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

Restocking my Cheez-It and Diet Coke Supply

So I was up at the Publix this AM with the rest of the Barrier Island getting Hurricane supplies like Diet Coke, Cheez-its, and some fruit and veggies (hubby’s got to eat too). After all the coverage from Harvey, you’d think this is the freakin’ end. I mean, this is FLORIDA. We deal with rogue pythons and flesh eating lake bacteria. We have Florida Man. We’ll be alright.

Personally, I like Diet Coke, yo

With all this news coverage, I’m really getting in the mood to watch The Day After Tommorrow. Corny movie, but still a guilty

Holy Schnikes


pleasure for someone into Oceanography like me. With the storm Jose forming behind this one, it reminds me of that radar scene where all the hurricanes converge together. Horrible, horrible, horrible.
But SO GNAR
As a surfer, I think it’s funny to hear people ask if the waves are going to be good ahead of this hurricane. Ummm….not this one. Surfers like their ‘canes out in the ocean a bit, away from land, pumping in those nice swells to create beautiful, rideable, glassy waves with light, gentle offshore wind. I’m afraid this storm will only provide training footage for the Coast Guard. Boo.

Sandy was a good swell here in Cocoa Beach

 
We shall see if Irma will move off into the North Atlantic, leaving a nice swell behind, or if it just leaves us with a bunch of cleanup.

I foresee some beach trash crafts a-comin’, since hurricanes always bring in the wackiest and most interesting items to our shores, good and bad.

Oh, I snapped this pic by City Hall on the way back from the grocery. I wonder how many people will show up this weekend? I’ll bring the hibachi and rum out to da beach.

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

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.

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.

Sea Heart Sea Bean Polishing (aka Gilding the Lily)

We’re already 3 letters deep into Hurricane Season 2017, and many are anxiously awaiting our first hurricane swell out here on the East Coast. Usually, it seems to start churning about August, but there have been a few years where we got an early sneak peek of the Atlantic’s coming swells.

I have sworn off Hurricane surf since the Bertha swell a few years back, after a not-so-fun air drop I had on a wave that was too big for my ability that day. So instead of gearing up for gnarly surf as if I was a teenager with pliable bones, I get into finding stuff that washes in with the storms.

Just a taste of my collection of “treasures”

One of my favorite things to collect are sea beans, especially sea hearts (Entada gigas). Sea hearts are seeds of the Monkey Ladder, a vine that grows in tropical zones in the Caribbean and Central America. Sea heart beans come from the World’s Largest Seed Pod on record- some pods can grow up to six feet!

Sea hearts have been considered lucky, and their ability to be carved and polished like wood have lent to the popularity of it’s use as ornamentation. I wanted to polish one of my sea hearts, just to try it out. Honestly, I think they look just as beautiful in their natural condition, having traveled thousands of miles in the ocean. “Gilding the Lily” sprang to mind as I worked on this little project to remove all that exterior.

Unpolished sea heart

I used a Dremel tool for this project. Some people might put their beans in a rock tumbler to polish them, but I’m going with what I already have.

Sanding drum on a bit- 150 grit

The main goal is to sand off the outermost shiny layer of the bean. This part took about 15 minutes with the Dremel bit, but the result was a very dull bean.

After sanding with 150

The inclusions are gone, but it’s not nearly shiny as before.

Next, for kicks, I used the felt polishing wheel bit on its’ own to buff it up a bit.

After polishing with just the felt

It did get a little shinier, but to help it out I added some polishing compound (jeweler’s rouge) to the felt wheel. Much better result, but it does have a crayon aroma to it…

This rouge Polishing compound came in the Dremel Polishing Kit

Big improvement with the compound

I probably spent about 10 minutes buffing the sea heart with the compound. I was happy with the result.

Unpolished sea heart (left), polished sea heart (right)

You can seal the sea heart with lacquer if you want, especially if you wanted to paint on it. I would recommend sealing it with at least one coat before trying to paint on them, since the bean can be a little porous and do funky things to the paint job.

In my next post, I’m going to show off the polished sea bean using macrame techniques- no drilling, painting or wire work required.

In the meantime, here’s Mr. Bean….

