[img] Papertrey Ink Thank you card

When we started Papertrey Ink 11 years ago, we never predicted the community we would build. Shortly after our 11th Anniversary Facebook Live event, we received a lovely card from Birgit in Maine who told us about how she met five women from across the country through the Papertrey Ink blog. In her beautifully crafted card, Birgit said, “Colleen, Linda, Nancy, Marcia, Kara and I are building lifelong friendships, and it all began with your company.”

Two weeks ago, the six women from across the country met for the first time at the Craft House in Newton, Kansas. For the past five years, Birgit, Marcia, Colleen, Nancy, Linda, and Kara have been communicating and building a lifelong friendship through the online crafting world. The ladies “met” through Papertrey Ink blog challenges, like Make It Monday and other PTI bloghops and challenges. Their friendships grew as they commented on each other’s blogs and shared the love and passion for cardmaking.

For years, the ladies would say they should meet up and craft together, but with family, work, and vast geographic distances, it was always a “someday” idea. It wasn’t until Birgit experienced several personal losses in a short span of time that she realized life was too short. She sent her friends an email and soon enough, all six ladies found themselves crafting for three days in an old, colorfully painted Victorian house in Kansas.

For three days, the ladies spent their time sharing and teaching their different cardmaking techniques and special skills with each other. They practiced watercolors, embossing, distressed ink, pop-ups, and coloring with copics. Of course, there was plenty of talking, laughing, and smiles.

As Kara from Wisconsin said, “Paper crafters share a special connection. We have all experienced the joy of giving. Let’s face it, cardmakers make little works of art, seal them in envelopes, and send them out into the world hoping to share and encourage others. So naturally, when we meet a fellow crafter online or in person, we feel this special bond.”

For Colleen and Linda, who have been friends for 61 years and attended the very first Stamp A Faire in Cincinnati all those years ago, turning their “blogging friends” into “real life friends” was an incredible experience. While all the ladies share a love for cardmaking, it’s about more than that. Colleen said, “we have a connection, and I think I can speak for each one, but if anyone of us needs anything, the others will be there for support and encouragement.”

[img] Craft friends

The three days went by too fast for the ladies, but they all plan to get together next year in California for another weekend of crafting fun. As Marcia from Michigan said, “We all brought projects to share, and we all agreed that we weren’t too worried if we had enough room to pack clothes as long as we could fit all our supplies in our suitcases!” These ladies certainly have their priorities right!

For many of us who enjoy the paper crafts, it’s hard to find others within our own geographic communities who love the craft as much as us, so many of us turn to the online world. As Papertrey Ink designers, we love sharing our creations on the Papertrey Ink blog. But, what inspires us even more, is seeing all your creations and ideas. For the past 11 years, we have built our own crafting community, and we couldn’t be prouder.

When asked what “crafting a community” meant to her, Birgit described it as “encouraging when something bad happens and joining in the happiest when good is happening.” For her, the idea was more of a feeling than a tangible thing. Nancy from California echoed Birgit’s sentiments by saying, “the crafting community has been something that has helped heal a mommy’s ‘empty nester’s’ lonely heart. When the last of my chicks left, cardmaking and scrapbooking provided not only a crafting outlet but friendships I could never have imagined.”

[img] Craft weekend

This year at Papertrey Ink, we want to continue to build a “Crafting Community.” In the coming months, you’ll hear more about our “Crafting a Community” plans, but it the meantime, we’d love to hear your stories. Have you met any of your “blogging friends” in person? What does “Crafting a Community” mean to you?

Heather Nichols

Author Heather Nichols

More posts by Heather Nichols

Join the discussion 32 Comments

  • 1
    Annette Gordon says:

    What an amazing story!! So inspiring that all of you were able to meet, from all across the country.

