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.

Celebrating one year at Puddy’s House

Today is a special day because exactly one year ago today I wrote my first blog post: Welcome to Puddy’s House.

Puddys House - Front View

I wrote that I was dipping my toe into blogging, and that is definitely the truth.  I still feel like I’m only dipping my toe into blogging, but I enjoy it so much.  I get excited to see when people like you have come to visit my blog.  I hope that you find some value in what your read, or at least feel entertained by what you have read.  I’m still working on finding balance in life and also what I share on Puddy’s House, and defining what Puddy’s House is really about.

My blog has taught me a lot too.  I’m always surprised at what posts get the most traffic.  So far, the DIY Diaper Invitations are very popular, followed closely behind by the DIY Baby Shower Favors.  And, that surprises me because they are not what I had considered my “normal” DIY projects.  They were definitely fun for me and obviously very special as they were for showering my little sister as she was expecting her first child.  Our Basement Retreat and Our Outdoor Paradise are two other top posts, which I’m happy to see as they are two aspects of our home that we really love.  We put a lot of planning and effort over time to get both spaces to truly be our retreat and our paradise.

Basement - View from steps

Patio - view from the yard to the back of the house

Tomorrow, I embark on the next step in learning and growing in terms of blogging.  I will be flying to Atlanta to join hundreds of other DIY and Home bloggers at the annual Haven Conference.

Haven Conference

Last year, I went to Haven as a non-blogger thinking I was going to just learn more to help me with my DIY projects, and also get the opportunity to meet some of the well-known bloggers that write the blogs that I read on a daily basis.  Instead, I came home so inspired and motivated that I decided to start my own blog.  So, now that I have been blogging one year, my perspective has changed as I prepare for Haven.  This year, I hope to learn so much more about blogging so that I can improve and grow, but also to continue to inspire and motivate me to keep going.

So, as I celebrate one year of blogging, I’d like to hear from you.  Tell me what you like and what you want to see more of.  I welcome any constructive criticism too.  I’m still learning and trying to grow my blog.  And, do you have any questions for me?  I’ll do my best to give you answers.

5 Years

5 years ago today, we had been living in our home for only a few weeks and we were already giving the living room a completely new look.  We removed all the furniture and brought in 30 white chairs to prepare for our big day…our wedding day!

Wedding - Chairs in Living Room

We kept everything simple, decorating only with some fresh flowers and candles.

Wedding - View from Kitchen-Flowers-Chairs-Unity Candle

We used a side table that we had and placed our unity candle on display.  We didn’t follow the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day, but we did stick with some traditions.  My Dad walked me down the aisle.

Wedding - Here comes the bride-Leslie and Dad

Our Reverend wrote a beautiful ceremony incorporating words that Bob and I both used to describe each other, but she didn’t reveal to either of us what she was including in that portion of the ceremony in advance.  Our comments were a surprise to both of us during the ceremony, which was very special.

Wedding - Ceremony - Bob Leslie and Reverend

Amazingly, I didn’t cry!! 

Wedding - Bob Leslie lighting unity candle

It was a beautiful ceremony! 

Wedding-Mr and Mrs

Bob’s brother is a wedding photographer, so his gift to us was the beautiful photos you are seeing here, and a few hundred more!!

Wedding-Rings with bouquet

Since we had an intimate ceremony with our immediate family, we also had the opportunity to take many family photos to add to the memories of the day. 

We had our reception dinner at a local restaurant.  No wedding is complete without some cake!

Wedding-cutting the cake 

To my wonderful husband, Bob,

I love with you with all my heart, even more than I did 5 years ago when we stood in our home in front of our families and pledged our love and committment to each other.  It has been an amazing 5 years and I look forward to many, many more!!  Happy Anniversary!


Welcome to Puddy’s House

Bob and I began our search for our home in the Fall of 2007.  We both had our own single homes and decided it was time to take the leap and buy our home.  We did not search very long before we found our house, which was a spec house that was not quite finished. 

We put in an offer and it was accepted the next day.  We were fortunate that both of our homes sold in just over a month.  So, somehow in less than 90 days we ended up closing on all 3 homes in the same day, December 14, 2007.  In the meantime, we decided we just needed one more thing to do, so we also set a wedding date!  January 12, 2008, we welcomed our families into our home to celebrate our wedding in our living room.

It was several months after our wedding before we finally decided to add some paint to our plain white walls.  And at some point along the journey of adding color to the walls, albeit very neutral color, I also began trying to decorate our home. 

And, by decorating, I really mean doing lots of blog reading and trying to find ideas for what might work in our home.

Little did I know, about four years later I would decide to dip my toes into the world of blogging.  I really have to blame the wonderfully inspiring Haven Conference for giving me the final push to start a blog.

I came home from Haven energized and excited to share my DIY adventures with everyone who has inspired me along my journey and continues to provide inspiration and motivation on a daily basis.  So, welcome to Puddy’s House.  I hope you will pull up a comfy chair and make yourself at home.