Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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 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.” 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
And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law
Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Ok, ok, I missed last week! The 2 Weight Watchers meetings I lead on Wednesday are part of WW's corporate solutions, meaning companies contract ww to send a leader to their office for a set number of weeks. Well, when it's the first week, it's pretty chaotic with a ton of paperwork.
So, last week we were talking about what are you really hungry for. You know, like when you head to the kitchen for something (anything), but you're not really hungry. The trick is to take a minute to consciously recognize those times, and assess whether you ARE hungry. I've been doing this a long time, and it's still hard for me. I'm sure this topic will come up again.
I have a new Etsy friend, Almay, of AlmayAldayDesigns. She found me through the blog and is currently attending Weight Watchers and having great success. She makes adorable cards... is this what you're hungry for?!!
Maybe not, but the card is really cute!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Besides making jewelry, Ruthie has been writing an interesting series on other selling venues in her blog.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
My plant needs help! And I'm turning to the blogging world for that help. This spindly avocado tree was started a couple of years ago from the pit inside the avocado (duh). I had tried any number of times to grow a tree this way, but never had the patience. This time, miraculously I waited, and waited. Lo and behold, a tree grew. I water it, keep it next to a big sunny window, and that's about it.
So, is there a way to make it look bushier, or better? Maybe have more than 6 leaves? Once all the leaves fell off. I think there were only five then, so minimal raking was needed.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
GOALS. My main goal is to find my niche. If that sounds vague, well, it probably is, but that's all I got.
PRODUCTS. See GOALS. That was flip, but I have discovered that making children's clothes without an adorable model didn't work, and what with the uncertainty of CPSIA that turned out to be a good thing. Narrowing in on the product niche for Down the Street, but still experimenting in the Elle Quilts shop.
VENUES. One online venue is about all I can handle and still get anything made, so that's decided. As for offline, I haven't dipped my toes in the craft/art show venue idea yet, but it is a possibility. Consignment and wholesale are probably not due to the kinds of things I make and the time it takes to make them.
MARKETING & PROMOTION (and ADVERTISING). The recently available Google Analytics for Etsy shop owners will hopefully help with this. So far, none of the paid advertising I've tried has resulted in even one sale. Does that mean it's out? No, but I need to do more research and/or evaluation. Right now, I'm promoting on through the Etsy forums, twitter, flickr (minimally), and word of mouth.
PRICING & BUDGETING. At this point, I'm pretty happy with my pricing. Sewing (and in particular, quilting) is difficult to price by hours because it really takes so long. I have in mind a blog post series on the making of a quilt to demonstrate what goes into the entire process. As for budgeting, I think I've done pretty well there, but the ostrich head may be buried on that one.
So, there you go. Not really much of a plan. More like just musings, but it's a start. Hope y'all are having better luck then I am.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It's all about finding balance. Being able to eat the foods you love, while still reining in the calories. In my Weight Watchers meetings this week, we talk about flexible restraint. You know, like a rubber band. Flexible enough to wrap around a few more things, but restraining enough to hold them all together. Educate yourself about the calories, fill yourself up on good for you foods so you won't get too hungry, and enjoy an indulgence now and then. Balance.
yarrow1 shop on Etsy, seems to have found balance in her life. She's has an eclectic shop, which shows off all her talents. I suspect we've haven't even seen them all! Besides art, she is well versed in natural healing and the art of massage therapy.
Her grapes are so healthyACEO perfectly illustrate the balance that we need for beautiful things in our lives.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Not too late for a resolution, this year I've decided to institute "vegetarian week" in our household. Once a month, for one week, I'm not preparing any meals with meat. I'm going to observe vegetarian week for all meals, but I'm not holding anyone else to that, not that I really could. My husband, a devout carnivore, will just have to get his meat at lunchtime.
This month, vegetarian week started today. Breakfast, no problem for anyone as we're a cereal and toast kind of family with the occasional egg thrown in. We almost always go out for lunch after church, so I chose a Thai restaurant. So far, so good. I had planned to cook tonight, but we're still kind of full from lunch. We've opted for a scrambled egg and toast dinner. No problems!
And my lucky husband has a business trip from Tuesday until Saturday, so basically, he's off the hook for lots of veggies, and I'm pretty excited! If anyone has any favorite websites for vegetarian recipes (or any favorite meal ideas), feel free to leave that info in a comment.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
So, I've been one of the lucky ones, really. Though it seems lately the sad news is creeping into my life. Many of my Etsy friends are struggling with job layoffs and financial difficulties, relationship woes, health issues and the deaths of loved ones. Closer to home, my sister in law is struggling to find out why she has had a debilitating headache since November, my brother continues to struggle with finding his place in the world, my husband is terribly unhappy in his work (though he hates to feel ungrateful that he has a job when so many are losing theirs).
I turned 49 on Monday, and also learned that day that my grandmother had died early in the morning. She was in her mid-90s so had lived a long life, but as my uncle (who broke the news to me) commented, "it's the end of an era."
Today I received an email from my pastor. It was one sent out by the church office to all the members, but I feel especially touched by it today and am sharing it here today.
“Not every illness can be overcome. But there is always a margin when life can be lived with meaning and a certain sense of joy, no matter what.” Anatomy of an Illness - Norman Cousins
Blessing Prayer for Healing
May you desire to be healed.
May what is wounded in your life be restored to good health.
May you be receptive to the ways in which healing needs to happen.
May you take good care of yourself.
May you extend compassion to all that hurts within your body, mind, spirit.
May you be patient with the time it takes to heal.
May you be aware of the wonders of your body, mind and spirit and their amazing capacity to heal.
May the skills of all those who are caring for you be used to the best of their ability in returning you to good health.
May you rest peacefully under the sheltering winds of divine love, trusting in this gracious presence.
May you find little moments of beauty and joy to sustain you.
May you keep hope in your heart.
From Out of the Ordinary – Joyce Rupp
Thursday, January 01, 2009
It's New Year's Day and 2009 is off to a rousing start. I did not ring in the new year at midnight last night, but had to greet 2009 this morning when I woke up.
Did you make any resolutions? I'm not one to make a lot of resolutions, but this year, I am making a couple. One is tried and true. Is it resolution more people make every year and don't succeed at? Possibly. But here it is. 2009 is the year I am going to lose at least 10 more pounds. Yep, it's in writing now, and it will happen. It goes along with resolution #2 which is to be a more focused and committed Weight Watchers leader. I'll be in the trenches with my members tracking my points and moving forward with momentum.
I also resolve to get some business goals down on paper. Last year, I was more reactive than proactive in both my Etsy shops. So, the January 9 post (you heard it here) will list my business goals.
And I think I'll stop there. I'll be eating my black eyed peas for good luck (and their low points value), and I'll even eat some greens for prosperity (they have a VERY low points value).
This year has started off great... Georgia just beat Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. Vanderbilt won their bowl game yesterday. And all is well in our house. I hope all is well in your house, too.