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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4 Ways to Discard Handmade Items

I used to be one of the people that frown at the words reuse and recycle but with the state of our earth and environment, it is imperative to be conscious of our everyday use of items.  As you know, I am a yarn lover and love to crochet. Now there are items that I have made for myself or others that never get used.  And some items get used so so often that it is now time to give them  up.
I have this sweater I made when I was learning to crochet, two sizes larger and in a color that does not even match my personality and I still wear every winter. I can't bring myself to give it up and I think this happens to a lot of people who love handmade items. What do you do with Unwanted Handmade items made with Yarn?

1. Donate Items: If your handmade item is not worn out and can be donated, please donate it. There are so many people who will appreciate your donated handmade item.  I never realized until the World Soccer in South Africa to realize that South Africa has a winter season and I am Nigerian!  So  realize that a large part of the world will cherish your stuff. If you are looking to donate and not quite sure on how to start, please contact me.

2. Unravel Yarn - I know some folks are screaming at me at this moment. You can unravel yarn from knitted or crochet stuff and either reuse it  to make items to donate or use it at your home. You can even create an art project of dying the unravelled yarn into another color and voila! you have new yarn.
 I will post on how to unravel yarn one of these weeks. Stay tuned for that post.

3.  Find Another Use - If you do not want to unravel or donate, you can find other purposes for your worn handmade items. You can use it as rags, polishers, mats, etc. Just cut it into what you want to use it for and sew the ends.

4. Cherish Forever - For me, I have an attachment to my first sweater I made.  You can save it if there are sentimental values for it and create art from it.

I am sure that there are other ideas on what to do with used handmade items. Share them here with everyone. Now, what do I do with my sweater? Will let you know!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DIY Skin Night Oil Recipe

Trying to keep your skin soft and supple? Try this recipe.

1 teaspoon sweet almond oil
1 teaspoon of jojoba oil
4 drops of rose essential oil

Perfume the sweet almond oil slightly with the rose essential oil or any essential oil of your choice. 
To use, every night after washing, massage in well and then gently  wipe the face with a soft rag or towel till all superfluous oil is removed.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding Joy and an Extra Hour ?

A famous quote I use often says that staying joyful and happy is a woman's natural beauty regime because everyone can see how happy she is and how much she  puts into her values and  passion and staying joyful and content no matter how much effort, time and sacrifices she has to make.

I am a mother of a toddler, wife, step mother and a sister. I believe these roles are my primary functions as well as my personal passion in life. I also work full time at a financial firm and own my own business called Neki Naturals.  I have tried to perform all functions at home, at work and with business as 3 full time positions and have exhausted myself physically and mentally

Currently most of my days - Monday through Friday looks like this:
4:45 - 4:55am - Wake up
4:55 - 5:15am - Pray/Mediate
6:15 - 6:00am - Exercise
6:00 - 6:15am -  Warm son's food, pack lunch box
6:15 - 6:35am -  Get Ready for the Office
6:35 - 6:55am -  Get Son ready for School
6:55 - 8:00am  - Commute to Office
8:00 - 12 noon - Work in Office
12:15 - 1:15pm - Blogging and Emails for NEki Naturals
1:15 - 4:00pm   - Work in Office
4:00 - 5:15pm   - Commute and Arrive home
5:15 - 7:30pm   - Make dinner, family time, play, bath and put son to sleep
7:30 to 8:15pm -  Cleaning , cooking for next day
8:15 - 10:15pm -  Crochet, Emails,
10:15 - Off to Bed

I am one of those folks that want to have everything running smoothly at all times and full throttle and expecting great results. My family and crocheting brings me the most joy and for that I am eternally grateful for having an opportunity to do both at my leisure and hopefully been able to achieve the most to be the best at what God created me. Eventually I will find that extra hour to dedicate to my craft and in the meantime, I will just enjoy the ride!

