Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another CPSIA Post

Just found this link posted on one of the Etsy forum threads, thought I'd pass it along.

http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/archive/endorsement-of-the-nam-plan/

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Awesome new HBP poster!



I found this on a blog as I was doing my EntreCard drops today. I hadn't seen it before, I think it's really cool.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!



Hope everyone has an awesome Christmas! The pic here is from Christmas 2004, the production of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If I remember right it was used as the production's Christmas card that year. Click the image to see an enlarged version.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vote to fix CPSIA at Change.org

I'll post a link here, you can also use the widget to the right...this is so important, let's all make our voices heard! As of this posting we are #1 in our category and #4 overall, this round ends Dec. 31 and round 2 is January 5th-16th. Top 3 issues in each category in round 1 go on to round 2, and top 10 of round 2 will be presented to President-Elect Obama on Inauguration Day. This top 10 will also be taken up by the non profit organizations that are partnered with change.org and given their own publicity campaign.

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

You have to register and log in to vote, but it only takes a couple minutes. Vote and pass the link on to as many people as you can!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Matthew Waterhouse!



OK, I'll bet you're thinking, who the heck is Matthew Waterhouse??? When I was a kid there was a British science fiction show called Doctor Who on PBS, Matthew Waterhouse played a character called Adric. I was totally madly in love with him back then! Well, I was only maybe 10 or 12 years old, sort of a first crush thing I guess...anyway I met him back in 2003 at a convention he attended as a celebrity guest (the first Dr Who con I'd ever been to!), here's a couple pics. (I still haven't figured out how to get the pics where I want them, I meant for them to be below this text block! I see other blogs with text between pics all the time and I haven't figured it out yet....)

That's me with him in the bottom pic and my daughter (then 12, now 17) with him in the top pic. I kept pinching him when it was my turn for the pic (probably thinking "OMG somebody pinch me!"), I probably gave the poor guy a bruise! When I tried to say hi to him it came out "hello dear", afterwards I was like, OMG I made an idiot of myself! Anyway I just remembered it's his birthday today so I thought I'd post about it.

I wonder how he feels about his birthday being so close to Christmas? I've heard some people don't like it, I heard of one guy who celebrates his birthday in June instead.

Crap vol. 2, AKA Getting Personal

I had originally intended this blog to be just about my crafting business, but lately it seems like I want to write more about personal stuff...pardon me if this gets whiny.....

I just feel like crap today (I think I'm overusing that word a bit, but it fits!)...snow is coming down hard and fast, we're supposed to have nearly a foot by morning...the kids have been annoying as heck today, it was announced that their schools were going to get out early due to the weather so they both decided they didn't want to go to school at all and refused to get out of bed this morning (I haven't been sleeping well lately so I was too tired to fight with them about it)....I told them they're going to be expected to help shovel and they acted like it was some totally unexpected and unfair thing--HELLO, they're 13 and 17, I think they're old enough to take some responsibility around the house! I was out shoveling by the time I was 8 years old....

Oh and then there's my ex bf......if you're on Etsy and saw my "Crappy Couple Days" post in the Etc. section of the forums you'll know what I'm talking about, not sure I should go into too much detail about it here...suffice to say I've found out some really creepy things about him and I'm really dreading seeing him at the family Christmas parties because of it....the kids know too and they're acting really weird towards him, he asked me on the phone today what's going on with them and I didn't really know what to say.

I think once I get the kids to bed I'm going to go get in bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry myself to sleep....between CPSIA potentially shutting down my business Feb. 10th and the personal crap I have going on things are just too stressful....I really would just love to, as my mom often says, move without a forwarding address! :-(

Email

Twitter (use Direct Message or @ reply, otherwise I probably won't see it)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crap, crap, crap....

The wireless access on my laptop is out, I've been trying the last couple days to do my EntreCard drops on my (turtle-slow) desktop with dialup access and the blogs I try to drop on take forever to load. I just wanted to post to let people know, normally I try to drop on everyone in my drop inbox every day but lately I really can't. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon, I'm getting really frustrated with it.

