Lily loves to explore our balcony mums which we picked up at the local Farmer's Market a few weeks back:
...while our ferocious pup watches from afar:
It was nice and chilly here in Durham, NC this morning -- in the 50's! So we put our handmade hoodies on and went out to play. Joey had on a monster hoodie (of course!), and Lily had on her new "Autumn the Tree Owl hoody" that I made for her.
Originally my thought was to make one of my signature "Aristotle the Owl" hoodies in a pink girly print for Lily, such as this one here:
But then I started sewing...
and the fabric and sewing machine took over...and the hoody ended up like this:
My newest design!
This is "Autumn". She's a tree owl and loves to pretend she's a night owl. :)
Autumn the Owl sits on a tree that branches up over the hood, and onto both sides of the hood, and also around to the front. With colorful leaves falling all over the hoody made from fleece, minky, chenille, and super soft corduroy. Also featuring some of my most favorite colorful fabrics from Anna Maria Horner! There are 50 individual pieces appliqued to the hoody. And Lily looks so super cutesie in it -- as she attempted to ride Joey's old tricycle.
Ahh, wonderful Autumn.
Love the Autumn the Tree Owl Hoody? Gotta have it for your little girl? Let me know!
This super plush and luxurious little giraffes set was handmade by me and shipped out to a dear friend of mine. She's due in a few weeks...with twin boys!! I hope she loves the outfits and everything else. Since we couldn't make it to her baby shower, everything I designed for her was all a surprise, so I hope she is totally thrilled with her little box of handmade goodness for her babies-on-the-way. :)
With that same awesome mod giraffes fabric I made this amazingly sweet dress for my baby girl Lily. It's called "Mod Giraffes in the Forest":
Today while on a playdate in downtown Raleigh, we got rained on for a few while eating lemon ices. It was a refreshing relief from the city heat, and it also gave names to the handmade monster shirts you see here:
Nero means "water", and Mera means "day" -- in Greek.
At the start of the playdate, we had arrived 20 min late to a 3D movie, Joey broke his glasses by the way...then we walked 1.3 miles to an Italian cafe and had a yummy and light summery lunch -- while ducking the flying crayons being launched by my kiddos. Of course. Then we saw the slowest freight train in the world, which Joey thoroughly enjoyed, and then we walked 1.3 miles back to our car. It actually was alot more fun than how I wrote it. Like as in this much fun -----> :D
Except for when Joey fell and got a tiny scrape on his knee. Which didn't hurt much at the time...but now that we're home he has been LIMPING. Yes, I kid you not. My 3 year old had been limping. No not because it's painful physically...but because I put a bandaid on his teeny little scrape, against his will, and so he thinks he must suffer now, and say "ouch ouch ouch" every so often. So I also had to roll his pants all the way up, above his knee, because he was walking around the house and holding his pants up with one hand, looking at his bandaid, and making sure it would not touch his boo boo while he walked. He's hilarious, that kid.
Hhhmmm...so what else is new around here...I've got a new blog banner up there -- pretty flowers, aren't they?
This evening I was reading these very helpful and methodical 9 tips to be more creative over at Pikaland. Somehow I ended up admiring this cute little Cafe - Poladoodle print from lilacmoonstudio on Etsy. I always end up on Etsy. :) Then I hopped over to Typepad and I was agreeing with these 10 Ways to Find New Blog Topics. Not that I need new blog topics. I've got plenty...just none that ever get posted. All I really need is more time. More time...to blog! And more time to sew. Definitely. Ooh, and an overseas vacation for sure. Greece, of course. And then I'll need more time to sew. Because I'll need some super coolness to wear in Greece! Oh, and a fab new hairdo. But that's about it. :) Speaking of hairdos...I wonder what CandyStickLane is up to. Let's go visit her.
Oh! Before I go. The other night The Hubbs Joe and I watched the movie "7 Pounds" with Wil Smith.
Have you seen it? Whoa. Amazing. I can't think of that movie without crying. Where have I been that I hadn't ever seen it? Oh yeah. I've been here. Blogging. And sewing. And nursing that monster you see up there. The pink one.
So my Mom sent us a box in the mail. (Hi Ma!) Loaded with fun stuff! What a great box to open. A neat little puzzle book for Joey, every page has a puzzle built into it -- which he LOVES!! And the cutest book of animals for Lily -- which she grabbed and squealed when I tried to turn the pages for her. And loads of old photos. I mean loads as in probably a couple hundred photos. Old polaroids, elementary school photos, and all sorts of old photos of my sister and brother and I growing up. Mostly from when I was real little, mid-seventies to mid-eighties. And from my kindergarten party at my house with like 20 of my classmates! Do little kids even have parties with that many kids anymore? I'll post some of those old photos here soon -- they're pretty funny. My Mom also included a postcard I sent her from summer camp, when I was 10 years old, asking her to send money. hehe. What's your point, Ma? :)
The photos of my big brother Georgie and I from the '70s look just like photos of my babies Joey and Lily. The Hubbs Joe always points out the similarities. Isn't it absolutely amazing when you realize just how very much your kids remind you of your childhood?
Joey's been painting alot this summer.
And so has Lily. :)
And Joey's been showing Lily his rock collection lately. And sharing his rocks with her too. Yaay! Which is GREAT. Lily even said "thank you" the other day.
