Love: Craftcation!

This past weekend I hit the road to go to an event called Craftcation: conference for creative makers! I arrived to the lovely town of Ventura and the Crowne Plaza Hotel early Thursday morning and got right into the swing of things with classes, meetings and tutorials. It was a fantastic weekend and I’m excited to share more about it with you.

Started by Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevensen of Patchwork Shows last year, the event is a Wednesday through Sunday conference filled with tons of craft and business classes from professional makers and teachers from around the country. All of it is geared towards the art and crafty brain and helping us all to learn and grow- from fun projects like knitting 101 to serious amazingly helpful business classes about websites, SEO and selling.

Can you tell which classes I focused on? Yep,the business classes! I volunteered at the event on Thursday and Friday so I got to sit in on a mix of classes those days and then on Saturday and Sunday I picked which ones I wanted to go to. There was also a fun BBQ on Thursday night, a cocktail gathering on Friday night and a fun 80’s dance party on Saturday night! Oh, and lunch was included on Thursday and Friday so everyone hung out together, met and talked some more and learned even more from each other!

So yep, a totally awesome weekend where I learned a TON and came home really reinvigorated to keep making away on my art projects, my screen prints and promoting it all through my blog and website. Since I spend most of my days working on my own on the business that my husband and I run together, I felt it was invaluable to gain a refreshed focus on old goals and to set some new goals both for SSR Sound and for Miriam Dema

Here’s the classes I attended and a bit of info about them.

Thursday:

Serve Safe Food Safety- basically focusing on how to become certified in the home cottage law that kicked into effect this last year. You can have your home kitchen inspected for production use by the health dept. really interesting, really detailed class. I sat in on this class since I was volunteering to room monitor the room but it was really interesting. Random tip that was useful for home kitchens- if you want to put a big quantity of something into the fridge that is still warm put it into several smaller containers and leave the lids slightly ajar until the item is cold. This releases the heat and the smaller containers get chilled faster.

Kombucha with Hannah Crum- a great primer for anyone who wants to make kombucha at home instead of buying it. Totally awesome as buying kombucha is kinda for chumps 😉 I mean that’s my hippie mom talking and I was raised in Northern California so kombucha is a long standing thing in my world.

Creating Great Tutorials by Carol Cho- talking about what makes a tutorial useful online and great places you can share a tutorials you have created.

Friday:

WordPress 1 with Se Reed- a great detailed class on how to get started using WordPress for your website and blog.

Zine publishing with Rhea Tepplim- all about Zines, how to make ’em, where to share them and the history behind them.

Your first 1000 subscribers with Alicia Dirago- talked about how to promote your blog, tips for getting more traffic and shared her story of how she went from a beginner blogger to running a business from her blog.

Artisan Bar Basics with Delilah Snell – Delilah brought in a whole back bars worth of elixirs, herbs, infusions and wonderfully smelling things. She made that conference room smell amazing! And then everyone in the class made some concoctions with citrus and flavorings and learned detailed info about what goes into a balanced cocktail. It was super fun to sit in on this one since I really like making drinks myself!Saturday:

SEO Small Business Overview with Se Reed- super awesome detailed class that gave me some great things to tackle on my own site. Reminded me of some stuff I should know better to be doing and got some new ideas. Very real, practical advice. I really enjoyed talking this whole class out with my much more pragmatic tech minded husband (who owns a hosting company) and he is totally on board with what I learned and what I was reminded he had always told me to be true 🙂

Effective Blogging- more blogging perspective from experienced bloggers who have been at this a while. A panel talk with questions from the audience.

Tutorial + Pattern Publishing with Annie Kuo Likito- all about how to brand patterns, how to get them out there and how to get people to buy them.

Pop -Ups, Shows – panel discussion with the founders of Craftcation and a few other experienced vendors. Great tips for shows, displays and how to get the most out of shows and pop ups. Doh, during this class I also realized a rookie mistake I made recently that was a bit humiliating to realize so that was a funny learning moment.

How to teach your craft with Nicole Vasbinder- a great talk about how to go from making to teaching. I got so much out of this, expect to hear more from me on this topic!

Sunday:

Roundtables with all of the speakers – honestly, this could have gone on for much longer. It was the whole larger conference room filled with the tables of instructors, teachers and talkers and you could pop from table to table going over any last minute questions or getting feed back from some of the classes you hadn’t been able to take. I plopped down at the etsy shop critique table and got a quick, to the point crit of my etsy store with some awesome tips for things I need to do to improve it.

Fear, Success and the Future with Nicole Stevenson- this was a great way to end the conference – recapping some things and going over some goals, and thoughts for the future.

So, whew…no really WHEW! That’s a lot of learning. To be fair some of the classes had dud moments here and there or things that just flat out didnt apply to me or things I already know and have long since implemented as habits but that was awesome as well. It means I’m doing a bunch right already but it also means I have more to learn and implement. I wasn’t so crazy overwhelmed that I’m going to forget everything, in fact yesterday before I even thought it was ok to write up this post I sat down and created some charts of action items I can work on implementing through the next year. And yep, some of it is going to take me that long or longer and that’s ok!

One more thing to mention, a shout out to all the awesome folks I met this weekend! It was so much fun getting to know new folks and how friendly everyone was! The vibe was super open and welcoming and it was great to reconnect with old friends that I usually just see for five minutes here and there at craft shows or events!

Can’t wait till next year!

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