Update: I finally got it working...such a simple thing, all I had to do was uninstall the wireless network adapter and reboot the computer!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ask President-Elect Obama to Help Fix CPSIA

The Obama transition team has a website where people can post questions they want Obama to answer or issues they want him to look into when he gets into office. Go to the following link and do a search (using the search bar on the left, not the top) on CPSIA. Seven questions will come up, personally I voted for all of them. Click the check mark next to the one(s) you wish to vote for. You'll have to register and log in, but it only asks for your name, email address, and zip code. Here's the site link:

http://change.gov/page/content/openforquestions

We need as many people as possible to do this, he needs to understand how bad this law will be for the country if it's enforced as it is written.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Links with updated CPSIA info

There's a new post at the Fashion Incubator website, http://www.fashion-incubator.com/blog/ with clarifications on what's going on with CPSIA. Also Etsy finally has a Storque article up, they're inviting the CPSC Ombudsman to come in for a web chat to help us understand what's happening and what we need to do. Here's the link to that: http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/. There's no date set on the Etsy Labs link yet, hopefully the CPSCO will agree to come meet with us. I suppose we have to just keep checking back to see if/when something gets scheduled. IMO as many people as possible should attend said meeting, yeah we all have the same concerns but the more people come the more we can show the Ombudsman that this is serious, not just a small group of whiners trying to get away with not following the rules.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just to break up the monotony....


A little while ago I thought, gee this blog is turning into an obituary for the US children's products market....thought I'd post something to, if nothing else, cheer myself up a bit! If you've looked at my Etsy site you probably know that I donate part of my sales to Demelza House Children's Hospice, the favored charity of British actor Daniel Radcliffe. Thought I'd post some pics and recent video of the awesome young man who, while being famous as "boy wizard" Harry Potter, has gone forth in his career and will in the future be known for much greater things (yes, I'm gushing a bit!) The pics here are from the original publicity campaign for the London run of the play Equus, I have the one on the top left as the desktop wallpaper on my computer. :-) My daughter and I went to see Equus on Broadway for her birthday in September, it was awesome! I wish we could go again, we had a great time, unfortunately we can't afford it. Equus runs at the Broadhurst Theater in NYC until February 8th, I believe. You can check out the website www.equusonbroadway.com for more info.

Here's some video of Dan on Inside the Actor's Studio:

http://www.danradcliffe.co.uk/index.php/news/23-videos-dan-radcliffe-on-inside-the-actors-studio

And on E!'s Daily 10 talking about Equus, Deathly Hallows, and Twilight (speaking of Twilight, I've seen a few interviews Robert Pattinson has done--is it just me or does he always look like he just got out of bed? Check out his hair sometime.....):

http://www.danradcliffe.co.uk/index.php/news/4-post-video-dan-radcliffe-talks-deathly-hallows-equus-a-twilight

Another site with great CPSIA info

http://www.thesmartmama.com/bg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=195&Itemid=23

Awesome Post!

I love this post from the Etsy forum! I'll post a link to the thread too, some great info there:

LiveFromPlanetB
LiveFromPlanetB says:
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE visit:
http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/
as well as:
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/new-product-safety-regulations-that-affect-all-manufacturers/

A lot of us who sell on Etsy and try our best to live the independent/handmade lifestyle are going to be shutting our doors come February - and no one knows! The cost of the lab testing required by CPSIA are extrordinarily high-priced, and the methods imposed by the new legislation were not written with independent manufacturers or small businesses in mind - yet it still affects us completely.

Small, medium and large retailers are also going to be shutting down, because all old inventory has to be destroyed as it is not compliant with the new CPSIA. We really need to get the word out, this is a horrible issue that all consumers, artists, designers and manufacturers need to take action on. We need everyone who cares about small business and handmade goods to write their congresspeople, urging them to rewrite and rethink the legislation. The good people are going to suffer for the sins of mass-production evil.

Write your congressman, your congresswoman! --> http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

VISIT http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/ for more in-depth info about the new regulations.
------------------------------------------------------------
Here's a link to the thread this is on, it's long but there's awesome links and info here: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5935591

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sad today

I feel like I haven't been here for a few days, but I just looked and my last post was last night. I've just been so bummed out by this whole CPSIA thing, it's hard to believe the people who wrote this had no idea the true impact it would have. Earlier today I found a link to a story about a German company who is shutting down their US distribution because of CPSIA.

http://www.zrecommends.com/detail/breaking-news-selecta-to-cease-us-distribution-due-to-cspia/

It makes me want to cry!!!! Historically speaking Germany make some of the best toys in the world, and Europe's safety standards are way stricter than ours here in the US. It's just that the damned stupid testing would price their wonderful toys out of the market.

I'd been thinking about expanding my creative efforts into art (drawing/painting) and maybe pottery, but until this CPSIA thing came up I never thought I'd have to do that to REPLACE my current products!! I haven't had any new items in my shop(s) lately, and I think it's purely because the stress over this whole thing is killing my creative impulses...I haven't done any crochet work for days. :-( I struggle with depression as it is and this isn't helping!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A few more links to keep handy

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/

This page has been a great resource for news about the CPSIA issue.

http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/smbus.html

Here's a link to the contact info for the Small Business Ombudsman of the CPSC. Someone EVERYONE should be contacting, I think.

