Archive for January, 2009

Happy Site Friday: Poladroid.net

Hi. My name is Sarah and I am a recovering Polaroid-aholic.

Yes. I am hooked. I found this free download that gives you a “Polaroid” camera for your desktop, and all you do is drag and drop your digital photos into the camera, and CLICK-CLICK it pops out a Polaroid version! The photos even sit on your desktop and “develop” just like the real thing! I am in love!

The above photos come from a photo shoot my cousin at Gashlycrumbs did for me with my Toys on Wheels, J’aime ma Maman , Danse avec moi and Dress up party print. I think they look pretty nifty in vintage film!

To satisfy your own Polaroid cravings, click here.

** and THANK YOU for all of your hard work with voicing your support of changing the CPSIA. Great comments everyone!

30/01.
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Raise your voice for change!

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Ok. So here is the beef. Never heard of the CPSIA? Panicking over the new regulations? Read on.

I join my voice today with over 260 bloggers today to inform and bring hope about this really upsetting new law in place which ultimately affects the entire nation.

WHAT IS THE CPSIA?

Do you remember last year’s scare over wooden and painted toys from China? I remember debating whether or not to give Ian the set of wooden airplanes I bought him from Pier One. We were all scared.

In response to the overwhelming recall of toys and products containing lead (over 8 million items) the government decided to step in and stop the issue of lead getting to our children. Good, right? Keep children safe!

When congress passed the CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act) in August 2008, they were intending to protect companies from selling harmful products. All products intended for children under 12 years old must go through thorough and stringent testing. The CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children’s products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

For all the official legal documents and info read here.

How does this affect us?

With good intentions to protect children, the new regulations are so broad and far reaching they are doing more harm than good. Third party testing is so outrageously expensive and extensive, a KEY issue looked into when passing this law, it is threatening to put tens of thousands of companies out of business. For example:

So, you make/sell products for children:

  • Each particle of your product (clothing, books, toys, educational materials, baby products, etc.) must be tested by a third party. You sell a baby sweater? Each zipper, button, thread, fabric make and particle must be SEPARATELY tested. Even if lead has never been detected in that product. Even if the manufacturer of that product claims the contents are safe. If you make the baby sweater, you must get it tested.
  • Testing can be anywhere from $100-$500 per test, so add that up, and you have a sweater not even worthy of being sold in Nieman Marcus
  • For a rather humorous (but healthy dose of reality) of the costs imposed on small business, see over 1,000 ETSY items that have been priced to meet the demands after Feb. 10th here.

(my favorite is the handmade felted play lunch set costing $10,080. To buy, click here.)

What does all that mean?

  • To the small business owner: Small business owners, home run businesses and crafters will need to have their products comply with these new regulations (regardless of how many products you sell) or serious fines (up to $100,000) can take effect.
  • To the student and avid reader: The national Library association is concerned because children’s books currently fall under the umbrella of the CPSIA. Read the American Library Association’s letter to congress here. School materials and educational materials will go up in cost due to the stringent testing.
  • To the Thrift store shopper: Currently their is no formal statement exempting thrifted items from being tested. There is some info that suggests thrifted items are exempt, but it is still not clear
  • To the consumer: Fewer options will be available. Handmade, European imported, boutiqued, unique children’s products will no longer need to compete against the mass produced Matel and Fisher price products because they will no longer be legal. Read the Handmade Toy Alliance’s statement here.
  • To the economy in general: With families losing incomes due to these regulations, consumers paying higher prices for children’s products and businesses having to borrow more money to stay afloat, February 10th has been labeled as “National Bankruptsy day”

Statement from the Handmade Toy Alliance: If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.

What can we do about it?

The law is already in place. The CPSC is a rather small organization and is struggling to create the infrastructure to comply with such a massive change in commerce. Because of that, formal statements with specifications of any products that may or may not be exempt have not been made. At this point, companies are still forced to comply. According to this forum, Congress has denied a second hearing, and has not shown any signs of changing the law.

However, YOUR voice NEEDS to be heard in the mean time. This issue has already made it to the front page of Change.org (Obama’s site on change) but still, nothing has happened yet to suggest change. If something doesn’t happen soon, HUGE changes for the worse have already been set into play.

A plan for action:

Helpful links and references:

1. The Handmade Toy Alliance http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/
The most comprehensive source for information and action is the website of the
Handmade Toy Alliance.

- Sign up for their newsletter:
- Join their Google Group
2. Reform CPSIA
http://reformcpsia.org/
An Organization of Retailers & Consumers Focused on Reforming the CPSIA

3. ETSY ACTION KIT

http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/bunker/2009/01/CPSIA-Etsy-Resources.pdf

A comprehensive list of info, sample letters to use, action plans, links and official statements


2. Fashion Incubator
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/blog/
Kathleen Fasanella has been doing a wonderful job of explaining the CPSIA in
straightforward and clear ways. Highly recommended.


