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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - Make the Best of It!

Neki Naturals Logo in 2010

As the new year begins, I cannot but wonder where did 2010 go? A lot happened and I am so totally grateful for the blessings. My life in 2010 was so different from 2009. It was challenging; it was creative; it was surprising fulfilling.

In January 2010, I decided to start and renew my commitment to my crochet work as a designer and instructor. Yes, starting or running a business is slow. And even more challenging is not seeing the results quickly. Guess what? I have learned so much in the past 12 months.
 I learned about twitter, facebook, blogging and other social networking. I am not a social butterfly but I attended network events and participated in craft shows. All these I was terrified to do and I kept on going.  I learned about ETSY  and Zibbet and how to use it. There are so many other things I learned in starting a business, prioritizing and ensuring first things first - God, Family and work!

What am I saying ?

Step out of comfort zone in 2011!  Do. Learn. Try something new! You just do not know what the future holds. When your heart is pumping so fast, your hands shaking, your knees feel like buckling, do not quit.  Try and push through. It's about you growing. You can only grow by learning and practicing. 
So whether it is sports, needlework,exercising or prioritizing your time, try something different.  I can tell you that I am still fearful of things but I will push through in 2011. When I fail in certain areas which I did in 2010, I will learn my lesson and pick myself back up.

Make you proud of you! Everyday is a choice. Choose Right!

Happy New Year!

Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing my blog family Merry Christmas!
I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your family, friends.

I have a great year with you and hope to keep doing so next year. Enjoy!

Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Neki Naturals Now On Zibbet with Inaugural Sale!

I dragged my feet on opening up a store with Zibbet. Even though the Neki Naturals Store @ etsy is doing well, I will like to continue to share my designs and products with more people.

I love to crochet, I love to design crochet items and I love to meet new people. I like the Zibbet community and their store front so I finally loaded in our products yesterday on zibbet.  

To launch our store in zibbet, every item item is 20% off till 12/31/2010.

Please come and check us out


Express yourself with handmade!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tip of the day: Wonders of Fabric Glue

One of the things that gives me anxiety is sewing. Sometimes, I just wish someone else can do the sewing of all my crochet pieces. It drives me nuts.

So what's the tip?

As I was finishing up crocheting laptop sleeve, one of my sister's friends who is a fashionista gave me a wonderful idea: She said to use fabric glue for the zippers instead of sewing it . It's cleaner, faster and so much easier for us non sewing artists!


Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

4 Simple Things to do for Color Inspiration

Sometimes I get stuck in trying to get inspiration on colors to use in different crochet items. I have learned to step out of my comfort zone and seek color inspiration  from different places, things and people.

To be color inspired, try the following:

  • Visit museums and galleries and look at different paintings and how different colors have been put together.

  • Look at the flowers, plants, parks, birds, animals and insects, etc. For me, this fall leaves were a great inspiration to me. I had never paid attention to the fall colors but I was amazed at nature.

  • Check out magazines, fabric swatches, paint clips, and cut them and put them in a scrapbook.

  • Go back to your scrapbook and review often until certain colors "speak to you".

Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Friday, December 3, 2010

Call for Submissions for Neki Naturals Blog Carnival

We are accepting blog submissions for the next edition of Neki Naturals Blog Carnival @

Submit your blog to the carnival for review as long it meets the criteria and it will be reviewed. Find out more information at and search for title "Neki Naturals handmade blog carnival"


Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. 
Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

MIA Lately!

I have not blogged much in the past  14 days. Between thanksgiving, business trips and hoilday orders, I have neglected my blog:(

I will be back with more goodies next week. Look out for a free ebook offer next week!

Have a great weekend!

Express yourself with handmade! 
 Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for family, friends and work. grateful that  I walk through my fears of blogging and selling everyday. I am grateful for my two year old because he gives me courage when I want to quit writing or designing. He and my husband have given me what I hope everyone will one day receive: Peace and Joy.


Express yourself with handmade!
Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Featured in Today's Treasury

One of the main things that makes me happy is appreciation of art. One of our product is featured in today's BeadyEyedMonster Etsy Treasury.

Wohoo! Enjoy all the flavors of Pink Elephant today.