Oh, and I found this too. I've seen comments on some forums to the effect of, what happens if we all just ignore this? With that in mind, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau might be important reading. I found a link to a website with the text of the book here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog with awesome letter about CPSIA

I saw this link posted on the Etsy forums today, the letter this blogger had made up is really fantastic. We all need to write to whoever we can to get across the idea that CPSIA needs to be changed. I've also added the text below.

http://mollyodesigns.blogspot.com/

I am writing on behalf of my self and other small manufacturers of children’s apparel and textile products throughout the United States to express our concerns regarding the lead and lead in paint standards as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

We want to first emphasize that many of us are parents ourselves and care as much about the safety of our children as anyone. We welcome measures that will help to ensure greater child safety with regard to lead. However, such measures are only effective if they target the real risks.

Lead in children’s apparel and other textile products pose little risk

There is very little research to support the notion that lead in textiles presents a significant risk to children. On the contrary, in his presentation to the May 13, 2008 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) roundtable, Understanding the Pending Legislation and the Use of Lead in Consumer Products, Mr. Hardy Poole makes the argument that the lead content in textiles is actually very low. Mr. Poole, president of the National Textile Association, is considered a leading expert in the textile industry with than 30 years of experience including working with the CPSC on fabric flammability standards.

In his presentation, Mr. Poole cited dyes, dyestuffs and pigments used in coloring fabrics as the primary source of lead in textiles and pointed out that the dyes produced by the major suppliers to the U.S. textile industry are already required to comply with the standards for trace metal impurities. These standards allow a maximum lead content of 100 ppm, which is well below the CPSC interim goal of 300 ppm and consistent with the ultimate goal of 100 ppm. Mr. Poole added that these suppliers offer no lead complex dyes and that he knows of no operation in the United States using lead-based pigments in the dyes produced for the textile industry. Currently, there is no lead added to yarns or fabrics manufactured domestically. Regarding imported textiles, Mr. Poole indicated that the testing of imported fibers and fabrics reveal none or only trace levels of lead.

It is important for the CPSC to recognize that the majority of the materials used to manufacture apparel and other textile products are inherently lead-free. Textiles (both synthetic and natural) and thread are inherently lead-free. While trace elements may be found in some dyes, those amounts are well below the regulatory limits and the consensus in the industry is that lead is not found in or used in textile dyes. Even if trace materials existed in the materials used to produce the textiles, very little would remain on finished fabrics because of the low application levels and the washing that occurs during processing.

Without prudent regulation and clear guidance from the CPSC, the CPSIA will result in unintended and devastating consequences to manufacturers of children’s products that pose little to no risk of lead exposure to children.

The costs of unnecessary testing and its impact on our businesses:

Requiring expensive tests on inherently lead-free products to verify that they, in fact, don’t contain lead will only add financial burdens to small manufacturers and ultimately consumers – most of whom are already suffering from the current economic climate – while providing no improvement in consumer or product safety.

We recognize that some types of children’s apparel contain components that may contain lead. However, metal, painted plastic, and vinyl components in children’s apparel (painted and/or metal buttons, snaps, zippers, decals, etc.) are adequately regulated under the requirements for third party testing for lead in paint.

The CPSC has the authority to exclude components and classes of products from the lead ban. Accordingly, we urge the CPSC to issue guidance that makes clear that textiles and apparel are only subject to the lead and lead in paint requirements to the extent that a component presents a risk that it contains lead.

We are also concerned about the apparent requirement to test the component – both as a stand alone component and also as an element of the entire garment. This redundancy greatly multiplies the cost associated with testing.

For example, the cost of digestive testing for lead is in the range of $130 to $180 per test. A garment with two metal component parts, such as a zipper and snaps, would have to test each component separately at a cost of $360. Previously, a small manufacturer might have been spread these costs out over several styles by incorporating the same zippers and snaps into several styles. Let’s assume a manufacturer produces 10 styles. Now, with new regulations that require testing of each component part after it is removed from a sample garment, one in each style, the costs of testing increase dramatically to $3,600.

These costs multiply exponentially if companies are now required to test fabrics and threads for lead, or if different dyes also trigger their own lead tests. Going back to the previous example, if each style contains six components – body fabric, lining, knit cuff, thread, snap, and zipper, as well as 5 possible dye options – the number of tests increases to more than 300, or $108,000 to for just 10 styles in addition to the actual costs of production. Any small manufacturer that survives these costs – and there aren’t many of us that can – will necessarily have to pass them on to our customers. So, consumers end up on the losing end, too.