In the above photo, Lily's wearing one of the new dresses I made for her from an Amy Butler fabric. The sleeves are made from a limited edition Japanese fabric with grey and white elephants. I love that dress on her! It is so super sweet. And yeah, she's got her Nike Force 1's on. She's a Nikehead. :)
And here's a close-up of Joey. He's grown sooooo much these past couple of months. Look at this face!! What an expression. In this shot he's wearing the most FAB "big boy shirts" as he calls them, from LittleSquidgen who we always go to for our button-ups. They're actually more like snap shirts, or bowling shirts:
That photo does not do the shirt justice! Especially since Joey was super hungry at the time. They are really so beautifully made. I don't think I'd have the patience to make button-ups like LittleSquidgen does!! Really, very beautiful shirts. She made 3 shirts for us, and they all came out extra cute.
Hopefully soon I'll post photos of our completed swingset...it's a work in progress. I have the best husband ever. The Hubbs Joe took on this DIY project and has been working hard to get it done, in between everything else he does around here for us. He's building it from scratch. All by himself!
Last week the Hubbs Joe and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.
Have you seen #!etsyhacks lately?? I had installed them last year when there were just a handful of scripts. Now there are 39 awesomely nifty and super useful scripts to make your Etsy world even better, and way more efficient.
For example, here are just a few that will save you lots of minutes and clicks...
Bulk image uploader: allows you to upload multiple listing images at once
Buyer notes: adds the "Notes from buyer" to the sold orders page
Copy listing: creates a new listing like an existing listing
Because I can't always respond to your convos or eMails individually, I thank you all for your concern -- we're doing great -- just so busy! Sorry for my lack of blog posts, tweets, etc. I've been thinking about you guys and wanting to open up my Etsy shop again, but I'm just not ready to do so yet. On top of the ridiculous CPSIA nonsense-law, there is also the custom orders for monster shirts, monster jeans, and my other handmade super coolness that I'm currently working on which have been keeping me super busy!! And I have more orders in the works for the coming weeks. So if you're awaiting your order - thanks again for your patience. There have been unexpected delays, and you are so awesome for understanding. As always, my customers ROCK.
Other than sewing, our awesome little monster kiddos keep us on our toes daily, and we've also recently moved to a new home. Oh, you didn't know? Yes, yes! We've moved! It all happened so fast, really. In the event you haven't heard from me personally...I'm updating you right here, right now. So keep reading my blog and stay in the loop! haha.
Fair warning...this blog post is all over the place. It's fun stuff though...so read on. :)
Here's what's been going on around here lately:
In February I blogged about one super long week when we took a sudden road trip from FL to NC for a job interview which the Hubbs Joe had scheduled. Since then, there has been a continuos whirlwind of events for us!
First of all, my amazing uber-geek Hubbs Joe got the job!! Woohoo!! We could not be happier.
We've wanted to move out of Florida for what seemed like forever, but was actually more like a year and a half. No offense to any of you Florida-lovers, but visiting there and living there full time are two vastly different things. Besides, this New Yorker missed the seasonal changes, a cool summer breeze, and tall trees amongst other things that Florida just could not give me. Most importantly, we wanted to raise our babies with access to the outdoors...without having to worry about scary alligators or poisonous frogs in our backyard or at the playground! *mega-creepy!!* Think I'm kidding here? Take a look at this video from abcnews.com where an alligator creepily crawls out from underneath a car at a car dealership. Yep, just an average Orlando day!
Anyway...so where was I? Oh yes...the fab and geeky new job. So they wanted the awesome Hubbs Joe to begin working in his new job in Research Triangle Park (RTP) in 30 days.
*zoikes!* We had to hustle!
That meant we had only two short weeks to hire movers and find a house in North Carolina! We hit the ground running. Joe was still working full time so it
meant I was the one who would be searching for a house and movers during the day, and we'd be discussing our options in the evenings when Joe got home. All of that while taking care of Joey, Lily, and Aleethea...and also starting to pack. Crazy, yes?
My mom immediately flew down from PA to help with the kiddos, cooking, cleaning, and packing. Huge help!
So my hunt for a house began. I knew it would be much more difficult and involved to find a house than a mover, so I wanted to be sure we first had a house, prior to finding a mover.
The very first house I inquired about directly with the owner - it was absolutely beautiful, but it didn't have a garage or a fenced-yard. So, we skipped it and moved on.
Then over the course of the next week, we looked at hundreds of houses online, spoke to several different realtors who were all working at finding and showing us homes in the Raleigh-Durham-RTP area. I spoke with the realtors via eMail and web portals, and oohed and ahhed over so many different houses. Some seemed so perfect for us - until we actually saw the neighborhood. Thank goodness for Google Maps. What a fantastic and immensely helpful tool that was for us to decide upon a house! Not that the neighborhoods we viewed weren't nice, but they just weren't exactly what we were looking for. We actually didn't even want to live within a community, because we wanted more of a country setting, with houses that each looked different, some old, some new, etc. A nice mixture is what we desired. And a short commute for the Hubbs Joe.
Doesn't sound like we were asking much, right? Then again...we only had a couple of weeks to find a house, so in all actuality...I was being reeeeeally picky. And rightfully so, for our family. :)
After a week long roller-coaster of house-hunting, viewing properties and neighborhoods, and taking virtual tours of dozens and dozens of houses, we actually ended up selecting the very first house I inquired about. Yes, the one without the garage. haha. Funny how things work out. The reason why there is no garage is because there is a lovely little creek which runs through the backyard, and the county would not allow the builder to build a garage and disrupt the creek. We couldn't ask for a better reason to not have a garage. Oh, and the fence is being built next month. :)
OK so once we signed the paperwork for the house, we breathed a sigh of relief for a few seconds...and then my search for a moving company began.
