Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Valentine Feature and Giveaway from Tickled TuTu

My favorite Etsy Shops are those that give back. There are so many great causes out there and it's nice to know we're each doing our part. That's one of the many reasons I love Tickled Tutu. Tickled TuTu, a Boutique for Girls, has some of THE cutest hair bows, headbands, tutus and other various girlie accessories. I'm telling you, if I had a girl, I would have already spent my paycheck at Tickled Tutu!! And the best thing, in my opinion? Kristen, the owner of Tickled Tutu, has created a one-of-a-kind 2010 Buy a Heart Give a Heart Tutu. What does that mean to you? For each of these tutus Kristen sells, she will donate one in your name to the Children's Hospital of Denver. That makes my heart happy!

Kristen is truly a creative soul. Everything in her shop is a must have - whether you're shopping for your own sweet girl or a friend or family member. Anything from Tickled Tutu is sure to win the heart of it's sweet recipient - PERFECT for upcoming Valentine's Day!

Kristen was kind enough to share her background, inspiration and TIME with us by recently answering a few questions. I know her answers will make you smile, as they made me:

What first caught your interest about making Tutus for little ones?
Back in November of 2009, I was sitting with my son Owen on the couch one morning and we were brainstorming gifts that we could make or purchase for our friends and family. Typically my family enjoys gifts “from the heart” rather than other material items, so it’s sometimes difficult to think of something sentimental that hasn’t already been given in Christmas’s past. I have a niece named Morgan who is just darling and her mother is pregnant with her second child, another girl. Morgan is an awesome child, just full of love and happiness, and when I got down to her name on the gift list I was stumped. I knew she loved girly things; she wears a princess dress almost every day and her parents can rarely get her to wear anything else. I knew that she also really enjoys going to dance class every so often; she can even do ballerina moves on command. So I was browsing online and came across a few beautiful tutus and thought, “this couldn’t be that difficult, I will make Morgan a beautiful tutu!” So off to the fabric store Owen and I went. If you can imagine buying all things girly with my then 4 month old son; we got a few looks to say the least. I had been in a fabric store probably twice in my life, including this visit. So after looking through what seemed like hundreds of isles of STUFF, I finally found some pretty material that I thought would be nice to make a tutu out of. Turns out it was tulle, thank goodness, because I could have been buying felt for all I knew. Owen and I came home a few hours later; I did the hand off to Dad and locked myself up in my “craft dungeon”—yes, this used to be the guest room but guests are no longer welcome in my craft dungeon unless they take serious precautions! At 3am, I had finished my first tutu. It was hideous. I cried. Then I decided to sleep it off and perhaps try again the following day; so I did just that. And what came out was the most beautiful piece of work I had ever made! I hoped Morgan would love it too; and being the type of person who can’t keep secrets for more than 12 hours, I was at Morgan’s house giving Morgan her month-early Christmas gift; on the condition that she would be my first tutu model. She loved it. And I cried again. Happy tears! The photos hoot was more than amazing. The day was beautiful, Morgan’s mom and grandmother joined us and together we took over 1,000 photos. Morgan was definitely not camera shy! After that day, I knew that I had found something that I loved; something that I could do at home with my baby, and something that would truly make me feel good about giving beautiful gifts to little girls.

What is your favorite item you've created so far and why?
I have so many favorites; I think that’s actually one of my weaknesses. I get very attached to my work because I enjoy making tutus and accessories so much that I feel like I really put my heart and soul into all that I do. I wouldn’t sell it if I didn’t love it! However, the tutu that I first gave to my niece Morgan is probably my favorite. It actually just sold last week, and as I packaged it up I wondered if the receiver of the tutu would love it as much as I did. After taking a few last photos, we parted ways at the local post office J I also really love the little Valentine’s Day onesies. Maybe it’s just the fact that they are so small and it’s hard to believe that those little items fit babies, but they do, and they look SUPER cute on!

Is there anything you would like to tell readers about yourself on a more personal level - kids, hometown, a favorite Etsy shop, pets, etc?
Well; I am a 26 year old stay at home mom to my wonderful 6 month old baby boy Owen Michael. My husband Chris and I got married in June of 2008 at the Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia, CO—one of the most amazing days of our lives. I previously had a job that I loved, but gave that up when the big news of what in the future would come to be known as Owen, came in December of 2008. At 25, Chris and I certainly were not in the mindset for having children, but life is funny sometimes and strangely always seems to work itself out. I remember calling my mom the night that I found out I was for sure pregnant; she was hanging the star up on her Christmas tree. I told her the news and then heard the ladder fall. (Don’t worry, no one was hurt, not even the star!) From that moment on, my mom was super excited…for a girl of course! So at 20 weeks and 1 day when I had to break the news to her that we were having a turtle (as one of my good friends refers to boys as) I could see the disappointment in her eyes for about a millisecond; and then we celebrated. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and an extra part that doesn’t come with little girls! J So in a way, I still am able to allow her to enjoy all girly things, because I now own my own business revolving around them! Maybe in a few years we will try again; but if it turns out that we are blessed with another boy, I will be just as thrilled as the first time. But for now, it’s just me, Owen, Chris and our two crazy cats—they really are insane. When we brought Owen home from the hospital for the first time, I thought it was going to take some kitty Xanax to calm down our felines.

I am originally from Kansas (GO JAYHAKWS!) and you will always find me pacing in the living room when there is a KU basketball game on. I actually can rarely sit and watch an entire game. My dad and I just send text updates every few minutes to remind each other than it’s just a game…but it’s a KU GAME!

