Since everyone here knows Nadia so well, and is familiar with her and her craft, Fuad and I wanted to introduce ourselves to this audience. We hope to get to know you more, as well as opening our home and hearts to you, as we take some new direction with YARNutopia.
We are Nadia’s parents, Fuad and Shannon. We are the behind-the-scenes operation team of YARNutopia. As we prepare to take this platform to new places, we thought it would be a great time to share more about ourselves beyond what has popped up from time to time.
Getting To Know Us
Fuad and I have been married for 35 years. We have three wonderful adult children; two of whom are married. We have three grandchildren. We are also foster parents to three teen girls. Fuad and I have been licensed foster parents for just over two years and are trained in Level 4 Trauma-Informed Foster Care.
Outside of family, we love to explore nature, travel across the globe, and even find adventure right in our own back yard. We live in a rural community in North Central Wisconsin and love this area tremendously. It is full of an abundance of nature and wildlife; much of which we hope to explore more with you here.
Our hobbies include photography, videography, woodworking (visit our Etsy shop HERE), jewelry making, cooking, baking, home projects, DIY, decorating, and so much more! We ARE BUSY and hope to show some of these activities to you. In our spare time, Fuad loves to tinker on cars, film and photograph wildlife(you can find our other YouTube channel HERE), and I love to read and write – when life quiets down enough to pull out a good book. Be on the lookout for some book reviews as well! When I read a fantastic novel, I want to tell the world!
Not so long ago, I used to work in leasing and together we ran a portrait studio, Image By Fuad. Now we are busy with home and family, as well as running our small businesses. We also stay VERY active as a treatment foster home to teens. We have a lot of experiences to bring to the table. We are so glad you are along for the ride!
So join us as we begin this new adventure here on YARNutopia. Keep coming back each week to see what we have going on in our world and we guarantee that you will love what we have in store!
It has been no surprise that Nadia has had her hands full with Nasir and motherhood. She is extremely busy and has scaled back considerably on her crochet. She is still busy creating and sharing her work, just not at the level you have grown accustomed to. Understandably so. Nasir keeps her on her toes!!
We have a fantastic audience of creative individuals that check in daily to see what is new in our neck-of-the-woods. For that reason, our family has decided to take YARNutopia in a new direction. Crochet has, and always will be, the foundation for this platform. Nadia will continue to create and share her creations as often as time allows. Fuad will continue to film some of those creations as well. We know you have grown to love this combination of easy-to-follow patterns and clear, precise videos that allow the viewer to see everything in detail. That will still remain. However, we hope to grow this platform in new directions. It is for that reason, we have decided to add a few more elements to our website for you to enjoy.
What to expect
Many of you know Fuad as our cameraman. You have seen him on camera from time to time. He is also busy behind-the-scenes with us doing much more than working the camera. We hope to use YARNutopia to share some of those interests and make this more of a family/lifestyle blog. As Nadia’s parents, you may not see us as often in front of the camera but we stay quite busy in other contributing ways to this platform. We enjoy much more creative outlets in our spare time and together with Nadia, we want to share some of those with you. Things such as cooking, woodworking, DIY projects, and so much more. We will be changing our name to YARNutopia & More to encompass all that we hope to share with you!
We look forward to you staying around to see some of the new changes, as well as enjoying Nadia’s newest patterns. Keep those crochet hooks handy! You will need those! Her hands may be full but she still keeps them busy with crochet projects every day! We just plan to add some fun family and lifestyle blogs alongside her crochet projects! Don’t go anywhere, because there’s a lot of exciting content about to come your way. Stay Tuned!!
Happy Hooking & More!
Fuad, Shannon, & Nadia
This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!!
It’s been quite a while since I have last written an update both regarding my health and also Nasir’s diagnosis of autism. As far as my health goes, I feel I’m in the best place I have been in years. I have occasional setbacks, but over-all I have been feeling very good. I’ve been following up with doctors, continuing my biologic medication, and trying to practice a healthier lifestyle. I have been going to the fitness center several days a week. The gym is two-fold. One, for my physical and mental health, and secondly for Nasir. He is socializing with his peers more and more, and the gym’s childcare services provide an opportunity for him to do just that.
Where we started
Since I last blogged about this, we were in the middle of a whirlwind of overwhelming hits coming at us from every direction. Nas wasn’t meeting his appropriate age mile markers. I was battling my own health issues with my Crohn’s disease and mental health, the most difficult being post-partum depression and anxiety. You can read more here.
Soon after the doctors told us Nasir was on the Autism Spectrum, we were thrust into a new normal of therapies of all kinds. Speech, behavioral, occupational, and more. Nasir was nearly two years old and other than making some babble sounds, he didn’t say actual words, mimic our sounds, answer or respond to his name, he wouldn’t make eye contact often, he played independently from other children (other kids didn’t interest him much), he obsessively watched or paid attention to only certain things like specific TV shows that he watched over and over. We would discount or rationalize them, or chalk it up to other things – “maybe it’s his hearing” or “he was born a little early, he’s just a little delayed.”
What came next
Getting the diagnosis of ASD was bittersweet for our family. It’s one of the most overwhelming things to process, but we also have a solid reason for the why’s we were experiencing. We could finally move forward with all the wonderful resources our community has to offer.
