It looks like my time in Minnesota is coming to an end! We are finalizing the contract on our new home in South Dakota, and are looking to close at the end of October. There is so much going on right now surrounding the move! We've had some legal issues with our current landlords. I'm not going to reveal the name of said property management company until the move is complete, but I will say this- DO NOT rent. Its really sad our last days in Minnesota have to end like this. We've seen the very worst in people, and so many illegal things happen, that we are not able to fight against. You think the law is on your side, but then someone comes in with more money, they are able to say whatever they want.
I don't want to dwell on this here. I'm supposed to be very excited about our new home! The home is situated in between the Buffalo National Grasslands and The Badlands National Park. I can only imagine how much my work will improve! There aren't a huge amount of trees, but there will be such fabulous landscape! Our view from the house will stretch miles onto nothing. I'll finally be able to see a proper night sky and stars without the city lights! I'll have crisp, clean air around me. And, as for trees, we have two apple trees! Apparently they're not doing well right now, so I'll be taking care of them! I grew up with apple trees. My grandparents had several on their property. I loved their delicate branches and odd shapes. I loved picking apples too! There's nothing quite like a fresh apple off a tree. I only can hope there won't be bees around the fallen apples, like my grandparents house. I'm terrified of bees!
We have actually two homes on the property, and the smaller one will be made into a work studio. We will be putting in either sliding glass doors or large windows, on the side that faces the Badlands. I'm really excited at the thought of sitting at my desk working, and gazing out on to the landscape! It'll sure beat my view here- my neighbor's door! I think it'll be really nice too, to have a studio and be able to walk away from it when the work day is done. Right now, my studio is in the middle of my house, so I rarely get time to just enjoy life. My cats are always dragging me away!
My time right now is spent trying to get sales up to afford the move. Things have slowed down again, and I'm getting nervous! I have been going crazy making new gem trees with what few rock bases I have. I'm experimenting using special tree slices, aka wood coasters, and also a new take on the plant saucer. I've made some new gemstone bracelets, and will be adding a few new sparkly sun catchers in the next few days. I really want to add a new product, but I'm not sure what at the moment. I want to keep with the tree theme. I think I should make a huge gem tree! Like, over an inch thick on the trunk, and maybe around 100 branches? I have no idea how to plan a tree as such, but I can visualize it in my mind. :-)
Here are photos of my latest gem trees! If you click on the photo, it should take you to the listing on Etsy, where you can learn more about them and purchase them. (and please do, every sale helps me get closer to my dream!)
That's all I have for now! I really need to focus my time on creating new pieces and packing for the big move!
I cannot believe its been nearly a month since I posted that we were looking to move out West! Since that post, we've located a house we want to buy, and are in the final negotiations and contract write up! I cannot tell you how EXCITED I am! The house we chose is a bit insane, actually! It needs a lot of rehab, BUT the land is PERFECT. It sits on the edge of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, and the Badlands National Park! I could practically walk to find rock bases! I'd be very close to rivers full of Agates. And best of all, near lots of tourist & gift shops for my work!
The lot contains two houses, one of which we will be fixing up into a studio. Previous owners have already started work on adding a screen door and windows, that face the Grasslands! I will have the most perfect views everyday- first a gorgeous sunrise, followed by rocks and hills during the day, and for evening star gazing. This would be an artist's dream come true! I really hope we can pull together the money to get the necessary renovations done. The studio house is what I refer to as my "English Cottage". It just has that look! The land also has two apple trees, which is very cool.
This will be a major adjustment for us. We've never lived in a small town before, or moved so far away from home. We want to chase the dream of freedom away from corporations and credit companies. We want to be self sufficient and surrounded by nature. This is a totally crazy thing, I cannot say it enough, but life is short, you have to do what makes you happy. Its not worth getting by each day, unhappy and stuck in your life.
We have an option to stay an additional six months here, and raise cash for renovations. I'm really torn between wanting the extra cash, and wanting to just DO IT! I hope I can get a lot more gem trees made, and get more sales going! Things have been quiet lately, I really do apologize! I will have a lot more time to get work done and listed now.
And speaking of new gem trees, I do have a Red Agate on Petrified Wood, that will be listed here shortly! I will post the link and photo when they are done. I still have to edit the photos and create the listing at this time.
I got in a fresh new shipment of gorgeous gems last week! I have very dark Amethyst, Aquamarine (for the ever-popular Tree of Life Pendant), Howlite, Red Jasper, Rainbow Obsidian, Tourminilated Quartz, Rutilated Quartz, Moonstone (both peach/grey and rainbow white), Peridot, Garnet & Fluorite.
I want to redo the suncatchers too. I want to make another round of them to photograph, and also hopefully simplify the listings. I am so happy that they sell so well! They are such a cool piece of art, and a great alternative to having a gem tree, if you have more wall and window space than shelf space.
I also have some new gemstones for bracelets! I've been selling many bracelets lately. I also hope to redo the listings with better options and photos.
Its going to be a crazy work week, I see! I better get to it! Happy Monday, everyone!
I've been quite busy these last few days, planning a very big step for not only the business, but for my life as well! My fiance, Kevin, and I are ready to move on and out of here! We've decided to give Rapid City, South Dakota a try. We love the area, and it is in the heart of rock country! Our goal is to move this November, before the ugly Midwest winter strikes!
As the months and years ago on, the more unhappy I've become. Culture tells you to get a high paying job that you work until it kills you (either emotionally or physically), buy a huge house that you probably won't enjoy, drive an expensive car you really shouldn't afford, and taking credit out just to afford the things you really don't need and honestly cannot afford. Years ago I did get caught up in some of that, and the second I pulled away, everything fell apart. At first, I fought hard to get it back. That was when I started the gem tree business, and started seeing things in a new light.
