Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slacker Slacker

Can it really have been so long since last I posted? The holidays have sucked away my craft time and that saddens me. On the bright side - I have many supplies for soaping and my sewing room is nice and clean and ready for some action.

I resolve to post weekly with updates. . .no matter how pathetic they may be - I will keep in touch! :) Till then, adieu.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Artist of the Week

I love how some blogs feature an artist/crafter every week. Not only do you help a fellow crafter but you also get more traffic yourself AND my favorite part - you 'meet' more talented people!!!

So...anyone interested in being my first feature?? I'm thinking of doing this on Thursday or Friday each week..depending upon how the first few weeks go.

Come know you want to! :)

Getting the word out. . .

So in an attempt to spread the word a little more about The Artful Mommy I've decided to join Art Fire. I only have one item listed so far but have a few new soaps that will be listed shortly.

I also decided to get into Twitter. I wasn't sure I wanted to get on there but it's so popular I think I HAVE to. Within seconds of joining I had 2 followers...not too shabby.

So what else is new? The latest soaps are skulls scented with blueberry (to be listed today). I also have 2oz bars scented with lilac (they're a cool purple/maroon swirl color). AND 2.5oz bars scented with blueberry that are blue/white swirl with a gray base. I felt creative - go figure.

The question is. . .where to list! I'm in the process of boxing up items that I'll be listing on Etsy, others on ArtFire, sending to New Hope and taking to a new shop that may be interested in my items. See, I HAVE to make lots and lots of soap so I have enough to go around! I also have a box of samples that's filling fast so be on the lookout for give-aways.

So where do YOU shop? Are you an Etsyian? Do you like Art Fire or do you prefer an actual shop?

Busy busy day!

So today was a very productive day! Soaps have finally been uploaded to my Etsy shop!

Pumpkin & Brown Sugar

Oatmeal & Honey

Oatmeal, Honey & Almond

Strawberry Scented Skulls

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lye-ing around

So after a week of melt & pour soaping a miracle occurred - lye! A wonderful fellow crafter on offered to share their supply. Amazing! I now have a bountiful supply of lye. I just need some oils and I'm back in business. She also shared her vast knowledge and now have a brain to pick when needed.

Another amazing moment - another wonderful shop to consign at! More details to follow.

It's been a terrific week and today's weather is beautiful further lifting my mood.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Productive Times

I'm still soaping and still loving it. The cure time on my cold processed soaps is finally up and I've tested them. I have to admit - I'm proud.
Regular sized bars...samples are 1/3 this size

The oatmeal & honey is a nice bar of soap. Good lather, nice scent and it's pretty. The pumpkin is amazing. The brown sugar on top is a bit rough at first though it smells nice, using it on your body is a bit abrasive. It does rinse off easily though and the resulting bar is so yummy. It smells better after using it!!! I put samples together and have my list of samplers for my first batches. I used NO artificial colors or fragrances! The scents and colors come from the all natural ingredients of oatmeal, honey, pumpkin and brown sugar! Yummy huh?!
All packed up and ready to seal and ship! Thank you!

This week I'm on the hunt for more lye so I'm doing some melt & pour. I got a little creative.

I also made a loaf of oatmeal, honey & almond goat's milk soap!! I've never done a loaf with melt & pour. It's nice because there's no cure time but I miss the mixing of the chemicals and anticipation of what it will come out like.

If you'd like to sample the oatmeal, honey & almond goat's milk soap be one of the first people to comment on this post!

When I hear back from my samplers on the other oatmeal soap and the pumpkin I'll be making them available for sale through my Etsy shop so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Having a new house tends to take over one's life. Add onto that the fact that the summer's ending and you're trying to fit another few days of vacation in and your usual Mom/Wife stuff and you don't have much time left for crafting.

