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

DIY Outdoor Patio Coasters

One of the best things about being a crafter is that there’s always something in the “job jar.” Since we had the recent hurricane, pushing us all indoors for a spell, it was a good time to knock out a few crafts. Now that the power’s come back on reliably, I can share some with y’all on here.

I figured my patio would be used often after the hurricane passed and left us without power, so I’ve been wanting to make some outdoor coasters that wouldn’t break. They also needed to absorb some condensate from iced drinks, and look kinda beachy also.

Hemp was a good choice for this since it’s a little sponge in a way, but dries out quickly outside in the Florida heat. Plus, they won’t break apart if I drop them on my pavers. Bonus.

I also wanted some color, but color dyed hemp can fade unevenly. To add color subtly and to minimize uneven fading, I decided to crochet a strand of one color of super colorfast Linhasita macrame thread in with my hemp, with a contrasting color on the outer circle. I chose colors to complement my Surf Tee Pillows.

Burgundy, Yellow, and Purple fiesta siesta

All this pattern is, is one big circle made with single crochets (triple quadruple axel crochet for the Brits..hehe). Soooo frickin’ easy, even I got-r-done!

Get da free .PDF pattern here—> 

Outdoor Patio Coasters


No more drippy condensate!

I made these oversized, since I drink A LOT of Diet Coke. When the local convenience stores start to reopen, I’m back to my large fountain drinks, so I need a coaster that can handle the load…..

This was sooo me before Hurricane Irma

Shell Sanding and Polishing (More Gilding the Lily)

Since I’ve been having fun with the Dremel tool,

The hole was natural!

I decided to grind a shell I’ve had in my collection that’s not all that stunning. But, it’s a good candidate to paint into a neato necklace pendant since it’s already bleached a simple white.
In this case, I focused on sanding the INSIDE of the shell. I didn’t want to lose the nice outside ridges, but I wanted to paint the inside concave area. To do this, I needed to get rid of some of the imperfections.

I needed to make the inside smooth if I wanted to paint it

Now, we need to talk safety equipment. Anytime you are drilling, sanding, etc. with shells or sea glass, PLEASE wear:

  • Safety Glasses/Goggles
  • Mask (You do NOT want to breathe in any particles)
  • Gloves (again, particulate is not fun)

Also, I use water on my piece only while sanding and buffing it. Do not place the Dremel into the water. 

My equipment


Dipping the shell in water before sanding


I used a 150 grit sanding drum first, then the buffer

After I finished sanding and buffing (which took around 10 minutes), I rinsed and dried the shell off throughly.
Next, I put 3 coats of varnish over the entire shell before painting it. This will improve the shell’s surface for taking paint.

I love this varnish- a little goes a long way

After everything’s dried, I was ready to move on to the next stage. BeDazzling the shell….

I think this is an excellent use of time.

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.

Maori Hook Loop Wrap and Cord

I’m an avid collector of Maori style hooks (matau), wood or bone, and general hook, tiki, or ocean life motifs. I actually wear mine often, and in the surf, so I need to know how to re-wrap my mataus with waxed cotton or nylon after a few years of regular use or hanging for display. Metal jump rings just won’t do.

imageCase in point, I have a hook I got recently from a friend who does AMAZING work, Captain Steve Bowman (Da Bonz Carver). He made this hook out of old surfboard resin from a local glasser. He wrapped it with black waxed cord, but I wanted something a bit brighter, like a pink, since the resin is so happy and colorful. The cord was also black, and the toggle was a button of resin to match the hook. The resin design idea of his was totally awesome, though!

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I trimmed off the black wrap to expose the carved hook neck. Next, I’ll measure out 3/4 to 1 yard of Linahasita cord thread on a needle. With the matau hook front facing me, I’ll kept a tail of Linahasita down and behind, came through the round top hole, and left a little loop space for a cord to pass through. I used the needle to pass the thread back through the hole to the front.

While holding the tail behind the matau hook neck, I started wrapping the cord going right to left, starting the wrap IN THE FRONT.

When I made as many wraps as I wanted, I turned the matau hook to the back and used the needle to go back up through the wraps. On the back, I had one cord end coming up out the top, and one out the bottom. I used my “Thread Zap” point heat element tool to seal the waxed cord.

Once the ends were sealed, the hook was ready for a cord. I wanted to make one that imagewas a bit different than most of my hemp colored roundish rope I have on a lot of my necklaces. I thought a color combo of cords that reflected some of the colors in the hook’s resin would be fun.

imageI decided to use a muted blue and rose together. I knotted the two 1 yard lengths of cords together and threaded on the button toggle. Once the knot’s in place, I used my Thread Zap again to melt the knot and to cut the excess Linhasita cord. You can see that the pattern I used was a lark’s head knot on one cord, then one on the other.

Once I got about halfway through the knotting (which was about 8 inches since I was making a choker) I slid on the matau hook. Once I got to the end, I knotted a bit more to make a loop that would let the toggle button pass through. Then, I made about two tight square knots joining the two ends together. Again, I sealed these ends off with my Thread Zapper and took the excess off.

There! It’s finished! One of my flashier ones- very hippie, I think. Now I need to make a proper place to hang all these treasured carvings… Hmmmmm….

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?”