Kikui Hearts Lei Tutorial

My kikui nut collection comes from many delicious connections with traditional island families that took me under their wings when I was praying the Kahiko hula, Tahitian Ori & traditional Maori dances as a teenager.  To me they represent unconditional kindness & a tough kind of support, the kind that comes from large broods of good, strong people.  I've had most of my leis for decades. 

On the way to the river yesterday one of my kikui nuts cracked, so I whipped up a modern version with the contents of my sack - embroidery floss, snips & a bit of scotch tape.  I think it took the 20 minute drive to the river, with 10 spent untangling rainbow floss as strings flew around my topless jeep.  If you want to know the truth, the nut cracked 'cause I was banging around too hard to Brass Monkey, the kind of craziness that comes when you've got paddles in the car & you realize that all three of your boys are head banging to the Beastie Boys.  A family-style old-skool hip-hop revival. 

The thing about these is you can't be attached to them.  You have to be ready to give them up & gift them up completely.  From your neck, right onto theirs.  An acknowledgement of the love that binds.


Kikui Nut beads, you can get here

Scotch tape

3 strands of embroidery floss - I used ombre' orange, hot pink & red

Snips or scissors


How To:

1. Snip all the beads off their ribbon & place in a...cupholder.

2. Cut the floss lengths at 3x the length of your arm.  True them up together.

3. Wrap the tape tightly around one end, creating a stiff 2" point to push thru the beads.

4. String your first bead, pulling it within 6" of the end.  

5. Twist a loop in the floss & pull the kikui nut thru the loop to make a knot.

6. Adjust it so the floss is tight around the nut & it's hanging with the heart-point down.

7. Continue stringing the beads 1" apart.

8. Feel grateful for all our connections.  Hit the water.