Saturday 10 September 2016

What do you think?

I have thought long  and hard about this: from the beginning of 2017 I'm wondering whether to just give one prize each week (randomly chosen and provided by me) instead of lots of sponsorship. One of my main concerns is my use of time, particularly as John's health is not getting any better. I'm asking myself whether it is wise to keep using so much time and energy in organising challenges that are sponsored.

I have immensely valued the generosity of so many sponsors in the six years that I've been running my Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenges weekly, but I have to admit that it does cause me a lot of work. This is the time of year (or before this if I'm organised enough) for me to ensure I have sponsors for the coming year, which obviously involves many emails backwards and forwards and ensuring that dates are put correctly on the calendar.

Then, week by week, I need to do the selections for all the prizes, include this in the blogpost for the new challenge, also put the winners on the facebook page and then deal with the emails that come in from the winners. This entails getting in touch with the sponsors to inform them of the winners and then ensuring that the prizes have reached the winners.

Another thing I need to do with some sponsors is to ensure that I use images kindly supplied by them, which, in some case, means I can't make my designs too far ahead.

I know that many of you reading this have been regular contributors over the years and I would value your opinions ... and, of course, the opinions of anyone who happens to read this.

It might seem early to be thinking about January 2017, but not if I need to get sponsors.

So, my proposal is that I give one prize each week and post this to the winner.

As for the challenge themes, I'm thinking of having 'anything goes as long as it's Christmas' with an optional theme each week. What do you think?

Would the lack of sponsorship put you off entering the challenges?

I'd value your comments here ... or, if you wish, email me at

My monthly Christmas extra challenges would not be affected ... I would still have these sponsored by Bugaboo Stamps if they are willing to do so.


  1. I have enjoyed entering these challenges (haven't had the time recently, though) and think your proposed changes are fine. I plan to get back to making Christmas cards soon and the lack of special sponsorship does not put me off in any way. I think one prize each week is sufficient.

  2. It's nice to have prizes but, frankly, I'd still enter as I like to keep on top of my Christmas quota. Alternatively, you could go fortnightly ......

    Here's to a Festive 2017!


  3. Hazel, I have often wondered how you found the time to do all that you do with the challenges....being in charge of not only the ones you run, but being on others' design teams as well! I feel you should do what you need to do to give yourself the "extra time" you need to take care of your husband and yourself. We will still participate in your challenge! :)

  4. Fortniightly is probably a good idea but I would still enter if there was only one prize and it was weekly. I think whichever is easier for you would be fine with most x

  5. First and foremost, your health and John's health are MOST IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!! You need to do what's best for you, dear!! I love your challenges because it gives me the opportunity to get my Christmas cards done before the holiday season comes!!! I'm sure everyone would want you to do what makes life better and easier for YOU!!!!!

  6. I am always amazed by what you do Hazel. Firstly you should do whatever suits you best as you and your Hb come first. I would have thought one prize is more than adequate. I agree with the other comments too that you could consider a 2 weeks challenge. Thanks for all you do. Hugs xx

  7. Oh Hazel - I know I haven't entered for so long but really you must do what works for you. I cannot imagine anybody being put out if you are not offering more than one prize a week. You are amazing but please look after you and yours first!!! Big hugs rachel x

  8. I think you should do what is best for you Hazel as it taks so much work to organize challenges. For me I find I cannot always make a card on a weekly basis but would always join in when I can even if there were no prizes. The main thing is to take time for yourself xx

  9. I think you are very generous with both your time and your prizes and if you feel that now is a good time to slow it down - good for you!!
    One prize per week sounds good to me.
    I think we all enter for the making of the card, the prizes are a bonus.

  10. Hazel, my husband passed away 2 1/2 years ago and he went through a long course with cancer ... and I can tell you personally to cherish your time together! So you have been so generous with your time and don't ever feel guilty of thinking of your needs first. If people don't like it...they can find other challenges if all they care about is the prizes. Seriously thoughts and prayers are with you. Also, THANK YOU for ALL that you do!!!!! I am a nurse and I make cards to relieve stress in life and to meet my needs of what I need to send out, if people what prizes and $$ then they can sell their cards on etsy.