CPSC should exempt lead testing for those components and articles that are inherently lead-free and require testing for only those components that may contain lead.

And, what do we do with our inventories? In its September 12 memorandum in which CPSC general counsel advised that “products that contain lead above the limit set in the CPSIA cannot be sold from inventory or on store shelves on or after February 10, 2009.”

Many of us operate on extremely small margins. We cannot sell the merchandise we currently have in stock that we made prior to the standards ever having been approved, nor can we afford the testing required for each and every component of a finished product on top of the cost for testing the finished product – the vast majority of which are inherently lead-free or only present trace levels of lead, well below unsafe or regulatory limits. Requiring us to dispose of all our inventory and imposing huge testing costs on producing new inventory to replace it will force many of us to shut down our operations for good.

What happens to us will effect the U.S. Economy

Based on an analysis of 2002 U.S. Census data, which is the most current available for the apparel manufacturing industry, the Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing industry, which includes most categories of small manufacturers of infant’s and children’s apparel, is comprised of more than 40,000 companies. Of these, almost 28,000, or 68%, are sole proprietors contributing a total of $900 million to our nation’s economy. Thus, while our businesses are small, they comprise well more than the majority of the apparel manufacturing businesses currently operating in this country.

In addition to small manufacturers who work with apparel industry contractors, consider also the numerous home-based businesses that produce children’s apparel and sell directly to the consumer. These businesses are best characterized as “micro-manufacturers” who commonly produce several styles but in very small quantities. For these businesses to test for lead in every textile component of each and every style would exponentially increase the costs to produce a garment, which would effectively raise the price well beyond what the market will bear. They simply cannot survive these costs.

While it is important to ensure compliance under the CPSIA, at the same time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must also ensure that implementation of consumer product safety standards does not involve burdensome requirements or extraordinary costs.

Unfortunately, by exempting this rulemaking from the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which would require the CPSC to prepare and make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the lead content testing rule on small apparel manufacturing businesses, Congress has circumvented the public discourse necessary to truly ascertain the CPSIA’s impact on small business. As written, the CPSIA ignores the wide variety of small business models that comprise the children’s apparel manufacturing industry and the fact that the majority are indeed small businesses.

Every small manufacturer of children’s apparel shares the goal of the CPSC – ensuring that only safe products are permitted to reach the consumer. We believe this is best achieved by implementing and enforcing the CPSIA (specifically the lead and lead in paint standards) in a manner that focuses on risks.

Although I am sending this letter to you as an individual, I can assure you that these comments share the support of many others who, like me, want to continue providing necessary and safe products to American consumers. While we believe there are some components in textile and apparel products that may fall under the lead standards, we believe the vast majority of products and components are inherently lead-free and should thus be excluded from the standards.

We urge the CPSC to issue guidance that makes clear that textiles and apparel are only subject to the lead and lead in paint requirements to the extent that a component presents a risk that it contains lead.

Sincerely, [Your name or business name]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another blog about CPSIA

Here's another great blog you can follow to get more information about CPSIA:

http://cpsiabadforsmallbusiness.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Link to Facebook Group re CPSIA

I'm not on FaceBook myself but if anyone reading this is there's a group there trying to mobilize support for the movement to get CPSIA changed. Here's the link:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38306568596

CPSIA Will Destroy Handmade Movement For Children's Goods!!!

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in reaction to the spate of recalls of toys manufactured in China, passed a law intended to protect children called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). On the face of it this is a good thing, however the testing requirements outlined in the Act will be cost prohibitive for most (possibly all) small business owners. Even some larger businesses are freaking out about it! (See the links to Rick Woldenberg's comments at a CPSC conference here (http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/). There's another great article about the situation here (http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/national-bankruptcy-day/).

I will continue to post links to articles as I find them. This legislation will adversely affect the public's ability to buy safe products for their children, because the only people who will be selling anything will be the scofflaws who won't care about keeping their products safe. Those of us who DO care will be put out of business because we can't afford the required testing.

PLEASE, if you care about buying safe handmade articles for your children, do everything you can to fight this! For starters, there's a petition here (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/?e), if you believe in this issue please sign it and pass it on to as many people as possible. There's also a link on the National Bankruptcy Day website to contact the CPSC, if enough people complain about this to them hopefully they'll do something to fix this. You can also contact your Senators and Representatives in Congress to impress upon them the seriousness of this issue.

