First off? This part does not suck:
That’s the view from my window at Craftcation, the crafty DIY biz conference that is going full steam in Ventura CA this weekend. Having the most amazing time here! I started off the weekend with a session about opening up more avenues to earn a living with your art. “Crafty Cash” led by Kathy Cano-Murillo. Otherwise known as The Crafty Chica. She’s delightful and wonderful and also our keynote speaker for the conference. She talked about valuable life lessons and stirring up our inner glitter. And, you know, ways to feed yourself more than ramen noodles on an artist’s budget.
I love this woman. Seriously. When she walked into the conference room, I didn’t actually know who she was. I just saw her smiling and thought, “OMG WHO IS THAT, I WANT TO BE HER BEST FRIEND.” and then she started teaching and I thought, “OMG SHE IS THE CRAFTY CHICA.” And then, my crafty crush was irreversible.
Sorry, Ms. Chica. I totally don’t mean that in a creepy stalker way. Just. You’re shiny. And kind of one of my crafty heroes.
I have been taking some notes.
Are you sensing a theme? I’m sensing a theme.
Totally not the theme. But it was free. And delicious. And I guess it is the theme. There was wine. It was free. I made happiness with what I had. SOUL TRUTHS, people. Deep soul truths here.
It has actually been a really great conference. Last year I was so afraid, and spent all my time hiding in my hotel room. This year, I’ve spent LESS time hiding in my hotel room! Perhaps you remember this conversation I had with myself during last year’s conference?
Myself: “Yeah! There will be BBQ! There will be wine!”
Me: “There will be… people.”
Myself: “Did I mention BBQ?”
Me: “‘mixer.’ Just the very word strikes terror into my heart.”
Myself: “Pork products cooked over fire and grown up grape juice.”
Me: “Stranger danger.”
Myself: “Oh fuck it. Fine. Have it your way. We’ll go eat alone with a good book.”
Me: “YES! YES! YES!”
Myself: “I was not serious. BBQ.””
You might also remember that last year I went to a bookstore and missed the pork products. NOT THIS TIME. My roomie and I went to the BBQ (hence, the free wine) and I’ve made almost every class session – except I played hooky for the one after lunch because I was in search of a decent cup of coffee WHICH I totally found at Palermo on Main St…. but my point is, I have a roomie, I ate lunch with actual people today, and I’m trying not to freak out when people smile and talk to me during classes.
I still fail at networking, as I forgot my business cards for the second year in a row. I aim to improve that at next year’s conference.
My favorite class so far? Great googly moogly, how can I pick one when they’ve all been SO GOOD? This morning I started with a class led by a designer who works with the store Anthropologie. She talked about display and design and making things out of what you’ve already got, repurposing and thinking outside the box for creative display solutions. I’ve been feeling like the shop at Crafted is a little beige, so, this one was a lifesaver. I’ve got some great ideas for spicing up the store, now.
The morning class in Sane Social Media led by Tiffany Han was mind blowingly great too. She offered some great tips for effectively utilizing social media in your business but also advocated getting OFF social media and just being smarter about it. With tips like “go outside” and “log off” I knew it was the right class for me. I’m so burned out lately, struggling with feeling creative and doing All The Things. I know this will help free up some mental space.
I also took an amazing class on branding led by Steph Cortes. I’d loosened up a little by this time, so of course, my questions were about things like, “Is it okay to talk about baking cats into pies** and selling my children to gypsies on my blog?” You know. Like you do, at a business conference.
I think the biggest thing I took away from this one was the reassurance that you can’t be afraid to be yourself, in fact, you MUST BE yourself and that’s definitely something I’ve struggled with here on the blog and in my online presence around Honey&Ollie. I dunno, it’s like I stopped knit blogging and started making jewelry/selling, and thought I had to change things about my online personality. Which is a bit ridiculous, but there you go. I miss my sense of humor. And knitting. I’ve been feeling like the blog has been a bit beige lately too but don’t worry, I’ve got some good ideas about that.
Tomorrow is set to be another full day of classes and the beach and the gorgeous weather we’re having here in Ventura.
The social stuff, it’s still hard. I’m still spending a lot of time struggling with the onslaught of people. I skipped the mixer in the bar tonight because I just wasn’t feeling it. I am on the fence about the 80’s party. It’s so brilliantly, fabulously overwhelming, this conference, so much color and personality and noise. Tonight I needed a quiet dinner in my room to balance out the day. Tomorrow, I’m planning to have a quiet walk on the beach in the morning to see if that won’t help me feel more grounded in all the tumult. Maybe start the morning with a decent cup of joe…
So many artists, personalities, creative folks in one place and me there feeling a little like a bit of flotsam or jetsam, buffeted around by all of them… Craftcation is one of my favorite places in the ‘Verse to be. Waves and all…
A note to my readers, I have never actually baked one of my cats into a pie, Duchess Honeytoes Crankypants, Professor Oliver Rumblestein Plumpypants ESq, Princess Bonbon Fluffypants von Schnufflestein and Mr. Tinklebritches are just fine. Seriously.