The box also contained a newspaper clipping from 1969 about the ornaments. Turns out the collection was created by a woman named Mrs. Hill, who brought the ornaments on a gilded manzanita branch to a yearly tea party held by the First Presbyterian Church. One of the spools was from her father's tailor shop in Arcata and one of the spools was decorated with buttons from Mrs. Hill's mothers shoes. You can see photos of many of the ornaments below (click on the images to see them in full screen).
Decking the halls with boughs of holly is a common phrase to hear this time of year with Christmas just around the corner. While working on our Victorian Christmas exhibit, I came across a box labeled "Spool Tree Ornaments" in the museum storage vault. Inside the box were 30-40 decorated wooden spools wrapped in ribbon, sequins, beads and buttons.
The decorated spools remind me of a set of ornaments made by my great grandma in Wisconsin that my mom inherited and that we still use on our Christmas trees today- they're styrofoam spheres wrapped in satin with beads, sequins, lace and other decorations, similar to the ones pictured below. They were popular craft projects in the 1970s (in fact, my great-grandmother made so many of them that all of my mom's 4 other siblings also got their own set of ornaments when she passed away).
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