Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baking Christmas Cookies with little g

Making Christmas cookies is so much more fun when you have a little helper. Little g and I made gingerbread and sugar cookies together this year. She helped spread the flour around on the table, cut out the cookies, and of course sample the finished product! It was fun to watch her try to use the cookie cutters. She definitely had the right idea, and ended up with some interesting shapes. So we have quite a few abstract cookies this year, and they're all delicious!

I adapted a sugar cookie recipe I had to be egg-free and dairy-free, since there are little ones with allergies in the family. I know it can be hard to find good egg-free dairy-free recipes, so I'll share mine:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In large mixing bowl, beat coconut oil until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add applesauce and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture and beat until well mixed. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

2. Roll dough 1/8" thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

3. Decorate if desired, or eat them immediately! Yum!!

I found that the coconut oil worked pretty well, since it is solid when cool.
You could probably also use shortening instead of the coconut oil, but we didn't have any on hand. Another tip: if you let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two after you take them out of the oven, they're much easier to take off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I snagged a treasury! Hurrah!!

It's not often that I am able to snag a treasury. When I logged on to Etsy tonight, I popped into the treasury just for fun, and low and behold, there were treasuries set to expire in just a few minutes! What luck! Treasuries are loads of fun to make, but it's rare that I'm actually around when there's a slot open. They are coveted by many Etsy users, and get snatched up quickly! I didn't really have a plan for one, so I had to scramble to put one together. I decided to go with a Christmas theme...'tis the season, right? So I picked out some adorable Christmasy items for kids:

My Christmas Kids Treasury

Ho, ho, ho! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've always loved Christmas time, and get into the holiday spirit on the early side. Those who know me well know that I excitedly get out all my Christmas music shortly after Thanksgiving, and start decorating and baking right away...I've been known to bake a large assortment of cookies to mail out to family and friends (I think the most I ever made was 17 different kinds of cookies!). But this year I'm finding that I'm just not in my usual holiday spirit. I can't believe Christmas is already next seems like it really snuck up on me this year! I did manage to get a wreath decorated for our front door, and we finally got a tree up and decorated it last week. I'm hoping to at least get a little baking done before next week. Little G helped me mix up some gingerbread cookie dough this morning. She loved dumping the flour into the bowl! The dough is now chilling in the fridge, so when she gets up from her nap, we can try rolling it out & cutting out cookies together. Should be fun, and I hope it helps me get into more of my usual holiday spirit!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

EtsyKids: The CPSIA: get informed, get involved!

EtsyKids: The CPSIA: get informed, get involved!

As the EtsyKids Founder and Team Leader, I am deeply concerned about the CPSIA (Consumer Products Safety Information Act), and the effect it will have on our members and team as a whole. And not only is this issue near and dear to my heart (being both a mom and a maker of products for children myself), it will affect anyone who makes, sells, or buys products for children in the US.

The US Congress passed the CPSIA, and August 14th, 2008 President Bush signed the Act into law. This Act, which will go into effect on February 10th, 2009, puts much stricter safety regulations on products intended for the use of children ages 12 and under. While the intentions behind the law are undoubtedly good, there are some major problems with this law as it is currently written.

I am not going to claim to understand or try to explain all of the ins and outs of the CPSIA, as it is a very broad and complex law. It's crucial that everyone (and I do mean everyone) do their research, and make sure you are informed on the CPSIA, and how it will affect not just yourself, but other people that you know. Make products for children? This law will affect you. Sell products for children? This law will affect you. Have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends with children? This law will affect you. Shop at stores that sell products for children? This law will affect you.

I have had many discussions with various people about the CPSIA, and I have not had one person question the fact that measures should be taken to insure the safety of our children. The CPSIA imposes some strict new regulations on testing for lead and phthalates, which are both nasty substances that should certainly not be in products intended for children, or anyone for that matter. No one I have spoken with is opposed to the testing itself, but rather the manner in which the testing be done, and the expense of it, which could cause many small businesses and independent designers and craftspeople to go out of business. If amendmants are not made to this law before February 10th, 2009, sadly this may be the case. I urge everyone to contact their government officials and local media about this well-intenioned but poorly-thought-out law.

Please see this article on Etsy for an open letter regarding the CPSIA:

If you would like to read the actual law, it can be found here:
FAQ from the CPSC website is located here:
Wiki entry:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CPSIA FAQ snippets

I sifted through the CPSIA FAQ on the CPSC site, and pulled a few of the questions that I thought would be most helpful for my fellow crafters, artisans, and Etsy shop owners to see. I hope this helps some of you make a little more sense of this incredibly vague and complicated law. Make sure to see my previous blog post for a list of links with more information.

Lead Content and Testing

Do all children's products require testing for lead or is it only products with some type of surface coating? We sell products that are used in physical education classes (e.g. hula-hoops) that are made from polyethylene and are not painted or coated. Will this product require third-party testing and certification for lead content under the new CPSIA?

