Recently, I went to Craftcation. What is that, you ask? It's a conference for crafty people and/or small biz whizzes. You can learn a new craft, hone in on your skills for your favorite crafts, or take some steps to help your business. It's a craft-vacation. Craftcation. You meet others who share your same crafty love, too.
Grab a cup of tea and a snack, this is going to be a long one. I had the most wonderful vacation. I bought my ticket back in 2020, and we all remember that year, right? So, I finally went and I know this sounds cliché, but it was life-changing. Life. Changing. People!
I went alone (Cue "All By Myself" by Celine Dion). I didn't know a single soul aside from a few people I've lightly interacted with, on Instagram. It was my first solo trip in my whole adult life. (I would hope as a kid too. I don't know too many kids going on their own for a week.) LOL. I found out that I can, in fact, travel alone. And, even better, I LOVED it.
Here's my walkthrough of Craftcation. I had to share it with all of you now, so you can grab a ticket if you're interested. And, you should be interested! It was so good!! So, freaking, good.
I arrived on Wednesday around noon, and grabbed my swag bag and name-tag lanyard, without knowing a single person. I went to my first class, which was a website critique, and met my people! I didn't know at the time that they were my people, until the following morning. After the class and some great advice, I headed to my hotel to check in and unload my car. Whew! I brought a ton of stuff! It looked like I packed for a family of four, but it was just me. Hahaha!!!
I unpacked and settled in quickly, then walked across the street back to the Marriott, the Craftcation headquarters. The Meet and Greet was for the newbies. My table had mostly new people and it was the usual, go around the table, say your name and what you do... yadda yadda. Everyone was nice and we shared our business cards. Another Craftcation alumni sat next to me, and we hit it off. She was a hoot and introduced me to a few of her friends, they were sitting at a nearby table. After the meet-n-greet, we moved over to a new table. I chatted with some very sweet ladies while watching the opening ceremony.
After the ceremony, you break out and mingle, make simple crafts, grab a drink from the bar, eat at the restaurant, or go back to your room. I grabbed a drink, attempted to mingle (without knowing anyone), and also attempted a craft, but everything was full. So, I went back to my room. I felt a little defeated but, was still positive. No harm, no foul. I walked across to grab In n Out and ate in my room while watching King of the Hill. I know how to party, what can I say!?
The next morning, Thursday, was when the magic happened! I had previously signed up for the thrift and shop, Sewing class. You go thrifting, find a lemon to make lemonade out of, and then show it off at the fashion show! That was the only sewing class I signed up for because I was more interested in trying new things. Mistake #1! I should have signed up for all the sewing classes! *Note taken*
Anywho, I had a car, so three wonderful ladies piled in with me, and we drove to the thrifty shopping downtown area. One gal was from the class I took on the first night. She would later (5 whole minutes later) become "my people." At the store, I found more treasures than I could count! I opted for a purple (we all know how I feel about purple, not a fan) muumuu to cut up and re-fashion into a romper. I also grabbed some other fun things I had plans for later on down the road.
Long story short, the romper didn't work out. It ended up becoming a shorter muumuu. I'll probably wear it around the house during summer. I met a few other ladies while thrifting and they all became "my people" as well! Sewing people are the best people, in my opinion. ;) But, I'm biased.
After thrifting, I was invited to eat lunch with my new friends. We ate our boxed lunches in the restaurant area. You can pre-order these "sack lunches" and pick whichever menu item you want in advance. I highly recommend this. You only get a short window of time between your classes. Plus, it gives you time to socialize. My next class was making a lazy Susan. BTW, they are much harder to make than you'd think! Haha! Mad respect for Lazy Susaners. The people I liked in that class, also sewed. Figures, right?
After that, I headed upstairs to the thrift store sewing. On my way to the class, I saw a couple of friends signing up for some coaching sessions. You can schedule different ones for times to meet with an expert and pick their brain for whatever they are an expert in. We were chatting, and there was a coaching session that one person had signed up for. I thought, oh, I should do that too. I've been thinking about whether or not I should start a youtube channel or something and this person can help me figure out what I need to do. Right? Sure. So, I signed up without giving it any thought and headed to the sewing class.
