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

The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Spring Edition

Once again, I’ve got a fresh batch of surfy gimmicks and gadgets from the surfing world. Am I EVER given any of these things for free? No freakin’ way- I’m the last average surfer chick they’d want reppin’ their brand, and that’s all good with me. Some of these I think are great ideas, but some paddle straight into a huge closeout.

As always, N-Joy….

Shower Toga

 

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So this is another Kickstarter funded product that allows you to take a full shower in the open. This may be necessary after surfing in a remote location, or if you need to return to work with minimal stink. To me, this is an easy DIY project with an old shower curtain (instructions here, kids), but I guess there are enough people who don’t have time nor interest to go the DIY route. The price is pretty high in my opinion, but I guess if you’re part of the need-it-now crew, thirty bucks (plus tax and shipping) isn’t bad. They also sell a rinse kit that is very similar to another DIY project I’ve done. Just sayin’.

Cost: $29.95
Pros:
  • If you don’t wanna do DIY and have 30 bucks to spend on a fancy shower curtain, this looks like a good one
  • If you’re against the wonders of indoor plumbing and live with a bear named Ben, this was made for you
Cons:
  • It’s a $30 shower curtain

 

Shark Eyes

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So this has become THE hot item as of late, and I’ve seen it on quite a few boards around here. Developed by Australian surfers, they are large eye stickers placed on the bottom of your board to supposedly deter sharks from below, minimizing the chance of being attacked. Hey, it’s the psychology of it all, ya know? Come to think of it, I had my DIY anti-shark device on my board when I was NOT attacked by a shark, but just popped in the head by an errant stingray. Thesis defended, drop da mic.

Oh, wait- I forgot. I don’t have the Australian cred. D’OH!

Cost: $20 per sticker
Pros:
  • Great gift from a nervous Surf Mom to her Groms
  • Fun decor for any type of board
  • Cheaper than SharkBanz
  • Could end up in an interesting staring contest with a shark
Cons:
  • Shouldn’t be construed as any type of guarantee- local awareness always matters
  • It’s a big sticker of an eye….that’s a little freaky
  • As of today’s post, their website is down, so….that’s never a good sign

 

Hang Air

This product is a wetsuit hanger that contains a waterproof air fan to dry your wetsuit faster than just slinging it over your shower rail. I honestly didn’t think much of it when it first came out, but now I’m a total believer. It’s pricey, but I’ve had mine for a few seasons now, and I’d never surf in winter without it. I can hang my suit up wet after an afternoon sesh, turn it on, and the next morning it’s totally dry. This is also good for those multi-day SCUBA trips, because a dry wetsuit is a good thing at 8:00 A.M. on a cattle boat out to a reef. Keeps the suit usable for a longer time too, in my opinion. Also nice is that it’s made in the USA from recycled materials too.

Cost: $69.90 
Pros:
  • Keeps the stank out
  • Prolongs the life of the suit by preventing mold and bacteria growth
  • The hanger holds up to 100 lbs- that’s a lot of soakin’ wet gear it can handle
Cons:
  • Pricey up front, about the cost of an average wetsuit
  • The large size of the hanger may make it difficult for smaller wetsuits to fit over it properly (I have some difficulty with mine)

 

MyGo Mouth Mount for GoPro

Ok, so it constantly amazes me the number of different GoPro camera mounts available on the market. I have noticed a trend within the last year of these “mouth mounts” on many surfers using GoPros in the lineup. Yes, these mounts- used by Kelly Slater himself- can produce some outstanding footage of the inside of Pipeline from your simple GoPro, making for some epic surf vids.

Problem is, how often are YOU surfing at Pipeline? Yeah, me neither.

The mouth mount honestly looks a bit dangerous to use in a heavy swell. While the footage can be worth it on big barreling waves, most surfers won’t be dazzled by their own video- I’ve seen a handful of decent looking mouth-mounted shots, and they’re all from Slater, of course. So it’s a meh accessory for someone like me.

Cost: $29.99 (marked down from $34.99)
Pros:
  • Comes with bite supports that claim to give more stable footage
  • About average price of most GoPro anything
  • Compact and easy to use for a skilled surfer
Cons:
  • Can be dangerous for even an intermediate surfer to use in rough surf
  • No flotation (but a lanyard is included)
  • This type of angle is typically not desired for average waves and/or surfers- it won’t really impress your buds unless it’s a gnar barrel

***

Hope you enjoyed checking out some phunky phresh surfy gadgets and trends out there in the fun Surfing World. Above all else though, we all just wanna catch as many waves as humanly possible, right? The rest is….well, just even MORE gravy.

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Somewhere in between always works, brah

Atlantic Stingray Says Hi

Today, I had an unusual encounter with what I believe was an Atlantic Stingray. There were many fish jumping as I was paddling out to surf, which can be an indicator of some hunting activity. This doesn’t necessarily mean a shark, dolphins like to hunt for fish too, of course.