Where we are now
Nasir is in therapy nearly every day. He is now talking non-stop. He has lots to talk about and share. He has big opinions and now that he has discovered his voice, he is eager to discover new words, things and experiences. He loves adventure, to play, and to build. He swims and loves the park. He has friends and learns a lot from parallel play. He recently started dancing and his love of music has always been strong. Magna-tiles have opened up his imagination, and he is a master at building castles. He sings, counts, says the alphabet, and identifies so many objects we see throughout the day. He loves his family. Mama and Daddy are his favorite people followed by his grandparents, all his aunties, uncles, cousins and his amazing therapists. He loves reading books, and presently, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is his favorite TV show. (We shout “OH TOODLES” a dozen times a day!)
We have come SO FAR in a just under a year. The therapies have provided Nate and I small windows in our day to have a break. Despite Nasir’s achievements, he is still demonstrating behavior that do not allow us many moments for breaks. He’s still a wild toddler, of course, but he also never sits still, his attention span is very short. We are having less meltdowns, but they still occur daily. My entire life is devoted to this sweet boy and facing all the challenges that come our way.
When I do get a chance, I’m trying to get back into my crochet. I feel that spark coming back. I feel several sparks returning. I’m beginning to feel more like myself. Therapy has helped – my own therapy. It’s been life-changing. Little by little, I have been able to piece myself back together. I’m stronger than I have been in a long time. I can do hard things, and I’m doing them every day. If Nas is doing hard things, then I need to continue to set an example and do the same. We continue to take baby steps toward doing more crochet projects and hopefully soon, things will be back into full-swing.
I am currently working on one crochet project per month, and I have a goal of doing 3 to 4 projects per month like I used to do. At the time of creating this blog post, I am anticipating planning out our Halloween costumes for the family this year. You know we have to go all out like every year! Can’t wait to share what we have up our sleeve in 2022!
Our Annual Halloween Costume Reveal is here! Nate is a Rainbow to my Pot of Gold and Nas is our lucky leprechaun!
We had a heck of a time trying to decide on a costume that could be worn by our trio. It was such a challenge to find something that didn’t require a huge commitment and large amount of hours. Lately, our days are spent with Nasir doing occupational therapy and speech therapies for his autism.
This change has left me with only pockets of time in a day to work, so it has been quite challenging to pull this years costume together.
We managed this crazy ensemble. Not as thrilling as years past, but still fun and colorful like our family. AND we managed to get Nas to sit still and give us a couple smiles. He melts my heart. He is our true gold.
I hope you enjoy our trio and until next year…Happy Halloween!
Very often, I’ll make a list or itinerary of what projects I want to work on or which ones pique my interest. I have no idea how many works in progress I have going on because sometimes the inspiration is so strong to work on something and then a few days later…meh…and there it sits. Yet, there is always something that gets my creative energy charged, and that, my YARNutopians, is the key to picking my next project.
What’s on my hook today?
I started off with the best intentions to work on a few summer projects and started them in hopes to film before the snow flies. Well, all the best intentions are just that, intentions. I have them started, they are not going anywhere, I will finish them, SOMEDAY. Just not today. Instead, my direction has changed because of the most exciting news that a close friend had a baby! So, I guess in the world of crochet, we go with the creative flow. Because I went from hooking up a swimsuit cover-up to a baby blanket all in the matter of minutes! Talk about a 180!
There is just something so alluring about this minty color in a baby layette! I can’t wait to see the impact this is going to make when I am done!
What about you?
What inspires you? Is it personal wants or needs? Is it something you are creating to gift to someone? Is it based on when the inspiration hits, or is it the news of someone having a baby, getting married, a holiday or some event that gets your hook moving???
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to read my latest blog post regarding my absence from YARNutopia lately and the next chapter we are heading into with our son Nasir. I have been overwhelmed with so many emotions from the outpouring of love and supportive kind words you left on my posts, in my messages, and the texts I received all day.
There is no way for me to individually reply to all of you, but just know I read every word and took it all to heart. I appreciate all the openness you shared from your personal experiences with friends, family members, or even first-hand experiences with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am currently educating myself on all the different types of therapies and discussing with the specialists what they advise in helping Nasir progress. We hope to see some changes in the first month of this new therapy. We are extremely hopeful.
Reading all the comments and messages that flooded in gave me so much encouragement and hope for my little guy. I know he will accomplish great things in his life, and luckily, we can be his advocates for his success.
Lately, I have been receiving quite a few inquiries asking for new crochet video tutorials. So many of you have been kind and thoughtful to reach out to ask if everything is ok simply because I haven’t posted videos or new content for a while. A lot has been happening and many of the recent events have made it difficult to find time to post or film.
We are halfway through a rough year.
Covid quarantine had already hindered my video production because it was difficult to film, travel, get together with my parents to help with my posts. During this time, Nate and I noticed Nas was not meeting his baby/toddler milestones. We chalked it up to being so isolated from other kids and lack of activities because who has any data about raising babies during a pandemic? Naturally, we didn’t want to think there was anything amiss, but over time we noticed Nasir was falling further and further behind on meeting these markers. He wasn’t responding to his name when called, he was transfixed on specific shows, his attention span was non-existent, he had no fear of danger, he wouldn’t parallel play, didn’t listen, didn’t make eye contact, began hitting aggressively because he was unable to communicate only a few words, he had very little verbal skills and much of what he gained would be lost after one or two days. Yet, here he is so silly, adventurous, funny, smart and just being our cute little Nasir in so many other remarkable ways, we didn’t know if these things we were observing were ok or should we be concerned? He is our first child, so we had no way to fully know.
One or two of these things would be no cause for alarm, but we started adding up more and more then questioning more and more until we couldn’t deny the fact that we might be dealing with something more than just the lack of socialization because of the stay at home order.
