Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I must be crazy

About a week ago, I had the buyer from Creative Kid's Stuff contact me. They have a chain of 7 stores in Minneapolis, MN and they wanted me to send one of my Zadyballs to see if it would be a good fit for their store. So, I sent them one along with my wholesale catalog and prices.
After she got it, she sent me an order for 200 Zadyballs. That's right, TWO HUNDRED! My biggest order EVER! They would like to have them in 3 weeks.
Did I mention that I'm having a baby in TWO weeks??!
So, needless to say, I'll be VERY busy, probably right up until the baby comes.

If there is anyone out there that would be interested in helping... I could put you to work. *wink wink*

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Getting Close to the End!

The big day is fast approaching.
I wish that I felt ready. But I don't.
We pulled all the baby stuff out of the attic and have been sorting and trying to find someplace to put it. Not an easy task.

Here's my big belly at 36 1/2 weeks.



I've decided to have a clearance sale in my shop. 20% off everything (except for already clearance priced items). Everything is ready to ship. I don't plan to sew anything new until after the baby comes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas! Brandon's parents came and spent Christmas Eve with us. We had lots of fun!
I spent Christmas Eve morning baking pies and bread. Then we delivered loaves of bread to some friends. If you didn't get any, it's probably because you weren't home! We had eight loaves, but we probably stopped at 16 houses before we found enough people home to deliver them all!
We had our traditional Christmas program that evening. Brandon read the Christmas story from the bible, and the kids acted it out. Zander really got into the role!
The costumes are a little improvised, but they worked.

I tried to get a picture of Ady "gently" putting Baby Jesus into the manger, but it just didn't happen.

I did manage to make our traditional Christmas pajamas. I had some fabric that I'd bought a lot of for Zadyballs, and decided that it would be better put to use this way. I used the most simple pattern I could find, didn't do pockets or anything fancy, and managed to make SIX pairs of pants in about 3 hours. I was impressed with myself.

The kids with Gran and Papa - I didn't have enough of the same fabric to make theirs, so they got something a little different. (Gran thought they looked like clown pants. Oh well)

Zander asked Santa for an Indiana Jones hat and an Indiana Jones whip. (I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the fact that his father let him watch that movie.)
I searched for a decent hat for quite a while. Then, Brandon's Aunt Becky told us that she had an old, beat up hat that might just work. It turned out to be perfect! The lining was coming out, and the band around the outside was falling off, but after I fixed that, I think it looks just like Indiana Jones. Plus, it's not a cheapo like the toy ones they sell at Wal-mart.
Zander had played with a toy whip at Wal-mart that had a hard plastic handle, and it made noise and played music when you pushed a button. I think that's what he had in mind, but I really didn't like that one. For one thing, it said "Ages 6 and up". It was made in China (which I think I'm going to start boycotting). And I could just imagine him swinging it around by the wrong end whacking his sister in the head with the hard plastic handle. So, I decided to make one for him instead. It's made out of fabric that I had on hand, and stuffed. It's really quite similar to the store bought one, just not as dangerous. I was afraid his reaction would be "Hey, why doesn't it make noise?" But he actually said "It's JUST like Indiana Jones!" I was happy about that!

I think I did pretty good with having a handmade Christmas this year.
Ady asked for a little pink monkey, and a bracelet.
This is the monkey she got from TheMonkeyShop. Super cute! She did get another monkey from her Grandma that makes noise. So far, that one's the favorite.

I got Brandon a tie from rabbitstop. He was VERY impressed with it, and wants to buy more from them!

Even I got a lovely handmade gift from my kids and hubby! Brandon got a vase and etched "Families are Forever" into the side of it. Then he took the kids and they picked out silk flowers from the store and made a bouquet to go in it. I think it turned out beautifully, and was really from the heart!


Anyway, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CPSIA - Letter from Ed Pastor

First of all - Merry Christmas! I've been a little MIA as far as blogging goes. Been VERY busy!

I got a letter in the mail today from Congressman Ed Pastor. It's not much better than John McCain's, but at least it is much more personalized, and sounds like he actually read the letter I sent him and is aware of my concerns.

Here it is:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the Consumer product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) mandate for the removal of toys containing hazardous materials from the marketplace. I appreciate learning of your interest in this issue.

While I sincerely regret that third-party testing of toys and other children's products have become necessary, the recent incidents of dangerous levels of toxins found in these products requires Congress to increase oversight and ensure the safety and well being of our nation's children. CPSIA was passed by significant support in both the House of Representatives, 424-1, and the Senate, 89-3, and was signed into law by President Bush on August 14th. I joined many of my colleagues in co-sponsoring and voting in support of CPSIA because of this striking need to protect our nation's children.

However, please be aware that as the guidelines for implementing the legislation are worked out, there may be future exemptions for small businesses like yours. I would encourage you to contact the Consumer product Safety Commission with details of your circumstances as a small business owner in order to assist them as the make recommendations for future compliance guidelines. All correspondences can be sent to:

Nancy Nord
Acting Chairman
Consumer product Safety Commission
4330 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

I appreciate learning of your concerns as you raised some very interesting points. Please know that my office is always open to you.