And, wouldn't you know it, I sat next to one of the gals that rode with me to the thrift shops. We had fun sewing, well, mostly ripping out stitching, and trying to fit our up-cycled outfits and making them look less fugly. That was something I'd never done before and found that I'm okay with not ever doing again. Ha! I need a pattern to sew garments with. Next time, I just might bring a pattern with me. Sshhh, nobody has to know. ;) Another friend from the thrift store was in the class too, so we had fun laughing and trying to figure out our horrendous makes. BTW, hers turned out phenomenal! She took an avocado green 60s tablecloth and made a caftan out of it.
I was officially in with my new group now. We all exchanged phone numbers, I found my people! My tribe, as you will. I bonded with this group of ladies so quickly and felt like I had known them for years. Years!!! After sewing our makes and wishing I had more time, and pondering why I decided to do this class, we went back to our rooms.
Iron Craft was that night. It's Craftcation's version of Iron Chef. They give you a bag of stuff to create with and one secret ingredient you have to use. I went to watch and let me tell you, there are some creative people out there! Holy moly, toasted cannoli! I would have just glued some yard to construction paper and called it a day. Not these folks. They made hats, belts, floral arrangements, jewelry, and more! I'm not gonna lie, it was hard to see what they made, but they go up on stage to show off each maker's item. Then, weed out the best until the winner is decided. Fun stuff.
After that, was karaoke. It had an alien/space theme. I had an outfit picked out ahead of time back at the room, and of course, I went! I wore neon green tights, a silver sequin dress, space buns, and silver shoes. No, I didn't sing, but I laughed my booty off with a friend and cheered on everyone who could sing and those who couldn't. ;) We shut it down and I got back to my room a little later than I had hoped for, that night. Haha!
The next morning, we're on Friday I believe, I had a photo walking tour. Well, I misread the description and thought it was a DSLR photo walk. Nope, it was a phone camera class about how to pose for your own photos. A selfie class, sort of. I learned a few things, and the teacher was great. Another friend I had met while thrifting happened to walk past me and I told her to come hang in the class too. We shared some laughs, and it was nice having a familiar face in the class. After that, we broke out for lunch. I met with my new group of friends, ate, laughed some more, and then went our separate ways to the next class.
I went to a walk-in class called Painting Weirdos. I also was lucky enough to sit next to a long-time IG friend who also sews, and that was fun! It's always exciting meeting a social media friend, in person. Painting these so-called weirdos gave me the mental break I needed from such a jam-packed few days. I loved it! After this painting session, I went to my coaching session.
Well, the 50-minute coaching session was an OMG moment! I cried, people! I NEVER cry! I even ugly cried. She helped me to realize "out loud" that I don't love sewing and selling things in my shop. It doesn't feed my soul anymore. I want to focus on creating sewing content, making patterns for you, etc. We hugged 50 times afterward, and I felt the biggest weight release from my chest. It was a life-changing coaching sesh. Anyway, let's keep going...
I skipped my next class which was a thinking tank for content planning. I needed a little mental break. A few friends were outside so, I joined them instead. The warm sun felt cleansing and I was recharged.
Never in a million years, would I have expected what I got, from that coaching session. It was something I thought, yeah, I'd chit-chat about my website and shop and see where I'm going to go with it all.
I am a huge believer in "everything happens for a reason". And, had I not walked up the stairs to say hi to my friends, while THEY were signing up for sessions, I would have never signed myself up. And, I would still feel lost in my business and dare I say, life.
Okay, so after that life-changing afternoon, I had to get ready for the fashion show. You know the one where we thrifted something, sewed something horrendous out of it, and now we were to show it all off! Ack! We dressed up and got in line to walk the runway. It was fun, hilarious, and I made a few more new friends waiting in line. Again, sewing people. Do you see a pattern here? I started to see it.
We all had dinner at the hotel restaurant that night, it was nice to sit and talk and laugh about life. This whole vacation was filled with good people. MY people. After dinner, we went to Wanderings. This was a lot of fun! People who had rooms in the hotel decorated their rooms in different themes and you go from room to room. It's like trick or treating but for adults. One room had a keychain-making station, one had embroidery, a middle school dance room, a tiki room with rum punch, a toast room where you made your own toast, and so much more! Very cool! After that, we went "home" to our rooms to get ready for another day.
Now, it's Saturday. Whew, if you're still with me, thank you! If not, I totally understand. It's a lot to take in (read).
