We had such a fantastic Halloween, and I wanted to share all of our costume pieces in one blog post. Below you will see each piece that I crocheted and links to their crochet patterns. Simply click the image or the title of each pattern to go to its pattern.
Here is our little Bee Family Photo!
For my Bee Hive costume, I made one large spiral using Lion Brand Basic Stitch yarn.
I do not have a crochet pattern for this, however, at the very bottom of this blog post, I will share a mini “recipe” of how I created this beehive.
This Baby Bee was *SO* done after our photo shoot!
Thank you for another fabulous year of costumes!
Below you will find information about the Large Bee Hive costume that I am wearing:
For the body and hat:
Work in continuous rounds
HDC in 1st Ch to form a ring, and in the next 23 chs, SC in last 11 chs.
Then I just HDC’d in each HDC st and SC’d in each SC st until it formed a spiral. I stuffed this tube as I went.
I did the same exact thing for my hat. I made 4 spirals for the body and 3 spirals for the hat.
I sewed the beginning and end of the tube and sewed it together in the shape of a beehive.
For the straps, I just did a row of 50 double crochet stitches to make a basic strap and sewed it in on the inside of the bee hive.
I hope this gives you a good idea of how I made the bee hive. If you are interested in making it and have questions, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can help you as best as I can!!
As a BIPOC creator and maker, it is a powerful time in history to watch as so many companies and corporations take a stand in support of Black lives and stand against racial injustice. That is how it should be. I stand on my platforms to support Black Lives and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) creators because they have long been overlooked. There is SO much talent in this community and BIPOC need more recognition and elevation. Our world is full of color and diversity. More companies have to stand for their diverse audience and understand their needs. Not turn a blind eye. Makers of color deserve recognition. Many of the fiber companies have taken a stand. Yet, some have not.
Many of you know that I was a Joy Creator for Red Heart Yarns which was bought out by Yarnspirations/Spinrite. I continued to use and promote their product in nearly all my video tutorials and projects. I stood behind their product. I was not a paid spokesperson nor was I paid money for my videos. I was given yarn support and like all makers, we do generate a small stipend from using affiliate links that generate a sale from time to time. I was always transparent about that. It is one way we can provide free patterns while still generating a small avenue of income to bring you our patterns.
In the face of recent events, the company I had been representing as a stitch ambassador and Joy Creator has not made a public statement nor taken a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or to denounce the killings of black men and women. There has been no statement against racial injustice that we all witness all too often. There has not been a show of support for the community of makers of color in this industry. With that weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, I reached out in a private email and asked them to remove me from their platform and asked them to stop using my likeness on their website.
I decided it was time to move on to a company I felt better represented people of color and community as a whole. I sent Yarnspirations an email with a knot in my gut and a prayer in my heart. I waited. I did not receive a reply. I kept waiting, refreshing my inbox, checking over and over. Nearly a week had passed when none of my requests were acknowledged nor was there anyone from the company who reached out to me at any time to say anything encouraging – not even a one liner. Their silence spoke volumes. It was apparent to me that my voice was not worthy of a reply.
I decided to raise my voice then, in a more public fashion today. It was only in that route did a round-about apology come forth, yet no stand has been taken publicly on any forum. After taking things to the next level in a series of group emails and on a private blogger group did I receive this apology.
It should not be the job of the BIPOC community or BIPOC ambassadors/makers to handhold companies and tell them how to represent their community of color/diversity OR to tell the company to take a stand. The company should already know that the time has come to stand up to racial injustice and discrimination and speak for their customers and creators of color. We need to be seen. People of color have done enough for them by working for free. The company should have been doing this work LONG before now. They should have come with a BOLD and POWERFUL statement in the beginning that made everyone, ESPECIALLY Black makers and creators and creators of color feel elevated and supported.
We should not have to plea with anyone to make a stand. A statement for BIPOC creators and customers should have been the FIRST step of action and then further action could be taken going forward. That is Anti-Racism in action. A company that stands with their creative artists of color and with the nation to say their community of BIPOC matter. That would have gone so far in quelling the fears and anxieties that many of us feel. Those of us that are here as representatives of color, NEED to HEAR that companies like Yarnspirations/Spinrite stand with Black lives and other people of color as a community.
