Friday, October 23, 2009

How to make a gemstone tree - Video

Since I'm lazy and haven't figured out how to use my video camera to make everyone a video of making a gem tree, I went in search of one. Guess what there was one on YouTube. The technique is a little different than mine, but for a beginner this is a good start. If you already are making trees, this might give you a few more ideas on where to go next or what to change to make it easier.

I am building a new craft site and have posted the video there. The video was make by Camille Sharon. Check it out HERE.

I would love to have you join my new site, it's free and there are no rules like some other sites require for their members. If you have an Etsy, Ebay, Yahoo, Google, etc store then you can build a marketplace to showcase you shop. Just another way to market your handmade items. There is also a blog option and a variety of other apps.

I would love to hear from you.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Can you really get something for FREE?

I have four tutorials that I put together from the instructions from my book. The purpose was to offer instructions to customers that didn't want to purchase the book due to the price of the book at $17.99 plus $5.00 shipping as the tutorials run from $3 - $4 each. I have  had some success with the tutorials, but have found the customers find it confusing and usually purchase both a tutorial and the book. So, with that in mind, everyone that purchases a book will get the .pdf tutorial of their choice for FREE. This way they can get started creating their masterpiece gem sculptures before the book arrives via slow snail mail. The tutorials will still be offered separately for those that just want one instruction.

I'm still selling books off my various web sites and find it amazing that someone would purchase something that they have no idea what it is...or maybe they do and have always wanted to make one. Either way, I'm grateful to all my customers and I hope that one day soon I'll start getting pictures from them of their finished trees. I would like to set up a photo gallery of my student trees. So, if you have made a tree using my instructions via the book or tutorial, please send me a picture or two. I would love to see them and I'm sure my readers would too.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Marketing

I have this hard time selling myself or my book. I know the book is good, but how do I sell it without coming across as bragging? Today was my day to try to get more vendors selling my book. I had taken a book to Shipwreck Beads (very large bead shop) in Lacey, WA and left it for their book buyer to review a couple of weeks ago. I decided today was the day to follow up and call him to make sure he had received it. He had and ordered 6 books, now I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but it is a step in the door and that was what I was hoping for. I also took a book to The Bead Factory here in Tacoma for the owner to review and to make an appointment with her. I still have yet to hear back but I'm sure I will.

It has taken me awhile to feel comfortable enough to get out and do some of this marketing in person, but I figure if I don't do it no one else will. I still have yet to make it up to Jerry's Rock Shop in Renton. I sent an e-mail, but if they are like me, ignore those messages, so an in person visit is in order.

The other marketing that I still need to do is to get postcards sent to all the local gem and mineral clubs. I try to do as many gem and mineral shows as possible during show season, but not all shows have the room for a demonstrator. I'm still waiting to see if I get into the Bellevue show at the end of this month.

If anyone has any other marketing ideas for my book, please let me know. I think I'm ready to give them a try.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wow, What's Happened?

The past couple of weeks have just been booming for gem trees, gem tree kits and books. I'm not sure what has happened, but I like it. We demonstrated at the Southern Washington Gem & Rock show in Castle Rock, WA last weekend. It was amazing. We sold 11 trees and 5 books on a two day show and we weren't even vendors. My husband did teach a young girl to make her own tree and then she turned around and spent her money to buy a tree for her mother. What a great hobby. We have reduced the price of our trees at these shows to allow for more sales since we are making them left and right. They just accumulate here at home, so I figure someone else can enjoy them in their home for awhile. I didn't push the book too much which is probably why I only sold 5, but combine that with the order I received this week for 12 books and it was a great week of book sales.

In other news, I have started my outline for the next book. I'm thinking it will be called "Gem Tree Sculptures II". Yes, not too original, but follows the first book and does let people know that there must be a book one. So far, I'm planning on including some instructions for accessories to add to your existing trees and some more advanced features for larger trees. I do have plans for new tree designs like my palm tree and a couple of new willow type trees. I may even have a chapter on how to design your own tree. What I haven't decided yet is if I will add any more gemstone lore or healing gemstone information. Still thinking about that one as making a gem tree is very therapeutic.