  11. I would still enter regardless of the prize. I too think you need to do whats best for you and John..If its easier then do a fortnightly challenge...I have found a lot prefer that to weekly. Besides anything a lot of sponsors are no longer offering sponsorship. I personally enjoy the challenges for the challenge...the prize, if there is one, is a bonus :) xx

  12. I absolutely think one prize a week is fine!!!! I completely don't care about sponsors I really join for the fun of joining!! I'll still play along regardless.

  13. Your #1 priority should be your husband. One prize instead of multi prizes would be ok with me. It amazes me how organized you are on posting & responding to winners. Every 2 wks for the challenge would be ok also. I've been easing off with some challenges so as to make time for family. Making round steak for dinner. I cut the steak up into strips, seared it & now it is in the oven with cream of mushroom soup, French onion soup & water mixed together.
    "Sunshine HoneyBee"

  14. What about downsizing and host only one anything goes challenge? Have it run for the full month. Bugaboo can sponsor it and only have one randomly drawn winner. That would really free up your time and still allow us to have fun and make our holiday cards early.

  15. Most of the previous comments pretty much sum up my thoughts. You and your husband come first! I must admit I enjoy the possibility of winning a prize - one per week or every two weeks is still a great opportunity. Thank you for your concern and continuing challenges.

  16. Hi Hazel, i agree with everyone,you should take more time out for you and your husband. I struggle to keep up with just being on 3 DT's so how you and the other lovely ladies who run challenges find time for everything amazes me. As to the prize, i don't mind if it's just one from you, and maybe you could change it to fortnightly too. Louise x

  17. Hazel,

    Just like many crafters said before, I'd still enter your challenges - even if there was no ptrize at all.
    I can imagine it takes a lot of time to get everything done "behind the scenes", and it's wonderful that you manage to do all that in addition to what real life brings.
    There is no need to feel obliged to chase a bunch of sponsors if you feel like it's too much. Also, an "anything goes" challenge would be fine, or a challenge every forthnight. Anything that enables you to spend time with your husband.


  18. Hi Hazel! Here's my two-pennorth for what it's worth. You know that I just run one weekly Snippets Playground challenge - and it sometimes almost brings me to my knees. My Sunday picks and write-up are a huge chunk of time to do - so whatever you do, don't even think about that one when you're trying to cut back on time spent running the challenge. Stick to just randomly selected prize winners.

    I like the idea of a theme or anything goes for each challenge - sometimes we really want to make a Christmas card to keep our little stockpile growing throughout the year but struggle with themes. For example, I may skip this week as I just can't put yellow into a Christmas card for some odd reason and this is one of your weeks where there isn't the option for anything goes as an alternative.

    Others have picked up on you perhaps going to a fortnightly challenge rather than weekly. But I suspect that this would then become a bit close to your monthly 'Extra' challenge. Friends have suggested that I move the Snippets Playground to fortnightly but it just doesn't sit right with me for some reason. So, if you can do it then stick with a weekly challenge - otherwise just have the monthly 'Extra ' challenge sponsored by Bugaboo. That would really free up quality time for you to share with John and also more time for your own crafting.

    As for prizes, I really don't know how you've managed to juggle so many sponsors with all the work entailed! As you know, I buy all my weekly prizes - sometimes kind friends do donate prizes of their own volition but managing the prizes is totally in my hands, and I like it that way! I only (most weeks, unless I'm having a silly week and offer multiples!) have one prize on offer - although due to the nature of using the same goodies for my weekly snippets card there may be two parts to the prize. But, in the main I only have to package and post out a prize to one winner each week - and it's all within my control. So it's a HUGE yes Hazel, do offer just one prize per week. It will cost you money out of your own purse to buy and post the prizes and over the course of a year that will add up - but the time saved will be enormous and I'm sure you'll feel much 'freer'.

