Handcrafted holiday decorations are a lot like Grandma's cookies: Sure, you can buy something similar at Vons, but for anyone with the time, energy and spirit of the season, nothing beats homemade. We asked artists Nora Bole, Durley Meyer and Megan Story to share a couple of easy projects that cleverly incorporate recycled materials. Below you'll find the simple step-by-step instructions, and if you like the look but don't have time? There's still hope. Read on.
Project No. 1: Seed spheres
Bole and Meyer create distinctive, decorative spheres by gluing seeds, beans or spices to craft-store foam balls. The artists use one material per sphere -- perhaps anise, chocho seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, lima beans, pumpkin seeds or white beans. Each is glued at the same angle to create repetition of form and color. When several spheres have been completed, they can be displayed individually or grouped together in a basket.
The shortcut: Order from Bole and Meyer. Their custom designs come in small (2-inch diameter), medium (3-inch) and large (4-inch). Non-scented balls range from $7 to $13 each; scented balls from $9 to $15. Their website: home.comcast.net/~nd_arts.
Project No. 2: Mod mini trees
When finding modern Christmas crafts that weren't fussy or old-fashioned proved to be difficult, Orange County artist Story decided to create these contemporary holiday trees using old sweaters and sequins.