Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA----Save Handmade

Have you heard of the CPSIA? I hadn't until I thought about opening a shop on Etsy. Most of this I copied and pasted from my cousin, Sarah's blog. There was a group promoting blogging today to help the handmade group and I wanted to contribute and promote.


Do you remember last year’s scare over wooden and painted toys from China? I was concerned that the Thomas the tank trains were contaminated with too much lead. I kept checking the recall lists because I had just purchased some trains for Samuel.

In response to the overwhelming recall of toys and products containing lead (over 8 million items) the government decided to step in and stop the issue of lead getting to our children. Good, right? Keep children safe!

When congress passed the CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act) in August 2008, they were intending to protect companies from selling harmful products. All products intended for children under 12 years old must go through thorough and stringent testing. The CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children’s products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

For all the official legal documents and info read here.

How does this affect us?

With good intentions to protect children, the new regulations are so broad and far reaching they are doing more harm than good. Third party testing is so outrageously expensive and extensive, a KEY issue looked into when passing this law, it is threatening to put tens of thousands of companies out of business. For example:

So, you make/sell products for children:

  • Each particle of your product (clothing, books, toys, educational materials, baby products, etc.) must be tested by a third party. You sell a baby sweater? Each zipper, button, thread, fabric make and particle must be SEPARATELY tested. Even if lead has never been detected in that product. Even if the manufacturer of that product claims the contents are safe. If you make the baby sweater, you must get it tested.
  • Testing can be anywhere from $100-$500 per test, so add that up.
  • For a rather humorous (but healthy dose of reality) of the costs imposed on small business, see over 1,000 ETSY items that have been priced to meet the demands after Feb. 10th Many of the items are for sale for 1,000's of dollars to prove how much it would cost to have each item tested. here are some examples.

What does all that mean?

  • To the small business owner: Small business owners, home run businesses and crafters will need to have their products comply with these new regulations (regardless of how many products you sell) or serious fines (up to $100,000) can take effect.
  • To the student and avid reader: The national Library association is concerned because children’s books currently fall under the umbrella of the CPSIA. Read the American Library Association’s letter to congress here. School materials and educational materials will go up in cost due to the stringent testing.
  • To the Thrift store shopper: Currently their is no formal statement exempting thrifted items from being tested. There is some info that suggests thrifted items are exempt, but it is still not clear
  • To the consumer: Fewer options will be available. Handmade, European imported, boutiqued, unique children’s products will no longer need to compete against the mass produced Matel and Fisher price products because they will no longer be legal. Read the Handmade Toy Alliance’s statement here.
  • To the economy in general: With families losing incomes due to these regulations, consumers paying higher prices for children’s products and businesses having to borrow more money to stay afloat, February 10th has been labeled as “National Bankruptcy day”

What can we do about it?

The law is already in place. The CPSC is a rather small organization and is struggling to create the infrastructure to comply with such a massive change in commerce. Because of that, formal statements with specifications of any products that may or may not be exempt have not been made. At this point, companies are still forced to comply. According to this forum, Congress has denied a second hearing, and has not shown any signs of changing the law.

However, YOUR voice NEEDS to be heard in the mean time. This issue has already made it to the front page of (Obama’s site on change) but still, nothing has happened yet to suggest change. If something doesn’t happen soon, HUGE changes for the worse have already been set into play.

To learn more about it in the news and how to make a change read my cousin's blog here.

I honestly hope this will not effect me personally. One, because I want to open a shop on Etsy and sell things to be used by children under 12 years old. And two, because Ilike to see others handcraft items for children and I like to purchase them too! It's a bit scary but I am not too worried yet. I hope I am not being naive. But I think we can make a difference too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More name Options

Okay, I've narrowed it down to these 5. Several are new. Would you mind posting...again....your thoughts? Thank you!

Bit O'Hannah
Sweet things for Kids
Sweet on the eye but not on the (your) teeth!

Pro: Catchy, sort of original, associated with kids and adults
Con: hard to say?? w/o sounding like bitter Hannah ???