I've managed to get into another craft - soap making. Yes, soap. Not just melt and pour either. . .oh no we're talking lye and fats and all that fun stuff. The first two from scratch didn't come out too well. The next was okay but the scent didn't seem to stick (it's still curing so we'll see). The most recent was made today and so far seems great. It's an oatmeal & honey soap. It smells and looks amazing so we'll see. I also made a pumpkin spice melt and pour that I can test tomorrow.

Not much new with sewing. I need to focus on that tomorrow and get some more done for an ongoing project for someone. I also need to build up inventory to see at various events.

For's late and I'm sleepy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning...time to go back to bed.

It's an amazing thing to be up at 8am and already have chores working so you can relax more during the 'active' part of your day. For some reason the hours before 10am to me seem early...too early to function at times. Oh the flip side after 10am seems late and staying in bed until 10 or later often puts me in a sour mood as I feel that I've slept my morning away.

So it's an early (before 10am) Monday morning and I'm waiting in anticipation for critique of my work for a job I did for a local company. It's great when you find something that is so 'you' it doesn't seem real. I feel that way now - upon conclusion of my critique I may feel quite the opposite and vow to never touch my sewing machine as well. No, I'm not that bad at taking criticism...I just don't like disappointing others as well as myself. I'm thinking positive. When you enjoy what you do and you have a sense of creativity it tends to show.

Today I need to get in touch with the New Hope shop and see what the latest is on my goods: what's sold, what hasn't and will I ever sell enough to result in a check to give me the warm fuzzies. I also need to contact another shop that was interested though I found them shortly after moving when I didn't even have access to my sewing machine. I'm slowing building inventory and need to just check this place out - nothing like a field trip.

Never take a day for granted - it's a gift not a right.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Butterflies and Lots of Smiles

Every once in a while, and by that I mean once in a lifetime, an opportunity comes along that just screams 'perfection'. Okay, so once upon a time I DID have that happen and went with it and it was the best 7 years of my life and here it is again but this time it's true perfection. Details to come since nothing is in stone but I'm getting my things ready for tomorrow and will tell more then. What is it? You'll have to come back tomorrow and send happy good luck vibes to me until then. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Something new. . .but what can I do with it?

Being a Mom I have a pretty good idea of things that a Mother could use, especially during the baby years. Sitting here the other day in the land of thread and needles I looked around and got to work on something new. Now, it's not a new idea and completely different but it's new for me and here it is:

A waterproof changing pad.

It's cute, all rolled up to fit in your diaper bag. When you need it simply unroll:
and you're ready to go.

This one features a soft flannel in an adorable animal print:

and as you can see:
the back is covered with vinyl so it truly is waterproof.

It's machine washable cold though you need to hang it to dry.

With the new CPSIA laws I don't believe the vinyl is allowed. I know oil cloth isn't which was my other choice but I have to research the vinyl issue and see where that gets me. With craft fairs on the calendar and shops I'd like to put some goodies in. . .I'm running out of ideas that will be legal! :(

I CAN make quilts provided I label them and the labeling laws have been eased up upon this week so that's feasible. I MAY also be able to continue burp cloths which is nice since that was a new item I liked even though it didn't seem to be as popular as anticipated.

For now to research my changing pads and see if there's enough interest to look at some options so I don't need to disobey the law and sell illegal items.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Label a Day. . .

"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a sweeping new law that impacts a broad spectrum of our economy. From manufacturers of toys to the kids that play with them, everyone is affected in some way -- even those who make and donate products to hospitals and charities.

There are new rules to be understood and adopted for everyone from the largest global manufacturer to the crafter working in the family workshop to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner. Indeed, all children’s products including toys, books, child care articles and clothing are covered in different ways by this law, and there are different rules for different products."

The CPSIA has been the equivalent of a dull sewing needle to creators of child's items over the last year or so. Seeking to keep children safe this law is slowing putting people out of business. The little people who are actually considered manufacturers according to the CPSIA website. I never considered myself a manufacturer. I considered myself a hobbiest - the equivelent of Grandma and her knitting needles but soon Grandmom could go to jail for selling her knit stuffed animals at a craft fair. Sad but true.

