Friday, September 30, 2011

Feature Friday: Petite Tuques

Today I want to share a great Etsy shop with you & tell you a bit about the sweet little surprise that I found in my mailbox the other day!

Lisa is the owner of Petite Tuques & she lives in Quebec, Canada. She offers knitted hats, mittens & scarves for babies, teens, & adults plus she has a great line of Twilight inspired items in her shop as well! I've known Lisa for almost a year now from my coaching website - - & I know that she works hard making her shop & products great for her customers. Her products have even been featured on tv so that's saying something!

So the other day, I was on the way to visit my hubbie at work - a daily routine for myself & the boys - & I stopped to check the mail. I was blown away by what I found inside!

Lisa had sent me a hat & pair of mittens for my new little man that's coming in December! 

Again, I was blown away! She hadn't said anything to me about it. It was just so thoughtful that she would send me such a great gift.

Now let me tell you a bit about what she sent.

The hat has little ear flaps to keep little ears warm & a tie to keep it securely on baby's head. She included a pair of matching mittens that also have ties so I can keep them on his hands! They are SO soft! I really wish I could describe it to you so you could know exactly what I'm feeling. It feels like you're rubbing a cat's back.
So thank you so, so much Lisa for the sweetest surprise that made my day! I love your products! You can find out more about Lisa & Petite Tuques by visiting her in the following places!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Are You Signed Up For My Newsletter?

image by Tanel Teemusk on Flickr

Look over to the right side of my blog. Do you see that big white box that says "Get Monthly Updates, Promotions, & Discounts...Plus A Free Goodie Just For Signing Up". That's the opt-in box for my newsletter.

Yes! I want you to sign up for it, but first let me tell you about it.

Here's how it works. 

All you have to do is enter the email address that you want my newsletter sent to along with your name & how you'd like to receive the newsletter. 

HTML is the pretty one that includes my graphics & pictures. Text is just that...straight up text, no images at all. Mobil is if you'd like to get it on your smart phones. 

Once you've entered your info, just click "Subscribe" & you're done.

What to expect.

Right off the bat you should receive a confirmation email. You'll click a link that confirms you want my newsletters sent to that email address. 

After that you can expect 4 emails from me during the first week. This is the ONLY time you will get that many emails from me. These newsletters are going to let you get to know me & my business a bit more. I think you'll really enjoy them & I'd love to hear back from you too!

You'll also get a goodie, just for signing up, but that's in the last of the first 4 newsletters! You have to get to know me first!

After that you can expect to receive one newsletter from me per month that will consist of shop updates, new products, sales/promotions/discounts, giveaways I'm involved in, & even some great info I think you'll enjoy. The only time you'll receive more than one email a month is if I've got something I want you to know right away, but again, don't worry because that doesn't happen often.

Here's why you should sign-up.
  • You'll be the first to know everything new that's going on with me or my business
  • You'll get first choice, first pick, & first opportunities that blog readers, past customers, & Facebook fans have to wait on
  • You'll like my goodie
  • You'll get to know a bit about me & make a new friend
  • You'll get valuable information that you can learn from & will be useful to your family
  • It's only once a month - no spam
  • If you're unhappy, you can always unsubscribe easily. I'd hate to see you go, but I'd understand.
Are you ready? Go sign-up now! You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Herbs That Should Be In Your Baby's Herbal First-Aid Kit

Herbs are a wonderful, safe way to help treat baby when sickness arrives at your door & with little ones, it definitely will!  They're also super easy to learn about & use, but learning is the first step. Your confidence in your abilities & the herbs abilities to treat your family will grow over time & with practice.

Let me also say here that I'm in NO WAY saying to skip the doctor & use herbs instead. If you need to go by all means go. What I am saying is that many times you can use herbs to help your baby feel better & recover without going to the doctor as long as it's nothing major like an allergy to something.

So today, I want to share 5 herbs with you that you should be sure to include in an Herbal First-Aid Kit for baby. You can use these herbs to make things that will be used externally on your little one & they are easy to come by.

1.     Garlic

Garlic is one of the best antibacterial herbs out there. It also has antifungal & antiviral properties as well, but this is a must to have on hand if your little one gets cut, scraped, or burnt. It will help to prevent an infection from setting in which could end up requiring some strong antibiotics.

Ideally you would mix garlic with some other antibacterial herbs to make a salve that you can put on your little gals boo-boo several times a day, but a garlic poultice or some garlic oil will work just as well.

