Saturday, January 31, 2009

This just in...

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bloggers Unite! Take Action on the CPSIA!

Protect Children 12 and under from the CPSIA!

Reprinted with permission from Etsy shoppe owners ChiChiBoulie and WinklePots (with a few minor changes and additions) . . . Thank you!

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 February 10, 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 the age of 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. Here's an article from the American Library Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the Worldwide Economy: Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses. If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

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

Did you even know about this? If this upsets or alarms you, please react NOW!

Online Petitions, Folks to Contact, and Interesting Articles are listed on these sites:
Sign the Online Petition:

We voted for Change on this issue and made the 2nd round of voting! Please read more here:

The Handmade Toy Alliance has provided a sample letter and listed contact info for your Congress Person and Senators:

National Bankruptcy Day Site:

Straight from the Horse's mouth:

Pelosa's Toy Story:

Write to the man who sponsored this bill and send him an item of yours that will be illegal to sell after Feb 9th, 2009 in protest.
Here's his contact info:

Bobby L. Rush (D)
Washington Office
2416 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4372
Fax: 202-226-0333

See Etsy forum thread regarding the above protest here:

Thanks for reading and please pass a link on to other interested parties!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bellies and Babies and Blessingways, Oh My!

How lovely they all are!

Here is a sweet give-away and an awesome Birthing website for that special Mama and Babe-to-be. Please take a few moments to look around Nicole's blog.

I experienced one of my first blessingways in a little cabin in the woods...just up the hill from where I live. The cabin was just abounding with love! The wisdom from the elders encircled the cabin with the new mama and baby tucked safely inside. We sang together, songs passed on from mama to mama weaving in new traditions with the old. We pampered the mama with full body massages and foot soaks. We honored the elements and the four directions. We shared words of birth and encouragement with the mama and babe to "help them on their way".

Much was learned that day. So much, that I knew right then that I wanted to have this experience myself and to help share it with others. That is also around the time when I met Ellen - the local midwife from Tree of Life Midwifery Care. Ellen's business is all about families and babies and she took me in under her wing.

I have been attending births with Ellen ever since my daughter, Kiah was in my belly back in 2000 (nine years!). Ellen, midwife for over 25 years, and I teamed up together to attend homebirths (including the birth of my two children) in the community and surrounding area. The births weren't many...but we liked it that way because of the way we lived. Both Ellen and I have cabins that are tucked away in the woods a few miles back...she in the Mulligan Plains and I near the Yellow Dog River. We live off the grid, off the beaten path.

Births were so few and far between, that it surely could not foot the bill for a family of four and we had no desire to be away from our little cabin in the we came to a point where we had to figure out a way to work and still be at home. With the wisdom our younger elder (young body, old soul), Queen Kiah, we found a way to make a living and to also be at home, (however, this could all change for us in the near future...see In 2006 my family and I created BirchLeaf Designs (see our website here) where we started making playthings for children and adults - we also have goods for new mamas and babes like newborn tiedyes, little belly button cord stump pouches, star and snuggle babies, wooden teething rings and wee little spoons. Along with Tree of Life Midwifery Care, we also make the much coveted Mama Bath and Mama Tea.

My children are older now which makes it easier to attend more births...Today, Ellen and I are on call for 6 womyn, 4 of them due within a day of each other! Yay for Homebirths!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Save Handmade Toys from the CPSIA!

In case you haven't heard, the word on the street is that there is a new law regarding items made for children 12 and under - this law goes into effect February 10, 2009. The law was written in response to children's items that had high levels of lead and phthalates - these items came mostly from China in 2006.

This law was poorly written. As the law stands now, many handmade, cottage industries could be shut down because they cannot afford the required testing. Please visit these sites for more information:

Here are two websites for you to go in and vote! Keeping the issue high on the list is important for change...Please spare a few minutes of your time to let your voice be heard!

Site #1 - vote with the "vote now" button at left of the title "Save Small Business From the CPSIA"

Site #2 - here, do a "search for questions" with "cpsia" as the criteria. You can then vote on all the questions and also submit a question of your own if you like.

YAY! This article just came in - saying that the CPSIA has exempted natural items such as wool, silk, cotton, gemstones, and pearls...however there is no mention of wood!

Thanks for supporting Handmade!