I’m doing this on A1A someday

Hurricane Soap Recipe (Hot Water Surf Wax DIY)

It’s been so hot here in Central Florida, we’re probably going to get whacked with a hurricane once the Saharan dust storms settle down. A lot of meteorological happenins’. Yikes. Before I learned to surf, I thought surfers were hurriedly cleaning their boards on the beach before going out in the hurricane swell. Now I giggle when I think about wax as “Hurricane Soap” for your surfboard.

I’ve been told my mind only gets worse from here. Boo.

Even my “Tropical” surf wax has been melting off my board onto my arm while I’m in the water, it’s just that stinking hot. The air is about 95ish degrees F, and the water is around 88 degrees F, which is extremely warm, almost uncomfortable.

I lent my 6’10” to a friend for a while, so I’m riding my 7’6″ Town & Country Stu Sharpe fun shape. I love this board, not just because it was my first board, but it’s really fun on the right day. Luckily for me, we’ve had some fun waves this week, so I’ve been taking it out. The down side is that it has a pretty purple paint job with a gloss coat, which doesn’t help wax stay on the board very well when surfing the gates of hell. D’oh.

imageI thought back to my old post three years ago when I made my own wax. I remembered the beeswax being SUPER hard- much harder than even the “Tropical” store bought wax. I laid out all of the store bought wax I had on hand, from the “Cool” water (softest) to the “Tropical” (hardest). I had also heard a rumor that this DayGlo color wax is supposed to hold up to the Sun, so I was curious.

Like I said in the last post about wax, beeswax isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, so I figured I’d use a half-and-half recipe, so I’d have the benefits of the hardness of the beeswax, with some of the spreadability of the storebought wax. Like butter and margarine. But don’t eat it, or you’ll start grunting people off of waves and doing Florida hops on choppy mush. It’s a curse.

image

All of the wax measured out

Recipe:

  • 1 Bar of Tropical Sticky Bumps Wax (they only make soy-based now, so it’s a bit softer than previous incarnations, IMHO)
  • Around 88 grams pure beeswax
  • Approximately 5 grams Day-Glo Sticky Bumps Wax (I only had it in warm, which is the only type available around here).

 

I have a dedicated double burner just for doing crafts with wax- DON’T reuse one you will eat from! It is very difficult to get wax residue off of everything, so, be a little anal retentive on this. Mine came from IKEA for $6, and if you can find one at your local thrift store, that’s ideal. I also keep an old knife to chop up the beeswax with, and I have some old wood chopsticks to stir with in my crafting kit. Just make sure not to get wax in your main pot of water under the double boiler- ONLY wax goes in the double boiler, NO water! The double boiler will rest just over the pot of boiling water. The smaller you can chop your wax up, the faster it will melt- the storebought stuff will melt faster than the beeswax.

Be patient and watch the process- I had some chunkage going, so I had to wait at least 15 minutes until most of the big beeswax chunks had started to shrink. I kept poking and stirring the wax mix with the wood chopstick the whole time. Melted wax can help speed up the heating of unheated chunks. It’s like making a fondue, just keep the crackers far away so you won’t get tempted.

Once all the wax has completely melted, and you’ve stirred the wax enough to homogenize the mixture, you can start pouring it into molds. Make sure you have enough extra molds available- you don’t want to throw out any overage. I used some more cheap IKEA silicone flexible ice cube trays like last time, this time I had starfish too!

Let the wax sit in the molds undisturbed for at least 45 minutes to allow them to set up and cool down. Don’t toss them in the freezer- I did that a long time ago, and it can create voids.

So, these aren’t huge bars of wax, but since beeswax is pricey, maybe I’ll try this as my  daily topcoat for a while, since I just put a nice base coat on the 7’6″ just last week. On a side note, if you’ve got kids who like to eat glue, they’ll love these, so keep them away from the children, mmmkay?

So here’s a look at the nose before and after waxing with the new wax. I really liked how it went on in the afternoon heat and the bumps built up really well.

The little bit of the neon yellow I added of the DayGlo wax barely made a dent in the color, so they’re a very light butter yellow, probably because of the beeswax more than the DayGlo coloring.

Maybe this year’s September Surf Expo theme will focus on the declining bee colony population, and how it will impact John John Florence’s shred-gnar ratio because the water’s too warm, and the wax has become too slippery to land triple nipple Ollie rail grabs, and the wax industry’s sold out, man. Deep.

image

Our Beloved

What the hell do I know? Alls I know is a just need some tasty waves, and a few nugs of some decent wax, brah.