Posted on

A New Member

Last month I introduced you to the newest member of the Natural Kids team. You can find their feature here and here. But I have one more member to introduce, the last added. Let me introduce you to Andrea, owner of the Etsy shop Ziezo.
Andrea’s shop is filled with Waldorf inspired goodness! Beautiful silk wings for imaginative play…

felt crowns…

and aprons for children. You can also find sweet teething dolls and a few other handmade treasures.

Andrea is a wife and mother living in Kenya. You can find her on Facebook here.  Be sure to check out all of the Natural Kids shops here.

Posted on

CPSIA Blog-in

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?

Posted on

The German Dollmaker’ s Reflections On Inauguration Day

I don’t know about you. But I think if you were not watching the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC or glued to a TV set like the rest of the world yesterday you must have had a pretty good reason…
I sat at home. Alone. Curled up in front of our TV. A cup of coffee clutched in my hand.

I don’t think I ever told any of you that I actually have a Master’s Degree from the Free University in Berlin. Before I moved to the US I studied at the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin. The study of history has always been one of my favorites. That’s why I chose to write my thesis on US history. The title of my project was: From Chattel to Customer: African Americans in Advertising. It covered a huge period of time starting with early colonial ads in which Slave owners offered rewards for the return of run-away slaves, and then went all the way to ads in which African Americans were courted as customers after the Civil Rights movement had made its impact on US society. Truly fascinating read if you ever have time…

My thesis is sitting somewhere on one of the many bookshelves in our house, probably all covered in dust. I can’t even find it. But then. Who cares? It is all history now!

So what of it now? President Obama’s speech was very little about that. It was about the new challenges the US and all of us living on this planet face. He barely touched the subject of racism. The fact that he is president now has laid the world’s doubts to rest. In America anyone can become what he wants to be. Everyone’s dream can come true!

To me the most amazing thing about his speech was how he found a way to address everybody and be all inclusive. He talks about ” The Makers of Things” in America who toil in obscurity. Hey, that is us! Doll makers and artists on Etsy!

He talks about the immigrants who crossed dangerous waters leaving family, friends, everything behind. Arriving with nothing but a suitcase. Hey, that is me too! I am the modern day immigrant. I came with one suitcase of clothes. I had to make some hard choices. I shipped my favorite books only!
So what does this speech mean to me?
It is all about hard work and hope! Mr. Obama tells us that we must work hard to make our dreams come true. I feel like I have been doing that. I have worked to so hard to get my little business off the ground. But now it is threatened by a crazy law that did not take into account people like us, the Natural Kids team.

So my plea is to you, Mr President, to hear our voices! The voices of the people, crafters, stay-at-home mothers, small business owners to amend this law. So we can get our due measure of happiness which we have been working so hard for. We don’t want hand-outs from the government. All we want is the right to continue doing our job: Which is creating wonderful children’s items out of natural fibers and recycled, or up cycled materials. There must be a place for us in this new, better, greener world – under your reign.

Oh, and here is a picture of Haddy’s wonderful creation. I love that gnome in the orange jumpsuit! Please, help us free the gnome from his shackles so we all can say:

Free at last! Free at last! Free at last! from this mindless horrible law!
Posted on

The German Dollmaker' s Reflections On Inauguration Day

I don’t know about you. But I think if you were not watching the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC or glued to a TV set like the rest of the world yesterday you must have had a pretty good reason…
I sat at home. Alone. Curled up in front of our TV. A cup of coffee clutched in my hand.

I don’t think I ever told any of you that I actually have a Master’s Degree from the Free University in Berlin. Before I moved to the US I studied at the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin. The study of history has always been one of my favorites. That’s why I chose to write my thesis on US history. The title of my project was: From Chattel to Customer: African Americans in Advertising. It covered a huge period of time starting with early colonial ads in which Slave owners offered rewards for the return of run-away slaves, and then went all the way to ads in which African Americans were courted as customers after the Civil Rights movement had made its impact on US society. Truly fascinating read if you ever have time…

My thesis is sitting somewhere on one of the many bookshelves in our house, probably all covered in dust. I can’t even find it. But then. Who cares? It is all history now!

So what of it now? President Obama’s speech was very little about that. It was about the new challenges the US and all of us living on this planet face. He barely touched the subject of racism. The fact that he is president now has laid the world’s doubts to rest. In America anyone can become what he wants to be. Everyone’s dream can come true!

To me the most amazing thing about his speech was how he found a way to address everybody and be all inclusive. He talks about ” The Makers of Things” in America who toil in obscurity. Hey, that is us! Doll makers and artists on Etsy!

He talks about the immigrants who crossed dangerous waters leaving family, friends, everything behind. Arriving with nothing but a suitcase. Hey, that is me too! I am the modern day immigrant. I came with one suitcase of clothes. I had to make some hard choices. I shipped my favorite books only!
So what does this speech mean to me?
It is all about hard work and hope! Mr. Obama tells us that we must work hard to make our dreams come true. I feel like I have been doing that. I have worked to so hard to get my little business off the ground. But now it is threatened by a crazy law that did not take into account people like us, the Natural Kids team.

So my plea is to you, Mr President, to hear our voices! The voices of the people, crafters, stay-at-home mothers, small business owners to amend this law. So we can get our due measure of happiness which we have been working so hard for. We don’t want hand-outs from the government. All we want is the right to continue doing our job: Which is creating wonderful children’s items out of natural fibers and recycled, or up cycled materials. There must be a place for us in this new, better, greener world – under your reign.

Oh, and here is a picture of Haddy’s wonderful creation. I love that gnome in the orange jumpsuit! Please, help us free the gnome from his shackles so we all can say:

Free at last! Free at last! Free at last! from this mindless horrible law!