Surf Kit on a Rope

I’m always into anything that can avoid a ruined surf session. And honestly, most surfy accessories and gear can be DIY’d. Always a good thing, right Martha?

So here’s an easy, cheap DIY in case those Carbon/Kevlar/Titanium/Plutonium fins get busted out by your shred style, brah.

So, you’ll need:

  • Sculpey III, or Premo! Modeling Clay (the clay needs to be a bit on the soft side, unlike a FIMO type clay)
  • A blade to cut the clay
  • Thin Paracord
  • Toothpicks or a heavy duty needle
  • Fin screws
  • Fin Key

Most of these items can be picked up at a craft store, with the exception of the Fin Screws and Key, of course.

I cut off a bit of clay from the block and rolled it into a thick tube. My polymer clay modeling skills are terrible these days, but I’m going for function, not style, like these guys:

I cut off the ends, then screwed one of the fin screws into each end of the approximately 1.5 inch long cylinder using the fin key. I did this when the clay was soft and left them in, even while baking. To screw these in soft clay, go slowly, and apply light pressure. Don’t screw past the top of the cylinder! This is why I hate hard, crumbly clay for this project.

Don’t worry. The screws won’t come out after baking unless you unscrew them using a Fin Key.

In the center, I used my needle to make 2 toggle holes for the Paracord to go through later:

I placed the clay on a silicone sheet and put it in my home oven at 230 degrees F for 80 minutes to ensure it baked throughout the clay.

After it was cooled completely, I didn’t need to do anything to the piece. Since it’s a type of plastic, there’s no need for sealants, and it’s waterproof. You can sand the piece, but I’m still going for function.

I threaded the Paracord through the holes, made a Lark’s Head Knot over the fin key, knotted the ends together, and now I’ve got three handy item types in one:

  • Fin Key
  • Fin Screws
  • Leash Loop (or multiple, depending on how much Paracord you use)

Yes, it screws another one right back in, so you can put replacements on since the threads on one company’s fin system generally stays the same, which in most of my boards is FCS.

You can take this with you anywhere, just be careful making it a necklace to wear while you surf. If it’s too long, it can come up and smack you in da face.

Could happen. To me.

Pearl Knotting

As a crafter who likes ocean related stuff, I’ve always been drawn to the natural look of pearls. It’s got to be the “Little Mermaid” fantasy, with the mermaid chick sporting her shimmering green tail, shell pink bra, and always present choker of pearls.

You’ll never unsee this


Pearls are the only gemstone created by an animal, usually a type of oyster (saltwater pearls) or mussel (freshwater pearls). On the Mohs’ Hardness Scale, the pearl rates about 3.5 (can be scratched with a coin), so it’s fairly soft in comparison to other gems. Because of this, pearls are most commonly used in necklaces, as opposed to rings or bracelets, which must be able to endure harsher wear.

For many beaders like myself, freshwater pearls can be affordable to use in projects. They make nice, beachy looking jewelry as well. Cultured freshwater pearls tend to be a little more misshapen since they are almost entirely made up of nacre with a very small starter seed at its’ center. Cultured saltwater pearls, however, tend to be a thinner, more uniform veneer of nacre over a much larger starter seed inserted into the bivalve. The Wikipedia on cultured freshwater pearls is very interesting, and worth a read.

I used dyed cultured freshwater pearls in this necklace

I’ve been pearl knotting for years, and it’s a nice skill to learn, albeit very tricky. Pearls strung on silk need to be restrung about every decade (depending on wear), so knowing how to CAREFULLY string and knot delicate pearls can be a nice side gig. Here’s a great tutorial on the proper way to restring and knot pearls well. Pearls are usually knotted to prevent them from rubbing against each other and losing their luster. With knotting, it’s practice, practice, practice. Because of the soft nature of pearls, you have to become a patient knotter….and unknotter. It can feel a little surgical at times.

Tip: Knotting using thicker cord and big, cheap plastic beads at first will help you get a feel for how everything should lay and look before you try it on tiny, delicate pearls!
Personally, I like to use nylon cord for stringing and knotting instead of silk (unless I’m restoring a piece) because it’s far more durable and has less stretch over time. You can buy small cards of nylon or silk with needles already attached, which means you don’t need to double your thread. Bonus. There’s also a few knotting tools which help greatly as well.

By mixing colors, and spacing the pearl grouping an inch apart, it made the necklace more beachy, and less stuffy

 
Handmade cultured freshwater pearl necklaces can be wearable and casual enough for everyday if you design them with a few things in mind:

  • Use pearls with irregular shapes for an organic look.
  • Avoid using all white pearls unless you’re channeling Donna Reed.
  • The greater spacing between pearls, the more casual the piece appears.
  • Combine multiple sizes and colors of pearls to avoid a standardized appearance.
  • Use contrasting or coordinating color knotting cord to accentuate the pearls.

Tree ornament

Try out your hand at this skill and get your inner Mermaid on….

I’m in it for the Dinglehoppers

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

DIY Cork Display Ladder for Matau Carved Necklaces

I’ve become a collector of Maori-style carved pendants, mostly Hei Matau. I’ve even expanded my collection beyond the traditional fish hooks, and a local Cocoa Beach artist (Capt. Steve Bowman) has made me several sea life pieces that I adore.

