Living the Good Life and Free Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. And with that I bring you a guest blogger, Mardra Sikora, a local blogger, writer, and advocate. I jumped at the idea of having Mardra guest blog as those with special needs are near and dear to my heart. At the end of the post, I also offer a pattern for a Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon (or any ribbon for that matter!) Make sure you read all the way to the end to see what the Good Life means to me. Enjoy!

Living the Good Life

NEBRASKA...the good life
Photo by Thomas Beck

On a recent road-trip to central Nebraska, my son Marcus leaned back and sighed, “This is the good life.” That particular weekend there was much ado about Nebraska’s slogan: “The Good Life.” So I smiled in agreement while my mind wandered over the parallel metaphor to our world.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it gets old defending the place you call home. Do you get tired of explaining what exactly is good about “the good life” to those who say they could never…? To those who are filled with ill-conceived notions and stereotypes about our day-to-day? What beauties there are to see and experience?

Like many kids, I knew I’d leave Nebraska when I grew up. But the days went by and, though there were other opportunities along the way, I chose to stay. And sometimes there were circumstances that chose me instead. Which brings me to the parallel metaphor. Life with my son, Marcus.

It’s not a new idea, the metaphor of the physical place we find ourselves and our larger fate. So here we go…

On March 21st we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. We celebrate because Down syndrome is part of who Marcus is. Like many families who find themselves in an unexpected place – it is not about making the best of it; it’s about celebrating the best of it.

What I’d like to share this World Down Syndrome Day, with those of you who don’t live in the place we do: It’s not what you think.

Yes, sometimes storms come in and make life difficult. Like Marcus’ heart surgery when he was still a baby. That was hard. And there are many beautiful places on this earth, including the amazing sunsets that linger on the horizon here. Yes, the same sun rises and sets in our world as yours and my love for my son is no more and no less than the love any mother can have for their child. I see his beauty, his talents, his ambitions, and these parts of him are not diminished by Down syndrome. My biggest disappointments come not from Marcus’ abilities but rather the limitations of other people to recognize his abilities.

To me, the good life means preparation: when it’s cold, you put a coat on. The good life means consideration: please and thank you and working hard is something to be proud of. The good life means both seeing beauty in the peaceful moments as well as celebrating with the roar of a crowd.

For us it is also about a lifetime full of laughter. Marcus’ guiding principal is to make sure the people around him are happy. It’s nice to live with someone who has other’s happiness as a top priority.

 Yes, Marcus lives with us, so do 6 million other adult children in this country. Like many of them, this is a choice we have made together. There are options, we chose this one.

It’s not always an easy life. (Boring!) It’s not the perfect life. (Who has that?)

It is, in fact, quite a good life.


Bio: By day Mardra Sikora balances a patchwork of community, advocacy, work and family. Also by day

she writes. You can find her antics at, on Facebook, and her favorite hangout, Twitter: @MardraSikora


Free Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon

Down Syndrome Ribbon


Skill Level:

  • Easy


  • Any size hook, I usually use whatever size I am using for the project I am appliquéing onto. I would recommend size F – J for worsted weight or Aran yarn.
  • Yellow, blue and white worsted weight yarn. Less than 2g (3 yds) each.
  • Pin to hold ribbon in place while you stitch around it
  • Yarn or Tapestry needle to weave in ends and to sew on to project if you are using the ribbon as an applique
  • Brooch pin or barrette if desired

Other Resources:

  • For awareness ribbon colors, click here 


  • Not important

Abbreviations and Stitches Used: (In US terminology)

  • Ch – chain stitch
  • Dc – double crochet
  • Sl st – Slip Stitch
  • St – stitch

Pattern Notes:

  • Pattern is written in US terms
  • Read pattern in its entirety first


Left-handed directions: Ch 15 with blue, switch to yellow and ch 17.

Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 11 st, 2 dc in next 3 st, switch back to blue and 2 dc in next 3 st, dc in each of last 12 st. Finish off. (If you are familiar with foundation dc, you can do this for the first row instead of chaining and working dc)

Change to accent color and sl st all the way around. Finish off.

Right handed directions: Ch 15 with yellow, switch to blue and ch 17.

Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 11 st, 2 dc in next 3 st, switch back to yellow and 2 dc in next 3 st, dc in each of last 12 st. Finish off. (If you are familiar with foundation dc, you can do this for the first row instead of chaining and working dc)

Change to accent color and sl st all the way around. Finish off.


Use a bit of the main color to tack the ribbon together in the middle by coming up through the bottom over an existing stitch (to hide the tacking) and going back down through the top. Tie in a knot in the back and weave in all ends.

Down Syndrome Ribbon


  • Sew as an appliqué onto a hat, scarf, handbag or tote bag.
  • Sew or glue onto a brooch pin
  • Sew or glue onto a barrette

Click Print below or click here for a pdf version

For me, the Good Life is easy to define. I feel blessed to have a beautiful family, wonderful friends, and a creative passion. First and foremost, I am a wife and stay-at-home mother to two with another on the way. My husband and I raise our children in a faith-filled home. We both have had our struggles in life, as children and adults, together and apart. I believe that makes us that much more appreciative of the good things in life. We don’t have tons of friends, but the ones we have are true and we consider each of them family. Lastly, I have my creative outlet and passion. If you had asked me 3 years ago if I would be selling my own crochet items and blogging about it, I would have said you were crazy! I am excited to see where the next year takes me as my oldest child will be starting kindergarten, we will be welcoming our 3rd baby, and who knows where crochet will take me. Like many Nebraskans, I thought I would leave eventually, but Midwestern values like kindness, caring for your neighbor and hard work are difficult to say good-bye to.

You may not be from Nebraska, but how would you define the Good Life?

Nicole-Colie's Crochet

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Copyright 2014 Colie’s Crochet. All rights reserved. You may use this pattern for personal use, gifts or charity items. Sales of finished items are permitted but designer requests that you link back to pattern and credit Colie’s Crochet with the original design. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form including but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written consent from the designer.

3 thoughts on “Living the Good Life and Free Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon

  1. Gene Sikora

    Mardra, you have opened up so very many opportunities for Marcus and are continuing to do so. How true that Marcus strives for a peaceful environment and has a ready hug and and warm smile available when meeting with others.
    I see that Down Syndrome has not squashed Marcus’ zest for life and how your actions have brought out many useful and creative traits for my grandson.
    Marcus is fortunate to have you and Quinn as parents.

  2. Mardra

    Nicole, WOW – such a beautiful way to bring worlds together! I agree, Family, friends, and creative passion – who could ask for anything more? Thank you so much for sharing this.


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