Friday, December 26, 2008

let the changes begin...

Well I've started the transformation of the blog with a new template and a paring down of extra stuff. I don't know why but I feel like cleaning house and getting rid of the extraneous crap that is cluttering my life. It's happening in my home as well as on my blog. My 'studio' is also beginning to get reformed. I'll try to snap pictures of the process, it should be frightening but also rewarding when finished. Keep in mind that my 'studio' is the spare room which became the catchall in the house so frightening is an accurate word! But enough, I can't get anything accomplished in the real world if I continue to play in the virtual one!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

So, I'm assessing how the two shops did this year and what I will focus on in the coming year.


I have noticed that it is very difficult for me to draw and paint with the toddler running around so, while I would like to add more illustrations, that may not happen.

The play items did very well and I loved making them but with the current legislation that is going into effect in February 2009, I'm not sure if I will be able to continue to offer them but until someone tells me I can't, I will continue to develop ideas and offer them on etsy! I have great ideas for boy's imagination play. The items may actually be collectible for men also. And if some of the things can't be sold already made, I will offer patterns and plans.


This is where I plan to make the most changes and offer the most new items. I will offer many more elves and ballerina ornaments and will start creating angel tree toppers. I am going to start developing different themed ornaments to go with the standards I started this year, a little less traditional, whimsical and fun. I hope to have a few designs that can be personalized. I also want to get the Santa keys (along with the legend of Santa's magic key) and Letters from Santa worked out and available. I had so many ideas this year for the Christmas shop but so little available time. I have decided I need to allow more time for this shop earlier in the year so when the mad rush comes during the holidays I'll still have a full shop (and if I don't it won't be because I couldn't keep up with it, it will be because I had a very successful season, and there's nothing wrong with that!LOL)

Overall, expect a whole lot more papier mache and felt creations! I'm looking forward to the new year and have plenty of supplies to keep me busy during the quiet months! I'll post photos as I can. Oh, and don't forget the blog will be getting a whole new look, too!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's not just toys!- More Info on the CPSIA

[This info was included in an e-mail I received. Being the mommy of a 17 month old, I personally disagree with the idea that it should be scaled back, the reality is there are many products (like sippy cups and baby bottles) that used types of plastic that were found to cause hormonal problems (amongst other things) in the children using the items. I do agree that it should have more manageable requirements that can be met by small producers of children's goods without putting them out of business due to the high cost of compliance.]

The CPSIA does not just affect toys--it regulates all products for children under 12. Clothing, school supplies, cloth diapers, car seats, boy scout patches, bicycles, sippy cups--everything. Congress in its wisdom decided that a problem caused by irresponsible mass-market
toymakers should be solved with a one-size-fits-all solution for dozens of industries totally unrelated to toys.

The Handmade Toy Alliance supports the parallel efforts of other industries to gain relief from the onerous enforcement mechanisms imposed by the CPSIA. Although we have proposed our own ideas that would help small toymakers, we believe that the following reforms of the
CPSIA would be fair, just, and appropriate to all affected industries:

* The law should be scaled back to focus on products that were an issue in the first place (namely: toys and children's jewelry).
* Enforcement should allow component versus unit testing. Manufacturers and/or industry groups, in cooperation with the CPSC, should decide the most rational method for their situation.
* Testing frequency rules should be adjusted to allow smaller companies that deal with smaller runs the ability to stay in business.
* Random testing could be part of the legislation in place of some of the more burdensome requirements, especially for "low volume" companies.
* Companies should be allowed to keep testing certificates on file instead of re-sending them with each order.
* The law should be simplified to be understandable, while maintaining (or improving) its effectiveness.
* Batch Labeling should be required only for companies producing more than a certain quantity.

We believe these guidelines if carried out would make the CPSIA more effective, more fair, and less onerous for a wide variety of industries.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Photo of Beautiful Odette in Her New Home

I am just so happy such a kind person owns Odette. She sent me a photo of her on her tree, to which I am very grateful!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Just a heads up! As time permits, I'm going to update my blog, or maybe overhaul it, adding links to all my CafePress shops and making it just a little more polished in appearance! Most of the changes will probably occur after the holidays! So be on the lookout!

We're exhausted!

