Dec 23, 2008

The first of our Three Christmases

Yes, count them: Three. The first was yesterday with my family: Mom, Dad, and Krista. Then Christmas Eve, we wake up and have our own little Christmas day. Then on Christmas Day, we spend the whole lovely day flying standby to Missouri to spend a week or so with Tone's family. Could we be more spoiled????? I just hate the fact I have to spend ALL of Christmas Day flying.
So here is the first one:

I don't know, but I think Hunter's a bit excited. It was Sissy's nap time, so she wasn't so much.

Checking out the little things that were put in their stockings.
Sissy unwraps a doll. All of a sudden, she's interested in the "beebee."

As soon as Grandad gets it out, she starts kissing it.

Unwrapping a book. How well they know her. Books and babies. Her favorites.
Hunter got a big Lincoln Log set, so he was pretty much set for the next two days. That's all he did was build houses.

Auntie Krista and Ainsley:

Here's a couple of things that I just sewed for my shop, and I thought Ainsley was particularly cute in this picture. I made the hat and leggings. She looks angelic. Don't let it fool you......

Dec 17, 2008

Out of Business?

Here is some sad news. As of February 1oth, my store will shut down and will several thousands of other small businesses, unless the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) which is slated to go into affect on that date changes. Basically ALL items (toys and apparel) made for children under 12 will have to be tested for lead and phthalates. While this seems good, testing is in the thousands of dollars per item. Those of us who only make very limited numbers of items will be shut down. The only people who will be able to afford it is the large corporations who caused the problems in the first place. And their prices will go drastically up as they place the cost for this testing on who else? The consumer. Charities for children's items will have to shut their doors as they will no longer be able to accept donated goods without a certificate of clearance.

I found this blog posting on http://edensbouquet.com/blog/ which clearly states the issue. I have copied her post below.
As most of you know I own a children’s clothing business, and as of February 10, myself and thousands of others in the children’s industry will be deeply affected financially or will be out of business.
Remember the outcry last holiday season over lead in imported toys? In order to combat such safety issues, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has passed legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law sets stringent guidelines for children’s products containing lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products).
It is supposed to go into effect February 10th, 2009, and after that date any product intended for children ages 12 and under must meet these guidelines, and have a certificate of compliance from a CPSC-accredited laboratory. This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child under 12 might come in contact with. Sounds great, right?
In theory, maybe. But in actuality the law is so far reaching that it may succeed in turning the economy upside down. For starters, the CPSIA requires end unit testing on every product intended for use by children under 12. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing, regardless of how small the business. That means that manufacturers (like myself ) will have to pay to get every different product they offer tested. These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. For example if you offer 3 different types of dresses. Each dress contains 2 different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread, so that’s potentially $600 to test one dress. But if you have 3 or more styles, that’s $1800. And when you get a new bolt of fabric, you need to start all over again.
At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and “micro” manufacturers and most handcraft artisans. There is no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made, where the supplies are bought or gathered or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.
Also, the Act takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn’t meet the certification deadline of 2/10/09 as a “banned hazardous substance” which would be illegal to distribute in this country. Each infraction carries a $100,000 felony charge. This legislation is also retroactive for any pre-existing inventory as of February 10th, 2009. This means that everything on the shelves in those big (or small) stores will also be “banned, hazardous substances” - contraband.
Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children’s products go through the roof.
This also means that after that date, even selling your kids old things on eBay or Craigslist will be illegal. Charities will not be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance either. February 10, 2009 is being dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day” by many people in the apparel and toy industry. If this legislation is not amended, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Billions of dollars worth of children’s products will have to be destroyed because they can’t be legally sold, and this will cause major environmental problems.
While I am all for higher safety standards and keeping our kids safe, this law is so overreaching as to put thousands on manufacturers of children’s products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand as is.
Please help us defend the American dream and our entrepreneurial spirit! This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning children’s market have to make a tough decision - continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, pay the enormous fees and raise costs of goods sold, or close up shop!
Please help us!
Contact your Congressperson using this link:
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476
It only takes 30 seconds!
If you have an extra minute send a hard copy of the letter as well!To sign the online petition:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.htmlRead more about it here: http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/
Please copy and paste this on your blogs, we need all the help we can get!

