Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good News! (and some not so good news)

Anyone of you who has been following this closely will know that there was some good news recently concerning the CPSIA and its implementation. A 1 year stay in the enforcement of the new rules was announced to allow the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) more time to finalise what products and materials are to be included in the final laws as well as to issue guidance on when testing will be required and how it should be completed.

This is good news for many people and effectively means that our libraries can stay open and children can still read books. It also means that small boutiques may not have to close their doors which was the most likely scenerio if testing of all products were to be required by February 10, 2009. And the lovely woman who knit that gorgeous layette as a christening gift may still be able to provide her handmade gift services.

Assurance that products for sale still meet the lead and phalate requirements is still required but certification and additional testing is not. It would appear then that the Commission has finally realised that knitting is not alchemy and blue wool + green wool does not a hazmat make. Good news, don't you agree! Of course, the issue is not yet laid to rest and it's still something I intend on remaining involved in as should anyone who is concerned by the issues pointed out in my last post about the CPSIA. As always, your help and support is appreciated.

Now for the not so good news. Fortunately this only concerns my family. Our little one, the disaster prone child that he is, has yet again been at it. Yesterday he took a tumble down 2 steps and managed to fracture his collar bone. Pauvre petit chou! So we spent a few hours in the hospital emergency room yesterday and he is now well and properly strapped up in order to help his bone heal as it should. It looks like we're in for 4 weeks of this and thus possibly 4 weeks of no school for wee man. I am beginnig to sense that raising this one is going to call for a good deal of patience and not a small bit of vodka!

On with the paper dolls!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Work Must Go On....

Although all of us are still working on and worried about the CPSIA, work must go on. There isn't a day when I don't check in on other blogs on the subject to see if there is any movement, but I must still continue with my work both out of professional needs and creative needs.

So yesterday I took a bit of time out to make something I've been thinking of making for a while. As is usual for me, I needed time for the idea to mature and then suddenly yesterday, I jumped in. With both feet!

And the result is Louisa and Magda. At least that's what I'm calling them for the moment, although the name nerd in me may take over and insist on a name change. My first two paper dolls.

Now, you may notice that they are slightly underdressed for the season. I completely agree. Vests and knickers just aren't going to keep you warm and cosy in freezing temperatures. So today, if the wee man cooperates and takes a name, I plan on making these poor girls some clothes and accessories. This may be the most challenging part, making sure everything fits as it should!

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Find out about the CPSIA

I generally try to keep my blog posts upbeat and happy. That's generally how I am as a person so it's usually not difficult. But for today's post, I'm afraid I'm going to take a heavier tone, simply because the subject is far too important to me both as an artist and a mother.

Please do take a few minutes to read through this post. I and so many others truly appreciate your time.

It concerns the CPSIA or the 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. To show how real this is, Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying close attention to it.

But how will these new laws affect you? 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, children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves. There is no exemption for them. Here is an article from the American Library Association.

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. But then 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, we're due to find items in non-compliance dumped into already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the big box stores as well. They can't sell it and they can't even give them away. If they are caught, it is a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend the money 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 making and/or selling them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. In a time when unemployment is reaching record highs, this doesn't bode well for the economy.

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.” Read about this in an article from The Wall Street Journal.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared for an intellectual workout, The CPSIA

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react. You can find out how to contact your representative here and your senator here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Countdown to the Great Blog-In

In my last post, some of you saw the CPSIA noted. And from what I've gathered through messages and speaking with people, a lot of people don't know what this is or who it effects.

In order to help people become more aware of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, we are organising a Blog-In for Wednesday, 28 January. These new laws which come into effect on February 10, 2009 are set to have a major impact on what American consumers can and cannot buy for their children.

Unfortunately we're not just talking about potentially dangerous products or the controversial violent video games. We're talking about things like the amazing handknit hat I bought for my son this winter. Or the simply gorgeous Matryoshka dolls I bought when my friend had her baby. I for one would be deeply saddened to see such items disappear.

