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.