When I was a child, decorating the tree for Christmas was a huge deal. My mom would bring out a huge box of Christmas ornaments, and carefully, one by one, she’d add the hooks and give the ornaments to us to place on the tree. There were many different ornaments – the little wooden cutouts we’d gotten from Germany, the salt dough ones she’d helped us make, the glitter-glue ones I’d made in Girl Scouts … but the show-stoppers were the beaded ones she’d made herself.
She had bought simple foam balls, beads, and sequins, along with bead head pins. Then, in whatever pattern struck her fancy, she would place a sequin, a bead, and a pin through both into the foam balls. Some of them were incredibly ornate, some were patterned, some were simple, some were random – all were lovely.
Now I’m an adult, with a family of my own, but I’ve learned the beauty of beads during the holiday. My own tree has, rather than tinsel garland, luxurious beaded garlands, made from simple fishing line with golden-colored beads wound round it. Beaded ornaments are also there, from the simple kits I purchased (most notably my beaded garnet angel I bought for my first lost baby) to the pipe cleaner and bead ornaments.
The kits are quite simple to put together and take very little skill. All supplies should be contained in the kit, and from there, it’s just a matter of following directions. You can find a variety of beaded ornament kits around the holidays, but don’t be dissuaded from seeking out bead kits at other times of the year. Almost anything can be turned into an ornament, if it strikes your fancy, with a simple loop of fishing line.
The pipe cleaner ornaments are even simpler to make and are ideal for keeping children occupied during their winter break from school. Simply thread beads onto the pipecleaners to create any kind of ornament you desire. The simplest is a candy cane, made of red and white (or clear) beads and a white pipecleaner – thread alternating beads onto the pipe cleaner, then tuck each pipe cleaner end into the second to last bead, creating a loop so that the beads do not slip off, then bend into a candy cane shape.
Another simple pipe cleaner ornament is the snowflake – these look intricate, but are quite easy. Twist three long white pipe cleaners together in the center, then fan out into six prongs. String clear glass beads in a variety of shapes, tucking the ends in as you did with the candy can. Add a loop of fishing line to the end to hang on your tree.