This giveaway is closed!
With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be a fabulous opportunity to showcase a few Etsy Shops. After all, I LOVE ETSY! Why do I love Etsy? Well, I love Etsy for several reasons. I love Etsy because it's different and unique. I love Etsy because you can browse around or ask for EXACTLY what you want. I love Etsy because the sellers are PHENOMENAL individuals with true talent who are raising money for great causes - whether it be donating to causes important to their hearts or earning extra money so they can stay home with their children. You just can't go wrong with Etsy - or I never have!
I want to introduce you to the first Etsy Shop in our "I Heart Etsy Valentine's Day Event" - Raptor Baby. Raptor Baby has a special place in my heart because I ordered a very special collection of toys from Lauren, the shop's creator, for my son. I saw Lauren's shop of wooden toys and decided I HAD to have something very special for "The Short One". You see, it had already been decided that he was getting a castle for Christmas and I thought, HE NEEDS KNIGHTS! So, what did I do? I sent Lauren at Raptor Baby a message and asked for knights, along with a king and queen. Not ONLY did Lauren let me specify colors (we went with favorite football teams...hehehe), but she made the most precious creations I have ever seen. I am SO proud of them - and I didn't even make them!!
Lauren has sets for both boys and girls and if I were a betting gal, I would say if you ask for it, she can make it. Never hurts to ask anyway! I love that Lauren not only creates wooden people, animals, robots and more, but she ALSO creates homes for them! Lauren does it all and I LOVE her work! Since I have a set of these precious little ones, I can honestly say, Lauren's work is top notch! The painting is detailed and the quality is LASTING. Trust me, if my rough and tumble little one can play with them without the paint chipping, they're a winner! Everyone who comes to our house wants to play with these. Why? I think because they're different! They're not toys that everyone else has, a toy from the shelves of Toys R Us, but a handmade item made especially for your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, etc.
I recently sent Lauren a few questions so we could get to know her better and if I hadn't already fallen in love with her, the answers to her questions did it! I LOVE the story about her daughter and the name of her shop - she just scored more "cool" points with ME! Let's get to know Lauren, the creator of Raptor Baby:
What is the inspiration behind the name of your shop?
When I was pregnant with my daughter she barely made her presence known - just soft, little wiggles and an occasional hiccup. However, as soon as she emerged (and ever since) she has been a whirlwind of noise and activity! She was a precarious newborn, waking from sleep at the slightest noise and letting out ear-splitting cries. My husband and I, new to parenthood, had to find ways to laugh to keep from crying! Thus, we invented the nickname 'Raptor Baby' for her, to describe the prehistoric shrieks she so often emitted. She no longer cries like she did and the nickname is no longer used but it's a fond reminder of the long way we have come as a family. :)
How did you get started creating your imaginary play items?
As a child, I wanted to be an artist or a ballerina but finding that I had no artistic ability and questionable rhythm, I gave up those pursuits and started writing poetry instead. After my daughter was born, my life was consumed by motherhood - dirty diapers, wet kisses and lullabies. :) All things that I love (minus the diapers, of course) but I found, after time, that I needed an outlet just for me! I wanted to pursue a craft that was simple and friendly and that would appeal to everyone. I found, to my complete surprise, that painting suddenly made sense to me! And I began creating these sweet little dolls for my daughter and her cousins. I opened up my shop so that I would have room in my home to make more! :)
What is your favorite item you've created so far and why?
Every new thing I create is my favorite! Just ask my husband - every time I paint something new I say, "Look how cute this is!" and have to force myself to put it in the shop! I get a little sad every time I stow them away in their packaging to send to their new homes. :)
Do you have any new ideas in the works you'd like to share?
I'm bursting with ideas but keeping up with my wild girl leaves limited time for painting. However, at the moment I'm working out plans for a living room set that I'll be ready (hopefully) to debut in the near future!
Do you have any tips for readers who would like to buy/sell on Etsy who have not done so previously?
For a new seller - Just keep with it! Keep creating and working and doing what you love and eventually people will respond to it.
For a new buyer- I have never 'met' a seller I didn't like. Everyone with a shop on Etsy is devoted to their product because everything is handmade. This generally means that they are all open to custom made items and quick to respond to your questions. It makes for a wonderful and unique buying experience. But beware because it can be terribly addicting! :)
Is there anything you would like to tell readers about yourself on a more personal level - kids, hometown, YOUR favorite childhood toy, pets, etc?
I am a 27 year old, stay-at-home mama of the most lovely 19 month old little girl! I was raised in San Antonio, Texas where I met and married my husband. As a little girl, I loved books and barbies and riding my bike. I feel so thankful that I'm able to have such a wonderful creative outlet and am immensely grateful by the positive response to my toys!
And finally, what are your thoughts on Valentine's Day? Do you celebrate?
My wedding anniversary is very near Valentine's Day and both days are generally celebrated together with a much needed night out!
Thanks, Lauren for allowing us to get to know you better!! And now, for the giveaway I know you have ALL been waiting for...
Lauren has graciously created a Valentine's Day Play Set specifically for one very lucky Champagne Wisdom reader! The winner will receive these two Valentine's Day "besties" and their home. I LOVE THIS SET! What a fabulous Valentine's Day gift!
To enter the giveaway:
Simply leave a comment below telling me your FAVORITE item from Raptor Baby.
Here are a TON of extra chances to win (be sure to leave a comment and email address for each entry):
*Leave Lauren a comment about another item you would love to see her create
*Become a fan of Raptor Baby on Facebook
*Subscribe via email or feed to Champagne Wisdom
*Follow Champagne Wisdom on Twitter and tweet (leave a link)
*Leave a comment on any other non-giveaway post
*Tell me who you will give this to if you're the lucky winner
*Enter any of the giveaways going on over at 2 Little Muffins - and let me know which giveaway you entered
*Make a purchase from Raptor Baby during the giveaway period and earn 10 additional entries!
That's a ton of chances to win. Here's wishing you love and luck...
This giveaway will end 1/30 at 12:00p.m. central time. Winner will be selected via random.org, emailed and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.