  • 2
    Becky Green says:

    This is a beautiful story! I’m so glad you all were able to meet & have a special time of crafting together! “Crafting a Community,” means what you’ve said here to me. Making friends, whether you can meet or not…. I would have a hard time leaving my hubby behind. Getting older, I tend to want to stay closer to home. But, making friends is one of the reasons I am drawn to the paper crafting world too. I’ve always been “crafty,” & enjoy keeping my creative mind busy, & making things I can give as gifts. Card Making is a nice way to create a small piece of art, made especially for the recipient, to lift spirits & congratulate on special occasions. A special thought, done in a special way for the one thought of! 😉

  • 3
    Rachel says:

    This is such a beautiful story. How exciting to be able to meet and share talents but most of all sharing the love of friends. I moved to Colorado and have not been able to find someone or somebody to get together a create. I look at other blogs though and have communicated with the owners of these blogs. Maybe it’s a good time to get the ball rolling and do something like these ladies have done. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations and keep getting together. Life is too short let’s hope and enjoy and create.

  • 4
    Greta H says:

    Would you believe I met a blogging friend today! We both enter PTI challenges & discovered we don’t live that far apart. Today Vikki & I met 1/2 way for a very long brunch–poor waitress–haha! Felt like we’d known each other for years! We’d both love to do a crafting weekend–gotta work on that! I’ve also been lucky enough to have lunch with Linda & Colleen along with a few other blogging friends over the years. I’ll post a picture of Vikki & me when I post my MIM card.

  • 5
    melissa says:

    I love your site and i’m looking forward to making new crafting friends on here.thanks for share and great site.i love making jewelry and cards.i love to do any craft i’m learning how to paint.congrats ,

  • 6
    Krista says:

    This warms my heart!

  • 7
    Elizabeth McGregor says:

    I love this! What a wonderful story! I have not met blogger friends but when my SIL got me hooked on card making, blogging, and challenges, it opened up a whole new world of fun and encouragement to this stay at home mom. Sharing her love of crafting with me has helped me craft a new community for myself!

  • 8

    Wow! Such an inspiring story and thank you for sharing it! I am a person who does not have many “best” friends (just one good one) out of choice. It has been close to 10 years of card creations with PTI’s wonderful products with scrapbooking before that (including teaching classes in a local scrapbooking store). I have always had a desire to be a graphic designer but never got to pursue that goal because of my parents. I am a dental hygienist which isn’t a bad thing because I met my husband (a DDS). But there is still this burning candle flame within me that still wishes to be a designer, somehow. The card making seems to satisfy this desire. It is so nice to have others comment on my cards…they give me hope and confidence. Thank you PTI for making my design spirits brighter through your products, challenges and blogs!!

  • 9
    Dawn Y. says:

    Such a heartwarming story! When I read Birgit’s blog post earlier today, I could just feel the joy of crafty friends meeting for the very first time. They truly found the perfect place to create together! I’m delighted to hear that a new tradition has begun for this circle of friends.

    I have been so fortunate to meet a few blog friends at a Tea Party for our favorite author and artist, Susan Branch! Meeting kindred spirits for the first time is a truly lovely experience. I have also become pen pals with several of my blog friends. It’s fun to brighten one another’s day with a long letter, flower seeds from our gardens, or a handmade card. We hope to travel to meet one another one day!

    After I retired and had more time for papercrafting, it was time to find a crafty ‘tribe’ of my own. Taking a few cardmaking classes helped me to ‘discover’ other card makers in our town. Now we have a small, but dedicated, group who gather for monthly papercrafting Crops at our public library. We are a very diverse group of different ages, and we always look forward to our ‘inky’ get-togethers!

