Sea Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In my last post, I practiced polishing a Sea Heart sea bean. Now that it’s finished, I wanted to be

The Sea Heart I polished last time

able to wear it, but I didn’t want to drill into it or paint it. This will keep the piece as natural as possible.

To make my necklace, I used a macrame technique called Bezeling. The sea bean is thick, so I needed to make sure the bezel wrap would hold the sea heart securely. To make my ladder, I used two strands of light tan Linhasita macrame cord spaced 1 inch apart. For the alternating lark’s head knots, I used a dark green color strand.

I used a macrame foam board and lots of t-pins to keep things straight

Close up of the lark’s head ladder in work

I had measured the circumference of the sea heart to estimate the length of my ladder. I erred on the short side so I can “stretch” it over the edges of the sea bean to secure it using a bit of tension. I tied the ends together using a few square knots, and I melted the ends of the excess cord with a lighter (please use it outside- it’s a smelly process).

Tying the ends up around the bean- this was quite tricky

I singed the ends, leaving just two long strands to use for my necklace

Next, I used the 2 long cords remaining to make my necklace. I tied on 2 dark brown pieces to each light tan cord, and made a half hitch sinnet for a few inches, then braided the rest to the end. I did the same with the other side.

One side of the necklace

Completing each side of the necklace with a braid

For clasps, I used a carved tagua nut hook set that was drilled vertically, so I could thread the cord into each hook, and knot the ends off. This method doesn’t require any glue, but I did singe and melt the cord ends.

Tagua nut clasp

Finished necklace

With this very basic type of bezel wrap around my bean, it’s pretty secure. However, I’m probably not going to wear it while surfing though, just to make sure it doesn’t pop out. It is totally waterproof, however. Gnar.

That model needs a LOT of photoshop…..

I think it looks really cool, but it is a LARGE piece, so maybe only on special beachy occasions. Otherwise, you can call me Flava Flav of Cocoa Beach. Boiiiiiiiiiii.

My Hero.

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Sea Heart Sea Bean Polishing (aka Gilding the Lily)

We’re already 3 letters deep into Hurricane Season 2017, and many are anxiously awaiting our first hurricane swell out here on the East Coast. Usually, it seems to start churning about August, but there have been a few years where we got an early sneak peek of the Atlantic’s coming swells.

I have sworn off Hurricane surf since the Bertha swell a few years back, after a not-so-fun air drop I had on a wave that was too big for my ability that day. So instead of gearing up for gnarly surf as if I was a teenager with pliable bones, I get into finding stuff that washes in with the storms.

Just a taste of my collection of “treasures”

One of my favorite things to collect are sea beans, especially sea hearts (Entada gigas). Sea hearts are seeds of the Monkey Ladder, a vine that grows in tropical zones in the Caribbean and Central America. Sea heart beans come from the World’s Largest Seed Pod on record- some pods can grow up to six feet!

Sea hearts have been considered lucky, and their ability to be carved and polished like wood have lent to the popularity of it’s use as ornamentation. I wanted to polish one of my sea hearts, just to try it out. Honestly, I think they look just as beautiful in their natural condition, having traveled thousands of miles in the ocean. “Gilding the Lily” sprang to mind as I worked on this little project to remove all that exterior.

Unpolished sea heart

I used a Dremel tool for this project. Some people might put their beans in a rock tumbler to polish them, but I’m going with what I already have.

Sanding drum on a bit- 150 grit

The main goal is to sand off the outermost shiny layer of the bean. This part took about 15 minutes with the Dremel bit, but the result was a very dull bean.

After sanding with 150

The inclusions are gone, but it’s not nearly shiny as before.

Next, for kicks, I used the felt polishing wheel bit on its’ own to buff it up a bit.

After polishing with just the felt

It did get a little shinier, but to help it out I added some polishing compound (jeweler’s rouge) to the felt wheel. Much better result, but it does have a crayon aroma to it…

This rouge Polishing compound came in the Dremel Polishing Kit

Big improvement with the compound

I probably spent about 10 minutes buffing the sea heart with the compound. I was happy with the result.

Unpolished sea heart (left), polished sea heart (right)

You can seal the sea heart with lacquer if you want, especially if you wanted to paint on it. I would recommend sealing it with at least one coat before trying to paint on them, since the bean can be a little porous and do funky things to the paint job.

In my next post, I’m going to show off the polished sea bean using macrame techniques- no drilling, painting or wire work required.

In the meantime, here’s Mr. Bean….

I’m doing this on A1A someday

My Surfboards: Funjun Funshape

Recently, I had a board shaped at Core Surf as kind of an experiment. A really fun type of experiment.