I have decided to use my voice on my platform because, like me, it is compiled of a large percentage of people of color across the entire globe. Many use their product. I used Red Heart Yarns/Yarnspirations products. I shout it out on every video tutorial on every crochet project. Yet they stay silent on my behalf and on behalf of millions of voices. That is unacceptable. The fact that there was no reply and my request for communication about this matter was ignored in my personal email was an eye-opening revelation.
My blog and YouTube channel reach over 150 countries and my nearly half-million followers on all platforms make up only 18% of my actual viewers. I use it to speak my truth as a creator of color, as a woman, and as a PROUD young mother of a child of color – and if that truth and Yarnspirations’ stand do not align, then it is imperative for me to move on and to let others know my intentions and why. This wasn’t a hard decision, just painful to recognize that this company has taken a no stand approach and continues to take no stand other than an obscure Equal Opportunity statement.
Silence is complicit and silence is ALWAYS the voice of the oppressor. ALWAYS.
I am moving on and divorcing myself from this company that has not seen the importance of lending their voice to Black lives or makers of color, nor the enormity of what that could mean financially from me or others, walking away. If a company wants to be anti-racist then TRULY be anti-racist. There is no tiptoeing around and waiting for the “right time.” The time was long before today.
Quick follow-up edit:
I hear and see ALL the comments on this post. Don’t worry, I AM listening. For those of you trying to call me out or say this is political-understand this – this is about human rights and human rights are NOT political. Let’s get that straight. Or those who are asking now that I posted this where am I? I am right here. Same place I am everyday – working to bring you more of this craft because that is what I do and love and I am also taking care of Nasir. Just because I am not commenting back to every comment, that doesn’t mean I have gone into hiding. This is my platform, and I do have the right to stand where I stand just as every person on this feed has the right to say and feel the way they do. I have no objections to any of that. This is about being heard in a place that has not lent more voices to this important racial matter and over the injustices that continue to be ignored or passified in this industry.
It seems like some are ok with this being ignored, that it will be swept under the rug and forgotten and everything will go back to being “comfortable” again. Do you know who stands behind the camera in every video tutorial I post? It’s my dad. Even if you don’t know him or see his face on here or he is not as vocal on this platform, he is still a HUGE part of YARNutopia. He is a HUGE part of ME! I stand for Black makers and makers of color in this industry, and I stand for my father and many people who are unseen but still have a voice that is not being heard-Don’t you get it?? My dad always says to me, “Anything worth fighting for is not going to be comfortable or easy, Nadia.” This, right here, is not comfortable, but it is NECESSARY! It is only when we feel uncomfortable that big changes can come and my hope and prayer is that change truly does come. He also tells me that sometimes you have to lose to win. Not win in monetary ways or in fame, but win in a way that you can sleep at night and wake up the next day and look at yourself in the mirror. For anyone who truly knows me, knows where I stand when it comes to racial injustice and how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. They know this was the right thing for ME to do. You don’t have to agree and despite all the negative things some may say, I do respect and see everyone’s comments and I am not afraid or hiding from any of it nor does it change the way I feel. Thank you.
Each month, I host a crochet related event in my group YARNutopia World. Over this past weekend, I hosted The Good Intentions Event where everyone virtually attended to use a special yarn they have kept for that “someday” project.
We have a great time connecting during these events. I always do a live lunchtime discussion and Q&A as well as stay online most of the weekend to interact and enjoy the event with a myriad of activities.
For this weekend’s game, I created a gallery of macro photos of items that are related to crochet. Below you can find the photos that I posted. Try guessing these yourself. Answer key is posted at the bottom if you get stumped.
Be sure to attend our events in the future and you, too, can enjoy some crochet camaraderie with everyone who attends!
As I sit through these weeks of Safer At Home, I decided to sort through some of the yarn I have in my stash. I came across several types of yarn with similar qualities and decided to do a contrast and comparison blog. Below are my observations between Red Heart Yarns Sweet Home and Bernat Blanket Yarn. Please refer to the photos for visual observations throughout.
First let me break down the specifics between the two fibers
As you can see in these details, the two are identical in content, similar in ball size, same care instruction, and price. Not much to break down since these particulars are so alike.
I decided to work up an identical short granny square pattern with each and compare and contrast working with each of these skeins.
I started with Sweet Home. It seems a tad lighter and more flimsy in my opinion. It makes a slightly smaller square using the same hook and pattern. There is more flow and movement in the Sweet Home because of that light and flimsy feel.