But happy! The Laurel Show went well and it was nice meeting new folks and catching up with old favorites! The whole family is tired though especially mommy and the bug! Early bedtime for us, then it's up early to fill some orders from etsy. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of my table and new products just added to busy little elf.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All people who make or buy handmade toys must read this article!!!

This is typical bureaucracy and yet another way the government chooses to support large irresponsible corporations while the small business owners are forced out of business. Most small toy makers, especially those who make their toys by hand, use care in selecting their materials. Their products should therefore be safe if those materials were bought in the United States, not imported directly. There should be non toxic certifications on said materials since they are being sold here that should exempt small toy makers from testing each individual product. Large toy companies have shown a propensity for making large profits while not monitoring closely enough their manufacturing process in foreign countries. Children's health and welfare have been put at risk to make a buck. Large corporations have the means to monitor and test their products as well as a responsibility to do so and, in my opinion, had they been responsible, this act would never been needed and never would have come to pass. The cost for large corporations is more easily absorbed within their product pricing. They may have higher overhead but they are also blessed with huge profits on each product they produce and sell.

Please read this article and write your Congressman and Senator.

[taken directly from the Handmade Toy Alliance website]

Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA

The issue:

In 2007,
large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

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.

How You can Help:

Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.

My table assignment at Laurel School is....

In the front hallway-right wing, table 59.
YIKES!! Hope you can find me, last year I was in the main dining hall!
Look for the little Christmas tree and navy blue busy little elf table cloth!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

gingerbread snowflake decorating kit

Coming Soon!!

I'm finally getting ready to list the gingerbread ornament decorating kits as well as the other mini play dough kits. They will be listed first in the Christmas shop and later in the regular shop. I also am working on a couple of felt food items for the busy little elf shop, I think they are going to be very cute, I hope to have at least one of them done by Monday. I'll post photos as soon as I have something!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Candy Cane Mini Play Dough Kit

Here's the newest addition to the mini play dough kits. This one is candy cane red and starlight white, both are scented with Peppermint extract and have glitter(the red has red foil glitter, the white has crystal glitter) They come in a cello treat bag with a Spangler candy cane.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In the Works---other mini play dough kits

Snowman comes with 4 oz. white sparkly peppermint play dough and snowman cutter.
It will have additional colors but I'm not sure which ones and how much of each yet.

Candy Cane will come with one 4 oz tub of peppermint scented red and one 4 oz tub of peppermint scented white. (and a candy cane of course)

Sugar cookie will have one 4 oz tub of vanilla natural colored dough and multiple colors for decorating(small amounts, still working out the details!) It comes with a star-shaped cutter.

Oh Christmas Tree comes with a 4oz tub of Green regular scented play dough and brown, red and yellow mini sized containers (again working on the details) It has a tree cutter
Here are the graphics for my other mini play dough kits. I apologize for the quality, they don't transfer from program to program right. The pictures are full color but when I copied them to photoshop the background color shows through. Anyone who can solve this dilemma, I would be very appreciative!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gingerbread Man Mini Play Dough Kit

Here are some photos. I have to re-shoot them when the sun returns but at least I was able to list them in my Christmas shop!


Is it monsoon season in Cleveland or what? We had to take a boat home from the post office! Crazy! I just bought a notebook so I can start writing my books. I have a laptop but it seems to be easier with the curious little one to write in the old school notebook, it's not as fascinating (no lights!!)

I'm working on play dough mini kit labels and bought the treat bags that they will be packaged in. I hope to start posting photos soon!

Crazy Week here in Elfland!

Wow what a great week! I got to go to lunch with Pam (and we got to meet her cute little dog, I hope he didn't suffer any permanent damage due to the wee one's exuberance!!) Then we had play dough orders to make and ship. The bug had his final shots, no more until 4 years old!!!YEAH, WOO-HOO!!!We had to go pick up the boy's one Christmas present in Columbus because I somehow shipped it to my old address!!So we had lunch in Columbus before driving home and he did surprisingly well although he ate his crayons, yuck! And he learned a new word, ICKY!!(Because mommy kept saying "that's icky!!") We had more play dough orders that we just finished up and now we have to go on an adventure to Office Max to get some Cyan ink for the printer so I can print out the address labels and send them on their merry way!! Later we will go grocery shopping and I hope to order some new business cards for my show the first weekend of December. I also hope I'll be able to make some gingerbread ornament dough and design my labels for Christmas mini play dough sets (great size for stockings) and Elf Snot! I'll post photos when I have them! Oh and I will probably change my playlist since it is the season!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Pam!

