Turtle Tracks Macrame Bracelet

Loggerhead Turtle

Here in Central Florida, it’s early sea turtle nesting season, so turtle tracks going up the beach can be seen in the mornings around the full moon. Turtles will lay their eggs in the sand towards the dune and cover them in sand. Then, they slip back into the ocean during the night, using the moonlight as a guide.

We are lucky to still have a few turtles left around here because our local conservation agencies do a fantastic job marking nests, so people won’t trample on them hopefully. Loggerhead turtles seem to be the most common off the coast of Brevard county, but I have seen a nice-sized rarer Kemp’s Ridley when I was out paddleboarding a few summers ago.

Check out the Sea Turtle Conservancy for info about sea turtles, and things you can do to help them to keep nesting for a little while longer.

Chaos happens when you leave lights on beachside

Like you could turn off your freakin’ condo lights if you live on the beach so it won’t confuse hatchlings navigating back into the ocean. The Condo Boogeyman’s not coming to take your pills, Grandpa- turn the damn balcony light off.

Anywho, since hatchlings should make tracks that go straight into the ocean, I made a fun Macrame bracelet using some basic knotting techniques that reminds me of a turtle egg and nice straight tracks. Check out the picture tutorial below, and use this knotting guide I made as a reference:

Macrame Knots Guide by Crafty Surf

Linhasita (or C-Lon cord) a flat cut cowrie shell, and some olivewood beads

Make a lark’s head knot though one side of the shell using about 2 yards of each color, folded in half

Use a T-Pin on foam or cork to keep your holding cord straight

Do 3 double half hitches across the green cord, doing 1 double half hitch on each color

Put a T-pin in and rotate the cord to the other direction and do the same knotting pattern, going back and forth

By using T-pins, I could keep the rows tight and straight across

Braiding the remainder, adding an olivewood bead, and making a secure knot. Now do the same on the other side of the shell!

Bringing both ends together to make a sliding adjustable knot

Making the adjustable knot by making a few square knots over both bracelet ends

Clip and melt the ends. Done!

This is always the “bracelet selfie” angle Pura Vida does

Please remember that sea turtles are not pets, Disney characters, and are not there for your fun-filled family entertainment. Please respect what tiny bit of space they have remaining.

This ain’t Disney, and you ain’t Snow White

Shell Jewelry Tips

At one time or another, every surfer (or aspiring surfer) worth their cred tries to make their own beachy shell jewelry. It IS part of our primal urge. In fact, some of the earliest known forms of adornment were pierced shells and teeth on handmade string.

But after an hour after the Upper Paleolithic Revolution has worn off within the surfer, then he or she usually gives up and buys it somewhere.

But if you have a flat day of surf, and you’re

I love Pauly Shore

feelin’ a bit like Encino Man, here’s three tips I’ve found helpful over time when making shell jewelry…

 

 

 

1. Go to a thrift store for shell beads and pendants first.

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A nice shell necklace I found, but it’s too chunky and sharp to wear comfortably as a necklace

I love shell jewelry, but the current shell industry has now over harvested and overbred many species for the trade. I’ll pass on that choice first.

I’ve found MUCH higher quality shell beads among thrift store and vintage finds over purchasing recently grown and cut varieties. I’d rather buy my shells at the better vintage quality whenever possible, rather than contributing even more to the over harvesting problem. It’s kind of how I feel about pearls. Bonus that you can still get a deal at a few thrift stores these days. For now. The beach is always the great option, of course, but you will be drilling these yourself and removing natural items from the beach.

2. Use nylon or wire to string shell beads.

When shells are drilled for sale as beads, rarely is the inside diameter perfectly smooth, unless you pay a premium.

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The drill holes are clean, but at odd angles

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Various types of stringing material I use with shells 

Common shell beads will cut most cotton, hemp, or poly thread like a Ginsu knife. So, get some decent stuff that won’t cut nor fray easily, or your ocean cred probably won’t last da Summer.

Or….I guess you could

Bizarro Hasselhoff

say you sliced that freshie shell anklet you made on a shark’s tooth while saving the Mayor’s kid from the deadly riptide, you Gnar Lifeguard????

You’re welcome.

3. Check your shells for sharp burrs, and file them down before stringing.

I was warned by a lapidary long ago to ALWAYS WEAR A MASK when filing, sanding, or drilling shells. Excellent advice. The calcium carbonate particles are easily inhaled- along with whatever fun stuff that shell has absorbed. Use a bit of water to minimize dust, and go outdoors for the task preferably.

