Painting on Tagua Nuts

In my last post, I was carving some Tagua palm nuts to make some neato pieces. Like wood, Tagua nuts can be painted to artsy up a piece even more. I had cut a nice thick piece, and drilled a top hole to hang the slice as a pendant.

Sanded and ready to paint

For this project, I used my acrylic paint pens that I’ve used on my surfboards before. Small paintbrushes and toothpicks come in handy for detail painting too.

The brush on varnish I like to use with the acrylic paint pens I like

The important part is the varnish, though. Tagua is cellulose, so if you want your d’art to stay sharp and not bleed into the nut, put on a couple of thin coats on the surface before you start your creation. I sealed the entire slice before painting.

Once it’s completely dry, I can start painting whatever I want, building up color slowly.

Keeping just an accent

Happy little daisies

I made sure the acrylic paint was completely dry before painting two more thin coats of varnish to seal the piece.

I use my disposable contact lens containers for paint and varnish

I used some yellow Linhasita cord and some olivewood beads to finish this piece off into a necklace:

Happy and bright

Super easy, super fun, and if you hate what you painted, get out the sandpaper and start over. Hopefully the Tagua slice was cut thick enough.

I certainly got comfortable with sanding (not REALLY my arm, just a meme, haha!)….

Dude should’ve waxed before sanding

DIY Surfer Girl Necklace or Wrist Wrap

Sometimes people think of crochet as only hats, scarves, and shawls. Yawn. There’s always fun stuff to make with crochet that doesn’t have to turn out fuzzy and hot, it can even come out beachy and summery.

Bowling a perfect strike

That’s good for here in Central Florida, since it’s already getting up into the 90’s. Hurricanes, anyone?

I used my favorite macrame thread in the world- Linhasita– which is essentially nice waxed nylon cord for this project. I also prestrung all of the beads I wanted to use onto the spool of thread. I used these cool wooden beads from Hawaii (no, someone brought them to me from there- boo…) and various glass E beads, but I needed to decide on my pattern BEFORE beginning to crochet with the beads.

My supplies

Using a 2.5 mm crochet hook, I made a chain of 6 tight chain stitches, strung on a wood bead or group of glass beads, made a loop around them, then repeated the pattern for all the beads.

Chain 6, add some beads. Cooler than a scarf

I ended the necklace with a small loop tied off and melted and sealed using a lighter (outside!) since this is waxed nylon. The other end is a blue recycled glass button as a toggle, so it can also be worn as a wrap bracelet. It makes nice beach wear, since the wood beads are light, and the crochet loops make a lightweight cord.

The blue glass disk is the toggle closure

This is something boho-hippie stylin’ and fun to make using the most fundamental of crochet stitches. And it’s wearable when it’s 100 degrees outside.

Hey, I could have shown you how to crochet something else Ocean themed that’s a lot worse…

Just Surfer Girly Things

Since it’s almost the official start of Summer, I figured it’s a good time to share my honest opinion about Surfer Girl related stuff out there in SurfyLand that I’ve personally purchased and/or tried recently. As always, y’all know I’m not sponsored, a “rep”, nor am I worthy of touching Kelly Slater’s bald head. Just an average surfer chick with some info for ya.

N-Joy!

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LOVE: Costa Bikinis

I recently decided to try this company’s swimwear since I really admire some of their team surfers like Keala Kennelly from Hawaii, and Kaydi Archer, who is an extremely charitable and talented local surfer lady who is VERY active with Surfers for Autism. Plus, their suits are made in Spain. You know, I went to a Tapas Restaurant once, so I’m an expert about Spain.

They have a sale going right now, so I picked up 4 pieces for $80 with free shipping. It took a while to receive my package, but the wait was worth it. Reversible construction, nice prints, comfortable to wear, and stays in place when I’m surfing- I’m sold. I can see paying full price for one of these instead of a poorly manufactured, pricier Roxy suit.

Their online shopping area was difficult to use on a mobile platform, however, so I hope that gets worked out soon. As far as sizing- if you’ve got some interesting curves, go for the next size up from your normal size. I was glad I did. On Instagram, they put “costafriends” as a 15% off coupon code- I’m assuming that’s open use, and not a one time only deal, but I can’t confirm.

LOVE: Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear Nail Polish

This is my #1 recommendation to all surfer girls who paint their nails or toenails. This particular line has been the ONLY nail polish that will stay on my toenails for a hot minute when I surf. I’ve tried OPI, Essie, Chanel, etc., and none hold a candle to this bargain. I can take the bits of wax stuck to my toes after a sesh, and the polish still stays intact underneath. Even after knee paddling, duckdiving, Rickrolling, etc. this polish can last me almost a week of surfing every day, and still look halfway decent afterwards. Amazeballs.

The best part is you can find it at the drugstore for cheap. Yeah, there’s not a huge selection of colors usually. Get over it. Just stick with lighter shades, use the matching clear topcoat, and stick to only 1 coat of each. Even makes my funky feet look passable. Don’t ever stare at your feet too long….trippy……

LIKE: Sun Bum Deep Conditioning Masque

This is the only time of year I’ll pick this up, since it seems to help with the summer heat and saltwater that dry out my hair. Honestly, I really dig the beachy smell of the conditioner, but it sucked 20 bucks out of the Surf Trip Fund.

This is great to use every Monday morning before work, so you can think of the beach and “bum” yourself out even more when you’re at your desk. Nice.

LIKE: Sand Cloud Towels

I finally broke down and ordered one of these towels. They are expensive for a beach towel (I ended up paying around $40 for mine total), but they are nicely woven and shockingly light.

The first time I used it was to watch a rocket launch on the beach. At first, I wasn’t too jazzed about the braided knotted tassels that finish off each side, but they seem to give the towel a little weight against a windy beach which was a nice bonus.