We had one week until moving day.
When I was twenty years old, I was an office manager for a moving company in Middle Village NY. (I had the funniest, and best bosses, Cheryl and Steve.) Anyway, so with that experience I began the process by jotting down our inventory of furniture in every room, the amount of hanging frames, an approximate amount of boxes, located some moving companies, requested packing estimates and also got online and on-site estimates for us. Whew! We also had my SUV to be moved, which may require a car-carrier, or would be moved inside of a larger truck.
As for boxes, I was sure to let the moving companies know that we would not be purchasing boxes from them because we had our own boxes. In the interest of time and money, we were getting recycled boxes from the local U-haul store. Moving companies sometimes charge almost double for their boxes, and sometimes they are not recycled. The only problem with using our own boxes was that we also needed packing services, and some moving companies will insist that if they are packing, then they must supply the boxes. Issue #1.
Anyway so after some estimates, we were on our way to select a mover. The downside to all of the moving companies I spoke to was that they were long-distance movers which meant they frequently moved people interstate via super big tractor trailer trucks. That also meant they would pick up other household goods along the way, and therefore deliver other household goods along the way too. So our items would not be going directly from FL to NC, but instead would probably arrive in approximately 5 to 7 days. This, we did not like so much. Issue #2.
I had initially wanted to go with a bigger company, because there would most likely be no issue with whether or not they had an active moving license, a US D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) number for an interstate move, and probably a really good record with Consumer Affairs and the B.B.B. (Better Business Bureau). Because those are the starting points which you should research prior to getting an estimate from or hiring any moving company.
Also, the bigger companies are reluctant to offer a not-to-exceed cost, which was issue #3.
So there we were, with a huge decision to make and some issues in the way...when along comes the Hubbs Joe who just happened to find a local moving company in Orlando who would be able to pack for us using our own boxes, they'd drive our items directly to NC with the exception of an overnight break - since the law states the drivers/movers cannot work for more than 12 hours straight, their moving credentials checked out, and they'd also give us a not-to-exceed cost.
So we went with the movers the Hubbs Joe found that day, All My Sons. And everything went smoothly.
So much for my moving company experience and research!!! If I had eaten a fortune cookie that day it would've read: "Your work in 90's very long time ago. Means poopoo now. Husband lucky."
Early morning on Thursday March 12th, we dropped our furry-baby Aleethea off at a Doggie Spa in Orlando for the day where she would swim and play for the day.
Later that morning, All My Sons showed up with two moving trucks...
and four awesome movers and packers:
The guys were busy for 7 hours of packing and loading!!
Joey had lots of fun watching all the furniture and boxes being carried away, and just being a part of all the excitement. Why was he having so much fun? Isn't moving supposed to be stressful for a toddler/pre-school-aged child? It could be...but it wasn't...because the week prior I had bought these books for Joey and so we had already read these books to him over and over again.
The Berenstain Bears' Moving Dayby Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain, and Moving House by Anne Civardi, Michelle Bates, and Stephen Cartwright. I also picked up a guide for the Hubbs Joe and I entitled Moving with Kids:25 Ways to Ease Your Family's Transition to a New Home by Lori Collins Burgan, which is loaded with helpful moving and transition tips which apply to kids of various ages.
I highly recommend each of those books, they taught Joey many things about moving, and he repeatedly asked us to read them to him.
In addition to the books we read to him, Joey was also kept informed of every aspect of our move, and why we were moving. We shared all of our plans with him from day one. He was always in the loop so there were no surprises, and therefore no anxiety about the move. Just adventures for him to look forward to! He helped me pack boxes, he looked at houses online with me, and he even packed up his own toys without being told to do so!! I had wanted to leave his toys for very last, so as to not rush him into anything...but before I knew it - all his stuff was in a box! It was really cute. (I was sure to keep just a few toys out for him, for the last few days prior to our move.)
That evening, after the movers did their thing - since our house was completely empty and my mom's flight wasn't until the next morning, we said farewell to the house our babies were born in, picked up Aleethea from the Doggie Spa, ordered a pizza, and stayed the night in a dog-friendly hotel.
The next morning, Friday March 13th, we wished my mom a happy flight home and then set out on a 12 hour drive. This was the third 12-hour drive we'd taken within one month!
And hello to our new home, and our new life in Durham, North Carolina!!
Where we are still unpacking, of course. But somedays I just pretend to not see the boxes. I am a firm believer that some days, denial is good for the soul. haha! Especially when these kiddos have more fun playing in the packing paper:
Where our 10 month old baby girl Lily - who is still off the charts in height - has begun to stand up on her own:
We happily put on jackets last month on 40 degree days or colder:
When frost was welcomed on my other baby, my tough little 4WD SUV:
Where the morning sun shines brightly thru the kitchen window...
and onto my baby girl's face:
...where I put a new little plant to celebrate:
...where Lily has found herself - haha:
...and she is more and more more of a sweet monster every day. Here she is in a monster shirt I made for her big brother Joey two years ago!:
OK so here's an oldie but goodie...I just had to find that picture of Joey...so here's Joey wearing the very same monster shirt above, when he was 15 months old:
And here is a super cutesie new "Wild Blue Safari Binky Blankie" all finished up for a very patient Staci's nephew baby Miller:
I hope he loves his new binky blanket a.k.a. security blanket! I absolutely love the way it turned out - and it is so super plush!:
And so our adventures within our new city have already begun:
(Wood giraffe and hedgehog teether handmade from wonderful artisians on Etsy.)
