Handmade Holidays: Beaded Ornament

When I was a kid, we used to buy kits to make beaded ornaments. The balls were styrofoam wrapped with silky thread. Then pins with beads were stuck in them in a pattern to make a glitzy ornament for the tree. I adored those old ornaments and when I see them today, I still love them, even though they’ve lost some of the pins and the silky threads are shaggy from years of handling.

In my efforts to find ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t have to do with food, I made an ornament dripping with beads in honor of those decorations I remember from my childhood. I started with a pattern, but my ball was a different size. Also, I was just using a bunch of beads I had bought at random for this project, so they probably weren’t the right size either. The result was that as the net grew around the ball, the sections got uneven. I had to abandon the instructions and improvise. The end results are a little wonky, but I think that’s what I like about this ornament the best. It’s just like the ones we made as kids, imperfect and obviously handmade.

My homemade ornament, in honor of those we made as kids.
My homemade ornament, in honor of those we made as kids.

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The metal heart was part of a pair of earrings I bought at a thrift store.
The metal heart was part of a pair of earrings I bought at a thrift store.

Do you have a favorite handmade ornament from your childhood? Do you make something like them today?

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

9 thoughts on “Handmade Holidays: Beaded Ornament”

    1. Thanks, Tammy! My eyes keep changing as I age. I can still see super close up without glasses, but no telling how long that will last. I know I’ll have to adjust what I make as my limitations change, but I always think of Matisse, who was going blind, and switched from painting to huge paper cut-outs that are some of his most popular work today. We can still do good work as long as we are willing to do what we can.

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      1. That’s the spirit! I had to weigh the chance of losing all of my sight, or losing part of it to save most of it. There was no question and no hesitation – I went with keeping most over losing all. 😀

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      2. My father has serious vision problems and he would agree with you. Some ability to see totally beats none! We are lucky to live in a time when we have such advanced medical treatments available. Dad’s macular degeneration has stopped in its tracks because of a new treatment he is getting that only came along shortly before he got diagnosed.

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      3. That’s fantastic for your dad! 😎 My problem was proliferative diabetic retinopathy. I’ll let you google that, if you want, but the effect was basically, smear your glasses with grease and then dip them in dust bunnies and try to see through that. Fun times!

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