Tests, Tests, and more Tests
We took Nas to doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist and to make a long story short, the doctors and specialists have told us he is on the Autism Spectrum. In some of his abilities, he is excelling and is testing in a much higher percentile. In other ways, he is testing quite low. He is struggling with language the most which he is currently testing at an 8-9 month level. He is almost 26 months old at the time I’m posting this. Nate and I felt heartbroken at first, but not for long. We put ourselves into 5th gear and did all the things within our power to make things easier for Nas.
Our lives are turned upside down
We have speech therapy and occupational therapy in home (Finally! It was virtual for the first few months because of Covid) The therapists we have in-home were instrumental in pointing us in the right direction to get Nasir the help and support he needs. We were recently approved for even more early intervention programs which we have learned are extraordinary in what they are able to do to help Nas. We are hopeful and optimistic. Although we have to wait a short bit to enroll him for those programs, there is a beginning in sight!
Oh my heart…
Nasir is our whole world. His struggles and his energy have kept our hands and hearts full. There has been little to no time to do more than take care of him, keep up with his never-ending energy, and get him the best resources we can to help him navigate this challenging path. Our entire life has been devoted to his care and to the success he can achieve by this early intervention. I know that this is a process and I have to trust the process, but I am not going to lie, I have cried a million tears, I have filled out thousands of pages of paperwork, I have made a hundred phone calls and some days it still doesn’t feel like enough. I have some serious mom guilt. I can’t even describe it. We are tired, worn out, frustrated at times, hard on ourselves, you name it, we have felt it. I don’t leave the house for days because it’s just too much. We go to my parents’ house for a break from time to time because they are such a big help for us when we are exhausted.
This has tested us as parents, it has tested us as a husband and wife. But at the end of the day, we have this incredibly sweet boy who needs us SO much. Our hearts explode with the love and need to keep him safe and happy and do whatever we can to get him to reach all of his potential. One day, we are hopeful that we may hear him say Mama and Dada..
One day at a time
I haven’t forgotten about my YARNutopian family. Quite the contrary – in fact, I actually feel so anxious to get back to my crochet, but I simply have to sacrifice something in order to manage life right now. I am still working, but very minimally. I still check in every day and post older links to some fun patterns I’ve shared in the past. I have great expectations in the mornings, but by mid-day I am wiped out by the challenges we have in our home at the moment. This is hard.
I am currently working on a new crochet project. It’s going at a snail’s pace, but it is going. I am trying to navigate this new chapter of our lives while giving myself some grace to be ok with the status quo. When the time comes, Nasir will have some one-on-one time with specialists who will provide what he needs to help him talk and reach his goals, then I will have a few hours each day of respite to get back to crochet. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience, support, and understanding as we keep moving forward. Please continue to watch my videos, visit my blog, and support my pages. I promise, I will be back.
With Father’s Day right around the corner, here a a few great projects to show that special person in your life how much they mean to you! There are many who fill the role of “dad” and these crochet gifts will mean so much to them. Homemade gifts made with love are truly cherished.
This collection of free patterns cover a variety of items with varying skill levels. Pick yours today and get started now!
We had such a fantastic Halloween, and I wanted to share all of our costume pieces in one blog post. Below you will see each piece that I crocheted and links to their crochet patterns. Simply click the image or the title of each pattern to go to its pattern.
Here is our little Bee Family Photo!
For my Bee Hive costume, I made one large spiral using Lion Brand Basic Stitch yarn.
I do not have a crochet pattern for this, however, at the very bottom of this blog post, I will share a mini “recipe” of how I created this beehive.
This Baby Bee was *SO* done after our photo shoot!
Thank you for another fabulous year of costumes!
Below you will find information about the Large Bee Hive costume that I am wearing:
For the body and hat:
Work in continuous rounds
HDC in 1st Ch to form a ring, and in the next 23 chs, SC in last 11 chs.
Then I just HDC’d in each HDC st and SC’d in each SC st until it formed a spiral. I stuffed this tube as I went.
I did the same exact thing for my hat. I made 4 spirals for the body and 3 spirals for the hat.
I sewed the beginning and end of the tube and sewed it together in the shape of a beehive.
For the straps, I just did a row of 50 double crochet stitches to make a basic strap and sewed it in on the inside of the bee hive.
I hope this gives you a good idea of how I made the bee hive. If you are interested in making it and have questions, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can help you as best as I can!!
As a BIPOC creator and maker, it is a powerful time in history to watch as so many companies and corporations take a stand in support of Black lives and stand against racial injustice. That is how it should be. I stand on my platforms to support Black Lives and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) creators because they have long been overlooked. There is SO much talent in this community and BIPOC need more recognition and elevation. Our world is full of color and diversity. More companies have to stand for their diverse audience and understand their needs. Not turn a blind eye. Makers of color deserve recognition. Many of the fiber companies have taken a stand. Yet, some have not.
Many of you know that I was a Joy Creator for Red Heart Yarns which was bought out by Yarnspirations/Spinrite. I continued to use and promote their product in nearly all my video tutorials and projects. I stood behind their product. I was not a paid spokesperson nor was I paid money for my videos. I was given yarn support and like all makers, we do generate a small stipend from using affiliate links that generate a sale from time to time. I was always transparent about that. It is one way we can provide free patterns while still generating a small avenue of income to bring you our patterns.
In the face of recent events, the company I had been representing as a stitch ambassador and Joy Creator has not made a public statement nor taken a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or to denounce the killings of black men and women. There has been no statement against racial injustice that we all witness all too often. There has not been a show of support for the community of makers of color in this industry. With that weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, I reached out in a private email and asked them to remove me from their platform and asked them to stop using my likeness on their website.