ETSY PinkElephant Treasury

Express yourself with handmade! Nnenna Pastor is a crochet designer and instructor. Other places to visit Neki Naturals are and join Neki Naturals on facebook @

Friday, November 19, 2010

4 Common Problems for Square and Hexagon Crochet Motifs

Some people struggle with square and hexagon motifs. I have a blog post on how to crochet a
Some of the problems include:

1.     Chains - One may forget tend to double crochet at the beginning of each round instead of ch 3. This may cause the pattern to look lopsided. Check the stitches at the end of each round to ensure the right stitches are used.

2.     Not enough chains to make chain space. Sometimes, one forgets to add the chain spaces needed between double crochets such as ch 2 or ch 3.  This will create an extra tight and cluttered motif. Ensure that the chain spaces needed to create corner spaces are made. If not, unravel and redo.

3.     Switching Colors – Tendency is for beginners to knot the two colors together instead of weaving in the old color and joining the new color with a slip stitch. Learning techniques of fastening off and weaving in ends will make the work look cleaner and neat. 

4. Another problem is leaving to weave in ends till the work is complete. I discourage this method as it creates additional work and creates bulk on the work. Fasten off and weave in ends before starting the next row or round.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do you have a Crocheting Style?

It seems our normal way of living affects out work behavior. Since I have taken crochet designing seriously, I have seen some of my good and bad habits manifest themselves in my work.

For example:
Impatience : I tend to be impatient in most of the things that I do.  I am working very hard on patience especially when I am working on a crochet project. I tend to want o create quick, crochet it quickly an showcase it quickly. In order to create it quickly, I will crochet my design and not write it down. This means that I will either have to try to write down the directions from the finished project or crochet another one and write it down. This sometimes leads to unnecessary stress and I have to spend house calming myself down.

Goals: I am goal oriented person so as long I write it down. I try to get it accomplished. It is really the only way I function well. If not, I procrastinate a lot and delay starting or finishing a project.  This also works well for my family projects too like laundry, cleaning, etc. My organizer is so fulls of goals that I requested an early birthday gift from my husband- A new calendar. I have all these iPhone apps for organizing but I rather write it down with a pen. Go figure.

What about you? How does your habit help or drag down your crocheting projects? Share your thoughts and comments.


Also, I am driven by goals so e

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cucumbers for the complexion

There are so many uses of cucumbers. My son loves his cucumbers so much that he dips them in whip cream! As an average female, I am learning so much of the value of cucumbers for skin care and a complexion humidifier.

Try this recipe from Harriet Ayer for a complexion beautifier.

1 cucumber

Peel the cucumber, cut in thick slices and apply to the face. Allowing the liquid to dry of its own accord. This will make the skin soft.

Try it for 14 days and let me know your results.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Everyday Homemade Soapy Solutions

My husband loves to read the newspapers and a few weeks ago, he read and cut out an article that everyday people talked about some of their homemade soapy solutions.  I loved it so much that I am sharing it .

  • When rinsing out a shampoo bottle or dish soap bottle, use cold water not hot. The hot water keeps making bubbles and the cold water cuts the soap residue away.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel or napkin to remove gum stuck inside the clothes dryer and for removing sticker residue from ceramic,glass, metal, and plastic surfaces. It's quick, easy and economical.
  • Use  some of your shower cap to put over the side view mirrors in the winter to keep off snow and ice. It saves you time when you have to clean off the car.
  • If you have an issue with ants, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and before you retire for the night, lightly spray all over the kitchen counter and around the waste basket or wherever ants appear. Vinegar acts like a repellent! 


Friday, November 5, 2010

Last Show of the Season -Finish Strong

I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I scheduled myself into a tight schedule but I am committing and
dedicating myself to finish strongly. So this Sunday is my last craft show till Spring 2011. It will be in Livingston NJ starting at 11 a.m in the morning. I am hoping for a cool weather, no rain , no snow.
I will showcase mostly hats for women, men, boys and girls. I wish I had more time to crochet more designs but time is running out so I will showcase the best of the season.

After this show is the Holiday season so I am excited to crocheting my designs and my friends' crazy ideas that they want to give as gifts. My shop is full of new items at and I am hoping to add some more this month.  Do you have an idea you will like to crochet or have someone crochet for you this holiday season? Please share!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How To Crochet Spiral Crochet Motifs

How to Crochet Spiral Crochet Motifs

1.     Work a foundation chain and slip stitch into the first chain to form a ring

2.     If using a double crochet, chain 3 then work one double crochet into each chain stitch around

3.     At the end of the round, continue to work in rounds without slip stitch to join rounds. You will need a marker at the end of each round to keep track of the rounds completed.


Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Quick Crocheting Tips for A Cleaner Finished Project

  • If your beginning chain is a tighter tension than the gauge for the body, use a larger hook size to crochet the beginning chain.
  • Use a spilt ring marker in the top of the turning chain so you do not miss the final stitch of the row. It makes so much easier and less headache. Also, it is easier to crochet and watch TV at the same time!
  • As an option, when working in half double crochet, try making your first stitch in the first stitch of the row and do not use the turning chain which is ways to overlook in the half double crochet
  • For neater long stitches, keep the loops close together and hold them with your finger around the hook until you have worked them off. In addition, hold your work at the bas of the stitch with the middle finger and thumb of your tension hand so that it will not stretch the fabric. Move your fingers up after each or every other stitch.
  • If you are a beginning crocheter, count across as you finish each row to make sure you are maintaining the correct number of stitches. Do not be afraid to unravel and start over.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

4 Excellent Online Crochet Magazines

The crochet community keeps growing every year. Crocheters and Designers are keeping current  with fashion trends and providing alternatives with beautiful handmade designs  of the current fashion trends.

Check these magazines for inspiration, patterns and more. You will enjoy it.  The list is no particular order.

1. Crochetme - This is an online crochet Magazine provided through InterweaveCrochet Magazine. Cool Free Patterns and blogs
2. Crochet! - Crochet! Magazine now has a digital form of their monthly magazine. This is great for a lot of people who have hundreds of crochet magazines stored in their homes.

3. Crochet World -  You can find good patterns at Crochet World. You can browse through their newsletter and information on charity.
4.  Crochet Today - This is still a mailing magazine but it is  still a great resource online. 

All these magazines will need you to fill out the subscription form.  Crochetme and Interweave send regular emails with free patterns and ebooks. Fun to read, fun to crochet!


Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Increase or decrease Single Crochet Stitches

Toddler Sweate

The sc increase or decrease stitches are used to make fabric wider or narrower gradually. They are often used in clothing patterns. 

Work two sc stitches in one stitch.

a.     If you are increasing at the beginning of a single crochet row work single crochet stitch twice into the same stitch.
b.     If you are increasing at the end of a single crochet row, work two stitches into the last stitch.

1.     Insert hook in the next stitch, yarn over and pull yarn through 2 loops on the hook.
2.     Instead of completing the sc, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over and pull through the 3 loops on the hook.
3.     Yarn over and pull through yarn through all 3 loops. One DEC made.

Note – If after counting stitches, you added more or reduced more than necessary, do not be afraid to redo the row

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picking Your Crochet Hook

When I started to crochet twenty something years ago in Nigeria, the only types of hooks available were the steel hooks and they were so expensive. Back in those days, it was only one size hook that was used.  As I picked up crocheting again in the 90s, it was heaven to see there were different sizes of hooks and all the hooks are not steel and not so expensive.  There are different sizes to the crochet hooks however this will be another blog post but for this post we are concentrating on just the types of hook

Types of Crochet Hooks

Steel Hooks - Steel crochet hooks are smaller and thinner then other types of crochet hooks.  They are designed to be used with crochet thread.

Aluminum Hooks - Aluminum crochet hook feature the preferred taper throat and smooth rounded head. The Precision-crafted quality assures a fine finish and accuracy of gauge. 

Plastic hooks - Plastic hooks are used in the same manner as aluminum hooks. They are lighter in weight and are preferred by some crocheters.

Wood  Hooks - Wood crochet hooks have a different feel. They are not as slippery as metal, and more slippery than plastic. This, along with their appearance and hook design, has made them a favored hook of many crocheters for three decades.  Wood hooks are not as strong as plastic or metal. They should be used for nonmetallic yarn only.

You will need to try different hooks to test which fits your style. For me, I  bought the  same hook sizes with the different hook types. After  I tested them out, I prefer the aluminium hook followed by wooden hook because I do not have to apply much pressure for them not to bend or tangled in my yarn or slip out of my hand. So tell me, what is your favorite type of crochet hook to use?


Here  I am not talking about hook brans but diffenet hooks gives you one a different feel and depending on your comfort level you will choose what feels great for you

Monday, October 25, 2010

Win A FREE Neki Naturals Hat

Neki Naturals Holiday Sales are on!
First item going on sale are the Hats. This started on October 20th 2010 and will end in December 24th, 2010.

