Nautical Style: 4 Strand Kumihimo Braid

One of the most fun crafts I do is Kumihimo disk braiding. It’s very useful to know if you’re into watersports or the nautical/beach scene, since you can craft a lot of useful and fun stuff out of these type of braids. I use these frequently for cords on my Hei Matau and shark tooth pendants since they look nice, are very durable, and don’t require metal clasps (metal doesn’t do well over time in saltwater).

These days, it’s easy to find tutorials on 8 strand Kumihimo, but sometimes that can get a little thick for a necklace cord, even in hemp thread or Linhasita thread. So I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on doing your own 4 strand round braided cord to show off your own cool small to medium sized beachy finds or creations.

Most craft stores these days carry basic Kumihimo disks- or you can make one. I think it makes a better looking cord if you use a foam disk because the tension is better. A weight helps too, but is not necessary for these type of cords, since you can pull them taut later. But, the consistency is better with a weight though. Made mine with a screw, alligator clip and some washers (so I can adjust the weight depending on the material).

So, check out the picture tutorial I’ve got below using Linhasita thread in red, green, dark blue, and tan. Just follow the movement of the colors around the disc to see each movement. Repeat Steps 1-7 until the cord is the desired length.

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Tie four strands together that are each 1.5 to 2 times longer than you want your finished cord to be

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Set up your threads on the right side of every dot and attach the weight under by the knot if you use one

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Keep repeating these steps until your cord is finished.

I used earthy colors to make some cords to use:

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A ball of hemp twine and spools of waxed nylon cord

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4 Strand Braid in Hemp (top) and Linhasita (bottom)

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All the different pendants I can use this cord with

Ok, so I’ve already got a project ready for this cord, and it feels like a classic Brady Bunch trilogy is coming on…..

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I know! My wipeouts are DA BEST

Surfy Little Pillow

I recently finished up some curtains for a friend’s place (I tend to surf at her break a lot, so it’s the least I can do), so I ended up with some scrap fabric leftover. Just for fun, I wanted to whip up a surfy themed pillow for her beach pad.

Art by Seaweedsa

My inspiration 

I decided to try out the surf primitive style, that uses bright colors and a thick, defining outline on the simple shapes. My inspiration was the art of Seaweedsa, who has done great artwork for our Florida Surf Museum’s events. For my little project, I did my interpretation in appliqué.

I gathered my scraps, a 16” by 16” quilting square (the size of the pillow), some iron-on double sided adhesive for the appliqué pieces, and sketch paper to make pattern pieces to cut out.

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My supplies

I made a simple beachy design, cut the shapes out, and backed them with the iron-on fusible Steam-A-Seam to fuse them onto the pillow case piece I would be making out of one big sky blue scrap. From there, I used a wide satin stitch in black to outline every piece.

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Arranging my pieces

Once I had my pieces where I wanted, I did my black satin stitch around them, starting with the foreground pieces- the surfboards.

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Wide satin stitch

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Outlining

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Adding detail with a Disappearing Ink pen

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Sewing over the drawn details

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Appliqué completed

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After the pillowcase has been sewn up each side, and is still turned inside out (note that I used interfacing on the back to help stabilize the fabric!)

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Hella surfy

 

And, as it turns out, she likes it. Good thing, or I would have been feeling like this dude….

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That pillow looks mighty tasty

My Florida Halloween Pumpkin DIY

So last year, I painted a real pumpkin. Problem is, the weather here is supa hot, AND rainy, AND windy with extra salt in the air. I only got to enjoy my pumpkin for a week last Halloween, then it started to decay, and flecks of paint started to scatter all over my yard and driveway. Grody.

This year, I took kelleysdiy.com’s advice, and bought a foam craft pumpkin to paint instead. I even thought it would be fun to cut a hole in the 

Step 1…cut a hole in da box

bottom for an LED tea light to be placed inside, so I wanted to drill some small holes in it too for the light to shine through.

Picked this up at the craft store for $5, these pumpkins are hollow foam


Next time, I’ll use a thicker acrylic paint.


The first layer sponged on


Starting to paint in some waves


I made sure to seal the paint job this time!

I marked the “stars” with a metallic Sharpie, and drilled them out with a 1/8” bit on my Dremel. The foam was thicker than I thought!

Drilling the holes


It looks festive covered in foam bits

To cut the piece out of the bottom for the LED light, I used a diamond bit for carving. I certainly didn’t get the smoothest cut, reminds me about how well I carve a real pumpkin….

