BlogHer Handmade Speakers

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Alicia DiRago
CEO, Whimseybox
Alicia DiRago is the founder and CEO of Whimseybox, a DIY/craft kit subscription and ecommerce business that helps people Stop Pinning + Start Making. She started blogging in 2009 about DIY, style and design at dismountcreative.com which led to the idea + audience that turned Whimseybox from a dream to a venture-backed startup that has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, on television and online. Alicia and her husband Joe recently realized their dream of moving to Boulder, CO where they live with a golden retriever puppy named Radish.
Becky Jorgensen

Becky Jorgensen currently designs and produces online sewing workshops on her site www.patchworkposse.com, blabs about all things crafty on her blog www.patchworkposse.com/blog and sells her patterns in her shop www.whosiesandwhatnots.etsy.com.

After being an area rep for the Utah Quilt Guild for 3 years, and a president of a local quilt group she founded in 2010 www.patchworkposse.com -an online sewing workshop site with patterns designed by top sewers and crafters. After revamping the site she has just re-launched it again and has joined forces with other crafters to include a monthly e-zine. She loves to provide a place for sewers to learn something new, share with others, and connect worldwide.

Blogging for over 4 years she has learned the ‘tricks’ on building a community using her crafty enthusiasm. She has been selling her quilt and doll patterns for just as long and every month it seems like there is a new pattern jumping out of her sketch book.

Becky has been sewing since she was 8 years old and has never been able to follow the instructions properly. This has led her to design a quilt series ‘cranky’, letting go of the standard rules of quilting. Her latest project has been converting a cold storage building in the backyard to her own personal sewing cottage. Where she will continue to develop new workshops, design new patterns and quilt for others.

Amanda Rettke
i am baker

Amanda Rettke began her food blogging career in October 2010 with the introduction of her first surprise-inside cake, and since then she's been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Woman's World, Midwest Living, Brides, and Romantic Homes. A regular contributor to Food Network and HuffPost Food online, she has also been featured on the Martha Stewart Show and marthastewart.com. She lives with her husband and five children near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Amy Turn Sharp

Amy Turn Sharp is the wood queen of Little Alouette, an organic wooden toy shop she runs alongside her master carpenter husband, Joe. Their sweet little toys are all over the world now, from tiny boutiques to American Eagle 77 Kids shops. Even Martha Stewart thought Alouette’s toys were fabulous and extended an invitation to the shop to sell wee wood toys in NYC last holiday season at a private event.

Amy is a mother of three from Columbus, Ohio, who tracks her life on doobleh-vay blog, and has at least seven projects brewing all the time. She really wants to have an essay aired on NPR in the next two years. Amy LOVES online connections and helping other women find rooms of their own. She likes radishes, bookshops, and chicken korma. She is a Kirtsy.com and StoryBleed editor, in addition to a freelance writer who regularly contributes to sites like Alphamom.com and Scoutiegirl.com. She works with women all over the country teaching on the topic of social media. Amy also runs creativity workshops with local children and was named “One of the 50 Top Etsy Moms” by Babble.com in 2010. She has spoken at numerous conferences, including BlogHer, Blissdom, Mom2.0, Kirtsy HOSB, Chicks Who Click, and many other amazing local venues.

Anne Kuo Lukito

Anne Kuo Lukito has been hooked on crafting since her dad showed her how to sew on a button at age 8. As a self-proclaimed “Crafty MacGyver,” her many endeavors over the years have included sewing, papermaking, cardmaking, silk painting, jewelry fabrication, baking and even a few failed attempts at learning to crochet from her grandmother. Anne discovered the world of knitting in 2006, after teaching herself to knit from a book.

By 2008, she was completely immersed in the craft and began developing her own designs which appeared in such renowned publications such Knitty.com, Interweave Knits magazine and the book 101 Luxury One-Skein Wonders. Over the last few years, Anne’s work has also appeared in several books, yarn company collections and other publications, such as Knitscene and Twist Collective.

Anne also designs for her own label, Crafty Diversions, and is currently writing her first book and well as a series of booklets. You can find her designs at http://www.craftydiversions.com/ and http://www.ravelry.com/designers/anne-kuo-lukito .