I decided it was time to move on to a company I felt better represented people of color and community as a whole. I sent Yarnspirations an email with a knot in my gut and a prayer in my heart. I waited. I did not receive a reply. I kept waiting, refreshing my inbox, checking over and over. Nearly a week had passed when none of my requests were acknowledged nor was there anyone from the company who reached out to me at any time to say anything encouraging – not even a one liner. Their silence spoke volumes. It was apparent to me that my voice was not worthy of a reply.
I decided to raise my voice then, in a more public fashion today. It was only in that route did a round-about apology come forth, yet no stand has been taken publicly on any forum. After taking things to the next level in a series of group emails and on a private blogger group did I receive this apology.
It should not be the job of the BIPOC community or BIPOC ambassadors/makers to handhold companies and tell them how to represent their community of color/diversity OR to tell the company to take a stand. The company should already know that the time has come to stand up to racial injustice and discrimination and speak for their customers and creators of color. We need to be seen. People of color have done enough for them by working for free. The company should have been doing this work LONG before now. They should have come with a BOLD and POWERFUL statement in the beginning that made everyone, ESPECIALLY Black makers and creators and creators of color feel elevated and supported.
We should not have to plea with anyone to make a stand. A statement for BIPOC creators and customers should have been the FIRST step of action and then further action could be taken going forward. That is Anti-Racism in action. A company that stands with their creative artists of color and with the nation to say their community of BIPOC matter. That would have gone so far in quelling the fears and anxieties that many of us feel. Those of us that are here as representatives of color, NEED to HEAR that companies like Yarnspirations/Spinrite stand with Black lives and other people of color as a community.
I have decided to use my voice on my platform because, like me, it is compiled of a large percentage of people of color across the entire globe. Many use their product. I used Red Heart Yarns/Yarnspirations products. I shout it out on every video tutorial on every crochet project. Yet they stay silent on my behalf and on behalf of millions of voices. That is unacceptable. The fact that there was no reply and my request for communication about this matter was ignored in my personal email was an eye-opening revelation.
My blog and YouTube channel reach over 150 countries and my nearly half-million followers on all platforms make up only 18% of my actual viewers. I use it to speak my truth as a creator of color, as a woman, and as a PROUD young mother of a child of color – and if that truth and Yarnspirations’ stand do not align, then it is imperative for me to move on and to let others know my intentions and why. This wasn’t a hard decision, just painful to recognize that this company has taken a no stand approach and continues to take no stand other than an obscure Equal Opportunity statement.
Silence is complicit and silence is ALWAYS the voice of the oppressor. ALWAYS.
I am moving on and divorcing myself from this company that has not seen the importance of lending their voice to Black lives or makers of color, nor the enormity of what that could mean financially from me or others, walking away. If a company wants to be anti-racist then TRULY be anti-racist. There is no tiptoeing around and waiting for the “right time.” The time was long before today.
Quick follow-up edit:
I hear and see ALL the comments on this post. Don’t worry, I AM listening. For those of you trying to call me out or say this is political-understand this – this is about human rights and human rights are NOT political. Let’s get that straight. Or those who are asking now that I posted this where am I? I am right here. Same place I am everyday – working to bring you more of this craft because that is what I do and love and I am also taking care of Nasir. Just because I am not commenting back to every comment, that doesn’t mean I have gone into hiding. This is my platform, and I do have the right to stand where I stand just as every person on this feed has the right to say and feel the way they do. I have no objections to any of that. This is about being heard in a place that has not lent more voices to this important racial matter and over the injustices that continue to be ignored or passified in this industry.
It seems like some are ok with this being ignored, that it will be swept under the rug and forgotten and everything will go back to being “comfortable” again. Do you know who stands behind the camera in every video tutorial I post? It’s my dad. Even if you don’t know him or see his face on here or he is not as vocal on this platform, he is still a HUGE part of YARNutopia. He is a HUGE part of ME! I stand for Black makers and makers of color in this industry, and I stand for my father and many people who are unseen but still have a voice that is not being heard-Don’t you get it?? My dad always says to me, “Anything worth fighting for is not going to be comfortable or easy, Nadia.” This, right here, is not comfortable, but it is NECESSARY! It is only when we feel uncomfortable that big changes can come and my hope and prayer is that change truly does come. He also tells me that sometimes you have to lose to win. Not win in monetary ways or in fame, but win in a way that you can sleep at night and wake up the next day and look at yourself in the mirror. For anyone who truly knows me, knows where I stand when it comes to racial injustice and how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. They know this was the right thing for ME to do. You don’t have to agree and despite all the negative things some may say, I do respect and see everyone’s comments and I am not afraid or hiding from any of it nor does it change the way I feel. Thank you.
Each month, I host a crochet related event in my group YARNutopia World. Over this past weekend, I hosted The Good Intentions Event where everyone virtually attended to use a special yarn they have kept for that “someday” project.
We have a great time connecting during these events. I always do a live lunchtime discussion and Q&A as well as stay online most of the weekend to interact and enjoy the event with a myriad of activities.
For this weekend’s game, I created a gallery of macro photos of items that are related to crochet. Below you can find the photos that I posted. Try guessing these yourself. Answer key is posted at the bottom if you get stumped.
Be sure to attend our events in the future and you, too, can enjoy some crochet camaraderie with everyone who attends!
