A Breath of Fresh Air- Our Vacation in the Smokies

I just came back from a wonderful week in Tennessee. We started off the week in a cabin with my family. My family has never been on a vacation together so it was especially special for us. It was a short time together but we packed the days with lots of memories. After everyone headed back home, Luke and I stuck around so we could enjoy some much needed time together.

We enjoyed a few days at Dollywood and walking around Gatlinburg but my favorite part was driving through the mountains and stopping to take photos. We even saw bears! The first sighting was a little cub in the distance. The second sighting was a closer view of a mama bear and two cubs! We didn't get a very good picture of either though. Someone else was following the mama bear a little too closely. She growled at him and the cubs went up trees and Luke and I were out of there! Haha!

We are only a few hours away so we will definitely be visiting again. I'd love to go in the Fall!


All photos © Kara Mavar

Meet Oliver...

This is Oliver. He has been a part of our family for close to nine years now. He has a cool, calm personality but he is also tough enough to put our Rottweiler in his place. He often will sit on a table and bat the dog on the head as he walks by. Just because. He has always been an in-door cat but is quite the escape artist. Since we have a dog, we are constantly going out the back door and Oliver always darts out behind us. Normally he enjoys rolling around on the pavement or smelling the air. This past Friday night, he darted out and disappeared out of my sight (it was dark). I went back inside with every intention of luring him back with treats but I got distracted and forgot about him (I'm a terrible fur mom sometimes). The next morning I realized what had happened and went out looking for him. No luck. I went about my day (worried) hoping that he would return. I went out again in the evening and finally found him in some shrubs between our garage and the fence. I carried him inside and tried to tend to him but he only seemed interested in loving on me and our dog! After snuggles (and lots of purring!) he finally ate and drank some water. He was overheated and traumatized but he is back to his old self again. I am so thankful he survived his first night-long out-door adventure! This family wouldn't be the same without him!

Happy Accidents

This project was a learning experience. When I first realized that the solder had spread over the copper background (I used too much), I was pretty discouraged and almost called it quits. I'm glad I decided to continue working on it! Even though this piece is full of mistakes, I kinda love it! I'm not sure what happened in the upper left area but I think it's pretty cool looking and it adds a little interest in my opinion. The coloring of this piece reminds me of a robin which is very fitting. 


Challenge yourself. I learned to do that in college! Well, I was sort of forced to do that. I remember always being surprised at what I could accomplish by being pushed to go above and beyond what I thought I could do. Now I push myself. That is probably one of the greatest take-aways from my college experience.

2015 was a huge year for Karisma by Kara! I took a HUGE step forward by adding soldering to my skill settings. I'm still learning but I am already able to do so much more than I could before. It has been so much fun discovering all the possibilities with soldering, but now I'm ready for more! The next step is perfecting my use of the jeweler's saw and soldering bezels (stone setting). I hope you will continue on this exciting creative adventure with me! 

My very first soldering project! 

Here is a flash-back to my post about learning to solder...

Friday, April 03, 2015

Yesterday I learned a new skill which I have been wanting to learn for quite some time now-SOLDERING! It is not nearly as hard as I thought it would be! My husband even took an interest and learned right along with me. Well, he actually kind of took over so I am practicing more today on my own. We had a blast though. It was fun working together although I learned that I don't like to share! :) I barely slept last night because I had too many ideas swarming in my head. Here are some fun "Behind the Scenes" photos from yesterday evening.

My husband had too much fun melting down my silver scrap!

This is one of my very first designs from years ago improved by soldering the seams!

Can't wait to see what's next!


After learning the basics, I worked on several difficult practice projects.  I challenged myself early on. I learned to do that in college! Well, I was sort of forced to do that. I remember always being surprised at what I could accomplish by being pushed to go above and beyond what I thought I could do. Now I push myself. That is probably one of the greatest take-aways from my college experience.

Below is one of my first practice projects. It took forever but it was incredibly rewarding in the end!

Thanks for reading!


A New Mind-Set & A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Work Hard, Play Hard.

I'm beginning this new year with a  new mind-set and a fresh coat of paint on my walls!

Long hours are just part of running your own small business. It's easy for me to get consumed with work and forget to enjoy life. However, my main New Year's resolution is to start out each day with the mind-set that I am going to work and then the evening is free for me to enjoy. So far this mind-set has been helpful and has actually helped me stay focused and  accomplish my daily goals during my work day. Having the evenings free to relax and do things that I enjoy will no doubt give me more energy and creative inspiration to take with me into the next day. 

My studio is full of things I love from other makers. The raccoon painting is something my mom painted years ago and was always hanging in our home. The small blue fabric artwork is from Shellie Mitchell. The Karisma by Kara sign is from Olive + Grey. The adorable sea-foam plant hanger in the corner is from Fox Pottery. The hawk print is from Amber Alexander. The needle-felted jackalope is from Once Again Sam

On the same topic of newness and fresh starts, this past weekend  I painted my studio white! White Dove to be exact. What a great way to start the year! I absolutely LOVE it! It is so refreshing to walk into in the mornings.  Later this month I am having a photographer come to my studio to take professional photos of my creative space and of me working in it. Until then, here are a few photos of my freshly painted studio:

One of my favorite areas in my studio. The little sea-foam green jar is from Illyria Pottery. I love her work!

My dad loved listening to his dad's old records. I grew up listening to Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb. This corner is a tribute to my dad and a sweet reminder of my childhood. Just turning the metal knobs on this stereo takes me back!

I love vintage finds and Malia's Mark always has some great ones! I found this awesome wire basket (along with three others like it) from her. The wooden bud vase is from LeBrun Designs and the hat was my grandpa's.

My kitten, Mulder. I've always loved the pure whiteness of his fur.

This is my packing corner. The wooden arrow piece is from Olive + Grey. They also made my signs for me.