I started Saturday morning off with a Copy Writing Rouoette class. It is a pretty cool concept, you write down what your business is about and fill out an easy form. Then, everyone goes and writes what they think your business is about. Words, phrases, themes, etc. It's to help give you ideas for your own copywriting. It was a small class, so it was more intimate, which was very nice.
Next up was a wood-burning class. I have had a wood-burning tool for years that I use solely for Halloween decorations. I carve into foam boards with it. I am a huge Halloween fan, but figured I'd learn how to use it on actual wood. You know, because that's what it's made for. Well, I am not a fan. It's soooo slooow. You have to go at a snail's pace and it killed me inside. Haha. Okay, I'm not a wood burner, lesson learned. Kudos to those that have that kind of patience though. I salute you!
Up next was an Astrology class. This wasn't really something I'd ever do, but, I thought it might be fun and brainless. It wasn't brainless! Haaa!! It was brain-full. However, it was neat to get a printout of your birth chart from where the planets were at the exact moment you were born. And, wow! I'm 100% Leo through and through. Which really wasn't news to me. ;)
After that, I went back to my room to hang out for a bit and grab a snack, and a sweater. Then I met up with everyone to walk to the pier for tacos. We ate tacos, froze a little, and afterward one friend and I drove to Ventiki for drinks with her friends. Yay for meeting new people. Let's just give a little nod to her Shelby Mustang rental car. It was a convertible and gorgeous! I'm not a Mustang fan. At all. But, I have to give some love to her car. LOL, It had lights that shined on the ground where the doors were! I don't get out much, I was impressed. :D
Ventiki was a whole experience in itself. First off, we ordered the worst drinks ever. Sent them down the table and traded with another friend. Ordered a second round and they were less terrible, but still not good. We ordered coconut shrimp that was fine at first but then got gross. Oh, and we also ordered Spam sliders. I'll let that sink in for a minute. SPAM sliders. Spam is something you either love or hate. There is no in-between. So, the first two bites were okay. The third one though. It hit differently. It tasted legit like dog food. I know what you're thinking, "Um, Annette, it's spam aka dog food". Well, the first two bites were good! So, we had a good laugh over everything we ordered and decided we need adults to order for us next time. I don't think the rest of the table appreciated our humor over it all. But, to each their own. It was a memorable time and meal, at best.
Sunday had finally arrived. I woke up early (not on purpose, I'm just a morning person) and packed my things up. Bagged up all the snacks, my new goodies from the pop-up shop, and my big ole bag of stuff from the thrift stores. I loaded my car and checked out of my hotel. I parked at the Marriott- Craftcation Headquarters. And, I headed out to take a nice long walk along the beach, alone with my camera. (I still needed photos to turn in to my photography class on Monday.) I was gone for much longer than I anticipated. But, it was enjoyable to snap photos of all the things I had missed on the walk when we grabbed tacos at the pier. I also got some exercise and my steps in.
After my own photo walk, I grabbed breakfast inside the hotel. I needed coffee for the first time in almost a week. I skipped the closing ceremony, for subpar coffee and a sad/dry Belgian waffle. LOL, worth it. A couple of friends came to chat while I ate and then I headed outside to make some Japanese coasters.
Suminagashi is the Japanese art of marbling. It was pretty cool to learn and extremely easy to do. After that, I headed back home. I don't like crying and feared I would cry saying goodbye. It wasn't a "goodbye everyone", it was the "see ya next year" feeling that I wanted to hold on to.
Photos from my Beach Walk
I left with my mind full. My heart full. And, with a whole group of new besties. My drive home was nice and easy. I only live a couple of hours away, which is a huge bonus. Fun fact, most of us have already bought tickets for next year. And, I cannot wait to see my friends again!
After I got home and unloaded my truckload of things, I couldn't stop talking. I was energized, my "mom battery" was fully charged, and I was ready to tackle life again. Do you know how sometimes when you get back from vacation, you need a 3-day nap? This was not the case for me, this time. I pulled weeds, mowed the lawn, and unpacked everything. Of course, I passed out on the couch at 8 pm. But, that's besides the point. Hahaha!!
I hope you enjoyed my day-by-day recap. I highly recommend going to Craftcation. It's for craft folks and/ or small business owners. There's something for everyone.
Stay crafty, my friends!
Takeaways from My Experience
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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