My first Hei Matau (Left), my favorite carved pendant, Seadragon (right)


Problem is, I really have no good way to display them nor store them currently (I’m constantly wearing them and switching them out) and it’s been bugging me.
I was out at my local discount store and found this cork trivet that I thought would work perfectly as a necklace ladder. It would keep the pendants from banging against the wall, they could be easily accessible, and I can SEE them. Perfect. All for 4 bucks in the clearance bin. Score.

Craft cork can be expensive, so the Kitchen wares department is a great place to look

I cut the connecting jute cord and separated the cork tubes, which were already pre-drilled. Of course, I’ve seen these type of tubes at the craft store, so you could make your own with a small rotary drill.

Any leftovers can be used for leash loops on your surfboards!

Simple overhand stopper knots to make rings, spaced out about two inches

 
I re-threaded the tubes with doubled #90 paracord, with a simple overhand knot on each side of each “rung” as a stopper. I used about 2 lengths of 2 yards to make the ladder.

Adjust the knots to even up spacing

Make sure to burn and melt any ends or they’ll fray

 
Done! And it fits perfectly between the closet doors. I just used simple wooden tacks to hang up each necklace.

Done!

Much easier to get to….

Gotta take care of the surf cred like this since I don’t have surf tattoos, only the surfy jewelry. Yeah, I know I need to step up the surf cred game, but wetsuit season is coming. I can just PRETEND I’m covered in gnar surf tattoos, and no one can really know.

Psych out, brah.

This wins for most gnar surf tattoo

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.

Sea Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In my last post, I practiced polishing a Sea Heart sea bean. Now that it’s finished, I wanted to be

The Sea Heart I polished last time

able to wear it, but I didn’t want to drill into it or paint it. This will keep the piece as natural as possible.

To make my necklace, I used a macrame technique called Bezeling. The sea bean is thick, so I needed to make sure the bezel wrap would hold the sea heart securely. To make my ladder, I used two strands of light tan Linhasita macrame cord spaced 1 inch apart. For the alternating lark’s head knots, I used a dark green color strand.

I used a macrame foam board and lots of t-pins to keep things straight

Close up of the lark’s head ladder in work

I had measured the circumference of the sea heart to estimate the length of my ladder. I erred on the short side so I can “stretch” it over the edges of the sea bean to secure it using a bit of tension. I tied the ends together using a few square knots, and I melted the ends of the excess cord with a lighter (please use it outside- it’s a smelly process).

Tying the ends up around the bean- this was quite tricky

I singed the ends, leaving just two long strands to use for my necklace

Next, I used the 2 long cords remaining to make my necklace. I tied on 2 dark brown pieces to each light tan cord, and made a half hitch sinnet for a few inches, then braided the rest to the end. I did the same with the other side.

One side of the necklace

Completing each side of the necklace with a braid

For clasps, I used a carved tagua nut hook set that was drilled vertically, so I could thread the cord into each hook, and knot the ends off. This method doesn’t require any glue, but I did singe and melt the cord ends.

Tagua nut clasp

Finished necklace

With this very basic type of bezel wrap around my bean, it’s pretty secure. However, I’m probably not going to wear it while surfing though, just to make sure it doesn’t pop out. It is totally waterproof, however. Gnar.

That model needs a LOT of photoshop…..

I think it looks really cool, but it is a LARGE piece, so maybe only on special beachy occasions. Otherwise, you can call me Flava Flav of Cocoa Beach. Boiiiiiiiiiii.

My Hero.

No Sew DIY Bikini Top Conversion

Like a lot of surfers (really, people in general), I won’t pass up a chance to score something I need at a reasonable price.

I run through swimwear like water since I try to be surfing or paddleboarding as much as possible. A while back, I had picked this bikini top up at a local swimwear shop in Cocoa Beach called Mar Chiquita. It was in the clearance bin for only $5, locally made here in CB, and PURPLE. I’m sold.

The only thing that bothered me is how it tied. I am not a huge fan of the neck tie, the knots, and all the extra tie string leftover. I’d like to make it into an over each shoulder style, meeting in the back. I’ll make this fitted for me and something I’ll put on over my head (no clasps).

Just not a huge fan of this configuration

Now, if you do not have a dress form like in the pics, get a trusted friend or significant other to help you either mark where you want your knots. You can also have that person make the following knots while it’s on your body as well to ensure proper fit. Here’s how I did mine on my own.

I want the straps to go over each shoulder

Pinning everything in the correct placement

I made a square knot using the side ties to tie everything together

By using a square knot instead of the bow tie knot that was used previously, it’s so much more comfortable on my back.

Now, I’m going to get rid of the excess ties and secure the bundle into a little tassel. This part really doesn’t require sewing, since you just wrap the ends together several times with matching polyester thread, then knot it off to secure. You really don’t even need a needle.

Getting ready to wrap the tassel

Tassel wrapped

Done!!!

Back

Front

Now, this doesn’t mean anyone will see my fresh n’ fly knotting job on my bikini, since I almost always wear a rashguard. I mean, yeah, sun protection is great, but I wipeout I lot, and no one needs to see my boobs.

How I roll