Crochet Baby Toys Round-Up

Crochet Baby Toys Round-Up

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!

Rainbow Baby Bunny Lovie Crochet Pattern by Posh Pooch Designs

 

Spike the T-Rex Dinosaur Amigurumi by YARNutopia

 

 

Sleeping Kitty Lovey by Underground Crafter

 

Star Ring Rattle Teething Toy by YARNutopia

 

Bubbles and Goldfish Teether Crochet Pattern by One Dog Woof

 

Hedgehog Taggie Baby Toy Crochet Pattern by One Dog Woof

 

Crochet Fox Rattle by Crochet 365 Knit Too

 

Crochet Hippo Rattle by Crochet 365 Knit Too

 

Crochet Cow Rattle by Crochet 365 Knit Too

 

Soft and Stackable Bricks – Free Crochet Pattern by Nicki’s Homemade Crafts

 

C2C Boxy Bunny Amigurumi – Free Crochet Pattern by Loopingly Made

 

Crochet Lovey Blanket – A Bunny to Love by Crochet 365 Knit Too

 

Mini Square Bunny Lovey by YARNutopia

 

Velvet Bunny Lovey by Crochet for You

 

Crochet Heart Teddy Amigurumi by Loopingly Made

 

Crochet Unicorn Lovey by Meladora’s Creations

 

Caterpillar Lovey by YARNutopia

 

Butterfly Lovey by YARNutopia

 

 

Beautiful Ducklings by Blackstone Designs

 

Happy Hubert the Hippo Pillow by YARNutopia

 

 

Frederick the Misfit Monster Toy by YARNutopia

 

 

Let’s Play A Game!

Let’s Play A Game!

Below is a fun checklist of things found in a yarn bag! We carry our lives around in our totes and this game gives points for all the things we can find in there! Take a moment to go through your bags and tally your points for this activity. What is the craziest thing you have in your bag today?? How many points did you get??

Here’s My Score: 148 Points!

This activity was prompted because I was cleaning up my bag and found some packets of hot sauce and a diaper in my yarn tote! LOL I realized that I can’t be the only one who has this problem. I remembered playing a “What’s In Your Bag?” game at a bridal shower some time ago, and decided to make a game out of this to share with all of you!

Share your score in the comments!

Why Nasir Came Early

Why Nasir Came Early

It has been 4 weeks since Nasir was born. He came into this world a true miracle and is perfect in every way. I am overjoyed that he is here, happy, healthy and growing like crazy. His due date was June 30th and throughout my high-risk pregnancy, it was understood that with so many health issues, surgeries, and not having a rectum or anus, the probability for me to deliver him in a traditional birth was going to be out of the question. I was told by not one, two, or three doctors but EVERY doctor on the team, that it would be the safest for me to have him via c-section and to do it a week before his due date. Although this didn’t coincide with my idea of the “ideal birth plan,” I ONLY cared about having a safe and healthy delivery for me and safe birth for him. It doesn’t matter how our babies enter the world, it only  matters that they arrive safely in our arms!

 

High Risk Pregnancy

Throughout my pregnancy, many of you are aware that I had numerous issues not only with my Crohn’s disease but also that I had to cease all my medications that keep my disease in remission. I also had severe Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, I had problems with tearing my adhesions and scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries, I have a Septate Uterus, I had terrible sciatica, I had anemia, I lacked the nutritional support for myself and Nas because I don’t have my large intestine or parts of my small intestine, and I had a herniated ostomy that prolapsed. Because my anatomy isn’t like most, my intestine pooled to one side of my body and my baby was restricting the digestive flow. I also had the general issues of constant heartburn and swelling like a lot of moms-to-be deal with. I tried to be grateful, thankful, happy, joyful, and appreciative for this miracle; and I was. However, I won’t sugar-coat it, I was freaking miserable in my body. I hurt every single day and probably complained to Nate or my mom incessantly EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. all while keeping a smile on my face and forging ahead because I kept telling myself that if this is the sacrifice I have to make to have him here, then I can do this! It was only temporary. My “this too shall pass” mantra was on repeat every moment of every day. I was miserable. But, just to be clear, I would do it ALL over in a heartbeat for this outcome. Nasir is magical…

 

Things weren’t going well

Over a month before I was to deliver, I was rushed by ambulance from the hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin up to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota because I had a severe infection and could not keep anything in. I needed IV support and to be monitored because they thought our baby would make an appearance MUCH earlier than we thought. I was so scared. I was alone in the ambulance with the lights and sirens going as we rushed down the highway. I knew Nate was somewhere in a car behind me, my mom also, but being alone and not knowing what would happen was terrifying.

Thankfully, the doctors were able to hold off delivering Nas and just treat the infection. I was hospitalized for about a week before going home, but we were advised that due to the complicated nature of my pregnancy, I would be on “bed rest” (which couldn’t actually be bed rest because I have a history of forming blood clots), so I took it really easy. The doctors recommended I move to temporary housing in Rochester to be closer to the hospital, and I was there a few days before things began to decline again. Read more about our Temporary Transition here.

 

We couldn’t wait any longer

Although I was advised to hold off on delivering Nasir for as long as possible to give him the best chance for development, the doctors also understood the gravity of my health situation and knew it would be dangerous to wait too long. Not long after my hospitalization, I was still having problems and was not doing well. I woke up on the Wednesday before he was born feeling terrible. My entire body felt like I had one big bruise covering every inch of my skin. EVERYTHING hurt. The slightest touch hurt, and I was swelling up like a balloon. I called, and the doctors said to meet them up at the hospital. My mom took me in because Nate was at work. After a short examination, the doctors suspected that my infection set off a full body flare of my Crohn’s disease. They couldn’t wait any longer. If they didn’t deliver him soon, I might have gone into labor and could have potentially faced a threatening situation where it would be too late to assemble the ENTIRE team of doctors necessary to bring Nasir into this world and keep me safe in the process. Not only was my disease creating a serious health risk, the baby was breech. There was no time left. It would be way too perilous to wait and risk going into labor and a vaginal delivery. Delivery was scheduled immediately for next morning.

I crumbled under the weight of everything and started to cry.

I wanted more time for him to develop. I was scared for him, what if something went wrong, I was worried about the risks, and the surgery and, and, and….and then I took a deep breath.

I called Nate at work.

“You need to come to Rochester right now. They are going to deliver our baby tomorrow morning…”

“Are you serious? Is this for real?”

“Yes, just please come as soon as you can. I need you…”

I don’t know if Nate could even think after that phone call, if he could even concentrate enough to finish his work for the day, or if he was on autopilot all the way up to Rochester. He made it up there by 10 pm that night and we stayed up nearly all night talking. He kept reassuring me the entire time that everything will be OK.

 

An assembly of sixteen

When Nate and I arrived at the hospital the next day, along with my mom, dad, and my brother, I was ushered into a room immediately. I was a bundle of nervous energy but also ready to meet my baby!!

Shortly after arriving, I was given an IV and little by little the entire assembly of doctors and nurses ushered in team by team to see me. All in all there would be 16 medical staff in the room with us to deliver Nasir. HOLY MACARONI!! 16!!! I was only allowed one other person with me, and of course that was Nate. I was then taken into the OR alone while he was told to get garbed up.

 

 

While I was in the OR, it was freezing. More IVs were placed. There were so many lights, so many machines, so many instruments, and so many people. I started to shake uncontrollably.  I was given an epidural and a spinal, but the placement was giving me issues. They kept telling me to sit still. I couldn’t stop shaking. I hugged a pillow tightly to my front while they put the needles in my spine. It took forever. At one point, I felt a severe pain in my hip. They hit a nerve and my leg involuntarily shot out and kicked without me doing it. Yeah, this wasn’t working. They moved it a little higher in my spine and it was better.

 

From there, things moved so fast.

I was put on a table with my arms spread out wide. I had all the IVs in me, they erected a curtain up in front of me. So many people ushered in and out. The anesthesiologists, the surgery team, the OB-GYN team, the colorectal team, the nurses..SO MANY people! That team of 16 was in full action!

I wanted Nate and asked them to check on him. They said he was outside pacing. I wanted him with me, and it wasn’t much longer and he was able to come back into the OR. As soon as he walked in, they started to open me up. The doctors were wonderful about talking me through every step. I had the best cheerleader by my side. Nate was incredible. The anesthesia team was also very supportive and kept encouraging me softly, cheering for me, kept me comfortable, and just made me feel safe. I get choked up just thinking of these moments–moments I wanted to be fully present to remember.

I started to feel a severe pain in my right shoulder and started to get afraid. I told the doctor and they said they had my uterus out. The uterus is connected to the nerves in the shoulder and the pain I was experiencing was called “referred pain.”

 

He’s here!

It was only moments later when we heard our baby’s tiny cries. Nate started sobbing, I started sobbing. They lifted him over the screen so we could see him. My first thought was how tiny he was. They quickly moved him to the warming table so Nate could trim the cord and the team moved fast to get all the baby stats. Within moments, they brought this tiny naked baby to me and laid him on my chest. I could barely see or breathe I was crying so hard. HE WAS BEAUTIFUL. So precious. My miracle.

 

 

 

It took some time for the surgeons to close me up because they had to clear out scar tissue from former surgeries. They excised my old scar from the time I had the wound vac, and cleaned all of that tissue to make my incision a cleaner closure. It took quite a while, but I wasn’t even paying a moment of attention to that. Instead I was counting toes and fingers, memorizing my little boys face, and through my tears and laughter, I was rejoicing in this miracle.

Read more about Nasir’s arrival and see more photos here.

 

We are a family

As I was wheeled into a recovery room, Nate went to tell my family that our baby arrived. We wanted a few minutes alone to relish our first moments as a family of three. We also had an overflow of emotion that was just indescribable and we wanted to bask in the intimacy of sharing these very personal feelings together.

I remember when they lifted our baby over the screen after we heard his cries. I recall looking at him and instantly knowing that his name in my heart would be Nasir, but I didn’t say anything. To be fair, I wanted to hear Nate’s thoughts about his name. As soon as I asked him what our baby’s name should be, he said Nasir! We both felt it. We both knew. His name is Nasir Nathan.

