Beaded Jellyfish Necklace

Ok, so I’m a girly surfer chick even though I’ll dabble with the power tools in the garage, and that’s…okay.

I tell myself this all the time

So, I’m going to totally plug my friend Karen’s surf wear company, Salty Sista Fun Wear. She uses some of the profits from the company to help shelter animals, which I think is awesome. She and her partner FLEW pet supplies and water filters (they rented a small plane!) into Puerto Rico to help support the Hurricane Maria disaster. Woo Hoo!

I recently I picked up another cute top from Salty Sista that had a jellyfish that my supa talented surfer chick friend Sandra Goodwin drew- it’s really beautiful. So I made a simple beaded jellyfish necklace to wear with it! Schweet.

*****

Supplies for the Jellyfish Necklace:

  • 11/0 Miyuki seed beads, in silver plated and pink shades to match the jellyfish motif for the necklace
  • 15/0 Miyuki seed beads, in pink shades, to make the jellyfish tentacles
  • A flat button or a somewhat flat piece of drilled seaglass, for the body of the jellyfish (get two and make earrings!). For this, I used a drilled flat bead made from recycled soda bottle glass. But, a plain, everyday button can certainly work.
  • Nymo thread, an extremely strong type of nylon beading thread (I usually use Size D)
  • Size 15 needles (since this project uses tiny beads)
  • Wire guards or French wire, keeps the thread from rubbing against the metal findings)
  • Fireline OR fishing line. If you can recycle any fishing line you have, it’s the same stuff as craft store Fireline (for necklace only)
  • Clasp, jump rings, or earring hooks, depending on if you’re doing a necklace or earrings

My supplies

Looping the thread through the wire guard and the glass bead

I threaded on random pinkish beads for the first tentacle

I threaded on an 11/0 bead as a stopper, then started back up the line of 15/0 beads

I kept making tentacles, 7 in total, random in length. I made sure to secure all knots with jewelry glue

Using Fireline and 11/0 seed beads to make the necklace

The completed necklace

With my new shirt

I really like how it came out like a mini tassel, which is a super popular look right now, so that works. Sorry for the lame modeling photo- I hope Salty Sista doesn’t mind, but it is my freakin’ shirt now, ya know….

Yeehaw!

Hurricane Bracelet

Here in Cocoa Beach, we’ll be getting another yearly dose of Hurricane Hunkerin’ with the next storm in line, Irma. Since I got a small shoulder injury while surfing on Friday, that puts me out of the lineup for any potential swell. Probably not a bad thing, since the current tracks aren’t conducive to a clean hurricane swell. For our area, at least. 
So, I’ll be watching Irma (and the one behind, yikes), and I’ll be beading in the meantime. I thought I’d make a little beaded bracelet pattern that can be whipped up fast and easy. Feel free to download the pattern, but if you do, make little a donation to RedCross.org please. The Red Cross helps many people year round all the time with their services, and they need extra support during large crises, like Harvey and Irma. Honor System, People!

Hurricane Bracelet Pattern PDF



My little design is based on Coastal Warning Signal Flags (NOAA Link). The Hurricane Warning flag is typically two red flags with a black square in them:

So, if you decide not to evacuate, this can be a fun craft to do while it pours rain. 

But, let’s be safe and make sure you have everything ready- there’s even a website for that too.

Everyone take care with this one- the Bermuda High looks like it’s not going to back down. Might be time to tuck-n-roll, since this looks like a closeout.

Never gets old

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

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

Sea Sluggin’ it out

imageimageSo I’ve been obsessed with Sea Slugs, Hares, and various Nudibranches lately. They are beautiful creatures, and come in many varieties.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked a little about Sea Hares, and I mentioned the Sea Slug Forum. This is a really cool site, and I’ve been learning a lot from it. They are related to snails, but their shell has pretty much disappeared into a thin shell plate on the inside. I’ve snagged a few neato diagrams from the site to show how the Sea Hare folds over the shell “remnant”.

Essentially, a lot of them look like a little folded taco with antennae if you’ve been looking at them too long. I thought this might be a crazy project with a bit of leftover polymer clay. So, I had a bit of fun.

I got all my polymer clay stuff together, like my silicone mats, blades, texture tools, and even some antibacterial gel (gets the polymer clay color right off your hands and cleans everything up!).

image

Next, I rolled out some wild, swirled clay I had leftover, and flattened it to about 1/4″ thick or less. I cut these into little squares with the corners cutoff.

Like I said before, they’re little tacos, so I’m going to make them that way by choosing a couple of squares with a nice pattern, and folding them into hollow tacos. We don’t want to put additional polymer clay inside, because that will take forever to bake all the way through, and you’ll probably burn the outside.

To give my Sea Hares a little cred, I used a ball point tool to create little undulations, making little parapodia. I added antennae (kind of creative license on that one), and added spots with other color polymer clay dots.

Finally, since I thought these would be fun as earrings, I poked a hole in the top of their foot….

I made made an even bigger version with some more scrap clay I had.

This was a mix of FIMO Soft and Sculpey Primo, so I baked these at 220 F for an hour, and that was probably a bit much.

I let these cool, and got out my paint pens to put some detail on the critters. I painted more dots, outlined them, added eyes, etc. Then I sealed each piece with sealant glaze in glossy. I used Sculpey’s Glaze.

When I was finished painting and sealing,  I needed to add jump rings and earring hooks to each of the little sea slugs using jewelry pliers.

Sea slug of my dreams…..image