    Finally, even if you didn't offer any prizes at all - I'd still come and play just for the sheer fun of it!

    Steps down from soap box, gives little wave and skips merrily back into the crowd :)

    Just shout if any of this isn't clear - half asleep here!


    Di xxx

  19. Hazel I know I have not been around as much as I would have liked to be lately but you can only do so much as I have found out with my own situation.
    I do admire the amount of time and effort you have put into your challenges.
    However you must put John's and your own health first even if that means making changes. I for one do not enter challenges to win prizes but more to be sociable and for inspiration.
    Hopefully I will catch up with my crafting and be able to join you again soon.
    Margaret M

  20. Just as everyone else has said, please put yourself first! Whatever this means for the challenge, just do that (going byweekly, making it an anything goes challenge or not having any prizes). But as you asked, I will admit that your lovely array of prizes are a motivational factor for me, as are the themes - this way I get to challenge myself even though that means that sometimes I'm unsuccessful and do not participate that week. But an anything goes challenge (even if it is Christmas themed) just is not as interesting.

  21. Hi Hazel
    You must give yourself more time with John and do whatever you need to do to make that happen.

    I enter numerous challenges - some offer prizes and some don't - either way it doesn't put me off entering the challenges. I enjoy making cards and blogging - challenges offer a chance to share these makes with other crafters.

    One randomly chosen prize per week is still very generous. A theme plus Anything Goes is also a great idea.

    Kath x

  22. Hi Hazel, I like your challengeblog, but with or without prices, I will still be playing with you.
    I hope you can manage your challengeblog, but most important is your family!

  23. Although I have not participated for a while, why not invite US to contribute to the prize pile, I'm sure there are a lot of us that have duplicates, i.e. dies. Dies we don't use for one reason or another. New or good condition. You could decide to bunch them together to theme them or make them of equal value. Most of us have purchased items, when they arrive are just not what we thought too big too small - sets of those magazine clear stamps - not suitable for Memento, when you only use Promarkers etc. I'm sure this could work as a re-distribution of un-used goodies. Of course, there is a consideration of postage on your part to consider.

  24. All what you propose Hazel sounds fine to me. It is a lot of hard work with all the emails etc. going back and forth. Then you also have the worry if the sponsor's do not make good and act on giving the prizes. YES FINE BY ME SWEETIE.

  25. Hi Hazel,
    As many have already said, ultimately you need to do what is best for you and your husband. If eliminating prizes helps you gain the time you need, that's fine. Prizes are fun, of course, but not the reason I make cards.
    I would like to see optional themes on your challenges, because I find the "challenge" part of a challenge sparks my creativity and helps me try using things in new ways or causes me to remember and dig up some supply I haven't used in a long time.
    I am constantly amazed that this tiny corner of the Internet where card-makers hang out is filled with kind and generous people like you, Di, and Deanne, who are willing to put in the time and effort to host challenges. So thank you.

  26. hello Hazel, i'm so sorry to hear that John is not ok, i 'm sure that it's a hard work for you to take care of all your challenge and i will continue to play with you even if you don't have sponsor, hugs

  27. Dear Hazel, I am so sorry to hear about John. I have not been keeping up with what's been going on and I hope he will be okay. Please don't worry about the challenge. We will all still be here for you. It is a favourite of mine - and for so many others as well. I think one prize would be just fine and I like your proposal very much. It would save you a lot of time and energy, which would be better spent with John at this time. I enjoy all 3 of your challenges and support you whenever I can and will continue to do so regardless of the prizes. I think you are an amazing lady to have all of these inspirational challenges for us. Sending healing vibes and wishes to John and big hugs to you, Hazel.

  28. And yes to the theme - I actually prefer an Anything Goes Christmas theme with an optional twist. I don't make Christmas cards every week but I aim for at least two per month so that's why I'm not here every single week.