The density of Bernat Blanket Yarnseems thicker than the Sweet Home yarn and therefore this gives this fiber a somewhat firmer feel. There is less movement in the piece because of the density and firmness.
After washing, there was no shrinking in either of the yarns and both kept their shape. The yarn is extremely soft before washing, but after washing, I personally feel like they are fluffier and softer than before! The Bernat Blanket Yarn has become more flexible and free-flowing losing some of the firmness evident pre-wash. It’s like snuggling a light cloud. I can’t think of better words than soft, light, and fluffy.
While comparing these two fibers, I consistently felt they rival one another quite closely. The main difference was felt in the work up of these two fibers with Sweet Home more free-flow whereas the Bernat has more firmness. However, upon washing the consistency is nearly identical in both. I feel these two could work together and be very compatible with no blatant difference. One of the best discoveries of finding two compatible fibers is that it increases your color choices and options when creating with either of these skeins.
While working with these, I discovered a love for both and look forward to integrating them into a project in the near future. There is so much to love about a fiber that feels like these two do!
The crochet hook I used was a 12mm and I found it on Amazon here.
Like most of America, and the world, I am staying home as ordered by our state officials. It is such an unusual and unprecedented time and everyday things are changing. Our situation is so fluid meaning what we hear on the news in the morning, can completely change by the evening. I don’t know about many of you, but this unsettled world has me feeling so anxious and nervous. It also puts me on high alert because, as a person with a severely compromised immune system and a long history of health issues including asthma, I am fearful of everything I am learning about this illness.
Presently, I take immuno-suppressant medications that keeps my chronic disease under control, but severely taxes my system leaving me little to fight off infection or illness. I fall into that segment of society who are at high-risk of danger if I come into contact with anything going around.
I have not left my house for over 3 weeks. I don’t know if you recall through my recent posts and videos, but Nate and I had a trip to Colorado planned for our second anniversary and Nate’s golden birthday. (He turned 30 on March 30th) We were going in early March to Denver. Everything was booked, ski-hill passes were purchased, airfare and lodging reserved and paid for, sightseeing plans and a special anniversary/dinner was in the works. Nasir was going to Grammy and Grampy’s house for the week. We were so excited.
As more and more news broke out, it became apparent that we would have to cancel our vacation. I called my doctors and they advised me NOT to travel. They had insisted that in my condition and with little to no immune system to fight, going into an airport or on a plane was too dangerous at this time. Was I sad and disheartened to cancel all our plans? Absolutely. However, I trust my doctor, and if my doctor issues a grave warning like she did, there is no way I would go against her recommendations. I have been through too much in my life not to heed her warnings.
Everything Is Canceled
So, we, like many of you, decided to retract and cancel all our plans and reservations and stay home. Glued to the TV and internet we watched everything unfold in real-time. Rapidly changing, constantly fluid and more frightening by the moment, we stayed in and were gripped by what was happening in the world and right here at home. I needed to walk away from the screens and try to salvage what I could of our “vacation” by re-inventing a plan to enjoy our anniversary and Nate’s birthday. And we did. We kept Nasir home and the three of us did a “stay-cation” in our living room. We binged Netflix shows, took a few countryside drives, walked a trail or two in isolated places, we cooked a nice dinner on our two celebrations and WE STAYED INDOORS. My extent of “leaving the house” is going into my backyard.
Nate is fortunate to have several weeks of vacation and PTO (Paid time off) that he is using up from his “essential” job. He works in a plant that has numerous employees, and from all indications, we felt that his going to work at this time was not wise because of community spread and he was able to use up his vacation to stay home so far. On the advice of my doctors, they suggest he take time off and stay home indefinitely, as to not bring anything home with him that puts me or Nas at risk.
It has been extremely stressful to work through the decisions of him returning to work versus staying home if he is able. Like many people, this serious crisis is forcing our hand to make hard choices to protect our family and none of the choices are easy. He stays home, we cut off our main income for the indefinite future. If he goes to work, then he risks exposure and bringing “it” home in a household that deals with an individual with little to no immune system to fight off any of this. I can’t tell you how scared or anxious I have been!!! I know I am not alone in saying this. ALL of us are scared.
