You may not be able to blow your own glass baubles but you can make delicate, rounded baubles from egg shells.
Here’s what you do:
- Get an egg.
- Put a pin hole in the pointy end and another in the broad end.
- Blow the contents out into a bowl. This actually requires quite a lot of puff but you can make it easier by using a pointy knife to pick away at the hole in the broad end until it is just a little smaller than a sequin.
- Wash out the insides of the shell with several flushes of cold water. (Again, this is easier if one of the holes is larger than a pin.)
- Leave it several days to dry.
So that’s the shell sorted but how do you decorate it?:
- Paint it gold (or another colour). (Spray paint is easy.)
- Draw patterns on it with markers. (Stripes are easy.)
- Cover it in glue and then roll it in glitter. (Glitter is irresistible.)
- Use a combination of the above methods. (Eg: spray paint it blue, draw green lines on it, paint thin bands of glue onto it and then sprinkle golden glitter on the glue.)
- Thread a long needle with strong thread and slide on a seed bead and a sequin.
- Push the needle from the broad end of the egg out through to the pointy end.
- Thread a sequin then another seed bead.
- Go back down through that sequin (but not the seed bead) and through the egg, coming out at the broad end and through the first sequin and seed bead.
- Make sure you have enough thread to make a good hanging loop, cut it off and tie the ends together.
My Auntie Betty once had a bantam that laid little blue eggs. Her daughter Linda blew the eggs, threaded them up as baubles and then stuck tiny gold stars on them and they were delightful.
It’s getting close to Jack’s 18th birthday and I don’t know what to give him. (A jet pack is out of the question!) 18th birthday presents are tricky: they don’t require a big present like a twenty-first but I do think they deserve more than the standard present a 17th gets.
 Or maybe you can, if you’re a glass-blower.
 This was my Auntie Helen’s favourite joke. You ask a small child, “Which is correct: ‘The yolk of an egg is white” or ‘The yolk of an egg are white’?” and then laugh immoderately when they fail to spot that egg yolks are actually yellow. (Humour dates as fast as hairstyles do.)
 And use them to make an omelette.
 Put it somewhere safe because empty eggs are even more fragile than full ones. (Although full ones are surprisingly strong. As a teenager, I read that you can throw an egg over a house and it will land intact and I had to try it and was astonished to find that it’s true (provided that it lands on grass, not concrete and that it doesn’t hit a gutter along the way – the experiment only took five minutes but the clean up took half an hour.)
 Isn’t it odd that 21 is still the special birthday in many families even though it means nothing legally and doesn’t even have a zero on the end? It’s an outdated tradition that’s almost as tenacious as Christmas customs.
 When my friend Jill’s son William turned 18, I sent Jill a card, congratulating her on keeping him alive to adulthood.