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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?


Monday, July 26, 2010

Top 5 Online Handmade Marketplace

There are hundered if not thousands of online stores for handmade items.  If you will like to have unqie, authencti experience shopping for handmade, vintage, jewelry, art and supplies, these sites will enthrall and entice you. But just like Amazon or EBAY, these online marketplace are for handmade sellers and buyers are across the globe.  I have listed the top 5 in no particular order and have verified these sites either by listing with me or viewing the sites.

  • Etsy - Etsy was founded in June 2005 to buy, sell and live handmade. According to its web site, it spans over 150 countries across the globe.

  • ArtFire - Simitar to Etsy but includes all artsian types. It also spans across th globe and features unqiue information and selling options to sellers. 

Dawanda -Dawanda was founded in 2006 in Gemany. It is a smaller than artfire or etsy and it states that it showcases hard to find and unqiue  gooods from jewlery to art to children's items. Some of the best selling products are  jewlery and children items and items are listed in Euro.
Zibbet - Zibbet  was created to be an Ebay alternative for artisans and offically launced in 2009. It has a simple and easy to navigate home page.

  • Folksy - This is a UK Online Handmade Markeplace. If you are looking for a European item or craft, you will find it here. 

I hope you enjoy your experience at these sites.  I hope you find all you are looking for and more!
Neki Naturals is listed on Etsy and abut to be listed on Zibbet and Artfire. Feel Free to comment on any other sites that you enjoy ether by selling or shopping.


    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Fighting Procrastination -Start Now

    I tend to drag and delay doing things if I think it is too difficult, too time consuming, lots of patience required and the last but not the least  the fear of perfection. Since I tend to be a perfectionist, I tend not to showcase or act on things that I THINK is not good enough.  I dwell on the imperfections that no one sees and hence I delay a lot of projects.  My husband told me he received a quote yesterday that stated that fear is the darkroom where negativity is produced. This resounded so much with me that I decided to share some examples of procrastinating and delaying the work that needs to be done.

    For example is creating a Neki Naturals Face book Fab Page. I have procrastinated on this since Feb 1, 2010. I created a page, then I deleted it. Then I said to myself that no one will become a fan so while bother creating one. It kept nagging at me for months and months and I have been dragging and delaying and fir long time to create a page for Neki Naturals.

    Finally this week on July 9th , 2010, I created a Neki Naturals Fan Page and then it took me a few more days to add some pictures and additional details and opened it up to the public.
    I am happy to write that you can now become a Neki Naturals Fan @

    Another  example of my procrastination is dragging and delaying designing  for boys sweaters.  It is known that boys do not have as much variety as girls and I have promised to start this a while ago and now Fall is around the corner! One will think since I have a little boy that I would have jumped immediately to start this but No! So yesterday, with a little push from my coach and mentor, I started to design an original Neki Naturals Toddler Sweater.  Now, with designing, it takes lots of time errors, reworking and lots of Patience. I hope to display this original design by end of August 2010  as part of Neki Naturals Fall Collection. Wish me luck!

    In general, I think we all procrastinate but sometimes we miss out on great things because we delay to start  because we fear the unknown. So if you have a project that you need to start, start now. Do not wait till this evening or tomorrow. Start Now. What are you procrastinating on?  Comments are welcomed.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Inexpensive Attention Grabbing Crochet Cover Ups

    We are halfway into the summer and  still have time to hang out at the beach with these heat waves. Spice up your beach wear with these inexpensive crochet cover ups I found at some departmental stores. They are stylish, sexy and attention grabbing and one cannot help to take another glance at your cover ups and just exhale "goddess".

    1. Kohl's Croft and Barrow Crochet Cover up

    2. Kohl's Sleeveless Cover Up

    3.  Jaclyn Smith Women's Plus Crochet Cover-Up

    Hope you can find these at these departmental stores. If not, Neki Naturals can customize a crochet cover up for you.  Email us today @


    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Using MacBook Pro To Create Portfolio

     I decided to create a portfolio to showcase some of my work for a street fair in April. I am not an graphic artist.   I really do not have the creative juices when it comes to developing a portfolio of my work in pictures. Around the same time frame, I just bought a MacBook Pro and was playing with the video camera and saw the option to create a portfolio.

    Here are the steps that I took to create my portfolio

    1. Load all the pictures into iPhoto library 

    2. Select the images and under the File, choose Create an album option and place all the pictures into the album. Give the album a name. My album is called Neki Naturals.