Nasir is a Pakistani/Arabic name that means “Victorious,” and there is no more appropriate name fitting to this little boy than that. After all I have been through, all the health struggles and trials, I look at him and I know it was all for this moment.

This miracle.

This victory.

~Nadia

 

Changing Gauge to Adjust Size

Changing Gauge to Adjust Size

I am often asked if one of my patterns can be resized. I know that it can become frustrating to see a pattern you love and yet, not be able to make it in the size you need. I do try to make most patterns in a variety of sizes to accommodate all, but sometimes, the pattern I design is size specific. I don’t have a variation or the stitch counts to make it in other sizes. Today’s blog is JUST A GUIDELINE to show you how changing your hook size can make a pattern slightly smaller or bigger JUST by changing this one detail.

Experimenting!

I decided to do a quick trial experiment because, not only do I love to crochet, I love to get answers to longstanding questions. The question posed to me quite often is: Can I make this pattern bigger or smaller?

If I don’t have the pattern adapted to various sizes, I have offered the suggestion to try different hook sizes.
Here I give you a better visual on how much changing the hook size does increase or decrease the size of your piece.

In this experiment, I took six different hooks:
1. D-3.25mm crochet hook
2. F-3.75mm crochet hook
3. G-4.25mm crochet hook
4. H-5.00mm crochet hook
5. J-6.00mm crochet hook
6. K-6.50mm crochet hook

I then crocheted THE EXACT SAME granny square using each different hook. (See this pattern here for the granny square pattern)

I used Red Heart With Love yarn in color Jadeite (worsted weight) Size 4 Medium (equal to DK or Aran yarn).

Once I completed each square, I placed all together using a US quarter coin as a point of reference to show proportion.
Each square increased somewhat in size but also, notice the stitching is not as tight as you increase the size.

The difference in size from the first square using a D-3.25mm hook to the last square using the K-6.50mm hook is a difference of 3 inches (~8cm)

Visuals Help!

If you are like me, it is so much easier to have a visual to be able to put into perspective how much change happens just by changing your hook. It helps so much to see it right in front of your eyes rather than trying to picture it in your mind how much difference this will make.

This trick may not work for ALL patterns but for some, this adjustment will be very handy in making something just a bit smaller or larger.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t allow for HUGE variations in size but just enough for some to get the desired result if you want to go a bit up or down on a specific pattern.

Also, remember, the larger you go, the looser and open the stitches will appear.

Share with us your experience if YOU have tried resizing by changing your hook gauge. Let us know how that helped you make a pattern smaller or larger. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Below are photos of each square by itself using the quarter as a point of reference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s Here: Our Newest YARNutopian

He’s Here: Our Newest YARNutopian

 

We would like to introduce our new baby boy to our YARNutopia community. There are NO words to express how much we are in love with this precious little peanut and how it feels to be first time parents; so instead of doing that at this time, we ask you to please enjoy these exclusive beautiful photos – many of which are being shared here for the very first time.

He arrived a little earlier than expected, and although nothing about his delivery was easy, in the end, holding him in our arms was so worth it! Oh. MY. Gosh. THE LOVE!

Nate and I are overwhelmed with joy and want to share our happiness with our online family community. As soon as I am feeling better, I will write a little more about this entire experience in detail!

So many people tried to tell us how this would feel. NOTHING compares to the real thing. NOTHING!! WE ARE SO IN LOVE WITH HIM!

Name: Nasir Nathan
Born June 13th, 2019 at 12:15pm
Weight: 6 lbs, 12 oz.
Length:  18.9 inches

Things we observed so far: He has his Daddy’s face and wavy dark hair, but he has Mommy’s nose and dimples. He has long fingers like Mommy but Daddy’s toes lol. As we continue to discover one another, we look forward to finding more of these amazing connections. It is the most profound feeling ever to meet this tiny human, see pieces of ourselves in him, and know that we made him!

The Wood Be Fancy Story

The Wood Be Fancy Story

Many of you have seen my videos on YouTube and commented on the type of crochet hook I am using in a majority of my tutorials. My dad started mass producing these crochet hooks after so many inquiries flooded in. Each hook handle, as demonstrated in this video tutorial, is individually crafted and designed. A great deal of time is spent on every single hook handle.

These special crochet hooks are ergonomically created to fit perfectly into the palm of your hand. I use these in each and every video we film.

I spent much of my early crochet years in the hospital. My mom taught me the basics, and I used crochet as a time pass for those long stays trapped in a hospital bed. I loved watching YouTube just like many of you. I watched the Crochet Crowd, Moogly, and Naztazia and learned more advanced techniques through their tutorials.

I started noticing when using a traditional aluminum crochet hook, my finger and wrist joints would start to pain while holding the thin hook. Most of the pain was in part from being so ill. The disease, and side effects of my medications caused bone deterioration and joint problems. It wasn’t unusual to have swollen hands and rusty joints almost every day. My dad saw my struggle, and when I would tell him it hurt to crochet, we started to brainstorm ways to make things easier.

My dad is not a master craftsman. He didn’t even own many power tools. He didn’t carve or do woodworking, yet, he decided to experiment a little and began to design handles for my crochet hooks.  In fact, his early introduction to the world of wood craft had him on a first name basis with the local Emergency Room doctors from all the mishaps he encountered trying to perfect his design. Eventually, he was able to craft this final design, have less trips to the ER, and rarely ends up with stitches anymore!

Not only are these the most comfortable in my hand, but due to those arthritic effects from long term illness, the joints in my hand and wrist feel better with this handle when I work. These handles make it so much easier to crochet for a duration of time and reduce the stress on my joints.

This blog is in part a plug for the hooks my dad makes because, why not? Besides filming and editing my video tutorials, he works so hard to make each and every one of these crochet hooks as demonstrated in his documentary video. Each individual hook is made exactly like shown. The time and care put in to each one is unsurpassed! Just check out the testimonials on his Etsy Shop to hear what others have to say.

More than a shameless plug for this product, this blog is about a dad who cares so much about his daughter that he found a way to make her passion easier on her. He designed this amazing hook handle so that I don’t hurt any more. He took to learning wood crafting and carving, taught himself how to use all these power tools and even sacrificed his own hands to make mine feel better. Those numerous ER trips to get stitches in his hands are testament to how far he would go to make me happy and pain-free.

With Father’s Day approaching, let’s remember the selfless sacrifices our dads have made. The hard work and dedication they show us and their unending acts of love they provide. I am pretty lucky to have one of the best! Thanks, Daddy for everything!

Love, Nadia

If you would like to try one or more of these hooks, you can visit his shop here.

 

A Temporary Transition

A Temporary Transition

As some of you may have noticed, I have been somewhat MIA on my social media and on my blog for a little bit. I have been posting and have been a little active, just not as much as I usually am. There’s a reason for that.

Last week, I ended up in the hospital. I was having a lot of issues with my body and baby, so I went into the Emergency Room. The doctors here in La Crosse, WI did not feel confident, and the scope of my issues were outside of the range they felt comfortable dealing with. They felt things were emergent to either med-flight or rush me to Mayo Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.

It was decided that was going to be rushed by ambulance, but Nate could not accompany me on the ride. He came behind and my mom met us up at Mayo Hospital. I was in the hospital for nearly a week with several complications making it impossible for me to manage at home.

It was decided that upon release from the hospital, I could return home short term while a social worker from the hospital would work on a short term relocation plan for me. For these last few weeks before delivery, I will be staying in Rochester near the hospital in an extended stay apartment. This way, I will be close by the hospital in case anything emergent happens again.

What is going on?

In the recent blog where I shared my pregnancy photos, I mentioned that the doctors have taken me off of all my medications that help to keep my Crohn’s disease under control while I work towards remission. Now, off of the medication, my body has started to get weaker. I ended up with an infection and the infection put my body into a full-on flare.

Since I don’t have a large intestine, my small intestine has to learn the job of what its old companion had done. I have to draw my nourishment, vitamins, minerals, fluids, and much more from my small intestine similarly to what the body does with the large intestine. Not only do I rely on that intake, that same intake is what is helping to keep baby healthy. When I got sick last week, the function of the small intestine failed me, and my body was having a difficult time absorbing ANYTHING. This made it difficult to keep food down, my body was severely dehydrated, and some of my blood test numbers were dropping making it difficult to keep my nourishment markers where they needed to be.

Because I am pregnant, normal options for treatment aren’t always viable because they can affect the baby. There were so many limitations that the doctors could treat me with. It took some time and patience, but we were able to find a way for me to gain some control over my body without causing more stress to me or baby. At least, for now, it was enough to go home and prepare for this upcoming relocation.

What will this mean for YARNutopia?

I am home for a few days. Soon, I will transition to an apartment closer to the hospital in Minnesota. I will stay there temporarily until our baby is born. Nate will be with me on the weekends, and my mom will be coming to stay with me during the weekdays, as I can’t be alone. All my care will continue through Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

(Pictured above is a photo of my mom and me in the hospital last week)

(Pictured above is me, feeling better)

Because of this transition, I won’t be able to be as active or as present on my social media sites. I won’t be checking out completely though! No way! I love my social media! I will, however, be taking a small step back to get things under control with my health and prepare for delivery. There are LOTS of appointments, checkups, and tests to be done in these last few weeks! But don’t worry! I will do what I can, when I can! So, please keep checking the Facebook page, click on the links I share, share photos of your work. I’ll be crocheting to pass some time, and I hope to keep on keeping on. I will be sure to check in as often as I can!!

I will also try to update you as much as possible. Until baby arrives, the most I will be doing is trying to keep as healthy as I can so he can be inside growing and developing. We need him to be the strongest he can be! We are almost to his due date, so we are hoping for a not so bumpy ride to get there! Haha!

In the next few weeks, I am still hopeful to post some new blogs, a few new posts, and whatever I can do, but in the meantime, I will pull from the archives some great classic patterns, some oldies but goodies, and I will share work from my fellow designers! And once baby is here and I am recovered, I will be back better and stronger than ever!

Until then, Happy Hooking!

~Nadia

Special Baby Shower Surprise

Special Baby Shower Surprise

This past Sunday, my Aunt and my Mom organized a baby shower for Nate and me. To say it was amazing is such an understatement! Not only did my family have so much in store for us, there were epic surprises to be showered on us as well.