...where Joey loves loves loves to ride his trike indoors on the wood flooring:
...where new clubhouses are claimed:
...where lunches and dinners are being enjoyed on the back porch. Gosh we LOVE eating outside!:
...where the view and these trees are so very tall and amazing:
...where Joey loves his new view from his playroom (in his Road Trip Ankle Biters lounge set):
...where new lounge pants are being designed and sewn - these are my newest "Pink Elephants Ankle Biters":
...and where we're not sure what will bloom out front -- any guesses?:
...but there has already been growth - Joey is not only growing out of his size 3T monster jeans (and needs me to make him yet another pair!) but he can also now peddle his tricycle uphill:
while Lily enjoys making the most adorable faces in the sunlight:
...and...as of this weekend...Joey has started to use the potty!! Woohooooooo!!! To follow are our potty-chronicles.
Amazing what can happen when you entice an almost 3 year old, bright and early on a Saturday morning with this:
Me: "Joey, if you go use the potty right now like a big boy, and if you go pee-pee in the potty and not in your diaper, then Mama will let you paint some Easter eggs right there in the bathroom!!"
Joey: "yaaay yaaayyy yaaayyyyy!!!! come on Mama!!!" (as he ran down the hall and into the bathroom)
The next thing I knew...the kiddo used the potty! And of course...we had to take a picture:
We are so proud of him. And he was very proud of his accomplishment too!! We sat there and he painted an Easter egg, right there while on the potty. It was beautiful. haha.
A while later, when I thought it should be potty time again, I gave him another bribe. I mean, an incentive. I told Joey if he wanted to go use the potty again...that he could go right now to the potty if he wanted to...and when he was done he could eat one of the super yummy cookies his Yiayia (Grandma) sent him for Easter. And so...off and running we again went down the hall, and to the potty. Hooray for Yiayia's cookies!! :D
Oh! And what was a great starter for the "action"? (if you know what I mean) The key to begin it all, right after my son sat down on the potty...was the little cup of water I kept next to the potty, which I told Joey to "put his hands into and splash a little bit for good luck". And that's when it started.
So how did potty-training a.k.a. potty-bribing go the remainder of the weekend?
Great on Saturday, with some accidents of course throughout the day...but they were all opportunities for learning, and now he knows that he doesn't like the feeling of the wetness. Which is so important! So he ultimately used the potty several times yesterday. Today, Easter Sunday, not so much. But we know it'll probably take two steps backward in order to go one step forward. And that's just fine by us. It's all good.
Big things are happening around here. Little by little.
Are you watching the CPSIA RALLY on Capitol Hill?
Watch it streaming LIVE, right now, 4/1/09.
Because as you know, it's no joke!
Help amend the CPSIA!
(update: stay tuned for video footage)
The movers will be here in 6 hours!! Joey has had lots of fun climbing on boxes:
He's wearing one of my newest designs. These are his "Road Trip Ankle Biters", a fab pair of very cool lounge pants with olive and blue argyle trim and a super cute coordinating shirt. Doesn't he look so adorable?!
Lily has a matching onesie, of course. :)
They'll wear their outfits when we drive to NC tomorrow.
Just in case you're new here, I am not Julie Wilson. But I am moving! And it kinda feels like Pleasantville already. haha. So I'm thinking this set of moving cards will be a good idea.
As you can see, I am trying not to focus on the actual moving day, but instead I look forward to the road trip to NC and also to the days ahead when we are settled into our new home so that I can actually sit down and address some cards.
Because that means I will have already unpacked my fabric, and my sewing machine...and can get to sewing more Ankle Biters!
So there's only a half hour left til the Super Bowl when the Pittsburgh Steelers will kick some serious butt. And amidst all the excitement, here I am, updating you, on what I found re: CPSIA. haha. Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in! hehe.
So now that the CPSIA has issued a "stay" a.k.a. a suspension of the 2/10/09 deadline and made it a 2/10/10 deadline instead, there's lots of buzz going around about the suspension, and everyone has begun to weigh in on what they think about it, and have begun to interpret the law, and what it means to all of us, and also the reasoning behind the CPSIA stay. And from the eMails I'm getting from you guys, I know that you're just not 100% sure if this stay is a good thing...a bad thing...or a misleading thing.
All of it is actually fascinating stuff. Why else would I be here on Super Bowl Sunday blogging about it?? :)
Yes, I've seen the opinions and advice and swarms of info from all over the web - and I think it's all wonderful, as long as it's true and factual might I add.
But are you also wondering what the CPSC thinks of their own CPSIA suspension?
I was wondering that too. So be sure to read the suspension order document in full. Because at the bottom of that document contains a link to another document from Judge Moore. Lots of good stuff in there. But, let me say this. After you read my post here, be sure to go ahead and click on the link to read the entire document in its entirety. Because I'm only posting excepts. Why? Because for God sakes, the Super Bowl starts in 25 minutes!! Go Steelers!! OK, where was I...
So from the CPSC website, The Honorable Thomas H. Moore issued a statement which started with this:
"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) embodies a bold and, for some, painful shift in how product safety is assured in this country."
Painful shift? You can say that again, brother! I mean, um, your Honor Brother.