I cut a section out of the bottom, then resealed for good measure


Horrible cut, but it’s on the bottom! I attached the tea light with foam tape to the bottom

I placed the pumpkin over the foam piece with the LED, and it fit back together well enough, I didn’t need any tape nor glue. Honestly, I’m so freakin’ lazy, that I’m going to leave the little LED tea light in the ON mode. During the day, you can’t see it, and I won’t have to remember to turn it on when it gets dark. Win.
Done!

This looks more beachy


Here it is at night, with the LED on

I recommend this project to surfers to want to try out working with paint pens before painting an actual board. The surface of the pumpkin foam is quite similar, and it’s a good creative outlet. Remember, there are no mistakes, just happy little trees, bro….

Paint what you see

Surfboard Cosmetic Surgery

If you keep up with this crazy blog (thanks to those of you who do- right ON!!), you’ve seen my badly injured favorite surfboard with the deeply cracked right rail:

I thought I was going to need a new board

I took it to my local surf shop to have it repaired, and they did a great job filling in the deep gash from a 9” Longboard fin- yikes. However, since my Mahi Mahi fade color paint job was on the rail of the board, the repair was a big obvious white splotch:

Solid as a rock, but obvious

Right side of the deck

The bottom of the board

 
As for the bottom, I picked up a couple more Mahi Mahi stickers to cover the discoloration, no big deal. I broke out my medium tip Montana paint pens from Michael’s, in shades of green, blue, white, and black to work on the rail and pin line.

Make sure the board’s super clean before starting

I actually re-did the black pinline first, it made a world of difference:

It already looks better!

I don’t have airbrush equipment, so I dotted green and blue shades of paint on the rail, blended the paint with a sponge brush, and then wiped the color away, leaving a stain. This was better than trying to color in the green directly, since that would be MORE obvious on top of the glass job. 

I wasn’t going to try to match the color exactly, I was just aiming to reduce the glare of the white, so I repeated this process until I was happy with it.

Comparing shades

Kinda just staining the board back green

As I was blending some bright blue, I decided to paint some bright fun dots concentrating around the repair area, and spreading outwards. My usual crazy doodling.

After allowing the paint to dry, I sealed it with 2 coats of sealant, and allowed it to dry fully for 24 hours before using it. I like to use the matte finish instead of the gloss, unless I’m coating an entire deck.

Stuff’s ok, but works well for this purpose

Woo-Hoo! Back to life again, ready to surf!

The dots help to mask it, and they look cool

A few more stickers on da bottom….

Schweet!!!!

As far as the ding, play along and say you saw me do this out at the Cocoa Beach Pier last week. Yeah, that’s the ticket……



Scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Happy Halloween.

Painted Shell Necklace with Beads

In my last post, I had polished up a plain This was the original shellbleached shell to prepare it for painting.

First, I made sure there was sufficient varnish before I put any paint on the shell. Acrylic paints work well, but there can be some visible cracking sometimes as the paint dries. 

At least three coats of varnish on both sides to seal it- even before any paint goes on

My paint pens seemed to do a better job keeping the coat opaque and crack free. I had decided to choose two bright, fun beach colors to paint the shell. I chose bright green for the outside, with a sky blue on the inside. I tipped the outer edge of the shell with a metallic silver paint pen just to give it some detail. The metallic helps to “class it up” a touch, in my opinion.

These are the same type I use to paint my surfboards

Be sure to varnish after painting as well

Next, I used some FIMO clay large hole beads I made in fun swirls of color to make a cluster of pearls/barnacles/use your imagination/whatevs.

I made these with bits and pieces of leftover FIMO…trippy, man

I measured off some lengths of Linhasita cord, then braided the middle section to make a loop for the Pendant, then tied a simple overhand knot to secure it under the shell’s hole at the top.

The Pendant loop will be a simple braid

 

Fold the braid over, and knot it

 

I used the natural hole at the top of the shell


Next, I strung each bead on a couple of strands of cords at different lengths in the shell’s cup and knotted them off. I slightly melted the knots using a lighter (outdoors, of course).

Frontside of the Pendant finished

Using Kumihimo braiding, I made a matching cord for the necklace with the Linhasita cord, with a small toggle also made from the same batch of FIMO clay.

It’s waterproof!

It’s reversible!


A funky, freshy, beachy necklace from a simple local bleached out shell. 

This could have been a worse craft. I could have been like Lisa Simpson’s friends and bedazzled the surfmobile with shells. Yikes.

Sweet Merciful Crap.

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.

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