Posts Tagged ‘straw’

himmeli and me

I’m having a little obsession with himmeli lately. Yeah, I didn’t know what they were either. I only found out what they were after I made one. Well sort of made one. Remember my geometric straw ornament? A himmeli is made out of those basic shapes, but some are big, some are small and it is strung together as a mobile.  I fell in love with them after I saw this picture:

himmeli and fashion

The photo comes from the home of Momo Suzuki a Japanese designer who has more style in her little finger…

various himmeli

These are various himmeli from around flickr (click on the photo for sources). The red one is made from coffee stirrers! Elizabeth Abernathy has a tutorial for making them out of handmade paper straws.  There is an amazing thrifted traditional straw one on puhti. Himmeli are so perfectly airy and light–just right for the new year, though mine might not get done until the next new year.

If you’d like to know more about things I like (and hate) you can head over to Smile and Wave. Rachel so kindly asked me to do an interview for her Handmade for Kids month. And who says no to an interview? Be warned though, I am verbose.

geometric straw ornament tutorial

geometric straw ornament

a lovely geometric straw ornament

This is a traditional eastern european ornament and garland. The shape is simple, but a little tricky the first time you make it. After you get the hang of it many three dimensional geometric shapes are possible. I think it makes for a nice modern, but still natural christmas ornament. Like the other tutorial I used straw for, this one can of course can be made with plastic or paper straws, but if you would like to use natural straws, I found mine the at the imagination childhood online shop.

materials for geometric straw ornament


  • natural straw
  • button thread (or other strong thread)
  • yarn needle


First you need to soak the straws and cut them into 2inch pieces. I explained this in detail in my tutorial for a straw and pompom garland.

1.Take a piece of thread about twice the length of your arm and thread the yarn needle–no need to knot it. String four straw pieces almost to the end of your thread. Pull the threads until the straws meet, but don’t pull too hard or you will split the straws. Then tie a square knot (that’s the plain old kind).  You can trim the end, but don’t cut the working thread.

2. Now pull the thread through two straw pieces and

3. secure them at the opposite end.

4. Thread two more pieces and tie at the top (the opposite end you just strung them from)

5. Take your needle back through one of the straws, so it comes out in the middle.

6. String one straw at a time securing it where the next straws meet. Do this four times and tie a knot.

Trim all your threads and decide which way you would like it to hang. Loop your thread at the top point and tie it together. Now hang up that nice looking ornament you just made.

geometric straw garland on a picture

You can keep going and make a double ornament, or keep going and going and make a whole garland! If you do, I would suggest making them one at a time and then tying them all together. Making these with a long piece of thread doesn’t really work: it gets tangled and it’s bothersome.

geometric straw garland on the tree

a christmas present for my lovely readers: a week of handmade ornament tutorials!

I will be accepting advertisers on Elsie Marley starting January 2011. If you would like to reserve a spot please email me and we can discuss the specifics! Thanks!

straw and pompom garland tutorial

the straw and pompom garland hanging on a mirror

a straw and pompom garland

I ordered a bunch of natural straws from the lovely online shop, Imagination Childhood (they call them swedish straws). I bought them for another project (thursday’s tutorial!), but I loved working with them so much I wanted to make a simple garland with them too. Obviously this can be done with plastic straws or even some pretty paper straws, if you don’t have any swedish straws lying around. But the natural straws are, well, natural and because of the they are curved slightly and the colors are mottled and the surface uneven, all of which makes them pretty beautiful.


materials for make a pompom and straw garland

To make this garland I paired the natural color of the straw with cream colored yarn, which is a little on the understated side (for me). I think bright, almost neon, pompoms in christmas light colors would look pretty fantstic too.

  • natural straws
  • bowl or pan in which the straws can lie flat
  • yarn
  • button thread (or any heavy duty thread)
  • yarn needle


First you have to make some pompoms. If you have a pompom maker you are good to go, if you don’t that’s fine too–just use this simple tutorial over at Bella Dia for making pompoms using only your fingers. You can, of course use the little store bought pompoms too.

making pompoms

While you are making your pompoms put the natural straws in some very hot water to soak. This makes the straw less brittle and less likely to split when you cut them. They should sit about an hour–enough time to make a bunch of pompoms. When you are ready to use them, take them out from the water, drain and wipe them off gently.

soaking the straws

To cut the straws, make a mark on one straw every two inches. If your yarn needle is shorter than two inches, make your straws a little shorter too–this will make things a little easier when you make the garland. Then take about 5 or 6 straws, including the one you marked, in your hand and line them up. Then cut. Some might go flying, but if they are still a little damp they shouldn’t go too far.

cutting natural straws

Now take a long piece of thread, knot it, and stick it through a pompom. It might take a few tries before you find the right spot where the knot doesn’t go right through. Then alternate pompom, straw, pompom, straw. Finish with a pompom and hide the knot in the yarn. If you want to keep going but ran out of thread, ready another needle and thread (knotted) and insert the need where the last straw and pompom meet, then just keep going.

pompom garland on the tree


Pretty paper stars also look nice between the natural straws. Popcorn might work, dried orange slices would look nice.  And I bet you can think of a bunch of other things too.

a christmas present for my lovely readers: a week of handmade ornament tutorials!

I will be accepting advertisers  on Elsie Marley starting January 2011. If you are interested in reserving a spot please email me and we can discuss the specifics! Thanks!