Friday, January 30, 2009

Some good news for Handmade Toys and other Items!

"Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger. These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements. The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted. The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay."

As a small business owner, this is good news! Hopefully, they will review the CPSIA and require producers to test items that could possibly contain lead and not require all componets such as fabrics and other components that would never contain lead in the first place, to also be tested. The cost of the tests is very steep. As I have said before, I want my items that I create to be safe for everyone and I want items that are imported to be safe for all to use, including children.

February is here! Will the groundhog see his shadow tomorrow??? February 02 was the birthday of my maternal grandmother, Bessie O'Hara Bullinger.

The wind has been blowing very hard here by the mountains...75 mph the other day. Hard to stay standing when the wind blows that hard. It is no surprise that the wind is blowing...because it always blows here on the east side of the mountains...but there are days when it is just too much! The wind makes the temperature that much colder and it is hard to enjoy being outside.

I had an order for a "Flock" of lambs the other day...okay, so four lambs probably does not qualify as a Flock., but they were so very cute...I will add their picture in this posting.

I have joined a group of artisans from Etsy who are planning on making a quilt to "Save Handmade Toys!". I have to get my quilt block made. That is my next project.

Update on Turk...he is home and doing well. He is living in the front porch until his leg heals. He has been really good about living in the porch and going for leashed walks. Turk loves to roll in the snow drifts that remain and you can see him put his head into the wind and sniff all the wonderful outdoor smells. He looks at us with his big brown eyes pleading to be let go and to roam his territory once again. He has something like 42 days or some such to be under "house arrest"...porch arrest. He is not a house dog...Anatolians have two coats of fur and even though he is short-haired...he absolutely loves being outside in any weather...and when the weather is too bad he loves to go into his very large dog house filled with fresh straw! But, I have to admit he is taking this confinement really well. When he had his first leg surgery a few years ago...he was not at all liking the "porch" thing. He tore down the curtain on the door, and he was practicing opening the door with his teeth wrapped around the door knob...Turk is very mellow (unless you are a bear or coyote or other predator) and he is a total gentlemen when he is in town or at the Vet's. He rides well in the vehicle -- jumps in and out of the back of my van when he has to go to the vet's. There is a picture here on my blog of him taken a few years ago. Turk is four years old going on five in November. We do love him. I have inserted a picture of Turk, so you don't have to search for his picture.

I had better close this and get back to my chores. You all take care and enjoy and be kind to each other!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The sun is shining!

...the sun is shining and the sky is blue...what, no wind today! Can that be? We have had some very nice temps in the past few days! Yay! Superb! In the 40's for us is like may go into the the 50's today -- early summer temps! Another big Yay!

...the snow has melted -- a lot -- so now there is the ice that remains and it is very difficult to walk about outside...I hang on to everything I can...yard fences, vehicles parked by the yard gate...tall dogs...the 4-wheeler...anything that I can to get over to the quonset and check on my chickens. All that for one or two eggs...the "girls" hens are on vacation from egg laying...must have been the weather.

...had to take my Turk (Anatolian), who is a canine to the vet the other day because he was limping on his back leg. Well, it was not the best of news...$$$$ first it was thought he had fractured a bone, but developed into something with his tendons...he is at the vet's office so they can watch him to see if everything is going well. The vet is 3 hours away. We will probably go sometime next week to bring him home. He may become a house dog! He is very large and lives outside, since he is a guard dog. Maybe a porch dog and only outside with my supervision. Poor Turk, he will not understand this at all. The vets say he has been a real dream to take care of. This is Turk's second orthopedic surgery...$$$$...he is now a very mega expensive dog. Perhaps I should consider Health and Life insurance for Turk at this point, especially health insurance...know any good canine health insurance company"s???

...Well, I must end this little memo and get back to other duties that are calling for me...

...may your day go well!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Are you seeing hearts?

I know it is only the 9th of January, but are you comtemplating sending anyone a little something special for Valentine's Day? I am seeing "hearts" where ever I look in my studio at this time of the year. I love the shape of a heart anytime of the year, and usually incorporate a heart into most of my Flock designs. Red or pink is such a nice highlight color for my little black lamb stencil designs!