As I sit through these weeks of Safer At Home, I decided to sort through some of the yarn I have in my stash. I came across several types of yarn with similar qualities and decided to do a contrast and comparison blog. Below are my observations between Red Heart Yarns Sweet Home and Bernat Blanket Yarn. Please refer to the photos for visual observations throughout.
First let me break down the specifics between the two fibers
As you can see in these details, the two are identical in content, similar in ball size, same care instruction, and price. Not much to break down since these particulars are so alike.
I decided to work up an identical short granny square pattern with each and compare and contrast working with each of these skeins.
I started with Sweet Home. It seems a tad lighter and more flimsy in my opinion. It makes a slightly smaller square using the same hook and pattern. There is more flow and movement in the Sweet Home because of that light and flimsy feel.
The density of Bernat Blanket Yarnseems thicker than the Sweet Home yarn and therefore this gives this fiber a somewhat firmer feel. There is less movement in the piece because of the density and firmness.
After washing, there was no shrinking in either of the yarns and both kept their shape. The yarn is extremely soft before washing, but after washing, I personally feel like they are fluffier and softer than before! The Bernat Blanket Yarn has become more flexible and free-flowing losing some of the firmness evident pre-wash. It’s like snuggling a light cloud. I can’t think of better words than soft, light, and fluffy.
While comparing these two fibers, I consistently felt they rival one another quite closely. The main difference was felt in the work up of these two fibers with Sweet Home more free-flow whereas the Bernat has more firmness. However, upon washing the consistency is nearly identical in both. I feel these two could work together and be very compatible with no blatant difference. One of the best discoveries of finding two compatible fibers is that it increases your color choices and options when creating with either of these skeins.
While working with these, I discovered a love for both and look forward to integrating them into a project in the near future. There is so much to love about a fiber that feels like these two do!
The crochet hook I used was a 12mm and I found it on Amazon here.
Like most of America, and the world, I am staying home as ordered by our state officials. It is such an unusual and unprecedented time and everyday things are changing. Our situation is so fluid meaning what we hear on the news in the morning, can completely change by the evening. I don’t know about many of you, but this unsettled world has me feeling so anxious and nervous. It also puts me on high alert because, as a person with a severely compromised immune system and a long history of health issues including asthma, I am fearful of everything I am learning about this illness.
Presently, I take immuno-suppressant medications that keeps my chronic disease under control, but severely taxes my system leaving me little to fight off infection or illness. I fall into that segment of society who are at high-risk of danger if I come into contact with anything going around.
I have not left my house for over 3 weeks. I don’t know if you recall through my recent posts and videos, but Nate and I had a trip to Colorado planned for our second anniversary and Nate’s golden birthday. (He turned 30 on March 30th) We were going in early March to Denver. Everything was booked, ski-hill passes were purchased, airfare and lodging reserved and paid for, sightseeing plans and a special anniversary/dinner was in the works. Nasir was going to Grammy and Grampy’s house for the week. We were so excited.
As more and more news broke out, it became apparent that we would have to cancel our vacation. I called my doctors and they advised me NOT to travel. They had insisted that in my condition and with little to no immune system to fight, going into an airport or on a plane was too dangerous at this time. Was I sad and disheartened to cancel all our plans? Absolutely. However, I trust my doctor, and if my doctor issues a grave warning like she did, there is no way I would go against her recommendations. I have been through too much in my life not to heed her warnings.
Everything Is Canceled
So, we, like many of you, decided to retract and cancel all our plans and reservations and stay home. Glued to the TV and internet we watched everything unfold in real-time. Rapidly changing, constantly fluid and more frightening by the moment, we stayed in and were gripped by what was happening in the world and right here at home. I needed to walk away from the screens and try to salvage what I could of our “vacation” by re-inventing a plan to enjoy our anniversary and Nate’s birthday. And we did. We kept Nasir home and the three of us did a “stay-cation” in our living room. We binged Netflix shows, took a few countryside drives, walked a trail or two in isolated places, we cooked a nice dinner on our two celebrations and WE STAYED INDOORS. My extent of “leaving the house” is going into my backyard.
Nate is fortunate to have several weeks of vacation and PTO (Paid time off) that he is using up from his “essential” job. He works in a plant that has numerous employees, and from all indications, we felt that his going to work at this time was not wise because of community spread and he was able to use up his vacation to stay home so far. On the advice of my doctors, they suggest he take time off and stay home indefinitely, as to not bring anything home with him that puts me or Nas at risk.
It has been extremely stressful to work through the decisions of him returning to work versus staying home if he is able. Like many people, this serious crisis is forcing our hand to make hard choices to protect our family and none of the choices are easy. He stays home, we cut off our main income for the indefinite future. If he goes to work, then he risks exposure and bringing “it” home in a household that deals with an individual with little to no immune system to fight off any of this. I can’t tell you how scared or anxious I have been!!! I know I am not alone in saying this. ALL of us are scared.
We will find a way
As we navigate through the uncertainties and worries of this ever changing situation and confide in our doctors and families, we have been able to come up with Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Each one comes with its own set of concerns and heartaches. Do we take no pay? Can we survive on just my income? (I have exhausted myself looking into options –FFCRA-the Families First Act or Paycheck Protection-none of which apply to us) Do we send Nate to work? Should Nas and I stay with my parents and be apart from Nate for an indefinite duration?
We, are faced with life-altering decisions while we press ahead into the unknown. At least we have what we need. At least we can manage through each plan despite the difficulties of each choice. At least we have support. I remind myself all the time of the blessings I have before me and focus upon those. Many are not so fortunate, and it hits me over and over to imagine the unimaginable. We will work this out. No matter what sacrifice we make, it is small in comparison to so many others. No matter what, we all have had to work through so many rough spots of this situation and it’s not easy.