Sincerely
Ed Pastor
Member of Congress


So basically, he isn't going to do anything about it. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I suppose it's better than nothing.

Now I need to get a letter ready to send to Nancy Nord.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zander was Tagged!

Zander was tagged by his cousin Tate

I have the opportunity to say five neat things about Zander.
Then, we get to tag more people.



  1. He is a great brother! He loves to take care of his little sister and she is his favorite playmate. I know that he will be an awesome brother to the new baby as well!
  2. He is a great helper! He loves to be involved in everything that we have going on around the house and loves to help. His favorite chores are cleaning the toilets and mopping the floors. Things that I am more than willing to let him help with! He also loves to cook and help build/fix things with his daddy!
  3. He is SO smart! We had him tested for preschool and the teachers were blown away by him! He scored higher in the vocabulary and comprehension portion of the test than any other kid they had tested!
  4. He is so excited to learn about the scriptures and about Jesus! We've been told on many occasions that he loves to participate at church. And at home, his favorite stories are about Christ and other people from the scriptures. And he always has such thought provoking questions, about EVERYTHING!
  5. Zander is a great singer! I am amazed at how quickly he can learn words to songs, and that he is so willing to sing them! He has already sung in church twice, at my grandmother's funeral, and at our ward Christmas party! He'll be singing in church again on Sunday!

Here he is singing at my Grandmother's funeral in October. (Audio only)
video
And here he is singing at the ward Christmas party. Not great quality. You might have to turn up your speakers to actually hear anything.
video

This is a fun activity filled with goodness and happy thoughts! The children that are "kiddie tagged" next are:

Isaac Fallstrom
Zane Gardner
Robbie Alt
Carson O'Neill
Patrick West

Have fun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

So much to do, so little time!

Today begins the final countdown.
The baby will arrive in ONE MONTH or less! Such a scary thought! I still have SO much to do!
I need to:

  1. Finish Christmas shopping - mostly just for my kids.
  2. Make some gifts (again, for my kids)
  3. Get everything situated for my shop (I plan to close temporarily right after Christmas)
  4. Work on a wholesale order, going to a shop in FRANCE!
  5. Get ready for a last minute craft fair this weekend (am I crazy?!)
  6. Try to get some scrapbooking done
  7. Get all the baby stuff out and figure out where to put it
  8. Try to keep up with housework, cooking, laundry and everything else!

Besides all that, here's what ELSE I have going on -

BIG SALE


I need to make room for the baby :)
Every Regular ZadyBall and ZadyMini have been marked down 25% or more!
Prices already reduced, all you have to do is BUY!

PLUS - US Buyers - FREE UPGRADE TO PRIORITY SHIPPING on ALL ORDERS
Include "Priority" in notes to seller

Click Here to see everything that is on sale!

CRAFT FAIR


I may be crazy for doing this, but I thought it sounded like fun!


GIVEAWAY


I am ALSO hosting a giveaway on a fun website Thrifty Jinxy
I'm giving away Hoots the Owl


Click Here to find out how to enter!


Phew! I think that's everything!
Maybe I'll get caught up... Someday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

35 days and counting!

Baby day is quickly approaching! Being pregnant at this time of year is both a good thing, and not so good. Being so busy with holiday preparations and orders and such really does make the time fly, but there is SO much that I wanted to get done before the baby arrives. And most of it just isn't going to happen!
I realized that I am over a year behind in scrapbooking. My poor daughter has no where near the same kind of quality scrapbook that her brother had. Not the end of the world, I know, but it's just one of those things that I feel like, as a mother, I should be better at.
I have several Christmas gifts that I want to get made, especially for my kids. But, I've been so busy sewing Zadyballs (not that I'm complaining) that I haven't had much time to sew anything else!
Plus, my brother has been visiting us this week. He is in the USAF, stationed in Germany, and we haven't seen him in 2 1/2 years. So, it's really nice to be able to spend time with him. But, it means that everything gets pushed back yet another week!
I'm thinking about closing down my Etsy shop pretty soon so that I can focus on getting ready for baby. But, I have lots of inventory that I'd like to be rid of. So, maybe I'll have a big sale. Keep your eyes open for that ;)

Anyway - here is my big, fat pregnant belly at 34 weeks. Baby day is Jan 15th (if not sooner!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanks A LOT Mr. McCain!

To get you up to date...
Here's the issue: CPSIA

I sent this letter via email (and snail mail) to John McCain, among others. Lo and behold, I actually got a response!

And here is what he had to say:

Thank you for contacting me to share your views on the need to ensure timely implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. I appreciate learning your views.

As you may know, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was signed into law on August 14, 2008. This law reauthorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and establishes safety standards and other requirements for certain children's products and toys. It also requires improved labeling so parents can more easily track items that have been recalled.

I certainly understand and share your concern about the need to do all we can to protect our nation's children from unsafe products. Please be assured that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, on which I serve, will be monitoring closely the CPSC's implementation of the new law.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very important matter. Please feel free to contact me on this or any other issue of concern.

