Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giveaway 101: Hosting Your Own Facebook Giveaway

Having hosted my first Facebook giveaway in late May, I've recently been contacted by a number of others interested in hosting their own giveaway but unsure of where to begin. So I thought I would take some time to share what I learned both as a recent giveaway host and as a giveaway sponsor. That said, I am not an expert nor a lawyer. Instead, I'm sharing what I learned from my personal experiences. And here's what I learned...

First, read and follow Facebook guidelines. Here's a good breakdown of the guidelines and what you can and cannot do:
bloggingbasics101 on

Basics to Keep in Mind:
  • You cannot require participants to "like" a sponsor's page if you are giving away other's items. However, you can "Like-Gate." Like fan-gating, like-gating makes it so that the participant has to "like" the host's Facebook page in order to access the giveaway application or form.

  • Use a third party app to host your giveaway on Facebook. There are a number of them available through developers like Wildfire or ShortStack. But the easiest way I found to do it (and free!) was to create an entry form for each prize using Google Forms. It made it easy to keep track of who entered to win each item and easy to use to select a winner.

  • You also cannot post winners via Facebook. You need to notify winners through your blog or through email. It is important to think about how you will notify winners prior to posting your giveaway. You likely will need to ask participants to share their email addresses. Using a Google Form, like I suggested above, insures that participants don't have to publicly share their email.

  • Use Bitly to share a link to your giveaway. Bitly not only allows you to shorten your giveaway link, but signing up for a free account also allows you to track who clicked on your link with its built in analytics.

  • PROMOTE! Promote to your current Facebook fans before your giveaway begins. Research giveaway sites and blogs. Use other social media sites - blogs, sweepstakes sites, Twitter, Pinterest (my new favorite) - to share your giveaway information. Some great places to share your giveaway are the Blog Giveaway Directory, Etsy Giveaways (great for Etsy shop owners), and this Squidoo list.
I jumped almost 150 fans in 1 week during my giveaway and had a few more sales than usual in my Etsy shop. Not sure if the sales were a result of the giveaway, but I'm sure it didn't hurt.

Good Luck!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tell Me More Tuesday: Hana Sakura Designs

I'm not sure if she knows this, but Shelly Williams of Hana Sakura Designs and I have something in common. Not only are we both passionate about sharing our creations through our Etsy shops, but we also both hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan. And something else we share is just how much place - landscape, setting, culture - can impact the creative process. For Shelly, Hawaii is a place of special significance.

Learn more about Shelly's creative process in today's weekly series - Tell Me More Tuesdays - in which I introduce readers to some of my favorite Etsy artists and crafters. Those of you new to Etsy (and even those who have racked up days surfing through handcrafted goodies and vintage finds) can find the site overwhelming. With so many wonderful shops and unique, handcrafted goods, it is easy to lose track of time clicking away. So Tell Me More Tuesday is a way to get to know the artist behind the shop, the story behind the craft.

And Shelly's story is too sweet to miss. Inspired by the beauty of the islands where she was married, Hana Sakura Designs is Shelly's way of sharing the unique and vibrant culture of Hawaii. In fact, many of her jewelry pieces are named after places on the islands. "My jewelry is all one-of-a-Kind and unique to that one piece. I want each piece of my jewelry to speak for itself. Each piece is as unique and individual as each woman who wears them."

Tell Us More About You: What are three words those closest to you would use to describe you?
Creative - Happy - Passionate
I am very artsy, and I love using my hands to create beautiful things. I'm always trying new things to challenge myself. And I just enjoy life and the wonderful things that it offers. And I love to make people laugh. And I'm passionate. I'm passionate about everything that I do.

Tell Us More About Your Shop: What are three words you would use to describe your shop?
Colorful - Fun - Unique
I love to combine and try new colors. Sometimes I try colors together that I wouldn't think of putting together. I'm always surprised at what the results are! And jewelry needs to be fun! If it's not fun to look at or to wear, what's the point! My jewelry is meant to make the woman who wears it, feel special. Everyone is special and unique and their jewelry should be, too!