It is really crazy to chase the dream of being an artist. It can be rough to make a living, for many reasons. I want to break those barriers and prove them all wrong! I always get told by people to get a real job! I ask, "why?". I feel very fulfilled spiritually, from my work. I want spiritual fulfillment, not a fat bank account! I get to be a part of the most amazing things in life- trees and rocks. My life is uncomplicated. Of course, i do have old debts to get out of, but I'm not creating any new ones. I'm living by my means. If I have a car I enjoy driving and it doesn't break down, great! I have a roof over my head I can afford without worry, great! I used to be all about the expensive clothes and status. Now, I'm actually very interested in making my own clothes. I bought a knitting machine earlier this year, in hopes I can learn how to knit sweaters. I will, once life settles down a little bit!
Our move to Rapid City will mean selling off the majority of the crap we own. It really is crap. We bought stuff without thought to purpose, if we really needed it, and if it was something that would help our future. Of course, I have boxes full of old foreign language books that I've been holding onto since I was a teenager. That was an old part of me that is very hard to let go of. But, every time I look at them, I am sad because I never took the opportunity to embrace the skill I had working with them.
There's a lot of work and planning ahead for us! I am really counting on each sale especially right now, to afford the move of our dreams! I cannot tell you how excited I am to head out to the Black Hills and go rock hunting! I will be finding my own bases, each with its own story. I am going to have to study HARD these next few months, so that I know exactly what I'm picking up! I have an idea of picking up state rocks from South Dakota and Colorado, and making special edition State Gem Trees from them. I'd love to see my work expand into gift shops and tourist boutiques across the West!
I don't know why I never pursued this life in the first place! I have fond memories of rock hunting in Colorado, and dragging my very heavy suitcases back full of my finds! While everyone was admiring the beautiful scenery around us, I was scanning the ground! The coolest thing I ever found was a small seashell, at my uncle's ranch in Elizabeth, CO. It was in the small rocks that lined the driveway. I wanted to know the story behind it! Why was it there? Did it come from long ago, during the ice age, or did a bird transport it from somewhere? I should have followed my interests into college! But now, I can study, with the help of nature and some really good books!
I will be writing more about the journey of us leaving everything behind, and starting a new minimalist life, out in the heart of Nature!
Here it is, a new gem tree design! It is a Palm Gem Tree! I couldn't find a pattern for it, so I made it by sight. I am still perfecting the design, but will have some Palm Trees up for sale in my Etsy store shortly! The one pictured is about 5.5 inches tall. I plan on making a small version of about 6 inches, and then a large one at about 8 inches. This palm tree has 88 gems on it, from 8 different fronds. At this time I'm unsure if the 8 inch palm tree will work with 8 fronds, or if I'll add another 2, for a total of 10 fronds. And, I'm not sure if I'll keep the count at 11 gems per frond, or if the 8 inch would look better with more gems.
The Palm Gem Trees are very HAPPY! gem trees! The one above was made with a very happy-go-lucky Green Serpentine gemstone. I doubt I'll do all green palms, why not have different colors?!
I did a photo refresh on Etsy this week, and the photos look pretty good! They are crisper and clearer. Every tree poses with a ruler in the last photo, so you can see the actual size in a universal scale (each is in inches). I am working slowly but surely on fixing titles and descriptions too, to make them more exciting for the customer. I love creating my art, but when the piece is done, I just want to move on and do more! I don't enjoy doing the photography and writing, that's the hardest part!
I'm finding so many design inspirations on Pinterest, searching for "trees". I'm thinking of making a daily post or something, of the photos that I love best. I think instead of my rambling business ideas, it would be much more fun to see and talk nature. :-) I'm hoping to make these changes starting Monday!
I am also in the process of trying to make my dream a reality over the next few months, and live in another part of the country. It would still be so great to live in a more active rockhound state, and hopefully even be able to do some hunting on my own. I'd love to be able to find my own rock bases, it would add another story onto the tree. It would be very cool to find work in a rock shop too, or maybe a rockhound's apprentice. I am pretty good at the online sales thing! (hint, hint!) If you know of any opportunities in the US, or even Canada, for a rock artist and budding Rockhound, please send me a message! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Enjoy your weekend! I look forward to a fresh start next week, and some brand new finished gem trees!
Yay, the day is finally here! I officially re-opened my Spirit Gem Designs Etsy store this morning! You can now browse my work, and shop your favorite items easily once more!
It was interesting, the same time I had to close my Etsy shop, my grandmother passed away. She really loved my work, and she always visited me at my rock shows at Har Mar Mall. The last time I saw her, she was very concerned about my business, and if I was going to any more rock shows! I was very surprised, since she just moved to hospice care and her health was very poor. But she loved my work so much! I told her there were no more rock shows to attend, and that I had to close my store for a couple of months. She was so sad, and just couldn't understand it!
My grandmother had bought (and she insisted on buying!) a beautiful Carnelian Gem Tree during my first show. I know it helped support her during the last couple years of her life, when she struggled with various health issues. She also bought a gemstone necklace from Kevin, and we gave her a sun catcher and a bracelet. It really meant to so much to me, to have that family support when I needed it. Now after her passing, I was given a small amount of money, and I knew I had to use a portion of that to get my store up and running again, to make her proud. So this is for you, gramma! May my forest of gem trees help support and heal once more!
In the coming days, I will have some new gem trees available. I will be moving my mala bracelets over to another store, where they will join some cool friendship bracelets, knitted bracelets and paracord/bungee cord bracelets.
Please don't forget to show your feline friend some love, and visit my Oddball Cat Toys shop on Etsy! I also have for sale a bunch of pet gemstone healing charms, that work great on both dogs and cats, as well as zipper pulls.
Click on the banner below, to be taken to my Spirit Gem Designs Etsy Shop!