Old Art Supplies + New Friendships: A Story About Community

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

It all started with an electric outage. After a few hours we realized the lights weren’t coming on anytime soon (nor was the well pump or the water heater), so we packed the cooler and our suitcases and headed for New Jersey. This isn’t normally what we do when we are without electric, mind you. It just so happened that we had a meeting with a client the next day and wanted a guaranteed shower.

After a long drive, a short sleep, and a hot shower, we headed off to our client meeting and soaked up the divinity that is strong black coffee. A relaxing afternoon in the Garden State led to another hotel – this time back in Pennsylvania, but still hours from home. No sense in heading back now: we were delivering art supplies to our new friend the next day.

Checking email that night, we found out that what we thought would be a quick visit had turned into an #OMHG garden party. Not only would we meet Colleen, but Heather, Jenelle, and Cheyenne would be there too!

Our hearts skipped a beat.

We hardly slept – and not just because a very excited 3½ year old was kicking us in the gut – but because we were going to meet our new community in person. We were going to share stories and supplies with people who would understand us without long explanations.

Let us backtrack a little…

We had been searching for a creative community for a long time. Some felt very austere, while others were overly dramatic. We just wanted somewhere comfortable to be ourselves and share our gifts without fear. If you look for something long enough, you find it. And we did. Enter: Oh My! Handmade Goodness.

One blog post and we were hooked. We spent the afternoon poring over the site, checking out links, exploring the community members’ heart and handcrafted work. After our discovery, we joined in on an #OMHG chat and felt a familiar excitement and sense of belonging. We jumped in.

This was our community!

These were our people!

Now to go a little further back…

Darice’s parents used to own an art supply store.* When her father’s health started to fail, they closed the store, sold what they could of the supplies at a discount, and put the rest in storage. Over the years the supplies were donated and used, but some still remained. After her mother passed, they came into Darice’s possession.

Which brings us back to this spring…

After reading Colleen’s post about altered books and healing, Darice knew she had to contact her and offer the supplies. It just fit.

Colleen joyfully accepted and a date was set for delivery.

A hop, skip, and jump into early summer put us in the hotel with a trunk full of art supplies and bellies full of butterflies.

The next day as we were driving the winding roads of the Philadelphia countryside, we could hardly contain ourselves. The weather was perfect and our hearts were bursting with anticipation.

We pulled up to a little white cottage at the end of a long dirt lane with Colleen’s colorful, recycled flowers bursting from the window box.

What happened next was magic…

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

Old Art Supplies + New Friendships

(Thank you, Jenelle for sharing the day through your lens!)

The afternoon was full of hugs, laughter, ideas, and stories. We shared business goals, experiences in parenthood, cherries and chocolate cake…but most importantly, we shared ourselves. We celebrated our new friendships and the amazing woman responsible for them. Thank you, Jessika!

While everyone helped to unload our trunk, they selected a few treasures for their own studios, and the rest was carefully packed under a table for later use during Colleen’s mission trip to the Bahamas.

Before we ambled back down the dirt road, we were all gifted with Colleen’s words – quiet reminders to be sprinkled throughout our homes and studios.

For us, the experience was so much more than a good will trip. The miles of highway, country roads, and that little dirt lane took us somewhere truly special. They took us to a door, a threshold, a new beginning…they took us to our community.

“I know there is strength in the differences between us.
I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
Ani DiFranco

Here’s to community and its many blessings…

* A little side story for the romantics out there: Matt used to shop at Darice’s parents’ art store when he was a kid…and she saw him there. And the Ames lettering guide her dad special ordered for him? He still has it.