Haven 2013

Last week, I spent 3 days in Atlanta at the Haven Conference.  You would think that a 3-day conference would be easy to sum up into a few words and pictures, but it really isn’t.  Haven is the one time of year that I don’t have to explain what a blog is, or what DIY and home blogging is all about.  It is a wonderful opportunity to be with so many like-minded people.  Bloggers come from all walks of life, but at Haven we have the common bond of primarily blogging about our homes and projects we call DIY.  I was so much less nervous going to Haven this year, because I could actually introduce  myself as “Leslie from Puddy’s House”.  I felt like I belonged.  It also helped that I have a great traveling companion, who could also introduce herself as a blogger this year, “Amy from Always Never Done.”

Haven 2013 - Leslie and Amy

The Haven Team puts on a great conference.

Haven 2013 - Haven Team

I know they put forth tons of time and effort to make it great, and it shows, and it is appreciated!  We arrived Thursday to register, which is a fun time because we pick up our swag bag.  The Haven Team and Sponsors had it filled with goodies.

Haven 2013 - Swag Bag and Name Tag

Thursday evening, we opened the conference with a cocktail hour to give everyone time to meet and mingle.  After that, Amy and I headed out to dinner.  We were staying at a Hyatt for the conference and they have a shuttle driver that will take you anywhere within a few miles for free.  We said we wanted to go to dinner and the driver recommended The Buckhead Diner.  I think he saw the look on our face, and he said it wasn’t what we normally would think of as a diner, so we said we’d try it.  We pulled up and it certainly looked like you average diner.

Haven 2013 - Buckhead Diner

But, inside it was very nice.  The staff was great and it was delicious food.   The driver’s recommendation was right on target.

Haven 2013 - Amy at Buckhead Diner

Friday morning, the day started with Ana White as the keynote speaker.   She was educational and inspiring, which are two of the four things she said she always tries to have in her blog posts.  If you don’t know Ana White, I recommend you check out her blog.

Haven 2013 - Ana White

After the keynote, there were many sessions to choose from.  Most sessions were repeated on Saturday too, so Amy and I went to a mix of sessions to help with blogging and also hands-on DIY sessions.

Haven 2013 - Emily A Clark  -Design Mistakes

Emily A. Clark teaching us about The 5 Most Common Design Mistakes.  We also learned about the components to layering design with this real bedroom example.

Haven 2013 - Bedroom design

In another session, we learned from Sawdust Girl and Pretty Handy Girl about molding, trim, and wall planks.  After they taught us, we had time for hands-on.  I shared some pictures of Amy and I on Facebook using the tools.  I really liked learning how to install crown molding.  Sawdust Girl showed us her templates she uses and then we each had the chance to make our own templates.

Haven 2013 - Sawdust Girl and Pretty Handy Girl

In another hands-on session, we got the chance to work with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax.  I had used Chalk Paint before on my corner shelf in the basement, but this class was great to learn more techniques about application and layering and waxes.

Haven 2013 - Chalk Paint session

Some of the other sessions we took, but I don’t have pictures of included photography, blogging basics, and advertising.  My head was swimming at times.   Maybe that is why Amy and I took crazy pictures like this in the bathroom!

Haven 2013 - Leslie and Amy mirror reflections

The conference ended with more giveaways from the sponsors, and a very motivational closing speaker from Habitat for Humanity.  He challenged us to do good on a grand scale.

Haven 2013 - Closing presentation

After two full days of learning and a few evenings of fun, I think we all left inspired and I’m pretty sure that is what the Haven Team hoped to accomplish with the closing speaker.

Overall, Haven was even better than it was last year.  We learned, we networked, and we had fun!  Oh, and we took home a whole suitcase full of our free swag!!

Haven 2013 - Swag packed

I’ll be sharing some of the swag soon as I know I will be using a lot of it in upcoming projects.  One project I didn’t anticipate is a technical one.  I learned in the blogging basics session that I should make the change from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  I have already started the process, but I just wanted to warn my readers that if you visit my site in the upcoming days and see anything strange, or maybe don’t see anything at all, please try again…it is just me trying to make the transfer on my own.  I hope its seemless, but I can’t make any guarantees.