Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We've come a long way baby!  The good news for those of us in the snowy northeast, is that technology has taken the "sit-in" to literally mean sitting in your house letting our computers be our voice on issues.  Today has been designated as CPSIA Blog-in Day.  With so many small manufacturers and artists' livelihoods (and passions) being potentially squashed with this new law, it is impressive how we have come together and are keeping a bright light shining on this issue.  

At, I've updated my FAQ's page to include a pdf that customers can download to learn more than they probably ever wanted to know about screen printing ink!  I called my supplier and after explaining to the woman that answered WHY I was calling, she put me on hold, with a puzzling "let me ask".  The owner of the company was great, he agreed to letting me post the pdf on his products.  This information should put an end to MY having to test my products again.   But, alas, until the powers that be make changes to this law, I'm still on pins and needles, on wether or not I have to find the money to test my products.  

Wouldn't it be a grand if Washington showed us a little love this Valentine's Day and settled this issue immediately!  I'll send them all one of our glow in the dark pillowcases so they can get a good nights sleep!

If you are a consumer, manufacturer or artist, please share this blog, contact your congressman and senators and be part of the new "sit-in"!

You might want to read an article in Forbes by Paul Rubin, former chief economist at the CPSC, in which he explains why the CPSIA would flunk any imaginable cost-benefit test.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year

Localcolorist sells her handmade peace cranes on Etys. She posted the following information with an Etsy Treasury today:

"January 26th 2009 the new moon will turn over and we will move from the year of the rat to the year of the Earthen ox. The year of the ox happens every 12 years and the year of the Brown or Earth Ox happens once every 60 years with the last occurence being in 1949. Year 4707 in the Chinese calendar, the year of the Ox is generally considered prosperous and hard working."

Here's to a prosperous Year of the Ox filled with lots of hard work!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Be Something New update

Just finished some of the photos that will soon be featured on my new website It will take a little while longer to get everything up and running on the site, but I thought you might like a sneak peak of my new line. Be Something New will have pieces for the bride, for everyday and also one of a kind things made from vintage items.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This is an excellent post at Fashion Incubator stating where things stand in the fight to revise the CPSIA.  Be sure to click the links in the post for even more info.

Don't give up the fight!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Comfy Cozy owner interviewed for CPSIA article

A few days ago, Caryn Gresham, my sister and PR guru, got a lead from a journalist looking for WAHMs that own small businesses that will be effected by the CPSIA. I said "yes" and she contacted me earlier today. The article can be seen on Susan Maphis is writing a series of posts on the impact of the CPSIA. You can also sign up for her CPSIA Alerts Newsletter. I plan on forwarding the post to my legislators and news media. With the Innaugaration of Barack Obama taking place tomorrow, there will be room in the media for this topic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Forever and Ever?

Yep, it's been a long time since I posted here.  I bet it was just at the start of my Christmas rush.....and that seems like a long time and a lot of piggy banks ago.  So a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

And with this new year comes new hoops to jump through. Last fall brought me PCI compliance. That's having your website scanned to make sure it is completely secure when taking credit card information. This is not a government thing....this was put out there by the credit card companies to combat fraud. Which is a great idea. It really is.....

So my site was moved to a new secure server and should pass all the scans and guidelines as set forth by the credit card companies. BUT the company that scans websites, keeps scanning my old IP address and not the new one. So, that is kind of in limbo there. I think I have a fine to pay if I don't pass the scans. I am in the process of switching merchant account providers, and they will have a different scanning company and so forth. I should be hope everything is okay then.

And with 2009 comes the CPSIA. And that's enough to make your head spin. I guess I will know in the next couple weeks exactly what I have to do to stay in business. The act is so vague, it is hard to figure out who needs to do what. Hopefully the legislators will hear all the voices shouting at them and they will amend and clarify this bill so we small businesses know what's going on and aren't forced out of business. It really is a hard read....and can be interpreted many different ways. I don't want to get into that CPSIA and you will find many sites and opinions on this.

What I wanted to blog about was, wow, what if I have to close my business. I never ever thought of that possibility. Unless business was so slow I had no choice. Being self employed, I thought I had the advantage over others who were being laid off. I would always have a job....until I chose not to.

This CPSIA has scared me. I really have no other skills. I did not complete college. I haven't worked for anyone else in 20 some years. I've been self employed forever and this business is a huge part of me and my life. I paint, and I paint well.  I love what I do and am blessed to be able to make money doing it.

This business is supposed to last forever. It is supposed to be here when hubby retires. Then he can either help me, or give me my space and leave me alone : ) It's my "piggy bank" so to speak, because it helps me pay quite a few bills here at home. Plus I can save some money for a vacation if I want. I don't want to be done yet.

Life without piggy banks, and me without a paint brush, just seems very, very wrong. I hope the legislators pay attention to us little people out here and correct things so we can stay in business. I plan to be painting a long, long time yet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

CPSIA - Contacting your representatives in Washington

I forgot to add this to my list w/ my Congressman.  Click to find the contact information for your representatives - Congress  and Senate.  

Interestingly enough, I've been contacting mine a lot lately.  The past 6 months have really changed my attitude on being a citizen.  I love our country.  I'm proud to be an American, not just when I sing the song, but every day.  We fly our flag proudly, not just "because".  I've decided to make my voice heard on lots of issues, from Drill Here, Drill Now to Small Business issues and local education issues.  

I'm letting my children know what I am doing and why.  How it impacts them and our family, our safety and our country.  It's important that we stop sitting around complaining, but letting OUR officials know what we think about what they are doing.  Regardless of what political party you are part of, Sarah Palin was right - they work for US!  

Trust me, I feel better every time I write a letter or make a phone call!