3. CPSIA Central
http://cpsia-central.ning.com/


4. Buy Handmade

http://blog.buyhandmade.org/

The handmade consortium is keeping this blog up to date with CPSIA news and
press.


5. National Bankruptcy Day
http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/


6. Smart Mama Blog
http://www.thesmartmama.com/bg/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

RECENT ARTICLES ON THE CPSIA:


1. Forbes:
Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
Part I:
Part II:

2. Bloomberg:
Mattel, Wal-Mart Test Toys as Small Firms Struggle

3. Business Week:
Misinformation and the CPSIA

3. CNN:
New Law could wipe out handcrafted toy makers

Right now, American voices need to be heard. PLEASE write you reps, make calls, blog, contact your local media! I cringe to think that the handmade Christmas items I bought this year (that my children are currently playing with as I write this post) will no longer be available for purchase in the very near future.

So there is the BEEF! Apologies for this VERY long post! But being part of the handmade and small business community, I am passionate about getting these regulations altered to allow business to thrive as usual! Raise your voice and make a change!

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Snow days…

are for making new friends

discovering color

and braving myself in front of the camera.

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Save handmade and blog about it!

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while: CPSIA and the death to nearly all unique, independent, and handmade products (not to mention library books, used and thrifted items) for children in the US starting February 10th. Sounds eggagerated? It is true.

Read here, here, here and here.

I am saving my words for WEDNESDAY JAN. 28th to unite my blog with all of yours in an effort to RAISE MY VOICE about this terrible law.

IF you have a blog, and feel so inclined to spread the word and the support to do ALL WE CAN to change this, PLEASE BLOG on Wednesday! Here is the link to add your blog to the list (you may need to be a member of ETSY to add yourself to the list, but NOT to join the BLOGATHON). And get your own blog readers to write their own as well. The more the merrier!!!

If you don’t feel like writing your own post, here is one that you are welcome to use, or modify to your own voice.

I will have more updates on current info on this act on Wednesday, what it all means and what we can do about it. Until then…get blogging!

**above softie image from Persimmon and Pink

25/01.
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I am in love with a boy.

My boy has many faces, and I love them all! These pictures are worth a thousand words…his face just says it all. All three years worth! Happy Birthday Bug…You are my laughter, my joy, my love and my boy! Here’s to being THREE!

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Inspired.

Shinzi Katoh is making me happy this morning. Is it possible to be in love with paper?

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The chef party.

Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a brother and sister who loved to eat sweets and loved to cook and make things together. So they decided to have the perfect sweet-eating, food-cooking, craft making birthday party.

It started out with mother making a table filled with sweets and good things to eat. But since she learned long ago the beauty of delegation, she miraculously found the best sweet-making queen in the land to make the cupcakes for the party. Queen Dusti at Tres Sucre went above and beyond with her strawberry frosting, white chocolate dipped, sprinkled covered marshmellow cupcakes. The most divine in all the land!!! (Seriously folks….we’re talking break every new years resolution good! She caters…call her up and get some!)

Next the children each got their own apron to wear and take home for the party which were lovingly (and a little too quickly) made by Mother and Sister.

But every chef needs a chef hat, so we started the day with making paper hats. You know…it makes the food taste better when you where them!

Each child made their own personal pizzas, with pre-made dough provided by Father, the royal chef of the land. There was plenty of cheese for all!

After the pizza making extravaganza, the children had an in door picnic eating their hand-made pizza’s. But they were also sitting a little too close to the sweets table, and soon claimed to be full enough so we could move on to the cupcake eating!

Wishes were made and candles were blown (spit on rather…thus the INDIVIDUAL cupcakes rather than a large CAKE until children are AT LEAST 6) and tummies were happy.

Presents were opened.

Presents were then worn

And played with

And then it was pinata time…with even more sweets for the already full children!

Hug and laughs and happy chefs left with happy tummies and happy treats. But of course, we couldn’t be finished with the party until a proper balloon release.

And after all was said and done, the brother and sister said good-bye and thank you, closed the door and snuggled a happy mother and father, who knowing they had to clean up the mess from 10 creative chefs, snuggled knowing they had two very special children who were going to live another year of happily ever after.

The end.

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Happy Site Friday: Arthur’s circus

When I need inspiration, I have a few places I like to hang out. Arthur’s Circus is one of them. If Ian had his own room, this is what it would look like.

16/01.
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