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MAKER MONDAY: MEET DARI & MIKE

There is so much to say about these two…where do I start?

Dari Cranford was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Columbia in 2005.   We had been attending The Crossing Church {back when it was in RBHS} and in September of that year, I felt spurred for the first time to join a Women’s Bible Study.  It was the first group bible study I had ever done and Dari was one of the facilitators.   She must have sensed I was kind of a mess spiritually and in need of a friend because she took me under her wing.  I remember meeting her for coffee outside of bible study and just getting to know one another.   She’s one of those people who just radiates the light of Christ through her kindness, joy of life and love of people.   She helped me see the Lord in a new way.

I got to know her husband Mike over the next few years as Jeremy & I began serving on the Young Life Leadership Committee alongside them.   At that time their three children, Morgan, Tanner & Riley, were probably only a few years older than my kids are now.   Looking back now I realize how precious the time they were giving at that stage of life was.  This is a couple who gives and serves sacrificially together.   But they also love and play together.   It’s their norm.  {See them below in 1986 and then 2015…still so cute!}

I mentioned in a previous post a little bit about my life before Plume… and also my life before becoming a mom.  Dari was there.  And then when I finally became pregnant with my twins and had to go on bedrest…she was still there (along with quite a few of the other ladies you see in the pic below which I had to include because they deserve a post all on their own about how they serve one another when one of their babies gets married…but I’ll have to tell you that story on another day).   In 2008 I was scared to death on bedrest and about to have a complete mental breakdown and Dari and some of these other ladies came to help.    One at a time they came and sat with me, talked with me, brought me food, prayed with me…and every day they came was another day I could stay calm enough to keep those babies inside and growing so they could have a better chance at life.  God used Dari and the rest of them in such a big way at that time and I will be forever grateful.

Because of my trust in her, Dari is one of a very small group of people I can count on one hand who saw Plume before it was Plume.   I was encouraged that she could see my vision.   She too has a love for all things vintage, and had even thought about opening her own little shop at one time…where she would sell all her found treasures from local estate sales and summer adventures with Mike.   I invited her over one day in July or August of 2013 and when I shared my ideas…she became vendor #004.

Right before opening day, she came by and brought me this sign.  Many of you have seen it hanging above the entry-way at Plume.  And some of you have even tried to buy it.

Dari’s dad made this out of an old fence.   She didn’t have anywhere to hang it in her home and asked if I’d like to use it for decor at Plume.  I loved it.  It symbolized all that I wanted Plume to be.  A happy place.  I was honored she would let me hang it in the shop.

Since my very first opening day in 2013 Dari’s vintage finds have filled tables and nooks and crannies inside Plume.  But everything was just tagged under vendor #004.   It wasn’t until 2015 that “Happy Acre” took on more meaning at Plume when Dari decided to learn how to make soap.  She needed a name for her soap and said she wanted to call it the Happy Acre Soap Co.  I thought that was perfect and designed a logo for her modeled after her sign.

And while we don’t have any of her soap in stock right now, the Happy Acre brand is still infused throughout  Plume.  Dari has her own key and just lets herself in and out when she needs to drop things by.   I can always tell when she’s been there.  She’s like my little shop elf, sprinkling vintage wherever she goes.   When you see her tags on some of the most unique vintage finds and spy the fabulous vintage jewelry mounted on Happy Acre cards…know it’s been hand-picked by Dari.   And it’s the real authentic deal.  Sometimes I’m still surprised at the things she finds and brings in.   I’ve even been known to think to myself  “who on earth is going to want that?”  but it never fails… one of YOU wants it.  And buys it.

Mike has always been in the background of Happy Acre because, well…where Dari goes, Mike goes and vice versa.  It’s so cute when I hear them call each other “bud”.  Doesn’t matter who’s calling who, they’re both “bud”.   {And sometimes I even get called “bud”}.  I know he’s with her on many of her “picking” expeditions.   But in 2015, being a woodshop teacher among other teaching and coaching endeavors at West Middle School, he also caught the creative bug and started making wooden candle holders out of fallen trees and limbs they found on their walks together both here and all over the country when they visit family.    You can find their tealight holders made from Sycamore, Birch and lots of other hardwoods.   Available in both log and stump styles.

In 2016 Dari’s oldest daughter Morgan got married.   Word has it Dari had a massive stockpile of gorgeous vintage pearl necklaces set aside from her finds, just waiting for Morgan to pick the perfect one for her big day.   Look how gorgeous the winner was.  I love this picture of Dari putting it on her.   Such a sweet moment captured.

{and lucky Plume…and some of you…snagged Morgan’s “cast-offs”}.

The Cranford’s are a treasure.   I’m so thankful to have them be a part of Plume.   My life is better because Dari is in it.  Plume is more beautiful because Dari is there too.

Thanks Bud!