You can win a Free Winter Hat by doing the following:

  • Head over to our Facebook Event
  • Mark that you will be there
  • See the link to ETSY and Post the link of your favorite hat on this blog post.

At the end of the sale, a winner will be picked.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Natural Skin Powder

I have learned a lot in the last few months about natural skin care and this is one from H.Ayer  that I am sharing to help relieve irritate skin.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp talcum powder
1/4 tsp zinc oxide

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. To use, first moisten the affected areas slightly with a little cold cream and then apply the powder.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

Neki Pokadot Hat

I do not know what possessed me to sign up for two shows in November during the holiday season.
When I signed up in Spring, I did not think about the Holiday season since this is really my first year in business but I have so many things to do for the Holiday season and the pressure of two shows is definitely up there. I definitely will not repeat the same mistake next year.

With that said, I have a show on November 7th 2010 at Livingston and at Montclair State University all in NJ on November 22nd, 2010.   These shows will mostly feature Crochet Hats, Scarfs and Toys.  How about you? Is there anything that you wish you had promised to do and will really like to take it back to save time and energy?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Refreshing Hair Tea

According to Harriet Ayer,  Black tea will enliven even the most depressed roots. It is easy to make and inexpensive and is worth trying. This is Harriet Ayer Tea Recipe.

1.5 cups boiling water
1 bag of black tea
1/4 cup bay rum
1/4 cup glycerin
1/4 jojoba oil

Add boiling water to the teabag and let steep for 20 minutes, then let it stand cool. Strain and add the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into a bottle, cork tightly and put aside for future use. To use, apply with a soft sponge to the roots of the hair. It will darken blond hair. Rinse well.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Magic of Aloe Vera - Validated Benefits.

For anyone who attempts or runs on a regular basis, the last thing you want is to itch while running.  This past weekend, as I ran past my first mile, I started to itch and swell up all over my body. I tried to take off as much layers as possible to cool off my skin and maybe be able to finish my workout. But by the fifth mile, the itching and swelling was unbearable and headed straight to a cold shower and lathered myself with Aloe Vera. Immediately, the itching stopped. I could not believe it! I always have Aloe Vera in the house for emergency purposes especially sun burns but never really used it for anything else.
In addition, I have several Aloe Vera plants at home! After my itching episode, I went digging  for more information on this plant.  Here is what I found:

Aloe Vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall.  It is prickly in nature and mostly 95% water.

In addition to soothing itches, these are additional uses for Aloe Vera:

  • Speed the healing of woods and burns
  • Softens the skin
  • Soothing inflammation and sunburns
  • Treatment of minor skin infections
  • Retwisting of dreadlocks
  • Hand Sanitizer - Mix aloe vera gel with rubbing alcohol. 

It can be found in gel, liquid or included in skin and topical creams depending on the usage.
Try to always keep one gel bottle at home or one plant. You never know when it will be needed.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Neki Naturals: 7 Tips To Find Time For Hobby

Neki Naturals: 7 Tips To Find Time For Hobby: "Wikipedia defines hobby as an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, often in one's spare time. Now as a workin..."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Learning to Overcoming Fear

I think most of us have a fear of something. I at least have a fear of trying something new. Yesterday was my first official crochet class and as excited as I was, I was consumed with the fear that they will not like me,; I may ruin them from crocheting; the thought that I was not prepared enough, etc. 

My heart was racing as I walked into class but I plastered a smile on face and introduced myself. I realized after a few minutes that they are only looking for some guidance and to have fun. No one is planning to get an A or an F grade. Just plain crocheting fun. I relaxed and we all had a great time!

Is there anything you fear doing or accomplishing? I will like to hear about it!

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Serving the Basic Needs of Life

A few more days in Puerto Rico and we are heading back home.  This earth was created for our enjoyment regardless of our daily struggles. It is amazing to see the ocean, forest and animals in their natural state and amazed that everything works without any help from humans.  The animals do not worry about clothing or food; and we as humans need food, shelter and clothing to survive.

Some parts of Puerto Rico has helped me  to reflect more on the need to keep on giving, to be of service, to help where I can. As mentioned on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I will be reaching out for a used and new handmade clothing drive to help those who will need it this cold weather. As long as there is shelter, food and clothing, nothing else really matters. If you are interested in this drive, please contact me.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Embracing Colors and Culture

I am in Puerto Rico this week on our family vacation. Even though this is my 6th visit, I normally stay in the resorts or just head out to the beach. Now that I am a mother, I am realizing the different activities that one can particpate in Puerto Rico. There are so much history and culture imbedded in this little town. I am particularly interested in the museums  that feature African art and how slaves from West Africa were brought into Puerto Rico but will have to discuss this on another day.