Friday, January 9, 2009

CPSIA - Update and Testing Costs for

Well, as if a small business owner has NOTHING better to do with her time than spend hours on the new CPSIA, I have just completed todays research.  Thought it would be interesting to share with you what I've done and NO, none of these things were on my "to-do list" for January 9th!

1)  Emailed Joe Pitts, my PA Congressman
2)  Emailed John Kerry - my small biz advisor suggested I ask him about effects on small businesses
3)  Read more info on CPSIA - good source for info is Fashion-Incubator site
4)  Emailed links and info to my small biz advisor at the Kutztown Small Business Development Center.  
5)  Talked to a neighbor that is also a WAHM and makes kids products.
6)  Called a  CPSC approved testing company here in PA.  More on that conversation below.  Find one in your area at the CPSC site here.  
7)  Ok, I haven't done this yet, but I will after I get some orders out and make some money, I'm going to contact my local paper.

So, more on my conversation with my new friend at the testing company.  First off, even the testing companies aren't totally clear on what the act requires and are working their way thru this as well.  Apparently, we should all be going to get a job at a testing company or open up a new one!  Since my products do use paint, he says they'll need to get tested.  Yes, even if the manufacturer of the inks has already had them tested and certified.  Now the fun question - how much will that cost Comfy Cozy,inc?  It seems that EVERY color ink will have to be tested.  Now, that may not sound so bad, until you add up all the different colors of inks I use in my designs - there's around 60!  OK, so I like to change things up, use different shades.  Get ready folks because the Comfy Cozy line of glow in the dark pillowcases is going to be down to 6 colors!  Cost of testing - PER COLOR - between $60-90!  I'm going to need to sell alot of personalized pillowcases, toddler pillows and keepsake calendars to come up with the $5000 tab on the testing. 

OK, now take a deep breath everyone.  I'm not panicking and am not going to overreact to this.  I have between February and August to get this done.  My contact thinks that the CPSC will have to revise this act to let companies do spot testing instead of every color, so long as all the paints are the "same".  Now, he isn't saying the will, just due to all the hubabaloo going on, like most of us, he foresees changes coming down the pike.  

For now, I'm going back to doing "my job" and selling some glow in the dark pillowcases, toddler pillows and keepsake calendars.  Stay tuned, superwahmz will stay on top of this issue.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

CPSIA - Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act

Small businesses have had a tough time lately.  2008 wasn't so terrific for a lot of small companies and the last thing small business owners need, namely those of us that are work at home moms that are designing and making products for children, is the long arm of the government breathing down our necks.  I'm talking about the CPSIA - the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act that was signed into law in August 2008. 

While the act was created to address the unacceptable and dangerous levels of lead that was showing up in children's products (mainly imports), no one in our government seemed to realize how it would affect small businesses, designers and crafters.  It's one thing to demand testing and certification by large multi-million dollar manufacturers of products that use materials that could contain lead.  It is a completely different one to demand small, very small businesses such as many WAHM companies, like mine, Comfy Cozy,inc., to spend thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars we don't have, to have our products tested and certified or we can't sell them.  Many of thesse products don't even use materials that could possibly include lead, but that doesn't matter. 

For my pillowcases, I know there isn't lead in the inks we use.  If the manufacturer of the ink has already had the ink tested, why do I have to do it again?  It's not like the screen printing process will magically (or chemically) create lead in the designs.  One thing that gets me is that waaay back in 1994 when I came up with this crazy idea to create glow in the dark pillowcases, I wanted to be able to assure my customers that they were safe for kids.  So, I had them tested for flammability and durability.  Mind you that the company I had do the testing told me that I didn't HAVE to do this testing.  It wasn't required by law and that it was expensive.  None of that mattered, I wanted my customers to know that their kids safety mattered to Comfy Cozy,inc. 

Under the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, ANY company that produces products that are made for children under the edge of 12 must comply.   The first deadline is February 10 - yikes!  This will effect hundreds of WAHMS and small business owners.  Many of the cute, adorable, original products that consumers like may be ripped off shelves, web sites will shut down and we'll be forced to sit around all day watching General Hospital and eating bon bons!  OK, we all needed a little levity here!  

During a time when products MADE IN USA should be shouted from the roof tops, when those of us that are using domestic materials and domestic labor should be heralded for even trying to compete with imports, we are staring down the barrel of a gun being aimed at us by our own government.  Don't get me wrong, I'm the mom of 2 young boys, I have 16 nieces and nephews and countless friends with children - I'm all for safety, rules and regulations.  But forcing small American companies to pay for the sins of large foreign companies that really don't care about the well being of my children or yours, doesn't seem like the best solution.

So, please forward this post to your friends, family and all the WAHMS you know.  If you love the cool items you can find on Etsy, contact your senators and congressmen.  Ask them if they read the legislation and understand what it's effects will be.  Maybe they'll earmark some of that trillion bucks for us to pay for the testing and certification!  For details on the CPSIA, please click here.  

I know this was a long post and I thank you for reading it:)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

2009, I can hardly believe it. This year I will turn 57, I will celebrate 40 awesome years of marriage to my best friend and I will have owned D's Stitcheree for 17 years. I would have never thought that I would do anything for 17 years. LOLOL

2008 was hard on my business as I am sure it was for many businesses. I am a positive person though so I believe that 2009 will be better. I will be making some changes to my business but I am positive that they will be for the best.

I wish for you all (anyone reading this blog) best wishes for the new year. Stay positive and keep positive people around you. THAT is my resolution (which I NEVER make) for this year. Out with negative energy sucking people and in with the positive. Not that I have a lot of negative people around me but there are some so............

Here is to 2009, raise a glass and toast all that is good in the world and Thank God that we live in the United States of America and for all our blessings. SW'z, I love you. :)