Geese, Leaves, and Frosting

Hunter finally got to decorate the cookies that he missed out on because he was sick. His best friend, Emma, from next door helped us out. They thoroughly enjoyed it. Ainsley thought she was so big too as you can tell by the look on her face in this next picture. I spent most of the time watching her and cracking up.


At this point, four cookies have tops nibbled off as Ainsley decided to taste test each cookie within her reach. I gave her one to focus on, but that wasn't as fun. So here she is yelling at me when I took them away.

She really wanted frosting on hers, so I put a little on. Then all of a sudden, she didn't want to pick it up and get her hands dirty, so she started eating it like this:
Emma put the chocolate sprinkles a little too close to Ainsley who took a huge handful and flung it on her cookie. Then she didn't like the sprinkles stuck to her hand and started shaking and flinging them all over the kitchen.

Then she attempted to eat the sprinkles, which she decided she didn't like and starting spitting them out. She even has them stuck under her nose.
She's had enough, and is mad at the sprinkles and is shaking/clapping her hands violently to get rid of them.

Random picture of Hunter who rediscovered his swim goggles yesterday. He is eager to get the super hero cape I sewed him for Christmas to complete his look. He told me he can't be a superhero yet until he gets his cape.

We also went to the park to feed the ducks and play in the leaves on Sunday. They were in their Christmas clothes for church, I got some great pictures of them in the fall leaves.



I love these two pictures of them peaking around the tree. I think I just might frame them.

Feeding the ducks and geese. You can't tell in these pictures, but they were just swarming around us, so I put the kids up on this grate out of harms way. The geese came up to their faces and some were hissing, so I didn't want them that low to feed them. Hunter thought that this was delightful, and had so much fun. We were here for about 45 minutes. We had a huge bag of old bread. I had to watch Ainsley because she would eat the bread instead of throwing it. Yuck!

Ainsley wasn't really too sure about the whole thing. She thought the geese were a bit scary.
We also had Starbucks to top the whole day off. Yummy. Hunter had kids hot chocolate, and I had the gingersnap latte. Ainsley was happy with just the coffee cake. A little treat, because unlike most of America, we rarely go to Starbucks. But I had a gift card.

Dec 13, 2008

A Peculiar Hat

I am working on a quilt while the kids play next to me. A few minutes ago, Sissy was hatless. I looked up just two minutes later, she found these:
Where she found Hunter's underwear is beyond me. I'm just hoping they didn't come out of the dirty clothes basket. She loves hats and puts everything on her head. I snapped a couple pictures and posted them real quick. HAHAHAHA!
One of the most embarrassing things she has done is in Victoria Secrets. I went there for the underwear sale, and she pulled some out of the drawer, put them around her neck like a necklace, and started walking out the door! She la-LOVES hats and necklaces, and anything that looks close goes on her head or around her neck!

Dec 11, 2008

Making Sugar Cookies

Hunter wanted to make sugar cookies because he saw them in a book. So he begged and begged for them all day. Then he came down with the flu and looked like this right when I was making them. The poor guy tried but ended up putting his head on the counter and spent the rest of the next two days on the couch with his barf pan. I wouldn't let him even touch anything cookish then. Since he never touched the dough or cookies, I think my cookies are somewhat sick-germ safe. Plus, they get cooked in an oven anyways.

So with Hunter out of the way, Sissy got to help, which she thoroughly enjoyed. It had to do with food you know. Sissy's very favorite thing. (By the way, we won't be giving any of these away. Between Hunter's sick germs in the house, and Ainsley's sampling, they are for family only. Oh gee darn. What ARE we going to do with 4 dozen cookies, haha?)
She sat on a tall stool and watched me. She sampled every step, and even got to lick a beater!

This is just the best Mommy!

Then she thought she would help me eat the dough while I was trying to roll it out. If I didn't watch her, she reached over every two seconds and took pieces to eat.

