Chunky Little Manatee

Many people don’t know that manatees are closely related to elephants. In fact, if you look closely at a manatee’s flipper, you’ll see the remnants of nails and toes that resemble an elephant’s foot. Under an x-ray, they even look like human hands. Pretty cool.

myfwc.comManatee flipper under x-ray

Here in Brevard County, we are fortunate enough to see Florida manatees fairly often in the Indian River Lagoon (brackish water), and in nearshore coastal waters by way of going in and out of local man-made ship inlets.

They are also known as “sea cows” because they move slowly, but they are VERY powerful. I’ve gotten knocked off my paddleboard more than a few times by a manatee. Hey, they didn’t want ME on their lawn….I don’t blame ’em.

I still love manatees, and they’re a good indicator of the health of the Lagoon system, which is obviously very sick and toxic currently, heading into a state of eutrophication sadly.

So I wanted to share some of of this fun info with you, plus a pattern I made up to make your own little chunky manatee Amigurumi toy! It helps to know basic single crochet in the round for this pattern. Add a loop of heavy thread on top to turn it into an ornament for the holidays. Manatee Tree. Freakin’ cool.

Chunky Little Manatee Pattern (PDF file)

Stuffing the body of the manatee

Sewing the tail closed

Making the flippers

Fluke view

Front view

Manatees are cute, so they might get people’s attention.

I’d love to see this

Big Blue Button Amigurumi

Jellyfish are often misunderstood creatures in Florida, especially since they often hurt surfers with stings that range from annoying to scream worthy.

I’ve had my fill for a lifetime, believe me.

In actuality, many of these “jellyfish” are groups of polyps clinging together, drifting with the ocean’s currents. These type are known as Chondrophores, which include the Man O’ War, a particularly famous critter that gives humans a painful sting. However, there are other types of unique Chondrophores here in Florida that don’t pack quite the wallop.

Blue Button

Blue Buttons are part of this group, and can be found in Florida quite often. They are small (usually only 1-2 inches in diameter), but they are beautiful to look at. So, I decided to make a jumbo, huggable version out of yarn. Just because, of course.

Below I’ve shown a bit of my process in pictures for those into amigurumi:

I used three basic blues with a 3.5 mm hook

Making a circle for one side, starting to change color to make stripe

Using a half- color change technique

Top half done- I made it a bit taller

Bottom half

Two halves complete

Each tentacle is from 5-8 inches

Lots o’ tentacles

Pulling each tentacle into the half

Knotted inside and ends trimmed

Placing eyes

Stuffing and sewing shut

Top side

Surprise underneath!!

So happy together

At da beach….

With the oxygen levels dropping in the ocean as sea temperatures rise, expect to see more jellyfish (and colonies). They serve as a canary in the coal mine, if you will.

At least the signs of our stupidity will look pretty….

Keep overthinkin’ it

Eco Surf Hippie Beanbag Pillow

I’m the first to admit I’m a material hoarder. Lots of people don’t realize that clothing makes up a large fraction of landfill trash, and these days, much of it is synthetic and breaks down slowly.

I like to save old Lycra from random rashguards and surf gear, so I decided to cut pieces up into small quilt squares to make a simple two sided squishy pillow filled with scrap neoprene. Woah…that’s being supa Bro–active about our environment, yo.

Pile o’ Lycra

Cutting pieces into smaller squares from various pieces

Laying out a fun pattern

I serged into rows first

Layout of the other side of the pillow

Both sides of the pillow

Pinning the pillow to stitch it up before stuffing

Neoprene beans from wetsuits

I stuffed the pillow casing I made with quite a bit of the cut up neoprene “beans” I had cut up previously (see this project).

Clipped the opening closed and I whip stitched it closed

Done!

That’ll fit my rear, watch out, Max….

So I figure this pillow with be perfect for the beach, since I can rinse it off, toss it in the wash with no worries, and it’s small enough to sling over my bag.

Hey, if this helps the environment, great. I mean, it’s your world, brah.

Try me……but have a nice day

Felt Fin Fun!

Like most crafters, I’m on Pinterest a lot, and not just for the hella dank memes. I’ve been clicking around some of the neato felt embroidery I’ve seen pinned lately, and decided to make a fun felt stuffie from a tracing of one of my longboard fins.

Certified DANK

Acrylic felt is pretty cheap, and if you can find the type made from recycled soda bottles, extra eco-hippie-surfer cred points for you. I also used basic embroidery thread and some poly stuffing. All can be found at any local craft store.

My supplies

Tracing the fin template

I went crazy cutting out shapes to sew on

Makin’ flowers

Adding in detail

Chain stitching the vines

I even added beads!

Blanket stitching the two sides together

I didn’t overstuff

I crocheted the edge and added a hang loop

Finished edge

Completed Stuffie!

So this is purely for fun, so I’m going to put it on the cool felt Lei I made for TikiMan a while back. It’s like a funky fresh headpiece:

Can you dig it???

I can see myself making a few of these little felt stuffies for kicks, especially in the afternoons since it’s been so freakin’ hot here. I mean, I did find an image on Pinterest that sums up Florida surfing perfectly…..