I can understand the need to crack down on harmful chemicals used in children's products. I actually read in a magazine not to led my son drink from the outside hose because it could contain lead! I grew up drinking from the hose and now I'm supposed to limit the time my son spends in his pool because of lead? Are we over-reacting or finally catching up to where our standards should have been years ago.

I do not understand how this attention to possible dangers has skipped over big companies and come down hard on the little guy. The testing required is expensive and already many shops on Etsy have closed. Come August when new laws come into effect others plan to close as well. It's not like these crafters are out to hurt your children! Handmade items have a special feeling to them and are handed down generation to generation - just don't try to sell Great-Grandmom's quilt to someone . . .you could go to jail. Don't sell any old children's books either.

A list of exempt items has come out and if you stick to it you're permitted to continue selling and donating your items. I've read about labels to show material content being required but that's fine by me . . .well it was until reading something else about what type of label to use because the wrong one could be on the 'illegal materials' list and land me in the slammer.

Slowly crafters everywhere are making sense of these laws and keeping up-to-date on the latest changes. One day you think you're safe and can continue and the next you read something and are ready to pack it all up.

Personally I'm continuing with some things here and there. I know my quilts are okay as long as I stick to that infamous list. My burp cloths. . .I would think the cloths I use in the start are okay since they're made by Gerber but maybe I can get a cert from them to show it. It's so frustrating because reading these laws is enough to make your head feel like it's going to explode.

For now it's back to my morning coffee.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A busy and creative week

So what's new? Something else for the list of items I can say I make.

Key Fobs!

I'm hoping that a Mom Club I know of will be interested in these. I can put their logo on them and then they can sell them as a fundraiser.

I'm also hoping to make some for a craft show in October that I plan to be in. I got the application today and need to see if it's something I really want to do.

Yes, it is! :) I just wish I were more confident in myself but that will come in time. For now I'm am Artful Mommy on a mission!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's a holiday so we'll try something NEW!

So after chatting back and forth with a new friend I(and possibly new woman to work with in selling my creations) I have some new goodies to show off!

Kimono Baby Shoes!

My first attempt wasn't awful but the second and third as shown in the picture are cute. Yeah, go me! :)

Sadly it's almost midnight and after a very busy few days this holiday weekend I need to get to sleep. Even sadder is that I have to clean and such tomorrow so no 'fun' time until Tuesday night when I get home from work. Boo hiss BUT you never know - I may sneak in some time somewhere.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm am happy to announce that my Etsy shop is officially open again!

It's been WAY too long and I can't believe I haven't been seated at my sewing table for as long as its been...I'm almost embarrassed!

I also redirected and to my Etsy shop.

Oh happy day! And as far as the shop in New Hope... $12! :) It's so nice to turn a hobby into an income...if only it could become a career. Fingers Crossed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Finally after what seemed like forever AM is back in business! :) My sewing/spare room is set up for the most part. I need some shelves and such but my sewing area is all there and ready to go so...I'm off to sew! Happy Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Time has Arrived!

The sad day arrived last week - completely packing up the sewing area in the 'old' home. We'll be starting the official move next week so it's going to be a busy time which means no sewing BUT it also means that when I unpack my notions and such that it will be in the new house in my new sewing room! Oh joy!

On another happy note -I received an email that I have store credit at Simply S.O.T.A. which translates into - I had sale(s). :) Very VERY happy news. I need to stop down there this week to drop off my new burp cloths and cross my fingers on that project idea.

So for now - it's back to packing and painting on this rainy Monday but it doesn't get me down - it's a Happy Day. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Busy times ahead

So the Grand Opening of Simply S.O.T.A. came and went. I of course had to drive down for my own curiosity's sake and was surprised to discover some of my items missing/sold! :) Happy Day. I didn't take pictures as planned since it was crowded and I thought it would be odd to take pictures of customers. Fingers crossed on this voyage. The owner is putting together a program so we, the crafters, can log in and see what sold and what is still in inventory.