Tell Us More About What Inspires You

Anything I see in our every day life inspires me. There will be a beautiful bluebird out on our fence in the backyard. Maybe a butterfly flying in the breeze. I see colors in nature everyday and try to incorporate that into my designs. Ideas just seem to "pop" into my creative mind, even when I'm not even thinking about it. When I go to the flower greenhouse down the road to buy my Spring flowers, I'll be inspired by the beauty of the flowers.

Tell Us More About Your Favorite Item

Currently, this Iris pendant is my favorite. Irises are my absolute favorite flower! They are unique and colorful and always make me smile. I thought creating one in dichroic glass would make it very special. And it is!
Tell Us More About Your Interests: Other than creating and crafting, what are your other interests, hobbies, or passions?

Well, my biggest passion is my jewelry. I'm always creating. But when I have free time, I really enjoy gardening in my rose garden and my various flower gardens around my yard. It's very relaxing and soothing after a stressful day.

I also love spending time with my hubby and we love taking a drive out in the country on a sunny afternoon. Sometimes we will stop for an ice cream cone. It's moments like that, that I treasure the most. Little sweet moments in time.

Learn more about Shelly and Hana Sakura Designs at...

And Shelly is generously offering Babee Crafts readers a 15% off discount code good on anything in her Etsy shop. Simply enter "FACEBOOKFAN" in the coupon code box during your checkout for 15% off! Happy shopping!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Fabulous Finds Friday: Upcycling Ideas

I know I posted not long ago on upcycling my baby food jars. But I only need so many spice jars! So this week, I went looking for more ideas and tutorials for the growing collection of baby food jars cluttering up my garage. But I'm also interested in finding creative ideas for repurposing all sorts of household items - jars, materials, and fabric scraps.

I'll be sharing my finds from this week in a bit of a different form. I created my first Pinterest this week. Whew! It is addictive! It takes the idea of social bookmarking and makes it visual. Suddenly your bookmarks are a work of art! So enjoy!

Click on the image above to go directly to my annotated list of links on Pinterest. And make sure that you check out my favorite ideas - In addition to sharing my finds, I want to encourage readers to share their finds, posts, and tutorials. Use the comments section below to share blog posts on our weekly theme.

And if I've featured you in a Fabulous Finds Friday, please grab the button below for your website or blog.

Babee Crafts

So what were your fab finds this week?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vote For Me!

I would love your support. The newest addition to my shop, my "Baby Mine" hand screened, organic cotton elephants onesie is currently up for votes on the Handmade Top 10 website. I was excited to see it in first place a few moments ago, and would love your help staying there!

Vote for me - HERE!

My newsletter subscribers got a sneak peak of this design a few weeks ago. This original design is hand screened on an organic cotton, sweatshop-free, American-made onesie. As adorable as it is responsible! Even the screening process is environmentally friendly. Each screen is created without the use of chemicals. Then each onesie is screen printed by hand using environmentally-friendly water based inks. I then heat press the image so that it will last through repeated washings.

More colors and designs will be hitting my shop in the coming weeks, so I hope you check back!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warm Weather Watercolors

My refrigerator has become a gallery. For the last few days, my toddler has done nothing but paint. He wakes in the morning - "Mommy, can we paint?" After breakfast - "Painting time?" Following nap time, he bounds from his bed - "Paint time!" But rather than grabbing for his finger paints, he runs to the freezer when he wants to paint.

Using inexpensive popsicle molds I found at Ikea, my son and I had fun filling the molds with water and squeezing different colored drops of food coloring into each. After a quick stir to mix the color into the water, we let the paint-pops freeze for a few hours. Cheaper than store bought finger paints, our paint-pops were so much fun on a hot day!

My son used the paint-pops to swirl and mix colors, and then used a wet paint brush to mix the colors. Such a fun and creative way to spend a hot afternoon.

