Saturday, January 31, 2009
This is awesome news!
While we all should continue what we have started in trying to ensure that everything we (as craftsmen) make is well within the limits for lead and phthalates (and other hazardous chemicals), it does mean that for the next year (until February 10, 2010) we will not have to pay exhorbit prices for the 3rd party testing as was originally planned in order to ship to the United States.
From what I can gather, one of the things they will be considering is whether or not the retailers/manufacturers of the supplies we use for our crafts will have to provide all of the 3rd party testing certificates to us, the users, and if that should be sufficient. This reprieve will also allow them to provide a list of accepted testing labs, and to educate all small business with testing requirements etc.
Personally, I believe that as long as I provide the certificates I get from the retailers for all of the supplies used in my crafts, that should be sufficient. And, would you not think so as well? I mean, really! Since I am not the one bringing in all the supplies from other countries, I am only a consumer myself. I am not the one who is mass-producing little jewellry findings, or paint, or glue, or fabrics, or any number of the "ingredients" in my crafts. I would think that the big retailers are the ones that should be ensuring that what they are selling to the public is safe for the public to use!
Anyway, enough said. For the time being, we have a reprieve, until the commission has an opportunity to review just exactly what it is they were proposing and how it would effect not only the economy of the USA, but all of the world!
I must state here that I do agree that we must protect our children. They are our future. But there is a difference between protecting them, and trying to make it so that they have no contact with Anything that is manufactured (in a factory or in an individual's home) up to and including fabrics, paper products, craft supplies, etc. Is it actually the plan to put them in little bubbles, safe from the nastiness of the Entire World? Of course, what would those bubbles be made of? And who made them?
To read the entire report in PDF please go here : http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia09/brief/stayenforce.pdf
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Now as a parent myself, I have always been concerned with what exactly is in the products that I purchase, especially from the big box stores and the dollar stores. However, there is such a thing as "over-reacting" and to me, this is one of those obviously "not thought about" non-sensical laws. To me it is more like shooting the messenger than actually trying to do something about the real issues.
Sadly, lead is in everything. It is in the water we drink and the food we eat. It is a cheap, easily obtained element and has been over-used for a long time in the manufacturing process.
"As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.
Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.
The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.
How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:
To the Parents of Young Students: Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.
To the Avid Reader: Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all. Article from the American Library Association 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 an undyed, natural fibre cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.
To the Environmentalist: Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation. (Imagine this, More lead seaping into the environment!)
To the Second-Hand Shopper: Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.
To the Entrepreneur: Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.
To the Antique Toy Collector: Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html
To the American Economy: Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.
To the Worldwide Economy: Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.
If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.html
And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html
Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react."
In my own opinion, I believe that the onus should be upon the retailer of any and all goods available for purchase to provide the necessary 3rd party testing certification. And! Since the government is trying to enforce this, perhaps the Government should be the ones to Pay for this testing.
This law is supposed to protect us and our children from lead and other hazardous materials. The law is implying that any and all supplies (such as crayons, paper, inks, fabrics etc) would not be appealing to children 12 and under. Well! I quite clearly remember as a child actually doing crafts! I coloured in colouring books. I learned to sew, crochet, and knit! I did not just play with the end product.
Maybe I am part of a minority in this, but again, I feel this is just a tactic to make it so that any and all manufactured items (Handcrafted/handmade included) is only to be made available from big companies. It is just WRONG!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
When I mentioned that I wanted to have a nice banner for my new blog, she created this one for me :)
Tejae is an extremely talented polymer clay artist, and has a shop on Etsy. You should check out her shop! http://www.tejaesart.etsy.com/ I think my favourite right now is this one,
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Here are a couple pictures of one of my favourite summer flowers. The Moonflower. They are so beautiful, and the bushes flower from mid-summer until the frost hits. Huge, trumpet shaped and smell almost like roses! And below is one of my white Gladiolus. They only last a short time, but are very welcome while they are here!
