventura--apparantly the same hotel where the pageant in Little Miss Sunshine takes place.  I managed to find a roommate ahead of time in the Craftcation forum (I'll introduce you in a minute). It took place from Thursday through Sunday, with workshops scheduled each day.
Craftcation

The first thing I did when I arrived was pick up my fun little swag bag (on the left). It was packed with samples, magazines, and other assorted goodies, but my favorites were the Tacky Glue samples and the little MailChimp monkeys (I managed to get one for each of my three older kids). There was also a little pop-up shop for stocking up on crafty supplies and books; I grabbed one of Jenny Hart's Craftopia embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching.

Photo by The Coco Gallery

The workshops started in the afternoon on Thursday, so after I checked in and grabbed some lunch in town, I headed off to my first one. There were several workshops going on during each hour, so it was pretty hard to pick and choose sometimes, but the first one I went to was a free apron-decorating workshop. I enjoyed starting the conference off with making something, easing into it all and meeting a few people.

Some other workshops I attended that day were Etsy 2.0 with Danielle Maveal, and learning more about SEO (search engine optimization) with Sé Reed.

Craftcation

In the evening, the Craftcation crew hosted a yummy barbeque (with food, drinks, and cupcakes included). I finally met my roommate, Marianne from Bird and Feather, (that's me and her on the top left) just before dinner. We had fun making flower pins and new friends. Ana and Wendy (the girls on the bottom left) were just the cutest and a blast to hang out with all weekend (check out Ana's Etsy shop, AnaApple). I also got to meet Sarah from Instructables (that's me and her on the bottom right).


There was a fun little photo booth set up during the barbeque, and here I am (in the middle) with some more of the fun ladies I hung out with over the weekend: Kaci (hiding in the back left), Christina of Little Wellies (front left), Jenelle of Rellas Bellas (front middle), and April of Marine Parents (front right). We crafty ladies are a crazy bunch!

Craftcation

On Friday, my day was filled to the brim with classes on social marketing, e-newsletters, DIY PR, and more SEO. But before the day started, I slipped off into town to check out the thrift stores. Ventura is a little thrift store heaven, with at least five stores just on Main St. I popped into a few and brought back a vintage folk song guitar book and a strawberry crewel embroidery kit. I would've bought a lot more if I had an extra day and room to take it all home on the plane (oh and the extra mula, too, of course).

Craftcation

I made sure to take a walk along the beach Friday evening. I combed for some shells and rocks to bring back to the kids and enjoyed watching the sunset before heading back into the hotel for the happy hour mixer.

Craftcation Workshops

Saturday was jam-packed too. My favorite workshop was making a lightbox with Rad Megan (she's very rad--and tall). Saturday was also 80s night, and Marianne and I dressed in matching neon-pink tights and side ponytails (sorry--no embarassing pictures here!) and got our dance on all night.

We woke up to rain on the last day, Sunday. It was bittersweet when it all came to an end, but I did get to meet Jenny Hart in person (she's THE embroidery queen in case you didn't know) and picked up some fun embroidery tips (and one of her dishtowel kits).

Craftcation

Another awesome lady I met over the weekend was Gena from Bake All The Things. I connected with her through the conference forum beforehand and she was my lifesaver, I mean ride back to the airport! Everyone at the conference was just so warm and friendly, and Gena was the shining example of them all (how many of us would over a ride to a stranger?). She also took me by the famous California fast-food chain In-N-Out to experience it's yummy goodness (it was both yummy and good--although not very good for me).

So thanks to Gena I made my flight back to SA on time, and as any good mommy would do, I made sure to ask for some flight wings to bring home for my kids (the flight attendant gave me activity packs which the kids loved even more).

I made it back late Sunday night to find that one of my bags didn't make it through the flight transfer (not my sunny yellow suitcase, though). I was so tired and glad to be back home that I didn't let it bother me, and was able to get it first thing in the morning. Everyone was fast asleep when I made it back to the house and--get this--the house was spotless. I'm one lucky gal.

So, if you haven't guessed it already, I had a wonderful life-changing event at Craftcation and can't wait to go back next year (I'll tell my husband about that little detail later). 

So, if you missed Craftcation next year, don't miss it next year--I'm sure it'll be even better!
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