I'm still working on a special vendor order of 10 small gem trees. I'm almost complete and just need to get them mounted on a rock base before mailing. This is a vendor that will be a the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February. If you have never been to this show it is huge with gem, mineral, bead and rock shows at every venue in Tucson. We went last year and only made it to a few of the shows, before we were tired of looking at rocks and gems.

If some of you are wondering where I get my supplies for my gem trees, I go to a local bead shop in Lacey, WA called Shipwreck Beads. They also have an online store. This is one of the largest bead shops you will ever go into. Simply amazing with all the various beads and supplies. I did take my book along with a vendor order sheet and leave it with their book buyer so hopefully I'll get some book orders from them. If you want to check out their web site, here is the address: Here one of the new trees I'm working on that includes freshwater pearls and glass leaves.
Enjoy and have a great day.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tree of Life Artist - Kee's Juicy Gems

I found another gem tree artist on 1000 Markets. Her name is Alicia and she makes wonderful tree pendants. Yes, trees can be made into pendants and do not have to sit on a table. Very unique pendants if I say so myself. These would be perfect made with birthstone gems as a gift and I'm sure she will make any special order that you wish if you don't find the right color choice in her shop. Here is a little bit more about Alicia.
My name is Alicia, I am a marine wife and mom to a awsome little girl and a little boy. I have been making jewelry since I was six. It started as friendship braclets then evolved to hemp and wire wrapping. I have never stopped evolving and growing in my talents. I have never taken a class on jewelry I just create what is in my head or what I see around me. My favorite at the moment is the crystal hearts I have in my store. The are so beautiful the pictures could never capture how amazing they are. Every time I wear one I get tons of compliments. I just opened another shop on 1000 Markets with my line of hair bows, I can not wait to evolve more create beautiful jewelry for people. I love custom orders so dont be shy. If you like what you see but see it in a different color no problem I will find you that color and make your piece. Thanks for stopping by Alicia
Check out Kee's Juicy Gems on 1000 Markets.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Featured Artist - Apryl Mott

I talk about my gem trees, competing, the book and tutorials, but I never talk about the other amazing gem tree artists. Here is one of my fellow gem tree artisans who has a shop on ArtFire. She creates small trees that remind me of a fantasy.

Apryl lives outside of New Orleans and was trained in gem tree sculpture by her grandmother and wire wrapped jewelry by her grandfather who traveled to various craft shows all over the U.S.

Take a look at her shop here and let her know how amazing her creations are.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Competition is Complete

Well I have now obtained "Master" status on gem tree design at the Regional and National level. Big sigh of relief. I didn't get the perfect score that I might have dreamed of...but that was just a dream. Too many variables and subjective areas in judging to get 100 points. At the Regional level I obtained 93 and at the National level 92, which qualifies me for "Masters". So now what do I call myself? Do I say I am a Master Gem Tree Designer? I guess I'll have to find out from the powers that be.

I know that the biggest point off was for my labels, they were perfect in spelling and mineral identification, but I didn't include that the tree was also made of craft wire. You would have thought that indicating on the label "AMETHYST, 24 gauge silver craft wire (Amethyst)" would have to be spelled out on the label. Oh well, I may write some guideline suggestions for additions to the rules for gem trees so that it is clearer for the next competitors.

We are still here in Montana and I have two more days of teaching workshops and selling books. I had two students today with several lookers and sold several books, so I'm happy. There are no other gem tree artists here so I'm pretty much it. I've been telling everybody that I wrote the book on gem tree I'm exaggerating a bit, but no one else is writing books on the subject.

The picture shows me with my tree display and my first blue ribbon. The second blue ribbon was awarded this afternoon and I haven't been able to get a photo of it yet.

Once I gather up all my awards, I'll take another picture and post it. Also, if anyone is thinking about competing with gem trees, I have a lot of tips to help you out. Just ask.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tenino Gem & Mineral Show

Well we made it through the weekend and now we have to get ready for Montana. My palm tree didn't turn out like I wanted it to... (not "Master" quality), so it won't be in my case. Maybe for my National title I'll get it all figured out.