I just looked at the date and I realized that one of my dearest friends from high school is having her birthday today. Now unfortunately, I haven't talked to her in a long time but not because I don't care about her or consider her my friend, just because life sometimes gets away from us and we lose track. I'm one of those people who if you are my friend, truly my friend, then you will be throughout my life regardless of where it takes us.

So that said and not that Pammy will see this, but if she does....


I do miss you and wish you all the happiness in the world!

Camo Play Dough Collection Package Graphic

Here's the newest graphic for my play dough packaging.
I will post photos of the complete set when I have them (in the next day or so)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Odette- finished


UGH! Now I'm sick! Hit me yesterday and I feel like CRAP! I haven't been sick since somewhere in the middle of my pregnancy(so about 2 years!) Hit me yesterday and my nose is dripping(but I'm not licking it off my lip like the wee tot...YUCK!) I'm drinking Salada's Asian Plum White Tea, which is mighty yummy if you like tea, and have been popping Halls Naturals (mountain berry, again mighty tasty!)Anyway, I'm finishing up Odette and hope to post new photos of the finished ornament sometime today. After that I'm not sure what I'll work on, I guess it depends on how crappy I feel (there is a formula for this and it's something like: motivation /crappiness factor = productivity)So we'll see!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I miss my blog!

For whatever reason, I like my blogger blog and have been noticing lately that I come here to blog first. Whatever....My little boy has rebounded, his teeth are still bugging him but he doesn't seem to be 'sick' anymore. If he had a cold, he's like his momma because it's gone and he's fine. WEIRDO kid, WEIRDO mom!! I'm working on a new Christmas ornament, Odette from Swan Lake. I'm hoping to add Odile too but that one may have to wait. I always loved ballerinas, too bad I'm so damn clumsy! I took ballet when I was little but my clumsiness coupled with my pigeon toes, well...let's just say it ranks right up there with my impression of a dying moose when I tried to play the saxophone way back when! NOT PRETTY! I'll stick to crafting and drawing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The bug is sick!

First time in 15 1/2 months my little one is sick! He got it from his father (pain in the tookass! I told him to stay away from the boy!) Anyway, he has a cold, I think. He's running a fever but that may be due to his teeth coming in. So needless to say he's drooling and snot is running down to his lip(where he's licking it up....eeewww,yuck!) I guess we'll have to forgo the story time tomorrow, don't want to spread the joy! Nothing like a crabby baby! Won't sleep, won't eat, doesn't like anything, only wants mommy but doesn't want mommy at all....Great fun!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I have an idea for a novel!!

I already had an idea for a children's book and that has been starting to play in my mind as of late so I will be writing soon. But now I have an idea for a psychological novel for adults. It would be brainy and I need to start studying Quantum Physics so that I might have a deeper understanding of how to write the story line. I'm very excited and yet a wee bit nervous since I haven't written much more than these blog entries as of late!! Guess while I'm at the library on Tuesday(story time for the boy!) I will research books on creative writing!! Woo Hoo!! I have inspiration running through my mind again!!I'll keep y'all posted on what I find!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Come Join Us!

NOW I'm feeling Halloween a little more!

My mom has a friend in a retirement community and she decided to make this for the little boy. For whatever reason, I'm feeling Halloween a little more. I'm not going to dig out the other decorations because I don't have the motivation or the energy and the boy isn't going to dress up this year[haven't seen anything I like] but it feels a little more like autumn. It is very cute.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Christmas Etsy Shop!

Buy Handmade

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Santa has the Bug's Gift!

This will probably be the last year that Santa will be able to pick up the boy's major gift while the boy is there! What can I say, Target had a good deal, it just came out today and it's suppose to be one of the hot toys of the year. I am a firm believer that Santa doesn't lavish gifts on little ones but he does get them one big gift and maybe a couple little things. So this is the big gift, on Amazon it was selling for $120+ a couple days ago, $85 this morning. Target had it for $59.99. Sure it may drop in price before the holiday but will you be able to find it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Completed Christmas Projects

Okay, here are the final results of some of my projects.

It’s a slow go but I’m getting there!!bzlittlechristmaself.etsy is filling up!

Ribbon Candy in progress

Ribbon Candy in progress