Have a great week. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to use Hair and Scalp Oil

I have to say I am one of those folks who get quite concerned more like annoyed with my natural hair when it does not look healthy.I tend to see the results of my negligence in about 7 days.Then I head back to intensive scalp and hair care. In addition, when I am in a hurry, I may misuse hair oil incorrectly
which can result in either too much oil or not enough.

These tips have helped greatly in relieve drying, stopping hair breakage and a healthy looking hair.

So here it goes:

1. There is a difference between scalp and hair oils. The contents are different the application is also different. Most scalp oil contains tea tree, peppermint, Rosemary oils and some others to help cool the scalp especially if it itches. General hair oil is mostly for moisture and stronger hair follices and mostly base oils such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil and with a few essentials oils such as sage
ylang ylang, etc to give it a nice scent with few benefits.

2. To apply scalp oil which is suppose to be very light, drop a few drops on all sections of scalp and massage it in thoroughly. It is recommended to massage at least for 5 minutes. If you are using it as a hot oil treatment, light shampoo and rinse.

3. If it is a hair oil, part your hair. rub the oil in your hand and taking and apply to a few strands at a time from the roots. Try to overdo it with too much oil in your palm.

4. Wash your hair at least every other day and if you cannot wash it then mix witch hazel or facial toner with a few drops of tea tree and aloe vera. Put few drops on cotton ball and clean your scalp. This is called dry cleaning your hair.

5. Try as much as possible to oil scalp and hair oil every other day.

6. Try and cover your hair at night to keep moisture in and keep lint out.

I hope this helps.


In case you need oils, we offer hair oils at

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Banana Hair Smoothie - NOT!

I love to experiment with recipes of others and my own to find out if it works. This time, I think I went a little overboard. I love to talk and write about using natural products for skin and hair care and I decided to try a banana hair smoothie for a deep conditioner.
A few weeks ago, I mashed up one banana, added a few teaspoons of extra virgin oil, mixed it well with a few drops of tea tree oil and lathered on my thick coarse hair.  Covered it with a shower cap for an hour. I was going to wash it out after 30 minutes but I decided for an hour thinking I will gain more benefits that way. Little did I know what I did!

Well, I went to wash it out and after the first rinse, it looked like I came from an alien world! The banana clumps were stuck to each strand of hair and it required 45 minutes of combing and rinsing to get the banana smoothie out of my hair.  I thought I will have to shave my hair off to be able to remove all of it.

Was my hair softer? Yes. Did it have shine and look moisturized? Yes. But I am not doing that again. The pain and time of having to comb out my coarse curly hair was and is not worth it. I  will have to try out another natural deep conditioner.  Check back in this week.

Do you have any natural hair conditioner? Feel free to comment.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Recap Neki Naturals Blogs for Week 6/14/2010 - 6/18/2010

In case you missed this weeks blogs or some of the blogs, here is a recap the blog posts.

On Monday, I shared my experience at my first crochet teaching class for kids.

For recovery on Tuesday, I shared a do it yourself skin food recipe to help rebuild skin tissue to keep our skin moisturized and less wrinkled.

I then headed out on Wednesday fro for some kids summer crochet fashion in the clothing industry and shared some very cool, reasonable priced  and beautiful dresses at the GAP stores.

Returned back on Thursday to share tips on how to  make your own color palette whether it is for your home, yourself or just having fun with colors.

And now we are heading into a beautiful gorgeous weekend. Take the time to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Make your Color Palette

One of the ways to explore the world of colors is to create your own personal color palette.

Cut a strip of thin white card about 3" x 12" and punch a row of holes along one long edge.  Collect a selection of yarns or fabric in colors that you like and loop a short length of each one through alternate holes.

Add some flavor into your palette  with different colors if yarn or fabric, adding new lengths gradually, one color at a time to see the effect that it creates.

You may have a liking to warm colors such as yellow, mustard or orange or cool colors such as lavender, blue, green, turquoise (my favorite) or blue gray.  Or you may like pastel colors either warm or cool pastel colors.  Whatever colors you prefer, enjoy your color palette.  Be comfortable in your color palette. It is no one else palette but yours.

