Craftcation: A Full Report!

Wow! Where do I start about last weekend's amazing Craftcation Conference? I guess the first people to mention are the amazing organizers Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson. Usually first time events come with a certain amount disasters, but it seemed like there were few fires to put out and everything went really smooth. I can only anticipate that next year's event will be even bigger and better. I can't wait!

Thursday I drove up from LA to Ventura and checked into my hotel room at the Crowne Plaza and was immediately surrounded by pals from The Urban Craft Center and met up with my roommate Cathy Callahan. We attended the opening night BBQ where Evan Kleiman of KCRW's Good Food was the keynote speaker. She was funny and just like she is on her radio show. I also met up with my Craftsy pals, Stefanie and Emily. The BBQ was fun and was complete with mac & cheese, mini cupcakes, and beer. Seriously, what more do you need?


Friday morning was my first workshop, Improvisational Bead Necklaces. I think it's very important to have an outlet for your creative brain that has nothing to do with your business. For me, one of those outlets is making these fun bead necklaces. I had two tables of lovely ladies that were joining me and everyone did a great job! I talked with them about setting their left brains aside and to just go with the flow. Anne Kallas of The Ventura County Star did a story on the Conference, and included a photo of me teaching the class. Check it out!

After my necklace class, I was on the Start Up Stories panel moderated by Rena Tom. Along with me was Karyn Cantor of Classic Hardware and Dana & Melanie Harvey of Harvey's Seatbelt Bags. It was great to hear all of their stories and to share my own. I think between the four of us, the crowd learned some valuable life lessons on our personal highs and lows.

After the panel, it was time for lunch. All the breakfasts and lunches were provided by Craftcation and of course, with Delilah as one of the founders, I knew the food could be good, and it was. After lunch, I had an hour or so to kill, (and frankly, I needed some quiet alone time and some caffeine!) so I wandered the shops of downtown Ventura with a cup of tea, hitting some thrift stores and an adorable used book store, where I scored a collection of short stories by George Sands in French for my man, and some vintage sewing patterns for myself!

After my wandering, I was lucky enough to participate in Delilah's jam making class! This was the one workshop I really wanted to take, and I was so happy to have scored a spot. My pal Emily from Craftsy was also there, so we teamed up and made jam together. All the ladies were super lovely, including Aida Mollenkamp from the Food Network and Carol Cho from Kollabora,  and all the jam looked super good! I will be able to confirm that it tastes good too, as we all made enough to share, so I got to go home with 5 different kinds of jam! Woo hoo! I taste tested our jam yesterday morning on toast and it was delicious! We went for a strawberry jam with punches of blood orange, meyer lemons, and fresh chamomile. I am now convinced that this is something I can do at home. Thanks Delilah!

As if that wasn't enough already, it was then time for happy hour at the hotel bar! There I met the lovely Kelly Stevens from Superbuzzy. I already knew of their on line shop, but I somehow didn't realize that they had a physical shop in Ventura! (Look for more on Superbuzzy later in the post...) Happy hour turned into happy evening, and with all the chatter, wine, and noise, I nearly lost my voice! So early to bed it was (though I did sneak in the finale of Project Runway via my laptop before falling asleep).

Saturday was another full day, starting off with my workshop, the 3-Hour Skirt. I had a room full of amazing ladies all ready to get down to business bright and early. They measured, marked, cut, and pinned their fabrics based on their body measurements. Then they learned how to wind bobbins, thread the sewing machines, and then we got to sewing. First the side seams, the waistband casings, and hems, followed by inserting the elastic, and voila!  Handmade skirts! Thanks to all the lovely ladies who joined me! One was my pal Stefanie from Craftsy, who posted about her experience on her blog.

After the skirt whirlwind, we had earned our lunch, and I ran into close friend Jenny Hart who had just arrived. After only a few minutes of deliberating, Jenny, Cathy, and Erica from The Urban Craft Center realized that we had about 45 minutes to kill, and that would be just enough time to rush over to Superbuzzy! So off we rushed and I scored 3 yards of adorable Japanese plaid that looks hand painted. I think that once it's sewn up into a dress, it will look super vintage. I love it! Cathy, Jenny, and Erica all scooped up some goodies too, and I highly suggest you go check out the amazing inventory on their website!

Last but not least, I had my Technique Bootcamp Class at 4pm. Again, it was a packed house where everyone learned briefly about fabric construction, reading patterns, finding your size, and hand sewing a hem. I then did a demo of sewing a bust dart and had each of them do one too. With 15 minutes left, I had just enough time to demo installing an invisible zipper so they could all see how it was done. And then that was a wrap! Both of my sewing workshops were sponsored by Coats & Clarks, who supplied zippers, thread, and other tools! I had the pleasure of meeting their on-site rep, Michele DeFay, who was so nice! Thanks Coats & Clarks!

Saturday night at the event was an 80's dance party, and based on the rest of the event, I can only imagine what a good time it was! But I headed back home to LA before the party started and rested my well-worn voice with loads of hot tea, which I'm happy to report has worked well!

Thank you to EVERYONE that I met along the way and to both Delilah and Nicole for putting together such an amazing event!