Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA - Blog-In

Today I am participating in the CPSIA Blog in. I know that I have already ranted and raved about the new law becoming in effect on February 10th. But, I wanted to do the Blog in anyways.

The following is an excellent blog entry written by Holly (Etsy user name Winklepots) and Gretchen (Etsy user name ChichiBoulie) about the CPSIA law about to take effect February 10th, 2009. I've seen this entry copied to many different blogs as it describes the situation perfectly. Please read it and and write your representatives.

“As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They’re banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we’ve seen in decades. I’d like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren’t originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children’s books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there’s always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it’s passed testing. It won’t even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can’t sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can’t even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children’s items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you’ll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you’d better start buying now because it’s all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren’t certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.”

My personal note:

Now, I'm not quite sure exactly how hard this law will hit the general public. I want my children to be safe. I want a tougher testing system for toys that I buy over the counter that were made in foregin countries. But, what about everyting else. What's going to happen when my daughter can't buy a used book at a book store? Will anyone but people like me notice the changes? Will our government right the wrong that they are about to do? Will parents start to wonder where all the used kids toys, books, clothing, sports equipment, etc went?

Blog in was officially started by :

Monday, January 26, 2009

So Much Spinning...So Little Time

We had a quiet weekend. Something very uncommon in my house. The weather was chilly outside, the house was clean, the kids were playing nice, and I had nothing that I "had" to get done. So, I spun... and spun... and spun... And, I read... and read... and read. And, I loved every minute of it. Here are the fruits of my spinning labor.

I finished spinning the last of the brown mill ends which included a caramel color not pictured in my last post. With my three spools of browns I decided to ply them all together creating a wonderfully bulky lofty yarn. It made up 1 huge skein with 60 yards and one smaller skein with 30 yards. It's a super bulky wt. with about 6 wpi. When I ran out of the caramel colored single, I plied together the chocolate and cream colored ones. This made a heavy worsted wt. yarn with approx 24 yards. Then when I ran out of the cream, I plied together the remaining chocolate. This one is worsetd wt. with 50 yards.

On saturday morning I received my Artclub batt and roving that I ordered. I love getting stuff in the mail. It's like Christmas. I received a 4.5oz roving in "beach" colorway. And, a surprise batt that had a .5oz green batt and a little bag chocked full of sari silk pieces, and locks. The surprise batt is soo pretty. There is a lot of sparkle and colors. I spun this one up. I wanted to keep the length of the yarns, so I plied it with some gold thread. It's spun thick and thin and has 103.5 yards.
I began spinning up some of the mill ends that I dyed last week. I started with the red/pink/plum colored one. I'm calling this one "Valentine". The top photo shows the yarn with the flash and the one below is with natural light. I think the bottom one shows the colors best. There is almost 6 oz of this total to spin, so I think I will by plying this one on itself to make heavy worsted yarn.

Friday, January 23, 2009

All In A Weeks Work

Over the past week or so I kept feeling like I just wasn't getting anything done. I was browsing crafster and found the new “Fiber Friday” thread and decided that I should take pictures of the yarns that I made this week and the fibers that I dyed. Upon doing so I realized that I did manage to spin 5 bobbin fulls of yarn and dyed 4 different mill ends. Actually, the purple yarn I spun up almost 2 weeks ago, but I took it off the bobbin (not easy at all) and measured how much of it there is the other day. And, I did finish 5 pairs of jeans for commissions.

I had to smile to myself... I did do something this week. And, I'm going to do more tonight. I'm planning on plying the two brown yarns still on the bobbin together and possible start spinning up the fibers that I dyed.

I just wanted to add one more thing. I was totally weak and bought some gorgeous handdyed rovings and a surprise batt from etsy seller artclub that I have been drooling over for months. It's in the mail and should be here by Monday. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making Your Own Sewing Labels - Tutorial

I've had many inquiries about how I make my clothing tags. I ran out of tags last night and needed to make some more, so I decided to take pictures along the way and post a tutorial for you all.

