In the 70s, it was fashionable to make Christmas decorations with polystyrene balls and pins. Here’s how it works:
- Take a dressmaking pin (the shorter the better)
- Load it up with a seed bead and then a sequin
- Push it into the polystyrene ball
- Repeat until you’ve covered the ball
- Add a hanging loop
This is not cheap and it’s easy to make really horrible baubles this way but it’s also possible to make pretty sparkly things (and everyone’s tree needs its fair quota of pretty sparkly things).
Hannah invited Jeremy and me round for lunch: her friend Lachlan had cooked a huge pot of borscht for her the night before and Hannah’s plan was that we’d help her with the leftovers (which were delicious). When I asked Hannah why Lachlan had cooked her a bucket of borscht, she said it was a combination of him being given a lot of beetroot by a neighbour and living in the kind of share house where it was impossible to find a clean saucepan so he liked to come round to her flat to cook. (She also mentioned that she now has a pink wooden spoon due to the tenacity of beetroot pigments, but that it was an acceptable cost for a vat of good soup.)
 Add a bugle bead between the seed bead and the sequin if you think that “prickly” is a good quality for a bauble.
 Which is what my cousins did as children and those baubles remain on Auntie Margie’s Christmas tree to this day (which is awe-inspiring but not in the modern sense of “magnificent”: in the medieval sense of “striking one with dread and fear”).