Sharp edges and burrs can often be removed using a decent nail file from the drugstore, a bead reamer from the craft store, or a rotary drill. It’s best to do this BEFORE staring a piece most times. After the piece is finished, it’s difficult to sand some areas typically.

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Keep a supply of water nearby to keep the shell wet while sanding or drilling 

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Various pieces polished and drilled

Enjoy trying out all the types of natural shell, seed, and nut beads available. If you really hate doing it yourself, though, this is a good time to plug my Etsy store where I post my random surfy jewelry (including shells), as well as projects and art I like to do. Surprise. I have an Etsy store. I think it’s mandatory for crafters.

Anywho….shell jewelry is cool since it’s nice to have a reminder that there’s a great big ocean out there and we get to be a part of it, if only for a vacation. I mean, that’s one of the beautiful things about surfing, right? Right???

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I guess you could make a surfer necklace from your sacred gym key

Seed Bead Surfer Bracelet (Pura Vida style)

Even though it’s almost Halloween, it feels like Summer here in Central Florida. Honestly, I freakin’ love it. We all may have to move within the next few decades, but it’s balmy now, right? That’s all that matters, brah.

In that spirit, I made some summertime surfy seed bead bracelets like Pura Vida’s. Don’t get it twisted, I buy their stuff, support their cause, and I’m even a monthly club member, so I’m not trying to harsh their gig. But I will show you what Pura Vida uses and how they make them in case you wanted something different from time to time, or want to reuse those neato charms from that worn out PV bracelet you have now.

You’ll need:

  • Size 11/0 seed beads (find them at most craft stores)
  • C-Lon nylon thread (becoming easier to find in craft stores)
  • 2 Larger hole beads for stopper beads (optional)
  • Small Charm or PV charm from an old bracelet (optional)

C-Lon cord, 11-0 seed beads, and some sharp scissors

I used fun Halloween-esque colors for these, stringing different patterns on the C-Lon. I didn’t need a needle to string on the beads, the nylon thread is pretty stiff on its’ own.

No need for a needle

I usually string about 5 inches of seed beads on, then use an overhand knot on both ends to keep the beads from sliding off. 

Make a knot on each end so the beads won’t fall off

Don’t make these knots too tight against the beads, since another piece of C-Lon needs to be tied above each end knot. This will create three strands of C-Lon to braid with. If you wanted to add a charm here- like Pura Vida does- now is the time to do it, prior to braiding.

Tied a strand on above the knot to make three strands for braiding

I reused one of my Pura Vida charms for this anklet

Once you’ve finished braiding, slide on a stopper bead, and tie a double overhand stopper knot about 2-4 inches from each end, depending on the size you’re wanting.

Making a double overhand stopper knot

Use some contrasting color C-Lon thread to make a series of square knots to use for a slider knot to open and close the bracelet. This type of closure is NOT recommended for necklaces (strangulation hazard).

Go outside to singe the nylon thread ends

Singe all ends with a lighter (carefully- and OUTSIDE!) Done!

Made three bracelets and an anklet in a couple of hours

Yard’s overgrown

So, I guess I’ll enjoy this seemingly Endless Summer as long as it lasts. It stinks that all these pesky storms interfere with my I-Island Breeze…..no one has to know (no one has to know)….🎶

Taylor Swift just knows

Hurricane Bracelet

Here in Cocoa Beach, we’ll be getting another yearly dose of Hurricane Hunkerin’ with the next storm in line, Irma. Since I got a small shoulder injury while surfing on Friday, that puts me out of the lineup for any potential swell. Probably not a bad thing, since the current tracks aren’t conducive to a clean hurricane swell. For our area, at least. 
So, I’ll be watching Irma (and the one behind, yikes), and I’ll be beading in the meantime. I thought I’d make a little beaded bracelet pattern that can be whipped up fast and easy. Feel free to download the pattern, but if you do, make little a donation to RedCross.org please. The Red Cross helps many people year round all the time with their services, and they need extra support during large crises, like Harvey and Irma. Honor System, People!

Hurricane Bracelet Pattern PDF



My little design is based on Coastal Warning Signal Flags (NOAA Link). The Hurricane Warning flag is typically two red flags with a black square in them:

So, if you decide not to evacuate, this can be a fun craft to do while it pours rain. 

