Craftcation 2018 Recap

I’m sure the world is wondering… “Sabrina, how was Craftcation? Was it really as good attending the 2nd time around?”

The Answer: YES! Returning to Craftcation as an alum was a very different experience than going as a first timer, but it is just as magical, energizing, and inspirational as the first time. Its now been 2 months since I returned from the conference, and I still get warm fuzzies thinking back to those 4 days.

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To refresh your memory on what I’m talking about, you can check out my post about last year’s experience here.

Here are a few things I did differently this year:

  • I was an ambassador! Dear Handmade Life takes applications every year for ambassadors, basically those of us who CANNOT shut up about Craftcation. I was SO honored to be selected. The cherry on top was being gifted an ADDITIONAL swag bag upon check in. It was pretty epic.
  • I took more business classes than crafting classes. I know, I know, it sounds crazy! But there are SO MANY accomplished and successful presenters that teach every year, and I found myself not being able to resist the business sessions.
  • I rented a car. The train was a fun adventure last year, and there’s always a shuttle for those who didn’t bring a car, but I wanted a little more flexibility this time around. I’m so glad I did! I got to do some fabric shopping in LA the day I arrived and some sightseeing on my last day there. (I also lost my phone on the Rental Car Shuttle, but that’s a whole other story…)
  • I skipped class. But to be fair, they recommend you skip a class or two! Last year I scheduled something for EVERY session, but this year I consciously scheduled in a few open slots. I used that time to go to the beach one morning, to make the obligatory trip to Superbuzzy for fabric shopping, and to check out a few breweries.
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Beer Flight at Topa Topa Brewing. Succulent centerpieces were on point.

Some other highlights (since I seem to be sticking to last year’s post format…) :

  • Laughing and crying (simultaneously) at the Bust Through Imposter Syndrome panel.
  • Experiencing my very first Earthquake! We were in the middle of our Etsy Think Tank when the room started vibrating vigorously. Luckily I was in a room full of West Coasters who knew what was going on.
  • Spotting a Tsunami warning sign the next day at the beach. (If I’d seen it before the earthquake I’d have been a nervous wreck!)
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Don’t worry. She’s not running away from a tsunami.

  • Getting distracted while taking a boomerang on the beach, getting splashed by a rogue wave, and having to go back to the room to change my wet leggings. (oops)
  • Taking a class with Debbie Stoller, then teaching her how to make friendship bracelets later that day!
  • Iron Craft Ventura. A.ma.zing. The hosts were hilarious and the crafting was impressive!!! I’m so happy this existed and I was able to witness it.
  • Getting a tattoo. Ok, it was a fake, but the experience was legit…aside from the fact that the tattoo parlor was a hotel room. It started with a shot of bourbon at the door, involved sterilization of the tattoo site, and latex gloves. I’d say that’s pretty legit. (Also, I for real want a scissor tattoo now.) Oh, I should probably mention this was part of Wanderings (see last year’s post for an explanation).
  • Another Headshots session with Sarah Deragon. The lead up to this was a bit of a rollercoaster and I almost ended up canceling the session a few days before. I’m so happy I didn’t. Sarah is a magician and even a bit of a therapist without realizing it.

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  • My solo Beer Trip. The beer nerd in me was singing as I drove down the highway to Oxnard, and my introvert heart was so happy to enjoy a little bit of quiet time away from the party.
  • Beach House Tacos with Robin. I randomly roomed with Robin last year, and we kept in touch and decided to room together again this year. It was so nice to be able to wrap up our Craftcation experience before heading our separate ways.

The beauty of attending Craftcation as a 2nd timer (or, I would imagine, as a 3rd, 4th, or 5th timer…) is you’ve already gotten the basics under your belt. You know the venue (shoutout to Ventura Beach Marriott!), you know more or less how things run, and chances are this time you know a few people!

For me, my 2nd year gave me a chance to look at the event with more focused eyes. Last year got me fired up to kick my business back into gear. This year I’d had an opportunity to put some of that learning into place and think to myself “what’s next?!” I took advantage of office hours, tried to make new friends (have I mentioned everyone is SO friendly?!), and meet some of the people I was already stalking on Instagram.

(Next year: convince the organizers to make a yearbook so I don’t have to feel so awkward when I creep over to ask “hey, are you @XXXX on Instagram?”)