    3. At the bottom of the iphoto,  there is an option titled "Book". Click on the "Book" Option.

    4. Chose the Book Type - Soft Cover or Hard Cover and the size (small, medium, large). For me, I chose Wire notebook  and Large Size option.

    5. Choose also the  Book Style  - I choose Folio as the style

    6.  Drag and Drop all the pictures into the pages book as desired.  Choose your best pictures for the front cover and back cover.Note that you can add more pages to the book. 

    7.  After adding all the pictures and putting finishing touches to the book,  buy the Book and send it in for printing and within 2 weeks, your professional  portfolio is at your door!

    Everyone that has seen my portfolio cannot believe I did this on my own but it is easy, quick and inexpensive. Try it!


    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Neki Naturals Fall Events Calendar

    I know it is early but  I have mentioned that I was preparing for the fall events.  Neki Naturals will be showcasing more crochet toys, boys apparels and  a whole new line of Pet accessories.

    Upcoming Events are:

    September 19th 2010 -  Street Fair @ Hackettstown, NJ
    October 9th - November 9th, 2010 - Crochet Class @ Mt Olive, NJ
    November 7th 2010 - Street Fair  @Hackettstown, NJ

    More information about these street fairs and more street fairs location @

    If you are in the area, please stop or email me and let me know. Postcards will be sent shortly.


    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Beauty, Moisture, Hair, Directions = Recipe

    Cocoa butter or Shea butter is a great oil to moisturize the scalp.  My preference is to use unrefined Shea butter. Shea Butter provides moisture to dry or damaged hair from the roots to the very tips, repairing and protecting against weather damage, dryness and brittleness.  It also absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp to rehydrate without clogging pores.

    This is a recipe to use for dry scalps that will not heavy on your hair.

    4 teaspoons Shea butter
    2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
    3 teaspoons of salicylic acid or facial toner
    5 drops of tea tree oil
      You can use Cocoa Butter if Shea butter is not available.

      Melt the Shea butter and combine the Shea butter, jojoba oil,tea tree oil and salicylic acid.  Allow it to cool. Then apply to the affected spots. Wear a night cap to prevent soiling the bed linen and wash the whole hair in the morning with a mild soap and warm meter. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Repeat this process as long as it is needed.


      Tuesday, July 13, 2010

      4 Tips for Easier Crochet Learning

       I empathize with everyone who struggle to learn to crochet. It is definitely not an easy needlework just like I have a hard time knitting.

      These tips will help to make your crochet learning experience fun as well was easier to learn the stitches.

      • Keep it Simple Project -  Try to work on a very simple project such as bookmark, granny square, a belt. Do not try to pick up a project that will require different types of stitches. You want basic project that will teach you the basics of crochet such as chain, single crochet and double crochet. 

      • The Bigger the Better Yarn - As a beginner, use a bulky weight yarn and use a size H hook. The bulky weight yarn is loose and will allow you to see chains made as well other stitches in a magnified fashion.

      • Leave the Tension Behind: I remember as a beginner, I used to be so tense and mad especially when I made a mistake.  Try to be as relaxed as possible and not be too tense.  Remind yourself the reason you picked up crochet and try not put a timetable to finish your project. It will help you keep it in perspective.

      • Read, Read and More Reading - Try to have one or two books that has detailed instructions on how to crochet, I have tons of books but I fall back to my favorite book Crochet Your Way by Gloria Tracy and Susan Levin. I love this book not for the patterns but for the explanations on the different stitches and it is well detailed with easy to understand text and symbols. I use it now as reference for all teaching lessons and projects. Try not to rely one book but have a few on your crochet book library.

      With these tips,  you will find learning crochet a much easier endeavour. I hope you enjoy your experience.


      Monday, July 12, 2010

      Creating my first Amateur Crochet Teaching Clip - Crochet Chain and Single Crochet

      I am all things but not a good photographer or video creator but I braved it.
      Today I decided to test out my mac imovie software to enhance my  future students learning crochet experience. I did this clip in 45 minutes with the music in the background.  I have not read book or tried to create a video before but it was fun. I will say I still have a lot of learning to do but I tried to show how to crochet a chain and single crochet.   What do you think of my my first try?

      See it @ youtube link :

      1.     Hold the hook in your right hand by holding it between your index finger and thumb or hold the hook in an “overhand” clutch like you hold a tennis racquet or spoon while mixing batter.