These are a few pic's from the show with me and my student, he learned quick and then his sister made a tree with his help. He was 11 and she was 7, just the right ages and they were very attentive. As you can see I did have some of my books there and sold several to the vendors and show goers. The biggest seller was our small "recession" trees. These are little $5.00 trees that we make on little bases that were either given to us or we were able to pick up for less than $1.00. At small shows like this, it is always best to have reasonably priced items, so my show type trees were not at this show. I think the most expensive tree was $50.00.

The book is so self explanatory that I don't think a beginner will have any problem making a tree for the first time as long as they start with the small mini tree and not start with a tree that has 5 limbs and 15 branches.

As we are in Montana next week with the show and my workshops, I most likely won't post an update on whether I get "Masters" until I return...but just in case I have free time, I'm taking my net book computer.

Stay tuned and wish me luck.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Teaching Children to Make a Gem Tree

This past month I have spent my days with an 11 yo boy. Since I'm a girl and into girly crafts, I knew he wouldn't be interested, so I had to find other activities. First it was painting wood, then painting pictures, scrabble tile pendants, and now gem trees. The gem trees by far win his vote for favorite craft even over painting.

We started out making trees Monday of this week and he has made a tree almost every day. The first tree we made together with 3 and 5 stone branches. The second day he made a 2 stone branch tree all on his own and then the third day a 3 and 5 stone branch tree. I did do the gluing onto the rock base and he did make one at home one night...I haven't seen that one, but my mother said it didn't turn out too good. He really works best with supervision and verbal help occasionally.

Here he is with my brother (his dad) and two of his trees.

So, it is possible to teach kids how to make gem trees and to appreciate the design elements. He is already talking about wanting to go to the bead store and buy his own wire and stones....LOL what have I created.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Tutorials for Gem Trees

I've been busy working the past couple of days dissecting parts of my book to make tutorials. With the economy the way it is and not picking up anytime soon, some people may not have the funds to purchase the book, so how about a cheaper alternative and that is a tutorial.

The tutorials are all the same instructions as what I wrote in the book except that they have some color photos vs. all B&W. I have the Standard Gem Tree, Pine Tree, 2 Leaf Tree and the Jewelry/Earring Tree completed and ready to e-mail as a .pdf download file. Check out my ArtFire and Etsy shops for the tutorials and gem tree kits as well as the book. My 1000 Markets site has completed gem trees and the book for sale.

On the plus side, I have had some sales of my book and am encouraged that between the gem and mineral clubs in the area, friends, family members and the national show in Montana, I will probably break even on my costs to publish the book....or at least that is my hope and my husbands. Wish me luck.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gem Tree Book update

Yes, I now have books for sale on my 1000 Markets and ArtFire shop. Soon I'll be posting it on Etsy along with kits and finished trees. Please feel free to check out both shops if you are interested in purchasing a book. The publisher also has the book in their bookstore.

Here are the links to my shops:

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks. Oh and if you have e-mailed me to let you know when the books are published, that e-mail will be going out this week.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Book is Finished...Yes Again

I received the final proof copy and it is good. I've order my copies and the book is available on the Trafford web site HERE. It has been a long road and I won't really consider it complete until I have all my printed copies in hand (end of next week), but just knowing that what the publisher has available is good is making me happy.

Next on my list is my two additional competition trees for Montana that need to be completed by the end of this month as well as my display case liners. I have the first tree almost completed, but I'm now trying to decide if it needs more stones. It is the Down Under tree (instructions in the book) made with faceted carnelian briolettes. I thought adding some peridot would bring a little bit more life into it, but it isn't working for me....maybe some freshwater pearls. I'll post a picture when I have it completed. The second tree I haven't even started and it will be the most challenging. It is a palm tree with braided wire branches and a woven wire trunk. This one may have to be on the small scale in order to complete it by show time.

I hope everyone is having a great Summer so far and I'll try not to wait so long between posts this next time. If you just can't get enough of me and want to read my daily blog about all the happenings check out THIS.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Book Proof is HERE

Okay I received in the mail last night a copy of the book hard copy proof and not just the eproof. I'm a little disappointed and sent an email to the publisher about the print quality, so we shall see if they can fix the problems. I'm so ready for this book to be finished. I'll take some pictures this weekend and post them again.