Hannah Banana's
Pro: Easy to remember
Con: cliche and common

Hannah Baloo ('s): the FUN necessities of life

Pro: catchy and different.
Con: a little common

Handmade (crafted) by Hannah
Pro: fits the whole Etsy idea
Con: sort of common and plain???

Hannah B's

Pro: simple
Con: doesn't give any indication of what is for sale. ???

Lavender Hannah's (sachet of lavender as a free gift)

Pro: I love lavender and I hope to sell sachets

Con: Lavender used a lot, old fashioned?

Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it!!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's in a name?

I hope to be opening a shop of my very own on Etsy by this Spring. And I'd like your opinions. I hope to sell things related to children such as celebration banner, fishing vest, rocking chair caddy and birthday party kits. So from the following names what do you see? What catches your attention? What best describes what I would be selling? What is easiest to remember? What describes me and my personality? But mainly, in about two words, I want a name that will sell. I appreciate your comments and any other new suggested names are wonderful too!


1. Hannah's Buggy
2. Hannah the Hostess
3. Hannah's kids

4. Holy Hannah's
5. Hannah Banana's

6. All things kids
7. Sugar Coated Parties (or pretties)
8. Drama Fish

9. Hannah's Boutique
10. Hannah's Favorite Things
11. Hannah's Creations
12. Bit o' Hannah
13. Hannah Fish

14. Fishing for Fun

I can't really think of anymore and I don't particularly like any of these or think they will sell. What do you think? I numbered them to make it easier for you. But I would appreciate any feedback or new suggestions! Thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just racing...

I have a lot on my's just racing. It's good and bad. It's good because they are mostly good thoughts but bad becasue I can't complete a task before I start another one....

***Do you know the feeling when you have something on your mind and you just can't stop thinking about it? It occupies every free moment of free thinking time (ie, in the shower, when the kids are asleep, when the kids are quietly playing or watching a movie, etc). I can't tell if I am obsessed with this for a reason (like I need to be doing it) or I am just dreaming. Is it inspiration or just dreaming? I am having a hard time differentiating b/w the two feelings/thoughts. My mom gave us a book for Christmas about receving personal revelation..when I stop thinking about fabrics and sewing I should probably sit down and find out. Or better yet, do any of you know/have this experience?

***I don't think Samuel is going to get into Head Start pre-school program. It's too full mid-year. When I went to register him in November the lady that helped me was so encouraging. She said because he was 4 years old he'd be at the top of the waiting list. She also said that usually there are a few drop-outs over the Christmas break. I thought, for sure, that he would be in and starting this week. But I have called twice and he is still just on the waiting list. Don't you hate that? The kind of optimistic person that gets you all bouyed up and then come to find out that it is not going to happen? I think I'd rather her just be a grump, or not even that, just not so promising so the let-down is not so hard. So.....I guess I'll be teaching him...w/the whole putting the backpack on, having him knock on the door, singing time, play time and me teaching him. ugh. seems like a lot of work...He can't start kindergarten for another year and a half bcse his birthday is late September but he is getting old enough that he needs something!!!
I promised Samuel that if he was potty trained he would be able to go to school. He keeps saying how excited he is.....and guess what? He's doing pretty well (only 1 major poop accident) and so I have to keep my word...guess I"ll be teaching him.

***Wasn't Oprah great last week? I don't watch her show religiously but when she has uplifting and educational ones like last week, I'll record and watch. They were really helpful. And I can't wait for my OB/GYN appointment tomorrow. No, I don't have to do the girly stuff (I already did that recently) but I want to get my thyroid, anemia and all that tested. See if my hormone levels are off or I just need an attitude adjusment. I hope to get results!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Costco trip

