I Was A Wrangler At Blogher '07

Last year at Blogher, I commented on a distinct oogy feeling that permeated parts of the conference. This year, despite however much I was quietly alert for it, The Oogy did not appear. Blogher ’07 was fabulous and there was not one moment that the feeling wasn’t just loving, creative and supportive for everyone.* I spoke with Elisa on Sunday morning right before I left for my flight and asked her what she thought the difference was. She mentioned better internet access, better support through the hotel and services, better hotel in general (I don’t think anyone there last year has forgotten those charming rooms – yuck.), and a smaller jump in growth as opposed to last year when the growth rate was about double. I don’t think I had put all those components together, but I agreed with her instantly after she listed them. Congrats to Elisa, Lisa and Jory – the Co-founders of Blogher.

I got to meet Ree and have dinner with her the first night. I also met her mom and her daughters for a quick second. Wow, talk about adorable. Later, as Ree and I took a cab with Heather and Jessica to one of the cocktail parties, Ree looked mischievously at the cabbie and let out a burp like you have never smelled heard before. In fact, I think she might even win Heather and GEORGE! in one of their burping contests. It was THAT amazing. In the next cab on the way to the next cocktail party (I’m sure typing cock a lot today) Ree sang out one of her Ethel Merman specials (did you know she once did a Leahpeah Burp special just for lil’ol me?) and I swear that cabbie wanted to just dump us at the closest corner to get us out of the car. I think but I’m not sure because we were all laughing so hard. We demoed the new Wii game called Boogie at the Imperfect Parent Soiree. You can see what a great dancer Jessica is here.

BlogHer is like Disneyland (I don’t really like Disneyland, but you know what I mean, right?) for people like me that like to actually meet and interact with other virtual people. So many of the panels were wonderful and informative. I enjoyed meeting or re-meeting everyone there. Which brings us to my panel on Saturday, (did you enjoy that sweeping fast-forward through an entire day and a night and a morning?), The Art of Crafts. This panel would not have happened if Grace hadn’t suggested it to me. And if Natalie hadn’t asked Fred for Amy’s email. And Fred hadn’t decided he could trust me. And if certain unnamed people hadn’t vouched for me. And if Amy hadn’t said yes. Thanks, Universe.

The panel went great. I think I enjoyed it so much because of the great mix of women, all with their own strengths. Kristin Roach is fantastic. I wanted her for the panel so bad because she has this innate sense of sustainability in her work that is so important to me. As someone mentioned, waste is everywhere and it’s heartbreaking to see all the waste we generated at the conference when Chicago doesn’t even have a recycling program to help minimize the impact. Kristin reuses some of her grandma’s craft bits and reclaimed items from the thrift shop to make new items and it’s just inspiring. She hand-dyes yarn and sells kits to support her other projects so if you are in to that kind of thing, check it out. It’s beautiful, yummy stuff.

Natalie Zee Drieu was wonderful on the panel. She has this great over-arching perspective on the crafting community because of her position with Craft. She’s privy to the cool peeps and the hot links. (now I sound like a rapper.) She started an entry here at the Craftzine blog for anyone wanting to continue the conversation or people looking for great links or wanting to link to their own crafts. It was a little tricky for me to find the free registration, so in case you have any issues, sign up here to create a free account so you can comment. Nat has a huge Flickr set here, some images which have a story I’m sure I don’t remember. Thanks, free Oops! wine and Helenjane!

It was a real pleasure to talk with Natalie. She invited me to come along to have cocktails (see? again!) with herself, Kristen and Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway Season 2. Chloe and Natalie were talking high fashion during which I got lost a few times because high fashion? I think I don’t own any. (although Kristin made her awesome dress, which I think is pretty high fashion.) But I still loved listening and learning new things. Chloe was very sweet and told me the behind secrets including things about my beloved Tim Gunn. I still do the best impression of him you’ve ever seen. Seriously.

Kathy Cano Murillo was adorable. I had no idea I would like her so much because due to an unfortunate hot knife accident, she missed our conference call a few weeks ago. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess if I had to summarize her, I’d say she’s Glitterific. She’s one busy lady, what with her new product line with Duncan, her writing and crafting and her TV appearances. I’m so glad she found the time to come. (side note, I found out she’s friends with Laurie Notaro. Hi, Laurie!) Kathy’s heart is as pure as gold and she deserves all the success she’s reaping.