For me as I am in the middle of painting my home, I have  discovered that my own personal palette depends on the room use. For example I chose a cool pastel color for the family room and olive green for dining room.  It is not my usual color selections but I very much love it because it gives it a warm feeling either in a formal setting or an informal setting.

Share your own color palette and how it has changed over the years.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gorgeous Summer Crochet Dresses for Girls

Dress and style your beautiful girl in these summer dresses and romper this year.  Styles are exquisite, simple and stylish. These styles can be found at the gap store.

Stella McCartney crochet dress

Crochet Halter Dress for a special occasion.  

Crochet-back dress

Girl's back dress makes a statement with the bold red color. Pair off with strapped sandal for a dressier look.

Love this purple color. Stays in the summer colors for this year.  This romper worn on a hot day for an occasion will make this girl the fashionsta of the day!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DIY: Skin Food without Lanolin

Where the skin is dry and wrinkled as well, you need to use a tissue builder. Skin food should be gently rubbed in  using circular motion.


1/2 cup sweet almond oil
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
1 ounce white wax
1 tablespoon Orange flower water ( you can make your own)
1.5 ounces glycerin
1 teaspoon borax
30 drops benzoin essential oil
i drop neroli essential oil

In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the sweet almond oil, jojoba oil and wax together. Combine the orange flower water and glycerin.  Dissolve the borax in the orange flower water mixture. Add the melted ingredients stirring continually. The mixture must be beaten until it is cooled.
 Just before the mass hardens, add the benzoin essential oil drop by drop and then the neroli essential oil.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Teaching Kids - My First Experience

Yesterday, I taught crochet for a few short hours to my children in my church as charitable event.  Building up to the class, I was nervous and apprehensive because I have not really geared my crochet teaching skills for kids but for mostly for adults. I was so terrified that I was physically weak all weekend but as Sunday rolled in, I prayed that the kids just have fun and I hope to leave some type of knowledge with them.It also dawned on me that not all the boys will want to crochet so I had to do something creative with hem.

Most of the kids were between the ages of 10 and 17 and at the beginning of the class, I donated money for anyone who can do 20 push ups.  Two boys completed the challenge and I coughed some cash to the two winners.  That was mini ice breaker!

For the class, I asked the boys to design a hat and I will crochet the best design so off they went with their drawing and cutting skills. I did not specify how they should do their design but let them do it to the best of their ability.  I began my crochet class  and my goal was have them to crochet a bookmark.

As I began to explain some of the terms such as yarn and hook to the rest of the group,  I realized I was having a difficult time trying to explain the crochet terms into words that the children will understand.
We ended up giving up the instructions on the paper and I taught them by them watching me instead of reading the instructions.  They were enthusiastic and frustrated at the same time. After half an hour, some gave up and some continued but overall, it was a great experience I had a few more giveaways at the end of the class and I also chose the best hat design.

Overall it was a great experience and I know now I need to create a children curriculum and not just for adults.  As the summer months are in, I am creating products for fall shows and fulfilling orders from clients.

I hope the kids enjoyed the experience and pick up some form of knitting or crocheting in the future.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Submit for Neki Naturals Blog Carnival Next Edition

Accepting blogs for the second edition of Neki Naturals blog carnival @
Submission deadline on June 18th 2010.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Handmade not equals to Cheap

I often get questions as why handmade apparel or home items are priced higher than regular items. Another question asked is why handmade apparel in departmental stores are cheaper than an individual crafter or artist price. It was not until I began to turn my hobby into a business that it finally dawned on me the high price for clients and the sacrifices of the crafter and artist have to make to both share the beauty of handmade items.

So let's take a crochet or knitted tote as an example based on material, quality, experience,time and location.

Materials - Handmade crochet or knitted handbags are made with 2 to 3 balls of yarn depending on size. Lower priced, lower quality yarn can cost an average of $2.50 per ball  and better quality yarn  can be as much as $10 per ball. If  lower quality yarn is used, the price of materials are about $5 to $7 and higher quality yarn can be from $10 to $30.