A word of warning, remind your child that these paint-pops are not to eat. Unfortunately, my son loved our very dark blue paint-pop and before I knew it, it was at his lips. He looked like he had spent some time kissing a smurf. And since we used food coloring, it took a bit longer to wash off than your standard washable watercolor paints.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tell Me More Tuesday: Little Dreamers

Today kicks off a new weekly series - Tell Me More Tuesdays - in which I introduce readers to some of my favorite Etsy artists and crafters. Those of you new to Etsy (and even those who have racked up days surfing through handcrafted goodies and vintage finds) can find the site overwhelming. With so many wonderful shops and unique, handcrafted goods, it is easy to lose track of time clicking away. So Tell Me More Tuesday is a way to get to know the artist behind the shop, the story behind the craft.

And Denise, a stay-at-home mom in Redkey, Indiana, the creator of Little Dreamers, has such a wonderful story to share. Her little dolls aren't just adorable. They are also well-loved, world travelers!

Tell Us More About You: What are three words those closest to you would use to describe you?
Creative - Practical - Thrifty
I love to sew, paint, scrapbook, and quilt. And I also garden and can my produce. We do hand me downs; I save anything I think might be reusable. And, I make my own laundry detergent.

Tell Us More About Your Shop: What are three words you would use to describe your shop?
Personable - New - Cute
Well, anything in my shop can be changed to meet your desires or taste. I strive to do my best on custom orders, and I give lots of options! I haven't been open very long, but I adding new items and planning for new items, in hopes of having a FULL shop soon. I think my products are cute, sweet, inviting and fun!

Tell Us More About What Inspires You

I have always enjoyed crafting and sewing, but have really taken off with it after having a few children. We have 5 children ages 9 months to 8 years!

Tell Us More About Your Favorite Item

I LOVE my custom doll because she can be made to match your little girl's features, and she can be made out of a loved one's clothing - an army uniform, a mother or grandmother's wedding dress, saved baby clothing or blankets - the options are limitless! And what a SWEET keepsake to have!

Tell Us More About Your Interests: Other than creating and crafting, what are your other interests, hobbies, or passions?

My family loves to go camping, and I love to read and take long bubble baths, often at the same time! But my new passion is sewing dolls for children in other countries. In April I was able to make 40 dolls that were sent to Uganda, Africa along with other items sewn by some ladies from our church. In Uganda, they let the children's mothers pick a doll for their child. What a blessing to me and my family! My children helped me stuff the dolls' arms and legs and also helped by picking out material combinations. They had so much fun, they often ask me when can we make more dolls for kids who don't have anything. I'm currently creating a new selection of dolls which will be going to Haiti in December. I hope to have a few hundred ready by then!

Learn more about Denise and her shop, Little Dreamers, by visiting her on the web at

And Denise is generously offering Babee Craft readers a 20% off discount code good on anything in her Etsy shop. Simply enter "babee20crafts" in the coupon code box during your checkout for 20% off! Happy shopping!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Giveaway Time!

Yup, you read that correctly - another giveaway! There are now two opportunities to win gift certificates to Babee Crafts!

Babee Crafts is one of the featured artists in Liliglow Boutique's Summer Giveaway. This giveaway features Liliglow's new Traveler Bag that is sturdy, stylish, and functional for the eclectic fashionista. It has super versatility that makes this bag easy for over-night stays, weekend getaways, a stylish diaper bag, and much more! And packed inside the bag are more fabulous prizes, including a $20 gift certificate to Babee Crafts! The giveaway will run from June 22 - 29, 2011. And there's a coupon code for 15% off anything in my shop for all who enter!

Check out Liliglow's fabulous bag!

Now I must confess that in helping Liliglow get ready for her big giveaway, I couldn't help myself and bought one of her bags. I have her Mini Sweetheart Traveler and LOVE it! It is so well made, so durable, and is the perfect (and pretty) purse/diaper bag. So believe me when I say, you'd be a fool not to enter this giveaway!
Make sure you mark your calendar to enter on Wednesday!