But it doesn't stop there. We're also talking about things like library books and school supplies. Surprised?

For those of you who blog and who are concerned, we'd love to have you join us. If you have an Etsy shop, please see this thread. If you don't have an Etsy shop but are still interested in participating, please feel free to leave me a comment with your email and I will get back to you.

For more information on the CPSIA, you can look here (you may need a stiff drink first though).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Evening Post

Just a little one. I've been complete absorbed by getting my head around the new CPSIA coming into effect on 10 February and its disasterous implications for so many people. It's just overwhelming.

I'm hoping to be able to continue selling my work in the US after that date, but at the moment it doesn't look likely. This is for me and just about every other small business person who caters to the children's market. More to come on this....

In between researching and posting, I've been trying to remain positive and playing with a few new designs. If the worst comes to pass, I will fortunately still have my European markets, but my heart goes out to those who don't.

But in trying to remain positive, I present you with my love birds... I love the cheery colours of them and isn't cheer something a lot of us need right now?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Valentine's For Everyone!

I asked for your opinions and you gave them. Thank you so much for your input. Although every size did get its say, it looks like the clear winner is the 4x4 inch size.

So I'm going to listen to the majority and go with that size. And as a thank you to all of you who took the time to participate and give me your opinion, a special freebie for you. That's right, just go and peek over in the Freebies sections on the right and you'll surely find it.

As for the others, I'll be listing them on my Etsy and Lollishops sites tomorrow as files for you to download and print yourself. Please come by and have a peek.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Print Your Own Valentine's

They are in the works. And I'd love to add them to my Etsy shop and elsewhere, but I'm stumped. And I'm hoping you all will lend me a hand.

What size card template would you prefer to see for a print your own Valentine's cards. Children do still hand out Valentine's at school in the US don't they? I remember they used to be very small when I was little, but as times do change, I thought you US mums in particular could give me some input.

I've set up a poll (my first....weeeee!) on the right hand size of this post with various sizes to choose from. Pretty please do tell me what you think is best.

And of course, if you have any other suggestions, by all means, do leave them in the comments section!

Many many thanks to you for your help.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Hedgehog Named Hermione

And why not Hermione? I think it suits her, don't you?

I just wanted to share today's mucking about. I'm not sure she's competely finished, but maybe. I have others in the works, other images of Hermione that is.

I actually did a series of hedgehogs over a year ago and just was never really happy with them. I had done them rather quickly and didn't put much thought into them. So they sat on my computer and did nothing. Until today. In the end, I didn't reuse the original images for Hermione, but they did serve as some sort of inspiration. A good reason to hold on to those things we're not quite sure about.

So Honoured

Thank you Candy (SoBella Creations) for giving me this really wonderful award. When I read the description of the Porximidade award, I can feel myself smiling as it truly represents what I hope to achieve with my blog.

Proximidade is described as follows: This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! This blog award should be sent to your favorite eight bloggers and they, in turn should forward to eight of their favorites. You should include the text for Proximidade (above) in your announcement blog.

There are many blogs I check out often, others that I stumble across par hasard, but so many that I truly enjoy both for their inspiration and for their writers' willingness to let us into their worlds. So let me see if I, in turn, can choose from among the numerous blogs I love to pass this lovely award on:

Half an Acre
Alice in Paris
The Spotted Sparrow
Dindi Jewellery
Cupcakes for Clara

Okay, I cheated. I added 9. I just couldn't eliminate any after I had made my initial selection. I hope you'll see why!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something Scrappy

And I'm tempted to add... "this way comes" for some odd reason, but these papers are far too cute to be anything even near wicked as the book title would go, so we'll just stick with "something scrappy".

I've been thinking about doing this for what seems like ages now. I even took a little poll about it a few months ago and did, well alright, if I'm honest only a limited amount of research. And then... I just never got around to it. Life does that to me at times, just kind of takes over from all my grand plans. But in chatting with my "office mate" today, the idea resurfaced and so I've decided to give making scrapbooking papers a try again and I'm offering up my first set of 3 papers as a freebie! And who among you doesn't like a nice freebie?

