Wednesday, January 07, 2009

December 26th - The Day After

My photo collection is very slim the few days after Christmas. Our house looked like a war zone, I was burned out on photography, and busy helping play with toys. But I did get these three photos on December 26th.

She found the stash.

Playing with their new Skydancers from their Auntie.

One more picture.

Back to now...
After my manic Tuesday yesterday, today has me feeling a little blue. I don't know if I used up my energy yesterday, or if it's due to the fact that my husband drank the last Diet Pepsi this morning. The evening news didn't help my mood any. I had briefly heard a couple months ago about some new legislation that is scheduled to take effect Feburary 10, 2009 regulating the sale of items to children 12 and under. Basically if you produce or sell any item intended for a child under 12 such as clothing, books, toys, educational supplies, it needs to be tested and certified by a third party for lead and phthalates. The testing is very expensive. This isn't a problem for large corporations such as Mattel, Hasbro, etc. because they have lots of money. But it does pose a huge concern for the small entrepreneurs and crafters of children's items that are trying to make a living in a struggling economy. One Etsy shop owner estimated that it would cost her $25,000 - $30,000 to test the items she sells. Etsy shops featuring children's items will have to shut down if their items aren't tested. Thrift stores cannot sell untested children's items and will have to throw it all away, sending the junk to landfills. I even read that it will be considered illegal to sell untested children's clothing and toys at yard sales or even donate it to charity. How absurd is that? Can you just imagine the police going around to yard sales on Saturday mornings fining people who are selling children's clothing and toys?

Now, I'm all for protecting our children and ensuring their safety, but I believe this is a little extreme. It saddens me that the fun has been taken out of art of crafting and prospering from it. It saddens me that my future children may not receive a handmade name puzzle because the Perry family couldn't afford to have their supplies tested and certified.

I'm afraid that the one-of-a-kind charm will die because everything will have to be produced uniformly because it's simply not cost effective to spend $400 to test a $10 bib.

I don't like regulations such as these. It just doesn't seem to be completely thought out. Or the people thinking it through might just have too much money or lack of appreciation for handmade goods. Now I consider myself to have common sense some of the time, and in this case it seems reasonable to me that handcrafters could disclaim to prospective buyers that the item for sale has not been tested to conform with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and still be able to sell their item. Kind of like, "Buy at your own risk." Such labeling might decrease their target market, but at least they could stay in business. Also, why is government placing all of the burden on the manufacturer of the end product? Are the companies that are manufacturing or distributing the felt, fabric, buttons, thread, wood, paint, etc. required to test their products and provide certification to their consumers? That seems logical to me. Then crafters would have the option to only purchase certified supplies and could forego the expensive testing of the end products.

So why am I telling all of you this? I should be writing my congressmen. If you want to know more information and help get this law amended, here are some links:

A petition you can sign:

What's next? The banning of Christmas lights because they contain lead and children under 12 celebrate Christmas? I wonder how this affects Santa's workshop? I feel better now that I've lifted this absurdity off my chest tonight.

It's kind of ironic because before I watched the news today, I randomly pulled a book off the bookshelf titled, The Original Girl's Hand Book by Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard. I gave it to Emily last year for Christmas. It's a book originally published in 1887 and republished in 2007. There was a section on handmade gifts to make for Christmas. One of them was "Miss Nancy". Its a doll for children made out of the pith of a corn stalk. One line of the directions says, "... draw a face on the head with pen and ink, and glue half of a lead bullet on the lower end of the pith."

I'm sure the book will be banned February 2010.

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