      2.     Make a slip knot to fit the hook.

      3.     Put the hook through the slip know and hold the hook in your right hand and the slip knot in your left hand.

      4.     Pull the yarn from back of the hook over and around the front of the hook pulling yarn through the loop to form the first chain.

      5.     Repeat step 4 for the desired number of chains.

      Row 1
      1.     With the last chain on hook, insert hook into the second chain using any of the two methods below:

      a)     Method 1 – Insert hook through the front loops of the chain. You hold the chain with the loops facing and working under two loops of the chain.

      b)    Method 2 – Insert hook through the back ridge which is also called the Japanese method. You turn the chain so the back loops are facing you. Work the crochet stitch through the back center loop only.

      2.     Bring the yarn over the hook by wrapping yarn from behind the hook over the top to the front of the loop.

      3.     Pull yarn towards you through the chain. You will have two loops on the hook.

      4.     Bring the yarn over the hook again and pull it through the two loops on the hook.

      You have just completed one single crochet.

      5.     To make the next single crochet stitch, hook into the next chain and repeat steps 2 -4 for each stitch until you reach the end of the first row.
             Now you just completed Row 1.
      Row 2
      1.     Prior to starting row 2, chain 1 – This is the turning chain. The turning chain is not counted as a stitch in single crochet.

      2.     Turn over and pull the row you completed toward you. The yarn will be on the right end of your work.

      3.     Insert the hook under the top two loops of the first stitch, yarn over and repeat steps 2 -4 of the first row pattern for single crochet.

      Complete the second row and ensure you count the stitches at the end of every row.

      Thursday, July 8, 2010

      Ready or Not : Preparing Fall Crochet Classes

      I have been working on my fall crochet class outline for beginners since I am now a Certified Instructor for Beginners and I want to make sure that everyone has fun and learn. Most of all, I want it to be a relaxing and exciting experience.   I want to them to leave appreciating the crochet craft, can pick up a crochet book and be able to follow the instructions as well as be creative.
      Here are some of the exciting things we will work on:

      I Class: Learn and practice the slip knot and chain stitch as well the single crochet stitch.

      2nd Class: Learn and Practice the double crochet stitch, shell stitch and cluster stitch. Learn the crochet abbreviations.

      3rd Class: Learn how to increase and decrease stitches and start a class project.

      4th Class: Learn seaming techniques and finishing off yarn ends.  Continue with class project.

      5th Class: Complete Class Project and Start Individual Projects if necessary.

      Registration information, dates and location will be provided in upcoming weeks. Stay Tuned!


      Tuesday, July 6, 2010

      Life Continues

      I thought about so many things to write today but I just cannot get this past weekend off my mind.
      My toddler, 21 months old, is growing in leaps and bounds and this sometimes makes me question myself as a business woman among other things.

      For example, I had no idea that you can sing someones name as a song. "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! Over and Over and Over! and I loved it!
      I could not get enough of him singing my name. I have waited so many months to hear hm call me Mommy. I used to say I will have to go into therapy because he said everyone else name but mine.
      Now he is saying or singing it and it is music in my ears.

      And another thing, he is now asking for help;  He was trying to get a book from his book shelf and all I heard was "Mommy, I need help!" I said to myself "when did this happen". We went from two words to full sentences in a week?Was I sleeping? Did I work too much that I miss the transition? I just want to sit and watch him all day or rather chase him around all day doing his thing such as cooking, gardening, cleaning and just waiting for him to say "Mommy I need help!". This is life. I may feel like I am static but episodes such as these make realize that I am not static and that I am experiencing a life through my little one.

      These days will never come around again and until then I will do the best I can as businessman but try to be present 150%  watching my son grow.

      Have a great day! Tomorrow, I will be back with skin and hair care recipes and crochet thoughts!


      Friday, July 2, 2010

      Keeping it Real

      Sometimes  I get caught up in all the festivities and somehow neglect taking care of me such as rest, exercise,  good food.  If I do not care for myself then I will not be able to take care of my family. Business has been busy lately trying to get ready for fall shows, fall classes and creating new products.

      So as this long weekend rolls in, I hope we all get the time to relax, have fun and de-stress.  I plan to just hang out with my family and play with my toddler  as much as I can without pulling out my hair.

      I wish for you peace and joy and happiness. We will meet again next week. Happy 4th of July!