As we move forward, sometimes slowly, sometimes at a mad pace, the least I can do to keep myself occupied is what I do best. Crochet. So for the next weeks, months, whatever it takes, I will continue to bring you what I can of my craft. I will show up. Every day. I will bring some new projects, new patterns, light, laughter and a distraction from the craziness that is swirling around us. So, join me as we keep moving forward. Bring your hooks and your yarn, and for a few minutes a day try to focus on other things that distract us from our worries, and relax with our craft. Because in a time when so much is out of control, one thing we can be in control of us the choice to take a few moments to do something we love.
“It is how we embrace the uncertainties in our lives that leads to the great transformation of our souls.”
When we reach the end of this, and we will, I hope we can all move forward with more love, patience, and understanding of one another. The lessons we learn will be immense.
I hope you all stay healthy…
P.S. A huge thank you goes out to everyone in the world who are on the front lines of this insanity. ALL the helpers. ALL the essential workers. ALL the people who risk their lives so we can be home. Our gratitude knows no limit. And for the families this may reach, I hope and pray that all of you are well and safe. I am sending every bit of goodness your way.
I don’t know who needs to hear this as I hope no one is breaking these rules, but if you are one who was told to stay home, please do. Follow the guidelines of what has been mandated so that those who are unable to be home with their families can stay as safe as possible during this time.
Sending you lots of love.
Share with us how you are getting through this difficult time.
The tradition continues with my annual Punny Valentine’s. Each year, I create these silly sentiments using crochet and puns. I try to be as creative and amusing as possible. I do, however, have to match a pun to something I can create using my crochet magic. It is NOT easy, let me tell you, this blog showcases my collection from 2020. You can check out my 2018 Punny Valentine’s Here! See my 2017’s Punny Valentine’s here and my 2016’s Punny Valentine’s here! Do you have a fun pun to share? Let me know in the comments section. Share a possible pun that might show up in my 2021 Punny Valentine Series! ~Nadia
Below is a list of some Punny Valentine’s. Click on the title link above their photo or click on each photo to be taken to its video tutorial and written pattern! Enjoy!! ♥
I think we can all agree that crochet itself is our happy place. Whether we are crocheting in our favorite chair, in bed, in the car or with a friend, the act of creating something beautiful from a ball of fiber is a joy. We are all united in this love, or we would not be on the pursuit of the next new project to get on our hooks. That is why I love to keep creating new things to share!
Started from the bottom, now we here
Not only is crochet my passion, but it is also my career. Each day, I get up to design, share, create, and express myself through my craft. One of my favorite places in my home is my own personal happy place. I know that I have shared in a previous blog some photos of the transformation of my craft room.
This was a photo the previous owner sent us of the room before we moved in. *YIKES!*
When Nate and I purchased this house, there was a room with a wood structure of floor to ceiling drawers. We initially thought to remove the structure and use this room as a bedroom, but the more we thought of it, the more it seemed like a waste yet, the entire thing was too obtuse and awkward to do much with. So my mom suggested that we remove the drawers and make each cubicle a shelf for storing yarn and in the middle make a studio so I can film tutorials.
Breathing new life: from old to new
As soon as that vision started to formulate the room came to life and over time I have added more to make it “my space.” I love to come in here to craft and create, to film and complete my patterns so that I may share them with you. I even come in here to just escape for a few minutes between the hectic moments of being a working wife and mama.
A room with purpose
This space has come a long way and still has a LONG way to go, but it is a space that makes ME feel good. It allows me to feel like I can come in here and create.
I put on some music, it is cozy, and I am surrounded by something I love: YARN!! Even Nasir loves to be in here with me, and my kitties think it’s their playground. For me, this room represents a part of me that feeds my purpose and keeps me, quite literally, from unraveling.
Share with me about your happy place! Is it a room or a favorite spot in your home? Is it with a friend that you can sit and craft with? Creating a space and time to do what you love is essential to keeping a good balance between our worries & stresses and all the things we love.
I hope all of you enjoy a few moments each day ‘In your happy place.’
Here are all the 12 Days of Christmas projects compiled in a one stop blog post! You can click the image or the link above it to view the video tutorial and written pattern for each project. Enjoy and happy holidays!! ~Nadia
On the 9th day of Christmas, we bring the perfect crochet project that takes only MINUTES to make, but it packs a dramatic decorative punch! Add some holiday cheer to any centerpiece by adding these Curly-Q Spokes in any color! I demonstrate this simple step by step process and take a few simple items to make this cheerful display. Let’s get started!
I gathered my supplies. I purchased everything from JoAnn’s Craft stores but you can find these items at any craft store or Walmart.
Red Heart Yarns Super Saver in any colors
A glass Bowl Vase
Mini Ornament Bobbles
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Decorative pieces from the wreath section at the craft store
For the curly crochet spokes, I took my crochet hook and yarn
With the yarn, I chained 2, and then put 5 SC in the 2nd ch from hook. I continued to work in continuous rounds putting one SC in each st around until the piece was long enough to fit the pipe cleaner inside of it.
Once I got to the top, I fastened off. Then I curled the top half of the pipe cleaner that I just crocheted around to make it twisted.
I put the ornaments inside of the fishbowl vase, then I added the decorative pieces and the curly pieces I crocheted. Voila! It’s a beautiful centerpiece!!
I was approached by St. Jude’s Hospital, and was invited to participate in a collab with The Dollar General for a Holiday Decorating Challenge. I was thrilled to be involved in such a unique activity that benefits such a great cause!