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Fabulous Finds Friday: Home Decor Ideas

My dining room has blue painting tape decorating half the trim. I've been meaning to repaint and redecorate my dining room for months now. Inspired, I taped it off to repaint but stopped when I ran out of tape. That was in April. I need some inspiration to get going again. So this week I've been bookmarking ideas and tutorials for home decorating. I just wanted to share some of my favorites.

  • I'm new to Mod Podge. I only recently discovered how much fun it is to decoupage every surface in my home. You giggle. But seriously, my family can attest to how many bottles of the stuff I was going through when I first figured out I could glue and seal just about any medium to any surface. This week, Katy over at KD Buggy Boutique has a cute tutorial for creating a family name display. This would not only make a great addition to the living room mantle, but it would also make a great gift - perfect for a housewarming or wedding gift.

  • My dining room is a cave. I love the mocha colored walls and teal accents I originally decorated the room with a few years ago, but unfortunately, the room does not get enough light throughout the day to make the dark walls work. It feels like you are walking into a cave. So I love this week's Etsy Storque edition of Get the Look Decor. Inspired by Alex Wijnen's costal home in Portland, Oregon, the post focuses on light and airy design. I love it! This is what I want to incorporate in my dining room redecorating - light, clean, simple. Now the only problem is painting over my cave walls!

  • I'm a fan of Tiffany over at Making the World Cuter. She has some great weekly linkys. So, I'm surprised I missed this post in late May about her dining room table makeover. Her tutorial was featured over at DIY Club. And since I have a dining room table in great need of a makeover, I know I'll be coming back to this tutorial again for some inspiration!

  • And here's another post I'll be returning to - Clover Lane's tutorial for repainting furniture. Wonderfully detailed, this tutorial might help me refinish the china cabinet that looms large, dusty, and dark in the corner of our living room.
Who knows, perhaps this week I'll be inspired to post my own before and after pics of my dining room. But I need your help! Link your favorite room decor makeover ideas and tutorials. Trust me - I need all the help I can get!

In addition to sharing my finds, I want to encourage readers to share their finds, posts, and tutorials. Use the Fabulous Finds Friday linky below to share blog posts on our weekly theme.

And if I've featured you in a Fabulous Finds Friday, please grab the button below for your website or blog.

Babee Crafts

So link up, friends!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's Your Best Advice?

This post has been cross-posted at Fig Media. Read all my local posts on Family Finds for Media, Pennsylvania.

"Assemble your support team before your little one arrives," my aunt advised when my baby bump was just starting to show. A few weeks later, a friend echoed her words. "Figure out where the new mom support groups are, when play dates meet, and the resources around you before your son arrives. If you wait until after he arrives, you just won't have the time." And turns out, it was some of the best advice I got as a mom-to-be. Know where and who you can turn to for support.

Your life changes in ways you could never imagine or plan for when you become a parent. And when you are overwhelmed with diaper changes and midnight feedings, it important to know whom you can turn to for advice and support. Karla Trotman, local mom and owner of says, "It's ok to feel scared. Call a seasoned mom and talk about it. It can be lonely feeling like you are the only one." Fortunately, Media has a number of wonderful resources for new parents, including a diverse community of supportive moms.

Recently, I asked a number of local moms for their best parenting advice and resources. And Media moms responded with wonderful reminders and resources that parents, both new and not-so-new, can benefit from.

Take It Day-By-Day
Heather, a Media mom of two, says don't sweat the small stuff. "I loved when people would remind me that 'No one goes to college in diapers or with a binky, etc.'" As a new parent it is easy to become overwhelmed with what your little one should or shouldn't be doing based on all the expert advice you'll get from books, the internet, and from family and friends. Melissa O’Donnell, a mom blogger in our area, advises, "Don't get caught up in looking forward to what milestones they should be hitting next week or next month. You may miss what they are doing NOW, and that's what's most important!" Take time to treasure each day.