Materials Needed:
Cotton fabric in a light color (I use a high thread count white sheet)
Fabric Transfer Paper
Iron & Ironing Board
Scissors or Rotary Cutter, Ruler, & Cutting Mat
Computer & Printer

Set One: I'm extremely computer illiterate. So, I hope this makes some sense. Using a paint program of your choosing create your logo or company name onto a blank image approx. 1.5” long and ½” wide. Once you have your tag set up.. copy it multiple times onto a new image measuring approx 8.25” x 10.5”. You want to make sure that you leave enough space between your images to cut them apart and to attach them to your work later. How much space will depend on their intended use. I fold mine in half and put them into a seam of my work. You could also leave enough room around your whole image to sew it flat onto your work. Then flip your image so its' backwards. This step is VERY important. Here is what mine looked like on the computer:

Step Two: Print out your image onto your transfer paper. Make sure your image is reversed first and make sure you put in the paper to print on the right side. After it prints, let it dry for 30min.

Step Three: Cut out a piece of fabric just a bit larger than your transfer paper and use your iron to press out any wrinkles.

Step Four: At this point you will want to read the instructions for your specific transfer paper. Mine said that I would need my iron set to the highest setting and to press for 20 seconds. Lay your transfer paper face down on top of your fabric and press all parts. Lift one corner and see if your image is transferring... if it's not, then keep pressing.

Step Five: Let it cool completely before you lift the backing paper off. I find this makes it easier to remove the backing paper.

Step Six:It your fabric now looks something like this, give yourself a hand! Your almost done. Now, all that's left to do is cut them apart. I use my rotary cutter. This makes it go very fast. If you don't have one, don't worry. Just use good ol' scissors. Here is my finished labels ready to go.

I hope this tutorial was helpful. Happy tag making!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sewing Up A Storm

This last week I've been busy working up commissions for my BJD clothing. It was getting late, I was getting tired, my back was hurting, and my eyes were going cross looking at my sewing machine, when I looked over and saw this:
The pants looked like they still had a body in them! So, I grabbed my camera and decided to take it as a sign to stop sewing for the night.

Over the holidays I didn't have time to do any sewing for my dollies. I'm glad to be back at it. This week it was jeans, jeans and more jeans. I hope I never tire of sewing jeans. It seams to be my "thing". I'll be finishing up my 5th pair today. By monday I'm hoping to have all my commissions done and my website updated. It's been poorly left unattended.

I'll leave with a few head shots of my favorite dolls. First is my 43cm Narae. Her name is Inara. Next is my 60cm Narae, I've named her Saphrim. And, last is my 46cm Latiblue Rucus. I haven't named this guy yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Felt Foods On Etsy

Due to many requests, I have listed some pre-made sets of felt foods on Etsy. I've listed them at a discounted rate so grab em while you can!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Destroying Handmade Children's Toys... One Artist At A Time

Yesterday I received an email and phone call from my mother about the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which will require lab certification that lead and phthalates are not present in toys or clothes intended for children under the age of 12. After doing about 2 hours of research I was almost in tears. I had signed this petition, and emailed both of my senators and my local representative asking them to make a few simple changes in the law so that small home businesses and the stay at home crafters could comply. In it's current for it will force many small businesses and almost ALL the home crafters who make anything intended for children under the age of 12 out of business. That'll just be great for our declining economy wont' it?

In a nutshell the law says that it is Illegal for me sell any item that has not been tested. No big deal right... wrong. Lets say that I make a piece of felt food bread. In that piece of bread I have used items that I have bought at the local fabric store. Including two colors of felt, sewing thread, and batting. To get this one type of item certified, I would have to send it to China (yep...china. There are only 14 labs in the US that can do the testing. It costs twice as much as in China to test and it takes considerable longer to have done.) and have EACH part of that item tested. That one piece of bread would end up costing me hundreds of dollars to have tested. Which means that I would need to make at least 100 pieces (and sell them) in order to break even on the cost of testing. And, remember.. I would have to be using the EXACT same materials to make all those pieces of bread. (so you better hope that you have a whole bolt of that specific fabric) Just check out how many types of felt food I make... I would need to take out a second mortgage on my home just to sell my different items legally. And, remember, that's using materials that have already been brought here to the US. So... the US must have already deemed them safe right?

