Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sugar Snap on ebay.....

I am in love with Melissa Averinos's new line for Freespirit - Sugar Snap. I am participating in a launch on ebay that celebrates her wonderful fabrics...

Fortunately this launch coincided with the arrival of a new Otto magazine and I decided to dig in and try out some of the amazing new patterns...


Sugar Snap

sugar snap34

sugar snap26

spyro gyro

sugar snap3

sugar snap1

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA in the NY Post

It's a CPSIA blog-in!

some good folks on etsy have organized a blog-in on the subject of the case you have no idea what I am talking on! If you are already familiar with the CPSIA read on anyways and you may learn something you did not know already!

I learned just this week the impact this law could have on elementary school libraries as well as the childrens sections in public libraries. They could be FORCED TO CLOSE! I have contacted our Town Supervisor as well as our school district twice since reading the info on the ALA website and HAVE HAD NO RESPONSE!

Yes I agree the law is ridiculous and how could they ever enforce it - but does this mean we ignore it? No - we move to change it! I was hoping to find supporters of change in my local officials but to no avail...I will keep you posted!

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

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.”

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 20, 2009

I have just listed 2 new custom dress sets on ebay for the Andalucia launch...


the Sydney dress


the Sophie dress

a couple more are in the works!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have been selling handmade childrens clothing online for just about 3 years now. I got my start on ebay in a small group that had come together to help newcomers - or "newbies" such as myself, learn the rope of selling on ebay.

I learned SO much that first year, how to write HTML code to create "pretty" templates, what styles/elements sold well on ebay, how to capture a great photo of my designs and more....I also made my first online designer friends - or "imaginary" friends as we sometimes call each other!

Patty Young of Modkid fame was one of my first friends online. I have watched her grow from a wonderful clothing designer to an incredible fabric designer. The designers on ebay have come together to celebrate her successes and are featuring her new fabric line Andalucia for Michael Miller in our designs!

andy collage

andalucia on ebay

andy title

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Here Comes the Bride....

Last fall I was contacted through etsy by a bride-to-be (isn't she gorgeous!)


she was looking for someone to make 2 outfits for 2 young girls - she was using Jennifer Paganelli's Casey Gold Scroll on her tables and wanted to incorporate that into the outfits


she gave me free reign to design whatever I wanted! I had so much fun playing with fabrics - I consulted my online friend Jona of Fabritopia for some help with the coordinating fabrics and then picked 2 of my favorite Euro patterns, the Feliz from Studio Tantrum and the Insa from farbenmix. I had a lot of fun with my artistic freedom and thankfully the bride was equally as happy! She was sweet enough to send me some of the photos from her wedding taken by Tine Hofmann





Friday, January 09, 2009

Local TV News Interview ....

I contacted a local TV channel earlier this week when I saw that they were doing a story about the CPSIA - the law that is requiring mandatory testing for lead in ANY item made of children aged 12 and under. I told them a bit about my business and how this would impact me in case they were interested in looking at the story from another angle.

To my surprise & delight they got back to me immediately! I found out at 8pm Tues that they were coming at 10am Wed to talk to me in my studio space! Holy Smokes!!!!!!!

I madly cleaned up my space and prepared for my interview...this is the link to the piece that appeared on the news

gock's frocks aka Kristen Hallagan talking about the CPSIA

I asked Heather of liliputians NYC if I could share a blog post she wrote for Boutique Cafe and she heartily agreed:

"The sky is falling! Yes, I feel a like an overly dramatic Chicken Little. And I wish it were true considering recent congressional legislation is about to crush the life out of the handmade clothing and toy industry. I’m talking about H.R. 4040, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law August 14, 2008, and the ramifications it will have when it goes into effect February 10, 2009 (now being popularly referred to as National Bankruptcy Day).

Make no mistake. CPSIA was necessary in principle and has noble intentions, keeping our children safe and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys. We all demand safety for our children and this is the intent of CPSIA; specifically to ensure safe levels of lead and phthalates in all products manufactured for children under the age of 12. Unfortunately this legislation lacks common sense, is ambiguous and fails to take into account the handmade industry.

What you see is not what you get with CPSIA. There is no distinction between big, small, or even micro one-person businesses. Whether it’s a large-scale manufacturer importing apparel to be sold in big box stores, or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) selling customs on ebay, the legislation applies the same to all.

Unit testing will be required on finished products, regardless if the components are natural materials or if you have documentation from a vendor stating that buttons, for example, are certified lead-free. As it stands, H.R. 4040 fails to recognize that textile products are inherently lead-free. Why then is an organic cotton shirt being tested for lead exactly?