After opening our gifts from family and friends, my mom made an announcement that there were more gifts. Confused, I wasn’t sure what she meant.

A quick background

I am part of a large online blogger community. In our private group, this blogger community shares ideas and support for one another. Besides my personal family, these ladies feel like family even though we haven’t met in real life. I feel like we know one another despite that we haven’t met. We talk almost daily and check in with one another. We share patterns and advice, we count on each other in our shared desire to grow our craft. We have a sisterhood that transcends the miles and continents.

So, when my mom announced that this incredible group of ladies had conspired to bring their own version of an online baby shower to my family baby shower, I was so overwhelmed with joy and shock! It felt so amazing to find out that together, they reached out to be a part of this special day. They coordinated through Marly Bird to send surprise packages to my mom and my aunt. Each package was a gift for our sweet baby boy.

Both Nate and I could not believe it! We had NO CLUE! Seriously, my mom is the best at keeping secrets because I talk to her a half dozen times a day and NOT ONCE did she even hint there was this in store for us at the shower!! As soon as my Aunt Gail brought this giant box full of gifts I started getting emotional all over again!

Each crochet designer/blogger created something extraordinarily special for this baby. Below, please join me in this video as I open these wonderful gifts. Please understand that in this moment I was so emotional and overwhelmed. Tears flowed freely, my nose was running wild, and I kept repeating how awesome it was and how much in shock this felt!

 

Panda Lovey by Snappy Tots

 

Baby Blanket by Crafting Friends Designs

 

Baby Blanket by The Purple Poncho
(Bibs not pictured)

 

Baby Cardigan by Moogly

 

Baby Sleeper Sack by Heart Hook Home

 

 

Baby Blanket by American Crochet

 

 

Baby Cardigan by My Hobby is Crochet

 

 

Oliver  and Olivia  Baby  Blanket by  Marly  Bird

 

 

Baby  Rattle Toy  by  Goodknit  Kisses

 

 

Knit  Top  Knot  Hat  by  Jessie  at Home

 

 

Baby  Mitts  by  Oombawka  Designs

 

Layette Set from Pattern Paradise

 

 

Teddy Hats, yarn and a handmade card by Fiber Flux

 

All the beautiful cards!

I am in complete awe of these amazing women. Not only are they spectacular designers and creators, but I have the joy of calling each of them my FRIEND! WE are so lucky. I am so lucky. This baby is so lucky and so loved.

From the bottom of my full heart, THANK YOU!! There are no words to describe this feeling. I am so grateful for your gifts of time and creativity. Thank you for your gift of love and friendship. Again, my heart is so full.

 

On a side note. In the last frame of the video I was hugging a teddy bear. Some of you may not know that at the end of March we lost my Grandpa Bob. In January, he was told by his doctors he had about six months to live. He had hopes to live long enough to meet my baby. My grandpa was so supportive and caring through my journey through illness and life, and he wanted to be here to see me through this special time. God had other plans for him. He passed away on March 24th, 2019.

My mom took one of his shirts and sent it in to a designer on Etsy. She made a memory teddy bear out of my grandpa’s shirt. My mom had a photo of my grandpa and me, and in it he wore that same shirt. She gifted both together – the photo in a frame and this sweet bear to put in the nursery. This gift was so special and although my Grandpa won’t be here, a small part of him will always be with us.

~Nadia

Nursery Sneak Peek!

Nursery Sneak Peek!

Here’s a look at our baby’s nursery!! We’re expecting his arrival in June 2019 and here’s his new room! It’s a work-in-progress, but this is how far we’ve gotten on his “crib” so far!!

We have a lot of decorations from Hobby Lobby as well as Wayfair and Amazon!

The sign “Welcome to my Crib” can be found here from Hobby Lobby

 

The Chevron Basket can be found here from Hobby Lobby

 

The Furry Rug can be found here from Amazon

 

 

The shelf holding the books can be found here from Hobby Lobby


hobby lobby

 

The Cloud Hanging Rack can be found here from Hobby Lobby

 

The Sheep Ottoman can be found here from Target

 

The arrow wall hanging was found at Hobby Lobby, however, I am unable to share a link to that piece.

 

 

The dresser, changing table, and crib came as a set from Wayfair and it can be found here.

A Precious Miracle

A Precious Miracle

Disclaimer: This blog contains sensitive pregnancy photos. I ask everyone to be respectful and any negative comments will be deleted. It took a lot for me to be vulnerable to share these images. With my health history, I wanted to be as transparent and open as possible with this miraculous pregnancy.

 

 

Many of you already have been following my journey and know that my health history has been plagued with illness, numerous surgeries, and plenty of setbacks. I had my colon removed in 2008 because my Crohn’s disease was so progressive. Doctors, worried about the dangerous potential of colon cancer and with fast deterioration of my colon, removed it to save my life. That journey was wrought with so many setbacks and ongoing severe illness. Chemotherapy, biologic treatments, thousands of procedures, multiple ostomies, hospitalizations, and repeated surgery had severely impacted the quality of life I was living in my late teens into my 20s. Most of my dreams were put on hold just to survive.

The one dream I held onto and hoped for was to one day be a mother. Doctors could never give a definitive answer as to whether or not pregnancy could even be possible. It was always a “wait and see” possibility. Without my large intestine or parts of my small intestine, even carrying a baby to term was a huge risk. And, it has been. This miraculous pregnancy has been filled with many issues, illness related problems, and so much worry. Yet, this sweet little boy growing inside me is a fighter. Just like me.

That is why, as we came closer to my due date, I dreamed of having pregnancy photos taken to mark this extraordinary time in our lives.

My colo-rectal surgeon told me last week, despite all the complications, try to enjoy this. “Enjoy being pregnant, Nadia.” She said, “Time goes so fast, we forget these moments. Try to remember how exciting it is to feel him moving…” And it is! This is so true! I have to appreciate everything I am going through to bring him here, and I love him so much that I don’t care how much I have to endure. This is temporary and so worth it.

Next week, I stop the last of my medications needed to keep my disease in remission, so our baby has the best chance and can be his strongest at birth. That part is very unsettling because I don’t know what my body will do without those medications. I am hoping that the last dose will sustain me through the final weeks until delivery and beyond. With that in mind, I decided now was the best time to do these photos. While I felt as good as I can expect to feel, I wanted to capture the power of this moment and the profound feelings of this health and pregnancy journey. I channeled my inner “life-giving goddess” for these powerful images!

I want to thank my mom and dad for their help in bringing my vision to life through these photos, and a huge thank you to Nate for being the most amazing husband and best friend on this journey. I couldn’t have done this without him..obviously..haha!!

“Life reveals her beauty one precious miracle at a time.” ~Flavia

Enjoy the photos.

~Nadia

 

 

 





Tips to Help Manage Your Time

Tips to Help Manage Your Time

Life is busy and there is never enough time in the day for most of us. Between jobs, family, appointments, and obligations, most of us are left with less and less time in a day for enjoyment. Crochet projects get started and set aside forgotten. Oftentimes, we take on a project in hopes to complete it by a specific deadline – a wedding, birthday, or holiday. It is in this time of hustle and bustle, a little time management can go a long way! Let me show you how!

Here are some of my tips to help maximize the time you have and make the day as productive as possible.

Set your goals. Now let’s plan a way to support and reach those goals!

  • Prioritize your day/week/month: When we begin a project, most of us have more than just the project deadline ahead of us. Know what time frame you are working with and determine the other activities you need to juggle simultaneously with these projects. Getting a planner is a great way to keep yourself organized. Several apps can be useful or I use a planner like this one here. One glance at the week ahead can give me an idea of how I can plan out my projects around other things I am juggling in life. Work and work related activities, appointments, family activities, and plans with friends-it is all right there in my planner!

  • Another great tip is to invest in a white board! I have one and write my daily “to do list.” My white board is near my office where I spend most of my time. I see it nearly all day long. When I get busy, it is hard to remember everything I have to do, so seeing it RIGHT in front of me every time I walk past is a great way to keep me on task! Once I complete a task, I erase it. I LOVE seeing those “to-dos” disappear every day!

  • Always plan ahead: Know what is necessary to reach these goals and be sure to have your project supplies available. How many times have you started a project and then ran out of supplies and needed something and now you have to stop working or put your project off until you have what you need. Plan it out, write a list, and shop for supplies, double check.

  • Get rid of things that distract you. Are you drawn in by social media and realize that you just spent 45 minutes with time sunk on Facebook or Instagram? Ummm me neither haha! But for those that get distracted by social media, television, or even the birds on the feeders outside the window, remove those distractions NOW! I am NOT saying permanently, NO-keep your bird feeders filled with birds!! I am saying this; Set a timer for 20 minutes or an hour (or the allotted time you’re planning on working on your project) now, put your phone in the other room, shut off TV if it is a distraction, close the curtains-do what you need to do in order to have that one hour free and clear to work. Sometimes, I only have time to set my timer for 20 minutes and push myself just to concentrate for that 20 minutes, shut my mind off to everything else and get to work! I try to capitalize on those timed sessions! Remember to have your supplies all available before getting started.

 

  • Sometimes you have to just say NO. We all want to be the kind of person that can do it all. However, sometimes that is not possible, and there comes a time that to be the most productive in our own lives we have to say NO to things. Not everything, just the things that bog our schedules down to the point where there is no time for enjoyment. It’s ok-give yourself permission to say NO and tell yourself it is ok!

 

  • Last on our list is TAKE CARE OF YOU!! No matter how much you want to finish a project, no project is worth going bonkers stressing over it! There might not be enough time in a day. It is ok! Look at your week and plan it out in days-Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday projects, or maybe just weekend projects. Whatever you have time for, don’t put extra pressure on yourself that you HAVE to get it done NOW even on a deadline. Pace yourself, plan ahead, and give yourself permission to relax. I promise, with some effective time management, you can accomplish your goals!

 

Now that you have some great tips, you will have much more time to do what you love!