I wanted a shortboard (truly, it is called a funshape or mini-mal by definition) that could surf the tiny- sometimes choppy- waves of our Florida East Coast summers. Bonus if it could surf the decent stuff too. I also wanted something shorter than 7’2″, since that’s my cutoff for a shortboard if I ever want to do fun charity competitions. Most local competitions- IF they have the rule- require the board to be no taller than 2 feet than the rider to qualify as a shortboard to compete. Makes sense.
Since I’m not getting any younger, I opted for a 7’0″ “Funjun”. This shape has a wide backend to get into waves early, and looks a lot like a

Quad setup or single fin setup

 

miniature longboard with the thick rails and the wide nose. The other models of “Funjuns” typically have a 5 fin setup, but I wanted a single fin box instead on this one, with FCS boxes on the side to be able to switch to a quad setup if I wanted.

This shape finally seems to be the Holy Grail Board for me, at least

On my initial surf sessions in 2-3 foot okay surf conditions, I used a 7 inch fin from Captain Fin Co. It worked pretty well, but I’m a still a little timid to try crosstepping on it yet. It did slide out a little when bottom turning on a bigger wave, but I think that’s more my problem than the fin’s problem….

This is the 7″ single fin I use in it

Next, I picked up a larger quad setup by Captain Fin Co. as well. I removed the single fin and just used these for some decent 1-2 foot waves. These were definitely longboard waves, but this board allowed me to catch the same type of waves, but I could get “skatey” on them. That’s good, since I refuse to skateboard on the asphalt anymore. I don’t have much of my right meniscus left. Yikes.

Funjun Update:
This board has been incredibly fun the last few sessions. I’ve gotten some of the best waves I’ve had in a long while.

This is the “large” set of quads- I figured I needed a little more fin for the longer board

After surfing on and off for over a decade, I’ve tried a lot of surfboards out, and have been so disappointed in a lot of boards I’ve had. I’ve wondered how many people get to find their “Magic” board? The board that fits like the Glass Slipper.
It feels really nice to think I may have found MY perfectly matched board. Sounds weird, but now I think I understand what I’ve overheard older surfers talk about from time to time. They tell stories where a surfer may- a one point in his (or her) life- find their perfect surfboard. That perfect surfboard for that perfect time, for that perfect place. I hope this combination sticks around for a while for me.

Wow, is it already 4:20?!?

Deep.

No Sew DIY Bikini Top Conversion

Like a lot of surfers (really, people in general), I won’t pass up a chance to score something I need at a reasonable price.

I run through swimwear like water since I try to be surfing or paddleboarding as much as possible. A while back, I had picked this bikini top up at a local swimwear shop in Cocoa Beach called Mar Chiquita. It was in the clearance bin for only $5, locally made here in CB, and PURPLE. I’m sold.

The only thing that bothered me is how it tied. I am not a huge fan of the neck tie, the knots, and all the extra tie string leftover. I’d like to make it into an over each shoulder style, meeting in the back. I’ll make this fitted for me and something I’ll put on over my head (no clasps).

Just not a huge fan of this configuration

Now, if you do not have a dress form like in the pics, get a trusted friend or significant other to help you either mark where you want your knots. You can also have that person make the following knots while it’s on your body as well to ensure proper fit. Here’s how I did mine on my own.

I want the straps to go over each shoulder

Pinning everything in the correct placement

I made a square knot using the side ties to tie everything together

By using a square knot instead of the bow tie knot that was used previously, it’s so much more comfortable on my back.

Now, I’m going to get rid of the excess ties and secure the bundle into a little tassel. This part really doesn’t require sewing, since you just wrap the ends together several times with matching polyester thread, then knot it off to secure. You really don’t even need a needle.

Getting ready to wrap the tassel

Tassel wrapped

Done!!!

Back

Front

Now, this doesn’t mean anyone will see my fresh n’ fly knotting job on my bikini, since I almost always wear a rashguard. I mean, yeah, sun protection is great, but I wipeout I lot, and no one needs to see my boobs.

How I roll

Surf Wax Aromatherapy 

It’s been pretty flat and stormy lately, so I’ve been hanging out enjoying the Great Indoors when the storms blow through.

Since I’ve been feeling homey, I had thought about all of these candles and scents I see on TV that are advertised ad nauseum. A popular item I’ve seen for sale at surf shops and online is the “Surf Wax Candle”. Heck, I’ve even made some myself. Yes, they’re more natural- and not chock full of chemical soup- BUT, I’m not a huge fan of having open flames in my house. A pleasant smelling house is nice. Potential raging flames…not so much.

These smell great, but can be a problem if you forget about it

So, I got out my candle warming plate from Walgreens (less than $5), a stainless steel spoon rest I picked up at Goodwill ($1), and some oils I already had in the pantry ($1-$7 each bottle, which has a lot of scent), and I made an full-blown experiment out of it.
Needed: Surf wax, candle holder, warming plate, various aroma oils.