Have you ever been to Craftcation? If so, what were some of your highlights from 2018?

 

 

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Craftcation 2017

Coworker: “So where are you going on your time off next week?”

Me: “Um….craft….cation…?”

Coworker: [blank stare]

Its super hard to explain to anyone why a grown woman would need to use up her vacation days to fly across the country to go crafting with a bunch of strangers. (….because I’m a grown woman and I do what I want?)

That is, unless you’ve been to Craftcation.

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So what is Craftcation? Its a 4-day Conference that happens every year in Ventura, CA. Hundreds of crafty creatives get together and attend hands on craft workshops and classes for creative business owners. Its run by the incredible Nicole Stevens and Delilah Snell of Dear Handmade Life.

I made the decision to attend Craftcation about this time last year, as I went onto the Dear Handmade Life website/social media and saw all of their Craftcation 2016 coverage. I had never heard of anything like it, and everyone looked so…happy! Attendees gushed about the amazing experience, and I knew I had to do it. I bought my ticket in October as soon as they went on sale, booked the hotel, and hoped for the best.

I attended by myself. I’m usually quite shy but I wasn’t worried (even though I usually worry about everything.) Between the posts that Dear Handmade Life published and the insights from attendee group on Facebook, I was assured that it wouldn’t be an issue navigating the conference solo. And they were right. Even though the majority of attendees would call themselves introverts, once I was there everyone was super pumped and friendly. I also had 3 random roommates that turned out to be amazing people. (Shout out to Rachel, Robin, and Nica!)

The conference officially starts on Thursday, but on Wednesday they host a few classes and a Happy Hour event for those who arrived early. I arrived too late in the day to take advantage (train issues. Long story), but after my first In-N-Out experience (animal what?) and a walk to watch the sun set on the beach, I settled in to get ready for my first day.

The next few days were so great and went by way too quickly. I took a total of 7 classes, attended 3 business workshops, as well as the Keynote speech (Jenny Hart!) during Dinner on Friday and the Closing remarks (Tiffany Han!!!) on Sunday. I had my headshots taken and went on a Walking Photo Tour with Sarah Deragon , and met Crochet Idol Twinkie Chan!

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Was distracted by succulents at Olivas Adobe (and hey, there’s Delilah!)

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Downtown Ventura as seen from City Hall

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Blue skies at City Hall

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Watching photography master Sarah Deragon at work during the Photo Walking Tour

Other highlights of the conference:

  • My minor freak-out in my Fabric Block Printing class when they told us we would need to draw our designs. I powered through and ended up making a really cute (in the way a mother finds her children cute?) scissor pattern on my tea towels! This was my favorite class and something I want to continue doing!
  • Showing up an hour early with my roommate to the branding workshop by Lela Barker to make sure we all got seats. It was at least 40 minutes before anyone else showed up, but whatever! The workshop was great. (Lela Barker is amazing!) It made me realize I have so much thinking to do about my sewing business.
  • Finishing my Succulent Terrarium only to ask myself how am I getting this home? It made it home, but not before getting manhandled by TSA.
  • An impromptu photo shoot with my roommate at the Dance Party. Because after the Walking Photo Tour I’m obviously a pro photographer.
  • Skipping class to go fabric shopping at SuperBuzzy. Good thing I set a budget, or I would’ve needed a 2nd suitcase.
  • The Food. They provided a few lunches with registration, as well as a dinner. Not only were the venues lovely (Lunches were at City Hall. Dinner was a Olivas Adobe), but the food was DELICIOUS. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, only that I kept wishing we had a fridge in the room so we could take back leftovers every time.
  • Wanderings. I was blown away by Wanderings. To be honest, it sounded kinda…cheesy. Rooms volunteer to host a pop-up shop or activity, and we wander through the hotel from room to room. I seriously underestimated my fellow attendees. Such a fun, bizarre, and exhausting experience, but I loved it!

There were so many moments where I’d walk around and think where else could this ever happen? Like when I walked to the hotel terrace and found a group of girls huddling around a table full of fabrics and a button maker that another attendee had brought so everyone can make magnets. (I made 5.) And when I’d walk by and see a class in progress in the middle of the Marriott Lobby. I met so many lovely people, and most of all left inspired. Not only to finally do something with my business, but to create freely and without judgement from myself.

Craftcation 2018 dates have already been set for April 4-8. Maybe I’ll see you there?