All children’s products (as defined by the CPSIA) subject to the lead limit of the Act will eventually require testing for lead, not just those with surface coatings. It is important to distinguish between the rules that apply to lead paint and surface coatings and the rules that apply to lead content. The CPSIA provides limits to the amount of lead in paint and surface coatings and limits to the
amount of lead in the content of the product itself. Children’s products that are painted, or have surface coatings are also subject to the lead paint limit, in addition to the lead content limits.

When do the lead content limits go into effect for children’s products?

The lead content limits for all children’s products go into effect February 10, 2009 (600 ppm) and will be lowered again on August 14, 2009 (300 ppm).

What certifications are required for children’s products that are tested for lead content?

Children’s products manufactured after February 10, 2009, when the lead limit may not exceed 600 ppm, will need a general conformity certification based on a test of the product or a reasonable testing program for products after that date. Children’s products manufactured after August 14, 2009, when the lead limit
may not exceed 300 ppm, will have to be certified based on third-party testing of the product by accredited third party laboratories after that date.

Does the CPSIA envision stuffed animals falling within the scope of the CPSIA’s lead limits or phthalate limits?

Most stuffed animals would be considered to be children’s products and presumably toys. A manufacturer would need to determine whether the design of the stuffed animals is such that it is subject to the lead paint limits, the lead content limits or the phthalate limits.

Labeling of all children's products

The law requires manufacturers to start labeling product and packaging one year after enactment. Does that mean it would affect products manufactured for the 2010 retail season or that items in retail stores would already have to have tracking labels as of August 2009?

The law requires that one year after enactment, or August 14, 2009, manufacturers of children’s products must place permanent marks on their product providing the information specified. Thus, the Commission staff believes that the tracking label requirement applies to children’s products manufactured on or after August 14, 2009.

What information needs to be provided on the product to meet the tracking label requirements of section 103? Does section 103 of the CPSIA require that a manufacturer’s name be present on a tracking label?

Section 103 of the CPSIA provides that the tracking label must contain information that will enable the manufacturer to ascertain the location and date of production of the product and cohort information (including the batch, run number, or other identifying characteristic) and any other information determined by the manufacturer to facilitate ascertaining the specific source of the product by reference to those marks.

Section 103 of the CPSIA further provides that the tracking label must contain information that will enable the ultimate purchaser to ascertain the manufacturer or private labeler, location and date of production of the product, and cohort information (including the batch, run number, or other identifying characteristic.) Thus, section 103 of the CPSIA does require that the tracking label contain information sufficient for the purchaser to ascertain the manufacturer of the product.

Watch the Commission's website for postings regarding further guidance on this issue. The Commission will seek comments from the public during this process.

Phthalates Limits and Testing

What kind of products does the phthalates prohibition apply to?

Three phthalates, DEHP, DBP, and BBP, have been permanently prohibited by Congress in concentration of more than 0.1% in “children’s toys” or “child care articles.” A “children’s toy” means a product intended for a child 12 years of age or younger for use when playing, and a “child care article” means a product that a child 3 and younger would use for sleeping, feeding, sucking or teething.

Three additional phthalates, DINP, DIDP, and DnOP, have been prohibited pending further study and review by a group of outside experts and the Commission. This interim prohibition applies to child care articles or toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth or brought to the mouth and kept in the mouth so that it can be sucked or chewed that contains a concentration of more than 0.1% of the above phthalates.

How do you determine whether a product is a child care article for purposes of compliance with the phthalates limits?

A child care article is a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething. By way of example, a pacifier/teether would be an item that would help a child with sucking or teething; a bib would facilitate feeding; a crib mattress would facilitate sleeping as would pajamas and crib sheets.

Does the prohibition on phthalates apply to jewelry?

It depends. If such jewelry is intended for use as a toy for a child 12 years of age or younger, the phthalates prohibition would apply.

When does the phthalates ban go into effect for children’s toys and child care articles and does it apply to inventory in existence on February 10, 2009?

On February 10, 2009, DEHP, DBP, and BBP are permanently banned, and DINP, DIDP, and DnOP are banned on an interim basis, for children’s toys or child care articles as defined in section 108 of the CPSIA. The ban on the six specified phthalates in section 108 of the CPSIA only applies to products that are manufactured on or after February 10, 2009. For more information see the Office of General Counsel Advisory Opinion (

What certifications are required for children’s toys and child care articles subject to the phthalates ban?