Off to the gem and mineral club annual show. More to come.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting Closer to Publication

I just finished reviewing the final proof of the book "Gem Tree Sculptures". I have my order in for additional copies and am hopeful that those will arrive by the end of May. Yea.

I know many of you that lurk and read these posts are wanting the book and some of you have e-mailed me separately, so when I do have copies available for sale, I will be sending you all an e-mail on where to purchase. I'll also be posting a notice on Twitter, my other blogs and Facebook, just in case you don't receive the initial offering e-mail.

Thanks everyone for being so patient.


Monday, April 20, 2009

2 Leaf Gem Tree Instructions

I may be discontinuing one of my other crafting blogs and wanted to make sure I had these instructions out here for all you gem tree addicts. I wrote this a couple years ago and have included it in my new book with updated pictures and more complete instructions....sorry if you want those instructions you will have to buy the book.

Speaking of the book, I talked to my publisher on Friday and she indicated that it will be end of April, first week of May before I get to see it. I was hoping it would be this week.....oh well.

Back to the 2 Leaf tree. This is a simple design and one that displays charms really well. Build in the same manner as my mini tree only instead of 3 leaf branches you will have 2 leaf branches.

Basic Gem Tree Construction for a 2 Leaf Branch

This tree can be as big or small as you wish by continuing to make and add branches and limbs to the trunk.

Materials used:
Gemstones or beads with holes in the middle
24 guage craft wire in gold, silver, copper, or any other color complimentary to your stones.
527 Craft Glue
Wire cutters
Smooth Nose Pliers for helping to twist the wire on the trunk
Rock for the base of tree or a Dish (Terra Cotta Pot Saucer works well filled with sand)
Bowl to hold gemstones for sorting (helps so they don’t roll all over the place)
Rubberbands or Mini Clamps (clamps can be found at hardware or Sears stores)

Cut your craft wire to 36". String a stone or multiple stones if small on one wire, folding it in half with your stone(s) at the folded end. Hold the wire in between thumb and forefinger of one hand in the shape of a V and the stone in the other hand. Twist the stone 5 half twists for approximately ¼ inch. Be sure to keep the end (loose) wires separated and to hold your hands away from your face as the loose wires can poke you in the eye if you are not careful.
String your next stone on the longest wire approx. 1/2 inch away from the twisted center. Fold the wire in half with the stone at the folded end, holding the stone in one hand and the wires in the other hand at the center, twist the stone until the two twisted wires meet at the center. Finish off this branch by twisting the open wires approx. 5 to 10 half twists.

If you only want to learn this 2 leaf branch, then you can set this one aside and continue making branches. For a mini tree, you will need at least 16 of these.

Separate out all your branches into sets of 2. You should have 8 sets. Twist two branches together at the open wire end by stacking one on top of the other. Hold the stones in one hand, splay out the leg wires to create a V shape and with your other hand twist the wires at the bead end all together 5 to 10 half twists, to start your limb. Do not twist the wires up towards the beads but twist the loose wires together. Continue joining branches to make limbs until you have 8 sets that look like the 2nd picture in the bottom row of the diagram. Please remember to keep your end wires separated into leg like structures, otherwise they will tangle and not twist well.
To put your mini tree together, take 2 limbs as shown in the 2nd picture in the bottom row of the diagram and twist together 5 twists. Take another set of 2 limbs and twist together. Twist both double sets together at least 3 to 5 half twists to start your trunk set this aside. Twist your other four remaining limbs together the same way. For more depth make one limb longer by adding a few more twists at the bottom. Join these two together as shown below and twist your trunk. You may want to use your smooth pliers to get a nice tight twist. Twist down as tall as you want your tree to be.