Becky Higgins
Speaking Events:

Becky has a passion for living well and documenting life. Since 1997 she has been authoring books, creating artwork, writing articles, teaching classes, and designing products—all in the name of scrapbooking. In her personal evolution she came to find herself relating to everyone who has said, “Scrapbooking is too time-consuming, too complicated, too expensive, too much.” In 2009, Becky Higgins.com was born so that she could share solution-based ideas and simple products with everyone who felt the same way, but still wanted to do something special with their pictures and memories. Becky nurtures her creative side by dabbling in various creative projects from floral design to home decor to photography. She also appreciates organization and has a knack for order. And because she can’t keep any of it to herself, Becky’s Blog has gained the reputation of being an uplifting and inspiring place on the web. She’s the girlfriend who will share her favorite finds, most-loved tips, design ideas, tried and true recipes, practical how-to’s, and even videos. There’s always a common goal in everything Becky shares, which is to CULTIVATE A GOOD LIFE. Becky’s faith and family are the center of her world and more important than any creative project or exciting opportunity. Arizona is where she and her husband David are raising their three small children.

Connie Bensen

Connie Bensen is a leading Social Media & Community Strategist who has provided resources and mentorship since 2007. Her career in social media began when she and her sister created a community for digital scrapbookers at http://DigiScrapInfo.com. In addition to helping digital scrapbookers get their supplies organized, Connie provided online marketing tips.

Connie's definition for the Community Manager role is linked from Wikipedia and has been referenced by many organizations. She can be found presenting at leading social media conferences around the world. She has authored a series of ten white papers on the ROI of Social Media. Forbes.com recognized her blog, Community Strategist, as one of the top 20 best marketing and social media blogs by women. 451 Marketing has noted her as one of the top social media strategists to watch in 2011 and she was a 2009 Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research. When she isn't in front of the keyboard she enjoys gardening, cooking and travel.

Corinne Leigh
DIY Diva/Media Goddess
Corinne Leigh has been making videos for 10 years; working in Haiti, living on buses that run on recycled veggie oil and building DIY community at ThreadBanger and Craftovision. She is an expert in developing online communities, social networking and short form video content and is passionate about living eco and being a good person.
Crissy Herron
Founder of IndieBizChicks.com

Crissy Herron is the founder of IndieBizChicks.com, the website for women who'd rather work for themselves, than work for the man.

She likes blogging, music, experimenting in the kitchen, and taking lots of pictures. She is the "world's best aunt," and spends a lot of time with her nephews and niece. Of course, she likes spending time with the rest of her family, too.

She is a proud resident of the Mitten State. (For those of you who aren't great at geography, that's Michigan.)

Cristina Ferrare

As an accomplished author, television personality, entrepreneur, actress, motivational speaker, blogger, wife, mother, and grandmother, Cristina Ferrare dishes out yet one more curtain call: hosting her own show for OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network. Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love features celebrity guests along with members of Cristina’s family and friends who serve up great ideas for all kinds of real-life situations. Cristina recently joined the “Oprah family” as a regular contributor, featuring Oprah’s favorite meals, and hosting a series of web cooking classes for Oprah.com—preparing delicious meals for families on tight budgets and little time.

Cristina is a New York Times bestselling author of Okay, So I Don’t Have a Headache, Cristina Ferrare’s Family Entertainment, and Cristina Ferrare Style. Her most recent book, Realistically Ever After, is a humorous view of finding happiness when he’s not Prince Charming, you’re not Snow White, and life is not a fairytale. The success of Cristina’s books attest to her expertise in the areas of women’s health and well being, culinary arts, and stylistic design. Her books also reflect her great zest for life and sense of humor. Cristina has just completed her fifth book, a cookbook due out in April, 2011 entitled A Big Bowl of Love.

In the early 80’s, Cristina co-hosted AM Los Angeles, which was the #1 rated morning television show during her five-year tenure. Among her many TV appearances, she has hosted her own shows:  Cristina and Friends and a two-hour live show from Universal Studios called Home and Family. She has substituted as a co-host on Good Morning America and co-hosted numerous times with Regis Philbin on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Her primetime series for CBS, Shame on You, was one of the first magazine format shows that featured consumer fraud and awareness. It set the stage for other prime time magazine formats that followed. For NBC, she co-hosted Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus with Dr. Drew Pinsky. At one time, Cristina had three ABC shows on the air at the same time: AM Los Angeles, The Home Show, and the primetime series Incredible Sunday. In feature films, she starred opposite David Niven in The Impossible Years and the critically acclaimed J.W. Coop with Oscar winner, Cliff Robertson.

