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A homemade Christmas

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Staff Writer
Some of the most beautiful and admired symbols of Christmas aren't the pretty bows and wrapping under the tree. Nor is it the treats within the packages themselves. Instead, they are above the gifts, dangling from the evergreen branches in colors of red, blue, gold and white.
When Frances Early moved to Atmore from her native home of California three years ago, she brought with her a collection of home-made ornaments that she made from special beads, fishing line and needles.
The beads have been made into ornaments of many shapes and sizes. There are snowmen, Santa in a hot air balloon, bells, a replica of Cinderella's carriage and even one of Mr. and Mrs. Claus engaging in an innocent kiss.
All together, Early has assembled a countless number of ornaments over a period of three years. She began making them in California along with many of her friends there and admits that she took the hobby very seriously.
Making the shining and colorful ornaments takes some patients. Some have taken Early hours to complete while others have taken even longer. Early's daughter, Glenda Haroldson, has helped her with some of the ornaments and has made many for her own tree.
Despite the time put into them, Early said they are not hard to make.
To make the ornaments, Early follows an arts and crafts instructional book. But, over time she has implemented her own special pieces. She used a piece of squirrel-bitten chestnut for one and has made ornaments that connect to her Christmas lights so the glow shines through the shiny beads. Even the angel atop her tree is made with crystal-like beads that glow from a light coming from beneath.
Also as part of her Christmas dcor is a small blow-up Rudolph that sits comfortably alongside packages under the tree. The toy has been under the Early's tree and has shared Christmas with them for the past 35 years.
Early and her husband, also named Francis, said they get a lot of compliments on the tree whenever guests come over. But, the work that goes into getting it ready for the holidays has become harder with every passing year.