On my bi-monthly Costco trip (sometimes more) I went w/excitement and trepidation. I was excited because of all the savings I would be getting from the coupons (except from toilet paper because I bought that last month...I hate it when I do that, buy something and then it goes on sale the next week, and I already opened it so I couldn't take it back and buy it again w/the coupon). I was feeling trepidation because I knew my bill would be at least $ I was guessing. As I kept loading things into my cart, such as diapers, wipes, and other big items it quickly grew full. And then I started getting these looks. I've never got the looks that I give to other people who have enormously full grocery carts. You know the ones. You see the mom, usually w/1 or more kids in tow, w/at least 1, maybe even 2 grocery carts. Or even one of those flat bed carts full of stuff! Because they have a million kids at home to feed (no offense to big families) or they live out in the boonies and only shop at Costco bi-annually. And you feel bad for them. Or you stare at one of those guys that has a flat bed cart w/a bunch of napkins, condiments and such. You can guess that they are either 1)the Activities chair person in their ward and stocking up for a party or 2) they own some kind of food business/employee fridge/break room person and re-stocking their kitchen shelves because they always have cases of soda and bottled water. Whatever the case, you've seen them and feel bad for them or are at least happy it's not you. Luckily, it's Costco and you can always get through those lines lightning fast. But the point of all this is that I got those looks the last time I went to Costco. But I wasn't one of those people. I only had 1 cart! And only one box of diapers in one size! I was probably over-reacting to the scrutinizing that I thought people were giving me. LOL. But I did think it was odd. And the most frightening part of the whole trip was the bill! I have NEVER spent so much at Costco in one trip (we've never purchased any big items there like vacuums, furniture or TV's....not yet). Let me just say it was hundreds of dollars. Granted I did buy 100 stamps, Turbo Tax, diapers, wipes, and lots of dried fruit. And a lot of $10 items add up quickly!!!! So there really is no moral or point to this story other than to humor myself about my trip. So, if you did read this whole post, what has been your most frightening shopping experience?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking back

We didn't do anything spectacularly special for our New Years Eve celebration. Marci, my sister-in-law, slaved away in the kitchen all evening making snack foods for the evening. Cheese balls, fruit and veggies, cheese and crackers, Mexican wedding cookies and "cheescake" cheese ball w/graham crackers (compliments of Marci), wantons, etc. My parents and sister Jennie were up in Provo. My mom had a doctor's appointment and it took a little longer than expected so they didn't get home until after the kids were in bed. And instead of playing games and eating we ended up just eating and talking. Telling Jennie our birthing stories and scaring her husband. Then around 11:30pm two of us fell asleep on the couches while talking and when midnight hit we all ran downstairs to bed. It was still fun though! But after I woke up when everyone was going downstairs, in my drowsiness, I got a second wind. I started to put the food away and noticed Marci and Jennie were still talking. And then I remembered it was Jennie's last night! So I sat down and joined them. Well, 3 hours later we decided to hit the sack. We had a great chat and bonding time so I didn't even feel tired until 3 am! Fun times!!!

But looking back at my New Years Resolutions for 2008 I can see what I did and did not accomplish. Here is my list:

1. Potty train Samuel--Well, I worked on this all year. This is my same goal this year. I hope he will be potty trained by the time he is 4 1/2 (March).
2. Earn enough money by doing odd and end family jobs (filing, video editing, etc)to buy a sewing machine--I had forgotten this was one of my goals! And I did achieve this one!
3. Audition for The Miracle Worker at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and be cast! If not there, then somewhere else!--I tried 3 times to get into a show this year. I was called back twice but never cast. Maybe this year I will be in a show. But I am not counting on it.
4. Run a 5K w/Melissa and lose so much weight I could be a supermodel (well maybe a plus sized one, kidding!!!!)--I did this one! I never turned out to look like a supermodel but I certainly felt healthier and felt comfortable w/my body. Now, this is always my ongoing goal, and this year is no different. If I get pregnant or not, I want to stay healthy, and eat less sugar.
5. Be much better at the small and simple things like reading scriptures, praying as a couple and family, and strengthening my faith in Jesus Christ.--This is ongoing as well. I could always do better at this.
6. Finish last years craft projects--I didn't finish all of my projects from 2007 but I finished many more that I did not plan for.
7. Finish editing family videos --I did not do this. But I was able to make the videos from our trip which I didn't expect.