Experience and Quality -  There are so many crocheters and knitters but in buying any handmade item, the quality and exprience of the crocheter plays a role in a well finished, well made handbag. Checking the stitches and the sturdiness of the handbag and finishes of the product will provide you some insight into the quality. Most handmade crafters have learned their craft well and since it is not a machine doing the work, they ensure that every stitch and finishing of the product is of good quality. Even though quality does not have a tangible amount, an additional $10 -$20 is added for excellent work.

Time and location - This is a huge piece of handmade pricing. Take for example that a crafter will pay himself or herself $10 an hour. A handbag can take up to 6 to 8 hours from start to finish.   At $10 an hour, the total time spent on producing the handbag is $60 to $80. Crafters, Artists make a living with their crafts and talent hence the items is not outsourced or sent to a third world country to be produced  at pennies an hour.

Pulling all these together, the total pricing of the handbag should be between $95 to $130!  Now we all know that in some departmental stores, you can find the same handbag between $25 to $40. In high end stores, you may find it closer to the original price. When you visit a handmade website or craft show or handmade stand, most crafters discount their products at least by 40%  and the bag may be priced at $50 to $65.  Hence artists or crafters barely make minimum wage, sometimes less than minimum wage.

Crafters, Artists do what they do with passion, care and quality to enrich our lives, to make us feel good about wearing or owning a hand made item. They cannot be compared to the departmental stores or high end stores. So when you visit a handmade store, boutique, show, try to remember that it is not made with a machine; it is made with care and quality and it is a way of living for someone so enjoy your visit and if you can, purchase an item.  If you cannot, wish the crafter or artist well and commend them for a job well done.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to Maintain Handmade Apparel and Valuables

Any handmade item needs care to maintain its quality and prolong its longevity. With proper care, handmade items can become heirlooms and vintage items for families. Appropriate care must be given to retain its color and quality.

Here are tips to guide you in maintaining handmade items:

  • Read the label if the item was bought from a departmental store. If purchased from a local artist, ask them for maintenance tips.
  •  Try not to wash your hand made items as frequent as other items unless it is frequently used. For example, a quilt used on a bed not be washed more than twice a year but if it has to be washed, the handmade cycle on the washing machine and air dry is recommended. Better recommendation is to hand wash handmade items manually. Try not to dry handmade items in the dryer. Ensure that you lay the item down flat to air dry.
  • As the winter season is drawing to an end and you may need to store your handmade items, lay tout items flat and store in a storage container. If you have to fold it, wrap the item first in acid free tissue paper and store in the tube container. Try not to keep these containers in the attic or basement because of the heat and humidity. If you need to store the items for a long period of time, periodically check for bugs and mildew and air the items out and return back to the storage container.

I love handmade items and try to keep them as long as I can so I can enjoy and cherish them and hopefully be able to pass it on as a family treasure. Enjoy!

Stay Tuned

Neki Naturals handmade items can be found at or

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nourishing and Powerful Oils for Skin and Hair Care

So many people have asked me the benefits of the ingredients used in neki naturals products and other products in the market for skin and hair care .

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) and Jojoba Oil - EVO nourishes the skin and hair. Helps to promote softer skin and helps in the prevention of dandruff.

Vitamin E  Oil - This material is a powerful anti-oxidant. Promotes moisturization and makes the skin feel soft. Helps prevent cell membrane damage in the tissues.

Unrefined Shea Butter - Shea butter can be used to treat all of the following conditions: Dry Skin, Eczema, Infant Eczema, Stretch Mark Prevention & Minimization, Wrinkle Prevention, Diaper Rash, Muscle Fatigue, Scar Minimization & Skin Discolorations, Dry Hair & Scalp and as a natural shaving agent.

Clary Sage Oil - Clary Sage is beneficial for skin problems, back pain and a stiff neck, particularly good for balancing the production of sebum of the skin and to clear greasy complexions.