Sincerely,
John McCain
United States Senator


Is it just me, or does it sound like he didn't read my letter AT ALL?!! I have a feeling that this is a canned response that his system sends out every time they get an email regarding CPSIA. Wonderful. This man was almost president. Why? I voted for him. Why?

I'm so glad to know that there are such compassionate, caring people running our country. (are you feeling the sarcasm?!) Hopefully I get a better response from my snail mail.

Monday, December 8, 2008

VOTE FOR ME!

One of my items (Marvin the Misunderstood Monster) was chosen to be a part of Etsy's Favorite Handmade toys!! Only 60 toys were selected, so I'm pretty thrilled to be a part of this!



Please come and cast your vote for good ole Marvin! He'd LOVE to win!

VOTE HERE!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Letter to Senators and Congressman

This is the letter that I sent to John McCain, John Kyl and Ed Pastor. I also plan to print it out and send a physical letter to each of them. I'm working up the courage to make phone calls as well.
Feel free to use any part of this for your own letters!

Dear Mr. ________
I am writing to you to express my deep concern for the impending enforcement of the new Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act. As a parent of two young children, I understand that this law was written with the best of intentions – to protect children. However, this particular legislation is reactionary and holds potentially devastating economic ramifications.

I personally operate a small business designing and producing unique toys for babies and young children. My products are made primarily out of cotton fabric and polyfil stuffing. Under these new regulations, I would be required to submit each piece that I create to prohibitively expensive government approved third party testing. From what I understand, each test would cost me anywhere from $100-400, for each COMPONENT of the toy. That’s a test for thread, stuffing and each fabric. Considering the fact that I use many different fabrics, it would effectively eliminate my ability to do business legally in the US.

The fabrics and supplies that I use are already inherently lead-free. Requiring testing on them is redundant and unnecessary! Requiring expensive tests on inherently lead-free products to verify that they, in fact, don’t contain lead will only add financial burdens to small manufacturers – most of whom are already suffering from the current economic climate – while providing no improvement in consumer or product safety.

February 10, 2009 is being dubbed "National Bankruptcy Day" by many experts in the apparel and toy industry. I expect that if this legislation is allowed to be enacted, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Millions of pieces of merchandise will be destroyed because it can't be legally sold, causing not only environmental problems, but impacting charities that can't accept donations without a safety certificate.

The CPSIA is a treacherous law with potentially devastating effects. It means one thing for artisans and small business in America... unless you are a multi-million dollar company; you have no right doing business in the US.

As you can see, this legislation is dangerous. I imagine that it was originally written with good intention. However, I can only hope that you will take action in defense of hard working American business owners and help us continue our ethical practices of making safe products. Please help to defend entrepreneurial America!

Sincerely,
Alayna
www.zadyball.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

CPSIA Impacts on Children's Apparel Industry

I found out about this today, and it is really making me sick!



There is a law due to take effect on Feb 10, 2009 that requires anyone who produces children's products meant for 12 and under to test their products for lead. Sounds good, right? No one wants lead in things their kids are using. However, the way the law is written, it blindly requires testing from everyone, no matter what they make. This means everyone who makes kids clothing or diapers or burp cloths – or children’s TOYS - is affected by it! Most fabrics contain no lead whatsoever, yet it will still need to be tested. Not just the finished product, but each component will have to be tested separately. Meaning I would have to have EACH individual fabric, thread and filler tested. Each test will have to be performed by a 3rd party lab at the cost up to $180 per item, per test.

This will put me, and a lot of other small businesses out of business! If nothing changes, I will either be completely out of business as of Feb 10, or I could choose continue business as usual and just hope I don’t get caught. The penalty for non-compliance is up to 5 years in prison, and up to $15,000 in fines. Neither of which I could afford!
If it isn’t changed, my Zadyballs will become illegal contraband as of Feb 10. Not something I want to have happen!

Simply put, this law needs to be rewritten!. Please join me in writing to your congressman and pleading with them to change the content of this law!

Some more information about how toy makers are affected here

And here's a forum thread on Etsy that is about this issue

Here is a petition that you can sign

Thank you for your help!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A haircut for the girl!

I meant to post this a while ago, but didn't get around to it.

Ady's hair was starting to get pretty straggly. Not only were her bangs growing into her eyes, but that back was very uneven and not so pretty. So, I decided to take her to get a hair cut. I was scared to do it myself because the last couple times I attempted, I made a mess of it.

She was VERY well behaved. Even though we had to wait quite a while for our turn. She still sat quietly and didn't move around too much. She even sat still while I got my haircut after she was done! I was amazed! I think it makes a BIG difference when her brother isn't around, egging her on!

These pictures were taken with my cell phone because I forgot to take the good camera with me. But, at least I have something to remember the event.

Before


What a good girl!



I didn't get a good "After" picture to show how nice it looks. But, here she is on Thanksgiving, with it all messy of course. There are still some longer pieces of bangs that I want to grow out. (Did I mention that I messed it up pretty bad when I tried to cut it?) But when it is pulled back it looks really nice. And it's so pretty in the back, all one length!