My 2016 Haven Conference Recap

Another Haven Conference High

Oh my, I have another Haven high! I’m back from my 4th Haven Conference in Atlanta and my head is spinning again. I wasn’t sure you would want to hear about it, but, I had so many customers in this week asking about my trip and asking me to share and I so love you…


Oh my, I have another Haven high!

I’m back from my 4th Haven Conference in Atlanta and my head is spinning again. I wasn’t sure you would want to hear about it, but, I had so many customers in this week asking about my trip and asking me to share and I so love you all for that. It was again an amazing experience.

My recap of Haven 2016 Front Porch Mercantile


Haven Conference is a DIY & decorating professional blogging conference. I always tell people that its because of Haven that I even have Front Porch Mercantile. Three years ago I had a decided to start a blog to document all the DIY and home renos we were doing, I was painting some furniture and selling it off my big front porch at the time (thus Front Porch Mercantile). It was going to be a little hobby blog.  I was a dedicated follower or some big bloggers including Marian from Miss Mustard Seed, Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect, Karianne from Thistlewood…the list goes on. They were all talking about this conference they were going to about blogging. So I went. Yup. You can read more about that on one of my very first blog posts here. (It’s rough, but it was 3 years ago people, be kind)

That conference and those women changed my life.  Actually and truly changed it, BIG TIME! I was inspired to open my retail store and workshop and now I am thrilled to call them all very good friends and mentors.

This year Marian and Shaunna did the opening key note speech and it was amazing. I wish you could hear them talk about being authentic and real, and so encouraging.

Marian from Miss Mustard Seed and Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect did the opening speech at Haven Conference 2016 - so inspiring

I had the great pleasure of having a few one on one meals with Marian and Shaunna and Kriste (from Rosemary and Thyme) and kinda bummed I didn’t get any pictures with them. Like really bummed. I was too engrossed in conversation I guess. We had some wonderful conversations and they are all so creative and inspiring. I love that they have become such great friends.

Had the great pleasure to hang out with Shaunna West from Perfectly Imperfect a lot this weekend, she's the real deal and I love her to bits

The weekend was a blur, partly because I start travelling at 4am from Moncton, and partly because I had been quite sick leading up to the conference, so I “tried” to take it easier on myself and give myself some grace about not being able to see all my friends and not being able to attend all the classes and workshops. I missed all the big party and evening events in exchange for quiet dinners and one on one conversations.

Surround yourself with awesome and inspiring people
Me, Shannon, Danielle, Rachel, Liz, Sue, Lucy

The workshops are wonderful at Haven, there are a lot of blog related techie workshops, which, if you are growing a business are just mind blowing. The ins and outs of blogging and maintaining a web site can be overwhelming (who knew right?) but the speakers were phenomenal this year and I have books of notes.

The creative workshops were great this year too. I helped Marian and Kriste with their Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint workshop and that was fun, my love of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint started with a workshop at Haven 3 years ago. Felt a little full circle for me. It was fun to meet new bloggers who have never used it and watch them fall in love with it.

Miss Mustard Seed and Kriste teaching at Haven Conference 2016


I also attended an advanced painting workshop with Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies and Rachel from Shades of Blue Interiors. Danielle recently wrote this book about painting which I love and wrote a review on. We worked on some cool finishes I can’t wait to try soon.

Loved the advanced painting class at Haven Conference 2016 and loved learning these new techniques

This year we were also able to spend some time one on one with mentors in small groups. My mentor was Liz from Liz Marie Blog who I adore. I feel very grateful to have had her a mentor and now new friend.

Haven Conference Mentor program was great

I was able to meet some friends I’ve met but never met in real life, and reconnect and hug the necks of some old friends.

Matthew Mead, Wendy from Front Porch Mercantile and Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies
With the amazing designer Matthew Mead and Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies

I loved spending time with some other Miss Mustard Seed retailers, we had a wonderful dinner with Marian and its always great to talk face to face and connect. (Again, no pictures, I honestly put my phone away a lot this weekend and tried to really connect and listen and be present, the bad side to that is very few pictures).

The closing ceremonies included a keynote from John and Sherry from Young House Love. They are pretty cool and totally inspiring. I had an opportunity to meet them and chat as well.