I made a special little lamb for Valentine's Day and she found a home so very fast, that I have to make some more! I will post her picture here today. The first lamb is a size number one and the second picture is a size three. You can visit my shop to view them both (at this time the size 3 is in my "sold" items).
The snow that we had and cold have passed for the time being. We had some weather in the 40's and most of the snow melted. It did snow last night but did not amount to very much. Listening to the news last night and this morning to the road closures and weather advisories, it sounds as though other areas to the east of us are having quite a time with the weather and blowing snow.
I am making decorative pillows at this time. There is nothing I love more than hand sewing! Whenever I made a quilted garment, I could hardly wait until the machine sewing was completed so I could do the hand quilting! It is very good that I enjoy hand sewing because my little and big lambs take a whole lot of stitches to complete them and patience is the key word.
Also, good thread and wonderful bee's wax! I never begin hand sewing without first waxing my thread!!! I have bee's wax at all my sewing areas. It makes the thread so much "stronger" and easier to sew with. Real bee's wax is the best. Sometimes when you buy "bee's wax" in the stores it seems to be mixed with other wax and does not work as well. I always sew with a single strand of double thread, because it really likes to mess up and knot up (okay, maybe when I sew on buttons, I use a double thread -- saves time and how many times you have to sew the button on for a secure hold).
I remember in Home Ec way back in high school, we were instructed to only use a hand stitching thread as long as -- was it our arm?...good thing I have long arms because I have always used a verrry long thread...sometimes this does get me in trouble...wrapping around the little ears and little butts and little legs of my lambs...but I hate to run out of thread!! By waxing the thread this decreases the chances for KNOTS...I hate knots...There are about three or so knots that can happen to your thread. Some are easily removed, some are terrors and if you have a lack of patience -- well, things can get nasty! Because of the long thread I use it is most unwise to sit anywhere near me when I am hand sewing...I mean this sincerely and for your own protection!
Well, I am not getting any hand sewing done sitting here. So, if you are reading this, I wish you a happy and productive day! I also hope your new year is going alone well.
Take care, drive safely and enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 is Here!

...the new year is here, 2009! It is very hard to know what is going to happen any year let alone this year. Lots of changes, economical hardships, widespread job loses, stockmarket fisaco, lost retirement funds, health care, lost homes...I am an optimist and it scares even me!

Every day, to me, is another gift. Up comes the sun, a brand new day, a brand new start. I love being at home on the ranch.

I like taking care of our home, doing the daily chores, cooking for the family, and creating in my little studio. I enjoy being busy. It has been too cold to go out very much, except to check on the chickens -- feed and water them and gather the few eggs they are laying in this very cold weather.

Have you heard about the new laws from the Consumer Product Safety Commission?

I design and create handmade soft sculpture lambs in about five sizes. There is a new law that will take effect in February of this year in regard to lead in children's toys, clothing and any article that a child 12 and under can play with or utilize. I certainly do not want any child (or anyone for that matter) to become ill or have health problems because of the unsafe contents of toys, articles of clothing, etc., that they come in contact with.

The CPSIA -- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, by the Comsumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has written the law to include all items that children 12 and under can utilize must be tested for lead content. This law was based on the lead content in toys originating from a country outside the US. The law, as it is now, requires all manufacturers of childrens items for age 12 and under to be tested by a certified lab for lead content for each new item that is made. This includes any item that may be given to a child whether it was intended for a child's use or not. Each item that was made from a different source material would need new testing by the certified lab.

Small home-based businesses such as myself cannot afford to have each new batch of fabric tested for lead content. The question being, is there lead in the fabric that I purchase -- was there lead used in the processing of the certain fabric I use for my products. I would think this would be best answered by the manufacturer of the fabrics and other craft supplies that are purchased through the retail outlet. Certification should come from the suppliers of the raw supplies.

The same fabrics, craft products that I buy to create my items for sale can be purchased by another person to make an item (not for sale) that would be played with, worn by, etc. by their own children or other children. So, how does this law protect our children or us?

I am attaching a video on one person's take on the new law.

You can also check out the CPSA website.