I have been blogging on Wordpress for quite some time now, so this concept of writing and talking to people I cannot see is not entirely new. However, please bear with me as I try to get things set up. This is a work in progress!
First, a little about me. I am a mother of one child, a son. He is now 17 years old, almost 18. I can remember being that age! I fully realize that within the next couple of years he will be moving out and "spreading his wings" and while I can totally understand his excitement, I cannot help but worry. Things are so different now, in comparison to when I was his age. It is harder to find work, the cost of living is increasing dramatically, and there is no job security! I suppose that my parents felt the exact same way when I left the nest. It doesn't really help though. All I can do is let him know that no matter what, I will always try to be here for him, to support and encourage him as he gets ready for the next chapter of his life.
I work in a medical clinic as a "receptionist". I put that in quotes due to the fact (as we all know) there is no such thing as Just a Receptionist! At least, not anymore! I enjoy working there quite a bit, and just recently we have started the process of changing to EMCs (electronic medical charts). In other words, paperless office. Yeah, right! I foresee quite a long time before we can actually get to the point of not using paper, but at least it is starting!
I have many hobbies and interests. I love to garden, and grow vegetables and fruit. So far, for fruit, I am only growing raspberries (my favourite!) and hope to grow blackberries sometime in the near future. I also grow the family favourite staples such as tomatoes, peppers, Spanish onions, and zucchini. I have tried in the past to grow carrots, but they did not do well. Nor did the radishes, lettuce or corn. This year, though, my garden has been doubled in size, so we shall see what I can fit in there!
Another hobby/interest of mine is my flower beds. At this time I have 5. I use plain mulched woodchips, not the stained type. I find that I like the look of it, as it looks more natural to me. Plus I do not have to pay for it, which helps. I grow many types of flowers such as pansies, sea thrift, mums, Dianthus, Sweet Williams; but I am most partial to lilies, glads, tulips, crocus, daffodils and other such bulb varieties. I have started to press and dry some of my flowers as part of my crafts.
I have quite a few indoor plants as well including Christmas cactus, jade, cyclamen and various other cacti. I have even managed to have my aloe vera flower!
Now, my major passion is sculpting! I use mainly Fimo polymer clay as my medium and have only been doing this since April 2008. I actually started off quite enthusiastically sculpting full sculpts! My first ones were of frogs, mice, pigs, and penguins. I quite enjoy doing those. I gave most of those to my family as special gifts. I also have sculpted dragonflies/damselflies, ladybugs, sea serpents, butterflies and more. I am on http://www.flickr.com/ , under the name of jewelzodonnell and you can see some pictures of my work there.
More recently I have been working on various other clay creations including gift tag toppers/ornaments, brooches, pendants/necklaces, and even a sun catcher. The jewellery, sun catcher and key chains are actually mixed media as I like to use my very own dried and pressed flowers and leaves in the pieces.
I have a shop on http://www.etsy.com/ (also under the name of jewelzodonnell) and belong to a wonderful street team by the name of PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) As a member of the PCAGOE, I have been able to meet quite a few very talented artists who use various forms of polymer clays in their artwork. They are very friendly and love to encourage others who share their passion. I am so happy to have been accepted as a new member!
The PCAGOE team has a wonderful monthly challenge that changes every month. January's challenge was Black and White. I entered it with an interesting piece I called "Laugh, until you cry". It is a harlequin mask, (theatre mask) and you can see it in my shop at http://www.jewelzodonnell.etsy.com/ (soon, I will figure out how to put in my Etsy Mini)
This month's challenge is ACEOs and I have entered a piece I call "Dreams of Summer Past" It is a cute little piece, using a dried dianthus flower as its focal point. Please feel free to check out the team website to see the entries http://www.pcagoe.com and vote for your favourite! The voting will be held from February 1st until February 7th. Voters will be entered into a random drawing and there will be some prizes!
There are so many talented people in the PCAGOE Team! To see some of their work please check out http://www.etsy.com/ and type pcagoe into search.