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Nico Designs

After years of being a Behavior Specialist and Special Education Teacher, I sew for sanity. My two babies (ages 3 and 2) make everything in the past seem so ordinary and what lies in front of us as amazing. And chaotic.
As for the name of my shop? My Dad is my hero. And he calls me "NICO" for my middle name, Nicole.
At Nico Designs we create each item with design, style and functionality in mind. We strive to create products that are eco friendly by utilizing a combination of new, repurposed, recycled or upcycled materials. As we strive to understand our role as stewards of our planet we will adapt our manufacturing to be as lean as possible. This means we use our scraps/remnants in other projects or donate them to keep them from a landfill.

She also donates a portion of her sales to help fund childhood cancer research. Proceeds from the sale of select items will go to the Ronald McDonald House in Temple. And 10% of sales from the other items will go to MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston.

    LOVE Pears


    So cute, who doesn’t need a valentines day surprise!

    Fiesta Medium Tote


    I like this tote! It would make a good knitting tote.

    Enjoy shopping!


    Knitting Coraline

    Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion 3-D horror-fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. Written and directed by Henry Selick, it was released widely in US theaters on February 6, 2009, after a world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival.

    When you realize Coraline is stop motion animation and with that comes a long process for creating each puppet in the film. and beyond that, someone has to outfit them! Would you believe one woman knitted all of Coraline's sweaters and gloves?

    This is an amazing film, that took many, many true artists to craft this story together. Below are several videos of artisans.

    Althea Crome the knitter of Coraline’s sweaters and gloves.


    Suzanne Moulton head of the hair department


    An idea of what it took to make the world of Coraline



    Winter here usually includes a long stretch of sunless, wet, muddy grey days.

    The predication last night was for ice and then snow. Well I woke up this morning to neither and bright clear skies and sun! Yay!

    I’m delighted to see it after many dull days without it, but do miss my snow. So I decided to find some homemade remedies!



    Snowflake Goat Milk Handmade Soap $2.70 us

    snowflake soap

    Original Photo 5x7 Snowflake in the Window $8.00 us


    Mini Clipboard and Post it Notes – Snowflakes $8.50 us

    mini clipboard

    Snowflake. Silver Plated Locket Necklace $22.00 us


    Snowflake Dangles



    This and that…need some knit patterns for after the holidays?

    sock money

    Need some help finding patterns? Knitters Review gives us a lift of seven great little knitted items, hats, neck warmers and a cute little mouse.

    From Knitty Winter of 06 it’s Norberta the Dragon by Kate Kuckro, and her blog SimplyCrafted.com

    Kate also had her Toasty pocket creatures in Knitty winter 05, cute and quick

    From Crafts on Toast a super cute Bender pattern! (from Futurama)

    Who can’t use another HackySack? This is a knit pattern for them from Sharon at ShazzasPatterns blog. I have crocheted them before but never knitted.

    From Cosmic pluto knits, here is a shawl pattern that only takes 350 yards / 320 m of fingering weight yarn, (you can use your handspun!) Reversible and fast and beautiful! It is the Milkweed Shawl. Destined to become a classic by anyone that knits it! She also has LOTS of other great patterns!

    I love this The Thing Pattern, for your comic book or Fantastic Four fan, by Knittycat.vox. Please check her blog out.

    From ChezPlum a sweet little lace purse. The Isabeau purse is a quick little knit, using a very easy lace pattern. It’s an ideal project to use up odds and ends, as you’ll need only one skein of yarn (approx.100-120 yds)+

    Get Knitting!



    Hooping, Henna and Red hats


    Fire Hooping, Barrington. Photo by Amanda Giles

    My girlfriend Rachel, who is my Henna sister, got a fire hula hoop for Christmas! While I’m still practicing on a standard hula-hoop, she has progressed to a LED hoop and now a fire hoop. I love the directions, it actually says, “at some point you will catch yourself on fire”, so someone stands by with a fire extinguisher while she hoops. Now that person should be sober! And you can’t really knit if you are the extinguisher person either.

    Red Hat pattern by Bernat, this is the second hat I have made with this pattern.


    Every month we get together to henna our hair, if you are interested in moving away from chemical coloring to henna, like many people are, (especially if you are being treated with chemotherapy or pregnant) the best website is Henna for Hair.

    005Rachel before hair…light brown

    008  and after….beautiful auburn

    We were both interested in switching to henna and started the journey together. She is a light brown, I had colored my hair so long I wasn’t sure what it was (how much grey I had), and it was breaking off at the scalp and in the front. The same mix brought her a lovely auburn color, while it made my hair in the orange family. But henna takes 3-5 days to “oxidize” and the brassiness fades into a rich color. I couldn’t believe how soft and shiny my hair felt, she has long hair and said her husband loved it, and couldn’t keep his hands out of it.

    This time I added some other herbs to darken my color, and try and head it towards the brown/auburn family.

    Original color:006

    Using 1/2 Henna and 1/2 cassia, before oxidation:042

    This is when I learned, that cassia lightens henna. OK


    after oxidation, still a little bright for me. I now know I could have done a buxus gloss and it would have pushed it into the brown family.

    This is the current color made with 1/2 henna, 1/4 buxus, 1/4 indigo


    I love this color, I don’t want to go any darker, but love the auburn, this is one day after. The color should change a little with oxidation.


