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!!