Giving Back this Holiday
As many of you know, St. Jude’s Hospital is forefront in treating childhood cancer, and you can help by heading to a Dollar General store this season and support the Thanks and Giving Campaign each time you shop and make a donation at the checkout! Below, you will see the challenge that was presented and find out how we met this task! It was a lot of creative fun!
The challenge we were given: Create a holiday table-scape, entry way, mantle, or DIY holiday craft on a $25.00(usd) budget and all purchases must be made at a Dollar General store.
BRING. IT. ON!
I love a test like this, and I love doing home décor DIY on a shoestring! So, this invitation was met with a lot of excitement to see what we could come up with.
Let’s get it started
I solicited the help of my mom to create some fantastic ideas that anyone can make for their home this holiday. We put together two different ensembles. One table centerpiece and one buffet tabletop arrangement. I share with you a few photos of the supplies and steps taken to assemble these decorations. I spent around $20.00 on each arrangement using the same items in each – plus or minus a piece or two that I purchased and added to embellish each specific arrangement.
This shows the versatility of my purchases that you are able to use them in years to come. By adding a few different details, you can create a completely new look!! My only other additions were things I found in nature such as sticks, branches, or greenery from our pine tree and no additional cost was added by these additions. I also used four small votive glasses to hold the mini candles in that I already had in my own cupboard.
Our first holiday-scape: A table centerpiece
Let’s see how this all came together! First the photos below were a series of my purchases. There are several Dollar General Stores near where my parents live in Rural Wisconsin. I also have one Dollar General Store near me. We collaborated purchases from three different Dollar General Stores. Most of the stores have identical inventory, but we did find a few fun new inventory in each as well. So, if you have more than one Dollar General near you, check them all out for variety, and don’t forget to donate to St. Jude’s Hospital at each checkout. Here are the supplies purchased and worked with to make our decorations:
When I made my purchases, I did so with a variety of possibilities in mind. However, after my arrangements were created, some of my purchases were NOT used and I did NOT include these in my final budget.
Once I had all my items purchased, I began to put pieces together to build a nice table-scape. I started with creating some height for my piece, by taking my purchased poster board and made tall cones. I used gold spray paint to prime the trees and some green tissue paper to create some texture. These original conical trees I kept green for my first centerpiece.
I created height and length to my table using the cone trees and sticks as well as adding some flameless candlelight to create some warm ambiance. This beautiful arrangement really brings a holiday tabletop to life! It is so inviting!
Here is the breakdown on cost for this table centerpiece:
The cone shaped trees:
$1.50 for poster board
$3.00 for metallic paint
$1.00 for tissue paper
$1.00 for star ornaments
Centerpiece props included
$2.00 two sets of 2 tealights @ $1 each
$2.00 two candle rings @ $1 each
$1.00 modgepodge for paper mache
$3.00 green/white garland
$5.00 faerie lights
$1.00 pine cones
Things I had already:
Clear votive cups (4)
Our Second Arrangement: A holiday tabletop-scape
I used my homemade “trees” and I later used my gold spray paint to cover the green tissue paper and to add more metallic gold to my second arrangement. I added some jewel embellishments to turn my green trees into beautiful jeweled gold trees. I was so happy with this result. In this second arrangement we cut some pine boughs from our outdoor pine tree and built the arrangement with this beautiful greenery that cost us nothing!
I also took an old empty salsa jar to make a vase! Way to re-purpose! I also added some red elastic string to add some shiny detail. I again used my spray paint to paint a fun branch I used to bring a focal point to my arrangement. I love how this turned out!
Below you can view the finished ensemble
Here is the price breakdown on arrangement #2:
The tablescape on the buffet:
$1.50 Poster board for cones
$3.00 Metallic Gold Paint
$1.00 Star Ornaments
$1.00 Tissue Paper to create texture
$2.00 Pearl details for tree @ $1 per pack
$2.00 Crystal Jewel details for tree @ $1 per pack
$1.00 for elastic red string – I used one spool
$5.00 one strand of faerie lights
$2.00 two sets of two tealights for $1.00 each
$3.00 box of red ornaments
$1.00 box of pinecones
Things I had to build arrangement
Pine branches for greenery
Sticks – spray painted gold
votive cups (4)
As you can see demonstrated by the above, you can create a lovely holiday decoration on a budget and make a striking statement without a major investment. There was even room in our budget for more if I wanted to expand or add any additional items to embellish these beautiful decorations.
I want to thank St. Jude’s hospital and Dollar General for the opportunity to be included in this activity. I had so much fun participating and doing this for such a good cause. This holiday please support important causes. Give back and give thanks at this time of the year and always.
Our 7th day of Christmas brings more holiday decor! This rustic wall hanging has elements of crochet and craft mixed with elements of the outdoors. Follow through my step by step instructions and make your own wall hanging today.
The Materials I used are as follows:
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Gold and Green
Chic Sheep Yarn (Red Heart) in Linen
3 Pinecones (from outside)
A Large Stick from outside
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Step 1: I tied yarn to the stick on each end to make it be able to hang on a hook
Step 2: I crocheted the stars and tree (See pattern below)
Step 3: I used the Linen yarn and tied the pinecones, cinnamon sticks, stars and tree to the wall hanging using the Linen colored yarn.
It was so easy! I finished in an hour!!