This stingray leapt out of the water, hit the back of my head, then leapt once more onto my back and surfboard before I was able to push it away. What stunned me was the force of this critter! After this close encounter, I just had to do some research about Mr. Atlantic Stingray, and I’m going to share it with ya.

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I guess I needed a smack

Atlantic Stingray Fun Facts!

  • They can sense their prey in the sand85BFC459-6E3B-4886-B5D3-1B643A538076 through their Ampullae of Lorenzini, which serve as electrical field sensors. But my backhand today apparently didn’t register with this specimen- I don’t get it.
  • An Atlantic Stingray can sting you, and it’ll hurt like a bitch, but they are typically not fatal. But when it can punch like it did today, who needs to sting?
  • Mating season is from October to April, but they don’t really get their freak on until the warmer months of March and April.
  • Although their Conversation Status is “Least Concern”, the Atlantic Stingray’s biggest threat is becoming bycatch in commercial fishing. I think Red Lobster’s having all-you-can-eat “scallops.” Just sayin’.
  • Tiger sharks and Bull sharks are their natural predators. I really hope it wasn’t jumping away from an shark onto my head, but I can understand his predicament.

References and More Info:

Georgia Aquarium

Smithsonian Institution

Florida Fish and Wildlife

Florida Museum

I always have to remember, when I surf, I’m visiting another’s domain. I won’t be scared of the critters of the ocean, but I’d sure be scared if there were none.

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Don’t mess with that smile

The Orange Peel Surf Wax Mold (My Review)

I was a Kickstarter supporter for The Orange Peel, a new surf wax gadget that just shipped out to most of us last week who bought in to the concept. I felt like doing a review of this product, so here it is. Did I get it for free? Hell nah, brah. These opinions are all Average Surfer Approved, and that’s all that matters, Bro-tein Shake.

The Orange Peel (peelitout.com, $11.99) is a 100% silicone cup that’s meant to fit into your car’s cup holder, and collect the gnar bits of surf wax that end up in your car. Unfortunately, this silicone cup was a little too small and got “lost” in my Surfmobile’s (Yaris) oversized side door cup holders, so it’s going to have to sit in the open middle console instead. Here it is in my grody Surfmobile:

The actual surfy-special feature of this mold cup is a raised strip of silicone along the bottom of the inside. This allows the mold to create the traditional break line for the bar of surf wax after melting it into the mold, creating the distinct halves. A half a bar is enough to wax up a longboard for a sesh, and fits into a pocket easily.

That feature is what makes the mold stand out for me. There are plenty of silicone molds out there for far cheaper in the craft store’s baking section, but as a surfer, I like the simple and practical addition of this line in the mold that creates a truly usable bar of surf wax.

To test this new mold, I used an actual old gnarly ball of surf wax from under the seat of my car, and rolled it around in more sand from the car. Yummy.

Here’s your WARNING WARNING WARNING!

Although the Orange Peel cup itself alone is microwaveable, you SHOULD NOT microwave things with sand all over it. Here in Cocoa Beach, a lot of our sand is dredged from shoals off the Cape, and there can often be trace metals in the dredge material. NOT a good thing to put in the microwave.

For this experiment, I used the little toaster oven we picked up at Goodwill. It stays out in the garage, so I use it for melting small amounts of wax sometimes, but mostly it’s for baking modeling clay (no fumes in the house, bonus).

I heated the clump in the toaster oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (recommended by Peel Surf) for 20 minutes. This wax was most likely “Tropical” hardness from throughout this Summer and Fall, so I figured I would need to heat it for a while for it to melt sufficiently. The sand and debris in the wax will tend to fall toward the bottom of the cup. After I removed it from the oven, I made sure to give it a little stir to help things along.

Allow it to set for at least an hour. I left mine to harden overnight.

It came out of its mold with some difficulty because of the thickness of the cup’s walls. It’s a sturdy design, but it also makes it tricky to pop out easily without damaging the edges of the finished wax bar a bit.

Once the bar was out, I just scraped off the sludge that had settled to the bottom, which is now at the top of the bar of wax. I still had quite a bit of clean wax that remained.

Done!

Ok, so here’s my overall impression…..

Pros:

  • Makes a decent sized, good looking bar of wax
  • Molds a deep, easy-to-break line in the center
  • The bright color of The Orange Peel makes it easy to spot in a dark car in the morning

Cons:

  • Expensive- the price point of 12 bucks needs to be reduced to make this product work, or else I’m using my old muffin cups
  • May disappear into the cup holders of many cars with oversized holders

My suggestions:

  • Please get the price down- nice concept, but most surfers will have trouble justifying the expense, even to recycle their wax and Save Da World.
  • Include a simple Recipe Book- a lot more people might buy your product if you include some fun how to’s, similar to a Surf Wax Making Kit.
  • Introduce a “Jumbo” Orange Peel for oversized drink holders, and people who want to make larger bars of wax.
  • Consider a Glow In the Dark version for those Dawn Patrol sessions.
  • Offer unique molds (flower shapes, animals, etc.) with break lines through them. Only the inside of the cup needs to be shaped, the outside of the cup can be smooth, so it can still fit into a drink holder nicely.