2.     Plantain

Plantain is one of the best astringent herbs available! It contains compounds that help pull toxins out of your body & it's great to use as a poultice for bee stings & bug bits. It helps ease pain quickly & pulls the poison out of the bite or sting which will minimize your babies discomfort. It needs to be used quickly for it to be effective though. Plantain is one of those "weeds" that grows your yard or alongside the road.

3.     Comfrey

Comfrey is a great herb that's know as a contact-healer & a bone-mender. It's good for cuts, scraps, & burns, sprains, broken bones, and even diaper rash or rashes in general. Comfrey has properties that speed the healing of your tissues. It should be used as a poultice that's applied to the area you need it on. It's also great combined with aloe gel & rubbed on rashes.

4.     Yarrow

Yarrow is an herb that is mainly known for being used internally when you get the flu or a fever, but it's also well known for it's ability to stop bleeding. Yep, ancient civilizations & soldiers in more modern times have used yarrow to pack into wounds to stop them from bleeding so much. As many of you know, little ones {especially those learning to walk & climb} have a tendency for falls & many times that leads to bleeding. If you can't get it to stop with some firm pressure, try yarrow out before heading to the doctor. {Assuming it's not a huge gash that needs stitches!}

5.     Jewelweed

Oh jewelweed! I love jewelweed! It's used to help counteract itchy rashes such as poison oak & ivy. This is why I love it so much! I'm so allergic to those stinkin' itchy plants & jewelweed has saved my hide a few times!

If you like to hike or you have woods nearby, chances are your little guy is gonna wander into some itchy stuff at some point. Be prepared with jewelweed! Mix it with plaintain & aloe in a blender & rub the goo all over his rash as needed to help it dry up {plaintain} & not spread so much. Plus it helps with the itching too!

So there you go!

5 simple herbs that you can use to help your little one feel better quickly with zero side effects. Of course there are many more & most of these herbs can be combined with others to make powerhouse formulas to use when you need them!

Was this information helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below & let me know what else you'd like to learn about!

*There is a very small chance that your child could have an allergy to one of these herbs. Try out a small amount on their skin first. If your child already has severe allergies, err on the safe side.
*These statements are not approved by the FDA & are in no way meant to treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. They are for informational purposes only.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You Should Spending The Holidays With Baby Swank Because You Want To Be Voted #1 Gift Giver This Season

That's right! It's time for Etsy's annual Holiday Boot Camp to start up & I'm kickin' it into gear this year to bring you the best products & the best customer service so that you can be the best gift giver to your friends & family this season!

I'm starting now getting my shop & products in order so that I can provide you with the best of the best this year.

  • I'll be working on new products as well as current ones. 
  • I'll be double checking all my policies & adding additional ones just for the holidays.
  • I'll be working on offering custom product gift wrapping for those who'd like it.
  • I'll be spiffing up my photos.
  • I'll be marketing & promoting like crazy.
  • And much, much more!

Now I can only do my part. You have some work to do to. I can't pull this awesome holiday season off without you! I need your support, okay? Great! I knew I could count on you!

Have You Raised Your Prices?

I thought that this would be a great question to answer because I'm sure many of you, especially if you've been a past customer, have been wondering this yourself & you deserve an answer.

Yes! I have raised my prices.

So now you're probably wondering why. There are a few reasons.

The first reason
I've had my Etsy shop for a year now & although it's making money, it's only sustaining itself. I want to take this shop, this business, to the next level in the next year & that would be for it to make money & grow from there. So that meant I had to take a long hard look at some of the ways I was running my shop...including pricing my products.

The next reason 
I had to get clear on who I was selling too. All businesses are marketing to a certain people group. You can't necessarily have a business that has something for everyone. So again, over the past year, I've decided what I want my shop to be about & who my products are for. I understand who my ideal customer is & that's who I'm marketing my products too. That too caused an issue with my prices.

The last reason
I wanted to get into dealing with boutiques & that meant getting wholesale accounts. Again, with my prices the way they were, because I'd priced my products toward the low end, I wasn't able to get any wholesale accounts because I was already practically selling my products at wholesale prices. I would be contacted by boutiques who'd want to know my wholesale pricing & the response, "it is at wholesale price" or giving them a quote for a couple dollars off each product, was not appealing. Like I said earlier, I want my business to grow & to do that, I want to get my products into local boutiques. So, again, I had to look at my prices.

So over the past year, I've grown & learned A LOT about running a business. Pricing is definitely one of the things I've learned a bit more about. If you've followed Baby Swank from the very beginning you'll know that I've upped my prices a few times when I realized I was loosing money selling my product at the price it was marked. If you have a shop & it's a hobby, all you have to do is make ends meet. If you have a business & you want it to grow, you have to make money.

