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

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?????






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.

Seaside Motifs

One of my favorite bloggers on here is Elenora from Coastal Crochet. She likes to crochet things by the seashore. I like to craft stuff with those same ocean inspired things too, so her ideas are great to explore.

She posted a cute ammonite pattern a while back (be sure to check out her other stuff too!) and I thought it would be cool to work up in my favorite coated nylon Brazilian thread, Linhasita. I also found a simple starfish pattern on Pinterest as well.

For these motifs, I really enjoyed using the Linhasita since it has a stiffness to it, allowing the piece to be shaped by hand. It’s nylon, so blocking it with your fingers is the best option. It also helped the starfish look more real since the arms could be shaped, and looked less “cookie cutter.” I love how the ammonites came out looking very lacy. I used a 2.0 mm hook with these, but I did make some size adjustments for variety. In other words, I had fun, yo.

Just had fun with these

Next, I simply whipstitched the motifs onto little 3” muslin drawstring bags from the craft store. 

Natural thread, natural muslin bags, easy

Used a simple backstitch

Lookin’ classy now. This would be nice to give to a salty, crunchy, surfer needing a little surfer’s tune-up kit (wax, fin screws, fin key) OR collect some seaglass or shells to give to your buds!

Hold yer stuff, man….

Happy Freakin’ Whatever. Let’s surf!

This sums up my ideal PAR-TAY

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

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