Sunday, January 18, 2009

More on "Save Handmade!"

I just received this encouraging email below, but we still need to spread the word on this. As of February 10, if I decided to sell my needle-felted creatures, I couldn't do it because they could possibly be given to someone under 12. And I can no longer sell my colorful animal paintings, like the monkey above, which are intended to brighten up children's rooms.

Here's the email:

Thank you for your support on! Because of your votes, 'Save Small Business from the CPSIA' is now one of the top ten ideas for change in America on These ideas were presented to President-elect Obama's team at a press event in Washington DC this past Friday, January 16th.

With 12,280 votes from supporters, our issue is now part of a campaign to increase national awareness of the lack of provisions for small business in HR4040, the CPSIA, and bring about positive changes to the law. In the upcoming week, we will be working with the team to engage an appropriate non profit group to help us further our cause.

A forum has been opened for discussion on how to most effectively turn our idea into a successful national campaign, and the Handmade Toy Alliance would love your suggestions on how to bring about this Idea for Change. You can join the conversation here:

We still have a lot of work ahead of us to make it possible for the thousands of American craftspeople and small businesses to stay in business, and to keep unique, beautiful hand-made children's products available to consumers. But this was an important milestone in our journey, and we are grateful to you for helping us to reach it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Domestic Endeavor #2 and The Accidental Bear

Holy cow, I'm on a roll! Tonight I cooked a delicious dish from this month's Real Simple magazine. It's called chickpea pasta with almonds and Parmesan. And it came out truly yummy! I'm feeling pretty good right now. And full.

And last night I attempted my third (we won't discuss the second) needle felted animal, this time after having received the excellent "Little Felted Animals" book.

This actually started as a cat, but by the end I decided he was a dog. When I showed it to Chris, he said, "Nice bear." So, after a little arguing about which animal this most resembled, I conceded defeat, went back to my desk and made a few edits - changed ear position, made the legs bulkier and most importantly, snipped the long cat, er dog, tail.

He's pretty cute, no matter what he is exactly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reused Food Cans

I am in no way claiming to have had an original idea here, but I wanted to show you what I did today.
I'm really into reusing items whenever I can. So many of our food items, especially baby stuff, come in these great containers. I love storage items, so I had set these aside, trying to think of what I could do with them.

Then I remembered all the pretty scrapbook paper I bought on sale a couple of months ago and came up with this:
The one on the right is turned backwards so you can see the seam. With a slight overlap for your paper, the length you need is 13 inches. We all know scrapbook paper is 12 inches, so you can stick either white or a contrasting color under there first.

So easy, so quick and I feel so proud of myself. Quin loves these snacks, so I'll have them all over the house for pens, etc. I just don't recommend them for wet things like paintbrushes, because the cylinder is made of cardboard/paper and the bottom is metal - likely to rust. So, I'll stick with my mason & tomato sauce jars for those.

Speaking of reusing, I'm a big time thrift store shopper, but selling children's items there will be against the law as of Feb. 10th per my post below. Because it's retroactive, thrift stores will have to pull everything for kids under 12 off the shelves and would have to have them independently tested before selling. Since that runs about $4,000 per item, I'd say it won't be happening.

First thing next month I'm stocking up on clothes for the kids, etc. just in case it takes our lovely congressmen ages to get this stupid law amended.

See more info here:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Needle Felted Sea Otter

I just figured out how to turn this:

into this:
Thanks to my blog-hopping, I discovered needle felting. And then thanks to my Dad, I was able to purchase the supplies to try my own creations. And here's creation #1 - a sea otter.

I got my supplies here: The Silver Penny, and here: Lambkin Wool. The Silver Penny offers a ton of different kinds of wool, needles, etc. etc. They also have very helpful tutorial videos on the site. Lambkin Wool sells a great starter kit for $13.95. Both had excellent customer service, very friendly people. I've also ordered this book off Amazon: Little Felted Animals, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Now, I know he's not perfect. His face isn't what I was aiming for at all. But for my first try, I think he's not bad. And it was really fun. So easy and relaxing.

And yes, though I live in "The Ocean State," I made that seashell out of clay. It's cold out there!

I'm looking forward to trying some more creatures. Maybe an elephant next?

Oh, and by the way, Jackson wouldn't touch my lovely biscuits. Jeez!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Yes, yes it's true - I actually baked something. I was perusing an old copy of Women's Day and came across a recipe for sweet potato biscuits. I thought it might be a good way to get some Vitamin A into Jackson.

Okay, yes, I had to call my mom first to ask "How do you make a mashed potato?" and then "What does it mean to 'knead' it 12 times??" and when the recipe said to roll it to 1/2" and cut into rounds, I thought it meant to literally roll it, like a long tube or something and then slice circles out of it, like with those prepared rolls of cookie dough.

It took me a couple of minutes of struggling with the not-quite-sticking-together dough before it hit me that it meant to roll it out with a rolling pin(!). Thank goodness I'd bought my first rolling pin just last night! Rather fortuitous, eh? And they are shaped like flowers because that's the closest I could come to a circle cookie cutter. But I like the flowers. Much more interesting than boring old circles!

And here's the absolute truth: not only did I enjoy the process, but they taste good. I've already had two while the boys are napping.

Hooray for me and my domestic endeavor! Will there be more to come? Stay tuned and find out.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Save Handmade!

Save Handmade Toys

I just came across this post and was very concerned by what I read. I encourage you to click on this link to learn about how handmade items for children in this country are being threatened by new safety standards that are a reaction to the unsafe junk being made in China.

I immediately sent letters to my congressman and senators. It took about 10 minutes thanks to the letter template provided in the links at the bottom of the post.

These standards will put thousands of craftspeople out of business who make the products we all love to discover in our local shops and on And I'm one of those people! You never know what great, cute idea I might come up with next - like my magic wands (soon to be posted on this blog).

Please follow the link:
and take some action today!