I think I'll just take a little sample of these scraps Mommy!
Occasionally, she would remember that we were here to actually make cookies and she would attempt to help out. She is grunting and pushing down as hard as she can on this cookie cutter. Notice, only the top ear of this bear is even hitting any dough.
But Daddy gave her a high five for good effort anyways. I say give her a high five for resisting eating the dough for a few seconds.
What? Do I have a little flour on me?
All done! We did it!
Hopefully, Hunter will feel better tomorrow, and we can move on to the next step: frosting them! It's such a good recipe though, they almost don't need it.

Dec 9, 2008

I must be having a good week.....

Not only was I featured on two great sites, but I also made the front page of etsy TWICE! Here are the shots of the front page. Interestingly enough, it was the same shoe that made it, and not one of my better sellers (although I personally love the shoe myself!).
This was on the front page November 28th.
This was on the front page December 5th. This page generated a ton of hits and some sales, so it must have been up at a good time.
Anyways, I was proud of myself, and quite pleased. You must excuse me for bragging. I really was surprised!

Dec 7, 2008

So behind!

I got behind making shoes this last week. I guess I just wasn't prepared for Christmas buyers. Today I had 10 items to make! Most items take me an hour or so, so I had to move my sewing machine to the living room and sew during the day while the kids played beside me. Hunter was none too thrilled. But I am over 100 sales now, and in a week, I pulled in more than half of what I have been making in a month!
I also just made an adult sized shoe for a special order. I think they turned out pretty darn cute. Don't ask for them though. I realized I short changed myself in the price, and they used up a ton of material. They were a custom order from the first month of selling when I would sell to anyone, but she didn't actually buy them until this last week. Oh well, live and learn. (That's brown felt by the way, not black. And that's a brown ribbon, not green). I have the most color issues with my camera. Getting it to take pictures of red and pink is especially tricky.



Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...

.....I hope you don't die on meeeee......

That's how I think the song should be sung. The line "your leaves are so unchanging" is so not true after just a week at our house. I swear, I really do water it religiously, and we go to places that advertise "the freshest!" Whatever. After a couple weeks, the tree always looks sick, sad, droopy, and dry. Just walking past it will manage to clunk a few ornaments off those droopy branches in couple weeks. Especially as precariously as Hunter hung most of his. We had to convince him that ornaments do not have "friends" and that they do not need to be grouped together on the same branch so they don't get lonely. My husband and siblings do not possibly understand how I could EVEN consider buying a fake one on the after Christmas sales this year. Fake trees don't smell. But when I was still finding pine needles in July.....
They sell really good pine candles now. I'm just going to point that out.
Waiting for Daddy to hook up to trailer.
Flexing to "so BIIIG!" I could lift that tree all by myself, Mommy, I bet!
At least somebody's excited. FYI: I did NOT pick Hunter's outfit. I dressed Sissy in red, and Hunter decided he needed red on too. He is on a dressing-myself kick, and so this is what he came up with. The pants were good apparently because they had a red stripe. Ok well, he hasn't been the cutest lately, but I'm just rolling with it. This isn't bad, it's just not great.
Looking for the perfect tree (i.e. bigger than last year, no holes, perfect symetry)

I like this one Daddy! (We didn't get it)

Just how did he manage to get me out of my nice jacket? Oh yes, he left his in the car because he refused to put it on saying he wasn't cold. Five minutes outside, he's whining and begging for a jacket. My mommy IQ must have been pretty low to allow that one.
They had an old caboose there that Hunter said he NEEDED a picture with. So here it is.
I apologize for too dark or bright photos. Flash or no flash? That is the question. Uh, really bright TV that was playing Christmas music in the background. I was shocked...Tone actually turned it on....instead of sports!
She kept trying to take them off to study them.
The fragile car ornament I found her running along the bathroom floor going "vroom, vroom!"
Hunter is in the process of hanging every single bulb we own on that one spot. I'd move the chair and he'd move it back. "They need friends, Mommy!"
The angel on the top, and done.