The holiday season is wonderful, for so many reasons. One of my personal favorites, though, has always been decorating the tree. My mom has collected so many ornaments over the years that we generally end up having to select a theme for the tree each year and only adorn it with ornaments following that theme. For instance, one year it was all horses and apples, then pinecones and birds, and the next year, bows and angels. I tend to love the simplicity of the classic round bauble ornament, though. It’s timeless, and goes with everything!
Modern-day glass bauble ornaments were invented in the small town of Lauscha, Germany in the late 1500’s, but didn’t gain popularity until the mid-1800’s. Once it was known that this was a lucrative industry, more ornament-producers started popping up in Germany, and exporting all through Europe. While the first U.S.-produced baubles were created around 1870, in the 1880’s, an American by the name of F. W. Woolworth discovered the gorgeous Lauscha baubles and made a fortune by importing them to the United States. After World War II, however, production of Lauscha baubles ceased as most of the glass companies became state-owned entities, and only re-opened as private businesses after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
Now, bauble ornaments are made and shipped all over the world. They come in almost every size, shape, and color, some just plain, while some intricately decorated.
I took it upon myself to decorate some plain ones this year…
Using seed beads, and either Czech glass or China crystal glass beads, I used instructions from my favorite beading book to create these ornament “covers” (or as Emily said, “sweaters”). The top ring is a simple peyote stitch that I fitted around the metal hanger, and then I created 5 star shapes which I attached both to the peyote ring, as well as each other. A few tassels hanging from below and you have a beautiful, “hand-made”, ornament that you can fancy up your tree with, or gift to a friend or loved one. I’ve even had people tell me that they just want to hang them up in their window year-round!
Another, more simple, approach to beaded ornaments, is to find some large round beads of your choosing, and create a beaded bead with them for a chunky round ornament that will allow the twinkle of your Christmas lights to shine through.
Needless to say, there are hundreds of ways you can make or decorate ornaments. And it doesn’t matter how glitzy and beautifully beaded they are, or how many bottles of Elmer’s glue, pom-poms, finger paints, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners it took, it is the sentiment behind the ornament that lasts for years and years to come.