Unit testing is extremely cost prohibitive to small business, but worse, it is unnecessary. In fact, it is completely redundant if the components that comprise the whole have already been tested and due diligence can prove they meet the guidelines.

To put a real dollar amount to testing one of my products, I solicited a lab quote. I was told it was $75 to test for lead per garment component and each substrate. Coated or painted items such as buttons are $100. So my Little Red Riding Hood Shirt, a 100% cotton knit shirt with an appliqué made from 7 cotton fabrics and 2 buttons eyes would cost $625 to test for lead. Flammability testing is also required and is either $50 for a certificate per component stating it meets weight code or $100 for actual testing. So add another $400-$800 for a grand total of $1,025-$1425. in testing costs for a shirt that retails for $40. If the shirt is offered in another colorway, the same testing is required despite the fact that the same fabrics are used throughout.

Small manufacturers have no way of absorbing the price of such redundancy. And all manufacturers will be required to test a finished component/item from each batch. Easy to do in mass production—simply pull one sample from a lot of thousands. But how does one comply when your “batches” are made-to-order batches of one? SKUs will also be required for each product with a permanent label on the item itself.

CPSIA will be retroactive and takes a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach with extremely hefty fines for violators. As written, any product used by children 12 and under (such as toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on) without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not. So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise. By the way, there are only 14 said labs currently in the United States.

Think you won’t be affected? I hope not, but the sad truth is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) will be. Do you make children’s clothing, toys, jewelry, hair bows, accessories, furniture, artwork or anything else “intended for use by children age 12 and under”? Are you a retailer of children’s goods? Do you resell used children’s clothing or toys on ebay? Do you participate or shop at craft fairs? Do you donate used children’s items to needy organizations? Do you belong to a church that has rummage sales as a fundraiser? Does your child play sports and get their uniforms from a local screen print shop? Are you a consumer shopping for alternatives to mass-produced toys? If so, this law takes away that freedom.

Surely this legislation can be amended by incorporating some common sense and still make it possible to ensure our children’s safety without further hurting the US economy. According to the 2002 Economic Census (the last survey of its type), small U.S. clothing manufacturers (with fewer than 20 employees) contribute over $900 million dollars [consider: nearly $1 billion dollars] annually to the economy and comprise 68% of total apparel manufacturing in the U.S. This is clearly a vital and contributing asset to our economy. Multiply this fallout exponentially when you take into account the myriad other manufacturers, retailers and businesses that will be hurt or ultimately driven out of business.

So, why should you support amending this legislation?

Because the CPSIA isn’t fair and will not function as written. It inadvertently punishes American industries unrelated to toys and will ultimately result in fewer alternatives to mass produced merchandise made in China. The concept that small producers should be subject to the same rigorous standards but with lesser regulation (and common sense) has already been fought for and sustained in the food industry, which is why your local farmers market still exists. Now this same idea needs to be applied to children’s products.

What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.

3) call your representatives

4) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

7) Join others in fighting this cause.
Facebook group
cpsia central

8) Join the etsy community

9) Read more about this legislation and its ramifications:

Fashion Incubator

Handmade Toy Alliance

National Bankruptcy Day

Sunday, January 04, 2009

One Proud Mama!

Today was the start of the local ski racing season.

I was more than a bit nervous as I watched my sweet little 8 year old daughter join her class at the top of the hill for a GS race down a black diamond slope!

As is typical with East Coast skiing it was ICY! I had barely gotten down the hill gracefully myself in order to get to the finish for some photos and could not imagine her little body hurtling down the hill.

Last year she only had to ski from the mid-point down - this year she moved up to the big league!

eily lovejoy1

eily lovejoy3

She looked FABULOUS! and oh so brave! I was so proud....then my 6 year old lined up for his first official start of the season. He only had to start from the mid-point but I think he would have preferred to ski the whole course!

He was a rocket ship!

leo lovejoy1

fastest boy aged 6 and under and second fastest for the boys 7-8 years old! reminds me of his papa!

pete lovejoy1

acting like one of the kids!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

we have survived the holiday season!

It all passed too quickly but was such a lot of fun.

From Christmas brunch at our house to christmas dinner at race camp, visits with the out of town cousins, first ski race of the season to new years eve with friends brings us to a lazy day at home recovering from the craziness.

Here are some photos of the fun we had...sorry to see the kids back to school tomorrow.

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waiting to come downstairs on christmas morning

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lox photo for my friend Geeta!

christmas 2008 026

great grandma gocker!

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a new use for paint chip cards - gift tags!

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little man heads for the ski hill

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toasting the new year with friends

Happy 2009!