I've started a new project because I can never keep on one thing - designer burp cloths.
Someone suggested I try it and it's a fun little project with lots of possibilities. I all ready ordered more fabric for this idea (some cool minky and some toile) and it's set to be delivered tomorrow! :)

Not much else doing - like that isn't enough. Still packing with a settlement date the end of April. Taking care of the men in my life as well as the furry kids. Good times.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Big Day

So tomorrow is the big day - I meet with the owner of State of the Arts in New Hope about consigning my goodies! I'm excited, nervous and not sure what to expect since I've never done this before. I have my bag of goodies, an inventory list and business cards. I attempted to make a new bag tonight but my head wasn't there 100% and it didn't come out perfect so it's a 'dud' as far as I'm concerned. Good idea but bad conceptualization of the idea. It happens.

So here's to doing new things! And to not losing my voice which I fear may happen by then. :( Ugh, always something. Thankfully there's a Starbucks on Main Street as well. :) YUMS!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I couldn't help myself; I just had to order fabric:

I got my hair done at an amazing salon in Eason, PA - Hair to Dye for. I've been in there a few times and love it! Everyone's amazing and the owner Gwen...she makes my hair very happy. Anyway, I was telling her about my purses and she said we could possibly work something out with me displaying the in her shop!! How amazing is that? So I HAD to get a little more fabric, right? Of course. :)

I've got my meeting at the shop in New Hope on Friday and would like to get a few more things made in time for that. We have a snow storm coming so it looks like tomorrow will be an excellent sit at the sewing table day. :) Whoo hoo.

AC next week makes me smile. I can not wait to get away for a few days. It'll be odd though - no computer. Will I survive? lol

And the big news - we got the house. Yes, I'll have my own sewing room. I can't wait for that one! How amazing will that be?!?

Until then I am exhausted and ready for sleep.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

PA Proud

It's amazing how much talent there is in this state and it's always uplifting to talk to other crafters which is why I joined Handmade in The idea of networking with fellow crafters in the area is a great experience. Share ideas, help each other out and have people to chat with who understand your obsession with a full closet of fabric that you never use or a box of notions that you just HAD to buy because they were on sale and you just 'know' you'll use them...eventually.

So where to start? Well, just think of all of the amazing inventions that were PA born!

Bubble Gum
Walter E. Diemer was an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company who enjoyed experimenting in his spare time. In 1928, while attempting to find a new rubber product, he accidentally invented Bubble Gum. He was only 23 years old! Bubble gum is pink because that is the food coloring that just happened to be there when he was working. I have to admit - how did he realize you could chew it? And what did it originally taste like?

In 1784, Ben Franklin invented bifocals. Ben had poor vision and changing glasses constantly to see far or to read was annoying. So, he cut two pair of glasses in half and put half of each in one frame. This was a great time saver for him. After all, one of his famous sayings is “But dost thou love Life, then do not squander Time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” I honestly recall learning about this event in school which being a school in Philadelphia we spend a lot of time on Ben and his inventions. I also spent many hours at the Franklin Institute. Oddly enough I also spent many hours at Franklin Mills Mall but never bought glasses, isn't that ironic.

This amazing toy was invented in 1943 by Richard James. He got the idea for it while working on a spring that would keep a ship’s instruments steady. At first, it was made near Philadelphia but soon moved to Hollidaysburg, PA where it continues to be manufactured today. I think everyone's had a slinky at one time or another. I had a few, the first being the original metal one. After straightening that one my parents got me a plastic just wasn't the same.

Pencil with Eraser
Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia gets credit for inventing the pencil with an attached eraser in 1858. Amazing that such an obvious thing was neglected for so many years after pencils were first made. I tried to get an exact date but it looks like the first pencils were made in the mid 1500's so think of those poor children doing math for 300 years without an eraser!