We will find a way
As we navigate through the uncertainties and worries of this ever changing situation and confide in our doctors and families, we have been able to come up with Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Each one comes with its own set of concerns and heartaches. Do we take no pay? Can we survive on just my income? (I have exhausted myself looking into options –FFCRA-the Families First Act or Paycheck Protection-none of which apply to us) Do we send Nate to work? Should Nas and I stay with my parents and be apart from Nate for an indefinite duration?
We, are faced with life-altering decisions while we press ahead into the unknown. At least we have what we need. At least we can manage through each plan despite the difficulties of each choice. At least we have support. I remind myself all the time of the blessings I have before me and focus upon those. Many are not so fortunate, and it hits me over and over to imagine the unimaginable. We will work this out. No matter what sacrifice we make, it is small in comparison to so many others. No matter what, we all have had to work through so many rough spots of this situation and it’s not easy.
As we move forward, sometimes slowly, sometimes at a mad pace, the least I can do to keep myself occupied is what I do best. Crochet. So for the next weeks, months, whatever it takes, I will continue to bring you what I can of my craft. I will show up. Every day. I will bring some new projects, new patterns, light, laughter and a distraction from the craziness that is swirling around us. So, join me as we keep moving forward. Bring your hooks and your yarn, and for a few minutes a day try to focus on other things that distract us from our worries, and relax with our craft. Because in a time when so much is out of control, one thing we can be in control of us the choice to take a few moments to do something we love.
“It is how we embrace the uncertainties in our lives that leads to the great transformation of our souls.”
When we reach the end of this, and we will, I hope we can all move forward with more love, patience, and understanding of one another. The lessons we learn will be immense.
I hope you all stay healthy…
P.S. A huge thank you goes out to everyone in the world who are on the front lines of this insanity. ALL the helpers. ALL the essential workers. ALL the people who risk their lives so we can be home. Our gratitude knows no limit. And for the families this may reach, I hope and pray that all of you are well and safe. I am sending every bit of goodness your way.
I don’t know who needs to hear this as I hope no one is breaking these rules, but if you are one who was told to stay home, please do. Follow the guidelines of what has been mandated so that those who are unable to be home with their families can stay as safe as possible during this time.
Sending you lots of love.
Share with us how you are getting through this difficult time.
The tradition continues with my annual Punny Valentine’s. Each year, I create these silly sentiments using crochet and puns. I try to be as creative and amusing as possible. I do, however, have to match a pun to something I can create using my crochet magic. It is NOT easy, let me tell you, this blog showcases my collection from 2020. You can check out my 2018 Punny Valentine’s Here! See my 2017’s Punny Valentine’s here and my 2016’s Punny Valentine’s here! Do you have a fun pun to share? Let me know in the comments section. Share a possible pun that might show up in my 2021 Punny Valentine Series! ~Nadia
Below is a list of some Punny Valentine’s. Click on the title link above their photo or click on each photo to be taken to its video tutorial and written pattern! Enjoy!! ♥
I think we can all agree that crochet itself is our happy place. Whether we are crocheting in our favorite chair, in bed, in the car or with a friend, the act of creating something beautiful from a ball of fiber is a joy. We are all united in this love, or we would not be on the pursuit of the next new project to get on our hooks. That is why I love to keep creating new things to share!
Started from the bottom, now we here
Not only is crochet my passion, but it is also my career. Each day, I get up to design, share, create, and express myself through my craft. One of my favorite places in my home is my own personal happy place. I know that I have shared in a previous blog some photos of the transformation of my craft room.
This was a photo the previous owner sent us of the room before we moved in. *YIKES!*
When Nate and I purchased this house, there was a room with a wood structure of floor to ceiling drawers. We initially thought to remove the structure and use this room as a bedroom, but the more we thought of it, the more it seemed like a waste yet, the entire thing was too obtuse and awkward to do much with. So my mom suggested that we remove the drawers and make each cubicle a shelf for storing yarn and in the middle make a studio so I can film tutorials.
Breathing new life: from old to new
As soon as that vision started to formulate the room came to life and over time I have added more to make it “my space.” I love to come in here to craft and create, to film and complete my patterns so that I may share them with you. I even come in here to just escape for a few minutes between the hectic moments of being a working wife and mama.
A room with purpose
This space has come a long way and still has a LONG way to go, but it is a space that makes ME feel good. It allows me to feel like I can come in here and create.