Today, I was stuck by the colors of the exterior old buildings in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Some of these buildings were built in the 1800s and in good shape. I marvel at the bright vibrant colors of the buildings and it just seems to project energy and pride. It made me ponder the years past when my basic color used to be black, brown and grey. It was only after my husband who encouraged me to try colors such as blue, pink and orange that I realized how vibrant and fun color brings into life. I began to feel more confident wearing and using these colors and I began also to crochet in these colors as well.

Looking at these old buildings today reminded me that colors tend to energize and build confidence. I hope you will take out some time to try out a new color for your wardrobe this fall. You can check out the Fall Fashion Colors and remind yourself all colors  exist for our experiment and enjoyment.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Season Marathon but must Pause

It seems like everything happens especially in the fall season: the craft shows, the crochet classes, the gift- giving season and in the midst of all that, one must balance work and family.

This week, I am on vacation and spending quality time with the family and trying really hard not to think about all the projects, designs, orders, blogs, facebook, twitter and the other social networking sites such as ravelry, creatingthehive, etc that I am suppose to be working on.

I tend to be extreme but this week I must put all aside all work and hang out with the family. I have to remember that I will never get this week or this moment back so Neki Naturals will need to forgive and  pause for just 6 more days.  I am praying that my brain will cooperate with me.I actually think it is hardwork trying to mentally remove myself from work because my head is spinning in so many different places and I have to remember that my life does not just revolve aroud nekinaturals.

So today, we spent the morning at the beach and spent the evening drawing circles, squares with my two year old and in the middle of all that, we stopped to watch the Wiggles and Thomas the Train.

Now, I am off to hang out with my husband and read for the rest of the evening. Hopefully  I can catch up on the many books that have been laying on the table for many months.

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Just wanted to let you know I am on vacation till October 5th, 2010. 
In the meantime, please enjoy past posts and check out out other sites when you have a moment.

Have a great week. 

Note: I may post a blog this week:)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DIY Loving Your Hands and Face with Strawberry Cream Recipe

I love using fruits and vegetables to enhance especially skin and hair care.
According to Harriet Ayer, this strawberry cream recipe is a delicate emollient for tender hands and for the face

3/4 cup sweet almond oil
1 Quart large ripe strawberries, hulled
2 oz lanolin
1 oz white wax
2 tbsp jojoba oil
2 tsp benzoin essential oil
10 drops ylang ylang essential oil
6 drops neroli essential oil

Put sweet almond oil into the top of a set of a double boiler over simmering water. When the almond oil begins to warm up, put the strawberries in. Set the double boiler over low heat, cover the top and let the water in the outside kettle simmer for 4 to 5 hours.
Strain the mixture through clean, fine, cheese-cloth bag. Add the lanolin, wax and jojoba oil. Return to the double boiler and heat until all have melted. Then remove the top from the double boiler and beat constantly until cooled. Add the essential oils while beating the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a bottle, cork tightly and put aside for future use. To use, gently rub into hands.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Neki Naturals: Why Buy Handmade?

Neki Naturals: Why Buy Handmade?: "As a consumer,I can see most of my household items are made outside of United States. Each time I think something is made in USA, I see a ..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are you making Someone Smile Or Touching their Hearts?

When I started to crochet more than twenty years ago, I had an extreme introvert personality. I could not be in the limelight or in any kind of  situation where I had to speak up for myself not because I was shy but because I did not have enough self confidence in me.

As the years have passed, I began to shell those insecurities but those insecurities do tend to come back when I am trying or doing something new.  Crocheting is not new to me but as a business and showcasing it out there in the market, it is a brand new venture. Attending exhibitions and shows are one of those ventures that the thought alone can paralyze one. However remembering that what I make or create can make someone smile or touch someone and if they like it enough to buy and give it to someone else, it gives me to courage to keep going.

Yesterday was my second craft show but I will really say it was my first because the first craft show in April rained out. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was fun. It was a total family affair and everyone had a great time. Friends came, hung out  and shopped and I had an opportunity to meet new people.   Some of the pictures I posted on our Facebook Fan Photo Album.