New Years Goals for 2009

So all in all, I did accomplish a lot, more than I realized. That should make me happy! And now I want to make goals for this year. One of my friends posted a one word goal to apply to all of her resolutions. She chose SIMPLIFY. I liked that. I liked how it summed it all up nicely. So I got thinking of what word I wanted to choose. I couldn't think of just one so I chose three. SIMPLIFY, PRODUCTIVE and DISCOVER.

SIMPLIFY: I want to simplify my life by focusing on the small and simple things in life. The smiles of my children. Delving into scripture study. Praying meaningfully daily. Attend the Temple monthly. Hold FHE each week. Have a more balanced and consistent schedule but still allowing room for spontaneous activities. Being grateful for all of the blessings that I have.

PRODUCTIVE: I need to de-clutter 6 problem spots in my apartment. I want to reach my weight goals and continue living a healhty lifestyle. Potty train possibly both kids! Continue working on sewing and other craft projects. Stay out of the red in budgeting terms. Sell books on for my mom and get rid of clothing that I tried selling on ebay for over a year now!

DISCOVER: Audition for plays when possible and maybe get into one! Perhaps open a shop on Etsy. Find more ancestors for Tyler's family and break past the "end of line" and ulitmately bring more souls to the Temple. Move this fall either to Provo for Law school or somewhere new for Tyler's PhD program. Perhaps I'll get pregnant this year, if it's right. And finally discover myself and what i want in life :)

So those are my goals in a nutshell. I hope they are not too ambitious or un-realistic. My goals last year drove me and kept me motivated to be doing. They were always in the back of my mind. At times I think they drove me crazy trying to complete them bcse I wrote them down and was committed to them. I felt that in the last quarter of 2008 I was running faster than I could. I was getting a little too ahead of myself and it made me tired and drained.

But I felt like goals made me discover new things about myself too. I discovered that I really enjoy sewing. I discovered that I love doing family history research (Oh, I was called to be the ward's Family History Consultant--I am so excited!) I realized I need to work on patience and control my temper. I learned that my kids are growing, despite Samuel's skinny frame. And I learned that I need security and friends and love and goals and on and on. Looking back, 2008 had its trials but some wonderful things happened as well. I look forward to another great year and hope to be a better me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Jocelyn, my little darling, (and Tyler's little princess) turned 2 on December 27th. I find this day to be a difficult time as a parent because I have to not only shop for Christmas but for her birthday as well. In addition to planning any type of party during the busy (and lazy) days after Christmas.

We celebrated her birthday a day early because we hosted a baby shower for my sister on Jocelyn's actual birthday. She didn't know the difference, of course. We went bowling, ate a yummy southwestern chicken dish, opened presents and ate a red velvet cake (per request my mom, as her birthday is on the 21st). It takes two bottles of large red food coloring to get that cake so red!

Jocelyn enjoyed her birthday. Samuel helped open her gifts and she had plenty to open. My in-laws gave her a "princess of the kitchen" type theme of gifts w/an apron (on a sidenote: b/w both kids they received 3 chef hats and 3 aprons from both sides of the family. Crazy!), play food and pots and pans. Tyler chose to wear her tiara to encourage her to. It didn't work. We gave her a bathrobe (found at DI, wahoo!), her "ABC" photobook made just for her (and free from, I love this company for photobooking, by the way!!!), the apron I made for her, a super J cape that I made to copy Sammy's, and some play kitchen sets from IKEA. Oh, and another "my little pony." She loved all of these gifts and chanted "Happy Birthday to you" for days after.

In reflection, it's been nice to see my little girl grow up. She is beautiful, smart, clever, loving and funny. Sounds perfect doesn't she? Well, she is 2 now and it's showing. With her little tantrums. And following every step behind Samuel, good, bad and worse, is not always so endearing. But being able to communicate w/her clearly (she speaks at least 150 words by now, listening to her addictive laugh, watching her scowls at doctors, grocers, etc and her "chinese" like eyes when she smiles all make me happy to know this little girl. Happy Birthday Jocelyn!