My Righteous Old Blake T-Shirt

OK, I admit, I totally would have been geeked over Tom Blake if I were alive in his time. Being a “Belieber” is weak- I would have been “Totally Blaked.”
With that, I wanted to make a shirt to show my fandom to the super talented waterman and craftsman who designed the paddleboard, fin, and windsurfer, just to name a few. He did DIY before it was cool.
I picked up a basic blue heavyweight t-shirt at the dollar store. Extra points if you can score one from your own stash, or the Goodwill, since the point of this shirt is to make it look worn in. If your shirt is new, wash it first, preferably on a high setting to get any shrinkage out.
Next, I found a couple of images from the Internet I really liked and have even used one before on a previous project. It’s a patent application of his chambered paddleboard, and I like the old sepia edges and water stains in the print:

Next, I printed these out on DARK t-shirt transfer paper. This type goes on the shirt like a sticker and is ironed down, not placed on backwards like a light t-shirt transfer. I made the Tom Blake logo a small size, and the patent application the full size of a sheet of the paper:

Ready to cut

I carefully cut around the logo with an exacto knife, and cut off the excess white edges of the large patent application image.

Images ready to place and iron

Next, I centered the large image on the back of the shirt, followed the directions on the transfer package, and ironed down the image. I also did this with the logo image, centering this on the front of the shirt.

Center back
Center front

Next, I went out to destroy the shirt. I took it out in the bright Florida sun to the beach and rolled it around in the sand, wrung it through the ocean water, and left it baking in the sun. Can you do all of this while wearing it? Sure! Wear sunscreen, though. The benefit of this is that is that if you’ve gotten a bright colored new shirt like mine, it tones the color down some, gives it some softness, and softens up the iron on patches, which can be especially stiff.
After doing that several times, I gave the shirt one more wash on a high setting. In the future, for regular washing, I will probably use a normal casual setting. The bad picture doesn’t really show the change, but the shirt is MUCH softer and looks insta-worn:


I’ve already gotten a lot of compliments on this shirt, asking where to get it. Only the truly Totally Blaked know how to score one…..

The Requisite Surfer Necklace

I’ve put up a few surf necklace projects, but not really the typical “surfer” type you normally think of. I see them sold in shops, but I seriously doubt that a surfer made them unless you get one handmade. This is a chance to make your own.
First, I gathered some supplies together: some chipped white shell bits drilled to use as beads, some dark lip shell round shaped beads for a sharp contrast (value is the term used in art), 49 strand coated flexible wire (Beadalon and Dandyline make these wires, and they’re very strong, I used .015″ diameter wire), crimp beads (in the size to match your wire, I used size #3), a clasp, some jump rings, a crimp tool, and wire flush cutters. All of these can be found at the local craft store.

Shown: beads, stringing wire, tube of crimp beads, and clasp

The necklace will have the clasp on one end and a jump ring on the other to close. I’m going to go ahead and use my crimp tool to finish one end (clasp or connector ring) before I start stringing. This just makes the process easier in my opinion, and prevents the beads from sliding off.

Crimping tool on top of the chipped shell beads

The crimp tool will have instructions on how to use it, but here’s the general procedure for this necklace.
First, I’m going to slide a crimp bead onto the wire:

Next, I’m going to slide my clasp (or jump ring connector) on:

I’m going to take the end of the wire and pass it back through the crimp bead:

Making sure the wires aren’t crossed WITHIN the bead, I’m going to use the bottom groove on the crimp tool to make my first indentation:

Next, I’ll turn the bead 90 degrees and press again using the top groove of the crimp jaws, folding over the crimp in place:

Cut the short end of the wire with the wire flush cutters close to the crimp to finish:

Now, we’re ready to string. In this example, I finished the jump ring connector side first and then strung beads. I decided to go with a 5+1 pattern: 5 chipped white shell beads, then 1 round brown shell bead. The chipped shell beads are random shapes and sizes, which make a nice look to the necklace, so don’t try to match sizes or shapes- pick randomly.

5+1 pattern

I continued this pattern for approximately 16″ inches, for a choker length necklace. You may want to measure your neck to make sure your necklace is long enough. Remember that the clasp will add about an inch to your necklace.

Pattern developing

When I get to the length I want, I’m going to finish the end just like I did the beginning of the wire, but don’t pull too tightly when finishing the wire, or you may strain the crimps. Also, you might want to leave a tiny bit of looseness for a later step.

Finished necklace

I wanted to add a pendant to my necklace, and I had one I got a long time ago from a local artist who made them from coconut husks. I’ve tried to scroll saw through a coconut, and my straight line was horrific, so I give mad props to that artist for carving these beautiful pieces. He had a brilliant idea of putting a spring ring clasp on the pendant to attach it to the necklace, but you could also take it off again if you wanted:

My seahorse pendant
Pendant attached

You can also do this with little charms you may have on keychains, other pendants, etc., and is very easy to remove and even put on other things.
So now I’m ready to head out with my surfer necklace and conquer the big waves.
When I’m in the hospital afterward, bruised, bloodied, and unconscious, they’ll say, “Wow, where did she get that cool surfer necklace? She must be hardcore.”
Respect the necklace. Gnarlicious.

Holey Shell Necklace!

When you walk along most beaches, you’ll find some shells have a hole in them where either the critter burrowed out, or maybe something burrowed in. I’m no shell expert, but after some research, I’ve found that most shells around here that have holes in them are called Atlantic Coquina, or “Angel Wing” shells, which I’ve heard them called sometimes. When I was out a few weeks ago, I found a beautiful striped shell with a hole that I believe is a Cockle shell. It’s this shell I’m going to use in my project.

Cockle Shell I found with hole at the top

For the necklace, I’m going to use waxed cotton cord. I like this stuff because it comes in lots of colors and is very durable, even surfing every day with it on.

Waxed cotton cord in several colors

For this, I used a sand color and an ocean color. Decide how long you want your necklace to be, and cut lengths more that you need, for extra to finish off. I doubled up one color to make a loop on one end and added a third color for a simple braid and joined them with a double overhand knot:

Double overhand knot to start off, with a loop

Next, I just braided the length of my necklace- I’m making a choker, so I just braided a little over 16 inches or so for me.

Finished braiding

Next, I’m going to finish off the braid by tying a few overhand knots on top of each other to form a toggle end I can slip through the loop on the other end to close:

End of braid

Next, I used a jump ring to prepare to attach the shell to the braid:

Open jump ring passing through the shell hole

Next, I’ll take the jump ring- still open- and find the center of my braid length. I will pass the jump ring through two of the braid strands. This will keep the shell centered on the necklace, and prevent it from migrating around your neck. Close the jump ring with jewelry pliers, or small pliers.

Jump ring going through two strands, not yet closed

Trim off the excess ends of the braid and put a dot of E6000 glue on each end knot and let dry. Here’s the finished necklace:

Back closure

Easy to make in any color combination if you can braid and do an overhand knot.
So, hunt for a holey shell, but pick up a beer can or two while you’re out there. If you’re wanting to make a necklace pendant from a beer can, though, I think you’ll need to jump over to Flava Flav’s “Funky Fresh” Craft Site for a how-to (did you know wall clocks make great necklaces???).