I’ll definitely be using this cool little mold often, but I’ll be waiting on buying anymore “Peels” until the price drops a bit. BUT, if there’s a surfer you want to splurge on, this might be a fun gift to give along with some natural beeswax (and show them how to make their own surf wax too!).

DIY Boardshort Pillow

When I was young,  I would bug my patient grandmother to teach me to sew. She was a talented seamstress, and sewed for me the most beautiful dresses when I was younger, one of which I still keep with my wedding dress and formal wear.

Back then, I also remember her making me the coolest “Jams” out of ANY wacky printed cotton combo fabric I wanted in Hancock’s Fabrics. I loved my crazy ass pairs of Jams, and even today, I find myself wearing boardshorts with crazy prints just about every day. Honestly, they’re coastal Florida’s version of sweatpants.

I’ll totally admit that most of my boardshort collection is storebought, since surf companies use this schweet, stretchy, silky material that an average home sewer like me can’t get reasonably. Fortunately, most boardshorts like these are fairly long-wearing if you don’t put ’em in the dryer after washing. Good, since you may need to skip a car payment to buy some of these pairs lately…yikes.

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Loved these

One of my favorite pairs of boardshorts was ready for retirement, but I loved the surfboard print, and wanted to hang on to it in a unique way. So I made it into a squishy pillow that I could use indoors or out.

The stitching is pretty straightforward, I attached the inseam of the shorts up about 2″ from the bottom to make the pillow look more square after stuffing, but the legs are still somewhat distinctive.

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Stitching the inseam up to the mark

 

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2” of inseam sewn together

After this step, it’s a matter of closing up the holes. Just leave the top middle section open to stuff, OR you could stuff through the fly, then sew those openings up. The fly section was going to be too bulky for my machine, so I hand sewed the opening shut.

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Sewing the fly shut on the machine was tricky!

You can handstitch this Pillow or machine stitch it, neither way takes very long. Just make sure it’s stitched up tightly enough to be moderately stuffed, and machine washable. Don’t overstuff this, or it might start looking too much like an ass pillow.

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Stuff a little at a time

 

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Handsewing the top shut

 

Done!

 

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Husband calls it the Butt Pillow

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Another I made for one of my BFFs

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I like my Ass Pillow

 

I have the awful feeling the pillows only get bigger from this point on though….

 

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Yeah, hold da meat

 

 

The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Fall Edition

So I’ve dug up some more surfing trends and accessories you may or may not have heard about. Some are inventive, some are…..not ready for primetime. 

Did I get any of this stuff for free or at a discount? HELL nah. I wish. My opinions are definitely my own, and I tell it like it is, brah.

Gnarly wipeout, brah


*****
Grater Grip for Surfboard Wax

I bought one of these at their booth at a local surfboard factory sale. They were thirteen bucks back then- now they’re $9.99- which is still a little pricey. It’s essentially a flat plastic cheese grater to help put on your surfboard wax, and remove it. This could be a good idea if you like that type of traction on your board. I tried it, and hated the feel AND look of it, personally. Oh well.

Pros: Great for using up the tiniest bits of wax left in your surfmobile

Cons: Random people may walk up to you with plates of freshly cooked pasta




Stained Glass Fins by Rainbow Fin Company

I had to snag this fin!!!

 
I have bought two of these fins so far as gifts, and I have been pleased with them, as well as the recipients. I like giving something that’s beautiful AND useful. Since they are one-of-a-kind handmade surfboard fins, they can run 100 bucks and up, so it’s more of a collectible for the “more seasoned” (aka older) surfer crowd. 

Pros: Makes simple, functional artwork on your surfboard or on the wall.

Cons: At the price, it’s definitely an investment.




Wax Knuckles

This pic is from their website

I don’t own this, but it seems like an awfully good idea. It’s a wax scraper and wax comb that is ergonomically designed. If you like to change out your wax a lot, or resell a lot of surfboards, this scraper is kinda neato. It costs twice as much as a regular wax comb (these are $5.99), but if you do a lot of scraping, it might be worth it.

Pros: May save on some carpal tunnel surgery down the road

Cons: The HUGE handspan required to make the scraper comfortable to use may exclude other smaller surfer chicks like me. I’ll wait for the smaller Oompa Loompa Model to be launched 



Ventura Vientola Finger Surfboard

I thought this fad had passed, but it’s back for Boomers

When I first started surfing, I bought I tiny toy 3” plastic “….Lost” surfboard I sat on my nightstand for my own encouragement. I guess this is the upgraded model at seventy bucks, but it is handcrafted in California out of mahogany, comes with a tiny leash, carrying pouch, and a miniature bar of surf wax. This would look good next to your wine rack and humidor. Did I guess right???

Pros: That’s art to any surfer, and looks better on the wall than the Family Cat in a frame. Also good if you live in a tiny house and drive a Mini

Cons: You may start buying these to look at when your knees start hurting too much to use an actual surfboard




Hope I showed ya something new today!

Do ya EVER graduate in surfing?????