So that's where I'm at. I want you all to know the reasons behind the price increase. I want to be able to offer discounts, coupons, & sells. I want to participate in giveaways & contests too. If my prices are at rock bottom & can't do that. That's no good.

Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Holiday Gift Certificates Now Available

Want to get someone a handmade gift this holiday season, but just don't know what they'd like? Let them choose themselves!

Holiday gift certificates are now available in my shop. Click here to learn more!

Amounts: $10, $25, $50
Expire: January 31, 2012
To RedeemGo to & select the items you wish to purchase. Type your Certificate # into the Note to Baby Swank section at checkout & select Other as your payment method. Click the green Checkout button. I will email a PayPal invoice to the email address on file with Etsy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today's My Birthday!

If you didn't know it, this month - September 17th - is my shops birthday! Yes! I'm 1!! So exciting. I told myself when I started that I'd give it a year & if I wasn't enjoying it or making any progress by then I'd know this wasn't for me.

Well it's been a year, I'm loving every minute of it & yes, I am making progress. It may be slow progress at times, but that's due to having little ones that need my attention, homeschooling, & being a wife. And you know what? I'm okay with that! I understand that I don't have as much time as some folks do to invest in my business. I'm okay not having something that booms overnight. It helps me to work my way into things, to get used to it a bit at a time.

Over the past year I've learned & grown from so many different things. I don't have a degree in business so I'm learning as I go & through the help of others. And no, I don't think you have to go to school & get a degree in order to do something successful in that field! My business has changed & grown for the better, & I'm sure it will continue to change & grow as I continue to learn what works & what doesn't.

So thank you to all of you who've been here to watch my first year. I do hope you'll be here for more to come. Thank you to those of you, my customers, for your orders, awesome feedback & suggestions, & for being so kind!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Have You Heard Of The BIB OF THE MONTH CLUB Yet?

I've started a fun new members only club in my shop & I want to tell you a bit about it!

If you like my Washcloth Bibs & you like surprises, then you should most certainly get in on the action!

It's called the Bib Of The Month Club!

The listing is for a 3 month membership to my club & when you join you'll get a new surprise Washcloth Bib of my choosing every month for 3 months. These bibs are cheaper than buying them individually or in a Bib Bundle since I get to choose the bib. All bibs will coordinate with the current season or holiday & sometimes they'll even be new designs that I'd like to test out. You won't be sorry!

I'll be posting each months bib right here to my blog & over on my Facebook page so you'll be able to see it before receiving it each month. All you have to do is let me know if you want girl bibs or boy bibs & your little one{s} name.

Sound good? Sound like fun? Click here to check it out now & get in on the action! I'm not sure how long I'll keep this membership open.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get the Skinny on 3 Mainstream Feeding Philosophies

What feeding philosophy do you adhere to? Demand feeding, hyperscheduling, cry feeding, natural feeding, rigid feeding, responsive feeding, self-regulating feedings, cue feeding, parent-directed feeding.

What? You didn't know there were that many different kinds of feeding philosophies? I'm sure there are more. It seems like everyone and their brother has a "better" way of doing things which in turn becomes a new "philosophy" that parents should go by. No wonder parents give up and just wing it. It's all so confusing!

So I want to discuss the 3 main feeding philosophies with you today. Hyperscheduling...better known as clock feeding, attachment parenting or demand feeding, and parent-directed feeding. Two of these are extreme opposites, and one falls nicely in the middle. Which will suit you and your family? Read on and see for yourself.

Hyperscheduling or Clock Feeding
This feeding philosophy consists of setting a specific amount of time between baby's feedings and sticking to it come hell or high water. If you choose to feed your baby every 3 hours then you feed your baby every 3 hours, no exceptions. What if baby's hungry 2 hours after his last meal? Too bad, it's not time! This philosophy was developed because it was believed that babies molded to their environments, and that their bodies would follow along with their feeding times. One word...structure. I'm going to call this Conservative Feeding! This style of feeding is usually better for mom in that she knows when baby will eat. It works for her schedule.

Attachment parenting...AKA Demand Feeding
Demand feeding is where the baby is in charge of when it eats. If she cries...feed her. When she wakes up...feed her. This feeding philosophy is the extreme opposite of clock feeding. I'm going to call this one Liberal Feeding! Its approach is non-structured. Attachment parenting has many facets, but the main idea is creating a emotional bond with your baby so that she gets her comfort and security from you. This style of feeding is usually for the benefit of the baby, not mom, and in some cases can cause you to have a demanding little booger and a very tired mama.

