About a week ago, I clogged your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds with pictures and comments from a place called “Haven.” In case you don’t know what Haven is, it’s an annual conference for DIY/home bloggers. It’s held in Atlanta, my hometown (lucky me!).
I went last year, but I was, candidly, a deer in headlights. I got a ticket at the last minute, my blog was only a few months’ old, and I had no idea what to do first. I was overwhelmed by how much I learned, how much I had left to learn, and how nice everyone was.
This year, I bought my ticket to the conference the minute the tickets went on sale. This year, I was going to go, and I was going to be brave there; no deer in headlights again. As you may remember, brave is my Word of the Year. So, off I went, vowing to be brave.
How was I brave, you may ask? (C’mon – you were going to ask, right?)
1. Ready, Set, Decorate!
Before the conference, we all got an email saying that the first thirty people who responded to the email were going to get to participate in the Ballard Designs Bookcase Challenge. The challenge was that the participants would be in teams and would be given a blank bookcase, like this one.
Ballard Designs (woot!) was going to provide accessories, lamps, fabric, etc. and we were to style the bookcases. The members of the winning team would get a gift card to Ballard Designs.
Well, for once I was glad that Hank the Dog woke me up at 1 am during a storm, because the email had just been sent. I immediately responded – BRAVE! – and I was one of the ones put on a team!
It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had. Truly. I loved taking a blank slate, working with an amazing, talented group of women, and creating something beautiful. It was awesome.
And we won! WOOT!
I got a gift card that enabled me to buy this rug, which was showcased at the conference:
Last year, I would have worried about volunteering for such a challenge. I would have second-guessed any decision to participate. Not this year. This year, I jumped at the chance. = Brave.
2. Two Words: Power Tools!
Last year at Haven, I went to a session on using saws and other tools. The fabulous Ana White taught a session (in high heels, no less – sheesh!) on how to build a bookcase from scratch. I desperately wanted to learn how to use those saws, but was too chicken to get up and volunteer.
This year, Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl and Sandra from Sawdust Girl taught a session on trim and door casings. With help from the awesome folks from Ryobi, they taught us how to cut and hang casings and crown molding using miter saws and nailers.
Here’s me, this year:
That’s me, using a miter saw for the first time, bein’ brave.
It was AWESOME. I loved it. I might need one.
3. Soaking Up Knowledge Like a DIY Sponge.
Last year, I had to miss some sessions and others I just stayed away from because I thought they didn’t apply to me. Fast forward to this year: I had a plan. The first day (Friday), I decided to go to sessions that related to improving my blog. The second day, I went to sessions that related to improving my DIY skills – except for one (more on that in a second). I went to every session I wanted to and I learned a ton.
On the second day, the one session I went to that wasn’t about DIY skills was Advanced Advertising. That’s right: “Advanced.” Did I think this was over my head? Yes. Did I think my head might explode during this session from being completely overwhelmed. Totally.
Did either of those things happen?
I understood it all. I learned a lot. I loved sitting next to my friend, Geralin, and realizing we were good. It was awesome.
It was brave.
And, on top of all those things, I had a blast at the conference!
The lovely Sherry from YoungHouseLove. I nearly passed out when she said she remembered “Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza.”
It was brave not to faint at that moment.
The awesome Rebecca from YouAreTalkingTooMuch. I just love her.
A little grainy, but a picture of me with my friend, Melissa, from The Happier Homemaker. She is so talented and creative, and she has been such a great friend to me in my blogging adventure.
Right – me in the shower with a rubber duckie. Thanks to Moen for bubbles and fun!
We got to take home some amazing “swag”:
…and I got to keep this cool vase and beautiful flowers from one of the parties.
Would you believe that the vase was painted with mirror spray paint from Rustoleum? I need to get some of this.
Thank you to the organizers of Haven for putting together such an amazing conference! Thank you also to all the sponsors!