    It will be such fun to learn more about Papertrey’s plans for ‘Crafting a Community.’ Count me in!💗

  • 10
    Helen says:

    “Crafting a Community” sounds so interesting. Looking forward to hearing more about it. My experience has been limited to connecting with other crafters and local craft store events. tfs

  • 11
    Michele F says:

    I couldn’t be happier to read this post today! Birgit – you’ve started a fabulous tradition that I only hope I can join on the next round! LOve you girls… even those I’ve never met! and Marcia – CALIFORNIA?? a road trip might be out of the question? lol xx
    =] Michele

  • 12
    Linda Levan says:

    OMG😁 Love the stories about all the ladies. Its inspiring
    i meet up ones a month at a workshop and can’t wait to make Art card with new techniques. Love inky fingers.
    Want to creat a blog to meet other too. Iam from Willis, Texas, small town 20 miles from The Woodlands texas.
    If any others like me would love to get together. txstarlinda@aol.com
    The crafting community is a strong Home. Thanks to all😊

  • 13
    Mary Lou Kemp says:

    Beautiful story ladies! I too have met so many wonderful women through stamping.

  • 14
    Stephanie Clapper says:

    Several years ago, I would upload pictures of some of my cards, on a different website. I was just starting out and my skills were limited at best. I drew great inspiration from Danielle Flanders, who also posted on the same site. Actually, I started making cards, because of her. Some crafters would leave comments on each other’s work and joined a supply swap. I met some beautiful women, from all over our country and in fact, the world. The nicest thing was meeting new crafters and of course, learning from each other- although our styles differed. The bonus was the support we gave each other and sharing in the joys of each other’s lives. That to me, is crafting together, a community of friends. A couple of years passed and allthough I knew of Papertrey thru Danielle, 2 things happened at the same time. My husband and I moved, bought and renovated our home. Along with Papertrey going through “an ink change”. When I returned to cardmaking, I turned to Papertrey Ink, and I have learned SO much, thanks to the talented designers. I don’t have a blog so I do miss the community of crafters I once shared in. I’m SUPER excited to hear it’s something that may happen here. It makes crafting twice the fun, for so many reasons.

  • 15
    Donna Phelan says:

    How FUN! And to think this all started with a little paper, ink and stamps! I bet it makes your friendship all the more! I love that I ‘know’ some of you and/or recognize your names! Wildly talented women at their best! xo~

  • 16
    Linda S. says:

    Thank you PTI for bringing us together. We had such a wonderful time in Kansas, creating, laughing and sharing. It is so amazing to me that you can bond so easily with ladies that you have just known from comments on your blogs. Blogging friends are the best.

  • 17
    Carolyn says:

    What an inspirational article! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • 18
    Tracy says:

    What a great story, thank you for sharing. It truly defines the crafting community! So glad they were finally able to meet in person.

  • 19
    Donna K says:

    What a lucky group of ladies to have found each other and get to share their papercrafting passions. About 14 years ago my sister and I signed up for a stamping class at a local store. She was a scrapbooker and I just was fascinated by the beautiful art that could be created with stamps. Our other sister who is totally non-crafty asked if we thought she could do it too. We laughed but the 3 of us took the class and it has become a 14 year bonding activity for us. I would never have guessed how much fun and laughter we could have together. Over the years we’ve also sucked in a couple other friends. I’ve been a PTI fan almost from their beginning and it has been a constant source of inspiration and joy.

  • 20
    Nancy says:

    So glad you posted this! It truly speaks to me as I have been fortunate enough to meet two of the ladies above in person…Linda and Colleen along with a handful of others. My online crafty friends mean the world to me. I sure plan on never stopping this truly rewarding hobby of mine, and keep adding to this list of online friends I have met in person as the years go by! Who knows maybe someday I will make it to this cute Kansas home too.

  • 21
    Sue Lelli says:

    What a wonderful story and oh so true! I’ve met so many blogging friends through PTI and have had the opportunity to meet some of them. In fact I “borrowed” Pauline Pollington when her family flew from the UK to Disney in Orlando and we spent a wonderful day together and next year I plan on fulfilling a bucket list trip by traveling to Holland to meet my blogging friend Stella and maybe a stopover in the UK to meet Ros! I feel like I have know my blogging friends forever and I LOVE sending and receiving cards from all over the world. PTI has made this happen!