John and Sherry from Young House Love did a great job at the closing ceremonies at Haven Conference 2016

I had some wonderful conversations with bloggers and friends and if you follow me on Instagram (you totally should) I share this post, it kinda sums up all my feelings about this conference:

Lide is a story, make yours a good one, a recap of my 4th Haven conference

“I have a ~day after @havenconf and travelling 2000 miles to Atlanta and back~ hangover this morning. Im exhausted. Mentally and physically. Someone asked me WHY I would even consider going year after year. There are so many reasons not to go. I’m not a full time blogger. It’s expensive for me, it’s exhausting, it’s loud, it’s mentally very hard on the head. I go for the friendships, the connections, the education, the support, the creative energy, to help teach others (gasp yes), to learn from others, to hug my friends, to expand my mind, to think outside of the box, to get a kick in the pants for my business. To find new and creative ways to inspire my customers and be the best at serving them. It’s not usually the time spent in sessions that a lightbulb goes off for me. But in quiet (or loud) conversations with other creative bloggers and friends. Life is A Story people. I’m having so much fun writing mine. Thanks to all of you Haven friends.”

My take aways from Haven Conference 2016

for bloggers or creatives.

  1. Community means everything. Find a tribe or group of people that “get you” and what you are trying to do. If not at a conference, seek them out online, send an email. Connect.
  2. Blogging is hard y’all. It’s not for the faint of heart. Don’t be in a panic to learn it all. You won’t and don’t think you will make a living blogging at it. You won’t (hats off to those that do, but I see so many with burn out, and it seems to me its a very low number who make a living solely blogging) But blogging can be an avenue to other awesome things. AWESOME things.
  3. Hard work pays off. Keep following your dream or goal. (ps…KNOW your WHY) 3 years ago I was scared to death to talk to Miss Mustard Seed to ask her to autograph her book for me. We are now friends and I work for her. Life is funny and awesome and hard work pays off. But there are no shortcuts.
  4. Be genuine and nice. Authenticity matters.
  5. Numbers don’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many likes and page views you have, be authentic and kind and build authentic relationships, this will propel you further.
  6. Don’t stop learning. Every day. Take time to learn something new for your business. And on this note, you will never learn it all. Just saying. Trust me.
  7. Don’t be afraid to say hi to your favourite blogger at a conference, they will appreciate your kindness.
  8. No on knows 100% what they are doing. Everyone is winging it the best they can.
  9. People are kind and generous with their knowledge and time.
  10. Give back.

If you are a creative retailer or blogger looking to get started with a web site or blog, or thinking about it, I have a ton of resources I would be happy to share, I’ve already jumped through so many hoops, and so many have helped me along the way. Just contact me.  I’ll help if I can.(Someday I will get organized and start a resource page for you)

There are no truer words for me, I love my tribe and tribes are important

That’s it. I am happy to be home, I love Atlanta, I love seeing my friends, I love conferences, I love to travel and help and teach. But I love being home with my people on my big comfy porch and being back in my little shop and studio. I came home really inspired and ready to get my creative on. I spent one full day in my shop when I came home painting and creating and working on some awesome FALL and WINTER (don’t hate me) workshops. Stay tuned, they will be announced this week.

We also have a wonderful Christmas Workshops coming up and a FULL DIY Retreat Weekend – so many awesome things….stay tuned. Details all coming very soon. (Guys – I am SUPER excited about the weekend retreat -eek!!)

Thanks for popping in, I’m excited you are all here!




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  1. Your recap is awesome, so real and friendly and thought provoking – just like you! Thanks for sharing and everything you do and for being part of my tribe!

  2. I love hearing about your trips to Haven! So inspiring and sounds like you make a lot of connections this year! Awesome experience as you grow your business and your blog!

  3. Oh I am so going to come to Haven! I really would LOVE to be there next year! (Did I say that out loud?) YES, I’m going to make it happen…

  4. What a great re-cap! I’m sure it must be overwhelming and exhausting, but it’s obvious the positives outweigh the negatives. I love hearing your stories. You asked in your email what we would like to see more of on your blog…I’d like more of this! :) More of the how I got started/the first big break/deciding on next projects/where you see yourself going….etc. I’m always curious how bloggers got on their path…and what the journey was like. PS. I think it is totally awesome that you are friends and work partners with so many cool, “big” bloggers. ;)

    1. Hi Jennifer, aw, thanks, I totally appreciate your comments. I always worry about sharing too much, too little, always on the fence. I have been asked recently about blogging resources so will be starting a section on the blog about business for creatives and bloggers. Just a few things I have learned “along the way” lol thanks for the kind words, they mean a lot.

  5. I am so glad I had something fun to do that weekend. I always miss you guys so much during Haven weekend. It’s fascinating how just a few days can impact your life so much. And I promise I will post pics of the design I installed at my sister’s house that weekend. She just needs to finish up, and send me some “polished” pics. But I am still amazed how much impact that one year at Haven still has on my life..
    Great post…and the more recent ones have been great too-I am blog stalking this morning-
    All the best, sweet friend,
    The Other Marian

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