The date that this becomes law is February 10th. I had no idea about this until last night. And, I would imagine that there are literally hundreds of thousands of home crafters and small US toy companies that are still in the dark about this. Just image what next summers craft fairs and state fairs will look like. No more fairy crowns for a dollar from some random vendor, no more one of a kind doll dress for your daughters Barbie or American Girl doll, no more one of a kind birthday outfit that you bought from a talented local seamstress. No more handmade wooden train sets or natural handmade baby diapers. And, good luck finding a scrap patchwork quilt for your infants bed. Unless someone can afford to make 100 duplicates of something and have it tested... your local crafter will be out of business. Me included.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am pleased that the government stepped in to introduce a law that would protect our children from the dangerous toys that were leaking lead. But, remember...those toys mostly came from China. From huge manufactures. (and now we are trusting them to also do the majority of our testing... ummm.. didn't they miss the lead the first time they tested it... who's idea was this anyways... common sense anyone?) What ever happened to making toys here in the US? The only wat to change his law in it's current for is to speak out. So please email your representatives, congressmen, and sign this petition, and do some research if you make any of the following items: cloth anything for a child (clothing, blankets, shoes, socks, hats, diapers, cloth dolls, toys etc), anything using yarn(hats, blankets, booties, sweaters, toys, etc), and anything made with wood. This isn't the whole list.

As a final thought I just wanted to mention that our children have been playing with handmade toys for centuries. It's only been fairly recently that our children have begun playing with manufactured toys. I'm not saying that I don't have manufactured toys in our home. In fact, we have many...but I've noticed that my children have always gravitated tword the more simple handmade things that I've bought or made throughout their lives. And, that's not something that I want taken away from them or any other future generation. I feel as though I've just been told that I'm a criminal trying to cause harm to the children of the US. But, who's the real criminal here?

Check out these links with more information and links to your local congressman and representaties.

So Long Natural Children's Products: A great article that gives an easy to understand explanation of the law. They have the petition going to try and change the law as it's written.

Handmade Toy Alliance: They have some great information and they have the links to find your local congressman and representative.

Etsy: So many crafters sell their items here. This is Etsy's take on what's happening.

CPSIA - Killing American Industry One Cottage At A Time: Another great article.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Scarf For Ben

Every Christmas we do a gift exchange with my family of friends. This year I got Ben. He was my "man of honor" at my wedding. Pretty much my brother, but without the blood tie. We had a budget of $10.00, so I decided to make him a wool scarf. I used a pattern that I found on Ralvery. The pattern is called "Garter Edges Scarf" . It was a very easy pattern to follow. I got started really late on this project. It took me 3 nights of knitting..I finished just before Chritsmas Eve.

I didn't think to measure it before I wrapped it up. I think it was about 65" long or so. I used one entire ball of Pattons Classic Wool. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And, he seamed to really like it as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crafsters Best Of 2008

This morning I hoped on Crafster to do my morning browsing. And, I noticed that they had posted their "Best of 2008". I decided to take a peak. I was oooing and awwwing down the page at all the projects that I had somehow missed over the last year. When I got to the bottom of the page, my jaw hit the floor... My thread on Felt Food is there!! I'm so excited. When I started that thread I never thought I would get such a wonderful response. Thanks to everyone who posted comments and suggestions. Your support has been so great.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1st Day Of Christmas

Well... they days got away from me and I never finished up my 12 days of Christmas posts. So, I've decided to finish them all up in one post.

On the 1st Day Of Christmas I finally finished knitting...
My hubbies comfy wool socks.

On the 2nd Day Of Christmas I used some leftover fleece...
To make 2 pairs of fleecy pants for the girls. I did make two pairs, but the other pair is in the wash.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas I crocheted...
All three characters from the "Bone" graphic novel series. (I'll be doing a single post about this one later on.)

On the 4th Day of Christmas I ordered...
4 Family calendars for the grandparents.

On the 5th Day of Christmas I made for my Ray...
Kitty cat accessories. My youngest is all about cats lately. She must have at least a dozen of them on her bed right now.

On the 6th Day of Christmas I used up lots of holiday flannel...
To sew up 6 pairs of warm nightgowns. All the fabrics co-ordinated together, so I made them each 3 pairs. (on x-mas eve the girls put them on and all of them are to small around the armpits... insert silent tear here... I'll be fixing these sometime soon. Also, just to note - I actually followed the instructions on the sewing pattern.)

On the 7th Day of Christmas.... I got totally sidetracked
It snowed like crazy on this day and I couldn't find anything that I had been working on that had to do with 7... It kept snowing for over a week and we ended up with more snow than we had seen in in a very very long time.