Sunday, December 28, 2008

hello again.....

I am back (for the most part) after a very cozy holiday with just the four of us. With family so far away, we made the best of our intimate gathering with a stream of days filled to the brim with baking, crafting, and just fun hanging out with each other. With little M now at a "mature" 3 1/2, the ability for him to wander about the house with his brother without our constant supervision made the environment completely different from holidays past. It was so much more relaxing, and thus marked this next stage we have entered with both boys getting that much older. After a week filled of cozy fires, cookie baking, gingerbread house making, holiday stories, hot cocoa, (with whipped heavy cream and red dusting sugar....yum), snow playing, delicious food, and a few tantrums here and there (we are a family with kids afterall) we are slowly trying to transition ourselves back into the usual routine.
I hope everyone had a wonderful time with friends and family, and here's looking to an amazing new year.

see you soon.......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

those holiday cards.....

Whenever the time comes to ready some cards for sending to friends and family for the holidays, I am often struck at how hard it is to find images of the boys that would work well. I have a tendency to take pictures with only hands and feet showing, and if I do capture their faces the expressions are usually very serious and looking off to the side. I have always found more of a connection with these images, and can find myself easily lost in the power of emotion that can result from these pictures of them. If I do capture a smile it has to be spontaneous and unexpected, and when that does happen it is a wonderful treat. With that being said, the boys and I set out on trying to marry both my photographic needs with what I think (o.k, more like hope) family and friends would like to see of our boys. After sporting our favourite crowns (I can't get enough of Ruby's crowns), we set ourselves up in the boy's room and began to shoot. Twenty minutes of having mummy take endless photos of A's various superhero poses and little M's airplane tricks, they forgot about me and I was able to get what I hoped would make good goliday card material. O.K., so I may have gone for the serious and off to the side again, but I did manage a smile in there, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's beginning to look a lot like.......

Between keeping up with shop postings and getting ready for the Bust show, my December up to this point was very mummysam hectic. It wasn't until my very exhausted return from New York City did I realize, with some panic I might add, that Christmas was just a handful of days away and I have done barely anything for my own family. And so it came to be that after closing the shop yesterday for christmas, the holiday preparations went underway. The snowfall that pleasantly suprised the boys this morning was the perfect way to start what I am sure will be many a day filled with playing in the snow, drinking hot cocoa and warming our cold toes and fingers by the fire. Little M and I baked some yummy butter twist cookies today before big A came home on the bus, and it just brought back so many wonderful memories of my own childhood as he came in from the cold to see a plate with some freshed baked treats to nibble on. (well, maybe the cookie part didn't happen until after 10 minutes of getting soaked trying to remove the dripping boots, wet snowpants, a jacket with hidden pockets of snow, damp socks , a toque and two hard to remove gloves with the end result of one huge puddle that I accidentally stepped into with my one dry sock.....)
happy holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

what a journey......

Two days before the show, we awoke to a neighborhood completely covered in ice. (note the broken trees in the background). After a very long and loud night of listening (quite nervously I might add) to the crackles and subsequent crashes of limbs falling down left and right, we started the day with no power and two scared little boys. At first glance you can't help but get taken aback by the beauty of it, but soon reality hits and you see it for what it is...a storm that knocked out power for hundreds of thousands, and a landscape full of it's aftermath.
The day soon turned into night, and after a long night of keeping two boys warm under a pile of blankets we started to prepare ourselves for the thought that power may not come back for some days to come.
The mummy guilt started to hit hard, and the thought of leaving everyone at home to go to the city became unbearable....although I was reassured many a time that things will be fine by my husband, I just couldn't bring myself to go. Thankfully the power came on moments before I was set to leave, and I could rest with ease knowing that they were all going to be comfortable while I was gone.

With that said, a few sloppy kisses and hugs later I finally set off for the city.
In the end, the show turned out to be well worth the trials of getting there, and the turnout was just unbelievable. Many a wonderful people were met, and it was always such a treat to meet one of my Etsy customers in person. Thank you to everyone who managed to pop by to say was such an energetic day full of many a chit chat with fellow artists, customers, and general admirers.

I am back now, and ready to do a final update to the shop tonight before I close it for a couple of weeks to focus on being with the family for christmas. cheers!

(We were really lucky to get power when we did, as many of my friends today are still without power, and what trees did fall in our yard did so without hitting the house.....turns out we had it easy )

Thursday, December 11, 2008

wish me luck!!!

I am about ready to head off to attend the Bust Craftacular show in NYC this weekend. It's been a hectic week of sewing and preparing, and I am finally ready to go. If you are in the area, stop by!

Sunday, December 14, 2008
10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street, NYC

see you Monday........

Help Save Handmade Toys

Let me preface this by saying that I am all for regulation of some sort.......but the cost that will be implemented to test each item will put many artisans, like myself, out of business. I take pride in using 100% natural materials and would have no problem proving it if it allowed me to continue making pieces that connect with so many parents out there. There needs to be something implemented that would allow regulation for artisans like myself in a manner that would enable our work to continue.