So I kept reading. A few paragraphs later he continued with this:
"The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) safety requirements have always applied to all manufacturers of children’s products, even the small crafter who makes products at home. But until the enactment of the CPSIA, the government had not required all manufacturers to affirmatively prove that their products complied with those requirements by having them tested. From the outpouring of letters, emails and phone calls to the agency, it is clear that many smaller manufacturers did not know that there were any federal standards that applied to their products, had no idea how to have their products tested and may never have heard of the CPSC, or if they had, did not think this agency had any relevance to their business. Their reaction made a number of things clear:
• That the new electronic media channels, particularly the blogs, are tremendously useful tools for disseminating important information to small businesses, but that they can also be a channel for spreading confusing misinformation,
• That the Commission has not done enough to make the home crafters and other smaller businesses aware of their pre-existing obligations under the law,
• That the new law (CPSIA) has done what the Commission had not been able to do, get the attention of many, many of these smaller manufacturers with respect to their responsibility to assure the safety of their products, and
• That the vast majority of these smaller businesses, while they may not know the specific rules that apply to their products, are likely making safe products, or they would have come to our attention." - This one's my favorite. :)
And two pages later he said this:
"...If there is one message a small manufacturer should take from the
Commission’s action today it is this: If you have been making products without receiving any
safety-related complaints, you should go on making and selling your products. You should,
however, begin to look for and demand that the components you buy are certified as not
containing lead or banned phthalates, as your demands can help to bring the component market
into compliance. You also must familiarize yourself with all of your obligations under the
various laws this agency administers. It is my hope that during this stay our agency will provide
detailed guidance, particularly for the home-based manufacturers, on how to comply with
requirements of the law."
And also this:
"Small businesses also need more guidance from the Commission. We are working on filling that need, but the additional time that this stay will provide will enable us to give common sense information to help the small crafters feel comfortable in making and marketing their products without fear of violating the law."
The above information is excepts from this document:
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS H. MOORE ON THE STAY OF ENFORCEMENT OF CERTAIN OF THE TESTING AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008 January 30, 2009
And you can read the full document at the below link. Read it. It's not a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo, on the contrary it is actually written in nice, plain, good old English.
stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the
crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been
subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA."
(1/30/09: After you read this post below, be sure to see the updated info here.)
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.
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
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. Here's the article from the American Library Association: http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322
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 children's item 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 item you were
hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making
one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So those awesome handmade presents you bought your kiddos this past holiday season won’t be available next
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
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. Here's the article in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.html
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.
I Tweeted this CPSIA news on Wednesday night and wanted to be sure you've seen it too:
Bloomberg reported that the CPSC "Panel Exempts Some Products From U.S. Lead Rules". You can read the CPSIA article on Bloomberg's website here. What did the CPSC specifically exempt?
"The CPSC exempted wool, cotton, silk, gemstones and pearls
in its proposal today. "
Cotton = Fabric.
Woohoo! But wait...before I get all kookily excited about this...tell me...what's your first reaction to that information?
Are you skeptical?
If you've been keeping up with the whole CPSIA fiasco, you're most likely skeptical. You've become little Miss Negative Nelly. And understandably so. Because over the course of the past month or two, there hasn't been much good news regarding the CPSIA. On the contrary, it's been pretty darn bad...whoa has it been bad. And if there was any tiny glimmer or word of good news...it was usually then clarified and followed-up with exceptions...and bad news. It's been an interesting roller-coaster, yes?
So you've learned to take any good news about the CPSIA with a grain of salt.
Well, I think now I can say that I finally see the some light at the end of this tunnel.
Why? Because the news about these exemptions came from Bloomberg. And I'm not a Financial Analyst or anything, I simply worked in the Financial Sector in NYC for seven years, so I'm familiar with them.
Personally, I've never known Bloomberg to not be accurate about their reporting. In the event you're not familiar with Bloomberg, they are a
information network" which pretty much means that I've known them to be a go-to
source for the public and private sector, financial companies and
For example, here are Bloomberg's current Consumer Market headlines from the Industries section of their website:
And of course..."Even though these exemptions have been announced, the CPSC is open to more comments. The deadline is now January 30th.Visit www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.HTML for more info."
So today's Friday. What will you do today, and this weekend?
Will you worry about the CPSIA? Or will you consider possibly having some FUN??
I know what I'm gonna do.
Have an awesome weekend!!!!!!! WOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!
UPDATE: "The exemptions are for unprocessed goods
only. Iow, if it's painted, dyed, screenprinted, embroidered,
appliqued...forget it. No exemption." from commenter Kathleen Fasanella, founder of Fashion Incubator and National Bankruptcy Day.
Please see more comments to this post. Thank you to each of you who continually help clarify the CPSIA, and to everyone who keeps up the fight to save children's items!!
"A Consumer Products Safety Commission spokesperson released a
statement that said the commission is currently looking at what product
categories may be exempt under the law and understands many small
businesses are looking for guidance and determinations before the
See a clip from FOX news on their website here. That clip is creating havoc in the Etsy forums here and elsewhere because it's misleading...they had a "retail expert" named Hitha Prabhakar who they interviewed is getting alot of heat for it on her Twitter and probably her blog too. You'll see why.
I'm actually feeling sympathetic for her since she obviously had no idea what she was getting into with her comments - in my opinion I think she was just not educated on the subject nor the impact, nor the CPSIA Law itself, and let's face it - unless you have been immersed in these CPSIA discussions via message boards, Etsy forum threads, blog posts, tweets, Twitter groups, Facebook groups, etc...you probably wouldn't know what was going on with the CPSC and the CPSIA Law either...nor the dire effects it will have. So she mistakenly didn't really consider the impact of her voice. It happens. Unfortunately...when it happened to her, it was on FOX news. She could've been a voice for us all. Maybe she still can? Check out what's going on over at Challenge & Fun. Very interesting, and most definitely a line of communication which is much needed.