Just a little wax is needed

I used three different types of popular surf wax for melting and scenting my surfy abode: Sex Wax, Sticky Bumps, and Mrs. Palmer’s. Here’s my findings…..

Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax (Warm Water)– This wax on its’ own has a warm, kind of tropical scent, so it paired best with a few drops of kitchen Vanilla. Together, the combo produced a pleasant, but not overwhelming, scent while melting on the candle heater. The scent is still nice and inviting, but quite light.

Testing out the Sex Wax



Sticky Bumps (Warm Water)– Since this wax already has a pretty strong sweet smell, I melted this on its own for a while. The aroma was improved, in my opinion, with a few drops of citrus oil. The “Calming” Oil had hints of citrus that really matched well with the base smell of the wax.

My little surf wax laboratory



Mrs. Palmer’s (Warm Water)– This is not my favorite wax for surfing in Florida, but it certainly won points with me in this project since the base wax has very little odor, allowing for almost any type of oil combo. The best recipe was a combination of Vanilla with some Lavender oil. Very relaxing, and definitely the strongest smell of the three. The finished wax still has a very strong smell, even after heating it for more than an hour.

The best part of this project is dumping the melted remains into a waxed paper cup mold to be remade into a wax bar again for my surfboards. Only this time, I’ll get to enjoy the scents in the water too! As long as I didn’t use too much, the oils didn’t add any color nor change the consistency of the wax, so it works just as well as before.

Precaution! Don’t use Peppermint or Cinnamon to scent up your wax if you’re planning on using it as surf wax unless you like sexy, spicy rashes all over your bod. Ow.

These are the new wax bars after I simmered the oils in them

A lot of people pay extra money for happy smelling surf wax, and now you can make your own too. It’s not expensive, and as long as you use natural oils, it’s not adding any harmful chemicals. 

I’m going to be using the “Calming” Oil formulation a lot since it’s been pancake flat for several days here. I really need some patience.

WHOOOO needs waves?!? I do!

Beach House: Mini Air Plant Baskets

I absolutely love air plants. They’ve always had a tropical feel to them, I guess since they kind of resemble palm trees or pineapple tops. They’re

Various air plants like mine

easy to maintain, requiring just a hint of care.

I have a growing collection (pun intended) of them that I get from a local place in Brevard, Florida, Rockledge Gardens.

I wanted to bring a couple inside since they’re good for air quality, but I wanted to make sure they would get plenty of sun and ventilation.

The window in the main bathroom turned out to be a perfect spot for some mini hanging baskets. Eleanora at Coastal Crochet did a mini basket for Easter, so she inspired this craft. Thanks!

Get my pattern here. Enjoy….

Small shells make for good drainage

These Baskets stand up on their own

 

Since the temperature is only going to get hotter from here, these might just be the only green things left around here. Luckily, it’s rainy season now in Florida.

Still frickin’ hilarious

What Surfers Do When It’s Flat

Knotting and macrame has always been intertwined with the surfing world, probably because the pastime of decorative knotting began with the early mariners of the sea.

A wise sailor would learn various knots to get his job done well as a part of a crew, and practice was important to retain that critical knowledge. During a lull or break in the crew’s daily tasks, many sailors would hone their skills and make some money by using those utilitarian knots to make decorative items. 

My well used foam macrame board

This goes for surfers, too. Many of us enjoy these knotting crafts when it’s flat, hot, or stormy outside. This craft is very useful to learn for anyone who spends a lot of time on the water. Surfing, SCUBA, boating, wake boarding, etc. all use knots to some degree.

One of my current bracelets, it’s SO hippie

I put together this little cheat sheet on knotting for some of my macrame students. It’s a quick guide to basic macrame knots.

Using those basic knots, you can do lots of variations. I like browsing through macrameschool.com to get ideas and inspiration, but if you are learning to macrame, it’s also great resource since they have short how-to videos on a lot of basic to advanced styles.

I made this for myself too using Olivewood beads. They’re holding up in the water ok

My favorite cord to use is Linhasita since it is colorfast, available in lots of colors, and durable in salt water. Hemp cord is used often also, but when you get it wet, hemp loses the distinct knots and can disintegrate into a fiber mess.

Linhasita cord

I also use C-Lon cord for some projects, but this

Some micro macrame earrings I made

is threadlike and delicate. Using this thin cord is called micro-macrame, and requires lots of practice.
I’m stocked up with cord now, ready to knot after surfing in the Summer afternoons when the thunderstorms roll through or when the hurricanes get too close to be fun anymore. I’m no sailor, but I have been long time friends with Cap’n Crunch and Captain Morgan….

That’ll work.