Rnd 1: Ch 3, 10 dc in 3rd Ch from hook, sl st to first st. (10)
Rnd 2: Ch 2, 2 dc each st around, sl st to first st. (20)
Rnd 3: Ch 1, *hdc in next st, [2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc] in next st, hdc in next st, sl st in next st*, repeat from * around, end with Sl st in last st. Sl st to first st to close round. Fasten off, Weave in ends. (5 points made)
If anyone is looking for a rustic holiday decoration, I have just the thing for you! I did these easy jute covered balloon balls and they turned out so awesome. Below you can see my step by step process from start to finish. This idea has me thinking in all kinds of creative directions using string art to decorate for the holidays. I may have to make more! In the meantime check out my picture tutorial and follow along today.
First I gathered all the supplies I needed. (See photo above)
Water Balloons, Scissors, Paint brush, Mod Podge, and Jute.
I also used rubber gloves and a tupperware container that are not pictured.
I blew up the balloons to be mini balls, and then I added the Mod Podge to the tupperware container.
I proceeded to dunk the jute into the mod podge and then wrap it around the balloon using my rubber gloves for protection.
I wrapped about 20 times.
Then I used the paint brush to reinforce the mod podge to the jute.
I let it dry for 24 hours.
Once it was all dry, I popped the balloon and removed it from the middle of the ball.
The jute stayed in place!! Woohoo!! I then used a tweezer to get any extra mod podge out of the gaps and make the ball look cleaner.
I added an ornament hook to the ball and hung it on my tree!
In observance of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (December 1-7), I wanted to share a little bit about my story to help anyone who is unsure how devastating these diseases can be, and to help everyone learn more so they might better understand their impact on a person who lives with this every. single. day.
I have had more than a dozen major surgeries and thousands of medical procedures that require me to be biopsied, explored, cut, stitched, stapled, and pieced back together. This disease has affected every part of my body. I have spent years of my life hospitalized trying to fight this disease. I have lost my large intestine, parts of my small intestine, my rectum, my anus, and a few other parts of my anatomy, forcing me to live with a permanent ileostomy. What is an ostomy you might ask? An ostomy is when part of the intestine is pulled through the abdomen wall allowing waste to empy into an ostomy appliance or bag on the outside of the body.
Although my ostomy saved my life, it also destroyed parts of my self esteem, it caused an enormous amount of anxiety, and oftentimes, depression. As much as I’d rather focus on the positives, one bad day, week, or month can pull you right back into the abyss of some pretty heavy feelings. Thankfully, there are now more good days than bad and without my ostomy, I would not be here as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a niece, a cousin, an auntie, a crochet teacher, a friend and an advocate.
I remember the days when I wanted to just give up. When I sobbed and hurt; when I begged for Allah to have mercy on me and let me just find relief. I remember the days after surgery when I had to relearn to sit-up, to walk, go to the bathroom in a new way, to take care of all my wounds, to treat all the infections, to fight my way through sepsis, infusions, experimental treatments, failed medications, hearing the good news and the bad, the numerous doctors and labs, the constant feelings of being scared, the bag leaks and the humiliation of being covered in poop in
a public place, and ALL. THAT. PAIN.
This disease has not been kind to me, nor has it been kind to the 5 million people around the world who suffer every day from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Every year, I pray and fight and campaign and rally for a cure. Each year passes and although it feels closer, it still feels so far away.
This illness is just part of my story. Even if it has dominated my life for more than ten years, it isn’t all of it. There is so much more to my life than this miserable sickness, and thankfully I am still here to live the best parts of my story.
Every step this crooked, crazy journey has taken me on, landed me right where I am today. I would have never had the opportunity to know this kind of joy or feel this kind of love, if this disease had defeated me.
There are millions of people at the mercy of these illnesses. Although my fight continues, I consider myself lucky. Many are not as lucky as me. I am lucky not because of the treacherous medical path this has taken me on, but lucky because it has brought me here.
Please take a moment to share my story. To spread the word about these life altering diseases. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are debilitating to many who live with these diseases. This deserves more than a week of awareness. We deserve to find a permanent cure. Please help us find one. I have so much to live for. I want to always be here to watch this little boy grow..
I woke up this morning to so many wonderful birthday messages! After I posted a video of Nasir and his sweet baby giggles yesterday on Facebook, I I received so much love and so many wishes!
I decided to share the videos here in my blog for everyone to enjoy. Thank you all so much for your heartfelt messages of love and sweet wishes for a happy birthday. It really meant a lot to me and each one was so well received. Even more, thank you for the sweetness you share with me about Nasir, about your own babies, and about your encouragement to me as a new mom. You have no idea how much it all means to me. I hold each comment and good wish close to my heart.
Whether we were playing or changing his stinky diaper, he was just full of smiles and laughter!
I worked most of the day on some new projects! Here is a quick sneak peak of a new pattern on my hook! I will be releasing this early next week!
After we spent the day filming some new tutorials, we headed out for some birthday treats.
All day my sweet boy was giggling and being so silly!! He was such a good boy even long after his bedtime! But at the end of the day, he was ready for bed in his big boy crib. (We just transitioned from the bassinet)’
Thank you again for making my birthday so special!!
Oooh I’m all about the baby toys right now and that has brought me to compiling a round-up blog for some of my favorite patterns!! You are guaranteed to find something in this blog post that will brighten up any nursery, please any mama or mama-to-be, be perfect for gift giving, and bring so much joy to the little ones they are made for! Let’s check out all the toys!
In this collection, you will find fabulous teether toys, loveys, and different amigurumi toys that can be turned into rattles as well! Some of these are just too cute for words!
Click on the links or on the photos to go to the pattern for each toy! Enjoy!