I came across Etsy just randomly one day when googl-ing something random. I thought the site was so amazing—all of these crafters who are so talented are actually putting themselves out there and getting recognized for their awesome talents. So I joined. And thus beings the tutu adventures on Etsy! There are SO many cute shops on Etsy. I find myself staying up late at night almost every night when Chris and Owen have gone to bed just mesmerized by the things for sale on Etsy. I love the girly shops, I love the shops tailored for boys as well; just wish I knew how to make some of those boyish goods! Every time I come across a shop that blows my mind, I send a little note to the shop owner just to say, “girlfriend, you rock!” Not to say there aren’t male Etsy-ers, but so far I haven’t come across any of those shops requiring me to say “boyfriend, you rock!”…which would be weird and I would have to probably come up with another compliment.

And finally, what are your thoughts on Valentine's Day? Do you celebrate? How?
I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day; mostly because when I was growing up my dad would send me flowers to school every single Valentine’s Day—and since I was that girl who never had a boyfriend in high school caring enough to do something like that, it always make my heart feel warm. For the past few years, Chris and I have celebrated Valentine’s Day usually with a nice dinner and a movie at home. It just seems right that way. A big snuggly pajama party. With chocolate of course. And roses are nice too. However, a few years ago we splurged and went to a really nice restaurant in Cherry Creek (part of Denver); there was a young couple, probably 16 years old on a Valentine’s Day date. We had more fun watching the two of them awkwardly interact than anything! Until the poor teenage boy got the bill for the dinner and didn’t have enough money to pay for both himself and his date’s dinner. He excused himself from the table and had to go to the pay phone to call his mom and see if she could bring him some money!! Mom didn’t answer, poor guy. I was heartbroken and had Chris slip him some cash. I hope those two are still together and get married one day and come across this blog; I don’t think the girlfriend even knew that there was a money issue going on. So cute. This year Valentine’s Day will be super special because we have our little cupid, Owen. So probably more pj parties and movies, and of course chocolates and roses J. However, I would like to share the Valentine’s Day joy with children at the Denver Children’s Hospital by donating the Buy A Heart, Give A Heart Tutu to as many of them as possible. Everyone deserves to feel the warmth in your heart and what better than to do that than with a beautiful sparkly tutu on Valentine’s Day. After having a child of my own, it makes things so much more real to understand the children that are suffering from pain and in need of help and sometimes just a hug. What I can offer are tutus; well hugs too, I have plenty of those to go around but I would love to help make a difference for as many children as possible at the Denver Children’s Hospital this Valentine’s Day.

Kristen is offering something truly amazing for Champagne Wisdom Readers. Read on to find out how you can get your hands on one of Kristen's!

For each Buy A Heart, Give A Heart tutu that is purchased, one is donated to the hospital. My family is donating 10 but I would really like to be able to give so many more to these lovely children. The first 10 people to Convo me on Etsy via my shop, Tickled Tutu, and let me know that you were referred from Champagne Wisdom will not only get a free tutu, but will also have an extra tutu donated in your name to the hospital. You will only pay shipping - $6. After the first 10, I am offering free shipping on all Buy A Heart, Give a Heart tutus. I encourage you to help me help others this Valentine’s Day. We all greatly appreciate your kindness and consideration.

Kristen, you don't know how much we appreciate you! Thank you so much for offering such a great deal to the readers of Champagne Wisdom - as well as all the smiles you bring to the children of Denver. Girlfriend, YOU rock!

Please be kind and leave a comment if you are so lucky to be one of the first ten to get a tutu from Kristen. That way, we won't bombard her with messages once the limit has been reached. But most definitely, remember the free shipping deal will still stand even after the first ten tutus have been claimed.


Saturday said...

I'm one of the first 10! YAY!

Kristen Mentasti said...

Hi, it's actually Kristen. Thank you so much to everyone who has already contacted me on Etsy. I am so very grateful and can't thank you all enough!!! Thank you Jamie!!!

Champagne Wisdom said...

Looks like the count is up to 6?? Hurry, Hurry! :)

Ashley said...

Wooo I was the first one! Haha very excited!

Valerie said...

I got one too! Yippee!!!

Kristen is super sweet too, and she has lots of adorable accessories to go with the tutu.

Gotta go shop for my little Valentine ballerina! said...

I hope I get one my daughter would look so adorable in one of these!

The Royal Family said...

I hope i'm not too late

Mellisa Rock said...

I just found out that I was lucky # 7!! OMgosh I am so excited!! Off to get my tutu and some slipper's for Miss Maddy!! Thanks so much for posting this giveaway! said...

Woo Hoo! Im #9 just barely made it! Thank you so much !!

Callie said...

I'd love one too, please let me know if I'm not too late!!

The Royal Family said...

WAHOO! got it I was number ten!

Elle said...

I'd love one of these for my neices! I hope I'm not too late! They are absolutely adorable, and every little girl deserves to be able to feel like a princess once and a while.

The Coupon Scoop said...

Oh I got one! I was number 6!

Champagne Wisdom said...

Congratulations everyone!! Thanks, Kristen, for offering such a FUN and generous giveaway!!

Anonymous said...

You all seriously are awesome. Thank you for your help in making it a great Valentine's Day for the children at the Denver Children's Hospital. You guys are great!!! xoxo Kristen