Crayola Crayons
Edward Binney and Harold Smith shared a long history of color related improvements to products before they improved industrial marking crayons for use by school children. The first box of eight Crayola Crayons came on the market in 1903. I personally LOVE the smell of a new box of crayons and visit The Crayola Factory monthly with my son. Upon our visit we always get a new box of crayons...just the small original box of 8 colors because there's nothing like a new box of crayons.

Soda Pop
Townsend Speakman was working as a druggist in Philadelphia in 1807. While many people liked drinking Priestly’s carbonated water because of the healthy benefits it claimed, most people did not like the taste. So, Speakman added a few ingredients like fruit flavors to make the drink tasty. The first soda was the Nephite Julep. Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by the way...

Big Mac
The Big Mac became part of MacDonald’s menu in 1968. It was the creation of Jim Delligatti who operated a dozen stores in Pittsburgh in the late 1960s. Let all arteries rejoice over this one.

The Ferris Wheel
The Ferris wheel was one of the most incredible feats of engineering of the nineteenth century. George Ferris built it for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 to be held in Chicago. This structure was meant to rival the Eiffel Tower, which was built four years earlier. The original structure weighed 2,079,884 pounds. It eventually was dismantled and moved to St Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Unfortunately, the original Ferris wheel was destroyed in 1906, after no one took ownership of it.

How can you not be proud to know that bubble gum and ferris wheels come from Pennsylvania?!!? And as for Crayons...I've been to Crayola Factory many MANY times with my little guy and that was one of my favorite parts of living in the Lehigh Valley when I first relocated to this area. All of these people and all of these everyday items that just 'happened' to come about right here in PA.

Sometimes inspiration just happens; you're sitting at your machine, fabric in hand and a few hours later you're holding a purse (which is what happened with me this evening). Sometimes you sit and plan and draw and plot and come up with something incredible and amazing. Either way you never should doubt yourself or your ideas - just go with it. Just think if someone had laughed at Hyman Lipman!? Math class would have been a horrid experience without the aid of my pink pearl.

During the PA Proud promotion I'll be one of the Handmade in PA shops featuring FREE SHIPPING for any customers in North America! To those overseas interested. . .I have to see how much shipping will be. Just specify in the 'notes to the seller' - HANDMADE IN PA FREE SHIPPING so I can send you a revised invoice. Promotion ends MARCH 2nd so don't delay!

Please check out these other Handmade in PA blogs. On each of these blogs, you can find out other great reasons to be PA Proud. You can also find out how to get a great deal in each of their shops - now through Monday, March 2nd!

Tara from typOH - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Kristen from WatersGirls - Enjoy 30% off your purchase!

Melissa from SqrlBee - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Koco from MissKoco - Get a FREE lavender sachet with your purchase!

Lynn from UnaOdd - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Rosie from RosiesWhimsy - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Kerry from ALittleSparkle - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Marissa from MarissaJoannaRojas, MJRojasPhoto, and YayforFidgetArt - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Dana from WiredDesign - Get a single FREE "Never Enough" Sterling Silver stacking ring with your purchase!

Kimberly from ChezSucreChez- Enjoy 10% off all items in her shop!

Sarah from SweetSallysSoaps - Get 3 bars of handcrafted soap for $15!

Melanie from SpreadtheLove - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Erin from Ruju - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Hillary from Antebelle - Enjoy FREE Shipping!

Emily from disCARDS - Enjoy FREE Shipping on orders over $5!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mommy's got a brand new bag. . .or two!

It's been a busy 24 hours! I got two new bags done and I'm quite pleased with myself.

First is the Eliza Bag. I had My Fair Lady in my head for some reason and the swirls on the fabric reminded me of a dress she wore. I should post some interior pics. I've got an interior pockets for a cell/stuff and pens. I also added a magnetic closure.

I finished that one at 1am. I was determined to finish it.