I have come along where and this is to let you know that we are all trying to grow into our own. So if there is anything that you are terrified of doing, have confidence in yourself that you can and will be able to conquer that fear and  step into all that has been destined for you. When you do so, you make yourself or someone else smile and even touch some one's heart when you do all that you can do.

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interview with International Renowned Milliner - Nena Kalu Ogba

With Social Networking, it is easier and quicker to met so many new people. One of the new people that I met is Nena Kalu Ogba. She is an International Milliner based in Lagos, Nigeria with a genuine spirit.  A Milliner is a person who designs, trims and sells hats. Her hats are one of a kind and you cannot help but be noticed if you are wearing one of her designs.  She has been featured in several magazines such as Royal Ascot and Vogue. She is currently featured in the Vogue October Edition.  Apart from her designs,  I admire her friendly spirit and her ability to convene kindness through her social network.  Please enjoy my inspiring interview with Nena Kalu Ogba, International Renowned Milliner.

When and Why did you become a Hat Designer?
Nena Kalu Ogba -  I decided to become a milliner out of curiosity. Even after graduating from fashion school, I still found hats a puzzle. I could hardly see any stitches or joins and it just made me wonder how they were made so I started to look for a teacher. The teacher I found happened to be well known - she was the official Royal milliner to the Late Queen Mother of England.I didn't learn millinery with the intention to make hats for others. I just wanted to be able to make some crazy ideas I had in my head come to reality so I could wear some stunning creations to events.But when I returned to Nigeria, a family friend was getting married and my dad asked me to make a hat and accompany him to the wedding since my mum was on holiday in the UK. I made a simple, striking hat which I wore to the wedding and noticed people walking up to me and asking where I got my hat from. Each time I gladly mentioned that I made it myself, they were amazed and asked me for my number.
That's how my hat business was born and spread mostly by word of mouth before I had my first major exhibition and the media fell in love  with my designs.

Where did you study fashion and design?
Nena Kalu Ogba - I studied fashion at De Montfort University, Leicester , UK. I specialized in contour fashion which incorporates evening and bridal wear, lingerie design, children's wear, sportswear, swimwear. I later took short courses privately and also at Central Saint Martins College, London learning how to make handbags.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Nena Kalu Ogba -  I get inspired by anything really - lines, shapes, nature, animals, birds, flowers, sometimes it could even be a plate design or tea cup design.

How have you been able to be successful in this industry?
Nena Kalu Ogba - By creating unique and original products, strongly believing in myself and in God, determination to get to the top no matter what and constantly marketing myself through different media outlets.

What advice can you give someone who is interested in a designing career?
Nena Kalu Ogba -  A career in design is not a ride on a roller coaster. You need to be focused, believe in yourself, be well grounded and super strong inside of you, determined to get to the top. No Matter What happens, work round the clock developing your imagination and creativity, pray a lot for design revelations, must deeply love design and be clear about the reason you want to be a designer, be sure you have the talent and strength to rise above your competitors, be original and not a copy cat and ready to persevere. Finally, you must have a strong marketing team.

Where can people find your products?
Nena Kalu Ogba - My products are sold on my website -
I have independent marketers and wholesale buyers who own shops or boutiques who purchase from me too. My hats are purchased from customers all over the world and we ship to almost all countries.

What are your next goals for you and your company?
Nena Kalu Ogba-  I am hoping to set up my full clothing line which was what I originally intended to do. This would be a line that would incorporate all aspects of clothing and accessories for men and women and sold in stores worldwide.

Nnenna Pastor - Thank you Ms. Nena Kalu Ogba.

See her inspiring breathtaking designs at


Thursday, September 9, 2010

What do you do when you lack a skill?

I am the greatest photographer! NOT even a chance!  I cannot even say that I am good at it but I love crocheting and try to take pictures of my precious goodies. I know that because my pictures does not reflect the beauty of the things I make but  I am getting better at it by reading, looking at other people's pictures and trying for hours and it still needs work. Here is a preview of some of my fall collection and I have uploaded some of them on facebook.

Bath Set  - Blue

 Toddler sweater

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love your hands Almond Meal Recipe

From Harriet Ayer Book:


2 cups almonds, blanched and ground to meal
5 oz cuttlefish bone, powdered
2.5 oz soap flakes
2.5oz pure Castile soap, air-dried, powdered
3 tbsp orris root, powdered

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a bottle, cork tightly and put aside for future used. Use this when giving yourself the Perfect Manicure.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Create Handmade Feeding Baby Gift Basket or Kit

September  is my new favorite month because my son will turn two this month. I am so fascinated with children's items and am sharing some information on making your own baby gift basket or kit.