And then if you're like me, after all that you'll yearn for a bit of simplicity, a more accurate article with a nice dose of healthy information in it...so then go read the LA Times article here.
We spent our Christmas Eve at Downtown Disney. Santa Claus was in town...and it was 80 degrees outside. Yes, 80 degrees. So, watching the movie Elf a bajillion times last week, teaching Joey lots of Christmas songs, and then meeting Santa Claus...definitely helped make it feel more like Christmas! :)
Since this would be Joey's first time meeting Santa, I wanted him to be well prepared. We talked about how Santa would ask him what he wanted for Christmas, and how Joey would ask for blocks and crayons and books and cars, etc. - I also figured just in case Joey got shy around Santa Claus, and just so that there would be no confusion...I should probably design an outfit for my kiddo which would let the big bearded guy in red know exactly what my son wanted for Christmas.
We already had the books covered, and I've
taken care of making the clothing, so Joey's outfit pretty much said the
One word, Santa.
That's one of my fun new Ankle Biters designs, inspired by my
kiddos' first time meeting Santa Claus! This super cutesie outfit is
the "ToyBox with Gray Elephants", featuring robots, ships, clowns,
trains, cuckoo-clocks, drums, and race-cars in the playful fabric. It
also has a trim on the hem of the Ankle Biters lounge pants which
features super cute gray elephants to match the shirt!
I was really happy with the way the outfit turned out, it's just such a super happy and super cool little outfit!
And since this
is Lily's very 1st Christmas and her first time meeting Santa Claus too, and because she's just
the most beautiful baby in the entire world, I'm sure Santa would be
completely distracted by her adorableness, and maybe, just maybe, he'd
miss the hint written all over Joey's clothing. And so, just in case, I
made sure to also dress Lily in a shirt with cute little toys on it too. So I made matching outfits for Joey and Lily but Lily's shirt has pink elephants instead of gray. Aren't they cute??!!
I love the way they came out!! I had just made their toybox outfits for them that morning since I was up pretty early. Joey's excitement about Christmas inspired my early morning designing and sewing. I also wanted to be sure that I made some timeless outfits for my babes. I
didn't want to use anything too-Christmas-looking, else they couldn't
wear it after Christmas. So these fabrics worked out really well...because
even after Christmas, it's playtime everyday! :D
Look at how big our awesome kiddos are getting already. Lily at 6 months is still off the charts in height! She's still tall and slim per her Doc. The angle at which I took this photo actually makes her look even taller than she is - haha:
Getting back to our Christmas Eve...Joey has been walking around singing "Santa Claus is coming to town", and "Last Christmas" by George Michael...(what? yes..true.) Anyway, so the big day finally arrived! Here we are meeting Santa Claus! ummm...notice the cute lil kiddo hiding behind me?
Meanwhile, Lily was all up in Santa's face. I think she was going for his beard:
Now take a real good look at Santa. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the real Santa. I mean look at that guy!!
After his little shy act, Joey was all smiles and held Santa's hand...sort of...he gave him 5. :)
After meeting Santa, we toured around Downtown Disney with our double stroller. I love that thing! With our babies being 2 years apart, it's very convenient. It's lightweight, easy to maneuver, and the best part of all is Joey and Lily can sit facing each other, and talk to each other while taking in the sights. Plus it's the cutest thing when Joey reaches over and holds Lily's feet while he's telling her something.
Here's my sweet baby Lily with the big two-tooth smile, wearing the shirt and matching bloomers that I made for her to match her big brother.
Isn't she the most adorable baby you've ever seen?
Downtown Disney is separate from Disney World, it's not located within the theme park - so it's free! There is a huge marketplace located in Downtown Disney filled with all sorts of Christmas lights and holiday sights to see...and of course plenty of Disney shops. But did we buy anything? Nope. We didn't buy a single item. It felt really good to know that all of our Christmas shopping was already done, and lots of handmade gifts were going to be found under the tree the next morning.
So we enjoyed ourselves and stayed away from the over-crowded shops, knowing we had bought handmade toys, online, from Etsy and other handmade and vintage markets, stress-free:
Here we are in front of a Lego sea dragon...
It's a Loch Ness Monster made from several thousand Lego blocks! We thought that was pretty neat. Joey really loved it. Here's a close-up:
I was happily wearing one of my new comfy and cool blouses and pants from Cocoricoo. I have a handful of pieces from them now, and they are so well made, comfortable, and so beautiful!
Oh how I love that dude - the Hubbs Joe...who does so much...and got this fab octopus wallet as a gift from the kiddos.
OK...so here's the family photo with Santa...it's ok to giggle at how
"Disney" we look in this photo. Especially with the blue Mickey and
Minnie Mouse border. We live in Orlando, so we can't help it -- that stuff is everywhere!! :)
That night, Joey and his Dada baked chocolate-chip cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, just before bed. Then the Hubbs Joe helped Joey make a sign for Santa. In this photo, the Hubbs Joe said "Joey, hold up the sign and show Santa what you made for him"...and now look at the expression on Joey's face:
We told Joey to place the sign next to the plate of cookies, so Santa would know the deal. Take cookies, leave gifts.
And man were those cookies good. I'm sure Santa loved them!
Santa Claus (*cough*) ate all the super yummy chocolate chip cookies Joey left for him, and on the empty plate Santa left a beautiful calligraphy letter for Joey, handwritten on Santa Claus letterhead!