I put on some music, it is cozy, and I am surrounded by something I love: YARN!! Even Nasir loves to be in here with me, and my kitties think it’s their playground. For me, this room represents a part of me that feeds my purpose and keeps me, quite literally, from unraveling.
Share with me about your happy place! Is it a room or a favorite spot in your home? Is it with a friend that you can sit and craft with? Creating a space and time to do what you love is essential to keeping a good balance between our worries & stresses and all the things we love.
I hope all of you enjoy a few moments each day ‘In your happy place.’
Here are all the 12 Days of Christmas projects compiled in a one stop blog post! You can click the image or the link above it to view the video tutorial and written pattern for each project. Enjoy and happy holidays!! ~Nadia
On the 9th day of Christmas, we bring the perfect crochet project that takes only MINUTES to make, but it packs a dramatic decorative punch! Add some holiday cheer to any centerpiece by adding these Curly-Q Spokes in any color! I demonstrate this simple step by step process and take a few simple items to make this cheerful display. Let’s get started!
I gathered my supplies. I purchased everything from JoAnn’s Craft stores but you can find these items at any craft store or Walmart.
Red Heart Yarns Super Saver in any colors
A glass Bowl Vase
Mini Ornament Bobbles
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Decorative pieces from the wreath section at the craft store
For the curly crochet spokes, I took my crochet hook and yarn
With the yarn, I chained 2, and then put 5 SC in the 2nd ch from hook. I continued to work in continuous rounds putting one SC in each st around until the piece was long enough to fit the pipe cleaner inside of it.
Once I got to the top, I fastened off. Then I curled the top half of the pipe cleaner that I just crocheted around to make it twisted.
I put the ornaments inside of the fishbowl vase, then I added the decorative pieces and the curly pieces I crocheted. Voila! It’s a beautiful centerpiece!!
I was approached by St. Jude’s Hospital, and was invited to participate in a collab with The Dollar General for a Holiday Decorating Challenge. I was thrilled to be involved in such a unique activity that benefits such a great cause!
Giving Back this Holiday
As many of you know, St. Jude’s Hospital is forefront in treating childhood cancer, and you can help by heading to a Dollar General store this season and support the Thanks and Giving Campaign each time you shop and make a donation at the checkout! Below, you will see the challenge that was presented and find out how we met this task! It was a lot of creative fun!
The challenge we were given: Create a holiday table-scape, entry way, mantle, or DIY holiday craft on a $25.00(usd) budget and all purchases must be made at a Dollar General store.
BRING. IT. ON!
I love a test like this, and I love doing home décor DIY on a shoestring! So, this invitation was met with a lot of excitement to see what we could come up with.
Let’s get it started
I solicited the help of my mom to create some fantastic ideas that anyone can make for their home this holiday. We put together two different ensembles. One table centerpiece and one buffet tabletop arrangement. I share with you a few photos of the supplies and steps taken to assemble these decorations. I spent around $20.00 on each arrangement using the same items in each – plus or minus a piece or two that I purchased and added to embellish each specific arrangement.
This shows the versatility of my purchases that you are able to use them in years to come. By adding a few different details, you can create a completely new look!! My only other additions were things I found in nature such as sticks, branches, or greenery from our pine tree and no additional cost was added by these additions. I also used four small votive glasses to hold the mini candles in that I already had in my own cupboard.
Our first holiday-scape: A table centerpiece
Let’s see how this all came together! First the photos below were a series of my purchases. There are several Dollar General Stores near where my parents live in Rural Wisconsin. I also have one Dollar General Store near me. We collaborated purchases from three different Dollar General Stores. Most of the stores have identical inventory, but we did find a few fun new inventory in each as well. So, if you have more than one Dollar General near you, check them all out for variety, and don’t forget to donate to St. Jude’s Hospital at each checkout. Here are the supplies purchased and worked with to make our decorations:
When I made my purchases, I did so with a variety of possibilities in mind. However, after my arrangements were created, some of my purchases were NOT used and I did NOT include these in my final budget.
Once I had all my items purchased, I began to put pieces together to build a nice table-scape. I started with creating some height for my piece, by taking my purchased poster board and made tall cones. I used gold spray paint to prime the trees and some green tissue paper to create some texture. These original conical trees I kept green for my first centerpiece.
I created height and length to my table using the cone trees and sticks as well as adding some flameless candlelight to create some warm ambiance. This beautiful arrangement really brings a holiday tabletop to life! It is so inviting!
