|Chris Freedman, co-owner of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, decided in 2014 that she wanted to work with one of her favorite local charities in Grants Pass, the Rogue Winterfest. What is that you ask? Well sit back and grab your favorite beverage as I paint the picture for you. It's one of Josephine County's largest holiday charity festivals held at Evergreen Federal Bank's Bear Hotel Artworks Museum. Each year the ''Hotel'' is transformed into a winter wonderland and brings the community together to support Josephine County's nonprofit mental health organizations.
In 2014, when we donated our tree, the funds went to Family Solutions, Kairos, and Options for Southern Oregon. Chris Freedman thought that this would be a fun and different way for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads to give back. So, Chris and I met and discussed her vision and proceeded to put it into action! She wanted a Christmas tree completely decorated with finished jewelry pieces.
|That's when Stephanie G. got busy putting together a decorating crew and lists of jewelry we could use to hang on the tree. We had regular evening meetings with the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads tree design team to plan the 115 individual pieces of jewelry for the tree. While Stephanie and the decorating crew were busy planning, I had to figure out how we could attach jewelry to the tree and make sure it was secure. I searched the internet and racked my brain trying to come up with a GREAT solution. Then I remembered we sell glass ornaments.
I was trying to figure out how to attach the jewelry to the glass ornaments when Stephanie and the design crew suggested gluing the jewelry to the ornaments. Then the problem was how would the person that bought the tree get the jewelry off the ornaments? Chris wanted to make sure whoever purchased the tree would be able to take the jewelry off and wear it. How to make this work; the wheels in my head were whirling. I started searching the web and found the perfect answer. Clear plastic ornaments that come apart in the middle. They were available in three sizes, Large, Medium and Small. BAM! These were perfect for what we needed. From there we got really creative and figured out how to hang earrings, bracelets and some necklaces on the inside of the ornaments.
All the decorations must be securely attached to the tree. We had to wire down all the lights, ribbons and ornaments so nothing would move or fall off in transit. We used E-6000® to connect all the tree sections and the legs on the rotating base.
Phil worked with Jay to design the 5'x5' hardwood floor to split down the middle so we could more easily transport it and the person that purchased it could do the same. Monday, December 1st, we did our last minute touches and got it ready for delivery. In a past life, I was a supervisor for a moving company and those skills came in handy when determining how we were going to move this 7 foot, fully decorated tree weighing in at 30 pounds.
|I purchased a queen size mattress bag and the plastic bags for Christmas tree disposal and securely wrapped the tree in a cocoon. Phil found a small 4 wheel dolly made for putting under heavy planters which worked perfectly to move the tree. The tree was easily lifted into a pickup truck and moved to the hotel. The Winterfest Christmas event team was super excited when we delivered it. We told them they had to wait until the next day to see us unwrap it and they were very disappointed. On December 3rd, we were excited when we started unwrapping the tree because we didn't lose a single ornament; everything was still holding strong and right in place. Then we fluffed the tree up some and added the tree topper designed by Jude, our internal jewelry designer. Jude wanted to take something near and dear to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads and chose our tagline "uniting the world, one bead at a time." She made the people out of shrinkable plastic and added Swarovski® crystals to them. Make sure to watch the video so you can see the spectacular tree topper. We staged the vignette by adding all the jewelry to the rolling jewelry case, set up the puppy in his bed and put finishing touches on the vanity.|
|I was asked if I would do this again and the answer is YES! It's a great way to do something I love, which is make jewelry, and it's a great way to give back to the community. Maybe you have always been trying to figure something out for you to do in your community and my hope is I've passed some thoughts on to you to make the holidays brighter. Have a great YEAR!|
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