But, let’s be safe and make sure you have everything ready- there’s even a website for that too.

Everyone take care with this one- the Bermuda High looks like it’s not going to back down. Might be time to tuck-n-roll, since this looks like a closeout.

Never gets old

Recycled Fishing Line Bracelet

Here in the Cocoa Beach area, we are very fortunate to have an estuary system in our backyard. The Banana River (part of the Indian River Lagoon System), is a lovely place to paddleboard, since it’s scenic, protected from the wind, and flat water…. usually.

The Indian River Lagoon has an impact over a lot of area

Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes its’ value. I find trash, lawn chairs, and LOTS of fishing line whenever I go out to paddle. No exaggeration, sadly. I’ll recycle my finds, but if some of it is kinda interesting, I’ll keep it. Like this:

Thick line, must have been hunting HUGE fighting Marlin

There was about 14 inches of plastic fishing line between the hook and float, so that’s perfect for a couple of simple bracelets.

All I needed was:

  • the fishing line (be sure to clean it off, grody)
  • some crimp beads
  • some jump rings
  • a clasp
  • Size 8/0 Seed Beads (I used Miyuki 8/0’s, my favorite)
  • accent beads
  • crimp tool 

Getting my supplies together

I simply threaded a crimp bead onto the fishing line, then a jump ring or clasp, then looped the line back through the crimp bead. I took my crimp pliers, and crimped the loop closed.

Crimping the bead to keep the loop closed


Loop crimped closed

String your beads on in whatever pattern you like and finish with another loop like at the beginning. Just make sure one end has a clasp on it!

Done! With a seahorse charm


A little blue glass


Beachy stuff

It’s kinda nice to recycle something AND save cash on buying more crap from the craft store. I don’t think I’ll stick my hand into one of those fishing line recycling containers anytime soon to grab some, though. However, stuff out in the open (there’s plenty) is fair game. Hope y’all try this one with fishing line you might find out there….

DIY Mosquito Repellent Ankle Bracelet

It’s crazy hot here in Florida right now, and the mosquitoes are pretty brutal. After surfing, I like to garden and chillax outside, but the skeeters find me after about a hot second. Jellyfish stings don’t seem to bother me, but mutant Florida mosquito bites can itch seemingly forever.

I saw this post on The Renegade Seamstress showing how to make a pretty bracelet soaked in an essential oil mix to make a smelly deterrent for outdoor pests. Since I’m usually in boardshorts most days during the Summer, the critters bite me low around my feet and legs since they are also getting out of the breeze created by the patio fan. Really, the best place for a mosquito repellent for me is on my ankle.

I hate using hemp for macrame normally since it becomes featureless over time. But, it’s great for this purpose. Mid weight hemp twine (NO JUTE- that freakin’ hurts to wear on your skin) can be pretty absorbent. You can pick up a ball of hemp twine at most craft stores- even Wal-Mart carries this stuff cheap.

Hemp twine

I made a simple square knot sinnet (check out my post about macrame), with a toggle I made from FIMO clay:

Made it long enough for my ankle

Super easy

The Renegade Seamstress’ post has a recipe for the essential oil mix, but since I need a Nuclear Option, I filled a standard empty reusable prescription bottle and filled it with:

  • 3/4 full of Vodka (or, fill it full and drain off a bit…hehe)
  • Rest of the 1/4 with citrusy Essential Oils: Citronella, Lemongrass, Grapefruit blend

The potion makin’ stuff

Soak the anklet in the sauce

Save the mix to resoak the anklet again

Initially, I soaked it for a hour fully submerged, then took it out of the solution, shook it off, and put it on. It worked very well in my gardening space, and smelled nice to me, at least.

Smells better than feet

Once it’s out of the solution, it will dry pretty quickly, but will retain the smell well for about 45-60 minutes. When you come in, throw it back into the bottle again for the next use, even keep the whole thing in the car on the go. Reload as needed.

Floridian Tip:

Reload yourself with vodka as needed until the height of Hurricane Season. Then reload with rum and grilled food until Christmas.

DIY Costa Rica Style Surfer Bracelet

I grew up in Kentucky, so growing up in the surfing and beach lifestyle is something I’ll never understand. I still giggle at the “dude”, “brah”, “Yewwwww!”, and myriad other lingo thrown around. On top of that, you must know the correct things to wear, in and out of the water, the latest hot surfers on tour, AND where the best local sandbars are located during the full moon at high tide.
Yay! Surfing is fun! No wonder people find it a touch intimidating.