Here is the breakdown on cost for this table centerpiece:
The cone shaped trees:
$1.50 for poster board
$3.00 for metallic paint
$1.00 for tissue paper
$1.00 for star ornaments
Centerpiece props included
$2.00 two sets of 2 tealights @ $1 each
$2.00 two candle rings @ $1 each
$1.00 modgepodge for paper mache
$3.00 green/white garland
$5.00 faerie lights
$1.00 pine cones
Things I had already:
Clear votive cups (4)
Our Second Arrangement: A holiday tabletop-scape
I used my homemade “trees” and I later used my gold spray paint to cover the green tissue paper and to add more metallic gold to my second arrangement. I added some jewel embellishments to turn my green trees into beautiful jeweled gold trees. I was so happy with this result. In this second arrangement we cut some pine boughs from our outdoor pine tree and built the arrangement with this beautiful greenery that cost us nothing!
I also took an old empty salsa jar to make a vase! Way to re-purpose! I also added some red elastic string to add some shiny detail. I again used my spray paint to paint a fun branch I used to bring a focal point to my arrangement. I love how this turned out!
Below you can view the finished ensemble
Here is the price breakdown on arrangement #2:
The tablescape on the buffet:
$1.50 Poster board for cones
$3.00 Metallic Gold Paint
$1.00 Star Ornaments
$1.00 Tissue Paper to create texture
$2.00 Pearl details for tree @ $1 per pack
$2.00 Crystal Jewel details for tree @ $1 per pack
$1.00 for elastic red string – I used one spool
$5.00 one strand of faerie lights
$2.00 two sets of two tealights for $1.00 each
$3.00 box of red ornaments
$1.00 box of pinecones
Things I had to build arrangement
Pine branches for greenery
Sticks – spray painted gold
votive cups (4)
As you can see demonstrated by the above, you can create a lovely holiday decoration on a budget and make a striking statement without a major investment. There was even room in our budget for more if I wanted to expand or add any additional items to embellish these beautiful decorations.
I want to thank St. Jude’s hospital and Dollar General for the opportunity to be included in this activity. I had so much fun participating and doing this for such a good cause. This holiday please support important causes. Give back and give thanks at this time of the year and always.
Our 7th day of Christmas brings more holiday decor! This rustic wall hanging has elements of crochet and craft mixed with elements of the outdoors. Follow through my step by step instructions and make your own wall hanging today.
The Materials I used are as follows:
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Gold and Green
Chic Sheep Yarn (Red Heart) in Linen
3 Pinecones (from outside)
A Large Stick from outside
Size H-5.00mm Crochet Hook
Step 1: I tied yarn to the stick on each end to make it be able to hang on a hook
Step 2: I crocheted the stars and tree (See pattern below)
Step 3: I used the Linen yarn and tied the pinecones, cinnamon sticks, stars and tree to the wall hanging using the Linen colored yarn.
It was so easy! I finished in an hour!!
Rnd 1: Ch 3, 10 dc in 3rd Ch from hook, sl st to first st. (10)
Rnd 2: Ch 2, 2 dc each st around, sl st to first st. (20)
Rnd 3: Ch 1, *hdc in next st, [2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc] in next st, hdc in next st, sl st in next st*, repeat from * around, end with Sl st in last st. Sl st to first st to close round. Fasten off, Weave in ends. (5 points made)
If anyone is looking for a rustic holiday decoration, I have just the thing for you! I did these easy jute covered balloon balls and they turned out so awesome. Below you can see my step by step process from start to finish. This idea has me thinking in all kinds of creative directions using string art to decorate for the holidays. I may have to make more! In the meantime check out my picture tutorial and follow along today.
First I gathered all the supplies I needed. (See photo above)
Water Balloons, Scissors, Paint brush, Mod Podge, and Jute.
I also used rubber gloves and a tupperware container that are not pictured.
I blew up the balloons to be mini balls, and then I added the Mod Podge to the tupperware container.
I proceeded to dunk the jute into the mod podge and then wrap it around the balloon using my rubber gloves for protection.
I wrapped about 20 times.
Then I used the paint brush to reinforce the mod podge to the jute.
I let it dry for 24 hours.
Once it was all dry, I popped the balloon and removed it from the middle of the ball.
The jute stayed in place!! Woohoo!! I then used a tweezer to get any extra mod podge out of the gaps and make the ball look cleaner.