Around 2pm today I decided I needed to use some of the fabulous new material I had gotten and got to work on something new. . .the Jenny Bag. I thought of a friend of mine with the skull pattern on this material though she has no clue I named it for her. I should probably let her know but I'll wait until she lets me know what she thinks of it first. (Update - she likes it :) )

And the interior:

I added an interior pocket and of course you can see my label! :)

So it's been a busy few days trying to keep my mind off of the house situation. We bid, the countered and we countered we wait. Actually they countered our counter counter. UGH! I hate playing games.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh my, Oh me!

So on March 6th I have an appointment with the owner of a shop in New Hope about consigning some of my crafts. I'm excited and nervous. I consider these 'crafts' just that - my little crafts, fun passings of time and the thought of them being in an actual shop. OH MY! How awesome and amazing is that? I have so many questions and no clue what to do but overall - I'm psyched.

I also need to get to work. I sat at the machine for an hour today not accomplishing anything. How sad....I need to play tonight. I need to play NOW!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I've been featured on a blog!!

Many thanks out to WatersGirls on etsy!

I received an unexpected convo from her today that I was to be featured in her new series at her blog!

She's a fellow Handmade in PA Etsy Street Team member which is very cool. I've gotten a lot more involved in the PA Crafter groups lately in hopes of making myself a little more known - not a bad thing.

So check out Kristen's shop - WatersGirls and dont' forget to check out mine as well though I've been busy with packing and house hunting lately. I can not WAIT until we find one, bid, win, move and get settled because I'll have my own sewing room! :)

Until then . . . little by little and day by day we'll see what I can come up with.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Big things and change. . .

I've been added to a handmade listing website!

Thank you to Dream Mist Crafts for including me on her website! More traffic is always a plus!

On another note: I started packaging products last night since I received my labels and bag toppers yesterday. HURRAY!

And finally the house hunting may be almost over. We found one we love and have a few more to check out today but if we don't find anything we'll be putting a bid in on the one from yesterday! It's not what I thought I wanted but it gives me warm fuzzys. Can't beat that warm fuzzy feeling.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Work work work

So it's been a busy day - I managed to list the start of my destash supplies on the shop. I've gotten views and one person marking my post so we'll see. Sad part is that I all ready spent the money - I found someone selling some amazing fabrics.

I designed a new avatar:

and also this one:

But now, at almost 6:30am I think THIS is the new avatar:

I'm still waiting on my labels and such. I'm guessing tomorrow will be the day.

For now, it's after 6am and I should get to bed at some point.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Busy Busy as a Bee

This is my new favorite print and why I LOVE Alexander Henry!
I've got new fabrics coming too!!!

AND. . .a new purse. You'll recognize the fabric, thus the reason I ordered more. . .I LOVE IT. I found it in a bin at the craft/fabric store and now I love this fabric manufacturer.

Isn't it sweet? I have just enough left for another purse like this or possibly a wallet which a friend requested that I make for her. I found a few patterns online so we'll see what I can do - either way I'll have more of this print next week! Fun stuff!

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Item!

Business Card Holders! :) In a rather cool print by Alexander Henry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Productive Day

So I'm working on products and today my focus is coffee/tea cup holders. They're cute, you can insert a photo to personalize them. I think it's a nice touch. Not sure about anything else to pretty them up. I have one sewn and almost done, another pinned and another in pieces. I planned to make 4 but miscounted somewhere in my haste. Once I finish one I'll decide how many more to make. I need to order bags for them yet. UPDATE - I ordered bags! Not too expensive and they'll be delivered TOMORROW! The place is only a few hours away so they'll ship out today. Sweet. They were on sale so basically shipping was free. AND the bags will fit these AND the business card holders...good thing since they come in a box of 1000!!! OH MY.

I DID finalize a label too!

I like it and I'm ordering them today. I also wanted to get a smaller ribbon label with just AM on it but we'll see. One thing at a time.

Much done today and it's only a little after 4pm. I love days like this....oh and that'll get to it eventually.