 

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!! ~Nadia

I Know I’m Not Alone

I Know I’m Not Alone

I am typically pretty upbeat and positive by nature. I have had to overcome a lot in the past decade, and I have spent some of that time feeling situational depression due to battling illness, surgery, dealing with body issues from having so many scars and a permanent ileostomy.  When I found out I was able to get pregnant, and subsequently carry this baby, I was over the moon! Depression wasn’t even on my radar at that time.

I Knew It Wasn’t Going To Be Easy

I am extremely high risk. I have a team of doctors and specialists across three hospitals that will be involved in bringing this baby into the world safely. Of course, I am a bit nervous, but I also have great faith and trust in this team to do everything to help bring this baby boy into the world, keeping us both healthy and happy.

Here’s where I struggle. I am supposed to be happy. I AM happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to feel baby move and happy to know I will hold him in just a few short months. However, what is happening to my body is bringing me so low. I am just not feeling overall happy, and I didn’t expect that.

 

A Complex Medical History

Without delving too deep into the graphic details, I’ve had 14 surgeries which have left my entire abdomen full of scars. I have numerous scars running up and down, diagonally, and across my torso. Drain scars, former ostomy scars- just scars, scars, scars! Following one surgery, I had a serious infection so my abdomen had to be re-opened, and I was put on a wound vac to help heal by secondary intention. That process left my tummy full of puckered and thick scar tissue. All this scar tissue causes adhesions. As my abdomen stretches, the scar tissue is stretching and tearing both on the surface and internally. It has been challenging to deal with. This, along with changes in my ostomy with my intestine prolapsing outside my body, has left me feeling depressed over all these reminders that my body isn’t quite the same as others.

Pre-Partum Depression

This pre-partum situational depression has hit me hard. I am struggling with my body and disease and with my hormones running amok. I have found myself in tears quite a bit lately. I am not writing to complain, NO, but to confront what is happening to me and to share this with others who may struggle with these same feelings during pregnancy or at any time. I know that this is supposed to be the most blessed and happy time of my life, so why am I feeling so blue? I don’t have the answer.

Crochet IS Therapy

During this time, my comfort and refuge is found in my craft. I am so grateful for a loving and supportive husband and the support of a fantastic family, but when I am alone, I find solace in the stitches and the repetitive nature of crochet to help distract and focus my mind on something other than these feelings and the pain from my scars.

Lately, I have been working on so many crochet projects for not only my little guy, but also for my sister-in-law who had a baby girl in January. My niece is the perfect model! These projects, alongside my work here at YARNutopia, has given me a deepened purpose, and these goals have helped me focus on more than the issues I am dealing with.

 

Self-Care

I know I’m not alone. I know that this is only temporary. I know this is a very small price to pay for bringing my baby into the world. I know I have support and love of an amazing husband, family, and community. I know all these things. I also know it is ok to feel. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to hurt. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok.

After spending a little time yesterday on self-care – I bought myself some springtime flowers to brighten my home, I did some retail therapy and bought myself a few feel-good things, I had my nails done, I took a long walk in the sunshine, a short drive and played my favorite music, and I talked for hours with my mom-I am happy to say that I feel a little better. Today has started off on a good foot and writing this has helped. Also, it has helped to be working on some crochet projects, and I went to brunch with Nate. Each day may present a challenge, but I am thankful be able to face each one in strength and resolve and overcome those challenges!

Share with us:

Please share your stories of pre-partum or post-partum depression or your struggles with feeling out of control. Share your stories of how crochet has brought you comfort during a time of need.

Thank you for letting me share.

Be love, Be light.

~Nadia

Dance the Night Away

Dance the Night Away

One year ago, and the memories are fresh as if it were yesterday!! I think we can agree that Nate and my dad are pretty good on the dance floor.

See our First Dance here:

See our Father-Daughter Dance here:

(And how cool is the surprise dholi we had enter during the father-daughter dance?! Watch the video to see my surprise reaction. On a scale from 1-10 that was a solid 10 epic surprise)

It’s a…. Gender Reveal!!!

It’s a…. Gender Reveal!!!

It didn’t matter – girl or boy – we would still be filled with the same joy!! We are over the moon excited to announce that we are having a….

 

Thank you for sharing in the joy of this experience. We are so happy!!

My mom found the onsie on Etsy, you can see it here.

The tutorial for the baby booties is coming soon!!

~Nate and Nadia

The Cat’s Out of the (YARN) Bag!

The Cat’s Out of the (YARN) Bag!

It’s no secret that my battle with my health has been mostly an uphill one. Numerous surgeries have taken their toll on my body for the past ten years as I continue my fight. My Crohn’s disease has to be considered in every facet of my existence. My life, daily decisions, activity, diet, my body, and my future are ruled by this illness and how it will affect my daily living. After ten years, it is “Normal for Nadia” to be at the mercy of this condition. It just is that way. Like a habit, living with severe Crohn’s disease becomes part of my routine.

Doctor appointments, daily meds, regular testing, procedures, and so many details have worked their way into the fiber of my ordinary existence. Even getting married in March was overshadowed by the very real possibility that I may end up sick or in the hospital on our wedding day. It’s just the reality of living with chronic illness. Fortunately, adrenaline was my friend on March 17, 2018 and it helped carry my aching body through the day without incident! Our wedding was the most glorious day ever. Sure, I paid for it afterwards, but I would do all of that 1,000 times over just to relive that beautiful day!

Hardcore family planning

Nate and I always knew we wanted a family, we also knew that it would not be an easy path to having one. Several months after getting married, we sought help from my doctors to find out if I can safely support a pregnancy since I have such a challenging health history. I underwent a series of tests, some incredibly invasive (dignity be damned). A team of specialists were assembled to oversee my care if we were able to get pregnant. According to all these insane tests, there was no reason, despite my health battle, that I couldn’t get pregnant. We were so relieved! We were aware it would be very risky; the warnings from the medical staff came across loud and clear, but we have confidence in the high-risk team overseeing my care. They were very realistic but also reassuring. I was facing my 28th birthday, and although we weren’t aggressively trying, we weren’t being careful either. So, in early November–two days after my birthday–with symptoms that screamed that I might be pregnant, I went to the store and bought a half dozen pregnancy tests.

My internal dialogue was: “I just spent a small fortune on something I  am going to pee on. Who cares!??? I need answers!”

It all comes down to a (+) sign

It was a Friday afternoon, November 9th. My friend Sarah was coming to town for a visit, and I was planning on picking her up at the bus station in a few minutes. I only had a small window to privately check out my pregnancy suspicions. So like millions of women before me, I peed on the stick and nervously waited through the minutes that could change everything. I was pacing, nervous and fidgety. How do you distract yourself for those moments without constantly checking if you have your answer? If “a watched pot never boils,” does frantically fanning a pee stick prolong the results?! Because that 5 minutes felt like a flippin’ lifetime!

The test read (+) and I freaked out! I  called my mom on Skype immediately, and I was hyperventilating and crying and couldn’t get out what I needed to say. I completely freaked her out because she thought something tragic had happened. I couldn’t speak, and my dramatic reaction had her thinking the worst. I was able to show her the pregnancy test and get her expert opinion on what it was saying. (Like I didn’t already know, right?!) Were these tests saying what I thought they were saying?  Of course they were, but I needed Dr. Mom!!! She talked me through it and asked me what Nate said about it…

Oh. My. Gosh. Nate!!! I had yet to tell Nate! How did I not think of that?

She suggested that maybe I should have called him first! Oh my goodness, absolutely! I was a bit of a frantic mess. Where’s my coat?! I’m wearing it. Where are my keys?! In my hand! I had only a few minutes because Sarah’s bus was about to arrive!  I jumped in the car and decided to stop at his work! Woops! Was that a stop sign? Just kidding! I am grateful I didn’t receive a citation on the way to tell my husband!

We are having a baby… What do we do now?

Nate came out to the car and I had the test stick in a Ziploc bag. I told him I have to tell him something and without asking, he just said, “You’re pregnant.” I cried, I laughed, and I shoved the pee stick in the Ziploc at him and told him to look at it. We were so happy! He said he had a strong feeling. He knew. What emotions! So high, but then reality started to sink in like “What are we going to do now”? Even though we didn’t know what direction to take at that exact moment, we would figure it out together. We called my mom again from the car in the parking lot at Nate’s work. After talking to her, we knew I had to see my doctors first. We had to keep this quiet for a while. By all calculations, I was only about six to seven weeks along. Things were so precarious with my health and we wanted to make sure the pregnancy was viable and baby was healthy. We also needed to be sure I was fully healthy enough to actually support a pregnancy. On a scale from one to ten our emotions were off the chart. What ARE we going to do now?! GAHHH! WE ARE HAVING A BABYYYY!!

Game Face and A No Colon Surprise Party

Nate went back to work, and I had to pick up Sarah. How was I going to keep a straight face? How do I keep this from my best friend? Although I was busting to tell her to the point I was getting twitchy, I knew I couldn’t. I am the WORST at keeping a secret, God knows, and it was stressful to not blurt it out! I put on my best game face and decided to get it out of my mind (yeah, right!) and enjoy the weekend. Little did I know that the reason Sarah was really coming to visit was because my mom, Nate, Sarah and Nida were planning a surprise party to celebrate my birthday tied into a No Colon, Still Rollin’ – 10 years later party! WHAT IS HAPPENING!??? Saturday afternoon my entire family and all my friends surprised me and I couldn’t say a word to any of them! I ate three poop emoji cupcakes just from the stress of it all. Only Nate and my parents knew, and I couldn’t talk to them with everyone around! Again, ALL THE EMOTIONS!!!

Thank goodness for poop emoji cupcakes. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Well, it’s true! We’re pregnant.

I scheduled my first appointment and we had our first ultrasound. I knew going into this that it wouldn’t be easy. Nausea, heartburn, extreme fatigue, restless legs, extremely sensitive boobs that have grown 10 times their size, body pains off the charts, visits to the ER to check scary symptoms caused by adhesions from past surgical scar tissue, phantom sharp pains in my non-existent anus, my ostomy is shifting to the side as my tummy begins to grow, the scars on my tummy are being stretched, back pain, sciatic pain, vivid dreams and nightmares, itchiness, sleeplessness, aversion to certain foods, no appetite to ravishing hunger, even more profound vitamin deficiency (particularly folic acid and magnesium), chronic asthma symptoms to the point I need my rescue inhaler constantly and now a nebulizer, and more issues are plaguing me night and day, and I’m only past my first trimester!