In 2006, Cristina, along with partners Brian Thorson and Tim Hosier, designed a line of home accessories that sells domestically and abroad. “Ferrare With Company” products include picture frames, napkin rings, lamps, scented candles, candle sticks, table accessories, and show-stopping, one-of-a-kind mirrors and chandeliers. Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, pearls, shells, and metals are placed by hand, piece-by-piece, onto each object and are true works of art. The pieces are sought after by top interior designers around the country and sold to over 60 stores, including Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The company has expanded its business to meet the needs of clients in France, Turkey, Istanbul, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia.

Cristina is a sought-after speaker and has spoken at various conventions around the country including the 2004 “The Women’s Conference” where she monitored a session about women’s health and sexual well being. In 2007 she hosted, along with Chef Art Smith, a session on cooking for 300 women! She sits on the board of directors for “The Women’s Conference,” headed by California’s First Lady Maria Shriver. Once a year, over 14,000 women attend the conference for a day of transformation and empowerment. The Women’s Conference encourages women to be their own “Architect of Change” for a better life–for themselves, their families, and their community.

Cristina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, entertainment executive Tony Thomopoulos. They have a blended family of seven children and four grandchildren.

Erica Mauter
Erica is an engineer, arts lover, and web nerd based in Minneapolis. She has been blogging since 2002 and has been a leader in the Twin Cities blogging community since 2005. In addition to her personal blog swirlspice.com, she has published sites on the topics of Twin Cities life, minority experiences in Minnesota, and items of interest to queer women of color. She serves on the boards of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She works in validation at a pharmaceutical company.
Gina Luker

Gina created The Shabby Creek Cottage in 2009 to chronicle her and her husband’s journey of remodeling her childhood home. A mom of two girls, Gina shares DIY tips and home décor ideas on her blog. They take on all of their projects with their own labor to save costs, creating a custom home on a fraction of the budget. When she’s not busy with remodels or blogging, Gina also runs an Etsy.com shop.

Holly Becker

Holly Becker is the founder and editor of decor8, the internationally-known design site dedicated to delivering fresh design ideas meant to inspire its over 45,000 daily readers to live a more fulfilling, authentic and creative life. Since its launch in January 2006, decor8 has been mentioned in over 70 national and international publications, in addition to radio and television programs and Blogger ranked it #10 in 2008. Holly is an American freelance journalist, author and design consultant living in Germany while also maintaining a US office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In addition to decor8, she is the founder of the first online e-course about creative blogging, Blogging Your Way, which was launched in March 2009 and includes written lessons, videocasts and podcasts along with a dedicated forum for students to interact with Holly and her co-teachers, Leslie Shewring and Thorsten Becker along with other students. In the past two years, she has taught over 2,000 students worldwide through Blogging Your Way and teaches workshops and classes in-person on decorating and blogging with her most recent being in Morroco for ACE Camps. In addition to decor8, Holly maintains her more personal blog, Haus Maus, which documents her life as an expat living abroad navigating a new culture.

Holly has worked with a number of top magazines, she was an online columnist for Domino magazine for two years along with parenting magazine, Cookie, and a style editor for both HGTV magazine and their online site. Holly also reported on trends for The Boston Globe’s Style and Arts section as a bi-weekly columnist before relocating to Germany. Holly is currently in her fourth year as a weekly columnist for Real Simple magazine online. She has been quoted in and has contributed to a variety of books, which include: Lotta Jansdotter’s Handmade Living by Lotta Jansdotter (2010) and The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin (2010).

Her debut book, Decorate: 1,000 Professional Ideas for Every Room in Your Home published by Chronicle Books, just released in the United States and was simultaneously published by Jacqui Small Publishing in London and Murdoch Books in Australia. Decorate will be translated and published in Germany by Callwey Verlag in September 2011 under the title, Lust auf Wohnen.

When Holly isn’t working she loves to spend time with her husband, Thorsten, as they both love to comb flea markets for treasures, take photos and spend time outdoors — particularly in the huge forest behind their home. She also loves to decorate, work on craft projects, travel, inline skate and take daily “night walks” with her sweetheart as they have been doing since they first met 12 years ago.

Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond is a writer, photographer and the creative mind behind the award-winning blog Chookooloonks. A seasoned speaker on topics as varied as social media, parenthood and women in leadership, she has appeared on both local and national radio and television shows, including an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  She is a regular cast member of the online video show Momversation.com, and has contributed words and images to several national publications.  In addition, she is the author of the upcoming book, The Beauty of Different, to be published by Bright Sky Press, Fall 2010.

Kathy Cano-Murillo
CraftyChica.com

Kathy Cano-Murillo is a writer, artist and founder of the award-winning site, CraftyChica.com. She is celebrating her 12th year of blogging! Her art and crafts have been carried by hundreds of retailers, including Bloomingdales, Target, and Michaels. She is a former entertainment reporter for The Arizona Republic, and has authored nine books, including Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing and the novels, Waking up in the Land of Glitter and Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing. She has been profiled in The New York Times, USA Today and NPR, and now has an extensive Crafty Chica product line. Kathy lives in Phoenix, AZ, with her husband, two kids and four Chihuahuas. Her mission is to spread positivity through creativity.

Marie LeBaron

Marie LeBaron is the founder and managing editor of Make and Takes and is a mother of 3 living in Seattle. Marie graduated with an Early Childhood and Elementary teaching degree, taught 4 years of kindergarten, and now shares many of her tips and tricks she's learned over the years on her blog. Marie is set to publish her first craft book with Wiley publishing (due out October 17th) called, Make and Takes for Kids: 50 crafts throughout the year.

Megan Auman

Megan Auman is a designer, maker, educator, and entrepreneur who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design and sustainable business. Her eponymous jewelry line is sold in stores across the US and online. In 2009, Megan founded Crafting an MBA to help designers and makers develop their business skills.

Megan Jordan

Megan Jordan parents and writes by the same clear principle: the beauty is in the threadbare. "Relish the Velveteen. Revel in the Threadbare." underscores her personal blog, Velveteen Mind. Her literary magazine, Story Bleed Magazine, aches for you to discover yourself where the lines between our stories bleed together, unexpectedly resonating. Mother to three, her balance and perspective make her a sought-after voice in the parenting community, at top social media conferences, and for influential consulting projects. Her approach to integrated marketing in social media has generated solid case studies that are modeled almost immediately. Writing from Gulfport, Mississippi, Megan infuses her writing with depth as rich as mud in the bayou and humor bold as blackened shrimp. Megan is working on a book about resilience and our cumbersome blessings.

Mena Trott

Blogging since 2001, Mena Trott co-founded Six Apart and now serves as a board member of Say Media. During the past ten years, she has worked to bring blogging to the masses while keeping the personal voice front and center. She has spoken at Ted, D: All Things Digital, SXSW, and BlogHer, and has appeared on the cover of Fortune Magazine. After an extended maternity leave, Mena has devoted her efforts to The Sew Weekly, on online community she began that is devoted to sewing. She lives in San Francisco.

Nancy Malay

While many know Nancy Malay as “The Christmas Lady”, these days she creates a variety of vintage-inspired items for every Holiday, born from the spirit of old postcards and antique toys. In her cozy home workshop in Faribault, MN, she meticulously handcrafts her pieces using paperclay, papier mache and cloth. Embellishments of mica, antique trimmings, German glass glitter and tinsel add the sparkle and look reminiscent of earlier days.

She is a licensed artist/designer for Midwest-CBK, recently creating a collection for Christmas and Halloween, which will launch in January, 2012. Nancy was chosen by the prestigious Early American Life magazine as one of the Country’s top artisans, and listed in the 2008 Directory of Traditional American Crafts Holiday issue in two different categories. Published in numerous national magazines, including Prims, Celebrate 365 and Country Women, she was also selected by Better Homes and Gardens to design a step-by-step snowman project for their Holiday Crafts magazine for 2010 and 2011. Her studio will be featured in the Fall issue of Studios magazine.

When not working on her art or browsing antique stores or flea markets, Nancy’s other passion is gardening. It’s another way of expressing her creativity through the color and texture of the plants, designing beds that bloom all season long. She enjoys teaching online classes, but also loves inspiring new artists with individual sculpting classes offered in her studio. Her husband, Rick, and three grown sons are always supportive and encouraging. Nancy’s motto~”Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.

