Wow…this is hard, but I’m told that I need to introduce myself…so here goes nothing! I’m Karen (Karie) and I have a real passion to work with wood and leather, that has developed over the course of my many lives. Got you wondering now …don’t I ? Okay, here goes. Life number one, was growing up on a dairy farm in the Midwest. Was a small town, with great people, good schools and wonderful friends. I would have most likely stayed there my entire life except for one thing…I wanted to see more! So shortly after graduating from high school, I enrolled in University, but that travel bug just would not go away. So I dropped out of University and moved to Milwaukee, where as it happens I met my first husband, Don. Don was a Navy man specializing in Nuclear Power. It was with Don that I got my wish of traveling…boy did we travel. I’ve been through or lived in every state but one. Don was extremely intelligent and through him, I not only got more travel than I ever dreamed of, but also the gift of knowledge. Many times in our travels, I could not get a work permit, so instead Don encouraged me to take courses at different Universities and schools. So, I have a bit of this and a bit of that…those credits add up fast! Don and I had two children, both of whom I am very proud of. One still has the travel bug and the other is someone who needs roots and very little travel. We also lived overseas for just under 5 years, which I loved. Our main stay was in Kilmacolm, Scotland. A beautiful country with fantastic people, I could have stayed there forever. I met so many wonderful friends and love them all. In Dunoon, Scotland, there was a wood toy store, where we would go at least twice a week to watch them set out the wooden toys. I was hooked! Eventually, back to the states, where Don decided not to reenlist again and we settled in Oklahoma. One of our friends there worked in leather and again I was hooked…loved it! Told myself someday I was going to find the time to pursue my passion of wood and leather. After, Don went back to school to finish another degree, he got a job with a computer company working on defense programs, that eventually sent us to Fort Wayne, IN. Here Don was killed in an automobile accident four days before our 21st anniversary. End of life number two.
Life number three begins about 5 years after that. I went back to the Midwest, and returned to the University to finish up on my degree. It is during this time that I met my second husband, Jim. Jim was a retired police officer, who was working at the local brewery. He loved to camp, play guitar and sing. Nothing I liked more, than to sit around a campfire and listen to him sing. Always envied someone who could actually sing, having scared off more creatures than I can count with my voice, absolutely tone deaf!! When Jim retired from the brewery, we started a Kettle Korn business. We would do the Kettle Korn during the spring and summer up around the Midwest and during the fall and winter we went south with it. Home based in Okeechobee, FL., a wonderful town, with some fantastic people. If you ever get down there, be sure to stop by Norton Dry Cleaners. Not only will you get great service, but you will meet two of the most wonderful people on the planet. Wallace and Tammy Norton…love you guys! We did music festivals, arts and craft show, fairs, special events and again I got to see some amazing craftsmanship and that voice again saying someday… A very, very happy time in my life, again meeting some wonderful people and acquiring some super friends, that I will love until the day I die. Jim and I were together for nine years, when he was diagnosed with cancer. We fought that awful disease for 2 ½ years. He wanted to die at home and I promised him he would get his wish. Those were very hard days. But in the end, I was able to keep my promise to Jim and he died at home. End of life number three.
After Jim passed, my parents needed more help, so for the next 5 years, I took care of them. During this time, I met Fredrick (Rick) Hayen, a retired Mechanical Engineer. By this time, I was dead tired and didn’t look further than one day ahead. But Rick, wasn’t having any of that…it was time to pursue what I wanted to do for a change. With his encouragement and knowledge, I was able to put together a workshop and FINALLY…FINALLY, pursue what I always wanted to do. Love you to the moon and back Rick! Happy days have returned and I hope that you all will find something that you like in my work. I guarantee you that all of it is made with a smile on my face. I have a CNC for my woodworking and a laser for my leather works. I’m learning new things with every new day and new project…life is indeed good! God Bless to all!