But, it’s all worth it.

Especially at that very moment when we saw our baby on the ultrasound.

Suddenly, it all became real. We heard the heartbeat and we laughed and cried.

We called it our “little bean.”

We instantly fell in love.

Our baby is due in June 2019, and our hearts are so full.

What now, doc?

We had our first minor complication. There was a subchorionic hemorrhage (a blood clot) that was found on the ultrasound. The doctor said it happens in implantation, and unless I had excessive bleeding (I was only having some bleeding), not to worry too much about it, and it would be monitored.  I also had to cease a bunch of my medications. In stopping the meds, I risk some complications, but I have been managing things pretty well. One medication I can’t stop is my biologic injection. I am so worried about taking it, but I can’t risk getting sick to the point it would put me and baby in danger. My team has warned me over and over not to stop it.

I have to be truthful, I was contemplating stopping my biologic injection. The grave warnings from all my doctors have me reconsidering as I face having to take it this week. There is no evident risk to baby, but to me, if I stop, it would be very grave. I could become too ill and not be well enough to sustain the pregnancy, putting both of us at risk. Every doctor concurs. I do have to stop taking it at thirty weeks into the pregnancy to best insure that baby comes into this world the strongest and healthiest it can be. I am concerned without the protection of any medication to control my disease, my body won’t cooperate. I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I am scared. I won’t lie, I know what I am facing, and I know it will be worth it, but I also know this isn’t going to be an easy journey. Nothing this wonderful ever is. I have learned this lesson over and over in my life; I am familiar with how this goes. I am familiar with the bargaining process.

Now we are three!

We are now in the planning stage. I am almost 14 weeks pregnant, and have been following all the doctors’ instruction and am closely monitored. I am also chronicling my pregnancy on The Bump Phone App! According to the app, today our baby is about the size of a lemon! I have regular doctor appointments both with my standard team as well as a high-risk OB-GYN in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic. I couldn’t ask for a better crew of docs overseeing our care! They are so thorough. My last appointment with the specialist was two hours! We are in great hands, and we’re hopeful that things will continue to go well. I just pray that I stay healthy and strong for our little sweet pea. My heart is so full and all I want is to provide the best for this tiny baby despite my challenges.

Merry Christmas to Us!

We told Nyle, Nabeel, Samantha and Des over Thanksgiving. We also went to visit Nate’s dad and gave him a special “Grandpa” shirt.

We also told Nate’s brothers that weekend, too.  Other than immediate family and a couple close friends, we decided to wait and reveal our news to everyone else over Christmas! Our family and friends are elated, and some told me they “just had that feeling!”

Today, I wanted to share this with our YARNutopians now that our extended families and close friends received the news. Now, my crochet project list grows! Baby stuff galore! I already have some baby projects on our agenda! What an exciting year of crochet we have ahead of us! I hope to continue with our filming and projects as long as I can and will continue after baby’s arrival! We all have so much to look forward to in the New Year. Not only are we expecting a new addition, but my brother and his wife are also expecting a new baby in January! So many reasons to crochet! Haha! I am excited and filled with joy to share our news with all of you. Cheers to 2019! Thanks for being with us on this crazy and wonderful journey!

“You are so loved, little one.”

~Your Mommy and Daddy

~Nadia and Nate

Memory Lane 2018

Memory Lane 2018

Each year, at this time I find myself becoming very reflective. I look back and see how far I have come in the past 12 months. This particular year has been a year of big changes and growth not only here on YARNutopia, but in my personal life as well. The following blogs are my top memories of 2018.

#8:

One of the highlights of the past year was day-trippin’ through three states just for yarn. We are all crazy like that…amiright? Follow this link below to read about this fun adventure I had with my mom!
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/07/17/nadia-goes-on-a-yarn-hop/

#7:

Well it is no secret that 2018 was a BIG year for me! As we work our way through these memories, one of the best parts was getting to share my wedding day with my squad! My girls lived all over the globe, and it was such a special event for us to all get together for my wedding. Sarah came from Comoros, Africa, Nida arrived from Texas (and now is studying medicine in the Caribbean!!), and Samantha lives on the complete opposite side of the state from me. My wedding was one day where all my beauties could be with me and share in my joy. To commemorate this occasion, I made each of my bridesmaids these beautiful shawls! This memory is such a special one that holds such a dear place in my heart. Click the link below to read all about it and to discover the pattern for a great shawl!
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/05/30/gifts-for-my-bridesmaids/

 

#6:

2018 we launched our first mailing list! I did my first email blast and sent out a fun newsletter! So much to share in the new year so be sure to follow the link below so you too can be part of my email inner circle!
https://yarnutopia.com/newsletter/

 

#5:

Oh boy! One of the most hilarious and wild weekends I had this past year was a trip to Chicago for Stitches Midwest! That was one weekend I will never forget! Have you attended one of these events? If not you will have to check it out! Go to the blog below and be sure to read all about our weekend adventure with The Marly Bird, Erin Lane, Leon Alexander and so many others! I still smile when I think of all the fun!
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/08/29/stitches-midwest-my-first-time/

#4:

Drop everything and hear this! 2018 was EPIC in more ways than I can count! You know why?? Because this year marked my 10th year without a colon. You know the old saying No Colon, Still Rollin’ – yeah, I know that one isn’t popular among the masses, but that one is practically my life motto! LOL That is because I am living it! 10 years of an insane roller coaster ride with illness that has pretty much commandeered my life. It hasn’t always been pretty, but I have survived, for 10 years, and I thank God every day. I’m not cryin’ nope, not me 😢 It really is a miracle. There’s not much more to say than that. Go read about it…
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/10/30/ten-years-later/

#3:

Ok, well, we all know that my list of fave memories of the past year can’t pass us by without paying a bit of homage to Halloween! Each year, I try to outdo my past costume ensembles, and this year was definitely a challenge. So much thought, planning and preparations go into making these costumes that Nate and I wear each year. Nate was born to wear that Oompa Loompa Costume! We always have so much fun and enjoy bringing this to our YARNutopians each and every year! We already are thinking ahead to 2019. I wonder what’s in store for us next year?! Go check out more great pictures of our costumes here:
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/10/11/happy-halloween-2018/

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Characters

 

#2:

Queue the ooooooohhs and ahhhhhhs! Seriously one of the best memories of 2018 was adding these two furballs to our family! We rescued Fern and Jade in April 2018, and for the past 8 months they have brought so much joy and happiness to our home and our lives. I know you will all be seeing them much more in the year ahead. They love the camera! Read about how we rescued these two kitties and how excited we are to have them!
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/04/08/meet-jade-and-fern/

#1:

Ok, so our countdown to the best memory in 2018 goes without saying…It was our wedding. I crocheted so many details for our big day and here I share all the highlights along with some special photos of our wonderful event. Thank you all for being part of not only this special day, but the journey of this past year. I love that you are a part of all these memories! ♥ ♥
https://yarnutopia.com/2018/05/15/its-all-in-the-details-crochet-wedding-flowers/

 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me and letting me stroll down memory lane. The holidays always bring out the nostalgia in me as I look back at all that lead me to this moment and look to what is ahead. Stay tuned for many more exciting events in the new year!! Thank you for joining me on this memorable, yarn-filled journey!

Share in the comments some of your memories of the past year and what is in store for you in the year ahead!

~Nadia

 

 

12 Days of Christmas 2018

12 Days of Christmas 2018

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

  1. Polar Bear Cup Cozy

2. Christmas Tree Canvas Art

3. Santa Bottle Topper

4. Mistletoe Sprig

5. Christmas Tree Greeting Card

6. Festive Teapot Cozy

7. Paw Print Ornament

8. Peppermint Candy Garland

9. Poinsettia with Pearls

10. Rose Flower Headband

11. Mitten Gift Card Holder

12. Festive Holiday Wreath

Ten Years Later…

Ten Years Later…

When I was diagnosed, it wasn’t clear right away whether I had ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. My disease was so progressive, and I was so sick, that each treatment was like grabbing straws in the hopes that something worked. I prayed to avoid surgery, I prayed to survive.

On the cusp of colon cancer and failing treatment, there was no way to avoid the inevitable. Surgery was the only choice. Well, surgery or quite possibly death. But I was 17 years old and the idea of losing my colon was terrifying. I remember the team of doctors-specialists, surgeons, students, all filing into my hospital room to deliver the news.

I remember my surgeon drawing a picture with a black pen on white paper. “We will cut here, remove this, and make an opening there, create an ostomy out of that…” each scribble demonstrating what he planned to do to me. It was all so abstract and unreal. It was like I was that paper person and it was as simple as drawing a cut across my tummy and pulling my intestine through my abdomen. JUST. LIKE. THAT. But I am flesh and blood and not a series of sketches on paper.

All I knew is that my life would forever be changed. Illness changes everything, losing my colon was collateral damage that this disease was leaving in its path. It was killing me from the inside, and if my colon wasn’t removed, then there was not much hope for a future. I prayed to just survive.

Go ahead then, take it out.

Surgery was scheduled, my Living Will intentions were made, I signed the papers and cried when they wheeled me away from my parents, holding my mom’s hand until I couldn’t anymore. Until I had to let go… It’s so hard to describe that fear of the unknown. I was sick. Not just sick but deathly ill. If this was my chance at survival, would I really survive? I prayed to live through surgery. I prayed to survive.

I survived the surgery, but I was left with a body that was so unrecognizable to me. Cuts across my abdomen, part of my intestine on the outside, an abnormal anatomy that was hard to comprehend when I was just a teenager. Actually, no matter how old you are, this is something so incomprehensible. Who goes to the bathroom in a bag? Who lives this way? How do I live my life going forward? I am just a kid. Why me? The litany of unending questions each one more palpable than the last. I prayed to survive. Now how do I do that?

That was 10 years and more than a dozen surgeries ago. That was 10 years and more than 100 hospital stays ago. That was 10 years and 1,000 procedures ago. That was 10 years and a lifetime ago. I will never forget that scared young girl. Now, 10 years later, although I am still in a battle with this disease that has finally been diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, I am stronger and I am a survivor. Today, I live with a permanent ileostomy and a permanent positive attitude. I survived. 10 years. I survived.