Lavender Oil - Used for its stimulating, invigorating and freshening benefits to the skin. It promotes toning and revitalizing of the skin.

Peppermint Oil - A plant extract that has cooling, toning and reviving properties.

Rosemary Oil - Used as a stimulant. Used for acne and eczema. Rosemary has a pronounced positive effect on the health of the hair and scalp. It increases the circulation to the scalp and is therefore also effective for promoting hair growth.

Ylang Ylang Oil
– exotic, sweet smelling Oil that soothes the skin and has a stimulating effect on the scalp which promotes more luxurious hair growth.

Try it out and see the difference with your skin and hair care regime.


Neki Naturals  hair and skin care products can be found here

Monday, June 7, 2010

Experiencing Life 2.0

We took our family went to Pennsylvania  to see the Philadelphia Zoo and Sesame Place over the weekend
For me, it was just as exciting as seeing my toddler having a ball and taking in the fun as I did not experience these things while I was growing up. It was my first time at the zoo and my first time at sesame place.

Since I had my son, I have experienced things, places and moments that I did not get a chance to do earlier in my life and I am so grateful for these wonderful  moments.

To end it all, we bought these sesame street singing DVDs and we have been singing all the songs  and watching my little one singing along the best that he can. No matter what else happens in my life, at this time, in these moments, I am truly blessed,


Friday, June 4, 2010

DIY : Treat yourself with Amazing Facial Steam

Face steaming opens the pores of the skin and expels all foreign matter, dust and clogged secretions.  Try  not do it often and ensure you moisture after steaming.  With this beautiful weather and enjoying the outdoors,  you will need to clean and open up your pores.

3.75  cups rosewater
5 drops neroli essential oil
5 drops myrrh essential oil


In a small pot, boil the water. Remove from heat and then add rosewater and essential oils.
Drape a towel over your head and lean into steam.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Giveaway Contest at Neki Naturals

Enter the Neki Naturals Giveaway Contest by viewing or http://www. and pick a item an item you like and state the reason why picked that item in this post.

What will you win:

Contest will end on June 4th at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be picked at Random.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crochet Fashion - Going Mainstream

It is my belief that handmade items made by knitting and crocheting has become mainstream not just for its art or craft but for everyday use.   See these links to see some of the trendy wears from last year and this year. Almost any trendy design can be handmade through crochet from wedding dresses, swim wear, shoes (yes shoes) and any home accessory

Check these out  and please if you do have any other links, please share it with me. I will be happy to add it.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Weekend To Remember

As last Friday night rolled in, I was tired and wondered how I was going to survive a long weekend with my 20 month old toddler.  My bones ached from running, painting and working and had no energy left.
But have to say it was a beautiful and amazing weekend. One I will forever remember.

These are some highlights that still puts a smile on my face as this work week begins.

We went to church service and there was a picnic after the service. The family sat around the tree and while enjoying the lunch, my son who was running around suddenly stopped, picked up a pine cone and went over to the music stereo and positioned right in front of the music and started to sing along with the music using the pine cone as his microphone. As each song finished and another one started, he changed his tone and sounds to adapt to the music. He danced, he raised his hands and kept on singing.

I was truly stunned and just watched in amazement.  His rendition was cut short when he heared another child crying and he went over and hugged the child and gently patted him to comfort him. Again, I was mesmerized by his actions.

On the following day, a friend of mine came to our house and she brought her 5 month old baby girl. And my toddler danced around her, hugged and kissed her on a forehead. He gave his blanket to lay on and even fetched her toys for her. Note that my son hardly shares and even though he is friendly, this is the first time he has shown interest in a baby.  He truly took my breadth away.

I always talk how no one told me about the hard work of raising a child but nether did anyone mention how much joy and love that one feels for a child.  A child is truly a gift and even though I did not spend time working on my projects, business or any other thing, I consider these memories priceless.

I hope you had a great memorial weekend as mine and just as priceless.

Have a great week!