(The following text may be found on Little Ida)
In 66 days mandatory safety testing will be required for all toys sold in the United States under a new law through the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). If the law as currently written is not modified, handmade toys (and other children's items) made by small crafters, and even niche products from some larger companies will no longer be legal in the United States; Craftsbury Kids and countless other retailers who rely on handmade products in the children's industry will be left with a dismally limited product range to offer customers.

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US, so they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in August 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business, or prevent them from doing business with the United States.
:: A toymaker for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the (up to $4,000) fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
:: A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
:: And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to address the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, will be that small creative companies with unique products, will be forced out of business, or forced to narrow their product range and sell to the mass market. Product availability and selection will diminish. Ironically, we will be primarily left with imported plastic toys from China.

What can you do to help?
Toy stores, Toymakers and others in the industry:
Join the Handmade Toy Alliance-

Parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens:
Write to your United States Congress Person and Senator and the CPSC to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. You can find a sample letter with links to representatives here- and the Handmade Toy Alliance website provides extensive information along with important links if you'd like to research further.

Please pass the word on in any way you can, discuss this issue in forums and post about it on your blog.

Monday, December 8, 2008

as I get ready......

As I struggled trying to come up with just the right display for the upcoming Bust Craftacular show in NYC this weekend, I immediately went to these images of the ongoing exhibition in Georgia.

Angela Nichols did such an amazing job setting up my dolls, and I think they look just amazing!
I have never used doll stands before, but after seeing these images I quickly dashed out and grabbed some for the Bust show. I want to thank you Angela for doing such a "smashing" display!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

luckily I had a few stored up....

We were lucky to have made it to the tree farm before Mr. camera broke, and being that we are in full swing of our advent activities I thought it fitting to post one here as we talk about our project of the day.
After two days of sticky smores and messy peanut butter pine cone bird feeders, we awoke today to a much "cleaner" activity. "Stay in your jammies and sing Christmas songs as loud as you can" welcomed the boys at 6:30 a.m, and by 6:45 we were already collapsed on the floor taking a much needed break....(o.k., well mummy and daddy needed the break....I am assuming it had something to do with going straight from slumber into high energy singing before a sip of coffee had been had by either of us) I have really been enjoying this family tradition we started, and have included the activity envelopes big A wrote himself last is so sweet to see his 4 year old handwriting and to see what projects he thought would be fitting....I can't wait for the mornings when we open those........

Friday, December 5, 2008

we have a wee bit of a problem....

Unfortunately this is the only photo I could manage to upload due to a very faulty camera. That being said, I am going to have to postpone the "house" update until my new camera arrives (which should hopefully be within the next 5 days....thanks Beth for tipping me on a good one!)
If any of you are interested in a house you see in the photo please feel free to contact me through my shop, and I can describe the piece in further detail. I was so excited about this update in particular, and hope that the camera will come sooner than later!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

of course it would happen now.....(oh, and the winner is...)

Well this was supposed to be the first of a series of photos depicting our first advent activity of the season,however my trusty camera finally decided it was a fitting time to leave us. I am in a frantic haze trying to find a good camera, as pictures need to be taken for my upcoming shop update. (any suggestions?) oh the timing!
oh well, in any case I won't let a pesky camera get in the way of our festive activities....

All that aside, we thoroughly enjoyed running down the stairs the other morning anxious to open our first advent card. "Make smores and enjoy by the fire with everyone" celebrated day one, and we were soon out the door to collect the ingredients. ('s where the pictures would have been helpful!) One bag of marshmallows, three bars of dark chocolate, a box of graham crackers, and three found sticks later we were ready. Poor dad spent a good hour trying to start a fire with damp wood and two ansy boys in the background who seemed to agonize over every minute that would pass. Success was finally had, and we had just enough time to warm some little toes and cover our faces and jammies with ooey chocolate and marshmallows. It was a really great way to start the season, and today I have the birdseed and peanut butter in hand as we dive into our next project. (somehow I seemed to have made every activity a very "sticky" one.....I am sure there will be many a pajama set sent to the laundry...)

of course I cannot say goodbye to you all without sending a warm congratulations to elmaelsiena....your mummysam goody will soon be on its way. congratulations!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

it's about time....

I wish I could start by saying that my long absence was due to some romantic getaway filled with lots of wine and good food, but instead we found ourselves celebrating Thanksgiving with one child sick and a mummy quick to follow....oh well, you can't win them all!
I am slowly getting back into work and will be busy today getting all my orders shipped out before I surround myself with cottages, brownstones, and pastry shops.....yes, a "house" update is much in need, and I hope you will all join me this Saturday as I attempt to upload a variety of humble abodes for you to enjoy.
(if there are any houses in particular you are interested in, please let me know!)

p.s. I have not forgotten the winner, and will do my "unveiling" tomorrow morning....oh how suspenseful I can be :)