Where do you start?

1. Pick a theme for the gift i.e. feeding, bathing, sleeping, etc. I will use feeding theme as an example in this article.

2. Choose your color scheme either boys, girls or neutral colors.

3. Select the handmade items you will like to add. For Feeding, pick handmade burp cloth, handmade bib and/or handmade feeding pillow.

4. Add in some of the feeding accessories such as bottles and soap dispensing cleaning brush. I love the new soap dispensing brush from munchkin.

5. Find a gift box or basket with a clear cover and arrange all the items in the gift box.

6. Decorate with a ribbon and place in gift bag.

7. Voila! You are done.


Monday, August 23, 2010

DIY - Natural Hair Moisturizing Hair Oil Recipe

There has been numerous request for Neki Naturals natural hair oil moisturizer recipe. For me, I believe that natural hair requires more care than treated hair. Problems can range from brittle to dry to hair loss.

For the first time, I am opening up Neki Naturals hair oil recipe book and sharing it with the world.
The one thing that will be missing is the secret ingredient that gives Neki Natural hair oil its unique scent.

Recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup jojoba oil
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
1/8  cup extra virgin  olive oil
2 tbsp rosemary essential oil
2 tbsp sage essential oil
5 drops lavenar essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a bottle, cork tightly and put aside for future use.  Please apply a few drops on the back of your palm to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction prior to applying on your hair.
To use, apply from the roots of the hair once a day or every other day.

If you want the additional secret ingredient, you can find neki naturals kanka hair oil at


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fashion Colors for Fall 2010

If you will like to stay trendy and fashionable, this is the time to start thinking about accessories and home accents you will try this Fall.

I used to be one of those people that stuck to black,brown and grey but my wardrobe and taste has expanded to some many colors in the last few years. I am no longer afraid of color but view color as a way to express myself and still be confident.

See these trendy fall 2010 colors and think about trying a new color for this fall!

Blogging schedule

You may have noticed that my blog posts are now weekly. I have  changed the blagging schedule to weekly because of preparation for Craft show on Septembers 19th in Hackettstown, NJ.
This allows me more time to design and crochet more fun stuff for the show!

Have a great week!


Monday, August 16, 2010

DIY Recipe - Spa You with Cucumber Cream Recipe

Did you know that the same cucumbers we eat as snack has many wonderful benefits for our skin?You notice when you go to a spa, they put cucumber slices over your eyes?  It has been documented that it helps to reduce dark circles, treat sunburn, treat puffy eyes, reduce freckles, improve complexion and open pores.

Since this is cucumber harvesting season, take advantage of the excess cucumbers in your garden or the discounted ones at the stores and make this cucumber cream from Harriet Ayer. You will give yourself a home spa treatment that your skin will thank you.

3/4 cup sweet almond oil
4 cucumbers, with peel on, cubed
2 oz lanolin
1 oz white wax
2 tbsp jojoba oil
2 tsp benzoin essential oil

Put the sweet almond oil int the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, When the almond oil begins to warm, add the cucumbers. Set the double boiler over low heat and let the water merely simmer for 4 to 5 hours. Strain it. To the strained water, add the lanolin white wax and jojoba oil. Return to double boiler and heat until the was, jojoba oil and lanolin have melted. Then remove the top from the double boiler and beat with an egg beater until cooled, add the  benzoin oil while beating. Pour the mixture into a bottle, cork tightly and put aside for future use. To use, gently rub into face as needed.

Try it. Your skin will thank you.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Entice and Relax with this Lavender Soap Recipe

English Lavender Rose Soap Recipe

It has been mentioned lately that lavender is the scent both men and women love. It was also mentioned that it is better to use this scent in lotion or soap and not perfume. So this soap recipe is for you!
Men love it, women love it too!

I just created and finished making a batch with this recipe and it smells and feels amazing.


2 lbs of melt and pout goat milk soap
 1 tsp lavender EO
1 tsp English lavender EO
1 tsp peppermint EO
1 tbsp rose fragrance oil
2 tbsp  Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp rose leaves(optional)
10 drops of purple color (optional)

Melt soap base in a double boiler. When completely melted, remove from heat and add essential oils fragrance oil and rose leaves Pour into molds and let solidify.