This is the surgeon who performed my first surgery

 

YARNutopia’s 50K Facebook GIVEAWAY!!! (Closed–we have a winner!)

YARNutopia’s 50K Facebook GIVEAWAY!!! (Closed–we have a winner!)

Congratulations to Candy Lynn for winning the prize!!
The top voted costume was letter “A” the Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter Costumes!!
Thank you to everyone for participating and sharing your thoughts on the costumes so far!! We can’t wait until next Halloween!!!

We are close to 50,000 “Likes” on Facebook so we decided to have a GIVEAWAY for all our YARNutopians!! I want to share my appreciation for hitting 50K followers by doing a fun little Facebook GIVEAWAY!!

I am offering a magical Halloween Themed Box of yarn that retails $200+ USD!!!

Goodies include:
5 Balls of Red Heart Yarns Soft Essentials
2 Balls of Red Heart Yarns Super Saver Stripes
2 Balls of Red Heart Yarns Soft
2 Balls of Red Heart Yarns Super Saver
1 Ball of Red Heart Yarns With Love

Follow the directions below to enter! All tasks must be complete for you to be entered into this giveaway. You MUST have a US Address to participate in this giveaway! If a winner is chosen and they do not have a US shipping address, a new winner will be chosen.

To enter this giveaway you must do the following:

1. Make sure you are following YARNutopia on Facebook, if you are not, give the page a “Like”
2. Choose your favorite costume from years past in the photo below, then go to YARNutopia’s Facebook Page, Leave a comment on the pinned post about this GIVEAWAY with the letter of your favorite costume! (A, B, C, or D)–Your comment MUST be on the Facebook post. Any comments on this blog post will not be entered to win the yarn.
3. For an extra entry, share the post on YARNutopia’s Facebook Page about this GIVEAWAY with all your friends. (Be sure your share is public so I can add you in for an extra entry)

How to win???

The participants who vote on the costume with the MOST votes will all be entered in a RANDOM drawing to win the giant bundle of yarn in the photo above!! 

This giveaway will run starting TODAY, RIGHT NOW, October 12th, 2018 and end on October 14th at 11:59pm CST. The winner will be randomly selected on October 15th. I will announce the winner here and on Facebook and I will try to contact you personally.

This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook.

A. Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter

B. Belle and the Beast

 

C. Link and Zelda

 

D. Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompa

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Characters

Stitches Midwest: My First Time

Stitches Midwest: My First Time

When I first heard of Stitches Midwest I had no idea what it was and although it interested me, I initially didn’t pay much attention to it and it wasn’t on my radar to attend. Little by little, more information popped up on my News Feed and each bit of information provided me with a more comprehensive idea of what Stitches would be. The more I knew, the more I was intrigued. Soon, I could not get enough of what this show was going to be about. I became more excited the more I learned about it. My mind was made up! I was going to be there this year!

Let’s do it!

It didn’t take much to convince my mom to go along because the two of us are always tag teaming these events, but soon after talking about it with Nate, he said he could maybe take a vacation day on Friday and go with us. My dad was on board too! We decided to make an entire weekend out of it and since it was in Chicago, there was so much we could do!

We left Wisconsin and headed down to Illinois on Friday morning. We had reserved a room right near the convention center so we were only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the event. It was about a 5 hour drive but we broke it up with a little sight-seeing and a stop for lunch. Before we knew it, we were pulling into our hotel and things were about to get real!

We walked into the lobby and the first thing we saw were groups of ladies knitting and crocheting! Just witnessing those sharing the craft had my excitement building! We checked in and first thing we did was to head over to the convention center to make sure we had our reservations for the events in place.

What happens here, stays here!

As soon as we walked into the convention center at the Renaissance Convention Center and Hotel the atmosphere was electric with the excitement from all the fiber loving community! I could not wait to attend all of it! First thing’s first, we got our reservations confirmed. Friday night was the Pajama Party, Saturday: the Trade Show, Saturday afternoon: a Crochet Class with The Marly Bird! We were all set!

We decided to spend the few hours before the Pajama Party grabbing some dinner and doing some shopping. Well, being in Chicago it is NO SECRET that my favorite place to be is on Devon Avenue! Sabri Nihari, HERE we come!! Sabri Nihari is my FAVORITE restaurant for authentic Pakistani Cuisine. After a fabulous dinner of Chicken Makhani and garlic naan, topped off with a mango lassi, we were ready to head back to the convention center to attend my very first Stitches Midwest Pajama Party!

If you have NEVER attended one of these events, you are missing out! I never knew what I was missing until I went and saw for myself! I have to say there is NOTHING like a Pajama Party hosted by a yarn loving community. Before I go further I have to say that I HIGHLY recommend you going to one of these events near you! Be sure to take along your project bag and an adventurous spirit! There is a rule: What goes on at the pajama party, STAYS at the pajama party! This means you will have to attend one in the future to see all the fun of what goes on at one of these crazy parties! And by crazy, I mean, “you will never forget how much fun it is” crazy! It was a BLAST!! Nate and I went and of course we dressed in matching pj’s because..well we are that couple!

I’m such a fan-girl!

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Marly Bird! I was so excited to finally connect with her in person and meet face to face! She is as warm and bubbly off screen as she is on screen! She couldn’t be more welcoming and friendly and it felt like I have known her for longer than the few minutes it took for our initial real-life introduction! I had a fan-girl moment, too! I mean come on, it is The Marly Bird!!! Squeee!!!!

Holy Yarn Balls, Batman!

On Saturday, we planned to head over to the convention early on in the day with a late plan to meet Marly for lunch. So off we went to the trade show and OH MY GOSH! I was overwhelmed by the enormity of this event! It literally took my breath away! I walked into the convention hall and had to take a few deep breaths. It was YARN HEAVEN!!! As far as the eye could see, it was everything yarn! *Insert a wide-eyed Nadia with drool coming down her chin* For real though, it was unimaginable for lil’ ol’ me who comes from a small town where the most yarn in one place is at the local JoAnn’s or local yarn shop. It was crazyyyy!

As I started to make my way down the aisles, there were certain booths I wanted to make sure I made a stop at. However, it was easy to get pulled into all the beautiful booths that were bursting with color and fiber! Demonstrations were taking place that were alluring as well! Spinning, weaving, and other crafts were being shown all day! I was taken by all of it! Along the way, I found so many treasures! I bought an Erin Lane Bag and found some amazing Leon Alexander Yarn! Nate gifted me a pair of socks with sheep all over them too!

Always an education!

Around noon, we met Marly for lunch and enjoyed a little down time while we got to know one another. I was excited to share our love for the craft and a few laughs about the party the night before. It was a nice way to decompress from the overwhelming feeling of being in overdrive from the proverbial YARN-utopia I just came from inside the convention center! Shortly following lunch, she was instructing a class that I attended: Crocheting with Beads. I rarely crochet with beads, but her class made it easy to follow and I am sure I will be using this technique in future projects. I left with such a positive feeling of friendship and look forward to more events together!

 

 

Special Thanks!

Once the class was finished, we did a quick once over at the show to make sure there wasn’t anything I missed, and from there we headed home. It was a fun-filled jam packed couple of days, and by the end I was exhausted. Nate and I curled up in the back seat of the car and fell asleep for the ride home, me dreaming of all the beautiful things I was going to make with my new yarn and Nate dreaming of ways to find room in the house to keep it all! Haha! Just kidding, he was probably dreaming of getting home to have a beer because he spent two days immersed in all things yarn, attended a pajama party in matching pajamas and all the while his wife dragged him around 500,000 square feet of fiber arts! That’s what true love is, folks!

Anyway, it was a great weekend all the way around, and one I will not soon forget. Until next year! A special thanks to Stitches Midwest for hosting such a phenomenal event and to Marly Bird and Lindsey from Erin Lane Bags for being such entertaining emcees for the Friday event.

Thank you to Red Heart Yarns for providing the prize yarn that was part of the Pajama Party giveaway, as well as Stunning String Studio for the wonderful set of hooks, and Crafty Flutterby Creations for the beautiful shawl clasp. These few items will be a part of a future giveaway here on YARNutopia!


To all the fabulous vendors who made my very first Stitches event so memorable, thank you so much. I will never forget all the fun I had. Thanks for the memories!

~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!! ~Nadia

 

My dad will continue to be the videographer, editor, and photographer for our videos when I move away.
Support YARNutopia today so we can continue to bring you clear, quality crochet tutorials even after I move into my new home!
There will be an added expense of more travel and hopefully this won’t deter our ability to provide consistent videos on a weekly basis.

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Help Make Turtles for Mental Health Awareness

Help Make Turtles for Mental Health Awareness

Recently, one of our followers reached out asking for some assistance for an important cause. She is a mental health advocate and public speaker. She asked me for help to make small crocheted turtles.

MHATs or Mental Health Awareness Turtles, will be distributed to patients who are dealing with traumatic experiences that led to their ongoing struggles with mental health. This individual is working to help others who, like herself, have endured horrific experiences and SURVIVED.

In the aftermath, they are now left with lifelong battles. We can HELP! These little turtles have provided big benefits to patients dealing with these traumas. The goal of the MHATs is to provide comfort and start conversations. A reminder for people to come out of their “shells” and discuss mental health openly without fear of stigma.

Patients who are living with ACE or Adverse Childhood Experiences, Agoraphobia, cPTSD or complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Severe Dissociative Disorders and many others both inpatient and out-patient will benefit from this project. She needs to meet her goal of 100 turtles by October 1st,2018. All the turtles we make and send to her will be 100% donated to this cause and help patients. If anyone would like to help, please read and follow the pattern below.

 

THIS IS NOT MY PATTERN AND THERE IS NO VIDEO TUTORIAL. I have provided photos of my own turtle which I made using this pattern to show you the end result. You can find the address to ship your turtles to at the bottom of this page.

I have made it big and bold so you cannot miss it! DON’T forget the deadline is OCTOBER 1st, 2018. She will be speaking at an event on OCTOBER 11th, 2018 and will need to have the turtles well in advance. MHATs Pattern is property of Erika Reva Memering.

