Friday, November 2, 2007

Of Himmeli - Christmas Straw Ornaments

Halloween is over and I've converted my blog page back to lighter tones. Just for a change, I'm using a different template for Paradise. I'm not too sure I like it yet, but probably, in a couple of weeks, I won't even notice it as being different.

I'm also keeping the raven as the "Bird of Paradise" for a bit longer - I kinda like him. I've always wanted a raven for a pet.

I'm thinking of changing other blog elements - not sure which ones, yet, but I definitely need to update my blog reading list. However, that's all for another day. I have other things I want to do in the mean time.

Well its now into November and the few days of El Dia de Los Muertos (see here for kwel stuff) .

The local weather forecasts are now calling for snow showers and snow over the next few days and we are entering the beginning of negative night and morning temperatures. Soon it will be the days. Its that time of year for .....

  • We all wait for the "snow", with bated breath
  • The buildings now have their heat on, as seen by the rising plumes in the chilly morning air
  • The Casino, across the river, has turned off its giant fountain, for the season (6 months to go 'til its on again)
  • The stores are stocking and decorating for Christmas
  • Signatures craft show this weekend

Speaking of the Christmas season -

I received my monthly copy of The Finnish American Reporter. This publication is always a great read. This month, they published a page long article on Kekri - the pre-christian celebration (kind of like Samhain) of the harvest and the beginning of the "dead" days of winter. Many of Kekri's traditions have melded into current Finnish practices at Christmas.

Reading the article got me re-thinking an idea I had a couple of weeks ago.

Years ago, I took a day long class to learn how to make Himmeli*. It was lots of fun and making Himmeli was definitely something I wanted to do again. However, getting the straw in quantities I would need to make a glorious structure, proved to be logistically impossible.

Last weekend, at the local farmers market, I went by a stall selling just what I needed. I am now the proud owner of six good size sheaths of either oat or wheat straw (and its making me sneeze). So all thats left to do is to construct one of these beautiful ornaments.

Probably easy enought, but I don't have the patience to create one, from the top of my head. I had long ago thrown away the instructions and patterns from that class. So I thought I would look up patterns and pictures on our friend the internet.

Ya' know what ? There isn't a lot. Actually there may be more than I realize, but my Finnish isn't good enough to distinguish between sites which talk about Himmeli, the straw decorations, or those sites which talk about Marimekko's Himmeli bedlinens ( they are rather pretty).

I did find some nice pictures, but I would just love instructions to go with them, i.e. how many pieces of what size straw are needed and in what order do you put the hanging together.

If anyone has information for me ( in English please), please drop me a line at my e-mail address listed at the top of the side bar. It would definitely lower my frustration factor and keep my swearing to a minimum (Fidel has had enough of my grumpiness already, this week). And my poor brain won't be forced into actually having to figure it out on its own.

Below are the few pictures I have found.

I'm partial to the 1st one. I found the picture at Blogisisko 2. This is one I would like to try and re-create.

* This link is to the Finnish language Wikipedia.

Himmeli, a traditional, old Finnish Christmas ornament, may be hung from the ceiling in some homes. It is made of short strips of straw tied together with strings to form a complex three-dimensional structure.

In the old days, the himmeli was hung above the dinner table to ensure that the coming rye crop would be plentiful. There are many different shapes and sizes of himmeli: the bigger the size, the larger the rye crop would be.


Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Looks tricky...but very cool! If I see anything about himmeli I'll let ya know! Have you heard anything from the deep fryer?

MedStudentWife said...

Thanks Olga :)

Actually - we have heard from the fryer. See the newest blog.

I am stunned speechless !!!

Anna Amnell/Blogisisko said...

The new link is

Anna Amnell said...

Sorry, you must take

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