Note: If you want to add color at the base, pour 1/4 of the melted soap into another bowl, add color, swirl and pour into mold, then pour the remaining soap from the other bowl.

Try it. Let me know your thoughts!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

How to Crochet a Hexagon Motif

Hexagon Motifs are very popular and versatile. You can easily crochet a few to make a scarf, pillow cover, throws, sweaters, etc. You can also combine with square motifs for a different look.

Materials needed:
Size H Hook
1 Worsted Weight yarn of one color

Ch 6, join with a slip stitch to form ring

Round 1: ch3 counts as first dc, 2dc into ring, ch2, 3 dc in ring Repeat between **4 more times, ch 2, slip stitch in top of ch3. Slip stitch across next 2 dc. Slip stitch into next ch 2 space.

Round 2: ch 3 counts as first dc, 2dc, ch2, 3dc all in ch2-space, ch1, in next ch 2-space; work 3dc, ch 2 3 dc Repeat between ** 4 more times, ch 1, sl st in top of all ch 3. Sl st across next 2 dc; sl st into next ch-2 space.

Round 3:  Ch 3, 2 dc, ch2, 3 dc all in ch-2 space, * ch1, 3 dc in next ch 1 space; In the next ch2-space, work 3 dc ch2 , 3dc. Repeat from * 4 more times, ch2, 3 dc in next ch 1-space; slip stitch in top of ch 3. Fasten off.


Friday, July 30, 2010

What do You Value?

This question has been brewing in my head for months and I think I have my values set in stone but events happen and I question myself whether I am authentic  and true to my values.

For example, I am in the middle of three major projects for Neki Naturals - Crochet Class in October, Craft Show in September and November and redesigning and updating  Neki Naturals Website  and all these requires any extra time and more. As this month draws to an end and I was eating ice cream sitting in a parking lot, it dawned on me that I have not really been outside relaxing or reading a fiction book or just enjoying nature just by myself.

The alone moments seem to be fast gone this summer with so many things in my busy life.
Today I ask myself that question - what do I value? Do I value the alone time - to refresh and recharge myself for these current projects? Do I value the that time gone will never be recovered? Do I value the time to sit still and be grateful for all that I have and done? Time to just enjoy life?

My answer is Yes and in order to be true to myself, I need to put that into practice today.   For today, I will be thankful. I will spend some time out in the sun and I will put my crocheting needles down for the day! I will relax and be refreshed.  There will be another day, another week, another month.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How are you wearing Orange? - Support End to Human Trafficking

I never knew human trafficking was an industry where billions of dollars are made each year by criminals. I just though it happened in very few third world countries on a small scale  but  Wikipedia and other  resources state that It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest, after the drug-trade. Can you believe this?  It is the second largest after drug trade tied with illegal arms.
So I decided to educate myself to find out more and how to help.

Short Definition:
Human Trafficking is the sale, transport and profit from human beings who are forced to work for others.  It is the modern equivalent of slavery. Victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination. They are held against their will through acts of coercion and forced to work or provide services to the trafficker or others.

According to Wikipedia, the different types of human trafficking include:
  • Bonded labor or debt bondage where people become victims and turned into bonded laborers when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined.
  • Forced labor is where victims are forced to work against their own will, under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment, their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted.
  • Sex trafficking victims are generally found in dire circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers. Individuals, circumstances, and situations vulnerable to traffickers include homeless individuals, runaway teens, displaced homemakers, refugees, and drug addicts
  • Child labor is a form of work that is likely to be hazardous to the health and/or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development of children and can interfere with their education.

What can I and you do to help?

WEAR ORANGE: There are so many ways we can help but one easy, simple and quick way is to:  As consumers and artisans, we can support and bring awareness by wearing the color “orange”. Orange was a color picked by “NOTFORSALE” organization as a color to show that you and I are part of the movement to stop human trafficking. It can be a shirt, tie, string, a purse, shoestring, etc. It does not really matter just an item to signify and bring awareness to this cause.

Other ways include sharing information on human trafficking on twitter, facebook, emails or any other form of social networking.  Also, we can contribute our time and financial resources through donations, rallies, services to the organization, etc. To find out more on human trafficking, visit or

Starting today, I chose to wear my orange colors in my closet and will add handmade orange items to my store as part of my support of the movement to end human trafficking. How will you wear yours?