Break's over ~ Now Back to Work!

So after a hiatus and thought period I finally have my sewing table setup and full of 'stuff'. I love it. I could sit for hours upon end creating. Thankfully I have a 3 year old who is fine with that. . .as well as a hubby who doesn't mind either. lol I AM getting laundry done and WILL take breaks to sweep/clean the house today.

I have my 'schedule' of production so we'll see how well that goes. I started all ready so I'm a few weeks ahead of schedule - not too shabby.

The recent uproar with the CPSIA changed a few product ideas but a recent letter from the Committee on Energy and Commerce may help us 'little people'. We shall see. Fingers and needles crossed. :)

For now....a laundry break.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There is hope for the 'little' people!

THE letter that may help save the 'little' people. Click to read it. . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's Craft ~ Tomorrow's Contraband

As a crafter/artisan I'm worried about the future. I make purses, quilts, pillowcase dresses and other such little odds and ends. Come next month my quilts and any other items I create for those under the age of 12 will be considered contraband. WHAT? Yes, indeed. Come February new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will be enforced. Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Okay, you'd think that as a stay-at-home mom the little things I make would be safe. My sewing machine doesn't inject the crafts with lead as I sew the seams. There are no harmful chemicals in the thread I use.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties. It makes sense then, if you knowingly sell something toxic you'll be fined. No problem BUT.. .

What if you sell something unknowingly? Products made for children are tested. . .what if someone makes a pair of gloves for an adult. The yard need not be tested BUT if the adult wants a pair for their child then the yard DOES need to be tested. What if the parent puts their gloves on the child? Then there's apparently no problem. Huh? Yes, it's situations like that going through my mind causing migraines.

Inadvertently, this law was written too broadly and affects not only imported children's toys, but also handmade items, electronics and CDs, clothing, and accessories, as well as children's books and school textbooks that are made in the USA.

As the law currently stands, the libraries and schools would need to test all current inventory of books in the library and all textbooks. How much would that cost? Probably enough to cause the libraries to close off their children's sections. How sad is that?

As for the handmade items, crafters and small business owners would be required to test their finished products, even though the products have been made with already tested and safe materials. Is this possible? For many - no. If you make one of a kind creations EACH ONE would have to be tested. Who can afford that? The cost of the testing would make it no longer feasible to even sell an item, as so few are made, many being one-of-a-kind items. I would no longer be able to legally sell my handmade products for children. My pillowcase dresses would become hazardous materials!

Thankfully, the CPSC has exempted resale and thrift shops from having to test their inventory for lead. However, the exemption is still ambiguous and still puts the resale shops liable if they even unknowingly sell an item that does not fall within the safe lead limit. Other retailers, though, would have to pull all of their current children's inventory as of February 10th if the item has not been previously tested, certified, and labeled. What if I give my sister-in-law or a friend some of my son's old clothing? Nope, can't do that . . . we'll have to start an underground black market for children's items.

It's a frightening thing. I can understand doing the most to protect our future/our children BUT sometimes laws and regulations do not make much sense. This one, while it means well, is going to cause more harm that good. Many crafters on Etsy and Ebay will go out of business. Smaller children's boutiques will close. No more selling children's items (for children under 12 years of age) at garage sales!

I may have a table at a show next month and have the opportunity to sell my items at a shop in New Hope! Now, much for children's items. The best part is that MANY people don't even know this is happening! If you're on a craft site it's all over the forums but the general public has no idea. Will there be a rash of arrests this summer when police do drive-by's at garage sales looking for illegal items?

If you're interested in knowing more about this check out the CPSC website.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy New Year

So the holidays are over and it's back to work. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to try new things and see what I can do. One is to see about selling my items at a shop in New Hope. March won't come soon enough. Currently my sewing area is still occupied by the Christmas Tree. I've asked Hubby to bring the boxes down from the attic but since he hasn't...the stuff is still up...or all sitting in the front room. Here's to 2009!