Meeting new people is always a great opportunity to learn new things. I think everyone attending a large conference has their own goals, but mine was simply to learn something new. Man, was I in the perfect place to learn at the Haven Conference. I just walked around like a sponge soaking up bits of wisdom from everyone I talked to.
Yesterday I shared gems of genius from the speakers. Today, I want to share gems of genius I picked up from discussions with sponsors. These gems of genius are not about how to get sponsors or work with sponsors. The conference was very hands-on and we had the opportunity to interact with the sponsors and their products. The gems of genius I am going to share here do not directly pertain to the sponsor’s product, but rather are just great DIY tips and tricks I did not know before the conference.
The term “Gems of Genius” comes from a local radio show, where the hosts classify anything brilliant they say during the show a “gem of genius”. My experience at Haven was filled with these gems.
More Gems of Genius from Haven
1. You Don’t Need Sawhorses to Saw Wood
While I visited the Kreg Tool booth to learn how the Rip-Cut works, I learned the best tip!!! Besides being super excited the Rip-Cut will allow me to make straight cuts with only a circular saw, they shared with me a tip that will change my woodworking life forever. I am almost always working by myself, so moving around large sheets of wood is impossible, let alone getting it up on saw horses. They suggested cutting the wood on top of a pink foam insulation board. The pink foam is the same size as a 4 x 8′ sheet of plywood or MDF. You can lay the foam on the ground and place the wood on top. The foam supports the board evenly. The blade of the saw cuts into the foam not your floor. Once you have cuts all over one side of the foam, flip it over and start again on the other side. Sometimes it is the simplest things!
2. Smooth as a Babies Bottom
I was so bummed that I mixed up times and missed the hands-on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint workshop , because earlier in the day Debbie from the Unfolded Blog blew my mind! I stopped by to see the new English Yellow color, which is the most amazing shade of lime green I have ever seen…I caressed it lovingly for an in appropriately long amount of time!
After they pryed me away, Debbie graciously spent 20 minutes talking to me and showing me the light. It was the first time I had seen any samples in person. I had seen all the beautiful distressed finishes online but thought they weren’t for me. They looked rough and chippy, but guess what, they are as smooth as a babies bottom. I was in shock and awe. The distressed finishes have so much interest and depth, yet the waxed finish is beautifully smooth. I was also amazed at how much the dark wax can change a color to darken it and deepen it. The possibilities really are endless. Don’t even get me started on the fabric and other things they had applied the chalk paint to. There are just some things in this world you have to see in person! I have already looked up my local stockist, so I can go learn more.
3. Pigment Matters
I can’t tell you how excited I was to meet the folks from Thompson’s Water Seal. I was in dire need of deck advice from the “decksperts”. As you know last year, we oiled our deck and we were super excited about it. Well, this year after a very hard winter with a vicious freeze and thaw cycle, the deck was in rough shape…beyond rough shape. They gave me a bunch of amazing advice and notes specific to my deck, which won’t be applicable in other climates, for other wood species,etc. But, one takeaway I wanted to share, and never knew before, is the importance of pigment in deck stain. The pigment helps protect the deck against UV damage. Stains with pigment hold up better (more time in between recoating) than transparent finishes. Since we had always heard, and hoped, we would only have to do deck maintenance every 2-3 years, I loved this tip. Lots of pigment, here we come!!
4. It’s all in the Wrist
At the Royal Design Studios booth, I learned to stencil for the first time ever! I had never tried it. The lovely Regina taught me how to load my brush and dab it off on a paper towel, but instead of dabbing you swirl the brush to push the stencil creme up into the bristles. Then after securing the stencil, you swirl the brush over the stencil to paint it. It was perfection, as was the peacock teal color :)