As promised, I’m back with more details about the BlogHer fun.
As a new(er) blogger with a small(er) readership, I was doubtful whether I should make the personal investment to attend BlogHer. Truthfully, I was considering selling my ticket until a wonderful e-mail arrived in my inbox. Forget Willy Wonka, for a crafter like me, it was the ultimate Golden Ticket, an invitation to a party at the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices.
Seriously, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read it. Do you know how hard it is to type your e-mail address when your hands are shaking that hard? I have no idea how I was blessed to be in the first round of invitations, but truly “It was an honor just to be nominated.” It was a turning point for me. A few hours later, I’d booked my flight to New York.
After all the fun on the Kodak Bus Tour, I went back to my hotel room and spiffied myself up, just in case I got to meet Ms. Stewart herself. My first thrill of the evening came when Jenny of Craft Test Dummies sent out a tweet looking for people to share a cab to the party. Giddy with the thought, I responded. Jenny was amazing to meet; a perfect mix of fun, friendly, crafty and a wealth of savvy business knowledge. It was a near perfect start to the evening.
Unfortunately, a crazy cab ride, security procedures and a crowded hallway caused me to just barely miss Ms. Stewart’s address to the bloggers at the beginning of the party. *sniff, sniff* Thankfully, Sarah from Craft Critique captured a video and you all can watch it on YouTube (just like I did).
I quickly overcame my disappointment as I indulged in the feast, both visual and literal, set before us. It was amazing to see how many different areas the Martha Stewart empire covers. The party had been moved inside due to high winds, so it was a little cozy. Each department of the MS organziation had a table set up to share their area of expertise and a few demonstrations.
I found it quite appropriate that Martha Stewart Weddings was the first department we encountered as we entered the party area. I’m sure for many women, the wedding magazine was our first true introduction to the organization. I don’t know of a single bride who didn’t own at least one copy of that magazine as she planned her wedding. I enjoyed the contrast of having Wendy, The Pipe Cleaner Lady, making rose ring favors beside Mara from Neither Snow with her beautiful calligraphy skills. New, whimsical, everyday crafting next to classic, formal, enduring skills; what more could I ask for?
Wendy, the pipe cleaner lady even demonstrated how to make a pipe cleaner ring. I recorded a video, but the background noise was too much. Never fear, you can see Wendy’s demonstration from her own YouTube video:
Once inside the main area, each division of the Martha Stewart empire had a table displaying their area of expertise. My first stop, of course, was the Crafts Department. These women have amazing ideas and it was great to meet them in person. If you don’t already, you should definitely follow @CraftsDept on Twitter for great craft inspiration.
Another great stop I made was at the product display table for Martha Stewart’s line of craft supplies. I have to admit, prior to the event, I’d always just walked past the MS section in my local Michaels store. I’m just not a paper crafter. Scissors and I don’t get along. While gazing at the beautiful paper and glitter projects, Hannah Milman, Editorial Director for Crafts, encouraged me to make a paper project. The pressure was on. Me, the non-paper crafter, at the MS offices, daring a paper project. It could have been a nightmare, but thankfully Hannah is a fantastic instructor, very patient and very supportive.
She even persuaded me to use <gasp> jewel stickers!
Seriously people, this was a breakthough. By the time I walked away from Hannah’s table, I was actually considering buying glitter. Someone really should stop me.
I think that’s really the point behind what Ms. Stewart does though, it’s to empower people to realize they can do things themselves, to improve their life, their home, and the lives of those around them. Say what you will about the size and history of the organization, I met the people behind the scenes. They are incredibly passionate about what they do and equally passionate about sharing their discoveries with others.
Another of my favorite tables was the recently re-branded Whole Living department. Because much of my crafting adventures also cross the line into sustainable, green living, I was really excited to see the emphasis on this area. Their display included a bicycle powered blender, which blended some very tasty blueberry slushies.
It was a truly amazing night. I met some awesome people, like Annie Modesitt and Jeff Blumenkrantz. Ms. Modesitt was incredibly warm and friendly despite my gushing about how much I enjoyed her patterns and combination knitting. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share my story of knitting her Fiesta Tea Set for my 4 year old daughter. Mr. Blumenkrantz was funny and intriguing, as well as inspiring to a new blogger as myself. He totally busted me as a non-foodie when he asked what type of filling was in one of the yummy desserts. As a mom of four that frequently eats on the run, I had to laugh at myself as I tried to sound semi-intelligent in describing it to him. He was quite gracious about the whole thing.
I stayed until the end, one of the very last to leave the party. Which was great, because I was allowed to peek inside a test kitchen, which was AH. MAZ. ING. It was also a little bittersweet, because I missed out on the beautiful blue gift bag. Oh well, a small price to pay for the fun that was had. So if you want to know what was inside, you’ll have to read one of the other great accounts of the party. A few of my favorites are Craft Test Dummies, TomKat Studio, The Crafts Dept., Blonde Mom, or can just peruse the Flickr group full of photos from the evening.