Search Out Local Experts
Media has a wealth of resources and local experts to help support new parents. One of those experts is Jacqueline Kelleher, known by many moms in our area as the owner of the Family BirthMark, formerly a storefront on Monroe Street. As a doula, childbirth educator, and certified lactation counselor, Jackie has supported and advised a great many moms in our area. Author of Nurturing the Family, Jackie's wealth of experience and expertise in birth and postpartum care makes her a local expert new parents will want to get to know. And while BirthMark no longer provides a brick and mortar location, Jackie continues to provide support and services through BirthMark's Facebook community.

Take Care of Yourself
New parents can easily become overwhelmed by all the changes that come with an infant's arrival. New moms in particular often neglect to take care of themselves, attending to everyone else before taking care of their needs. Build healthy habits early by carving out time to attend your needs. Begin before the baby arrives. And Camille Holstein can help.

Camille is a yoga instructor at Enso, located on the west end of State Street in Media. On Thursday evenings she leads a Pre-Natal Yoga Series. And it is something that she is passionate about. "This series aims to empower and educate women supporting them through the use of their breath, yoga practice, meditation, and discussions for labor and beyond. Each class will guide women into deeper connection with themselves, their babies, their community and the beauty of the journey of pregnancy." And once baby arrives, Camille also leads an all-levels class in addition to a power yoga class that offers lots of modifications for beginners and those returning to the practice or building strength. "There isn't a mommy and me class offered here at this time, but I would love to do that, too, if there is enough demand for one," says Camille.

Make Connections
Media has a wealth of groups where new parents can find support and camaraderie. Our library offers a variety of programs for parents and their children, including an weekly Infant Story Times and Petite Playgroups. Be sure to check out their summer schedule for more information.

Another great resource for local moms is Media's MOMS Club. MOMS Club is an international organization which offer support to stay-at-home and work-at-home moms, and our own Media chapter is very active with over 50 members. "The Moms Club is a perfect place to meet other moms and build community connections. We have a calendar of events each month, which have at least one event per weekday. Moms host events such as a playdate at a park, going to a museum, going to lunch, and more," says Michele Wahba, Media MOMS Club Membership Vice President. Interested moms can find more information (and a great list of local playgrounds) on the group's website.

With so many wonderful resources for parents in our neighborhood, it is no wonder that so many families love calling Media home! What other resources can you recommend to new parents in our area? Please share!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday

A fellow friend and blogger, Andria of Drawing Near, has inspired me today. Each Wednesday she posts a pic of her work space for a weekly series called WOYWW: What's on Your Work Desk Wednesdays. And let's face it, as a high school English teacher, I'm just way to verbose for Wordless Wednesdays!

But I don't really have a desk where I craft and create. Instead, I spread everything out on my dining room table. Consequently, I'm not sure who is harder on our table - me or the kids! This afternoon is case in point. Paint was everywhere!

I've had a stack of canvases begging to be painted, collecting dust in a drawer. This afternoon, windows open to the wonderful early summer breeze, I slapped down the backgrounds for a couple of mixed media projects I've been wanting to do.

I am not a painter. But you can see, I've got quite a collection of colors in my little art bin (and you'll also notice that my glue gun and coffee cup are always within reach). I enjoy painting but do so without a plan in mind. Any time that I've attempted to intentionally paint something, it turns out horribly unrecognizable. So this afternoon, I just started mixing and layering on the colors. And I like how the backgrounds turned out - muted. Which is perfect since I plan on layering on some brightly printed craft paper as soon as the paint dries!

So now I'm waiting for paint to dry.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Need Help, So It's Time For A Contest!

The tagline for my shop - handcrafted sweet things for your little busy bees - is cute, but it doesn't really say a whole lot about my shop. I'd love a tagline that has something to do with my focus on organic and eco-friendly baby and new parent gifts. Something succinct, catchy, and cute.

So here's the deal - come up with my tagline, and you'll win a $15 gift certificate to my shop. Spread the word! I need all the help I can get!

Submit your suggestions below. Contest closes on Friday, July 1st at 5pm. I'll post the winning tagline shortly after the contest closes. And yes, you can enter more than once!

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