And then there is Amy. Amy Sedaris. I don’t even know what to tell you guys about her. I knew she would be funny as hell because I think she can’t help it. She has too much organic Jerry Blank in her blood not to be completely inappropriate and hysterical. But, I really didn’t know before hand just how smart, charming, kind, warm and authentic she is. At one point at the cocktail (16 times now, is it?) party, as the 8th person asked her to call a loved one and say something insane to their cousin Bill, I marveled at her ability to just keep being amenable and gracious. I asked her at dinner how she keeps her composure and if it wears on her and she said, quite genuinely, that it’s fine and she enjoys it. She said her fans are nice, not usually scary, and that she appreciates them appreciating her. She said it so much better than I just did, but you get the point. And smart. She knows what she wants and figures out how to make it happen. I guess you have to be super smart to get where she is and I should have figured, but something about her disarming public persona makes it hard to see sometimes. And authentic. She really and truly loves crafting and crafters and wants to support them. Yes, some of her crafts are on the silly side and she does some fun re-packaging of other products and puts her label on them, but she puts her love in to each and every thing she does, silly or not. I’m so happy to have met her. I can honestly say I enjoyed every second with her and that is kind of a rarity. Even as we were straight-faced lying as we waited for the shuttle to some really nice gentleman about how we grew up together in a small town cul-de-sac and how we’d been best friends forever and even when she dumped about a gallon of perfume on halfway through the book signing and blamed it on me and even when she yelled out CHING-CHONG to a Japanese lady and even when she made me take $40 for helping to sell all her awesome crap at the table – it was great. When I took this photo, (one of only about 6 I took the entire conference), Amy had just finished making a Bean Burrito (which she describes making in the podcast linked below and which she gave me as a gift when we left.) and she took the extra hose piece and slipped it on her hand. For the next few minutes she was just talking and gesturing with her hand to people as they came to the table as if it wasn’t even there and it was SO funny. She turned to me and said, ‘About that web stuff!’

The very nice Jennifer of Craftsanity made a podcast of our panel. You can listen here. And thanks to Suebob for being our great mic runner. Man, I was so glad to see her when I walked in the room. I knew I wouldn’t have to stress or do a lot of making sure she knew what I wanted before hand. It’s like she can read my mind.

There is lots more. I have no idea if I’ll write about it or not. I might be bloghered out. But thanks to everyone who came up and said hi to me. Leave a comment and say hi again so I’ll have your URLs. It might be days before I unpack and find all the business cards.

ps. links mentioned in the podcast:
– my craft trading site at craft.leahpeah.com
– Andrea’s jewelry from Superherodesigns.com
craftzine
creative commons

pps – the latest issue of Craft, Issue 4 shown here at the top, has my candle making article in it.

*Updated to add – I guess I missed the oogy and I misspoke. I should have said “there was not one moment that the feeling wasn’t just loving, creative and supportive for me.”

Updated again to add – Ariel from Electrolicious liveblogged our panel.

22 Responses

  1. sounds like a great time was had by all. wish i could’ve been there with you all, though. just wanted to say hi and i’m still here reading – you just totally won me over when we met at l.a. angst. 😉

  2. Hey, lady! It as great to get to spend some time … although I wish it could have been more. Much more! Alas. Perhaps when you make it up to Seattle to read at the Salon of Shame? 😉

  3. There was oogy this year? Darn. It was oogy-free for me too, and I loved every minute of it. Thank you for letting us tag along.

    xo

  4. Your panel was the highlight of BlogHer (says this NOT crafty chica). And you are still the closest I will ever get to touching Steven Colbert, and for that I love you.

  5. Thanks for the compliment. That was a good workout, leaping around the room like a large, clumsy horse trying to fit everyone in. But it was fun.

    I wish Amy would drop the “ching-chong” thing. I may be too PC but growing up in my family, I had enough racial slurs to last me a lifetime.

  6. It was crazy fun meeting you, except: Bossy cannot *believe* she left Chicago without hearing your Tim Gunn impression. Bossy probably would have married you *right then*.

  7. sue – i hear you.
    bossy – i’m still shocked you aren’t a 70 yr old geriatric with a cane and always yelling, ‘you kids!!’

  8. You were fantastic at everything, Leah: the panel, the networking, the mingling, the celebrity wrangling, the craft selling, the smiling, and the being supremely nice-ing. It was great to see you again!

  9. I missed the oogy too and I have a keen oogy radar. Hmpf. I guess if you take a shit on a pile of roses you can make it oogy.

  10. Leah!

    I so loved you! I desperately wanted to tag along when the crafty panel went out to eat with Amy but I didn’t want to make a pest of myself. I promise to bring my camera next year if you promise to take a pic with me!

    Love,

    Jazz 😉

  11. Leah, Thanks so much for putting together this panel, it really was the highlight of the conference for me. I would have loved to have seen more along this theme at the conference. I was actually a little surprised there was not more of the art/craft/knitting blogger community in attendance at the conference. By the way have you seen the new “Artful Blogging” Magazine put out by Somerset studio? I just bought a copy at borders yesterday.

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