Children’s toys and child care articles manufactured on or after February 10, 2009, will need a general conformity certification based on a “test of each product or a reasonable testing program.” Starting in September 2009, children’s toys and child care articles will have to be certified based on third-party testing of the product by accredited third-party laboratories. The Commission must post its procedures for accrediting labs to test for phthalates in June 2009.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New CPSC regulations on children's products

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which was passed by US Congress in August imposes a ban on lead in all products intended for the use of children age 12 and under. While at first this sounds like a good idea, as we all want our children to be safe, it is a sweeping legislation that could effectively wipe out all small businesses and independent makers of children's toys, clothing, and accessories, and drive up the cost of the rest. The law states that all products, even those which by their nature do not contain lead, must be tested by a third party lab. These tests can be quite costly at up to $300 per test or more. Say you have an independent designer who makes several styles of dresses for girls. If each dress contains 3 different fabrics, thread, buttons, and a zipper, the tests could cost up to $1800 or more for just that one style. And each different style would have to be tested seperately, even if they use some of the same materials. Since many of the independent and small business don't have the funds available to afford such high-cost testing, we will be faced with two options:

1. Sell our products illegally.
2. Go out of business.

I would be devastated to see all the work I have put into not only my own business, but also into the EtsyKids Team over the past 2 years, just disappear because of this.
And this won't just affect the small businesses and independent makers of children's products. Do you really think the large corporations will just absorb this new cost? Of course not...they will pass along this expense to you, the consumer, potentially sky-rocketing the cost of all products for kids. I am so overwhelmed and distraught over this, I can hardly think straight. Fortunately there are other people who have been able to put together some very eloquent writings on the subject, so I'm going to share the links with you here:

Blog posts:

More info, and how you can help:\

And here's a link to the law itself:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My First Virtual Trunk Show!

This Thursday I will be hosting my first Virtual Trunk Show. I've never done anything quite like this before, and I'm excited (and nervous) about it! I hope everything goes smoothly, and that a fun time is had by all! Here's the scoop from the EtsyKids blog:

EtsyKids: EtsyKids Team Trunk Show: This Thursday at 8:00pm!

The EtsyKids Team will be presenting some of their latest and greatest items for babies, toddlers, and children. This will be a great chance to come and meet some of the designers/artisans/shop owners, and to see a sampling of the many fabulous items the EtsyKids Team has to offer. Here's a glimpse at the 16 shops that will be showing their work:

Buy Handmade

There will be several door prizes given away throughout the evening. Here's a taste of what you'll have a chance to win:

Winter Wonderland Korker Bow Set

from Winklepots

Sleigh bells ring... well, they will before you know it. Whether you have snow or not this winter, these festive bows are sure to be a hit! Who needs to walk in a winter wonderland when you can wear it.
Grosgrain ribbons in navy, light blue with polka dots and white with blue snowflake print. Attached to metal French hair clips with a jeweled center. So cute!

Holiday INITIAL and Hot Cocoa Candy Cane Set of 2 Ribbon Scrabble Pendants Necklace

from Jewelry and Baby Bling by Dara

Part of a new line of Holiday Pendants, perfect for stocking suffers and great for gift-giving! Initial necklaces are designed with a wood scrabble letter game piece that measures 3/4" by 3/4", great decoupaged papers, swarovski crystals and three ribbons hang from a sterling silver ring. This set comes with two pendants.

PAIR of Collectible kids book about Hawaii's endangered species

from Tiki Tales

Both books are written, illustrated, & self-published by Judi Riley. Learn about Hawai'i's rich culture, language and geography with these two hardcover autographed books!

Your choice of any Medium Cloth Play Block

from KnitStyle

Cloth play blocks are super fun for baby and kids to play with. Ribbon tags are sewn in along the seams so baby can pull and tug and have some fun! Also a great toy for kids to toss and play catch. Makes a great baby shower gift as well.

Handy Wipes set of 5 Washcloths

from The Pink Zebra

Set of 5 wipes for the environmentally conscious. Two layers thick for great absorbency; one layer of a quality flannel print and soft, baby french terry on the other. These wipes can be used for little faces, hands or tiny tushies. Wiping little noses or catching spit-up. Washing all 2000 parts. Use again and again!

Choice of any one Minky Bib

from Happy Babee and Beeyond

Measuring approximately 12 ½” x 8 ½”, these bibs have a generous neck opening, and feature a
side snap closure. With loads of adorable fabrics to choose from, you're sure to find something you love! Check out this shop section for the current selection of bibs: Bibs Burps and Gift Sets

Now that you've seen what you could win, it's time for all the important details. All are invited, so come join the fun!

what: EtsyKids Team Trunk Show

when: Thursday, December 4th at 8:00pm Eastern

where: Etsy's Virtual Labs in the Teams Room. Here’s how to get there:
  1. Log on to If you don't have an Etsy account yet, you can register by clicking here.
  2. Click on the "Community" tab at the top of the home page.
  3. Click on the "Virtual Labs" box on the community page.
  4. Click on the green "Treehouse Room" within the Virtual Labs

I hope to see you all there!


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