    Hats and vegetarian chili


    Burrrr……It is cold here! We have had about 2 weeks of very cold weather for Southern Indiana. With temps in the single digits at night and in the teens during the day, we are bundled up and ready for some warmer temps.

    As usual, we are the marathon dog walkers, no fenced yard, and large dogs equals our own exercise routine. This has resulted in a hat knitting binge for me. Quick and warm, everyone needs a hat.


    My mother always taught me that most of the heat escapes through your head, and you need to wear that hat to stay warm. Now I have read the study that determined that may have been misleading, but when it’s 4 degrees out and the wind at 30 mph, I’m not going out without my hat. When the temp dips this low it feels great to put on a knitted wool hat and bundle up against the winds.

    The pattern I used is a free one from Bernat for bulky yarn, I used Bernat yarn felting natural wool in color 94310, (a pink/purple blend). On size 8 US circular needles, using the magic loop technique. (see here for a great YouTube tutorial from the KnitWitch)

    It took approx 120 yds of bulky weight yarn for me to make this hat.


    While knitting on a cold day, what more could you want but some homemade chili cooking in the Crockpot?

    Vegetarian Crockpot chili  (or stove)

    1/2 cup dried small red kidney beans

    1/2 cup dried black beans

    1/2 cup dried adzuki beans 

    Place all of the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water the night before. If you would like to make this on the stove or in a hurry use a can each of beans.

    1 can (28 oz) of rotel diced tomatoes with chilies

    1 large onion diced

    1 green pepper diced

    V8 juice, approx 2 cups, more if you like thinner chili

    Soyrizo I can usually find this at a local grocery store, used to be harder to find locally for me, great meat/protein alternative

    3 T Chili powder

    3 T Cumin

    1 t Red pepper

    1 T Oregano

    Drain beans and rinse well. Add to Crockpot, add the rotel, spices, and diced ingredients.  Now add the Soyrizo and cover all with just enough V8 juice to cover all ingredients.

    Cook in your Crockpot for 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. If you are using canned beans on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 min.


    Serve with homemade cornbread

    My grandmother would make this in the original cornbread molds that looked like little corns.

    Nanny’s homemade cornbread

    1 cup flour

    1 cup cornmeal

    2/3 sugar (we always use half white, half brown sugar)

    1 t salt

    1 T baking powder

    2 eggs

    1 cup milk (skim ok to use)

    1/3 cup oil

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

    Pour into a 9 x 9 pan, or muffin tins

    Bake 20-25 min in pan, 12 min or so in tins (depending on how full you fill them), or until toothpick comes out clean.




    Everything you wanted to know about Sock Monkeys and more

    Well I’ve become somewhat obsessed with sock monkeys!
    It seems that people have definite opinions on them, similar to clowns, love or hate them. So it all starts with a pair of socks $4.95 from WalMart.
    015After making a couple for gifts for my niece and nephew. The mania began. The traditional sock monkeys that we think of were made with a specific sock, the  Rockford Red Heel Socks. John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant to the United States, patented the sock-knitting machine in 1869, and began manufacturing work socks in Rockford, Illinois in 1890. During the Great Depression, American mothers first made sock monkeys out of worn-out Rockford Red Heel Socks.
    Sometime around 1951 Nelson Knitting company discovered that their socks were being used to make monkey dolls, this resulted in a dispute over the pattern. The company was awarded the pattern in l955 and started including it with every pair of socks.
    In 1992 the Nelson company was acquired by Fox River Mills.  A  change in the red-heeled sock design distinguishes monkeys made with Fox River Mills socks from Nelson Knitting Company socks. Fox River heels are more uniformly ovular, without the end points that gave Nelson Knitting-made sock monkeys their smiles or frowns.
    You can still buy the Nelson socks so your sock monkeys will “smile” at you. They also have several other differences. This site is full of patterns and information, and you can also buy the new or old style socks.
    006 016 
    Beginning and end results above, of course I had to add a knitted scarf, and vest!
    I found several good patterns, and tutorials, (if anyone needs a fast, traditional gift)
    From Lenny Taylor short and concise directions here
    Web Goddess has a detailed tutorial on how to cut and sew
    From Paton Yarn, a free knitted sock monkey pattern
    Another knitted sock monkey pattern from Thepatternbox.com, from Mummble-Jummble2, she has other free patterns also.
    Here is a crochet sock monkey pattern from qDpaToOtieS very cute, and a nice blog, she has a wide variety of tutorials from snow globes to pumpkin pie upside down cake!
    Craftbits has a sock monkey pattern for modern striped socks
    I like this one from Clubhouse.com, it is detailed
    From the Wikihowtomake a sock monkey
    Sock monkey blog, of course
    And we can’t let our sock monkey’s go with out some stylish knitwear, here is a pattern for a hat and scarf from Sock Monkey Fun, and a crocheted skirt.
    And from Patricia Spork a Sock Monkey poem
    Vintage Sock Monkey
    By Patricia Spork
    Clean socks filled,
    sewn to bond,
    monkey doll’s
    floppy bod;
    Red pom-pom
    hatted top,
    While red lips
    stuffed bottom
    Well that’s everything I know about Sock Monkey’s! Have Fun.. 


    Happy New Year!!


    Enjoy yourself, watch some football and knit!