Mine seems to wash well in warm water even though the tag says hand wash only. Yeah, right. Make sure to use a 25% off coupon when you buy a towel online- it usually consists of a girl’s name (they’ve got loads of “reps”) and the number 25 (example: JANE25, MARY25). Check a coupon code site for one if that doesn’t work.

MEH: Pura Vida Bracelets

Ever since Pura Vida was found to be manufacturing their bracelets in other countries outside of Costa Rica (the whole basis of their sales pitch), they’ve sure had some backpedaling to do (read the Mia Culpa here). So with that, I’ve just been making my own, or opting for 4Ocean Bracelets this summer.

MEH: Rip Curl G-Bomb Front Zip Jacket

I was so disappointed about this one. When I first tried it on, I noticed I had to go waaay up in size compared to other brands, and it was still a bit difficult to get on and off, but the half front zipper’s teeth were covered well (protects from the surf wax). I really wanted that feature, and I was having a tough time finding it on other vests, especially on front full zip jackets.

If only this vest had a slightly larger chest circumference and a full chest zip like a true jacket did. Boo. Instead, I guess we’re supposed to pull our zippers down a little and let the tight torso give us cleavage whilst surfing like a pro, like freakin’ young Alana Blanchard. Mmmkay.

You know, if I ever make a surf wear brand, I’ll call it “Surf Cougar,” for all of us older surf chicks out there who haven’t totally blown out a knee or hip quite yet. Hey, it takes a certain degree of confidence to keep on surfing into the sunset. No apologies, brah.

Binding and Wrapping a Shell Slice

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of purchasing shells, but I will take the exception once in

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Beautiful, but endangered

while if I see something cool at a bead store or at a gem and bead show. Shells have been sold and traded for use in jewelry and adornments throughout our history, so I don’t think selling shells is going away anytime soon. I just like to avoid endangered ones.

I picked up a neato Mitra shell that was cut lengthwise to show the spiral inside the shell. The Mitra Sea Snail is common, but the shell is quite beautiful and unique when polished to show off the patterns and the inside structure.

I thought it would be cool to wrap it similar to how I would wrap and secure a Matau hook style pendant necklace over a cord to stabilize it.

First, I hand braided a Kumihimo cord for the shell pendant using waxed Linhasita thread.

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A simple 4 strand braid with a knotted toggle

Next, I used a little more of the waxed nylon thread to make a series of several half hitch knots over the center of the necklace cord AND over and through one of the voids in the sliced shell to hold both together. I singed and melted the ends of the binding using a Zap-It tool, or you can use a lighter (carefully- and outside!). The knots can still slide along the cord, but the cut edge of the shell can wear on the threads over time, so I like to keep the wrap centered typically. This is another excellent reason to use waxed nylon cord for this type of project.

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The ridge of half hitch knots is on the top side

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It took about 8 half hitches to ensure the shell was securely bound to the cord

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I’m Queen of the MerPeople, you noob

I think it makes a cool surfy necklace, and a little different from the conventional. And NO, I’m not trying to appropriate anyone’s culture- don’t get up in my face about it….

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Hang up the phone. NOW, Princess.

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

Jan Brady’s Lucky Tiki Necklace

So, I hope you’ll agree with me that the best trilogy ever made wasn’t Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, but The Brady Bunch Hawaii Triology.

Greg’s da MAN at EVERYTHING that’s HOT

The thrilling storyline surrounds a big ass tiki necklace

I think Bobby always had adjustment issues

that Bobby finds at his Architect Dad’s construction site, but this necklace proves to be “bad luck” for the wearer. No doubt. It looks like they’re wearing a brick.

img_9315Jan Brady, usually the unluckiest of the clan, never gets a turn with this unfortunate soap-on-a-rope tiki necklace. So here’s my smaller, more feminine, and luckier tribute to Jan that can be worn in the surf or shower with no worries about rust. And you won’t bust your hip at hula either….just sayin’…..Alice…..

Did she still have to cook while on vacation?

I got this bone carved tiki man down in Key Largo years ago at a bead store that has sadly closed. For this necklace, I’m using the cord I made in my last post, a 4 strand braid.

I had a few flat disk toggles to choose from: a flat drilled bone disk, recycled glass, and a polymer clay one I made myself. I decided on the bone one for this project.

Bone, recycled glass, and polymer clay toggles

Next, I ran the end of the cord through the toggle and made a stopper knot:

After trimming off the excess, I singed the end with a lighter since this was made with nylon cord (do this outside- it’s smelly).

Melted the knot to secure

Next, I measured out how long I wanted the necklace (16 inches) plus an inch and 1/2 to make a loop for the toggle closure.

Doing the wrapping with nylon thread

Using C-Lon thread, I used a nautical knotting technique called whipping to finish the loop. Whipping takes some patience- especially when it’s with thread, so it good to practice a lot.

Whipping completed

After I trimmed the ends, I made sure to melt those ends as well to secure. Use a dab of jeweler’s glue if using other materials (double check for compatibility).

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Waterproof toggle complete

I wanted to secure the tiki man right in the center of the necklace, so I used the black C-Lon thread again to make a stitch into the braided cord and start looping over the cord and through the top angled hole of the tiki. I used a small knitting needle to leave some space between the cord and the top of the pendant.

Wrapping the thread around the cord

After removing the knitting needle, I did more whipping and made a vertical post, giving it extra security. I trimmed the ends and singed them with the lighter.

Whipping the post

Done!

Part of wants to me wants to wear it, but part of me is scared I might see this guy if I do….

Vincent Price was in this trilogy and made it SUPER creepy too. Remember him???

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