I added an ornament hook to the ball and hung it on my tree!
In observance of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (December 1-7), I wanted to share a little bit about my story to help anyone who is unsure how devastating these diseases can be, and to help everyone learn more so they might better understand their impact on a person who lives with this every. single. day.
I have had more than a dozen major surgeries and thousands of medical procedures that require me to be biopsied, explored, cut, stitched, stapled, and pieced back together. This disease has affected every part of my body. I have spent years of my life hospitalized trying to fight this disease. I have lost my large intestine, parts of my small intestine, my rectum, my anus, and a few other parts of my anatomy, forcing me to live with a permanent ileostomy. What is an ostomy you might ask? An ostomy is when part of the intestine is pulled through the abdomen wall allowing waste to empy into an ostomy appliance or bag on the outside of the body.
Although my ostomy saved my life, it also destroyed parts of my self esteem, it caused an enormous amount of anxiety, and oftentimes, depression. As much as I’d rather focus on the positives, one bad day, week, or month can pull you right back into the abyss of some pretty heavy feelings. Thankfully, there are now more good days than bad and without my ostomy, I would not be here as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a niece, a cousin, an auntie, a crochet teacher, a friend and an advocate.
I remember the days when I wanted to just give up. When I sobbed and hurt; when I begged for Allah to have mercy on me and let me just find relief. I remember the days after surgery when I had to relearn to sit-up, to walk, go to the bathroom in a new way, to take care of all my wounds, to treat all the infections, to fight my way through sepsis, infusions, experimental treatments, failed medications, hearing the good news and the bad, the numerous doctors and labs, the constant feelings of being scared, the bag leaks and the humiliation of being covered in poop in
a public place, and ALL. THAT. PAIN.
This disease has not been kind to me, nor has it been kind to the 5 million people around the world who suffer every day from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Every year, I pray and fight and campaign and rally for a cure. Each year passes and although it feels closer, it still feels so far away.
This illness is just part of my story. Even if it has dominated my life for more than ten years, it isn’t all of it. There is so much more to my life than this miserable sickness, and thankfully I am still here to live the best parts of my story.
Every step this crooked, crazy journey has taken me on, landed me right where I am today. I would have never had the opportunity to know this kind of joy or feel this kind of love, if this disease had defeated me.
There are millions of people at the mercy of these illnesses. Although my fight continues, I consider myself lucky. Many are not as lucky as me. I am lucky not because of the treacherous medical path this has taken me on, but lucky because it has brought me here.
Please take a moment to share my story. To spread the word about these life altering diseases. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are debilitating to many who live with these diseases. This deserves more than a week of awareness. We deserve to find a permanent cure. Please help us find one. I have so much to live for. I want to always be here to watch this little boy grow..
I woke up this morning to so many wonderful birthday messages! After I posted a video of Nasir and his sweet baby giggles yesterday on Facebook, I I received so much love and so many wishes!
I decided to share the videos here in my blog for everyone to enjoy. Thank you all so much for your heartfelt messages of love and sweet wishes for a happy birthday. It really meant a lot to me and each one was so well received. Even more, thank you for the sweetness you share with me about Nasir, about your own babies, and about your encouragement to me as a new mom. You have no idea how much it all means to me. I hold each comment and good wish close to my heart.
Whether we were playing or changing his stinky diaper, he was just full of smiles and laughter!
I worked most of the day on some new projects! Here is a quick sneak peak of a new pattern on my hook! I will be releasing this early next week!
After we spent the day filming some new tutorials, we headed out for some birthday treats.
All day my sweet boy was giggling and being so silly!! He was such a good boy even long after his bedtime! But at the end of the day, he was ready for bed in his big boy crib. (We just transitioned from the bassinet)’
Thank you again for making my birthday so special!!
Oooh I’m all about the baby toys right now and that has brought me to compiling a round-up blog for some of my favorite patterns!! You are guaranteed to find something in this blog post that will brighten up any nursery, please any mama or mama-to-be, be perfect for gift giving, and bring so much joy to the little ones they are made for! Let’s check out all the toys!
In this collection, you will find fabulous teether toys, loveys, and different amigurumi toys that can be turned into rattles as well! Some of these are just too cute for words!
Click on the links or on the photos to go to the pattern for each toy! Enjoy!
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!