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Oh, ROXY, you make it look so easy…

I remember learning to surf in a bikini, like all the ROXY ads showed. Quickly, I started to put it together that surfing in bikinis only work if you are:

  • An experienced longboarder,
  • Skinny,
  • Surf tiny, sloping waves, OR
  • Have glue in your suntan lotion

Since at this point- being middle aged- I no longer sport a bikini, but it’s fun to be trendy sometimes to the surfiness. Even if it’s only for the Summer.

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I like the Pura Vida (meaning literally “Pure Life” in Spanish, but translates into more of a life concept) bracelets, which are popular with a lot of surfers. Duuuuuude. Their business model is that they provide jobs for Costa Ricans, and they also have charity bracelets that give a portion of sales to various groups, like Save the Orcas, Autism Awareness, and so on.
Most of their standard bracelets run $5.00 each. They’re made from a few strands of Linhasita cord (high quality waxed cord NOT in your standard craft store, but affordable). They also have a tiny charm. That’s a HUGE profit margin.
Please someone correct me, but as I’m aware, the company was started by ex-pats to employ Costa Ricans, but it is STILL a business first. The charity funds they disclose on their website total less than a million dollars. They’ve sold A LOT of five dollar bracelets. I have three- I’m kind of peeved that after more than 10 years no more than that has been donated to charity.
Then I remembered- the best way to give to charity is to give your time and money directly, not purchase stuff in the hope the business passes it along. The businesses end up looking like heroes, and you don’t really know where your money went.
Ok, I said all that to say this:
So you can free up real money to give to charity, here’s a much cheaper version of some surf cred for ya.
It took me a while to figure out that the company uses a special type of waxed cord called Linhasita. It holds up in water far better than hemp or regular waxed cotton, plus is EXTREMELY colorfast. It’s not very expensive, but I’ve never seen it at a chain craft store.
When I first ordered some, I got it from Etsy, but since it came from Guatemala it took three weeks and my cord was all tangled up from customs rifling through the package in transit. THAT’S why it was free shipping…..
Since then, I’ve ordered from Amazon, but I always check to make sure it says “Linhasita” cord. There’s also direct through their website, linhasita.com.
I studied my Pura Vida bracelets to see how they are constructed, and added my own spin.

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First, I wanted to incorporate a cowrie shell into the bracelet, and I had one that was cut so it had a flat back so it would lay flat against the wrist. I used several complimentary colors for the cord.
I measured out about 16 inches of cord, making 4 total lengths of cord. I cut the length in half, then took each half and folded those in half. I pinned these to my foam macrame board to make sure I had the lengths even.

 


Next, I looped one of the folded cord lengths from the back to the front of the cowrie shell, and did a lark’s head over to one side. I did this to the other side as well.

 


Next, I pinned the shell to the board, measured down one side about two inches down, and tied a square knot at that point. I did this on the other side.


I cut the green cord ends past the square knot and burned the end with a lighter, smashing the ends down into a little flattened end where the square knot doesn’t slip off. GO OUTSIDE to burn the cord if you do this. It’s smelly and bad for you to sniff. Duh.
I did this on both ends.

I pinned the bracelet back onto the foam board. I took the two cords used to square knot an end, and started twisting both in the same direction as the twist direction it’s already going in. Remember doing that with a string and a pencil during English class? Then the string wrapped back onto itself twisting the other way? That’s what I did. I twisted the two cords really tightly on their own, then by twisting them together in the opposite direction locks the cords. In spinning, this is called plying. A yarn can be 1 ply, 2 ply, and so on. I slipped a little seahorse charm onto one of the cords before plying it.

imageOf course, I did this to the other side, overlapped these cords, and made a few square knots to make a sliding knot closure like the other bracelets use. I used a short length of purple, then singed the ends off with my Thread Zap tool (outside!).

Here’s a side-by-side of my Pura Vida bracelets on the left, with the new one I made on the right.

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Originals on the left, my version on the right.

Here’s the same bracelet in fashion shoot mode….

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“So yeah, so bro, my gnar airs are improving after wearing this magic shell. I think it has, like, ocean powers and stuff. I think it keeps sharks away too, ya know?”