The letter was awesome, one of the elves over at Della Carta's Etsy shop helped write it. It was a poem letter all about Joey being on the nice list, how he's a wonderful big brother, how he cleans up his toys and brushes his teeth. It was all about Joey, and really very sweet. You can click on the below photo if you'd like to zoom in and read the sweet letter:
How do we know it was actually Santa Claus who put the gifts under our Christmas tree while we were all asleep? Because this Mama had a tripod setup in the living room, with a motion-sensor timer on the camera, all ready to snap a photo for proof! OK, not really...but I did manage to capture the magic.
Take a look:
How fab is that?! So on Christmas morning when Joey woke up, after we all wished each other a Merry Christmas, we were then sure to keep Joey away from the living room for a few minutes, because the fun was about to begin. It was just getting light out, and I laid out the Christmas morning outfits for the kiddos, and while the Hubbs Joe was getting Joey and Lily dressed, I grabbed the video camera, along with the above photo of Santa, and also the letter from Santa Claus himself.
Then I went into Joey's room with Aleethea following me, and I reminded him that today is the day we've been waiting for! I showed Joey the picture of Santa leaving gifts under the tree, and I asked him "Joey...who is that?" and "What is he doing?" - Joey said Santa was decorating the tree. hehe. When I told him Santa ate all the delicious cookies, and left a letter for him...he got all excited that Santa left him some mail. So I read the letter to him and we watched his face light up when I read the part of the letter which said Santa Claus left presents for him under the tree. So we ran down the hall. The Hubbs Joe was carrying Lily so he didn't run...and I had to be sure I ran the fastest so that I could get to the living room first in order to catch Joey's expression on video. This Christmas thing...it's alot of work! :)
And so when Joey got to the living room, this is what he saw:
And this is what he did:
That "snow" on the ground is 2 bags of batting from the craft store. Aint it fab? I've never thought of doing that ever before...this is the 1st Christmas I've done that, and we've officially started a little tradition. The idea of using batting as snow on the ground around the Christmas tree just hit me on Christmas Eve. I think it was because of all the nostalgia which surrounds Christmas, and all the thoughts of Christmases past...such as my memories of all those department store displays that I grew up seeing in Manhattan, especially the Macy's Christmas windows on 34th Street in NYC. So I wanted to bring a little bit of white Christmas here to our home in Orlando, for Joey. I'm not sure who loved it more. Him, or me. But it sure was fun to watch him run thru the snow to grab his presents!!
This was Lily's very first Christmas, and she was really enjoying herself too. She helped Joey open up his gifts and drooled every where she could. Look at her sitting up! She can now sit up by herself for quite a few minutes...approximately 20 minutes!! Yes, I timed it...it's like...I'm getting a couple of mini vacations during the day these days! Good times. Do you know how much I can get done in 20 minutes while Lily sits in her playpen??!! That is a WHOLE other post.
But anyways...it's much easier to take photos of Lily nowadays since I don't need to rush into the shot and catch her before she falls over.
Joey had fun with some cute Christmas tags from the elves at StampinMomand some cute little stickers from the elves at PaperPumpkin which he stuck on our living room window, overlooking the palm-tree outside and the Xmas tree inside...which enhanced our view quite a bit.
Here's Joey opening up his wooden mini-vehicles from the elves over at Clickity Clack:
Lily liked them too...as did Aleethea, but they're meant for Joey:
But he's really great at sharing his toys with his little sister. Look at how she admires him.
Here's Aleethea's watching Lily attempt to open up a gift:
And enjoying Christmas with her babies. :)
I found these super lovely cone-gnomes on Flickr the week before Christmas and just had to have them. A red one for Lily and a blue for Joey. They're from Cutesy Poo Toys and I adore them.
We actually didn't let Lily eat the entire toy...although she really wanted to. I'm thinking her uppers may be coming in...good thing we have these fab little wooden teething rattles from one of our fave Etsy shops. Lily also got a cute soft baby doll from her YiaYia which she loves, she squeals when she plays with it. Aleethea also got some new toys, and of course, a bone. Thank you YiaYia!
Anytime Joey plays with one of his toys these days, especially any of
the handmade toys we bought from Etsy shops, I can't help but think of
the CPSIA (see here for details) and the thought of these days possibly being the last days of some of these toys. Sounds so sad and heartbreaking at this moment, doesn't it? But it's
probable, and some businesses have already went out of business
because of this. This could very well be the very last Christmas for many thousands of toymakers and
businesses which carry not only toys but also clothing, books,
accessories, jewelry, and any products at all for children under 12
years of age! Unless the CPSIA law is changed, each seller would need to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars of testing for each item they make. Which is for sure out of the question for plenty of businesses. Find out what you can do to help here. And if you love your handmade items, be sure to show those shops lots of love before February 10th, 2009...and shop there while you still can...because after that date, your favorite shops may no longer be in business!
My children's boutique, Joey & Aleethea, is currently closed for the holiday season...but no worries, I'm not going anywhere.
Another perfect example of the best of handmade toys is right here. Here's one of Joey's favorite gifts from Santa. It's a woodpecker, handcrafted by the elves at Stump Pond Toys' Etsy shop. This little cutie is even more beautiful and much cooler in person:
Joey completely loves that woodpecker. It's one of Joey's new "quiet-time" toys...which is wonderful. Joey taps the little woodpecker's head to get it going down the pole, then he says "Look Mama, he's pecking. The woodpecker is pecking." as he watches the little bird ever-so-gently peck his way downward. When the woodpecker reaches the bottom, with the tiny sound of a little peck, Joey lets out a sweet amused laugh.