Nora Abousteit
Speaking Events:

Nora Abousteit is the co-founder of BurdaStyle.com, a DIY fashion community of 500,000+ members who share techniques, projects, and PDF sewing patterns to print at home. Previously, Nora worked at a German publishing house–writing speeches, organizing workshops, and planning events for the World Economic Forum. She is also a founding member of the DLD Conference. Nora has been invited to share her experience at Picnic, FOO Camp, Parsons School of Design, Stream, and the Menorca TechTalk. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, BusinessWeek, WWD, and Fast Company. Nora holds degrees in Middle East studies, political science, and philosophy from the American University in Cairo.

Stacie Tamaki

What does an Advertising Art college drop out + retail sales super seller become when she grows up? An entrepreneur!

When Stacie Tamaki had the opportunity to create some bridal veils for a fashion show back in 1997 she jumped at the chance. Not because it was something she'd always dreamed of doing, she did it because it sounded interesting.

Years later her custom couture bridal accessory company, The Flirty Bride, needed a website. She thought what better way to get one than to learn how to make it herself. The very first site she created transformed her into a sought after web designer and developer for other small business owners.

After starting her own blog in 2006 and experiencing the benefits of blogging, Stacie became a blogging evangelist who now teaches small business owners about blogging and using social media to market their products and services. Her blog is a multi-niche and covers topics ranging from local tourism, entrepreneurship, food, advocacy, and DIY ideas.

Stacy Julian
Speaking Events:

Stacy Julian is a recognized leader in the scrapbooking industry and the visionary founder of Big Picture Classes (BPC). Launched in November 2005, BPC is the first online community offering creative e-learning with members around the world. Stacy is a passionate sought-after speaker and the author of four books including her most recent, Photo Freedom. Her television appearances include the Discovery Channel’s Home Matters and the PBS series Scrapbook MemoriesSimple Scrapbooks Magazine (2002-2008), where Julian was the founding editor, has been mentioned in The Chicago Tribune andWoman’s Day as a leading consumer publication for the scrapbooking industry. Stacy has been a certified professional teacher with the Craft and Hobby Association since 1997 and lives with her husband Geoff, five energetic children, and a tank of somewhat neglected goldfish in Washington state.

Tara Gentile
Blogger & Business Coach

Tara Gentile is a creative business coach who empowers passion-driven entrepreneurs to actualize their ideas, visions, and dreams – turning them into dollars and cents. She brings a creative approach to branding, product development, and marketing that incorporates both strategy and high touch design.

She writes frequently for the Daily Worth, Crafting an MBA, and The Mogul Mom. She’s the author of several popular digital guides including her latest on the relationship between personal art and money, The Art of Earning

She’s a proud mama to a 3-year-old named Lola.

Traci Bautista
After a successful career climbing the corporate ladder in Silicon Valley, marketing high-tech start ups and brands like IBM and Animal Planet, Traci left the corporate world to pursue her passion for art. The year 2011 marks the 10-year anniversary of launching her creative business endeavor treiC designs. Prior to becoming a full-time artist, she worked as a graphic designer, event planner, marketing director, professional cheerleader, elementary art teacher, fashion designer, and web designer—to name just a few positions. Experiences that she gained through these positions, coupled with her innate drive to explore and create without boundaries, are what contribute to her success as a mixed media artist. Her passion for sharing art has led her on a worldwide tour, teaching mixed media workshops in handmade books, art journaling, collage, art marketing, and surface design. Traci is the author of the bestselling book, Collage Unleashed, and is currently working on her next book which will be released January 2012. Her art has been featured in over 15 art/mixed media books and 40 craft magazines, including Somerset Studio, Altered Couture, cloth.paper.scissors, Art Journaling, Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, and Craft. Her column “Creativity Unleashed” was featured in Somerset Studio Magazine. She has been a regular guest on DIY/HGTV Craft Lab. Her creative business includes designing licensed product lines, Collage Pauge adhesive, and {kolLAJ} paper crafts. She has developed business partnerships with numerous craft manufacturers, and has built her online presence solely on her own, designing every aspect of her brand and marketing strategy.
Wendy Piersall

Wendy Piersall has been blogging professionally for nearly 5 years and established herself as an early voice helping people build a business online via blogging. She has written for Entrepreneur.com and was featured on the Today Show as an advocate for mom owned online businesses. In 2009 she was named by Nielsen as one of the 16 most influential moms online. She transformed her personal blog into a powerful blog network, selling it to private investors soon thereafter. Today she runs the Woo! Jr. Kids Activities Blog Network, attracting nearly 250,000 monthly visitors.