Do you think the wax is still good???

You put da Lime in da Coconut….

I’m not a drinker, but I wanted to take Harry Nilsson’s advice and see if a lime in the coconut would make me feel any better. Except I’ll do it Crafty Surf style.

We had a pile of bark that came off of the coconut palm in the backyard.

watermarked1(2018-05-11-0950)

Spring cleanup

Some of the innermost bark can be almost canvas-like, similar to a rough piece of papyrus, but a touch more supple. I thought, why not try and do some bead embroidery on it for kicks?

First, I soaked it in some soap (or Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wash works GREAT to disinfect beachy finds). I made sure do this, or critters might eat the work. Yummy.

watermarked2(2018-05-11-0950)

I selected a piece that was pliable, but had some density in the weave

I cut a nice sized rectangle of slightly damp bark material to work with. Using a very thin beading needle and fine nylon beading thread, I took glass seed beads and created a lime slice in freehand for kicks.

watermarked3(2018-05-11-0950)

Some of the supplies I used

watermarked4(2018-05-11-0950)

Making the first few test stitches

watermarked5(2018-05-11-0950)

Almost finished

watermarked6(2018-05-11-0950)

Beadwork complete!

The bark sewed surprisingly well, and wasn’t all that brittle. It helped working with it slightly damp, and I made sure there was plenty of space to work with. On the down side,  it sheds quite a bit after a while, so I didn’t want to make a lot of elaborate beadwork since handling it too long just shreds it. Also, the bark doesn’t allow for a lot of mistakes- once you’ve punctured it, ya done.

After I completed the lime slice, I tore away some of the edges of the bark to give the piece more texture. I tried not to tear too far…

watermarked7(2018-05-11-0950)-1

Neato

Done!

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear that song, I think of the only two good actresses from this movie:

img_1275

The one on the left will always be Rizzo, sorry

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.

9B452F7A-0652-4C06-9A47-5D52690E4AB0

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.

3F3F6F33-F0E1-45E9-8A28-F885F1EF5673

Stitching the inseam up to the mark

 

0106AB4E-B887-4A7E-A163-B2AC54E547BA

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.

E0F520A7-21BD-44A4-BC4B-175F731850AF

A71DDB0E-5D5F-4861-AB09-119F34506649

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.

52038699-75A6-423D-A60C-7D8D7A8C27FC

Stuff a little at a time

 

26876F3C-12D2-4332-BB0B-9250E0F56FAA

Handsewing the top shut

 

Done!

 

995DC1D9-A6B5-493D-9A67-E89CF4022C00

Husband calls it the Butt Pillow

0057AEAD-DD5A-4CB1-92E9-5D17DD4C8D39

Another I made for one of my BFFs

794D386C-E046-4043-B7E3-03C4D7F63C00

I like my Ass Pillow

 

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

 

5C4D05EA-7282-489A-84EC-D6072683801B

Yeah, hold da meat

 

 

Surfer Gifts: Holiday Surf Wax

I go through a lot of surf wax. I’ll totally admit that I’m not nimble enough to get away with a quick scrape of wax on my board before paddling out.

I took my heavy noserider out the other day and realized it was time to stop by Core Surf for some fresh wax. I picked up several bars of Warm Water blend Sticky Bumps, since our water temp has dropped into the mid-70’s. After reading Make Something Mondays’ post about Fall Scented Candles, I was inspired to make “Holiday” Scented Wax. I used Sticky Bumps since I’ve found it holds the added scent better than other brands of surf waxes in my opinion.

I thought this would make an excellent DIY surfer gift for the season, without spending a fortune.

If you look in any baking section of a craft or big box store, you’ll find a lot of silicone molds available these days. They’ve become quite affordable, and they are super handy if you like to customize your own surf wax. I really liked the shape of this mold, since it’s a handy shape to use when applying surf wax.

Use silicone molds to make it easier

First, I broke the original wax into pieces to fit into the molds. Three original Sticky Bumps bars were used to make six bars of scented wax. I popped the whole thing into the oven at around 175 degrees F for over twenty minutes. I didn’t want to boil the wax, just melt it gently. Don’t use the microwave, unless you like a gnarly mess, Bro-tato Chip.

The wax will melt into each mold shape


Once the wax was completely melted in each mold, I used some Lor-Ann baking oils in Apple and Orange, and also some real Vanilla extract. Only a few drops are necessary, but add as much as desired for optimal smelliness. 
Use a toothpick to stir in the oils evenly and minimize bubbles. The oil will settle to the top a bit, but that’s okay, it will be distributed as it’s applied on the surfboard.

Some oil has a little color, but it won’t be noticeable on the surfboard


Allow the wax to cool in the mold and harden fully before trying to remove it. Don’t put it in the freezer- that can create voids in the wax.

Stack o’ Wax: Apple, Orange, and Vanilla


Done! I got a little wooden crate at the craft store for a buck, and it really classes things up as a Christmas gift. I also used a cardboard punch to make tags out of the wax box, and strung it on with some hemp.

Surfer gift done.

A holiday gift that’s surfing related AND smells like food???

That’s righteous