 

Address to send your turtles to:

Erika Reva Memering
MHATs Project
2956 Allen Street
Lake Station, IN 46405

 

 

Pattern:

Body and Head: You can use any colors you want. Scraps of yarn even work, since this doesn’t take too much yarn to make this project.
Color I used photographed above: Red Heart Super Saver Freshmint

Shell: You can use any color you want. Scraps of yarn even work, since this doesn’t take too much yarn to make this project.
Color I used photographed above: Red Heart Super Saver Stripes Polo Stripe

Materials You will need:
Yarn (Any colors you want)
Crochet Hook Size G-4.25mm or H-5.00mm
Stuffing
Scissors
Yarn Needle
Stitch Markers

Special stitches:
Ch(s): chain(s)
YO: Yarn Over
St(s): Stitch(es)
Sl st: slip stitch
SK: Skip
SC: Single Crochet
HDC: Half Double Crochet
DC: Double Crochet
BLO: Back Loop Only
RS: Right Side
WS: Wrong Side

Body:
Using Your Main Color, work in BLO and in continuous rounds.
Put Stitch Marker at the beginning of each round to mark your rounds if needed.

Ch 2
Rnd 1: 7SC in 2nd CH from hook. (7)
Rnd 2: 2 SC in each st around. (14)
Rnd 3: [2 SC in next st, SC in next st] 7 times. (21)
Rnd 4: [2 SC in next st, SC in next 2 sts] 7 times. (28)
Rnd 5: *Ch 7, Sl st in 2nd ch from hook, SC in next 3 Chs, HDC in next ch, DC in next ch, Sl st into next st on body and next 6 sts, repeat from * around. (4 legs made)
Fasten off weave in ends.

Head:
Using Your Main Color, work in BLO and in continuous rounds.
Put Stitch Marker at the beginning of each round to mark your rounds if needed.
Ch 2
Rnd 1: 5 SC in 2nd Ch from hook. (5)
Rnd 2: 2 SC in each st around. (10)
Rnd 3: [2 SC in next st, SC in next st] 5 times. (15)
Rnds 4-5: SC in each st around. (15)
Embroider eyes on turtle (optional)
Rnd 6: [SC2TOG, SC in next st] 5 times. (10)
Stuff the head
Rnd 7: [SC2TOG] 5 times. (5)
Stuff head a little more if needed.
Fasten off with long tail for sewing.
Sew to body between 2 legs.

Shell:
Using Your Accent Color, work in BLO and in continuous rounds.
Put Stitch Marker at the beginning of each round to mark your rounds if needed.
Ch 2
Rnd 1: 7 SC in 2nd CH from hook. (7)
Rnd 2: 2 SC in each st around. (14)
Rnd 3: [2 SC in next st, SC in next st] 7 times. (21)
Rnd 4: [2 SC in next st, SC in next 2 sts] 7 times. (28)
Rnds 5-7: SC in each st around. (28)
Fasten off with long tail for sewing.

Be sure to have the Right Side facing out and sew shell to the body. Once you have it 3/4 of the way sewn closed, be sure to stuff the shell, but do not stuff too firmly.

Weave in all ends.
Enjoy!

Please send your finished turtles to:

Erika Reva Memering
MHATs Project
2956 Allen Street
Lake Station, IN 46405

 

 

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!! ~Nadia

Nadia Goes on a Yarn Hop

Nadia Goes on a Yarn Hop

With my move to a new city, much of my free time is spent exploring my new home. Nate has lived here for almost 10 years and as familiar as he is with this area, there are a lot of places in our city that I have discovered that he wasn’t aware even existed! One of the first places I wanted to scout out was the area yarn shops. Because it would be a travesty if my husband didn’t know where the yarn is!

You may recall in previous blogs how much I enjoy the quaintness and feel of a local yarn store. I love to support small businesses, and I will do my best to try to frequent them as often as I can. Fortunately for me, my city has a few in and around the area! Insert a visual of wide-eyed Nadia looking like a kid in a candy store each time she enters one of these shops running around squeezing all the yarn balls!

Last week, I popped into one of the local shops, Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop here in La Crosse, WI and found out they were having a Yarn Loop! Squeeee! How did they know I needed that in my life right now? What it entailed was a 200 mile route through three states, hopping from yarn shop to yarn shop along the route. Six shops in total were part of this event! You have no idea that I could hardly sleep the night before!! I was THAT excited.

The first thing I did when I found out there was a Yarn Loop was call my mom. Who better to join me on this adventure than my crafty partner in crime?? I was hoping she would be able to come the night before to have a pre-yarn-hop slumber party where we would stay up all night and plot out our plan and get an early start, but she was so busy she couldn’t make it until early that morning. She had over a two hour drive to get to my house, and of course I insisted we be ready to go by 8am. Even though the shops didn’t open til 9!

She was at my house by 8am the morning of the yarn hop and by 9 we were walking into the first shop! Our first stop was Unwound located right in Downtown La Crosse. I love their shop and how welcoming the staff is! The minute you walk in is a burst of warmth and color. Here we were given our “passport” to have stamped at each of the shops participating. Each shop was giving away some door prize swag, there were great deals and sales on yarn, and some had additional prizes and giveaways. Unwound had a nifty needle measure as their giveaway. I also scored some great purchases. I bought some wonderful yarn by Abacus Dyeworks. Along with fabulous fibers, I found some patches to add to my yarn bag. All in all it was a great start, despite the fact that as soon as we stepped out of the shop it was a torrential downpour! Meh, no rainstorm would dampen my spirit when 5 more shops await!

Follow Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop on Facebook!!

Check out their Instagram here!!

Next was Fitting Knit Shop, another store in downtown La Crosse. We arrived and had our passport stamped first thing. They were giving away free knitting patterns and I grabbed a couple skeins of Bamtastic Bamboo Yarn. I plan on trying my hand at knitting to see how I do. One really special point about this stop was the history of this little yarn store! It was established in 1946! They are still in business today. What a remarkable claim to be able to make! In the days of internet, it is pretty cool to see a business like this survive through so many decades.

Follow Fitting Knit Shop on Facebook!

We were quickly on our way to Viroqua, WI to Ewetopia Fiber Shop. I love this shop! With wall to wall fiber and lots of fun products that go beyond the yarn, I felt my excitement rising! What made Ewetopia stand out was the fact that they farm their own woolly animals that provide them their own AMAZING yarn! You all know me, I had to try THAT yarn! I purchased their own yarn which was 100% Blue Faced Leicester Wool. How incredible to have a sustainable farm to provide your own wool and fibers to their customers as well as stocking additional fabulous fibers! The staff at the shop was so endearing and wonderful. I had my passport stamped and I met some friends along the way! They gave out stitch markers for free, and of course I had to purchase some of the other fun items they had in their shop! I can’t wait to go back!

Follow Ewetopia Fiber Shop on Facebook

My mom and I were now off to Decorah, Iowa to our fourth stop of the day. By this time it was closing in on lunch, but we decided to wait until we arrived in Decorah, made our stop at the yarn shop Blue Heron Knittery, before stopping for lunch. Oh. My. Gosh! What a wonderful city Decorah is! This was my very first time visiting and right away we noticed the strong Scandinavian heritage of the area! It was wonderful. What was even more delightful is the yarn store had a wonderful selection of yarns that were specific to Norway and Denmark. We marked our passports to make note that we found our way to the fourth place on our route. I picked up some Kauni 100% wool and some Rauma Finullgarn. The shop had some fun swag giveaways and I walked away with a cute notepad with sticky notes and a pen.  A cute stash bag also caught my eye and I had to have it!

Follow Blue Heron Knittery on Facebook

By now we were starving and the Blue Heron Knittery shop staff recommended us to Ede’s Angry Pickle! Yes you read that right! It is a little sandwich shop right across the street a bit from the yarn shop. You can follow them on Facebook here! What a delightful diner! We had artisan sandwiches with fresh lemonade and it hit the spot! We even left a little bit of art behind to commemorate the day! My mom drew Pickle Art for the wall inside the diner which was filled with the art of past patrons.


By 3pm, we were on our last leg of the trip headed towards Minnesota. A little tired from all the day’s activity, we were determined to finish the yarn hop. The next stop was Just Stitch It Meisch Upholstery in Caledonia, Minnesota. As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by wonderful staff in a small shop inside what looks like a home. It was a combined fabric and fiber shop that was very cozy! They handed us wonderful pouches of swag as a sweet giveaway and had us register for a special giveaway of a bag, magazine and ball of yarn. A few days after the Yarn Loop was over, I received a phone call from this shop that I won their giveaway! They had some wonderful yarn selections and I was able to purchase their pattern selection they had featured which used Schoppel yarns. We wrapped up our visit and were on our way to the LAST stop of the day!

Follow Just Stitch It on Facebook

Winona, Minnesota was the next city on the map for our fabulous Yarn Loop Day. Yarnology was the last shop and last stop for us! And what a way to end the day!!!!! Yarnology was packed full of fun and fabulous products! I scored myself some Universal Yarns Bamboo Bloom Handpaints in the color Kanji and the swag they gave away was AWESOME!! They handed us gift bags upon arrival filled with lots of fun do-dads! One big highlight of the day was meeting Lisa who is the owner of Abacus Dyeworks! Remember, I bought that yarn from Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop from our first stop?! How awesome was it to meet the dyer of the yarn I purchased earlier in the day!! I also discovered the product SOAK Wash! You can learn more about SOAK and how awesome it is by following them on Facebook here! I absolutely loved this store, the atmosphere, the staff…the list goes on. It was THE PERFECT way to end this hop.

Follow Yarnology on Facebook

Follow Yarnology on Instagram

Follow Abacus Dyeworks on Instagram

Follow Soak Wash on Facebook

My mom and I had such a great adventure as we always do, and a yarn hop was the best way to spend a Friday. We met so many friendly and welcoming people. We enjoyed driving through the countryside, and when the rain cleared, the scenery was breathtaking. We found new places to go back to and explore. A special thank you to all of the participants in this 1st annual Driftless Loop Yarn Shop Hop! It was a blast! And I found out Yarn Hopping is as fun as it is exhausting! Until next year everybody! Share your yarn hop adventures in the comment section! I would love to hear from you!

