I’ve been to loads of conferences, and none is like Craftcation. The organizers behind this event have created a magical balance between recreation and education, with so much making. It would take me hours to properly recount my time in Ventura, so I’ll briefly sum up and tell the rest of the story in pictures.

I was there for three days. Not enough time! Next year, if they have me back, I’ll arrive for the pre-conference, for sure, if for no other reason than that I didn’t have time to explore Ventura (home of a fabulous used book store, and Super Buzzy!).

Craftcation is geared to small handmade business owners, and involves both business classes and crafts classes. So I took a class with the ever brilliant Kari Chapin about growing (or not) your business, and I took a class on how to make soy candles. Both = awesome.

I also taught two classes – one, a hands-on Mighty Ugly workshop; the other a larger class on Embracing the Ugly Side of Your Business. Both classes were well attended, but more than that, they were both filled with people who really dove into the sometimes unpleasant muck I asked them to dive into. And they did it with grace, compassion, humility and generosity. I love all of them.

One of the things I’ve loved about the Year of Making project I’m doing is that I’ve taken up drawing and doodling. That this was timed with the release of Lisa Congdon‘s Creativebug class was total coincidence, but I was a little beside myself to actually meet her at the conference. She delivered a wonderful keynote address, which was so in line with everything I do with Mighty Ugly that I not only referred to her talk at the beginning of both of my classes to set the context, but I also screwed up the guts to shake her hand after her talk and tell her I loved it. I think I’m over my fangirl nerves now, which is good, because we’ll be crossing paths again in the future and it’s exhausting to feel like a doofus. (See what I did there? More on that future path-crossing soon.)

Ok, no more babbling. Photos!

Haley, Diane, Kate and I met on the train from LA’s Union Station to Ventura. So the funtimes began immediately!

Be Explicit print at Craftcation pop-up shop

Be Explicit on display at the conference pop-up shop!

Opening Fiesta at Craftcation Conference

The opening fiesta was amazing. Super tacos, a few hundred makers, fizzy drinks and crafts!

We made headbands. Not one to follow the trend of using flowers and feathers, I made mine a cupcake. And did that cupcake make it home with me intact? Yes. Yes it did.

Lisa Congdon's Keynote at Craftcation

Lisa Congdon’s keynote was pretty much perfect.

Memento Tin

Haley and I collected wee mementos in our Altoids tins. I still have to take photos of my finished tin.

Craftcation organizes office hours with the instructors. I love this idea so much, and I loved the conversations I had with people who came.

Shana from Cookoorikoo!

Shana, of Cookoorikoo, and I chat all the time online, and it was SUPER to get to hang with her in person!

Soy Candle-making Class at Craftcation

I made soy candles. They smell wonderful. One like French vanilla, the other like blackberries.

Bourbon and crochet:

Ventura, CA

Looking toward the ocean after eating lunch at Ventura City Hall. Too bad the view was so shitty, eh?

Mighty Ugly creature

Diane from Craftypod made an ugly creature, and her description of it was awesome!

Mighty Ugly workshop photo

I love that my Mighty Ugly class was in the room where it said “There is beauty in the process” on the wall. So true! Also, ugly.

Mighty Ugly class photo

Naturally, we had to take a class picture making funny faces.

VW Van, California Style

I’m told this gorgeous van belongs to one of the conference organizers. Perfection.

Craftcation friends