Finish off your tree by dividing the loose end wires into three or four sets and twist to make roots 1 ½ to 2" long. Roughly place your tree, roots down onto your base, spreading the roots out enough to make the tree stable. (If placing on a rock, use the rubberbands to secure the roots prior to gluing.) Clip off excess wire with wire cutters. Place some glue on the roots and set in dish (or secure rubberband around the root onto the rock). Mini clamps work well also when gluing to rocks. Glue all roots using the same method. Allow at least 2 hours to dry before taking the clamps or rubberbands off. Clean up any glue messes with fingernail polish remover on a Q-tip. Arrange tree limbs and branches to your satisfaction and you’re done.


Monday, March 30, 2009

What to Write

I'm in the planning stages of my next book. Yes, I know the first book isn't even out yet, but I thought I would start jotting down my ideas and writing brief instructions for the next book. I'm wondering whether to do a small book in color or to do another one the same size as the first. I definitely want the instructions to be more advanced and I already have a couple of instructions in mind. Here is what I have so far:

  • Repeat instructions for the standard tree only one that is bigger and has an added support structure.
  • Wrap the trunk of the tree.
  • Design your own tree.
  • Palm Tree with braided limbs and trunk.
  • Bonsai Style Tree #2 - It's all in the shaping
  • Accessories for the base of your tree: mushrooms, ferns, butterflies, flowers, pussy willows, etc.
  • Weeping Willow - Tressie style

Okay, so this is more than just a couple of instructions, but if I'm correct, the people buying this book would already own the first book or they already know how to make a gem tree so the instructions would not have to include so many pictures and diagrams which take up a lot of room in the book.

I would love to hear your comments or ideas about what should be included in the book.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

No news is good news

Since I haven't heard from my publisher then I would assume that no news is good news and they are progressing on the formatting of my book. I could be wrong but lets hope not as April 22nd is the date I'm hoping for a proof copy and that is fast approaching.

I only have a couple of gem tree workshops scheduled for this Summer in Billings, Montana, but I can always get another group together with just a few participants. My husband and I will be demonstrating at several shows this summer, but only in Billings will we have a complete workshop with participants taking home a tree and the book.

The book will be available from the publishers web site and I'll post that info when I get it as well as any other web site that will be selling my book.

I have received several e-mails from folks using my tutorial that have had great luck and lots of compliments on their finished trees. I want to thank them for their e-mails as it has been a driving force for me to get this book out and gives me an idea of how many people there really are out that interested in making a gem tree.

My husband is already planning that I'll be writing a follow up book and I just might. I do have an idea for a smaller book with loads of color photos vs. the B&W version that would only feature a couple of trees vs. eight. But for now, I'm in a holding pattern and not wanting to start something else until this one is finished. I'll still dream in my head and maybe one of these days start writing it all down on paper.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Dana


Monday, March 2, 2009

Gem Tree Sculpture Book Update

For all of you who have e-mailed me wanting to get a copy, please be patient. The book is with the publisher for formatting. As soon as I get my proof copy I'll be sure to let you know. This book is laden with pictures and diagrams so hopefully they aren't having too much trouble with it.

If you are new to the Gem Tree world and want some basic instructions, I do have an earlier post from 2007 that you can search for here in my blog or e-mail me separately and I'll get something out to you.

My next goal is to get my "Dew Drop" tree completed for competition and a prototype palm completed. These two trees along with 3 trees from last year will be entered in Billings, Montana this summer at the American Federation of Mineral Societies show. It will be my final year of competition if I make "Masters". I'm going for it with my two new tree designs. Cross your fingers for me. Just as an FYI, the "Dew Drop" tree is called the "Down Under Tree" in my book, so those instructions will be provided in this first edition. I know what your thinking, she's going to do another book, well I'm thinking about a more advanced book for those who make gem trees and want additional ideas, like my palm tree. I'll post pics here when they are finished.

Cheers for now...


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gem Trees

I just finished posting some of my competition gem trees for sale on my 1000 Markets site. Currently I have 4 of them posted, an Opal tree on Opal base, Peridot tree on Stilbite mineral base, Sugalite on a Fluorite base and a Lapis tree on a matrix base imbeded with Chalcopyrite crystals. I really hate to give them up but I already have so many trees and I'll be making more for my upcoming competition in Billings this Summer. The Lapis pictured here is my favorite one.
Enjoy the new site and let me know how you like it.

Thanks, Dana