  29. I think you need to do what works the best for you! I enter because it is fun not to win prizes. If you feel overworked and need to change things up a bit then do what works for you. i will play along no matter what

  30. I think family always comes first. I will play along if I can find the time to make a card and enter, but not for the prices but for fun.
    I love your challengeblog and you put a lot of time in it.

  31. Hello Hazel,
    With a whimper I like that, because you're so the challenge every week.
    When the time is small, then you might want to make a challenge every 2 weeks or monthly only. that is also OK. The hobby should be fun and no stress.
    Love greetings Beate from Germany

  32. I think one prize is enough. I will join in your challenge even if there are no prizes. Themes give me ideas for my cards. With yours and John's health you don't need to be spending so much time chasing up sponsors. I am on a design team for a challenge that doesn't give prizes. There is just a winners badge and top 3 badge.
    Maybe instead of a prize the winner could be a guest designer for the next challenge. We all have lots of craft supplies we can use and don't need to receive sponsor images.
    I thank you for all you do. You are a real inspiration to me.

  33. Your family time and personal time is precious. You can't get it back. Your idea of a once a week sponsor and prize would certainly give you some breathing room. Why wait until 2017? Start earlier if you want. For any of us that have or are still on Design Teams we know the effort it takes to make it work. Thanks for all you do, Hazel.

  34. Hi Hazel,
    You and your family come first and that is the most important thing in life :).
    It never cease to amaze me how you juggled all these challenges, sponsors and prizes - I would never in a million years ;).
    With or without a prize I would play along :) - my goal is to make Christmas cards and having fun doing it. The way the weeks are organized this year worked well for me. By adding always anything goes to the mix it will work for everybody, I'm sure of it ;).
    Thank you for everything you do, it is much appreciated.

  35. As many others have said, I would still join in even if you had no sponsors at all - yes, we all love a prize to boost our craft stash (we are hoarders, after all) and I've won some lovely ones from you, but I would definitely still join in if there was just one, or even no prize at all. We enter challenges first and foremost for the chance to share our work with others and in exchange to see their work and draw inspiration from it. You only have to look at the success of the blogs that don't have any prizes other than badges to see that!
    Your own time and your husband need to come first, we are all agreed on that! I wonder if you could make a little more time for yourself by asking for volunteers among your regulars to join in with the commenting, perhaps on a weekly rota basis, so each week you would have a guest commenter? It must be a massive job for you keeping up with commenting. I'd certainly take on a week now and again.

  36. Hi Hazel, I don't think a lot of people realise how much is involved with running a blog or challenge when it isn't just a personnal blog. People expect you to be there, they expect you to respond fast to their queries, they expect prizes. I think you are doing an amazing job. I am in awe. Yes, make it AG xmas. That's easy and probably suits more people. I actually would probably enter more if you are offering one real prize each week than if your offer 4 or 5 digi prizes cos I don't really use digi's so don't see the point in entering to win a prize I wouldn't use, but one maybe someone else really wants. Take care. I always check your theme each week even if I don't get to enter. Hugz

  37. Hi Hazel,
    I am your great admirer because I don't know how you manage all this with challenges, you are simply incredible. But family always comes first!
    So, whatever you will do with this challenge, I will play along because I enjoy making Christmas cards through the year - it is a brilliant idea!
    The prizes are only bonus so one prize per week is fine by me. I would perhaps love AG with optional twist because this encourages me to do something new, different ...
    Take care.

  38. The challenge is to get my creativity working. A prize is just dessert. You and your husband come first! I haven't entered any of your challenges but I hope to soon...especially the DSP one.

  39. Precisa fazer o que é melhor para você, Hazel! Pensar na saúde primeiro.
    Gosto muito de participar dos seus desafios e continuarei participado, os prêmios apenas incentivam, um ou mais.
    Daqui do Brasil mando muitas energias positivas e rezando pela saúde de seu marido.


Thank you for your kind comments