~Nadia

 

Help Endorse me for a WEGO Health Award: BEST IN SHOW (Endorsements Closed)

Help Endorse me for a WEGO Health Award: BEST IN SHOW (Endorsements Closed)

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of Patient Leaders. They are the world’s largest network of over 100k Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Their network collaborates with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, agencies, consultancies, startups and all types of organizations across healthcare.

The WEGO Health Awards program was created to recognize and honor those making a difference in the online health community. It provides the opportunity for community members to thank and support the Patient Leaders and patient-centric initiatives they admire. I was nominated for Best in Show-for my blog YARNutopia.com.

You can see my Endorsement page to vote for me here

(ENDORSEMENTS HAVE CLOSED)

Since being nominated for this award, I need to get endorsements to help boost my chances at winning. There is an amazing plethora of individuals who are all using their platform for building awareness and I am privileged to be among so many wonderful nominees.

If you could take a moment to read more about my story here on my home page and also the following blogs listed below:

Keep Your Face To the Sunshine

Ostomy Awareness Day 2016

Yay! I did it!!

Broken Roads Point the Way

A Promise of Hope

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Blog Post

World IBD Day 2016 Blog Post

World IBD Day 2017 Blog Post

Shenanigans the Sheep

My battle with Crohn’s disease is an ongoing journey. The latest news in my health update is that Nate and I started to discuss having a family, and we are on a new journey to someday maybe have a baby. It has been dramatic and a bit worrisome. I will be visiting a specialist who deals with very high-risk pregnancies and consulting about that. There have been many recent discoveries that will make things very complex moving forward, but we will get through this together.

Please consider endorsing me for this award, I would appreciate that gesture tremendously! It is wonderful to have recognition for crochet, but having a voice to spread awareness about debilitating diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may bring us one step closer to a cure and makes what I do so much more meaningful. Thank you.

~Nadia

 

UPDATE:

The WEGO Health Awards program was created to recognize and honor those making a difference in the online health community. It provides the opportunity for community members to thank and support the Patient Leaders and patient-centric initiatives they admire. I was nominated for Best in Show-for my blog YARNutopia.com, and after the endorsement round was closed, the numbers were tallied, and I was notified that I am a FINALIST in this category!!! Thank you to everyone who has endorsed me to win this award!! It means so much to me to have the opportunity to use my platform and raise awareness and share the journey I have been through with Crohn’s disease. I know this isn’t a health blog, but it’s because of my health that crochet is such a huge part of my life.

What’s Next? WEGO Health will be announcing the winners live on Facebook during an online ceremony September 26-28th. Winners will then be invited to an in-person ceremony during the Connected Health Conference in October. Stay tuned!

Gifts for my Bridesmaids: Wrapped in Jewels

Gifts for my Bridesmaids: Wrapped in Jewels

I have shared the details that I crocheted for my wedding, but I held back one very important project that I made for my bridesmaids. Back in December 2017, I made the Wrapped in Jewels Shawls for each of my girls. Using Red Heart Yarns Ombré Yarn, I chose colors that best suited the color dress each of my bridesmaids would be wearing. I also made a deep red one for myself to match my gown.

I made the shawls early on and gifted one to each of them upon their arrival to the wedding. Nida was traveling from Texas and she would be wearing deep teal for my wedding, Sarah was traveling from Comoros, Africa and she would be in dark navy blue, and Samantha was wearing magenta and although she was here in Wisconsin, she still had a more than three hour drive to join me for our epic wedding weekend. By Thursday before the wedding everyone arrived safely and the festivities began!

My side of the wedding party consisted of both my brothers serving as “men of honor,” my sister-in-law, Samantha, was my matron of honor, Nida and Sarah both bridesmaids and my nephew was our little ring bearer. With everyone together for the first time in over a year, we decided to do a ‘bachelorette’ night and headed out for hibachi and sushi. Before heading out the door, I had gifts to share with everyone to thank them for making the trip and being there for our special day.

Although each “Glad you are here” bag consisted of a few fun items for all, the one thing I was most proud of was the handmade shawls I had made for the girls. I could already imagine how amazing they would look dressed in their gowns and wrapped in the shawls. It was on my “must have” photo list!

It did not disappoint! Here are a few photos of my girls and I on my wedding! These could not have turned out more perfect than this!

This shawl was such a wonderful keepsake from the most special weekend of my life. Each of the girls were in tears and excited to have a matching shawl to wear with the dress. These came in handy that evening when the temps dipped down with the sunset! Rather than lugging around a heavy coat we could wrap up and keep out the chill as we enjoyed the reception on the patio and headed out afterward to continue celebrating!

Now each of the girls has this special memento as a reminder of our wedding.

If you are getting married, or know of someone who would love this shawl, this one is very special and will be a hit with anyone who is on the receiving end of such a fabulous gift! Enjoy!

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!! ~Nadia

The yarn provided for this pattern is courtesy of Red Heart Yarns

 

 

My dad will continue to be the videographer, editor, and photographer for our videos when I move away.
Support YARNutopia today so we can continue to bring you clear, quality crochet tutorials even after I move into my new home!
There will be an added expense of more travel and hopefully this won’t deter our ability to provide consistent videos on a weekly basis.

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It’s All in the Details: Crochet Wedding Flowers

It’s All in the Details: Crochet Wedding Flowers

When planning a wedding, one of the very first things you consider is the type of wedding you want and the budget to go along with your dream. It isn’t always easy to have those two things come together seamlessly unless you have all the resources available without the concern of finances. That’s why DIY (or do-it-yourself) is a great way to cut costs and bring some of those wedding expenses down – and dreams to life – using your own creativity. Be aware – there’s a cost to that too, just not always in dollars.

It Starts With YES!

When Nate proposed, we were in Amsterdam, Netherlands on a high – figuratively not literally. (read about it here) Excited from the thrill of getting engaged on this European trip, planning a wedding in that moment was not on the forefront of our minds. We hadn’t even chosen a date for our wedding until weeks following our engagement. I am such a planner, so I needed time to organize our wedding with guests from overseas, so we decided on March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day. This was the perfect day to have our Pakistani/Irish fusion wedding. I wanted the Pakistani features and Nate is Irish, so he wanted to incorporate some Irish elements into our special day.

Looking a year ahead gave us much needed time to sort out details for this fusion wedding and put finances on paper. Thankfully, our parents were able to help, but how much would this all cost?

We visited vendors which was exciting and full of promise. Yet, when we started to talk dollars and cents, we began to realize that we needed to scale down considerably on some of our “wants.”  Our budget was limited. One of the more shocking realizations was finding out that for flowers; personal flowers such as bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages along with centerpiece arrangements and other floral décor, would cost over $2000 USD. As much as I LOVE fresh flowers, spending $2000 on that one detail was out of the question.

Famous Last Words

Ideas began to formulate. I knew I wanted to incorporate elements of crochet into my wedding, and the more I considered it, the more it made sense for me to make all of the flowers. I knew it would be a lofty goal. Hand crocheting 200+ flowers for all my floral elements, as well as 200 place card meal flowers, was no easy task. But spending $2000 on bouquets and arrangement fresh flowers, which will wilt and be discarded was hard to contemplate. I could save a huge chunk of money if I did these myself. So, it was decided almost a year ahead of time, I would crochet the flowers. I had plenty of time, right?

I think I remember vaguely in the fog of my over-zealous wedding-muddled mind, Nate saying to me,

“Are you sure you want to do that? I don’t want you to get too stressed out…..” Brides and stress? Phfft…

Oh, how prophetic that conversation would be.

My flip response was something on the lines of,

“No worries, I won’t get stressed. It’s a year away. I have plenty of time.” Eye-roll please…

The Best Laid Plans…

Eleven months in advance may seem like plenty of time to take on a project like this. That is if you have NOTHING to do BUT this. I started out pretty well. I decided on using Red Heart Yarns Aunt Lydia’s Thread in the colors of my bridesmaids’ dresses for their bouquets and a throw bouquet. I would pair the groomsmen’s boutonnieres in coordinating colors. My bouquet would be shades of red and Nate would have a matching flower to mine. I could get a jump start on place card flowers once I decided on the coinciding meal. I would crochet similar coordinating flowers to use for my table centerpieces. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Puhll-eeaaazzze…I got this!

I mapped out the year. I could crochet three flowers a day which would put me on a course to finish in plenty of time for the wedding. It would give me an ample time-frame to make bouquets, plan those centerpieces, decide on any other arrangements, and color code all the seating place cards. The only thing is, I had to stay on task. One missed day meant the next day I had to make six flowers. One missed week meant making 21 flowers to catch up. Do you get my drift? Don’t even ask what it required to catch up on a lost month. There are no words…

(If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make these flowers, click here)

Fast forward to six weeks before the wedding and my fingers felt like they were falling off due to the insane flower making schedule I had going on. Every plan and deadline shot to hell. I even sliced my hand with that tiny 1mm crochet hook I was using! Haha! I remember at 2 a.m one morning, my eyes going crossed and mind delirious, thinking up curse words while miscounting my stitches, and repeating over and over that I will NEVER crochet with thread or make another flower in MY LIFE ever again. I must have asked myself a hundred times…WHY!? Why did I decide to do this?!

Honestly….This is why….

This Is What Dreams Are Made Of

I am such a detail person. It comes from my mama. And just like my mama, I believe those tiny details matter. Every single one of these details mattered to me. I would not have done it otherwise. Looking back, I know I complained, I may have even cried, but the results of all the hard work and late nights paid off. Each detail, each flower, each element came together in perfect harmony on our wedding day and it was so worth it! So, so worth it! Details, details, details….

The bouquets I designed consisted of 12-14 crochet flowers in the final assembly. I accented the burst of color using gold beads, gold tulle, gold ribbon, and gold jewels to wrap the handle of the bouquet holders I chose. I crocheted roses for my bridal bouquet and crocheted an assortment of handmade flowers for the bridesmaids and the throw bouquet. My sister-in-law/maid-of-honor and I still have the scars from the blisters burned on our hands from the hot glue! Bouquet assembly was not easy!