New items up on Etsy and new shop on ShopHandmade.com

Got a few new items up on Etsy, check them out on http://ruthscreations.etsy.com. Also I just started another shop on www.shophandmade.com (heck, the more the merrier, right?), I'm still putting things up there but if you'd like to check it out here's the link: http://www.shophandmade.com/Store/Ruthscreations

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Listing Up!


More Crocheted Flowers! Different color this time, I'm working on expanding the line.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17928269

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale!

I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop, 30% off all items. Sale ends Wednesday, December 3rd at midnight. Come see!

http://ruthscreations.etsy.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's been a while!

Yeesh, it's been a few days since I posted! Wireless service on my laptop was out and dialup is slow as molasses here. Anyway, I've signed up for a few spots on On The Hour, one is at 8am est/dst (in about half an hour) and I have consecutive spots tomorrow 8am-5pm. You can check the site out at this link: http://etsy.ownthehour.com/

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sick kids and no phone service today!


My son threw up on the bus yesterday morning and was brought back home, he stayed home sick today as well. Whatever he has my dd caught it too, she stayed home today too. It was an oddly quiet day, we realized at about noon that the phone was dead! We called the phone company and they said they didn't have anyone available to come out until tomorrow afternoon at around 5pm. Oh well, thank goodness for cellphones! At least I have a laptop on broadband wireless service so I can get online, I'm not cut off from working on my Etsy shop listing and promoting my items. It's kind of frustrating when you pick up the phone and there's just dead air though. Anyway, I got this listed today:




Here's a pic, this listing is the pink one I have another listing up for the red one:

(The pic is still ending up at the top of the post! Still figuring this stuff out I guess.)

Fun Sale Thread on Etsy Forums

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5894847

Come join us, it's great!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OBAMA WINS!!!!!!


Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama! After eight years on a downhill slope we now have hope that our great country will be a better place in the future. I am proud to be among the millions of people who voted for you. :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Listing Up and Cool News


Got another new hat listed today, pretty similar to the others I've put up recently.


Hmm, let's see if I can get a picture up....Hey cool it worked! I was kind of expecting it to be at the bottom of the text though, ah well I'm still figuring this whole blogging thing out. And the cool news I referenced in the title? Well, I know I haven't mentioned it before on this but I am a huge fan of a British Science Fiction TV show called Doctor Who. One of the many conventions that are run by fans of the show is actually a once a year cruise, the website is www.scificruise.com. There's a guy called Nick Courtney that was on the show years ago, has done many conventions in the past. He was actually on the first SFSC I ever did, and he's going to be on it again in April! :-) Very cool for me, my daughter and I are going and it's going to be 10 (8? not sure) days in the deep eastern Caribbean, Puerto Rico, down that way. It's going to be tons of fun, I can tell already! When we met him before he was a really lovely guy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Neat!

OMG I have 800 followers on Twitter! How cool is that??

Interview Link!

OK I've sent in the interview I mentioned in my last post, it will be up at this link soon:

http://www.binasblog-sabina.blogspot.com

Enjoy!

How exciting is this!

I'm being interviewed for someone else's blog! Watch this space for more info! :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New listing is up!

The problem with categories and views has been fixed, and I just now listed a new hat! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16816038 here it is, and there's also a pic of it in my Etsy Mini, as of this posting it's on the left side of the top row. Enjoy!

Etsy search malfunctioning

There's a lot of buzz on the Etsy forums right now that categories are frozen and sellers' newly listed items aren't showing up in searches. I've been trying to list something every day recently, but I think I'm going to take a break for a while until Etsy Admin gets the problem sorted out. There's already a pretty good selection available on my shop page at RuthsCreations.Etsy.Com, come check it out! :-)

I love Etsy!

I'm doing my Christmas shopping for this year on www.Etsy.com. Gotta support my fellow creative peeps! Heehee peeps, makes me think of marshmallow chicks....anyway here's some links for the items I bought so far.

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11357277 MoonMaidenSoap's Goat's Milk Soap, the scent I chose was Mint Chocolate. Sounds yummy!

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11357010 ByeGoneArts' Handwritten Celtic Calligraphy. I know someone who will truly love this!

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11357009 AutumnOak's Oakmoss Glycerin Soap. Hope the intended recipient likes it!

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11357008 StonesOfHealing's Stress Be Gone necklace. The intended recipient has been under a lot of stress lately, I hope it helps her. Heck, another was listed after I purchased it, I may get one for myself!

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11356815 KnottyByNature's Linoprint Bookmarks. I know an avid reader who could really use these!

I haven't quite figured out how to post pictures, I'm pretty new to this whole blogging thing. Anyway you can see everything via the links. Enjoy!