So that was Christmas. Without a doubt, this was my best Christmas ever. My beloved family...my husband, my son, my daughter, my dog. I have everything I could ever want or need.
And now, a couple of days away from New Year's, it still feels like Christmas because at least twice daily Joey still says "Merry Christmas Mama. Merry Christmas Dada. Merry Christmas Baby. Merry Christmas Aleethea." :)
Happy Holidays from our family to yours...and cheers to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!!!!
Here's one of my recent designs - these fab little baby to toddler pants are handmade from one of my favorite mod fabrics. These are my "Mediterranean Blue Vines" Ankle Biters. Trimmed with a super cute kawaii elephant fabric.
Guess who's sweet little feet are peeking out the bottom of these sweet little handmade lounge pants?
You guessed it! That's my baby!!
The only thing cuter than that outfit...is my baby!! :)
The CPSC is requesting comments on Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act...otherwise known as the relatively-new-to-you yet life-changing CPSIA.
Yes, they're requesting comments! Here's what they're saying:
"The Commission staff invites comments on Section 102 of the CPSIA, Mandatory Third-Party Testing for Certain Children’s Products. The staff requests comments specifically on third-party testing of component parts."
Do something today!
"Comments must be received by the Office of the Secretary no later than January 30, 2009. Comments may be filed by email to Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov. Comments may also be filed by facsimile to (301) 504-0127 or by mail or delivery to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. Comments should be captioned “Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts.” Interested persons will also have additional opportunities to comment following publication of any notices of rulemaking proceedings in the Federal Register which are commenced under this section."
Read the details here and tell them what you think. Take those blog posts you've written and paste them into an eMail to the CPSC!
And be sure to spread the word!
Not sure what I'm talking about? Read my previous blog post here.
Over the past couple of days, I've received a bunch of eMails from my lovely lurkers quiet blog followers -- and I say that lovingly -- and also from my Etsy friends and customers -- with so many questions about my most recent blog post where I mentioned the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Most of those questions I could not answer and wouldn't even consider speculating upon. Questions such as who and what will be effected by this new law, questions asking me to clarify and confirm your own interpretations of the law. Although I fully understand your concerns because I share those same concerns, let me start by saying this...
I am not a lawyer, and would never pretend to be one.
Also, I am not an alarmist, and prefer to seek solutions rather than add to chaos. That being said, had I immediately attempted to answer your questions, as Joey & Aleethea your fellow Etsy seller, your favorite designer who owns your favorite handmade children's boutique, :) your blogland friend, and also as your EtsyBloggers Admin and Team Leader...I would've been causing more confusion rather than clarity. And that's just not how I roll.
So, as a more general response, and to save you from the research which has kept me awake lately (even more than usual), here's the info in a nutshell:
Earlier this year the US Congress passed the CPSIA, and on August 14th 2008, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act into law. That sentence alone is scary enough. My first thought was January 20th just cannot arrive soon enough.
So what exactly is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act?
The CPSIA of 2008 will effect everyone who makes items for children under the age of 12, and everyone who buys products for children under the age of 12. In order to be in compliance with the new law, costly third-party testing and certification would be required for all products for children under 12, stating these items are lead-free and phthalates-free. This would apply to all products inclusive of handmade items, vintage items, and any items made - either for sale or for free - for children (other than your own) under the age of 12.
As simplified as I tried to write those sentences...can you imagine who and what that encompasses? Think about that for a moment.
Yeah, pretty much everyone.
Pretty ridiculous, yes?
That's why each and every one of us need to do something about this well-intentioned...yet not well-thought out law.
Etsy has written this open letter entitled "Handmade Children's Items & Unintended Consequences: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act". It's imperative that you read it, you can find it here.
Thank you to my commenter on my previous post who said "It is actually public law 110-314'', -- not PL 110-787. Interestingly enough, that commenter pointed to a website by the name of National Bankruptcy Day which apparently was started because of this ridiculous yet very real Law. Scary again, yes? Yeah I know, sorry. But it happens to be a blog that I've been reading lately. That blog began on Nov. 23rd, and their first post was to introduce a location to track this whole mess issue, and it serves as very informational. Kudos to them. There are several helpful links on that website's right-side column. Their blog headline reads "February 10, 2009 untold numbers of children's products manufacturers and retailers will be closing their doors."
Want to read exactly what this Act entails? Here's the CPSIA FAQ - but
fair warning - it's a head spinner - and will undoubtedly raise more
questions and concerns. Personally, I'm staying away from it from now on. I consider this link to you...my closure on that document: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.pdf
Take action right now by being informed and contacting your representatives.
2) Follow the links they provide in that article to contact your representative.
3) Blog about this. Talk about this. Share this with everyone you know that has a child, or that ever was a child.
4) Blog about this. Yes, this must be stressed. Blog about this. Not just today, but tomorrow too. You don't need to write a whole lot about it, you just need to share the info, or a feeling, or point to my blog. Whatever you feel you should do, just do it. Share a link. Mention it. Blog.
5) Last but certainly not least, share your story via a simple form on the website of the Office of the President-Elect, Barack Obama.
Why am I telling you to follow my suggestion and tell Obama?
Well...do you think this needs to be changed?
How many of you actually think this is something Barack Obama would support?
Part of me wants to say the heck with the middleman...let's take it to the top...I feel like we need a hero right now!!
Like Gotham City is in trouble again, with the Joker doing yet one more thing against the people.