This probably should go on the personal blog, as this post has no book news value whatsoever.
I have a really difficult time sitting still while watching TV. I like to do something with my hands. I knit, I crochet, I rip pieces of paper… You get the picture.
A while ago Kid 1 bought me a little gemstone tree. I have a random collection of odd objects on my desk and this tree is my favorite. I keep messing with it when I pause to think. There is something oddly compelling about the irregular shapes of gemstones and the fact that you can move the branches whichever way you want them to be. One day I was looking at it and it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be that hard to make my own. Especially while I am watching TV with Gordon or the kids. We developed an unreasonable addiction to Forensic Files.
I went to Michaels, bought my beads, my wire, and my wire cutters and set out on the tree making adventure. The first couple of trees weren’t so good. I graduated from Michaels to online bead shopping – I googled “best place to buy beads” – and bought lower quality but real stuff. I bought better wire. Gordon so far has been very tolerant of my foolishness, I have no idea why.
This is tree #4. Click the images for larger versions.
It’s lapis lazuly and silver coated wire. The lapis lazuly cost me about $5 and the wire another $10.
I’ve ran into a problem of displaying it. Right now it lives on a rock I stole from our yard. Google tell me that people usually display these in one of three ways: a container, block of wood, or ornamental stone. First, is a container filled with ornamental pebbles and glue. I’ve gone that round with tree #1 and #2 and it’s not my super favorite. It makes the whole thing really heavy. Also I used a glue gun as recommended by a tutorial I saw and glue gun glue plus pebbles is a pain. Gordon says I should try rubber cement.
The second way to display it involves drilling a hole in a piece of wood as in the tree Kid 1 bought me. I am down with that, but I need to figure out where to get the wood.
Third way is perching the tree on a decorative rock, a chunk of ornamental glass, or some twisted natural piece of wood. This allows for some roots to be exposed. I am down with that as well, but I am not sure where to get decorative rocks. All the shops I found online are in South Austin and I am not driving there. Kid 2 is currently going to school downtown, and having down the commute a few times, it’s too painful. Shipping rocks through mail seems stupid.
My husband had an awesome idea of trying Petsmart for some aquarium decorations.
Next plan is to make a sakura tree for Kid 2. I have rose quartz and black Zebra wire.
If you want to make your own.
Here is what I learned.
A good tutorial.
Michaels beads are the cheapest. Their “quartz” chips, which I suspect are glass, look very shiny and come in a variety of bright colors. The real gemstone beads are cheap also, usually $3-5 for a 36 inch strand. You can get them at a local bead store, or if you prefer to shop online, I found that Fire Mountain Gems is probably the cheapest supplier. If you want the tree to look similar to the ones above, search for chips and nuggets. Quality and color vary, especially with natural stone.
When buying online, I choose at least medium size. Small chip tends to be very small. I like medium, because I found that instead of really single large nuggets, I prefer to have branches with a lot of little rocks on them. The wire will only hold so much before it starts drooping and I like fuller branches. Yes, I thought way too much about gemstone chips and wire, leave me alone.
I used 24 and 22 gauge wire. Both can be twisted with your hands without tools. The higher the number, the more pliable and thinner is the wire. The wire from Michaels works fine, but I found that Zebra wire seems to handle better and comes in a wide variety of colors, starting at about $2-3 per about twenty yards. The blue tree took one spool of 24 and one spool of 22 gauge wire and I would have added more if I had it. I bought some more wire today, from Fire Mountain again, and I got 45 yards of 22 and 71 yards of 24 respectively. I will report if that’s enough.
Have you ever made wire trees or wire jewelry? Where do you get your supplies?