The Dee tree

The Dee tree, by Gaynor Aslakson

When Gaynor found out that her friend, Deb’s, mother was in hospice care, she knew what Deb was going through based on her own experiences losing loved ones.

Many families and friends struggle figuring out what to do as they assist each other during this physically challenging and emotionally vulnerable end of life transition. But Gaynor decided to get busy creating a craft to show her friend how much she cared.

At first, she didn’t have anything in mind as she drove to an antique store close to her home in Minnesota. For the longest time, Gaynor had collected old silver buttons to use for her works, but they were difficult to find. However, once she stared forging through costume jewelry in this store, a bright colored brooch caught her eye.

“When I saw the yellow Christmas tree, I thought, ‘perfect,’” she exclaimed.

In her mind, she could picture the sky-blue background that would hold her sparkling creation.

She also bought additional Swarovski crystal jewelry at the antique store, and then went to Michaels for the blue felt and mat board. The antique styled frame she found on Amazon.

Once she returned home, Gaynor’s boyfriend, Russ, took the backings and pins off the jewelry, making sure they had a smooth surface. At the same time, Gaynor glued the felt to a mat board.

Next, after Russ finished the jewels, she mapped out how she wanted the pieces arranged on the felt and took a picture of the creation plan laid out on the table with her phone.

Carefully, Gaynor then glued the jewelry one piece at a time on the blue background referencing the photo and using Elmer’s glue to secure the pattern. Even with the familial tremor in her hands, she aligned the sparking gems perfectly.

“This was a fun project to do,” Gaynor piped a couple of times.

Next, she laid a towel gently over the artwork and carefully placed books on top to weight the gem creation for 24 hours so it would set. And the next day –the tree was complete.

Currently, the work sits in Gaynor’s front parlor near the entryway… waiting for the appropriate time.

Deb’s mother passed away about a week ago at the age of ninety-four.

Gaynor said she will try to give her gift to Deb before Christmas, but if not, people she has given these trees to over the past few years, display the artwork year-round.

“It is a memory thing,” Gaynor said. “Every time Deb will look at the tree, she will think of her mother, Dee.”




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