Just follow the usual protocol: You'll find the link on the right (I've even created a special section for it, a sign of more to come if all goes well). A simple click on Parmi les Fleurs Set and you'll be taken to the pdf files for 3 patterned papers, 12x12 inch size (30x30cm). And all for free!

In return, I would love it if those of you who download them would let me know what you think. About the colours, the patterns... whatever it is you'd like to share and see in the future. It would be a big help for me and very much appreciated.


Monday, January 12, 2009

BeeBee Bittybloom


I've been waiting for this so that I could share it with all of you. And today, I got her. BeeBee Bittybloom in embroidery form to show off to all of you.

BeeBee was embroidered by the incredibly enthousiastic Crystal who did such a lovely job. Thank you so much! Did you notice all the French knots (at least I think those are French knots, me who knows so little about embroidery) and little extras embellishing her skirt? How pretty and delicate and dainty.

And since I now have this lovely photo to show off to you, I can also now offer you BeeBee Bittybloom as January's downloadable pattern, just in time for Valentine's stitching.

Once again, all you need to do is clicky click on the linky linky and BeeBee is yours to embroider! Have fun! Oh and if you feel like sharing, please don't be shy. I'd love to see her.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Meet Gillian

Just a little something I'm working on for friends of ours who welcomed their little girl into the world just a bit too long ago for this to be a newborn gift...but better late then never, so they say. Honestly though, she's only a few months old and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do for them to make it fit just right.

Since they are both very attached to the ocean I thought a little sailor girl would be appropriate. And so Gillian is slowly coming to life....

Here's sneaky peaky, but shhhh.... don't tell them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Something New

...for spring!

Okay, it's not really spring yet is it? Nor is it really even close to being so. And it's -6 degrees (celcius that is) outside and more than a bit chilly. But even still, I'm in a springy mood and have been having fun using my Bittyblooms to create some new prints for the little girls in our lives.

I was so busy over the autumn months that I barely had time to create anything new and although I love what I do have already, it's always motivating to be able to show something fresh.

So here are Peony and Daisy for you, all gussied up and ready to be offered as personalised prints for your little girls. They are printed on heavy weight paper with a giclée printer (as are all my prints) and make really sweet christening, birth and birthday gifts. I'm so excited about these new ones. Really!

I'll be working on some more, but wanted to show off the first two for fun.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What's New, Pussycat....

New fancy kittens, that's what! And of the masculine kind this time.

I had a request for a set of boyish cats and was ever so happy to oblige. In fact, I've been wanting to make a set of these for a while, but as ever, priorities made it so that orders came first and the cats never came into existence.

Until, that is, a few weeks ago when the request came in. I hope I've succeeded in making some boyish and mischievous cats as they were a lot of fun to dream up and bring to life.

I'll be listing them as originals and as prints in my Etsy shop soon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pink Pink and ...

...more pink! Oh okay and a bit of Jane Austen to boot.

I told you I was in a pink mood. It doesn't happen all that often for me because although I am rather fond of pink, I do tend to love red and green more.

But lately I am feeling rather pink and so why not celebrate it? I've made up a few things in the rose hue and am just starting to list them. So I thought I would share one or two with you. They just make me feel happy and oh so girly.

And today I'm feeling slightly more happy as it's my birthday and I've been enjoying being (slightly) pampered because, as most of us know, when you're a mum, it's rare to be totally and completely pampered. Kids don't seem to understand how that's done. But I've had breakfast in bed (that was rapidly eaten by my 2 year old), was showered with handmade cards by my girls (one from each of them, another from all 3, yet another from their brother, still one more from daddy.....), had a lovely cake at lunchtime, have been invited to dance lessons by hubby (I've been asking for this for over a decade by the way) and am off for a night out tonight. All in all, I really can't complain can I?

Tomorrow will be back to the usual routine so I'm going to try to enjoy the remaining hours of my day.