  • 22
    Polly Lemire says:

    My best friend Barb and I have known each other since the days when Mr. Rogers came on tv and our toddlers would be quiet enough for us to talk. Those Toddlers now have their own kids in college! We’ve always shared a common interest in sewing and various crafts, even through living in different parts of the country and major life crisis and career changes– but nothing compares to the bond we share over PTI and card-making. No creation is complete until a photo of it has been shared and commented on from one to another on our IPhones, we figured out how to put together our own blogs and upload stuff (even though some would consider us “old ladies” at this point) –and from the 9th to the 15th of the month, we cannot start the day without seeing the latest sneak peeks and previews on PTI. PTI certainly has made our bond of friendship even stronger – and so much fun!

  • 23
    Luanne Ford says:

    This makes me smile all over! So glad you were able to meet! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Moe Plut from Canada, at the first Stamp-a-Faire in Cincinnati. I was there with six stamping friends from Lexington. The second year, we had a gathering locally, and a gal from the forum joined us that lived close by. Since then, she has become one of my best stamping buddies, AND Bonus- we can share our stamp sets! I also had the great pleasure of meeting Hanne from Amsterdam. That was SO cool! What an amazing, blessed community we have. Thankful for all of you!

  • 24
    Helen F. says:

    Oh how AWESOME you sensational six ladies got together for a crafting meetup! I feel like I know each one of you just from the commenting back and forth on our blogs these past several years. So happy you all were able to ‘get away’ for this event~~sounds like an absolute blast 🙂

  • 25
    JanetB says:

    I absolutely love this story! I’ve always said that paper crafters and stampers are the best and most encouraging people, and this just goes to show that it is true! What fun to have the opportunity to meet and share your talents in person. I have two stamping friends who live three hours away, and we meet every once in a while and spend a few hours together. I think a weekend retreat would be very special. Thank you all, for sharing your story.

  • 26
    Lisa Mendoza says:

    Beautiful. “Crafting a Community” means just that, meeting and forming a bond among crafty kindred spirits. It also means touching others through our craft and bringing people together even if they don’t craft too.
    I look forward to the feature and I could only dream of actually meeting fellow crafters. I have only decided to enter challenges this year and have joined a facebook group for PTI fans and it’s been really nice so far. I’ve already gotten around more, seeing and commenting on more blogs and learning from others. Since I started card making 3 years ago I’ve been with PTI and have never used any other cardstock or ink! (beside distress ink) Love PTI products.

  • 27
    Margaret Flynn says:

    I am in Nacogdoches, Texas. I’ve been using PTI’s products for 5 years and have scrapbooked over 20 years. Mostly cards in the last 14 years. Taught classes years ago at scrapbook stores here in town and then in a coop/antique shop. Got burned out from that and started over when we moved into a smaller home 5 years ago.

    Learning from so many others online, but haven’t found anyone in my town who loves it like I do.

    Margaret Flynn

  • 28

    I love of these ladies, they are as kind and wonderful as can be. They have all been such a great support to me in good times and bad. Each one is so very talented and inspiring! Papertrey Ink you have brought so many people together and we have made lasting friendships. I am so glad Birgit reached out to you and shared this weekend with you. Beautiful reading about their trip and time together.

  • 29
    Corinna says:

    I LOVE this post! How wonderful to hear about all of these special women who’s blogs I’ve visited because of PTI! How fabulous to actually meet up in person and have fun together crafting and sharing all things art and life. Congratulations ladies on inspiring the rest of us to take time to really get to know all of the wonderful people in the PTI community!

  • 30
    chris says:

    I loved this story! I’ve made many friends from the Internet, but only met a few in person. Many times a change to a different craft often means a change in friendships, and as I look back that’s sad, because of those really good friends I’ve lost over the years. I’ve noticed, not many people these days show where they live, so we’d never know if someone living close by would have the same things in common.

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