Parent-Directed Feeding
PDF is smack dab in the middle of the previous 2 feeding styles. I'll call this one Independent Feeding. This is a routine feeding or scheduled feeding. It takes the benefits of each of the above philosophies and mushes them together. Mom sets the time between baby's meals {usually every 2-3 hours for a newborn}, but adjusts if baby is hungry sooner. So if a mom wants to feed her 1 month old every 3 hours then she feeds him at the set times. If he wakes up early or shows signs of hunger before the next scheduled feeding session, she goes ahead and feeds him and adjusts the rest of the days feedings accordingly. One word here...balance.

So it really comes down to how you want to parent, and what your schedule is like. Everyone's different. No one's really in a position to judge others although we usually do when someone does something different than us. Why is that? Because we want to feel like we're doing the best there is, that's why! We all want to be considered a good mother.

The idea of being a good mother has changed over the years. Now, you're a good mother based on your method of parenting. You used to be a good mother if you had good results. What the mess?! Doesn't the later make more sense when it comes to judging something...uhhh, results. That's how you evaluate something, isn't it?

I don't know about you, but I've used the parent-directed feeding philosophy with my kiddo's, and I've gotten GREAT results, so I'm giving myself the Good Mother Award in this area!

What about you? Which philosophy do you agree with and why, and what are some examples of how it works for you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Got Baby Swank? Two New Products & A Fall Sneak Peek

Baby Swank Naturals would like to proudly introduce...the Herbal Baby Bums collection!

I've been working on increasing the Baby Swank Naturals product line for some time, but coming up with the right formula, getting supplies, making it, trying it, & packaging it for sale all takes some time!

Anyway, I am very excited about this new collection. It includes Herbal Baby powder, Herbal Bum Salve & Herbal Bum Cream!

It's all-natural with no harmful ingredients, additives, or preservatives. I only use ingredients that are good for your skin & body & of course those wonderful things called herbs!

Baby Powder
The baby powder is made using powdered herbs, powdered clay, & essential oils. There are no talc or corn products at all! I have an 8 oz. size & a 3 oz. sample size available.

The salve & cream are made using vegetable oil that's been infused with a variety of herbs known for soothing skin {cuts, scraps, burns, scalds, etc.} & being anti-bacterial/anti-fungal. It also contains beeswax & the cream has skin soothing aloe juice as well. You can't get much better than that! I've been using this formula on my kiddos for a year or so & I love it. It helps sooth diaper rash & scalds & I also put it on cuts & scraps too! There's a 1 oz. sample size of the salve & 8 oz. sizes of the salve & cream available.

So here it is! It's now in my shop. Click here to check it out!'s a sneak peak at the new fall collection for my Washcloth Bibs!

I'm loving these Pantone fall colors! Top to bottom: Quarry, Cedar, Coffee Liqueur, & Deep Teal!

Loving these cute fabrics too! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm In, Are You?

One of the Etsy teams that I'm having a fun event coming up in October.

It's a color palette challenge. You choose one of the specified color palettes & you create items for your shop using those colors. Then all of the items will be voted on & the winners get to choose a prize from one of the sponsor shops! I'm definitely in & can't wait to see what everyone is making!

Once all the participants products are up on the team website, voting will begin & last for 1 week. Here's where you come in! I need you to go & vote for me! I'll be entering two products & you can vote for either one of them. If I get the most votes I'll be a winner!!

I'll be posting the link to vote when the time comes. Again, it won't be until October, but I wanted to give you a heads up! Thanks so much & wish me luck!

Hugs, Meagan

Thursday, September 8, 2011

8 Steps To Making Your Own Natural Laundry Detergent

Did you know that many store bought laundry detergents have some serious chemicals in them that are no good for your or your little tot's skin &/or the environment? It's true. 

The Ickies

Here are just some of the chemicals in many name brand detergents.

  • Alkyl benzene sulfonates or ABS
  • Alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols
  • Artificial fragrances
  • Diethanolamines
  • EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate)
  • Optical brighteners
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Phosphates
  • Polycarboxylates
  • Polyethylene glycol (also PEG)
  • Quaternium 15
  • Xylene sulfonate

This list is from so if you're interested in finding out more about these particular chemicals, just click the link & it will take you straight to the page that explains what each one is.

All I know is I can't even pronounce 1/4 of those words & from their descriptions, they don't sound too good for your body. They may help clean your clothes & make them look whiter & brighter, but there are plenty of other natural ways to do the same thing - minus the harm!

