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A woman from Eccles is putting her creativity to good use by making Victorian style baubles – the perfect addition to your Christmas tree. Amanda Griffiths reports Photography by Kirsty Thompson

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Madeleine Mitchell is living in the past - and thats great news for anyone trying to give their Christmas tree some extra special sparkle.

She is harking back to the Victorian times for her latest creative venture making old style beaded baubles that will shine under the fairy lights and add a touch of vintage glamour.

This is the latest in a line of creative projects from Madeleine who lives in Eccles. A professional dance teacher (as far as she knows, she teaches the only Polynesian dance group in the country), Madeleine is unwilling to spend her down time in front of the television. She likes to keep busy, making her own soaps and bath products and has transformed the skills she uses making belly dancing costumes to create unique festive decorations.

As a belly dancer I make my own costumes so Im used to working with beads and sequins - working with beads on the baubles was just a natural progression. I didnt have any patterns, I just worked out my own designs and experimented as I went along.

I use glass crystal, seed beads and sometimes acrylic beads on the cheaper ones. I try to keep them as affordable as I can prices range from 3 up to 10-12 for the most expensive.

Some people will charge up to 20. Each bauble I make is unique, but if people want to order six or so of the same design I will do that as a bespoke order.

The baubles are made up of beaded covers that are designed to fit over and hang off ordinary plastic or glass baubles. Madeleine uses special beading needles and extra strong thread and basically lays the design flat to sew the beads together, leaving a gap in the centre to hang them over the baubles and turn something quite ordinary into a unique decoration.

The history of beading goes back to around 1600 BC, says Madeleine. The Persians used to bead with shells and animal bones, but the Victorians were real fans, not just on their dresses but on domestic items like lampshades.

Its not difficult but it is time consuming. Each bauble will take from around 40 minutes to an hour and a half, but I find it quite therapeutic. In years gone by women would do embroidery, I think you get to a certain age when they try it and then are amazed at how therapeutic it is and wonder why they didnt take it up sooner. Thats how I feel about the beading.

The great thing about them is they are interchangeable. I can layer two or three over one bauble or put them on different size baubles to create different effects. And because I make sure I use the strongest, most durable materials they are washable too they can get a bit dusty hung on the tree.

Madeleines baubles are available to buy on hand crafted website Folksy, on her facebook page or people can email her directly at fairlight_uk@hotmail.com. She also sells them at craft fairs around the county and will be at the Reebok in Bolton on December 4th. But, she says, theyre not just for Christmas.

I hang them wherever I can. Theyre great when the crystals catch the light. People have bought them and hang them in the shrubbery in their garden, again because they glimmer under the sun but. If you hang fairy lights near them when you have an evening barbecue they create this beautiful effect. Its all about using your imagination.


Madeleine Mitchell is living in the past - and thats great news for anyone trying to give their Christmas tree some extra special sparkle.She is harking back to the Victorian times for her latest creative venture making old style beaded baubles that will shine under the fairy lights and add a touch of vintage glamour.

This is the latest in a line of creative projects from Madeleine who lives in Eccles. A professional dance teacher (as far as she knows, she teaches the only Polynesian dance group in the country), Madeleine is unwilling to spend her down time in front of the television. She likes to keep busy, making her own soaps and bath products and has transformed the skills she uses making belly dancing costumes to create unique festive decorations.

As a belly dancer I make my own costumes so Im used to working with beads and sequins - working with beads on the baubles was just a natural progression. I didnt have any patterns, I just worked out my own designs and experimented as I went along.I use glass crystal, seed beads and sometimes acrylic beads on the cheaper ones. I try to keep them as affordable as I can prices range from 3 up to 10-12 for the most expensive

Some people will charge up to 20. Each bauble I make is unique, but if people want to order six or so of the same design I will do that as a bespoke order.

The baubles are made up of beaded covers that are designed to fit over and hang off ordinary plastic or glass baubles. Madeleine uses special beading needles and extra strong thread and basically lays the design flat to sew the beads together, leaving a gap in the centre to hang them over the baubles and turn something quite ordinary into a unique decoration.

The history of beading goes back to around 1600 BC, says Madeleine. The Persians used to bead with shells and animal bones, but the Victorians were real fans, not just on their dresses but on domestic items like lampshades.

Its not difficult but it is time consuming. Each bauble will take from around 40 minutes to an hour and a half, but I find it quite therapeutic. In years gone by women would do embroidery, I think you get to a certain age when they try it and then are amazed at how therapeutic it is and wonder why they didnt take it up sooner. Thats how I feel about the beading.

The great thing about them is they are interchangeable. I can layer two or three over one bauble or put them on different size baubles to create different effects. And because I make sure I use the strongest, most durable materials they are washable too they can get a bit dusty hung on the tree.

Madeleines baubles are available to buy on hand crafted website Folksy, on her facebook page or people can email her directly at fairlight_uk@hotmail.com

She also sells them at craft fairs around the county and will be at the Reebok in Bolton on December 4th. But, she says, theyre not just for Christmas.I hang them wherever I can. Theyre great when the crystals catch the light. People have bought them and hang them in the shrubbery in their garden, again because they glimmer under the sun but. If you hang fairy lights near them when you have an evening barbecue they create this beautiful effect. Its all about using your imagination.

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