Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash DIY

We’re starting to get an early Spring here in Central Florida with temps up into the 80’s. We may get La Niña patterns-a-comin’ soon (means worse hurricanes for us in the Atlantic), but it’s WARM.

And that makes my inner Chris Farley dance like the El Niño king.

I would wear this

So in celebration, I decided to come up with an end of season wetsuit cleaning routine and try it on the ripest suit I could find….

There’s a lot of Neoprene here

This suit was given to me by a kind friend for scrap material, BUT, it’s 10 years old! Sorry, but before I would even touch it with a 10 foot pole for a project, it needs a DEEP clean. Bleach is the best option, but the chemicals in traditional bleach are harmful in so many ways, especially to the environment. Also, cleaning sports gear with regular detergent is a no-no if you want to make it last and avoid breaking down the material.

I’ve read that Oxygen Bleach is a good alternative to regular bleach in many cases, and can be easy enough to make yourself. The key ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, usually added to a carbonate. For this, I’m using Washing Soda, which is more effective than Baking Soda in this combo. Washing Soda can be found in the laundry aisle too, along with standard detergents. Just keep ’em separated, and they’ll last ya a while. Hint: you can use these for other things, not just wetsuits.

You don’t need much

Procedure:

This required my trusty 5 gallon utility bucket, cleaned and ready for use- outside. Although many instructions will say oxygen bleach will work in all temperatures, adding a bit of hot water doesn’t hurt to help along the reaction, which is a slow chemical process.

I began by filling the clean bucket partially with hot (or not) water. Now I was ready to start adding the ingredients, measured for use with approximately 3-4 gallons of water. Do not use more- a dab a’ do ya, brah, don’t over chemical things, man.

Wetsuit Wash (Dilute in 3-4 gallons of water, mix well):

  • 1 teaspoon Washing Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Hydrogen Peroxide (most stores only sell 3% to 5%, that’s all you need)

To stir, use a stick or handle, not your hands- it is bleach, yo. I used a broom handle. Allow the mixture to react for about 5 minutes BEFORE putting the suit in- the solution will get a little milky colored like mine did.

Make sure you stir the mixture for a few minutes before anything goes in

I put the suit in (with the broom handle since it’s grody), stirred it around, dunked it with it stick, and then let the suit sit in the mixture 24 hours, stirring it a few more times at the beginning of the process. Be sure to cover it if you leave it outside- I put a lid on mine to prevent any animals from drinking from it since I left it overnight.

 

The reaction is fully completed after 12 hours or so, so the mixture is inactive, and can be tossed out safely. Yay.

img_9062

I made sure to rinse the suit REALLY WELL afterwards- this is important! You don’t want any white powdery crud to remain on the suit.

BUT…if your suit is x-tra freakin nasty…..

Fill your rinse bucket back up with clean water, and add a few drops of pure Pine Oil. Pine Oil is a very effective disinfectant, and only a few drops are needed to make a quick rinse dip for your suit. Be sure to rinse it once more afterwards.

I hung the suit up on my HangAir dryer in my garage to dry, and it smells so much better and fresher. The inner lining didn’t lose any color either.

Smellin’ PHRESH 

So no, I can’t bottle this up and sell it, but if I did, I’d totally name it Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash. “Gnar Pro” gives it the surfer cred, but “Mr. Belvedere” makes it classy to be clean, yo.

It’s all about the marketing.

It’s sorta effective 

What do you think Mr. Wonderful???

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

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

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.

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.