So today I thought I'd share with you how I make my laundry detergent for my family. I posted this recipe on a while back, but today I'm gonna take you through the steps with photos so you can actually see what everything looks like!

8 Steps to Homemade Laundry Detergent

 Here's what you'll need:

  • saucepan
  • measuring cups & spoons
  • grater of some sort
  • borax
  • washing soda
  • fels-naptha soap {or other: Dr. Bronner's is great!}
  • water
  • essential oil
  • 5 gallon bucket & detergent containers

Step 1

Grate your soap & add the flakes to 4 cups of water. Heat in a saucepan until all the flakes have dissolved.

*Note: This takes a while so be patient. Don't heat to high & constantly watch it. It will boil over & you'll have a soapy mess!

 We're getting there!!

Step 2

Fill your 5 gallon bucket up 1/2 way with hot water.

Step 3

Take 1 cup of washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax, & your melted soap water & add it to your 5 gallon bucket of water.
 Mix well!
Step 4

Fill your bucket the rest of the way up with water. Let it set overnight to thicken.
Step 5 

The next day take a spoon or your hand & mix up your thickened soap. This is a bit of work & may take a little time. I use my hands because it works better for me than a spoon.
 Step 6

Take your mixed soap & pour it into your containers.
Use a funnel! If you don't you'll have more soapy mess to clean up!
 Fill your bottles half way up!
Step 7

Add in you essential oils to suit you. Remember it doesn't take much.
I use 1/2 tsp. for each bottle.

*Note: You don't have to scent your soap at all. I think it smells great with the Fels-Naptha smell only!
Step 8

Fill your containers the rest of the way up with water & voila! You're done & you have a ton of simple, pretty easy, healthy, & super cheap laundry detergent that will clean your families clothes!

I got 6 big containers of detergent which equals to about .33 cents a bottle & I don't even know how long it lasts. I'd say I make this every 6 months or so.

This recipe yields about 10 gallons of detergent. For top-load machines, use 2/3 cup per load {180 loads} & for a front-load machine, use 1/4 cup per load {640 loads}.

Some final thoughts! 

  • There are many natural laundry detergent recipes out there. You have to find one that's right for you.
  • Don't just assume that because a store bought detergent says it's for babies that it's good for you. Dreft & All Baby have icky things in them.
  • Also don't just assume that because a store bought detergent says it's natural & eco-friendly that it is. Seventh Generation also has some no-nos in it as well. Not as many, but some.

Have you ever made a homemade laundry detergent? What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Sale!

I'm having a sale!

All summer Washcloth Bibs are marked down 25% & Bib Bundles are marked down 15% with summer bibs!

What a deal!

Here are some of the discounted bibs...

This sale is for a limited time only so stock up for gifts or for your own little one now! Click here to head on over to my shop to check out the selection!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Herbal Baby Oil How-To

I thought today would be fun to share what goes on in finishing up & packaging my Herbal Baby Oil. At the same time I'll be giving you a how-to for making your own herbal infused oils so you can give it a try. It's soooo easy!

The first step in making the oil is to infuse the herbs into it. There are a few ways to do this. I'll briefly cover each before moving on.

On the Stove
Pour your oil in a saucepan & turn your heat on low. Add your herbs, stir occasionally, & let it "brew" for 2-3 hours.

In the Crock
Put your herbs into a glass jar. Fill jar half full if you're using dried herbs & fill it full if you're using fresh herbs. Pour oil over the herbs in your jar leaving 1 inch headroom at the top. Put lid on. Place jar on top of a cloth in your crockpot. Add water. Turn on low heat for 8 hours or so.

In the Sun
Same directions as "In the Crock" except you'll set your jar out in the sun for 1-2 weeks. I'd cover your jar in a thick cloth so that the light from the sun doesn't actually get to it. Sunlight will kill the properties of the herbs. All you want is the heat!

Now, what do you do once the oil is infused with the herbs? Well, I'll show you what I do.

I take a strainer & pour my herbs & oil into it so that the strainer catches the herbs & my oil comes through into a bowl. Make sure you smash the herbs into the strainer because there's good oil in them & you want to get as much of it out!

Next I take the oil from the bowl & strain it again through an old but clean t-shirt to make sure I get any little particles out. You can see from the pic above that there are a lot there!

Finally pour your oil into your containers, label, & store. Be sure to store it in a cool, dark spot. Remember too much heat & light will damage the medicinal properties of the herbs!

Here's some oil I sell in my shop. I'm weighing it to make sure there's 8 oz in the bottle!

Okay, it's all ready. Labels on, photos taken, listings in the shop! Click here to check out my oils!