What happens when nearly 300 paintbrush wielding, nail gun holstering, laptop carrying women (and a few DIY dudes) gather together in one space? An amazing DIY home blogger conference experience called Haven in beautiful Atlanta, GA is the answer! The design and DIY talent was thick in the air, and the creative fervor and energy of these women could be felt throughout the week. Strap on your tool belts and don your safety goggles, I’m about to take you on a photo journey of Haven 2012!
The mistress of ceremonies was the beautiful Rhoda from Southern Hospitality. The idea of Haven was Rhoda’s dream, so she gathered her Haven Mavens (The DIY Dream Team as I call them): Kristen of Stockdale Design, my lovely sister Beth of Home Stories A to Z, Chris of Just a Girl, Kate of Centsational Girl, Kristi of Creative Kristi, Marian of Miss Mustard Seed, Sarah of Thrifty Décor Chick, and Traci of Beneath My Heart. These amazing women worked diligently and sacrificially over the past year to make Haven a reality.
The conference kicked off with the ever entertaining, keynote speakers, John & Sherry from Young House Love.
Oreck and Frog Tape sponsored a fun party in the evening. I was able to finally meet my hilarious friend Jessica of Four Generations One Roof and Sherry of Young House Love. Sherry lives just a 2 hours from me and is just as real, funny, and genuine as she is in her blog.
The evening party also meant I was able to catch up with Rhoda of Southern Hospitality. Rhoda is so very lovely, tall, and sweet as sweet tea! We met for the first time a little over a year ago at Blissdom. She helped me out when I first started blogging, which I will be ever grateful to her for. She is a beautiful, classy woman, inside and out!
The party gave me the chance to visit with my little sister Beth of Home Stories A to Z. We only see each other at holidays so I was glad to get a little bit of time with her. Beth helped lead two sessions such as Décor 101 & I Like Big Blogs.
There was much discussion (and envy) when the beans were spilled about who my roommates would be for Haven! I think the phrases “I want to be in that room!” & “oh that room is trouble!” were thrown around a bit! I had the extreme privilege and pleasure to room with 3 amazingly talented and entertaining women! They were (pic. from L-R) Pamela of PB&J Stories, Vivienne of The V-Spot Blog, Me, and Ann-Marie of White House, Black Shutters. We laughed together, cried together, talked business, family, and life. I couldn’t have asked for better roomies!
Carpentry techniques were taught by the Alaskan DIY diva herself, Ann White! Her hands on course was fun and informative. How many other diy girls do you know who can power a miter saw in 4 inch heels while looking model-fabulous! My roomie, Ann-Marie (on the right) is learning how to use a Kreg Jig to make easy pocket holes.
Many of you already know that I’m a contributor to Infarrantly Creative. I was so excited to meet Beckie of Infarrantly Creative in real life! Beckie helped teach an amazing, standing room only, class All About Advertising along with Sarah of Thrifty Décor Chick, & Julia of Hooked on Houses.
I was able to hang with a few of my fellow contributors from Infarrantly Creative, Jess & Monica from East Coast Creative.
Monica, Jess, and I along with Allison from House of Hepworths (below) collaborated on a project called Blogging to Better Summer Challenge. We were all given a challenge to make something out of a list of items which included pallet wood. Click here to see the surfboard pallet art I made along with all the other team projects.
Besides all the great sessions we had were able to visit with all the wonderful Haven sponsors. The sponsors included: Home Depot, Minwax, Rust-oleum, HGTV Home, Shaw Floors, Columbia Forest Products, Pure Bond, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Ryobi, Moen, Oreck, Frog Tape, 3M Tekk Products, 3M Bondo, Kreg Jig, Purdy, Royal Design Studios, Mirror Mate, Homes.com, Fish Foam, Cutter, and Mail Chimp.
THANK YOU HAVEN SPONSORS!
Our swag bag was stuffed with home improvement goodies!
A few highlights of the conference was the chance to win all the tools from the Ana White carpentry session! I won an awesome cordless drill and charger from Ryobi! Thank you Ryobi! My husband was stoked to see me bring this home. Sorry darlin’ but this one is MINE!
I think my favorite moment though was winning this incredible chalk paint and wax gift basket from Annie Sloan. It features their new color Florence! I swear the whole conference heard my “Whoooo-Hoooo!” screams when I won! I can’t wait to try out ASCP
Bringing all these items home in my suitcase was quite a strategic packing feat! I knew my bag would catch the eye of the TSA and Homeland Security because of the contents and sure enough, look what I found inside my suitcase when I got home! From what I’ve heard so far, many of the Haven Maven’s bags were searched. I would have loved to see the faces of the TSA agents finding suitcase after suitcase filled with power tools and paint next to bras and high heels.
Gathering together with women who are like minded and have a passion for creativity and blogging is such a special experience. When you are surrounded by people who simply and truly “get you”, your cup starts to fill to overflowing. The friendships we have formed with each other over years through the internet come to fruition at a conference like Haven. I gleaned knowledge and wisdom from the big bloggers, and met brand new bloggers who were just starting out, and some non-bloggers who were there to learn about DIY and decorating.
No matter your blog size, you felt welcome and left inspired at Haven. I’m looking forward to Haven 2013!