Category Archives: community

My Congressman works for me

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the CPSIA or the potential issues this legislation will cause for small businesses, or even the economy as a whole.  I have been writing to my Senators and Representatives ever since I realized that the solution may do as much harm as the problem where this is concerned….and it’s not only small artisan businesses who will be affected….it’s all of us.

It’s not just small Artisans and custom manufacturers who will be forced to close our doors if this Law (enacted before regulations were even written) is implemented in its current form. All of us will be affected by the Law. Not that I feel the need to “defend” corporations…but if we think about the implications on ALL American families, not only the livelihood of each Artisan (though personally, that is my most immediate concern) we have a lot to fight for. Large manufacturers will be affected as well, and we’ll all have to pay more for unnecessary and unrealistic testing requirements.

Affordable toys and clothing may be a thing of the past. Our entire economy will suffer. Our buying power will decrease, and those who purchase our beautifully-made toys and clothing and toys will have less to spend, because the “basics” will cost disproportionally more.

Also, large European manufacturers, whose products would comply with the CPSIA anyway due to their stricter testing, will pull out of our market (some already have!) because the expense to re-test their toys and clothing will make selling in the US cost-prohibitive.

This battle is not just for the small Artisan, but rather the entire industry, and it will behoove us to ensure that the regulations are written so that we can ALL participate in the market space, making safe and wonderful toys and garments for our children.

I received a form letter from my Senator Debbie Stabenow, which not only did NOT address, my concerns, but appeared that she did not even take the time to read my letter.

Conversely, my Representative McCotter has consistently responded to my concerns from water quality in Michigan, to this very important issue.   I am heartened that Rep. McCotter has taken our issues seriously, and will actually represent me (and all of us who share my concerns).  I find the repeated references to “communist China” to be a bit strange, bt other than that, I’m encouraged that someone elected is on our side. Following is his letter:

Dear Ms. Lepage:
Thank you for informing me of your concerns regarding the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.

As you know, in 2007, there was an increased number of recalls on children’s toys and other consumer products. Furthermore, forty nine percent (49%) of the recalled toys included lead hazards. In 1972, Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products. Thereafter, the CPSC decreased the death and rate of injuries from consumer products by over thirty percent (30%). Importantly, four fifths (4/5) of CPSC recalls involved communist China-made consumer products. In 2007, roughly eighteen million (18 million) communist China-made toys were recalled for excessive lead levels; nine million (9 million) were recalled for loose magnets, and one million (1 million) toy ovens were recalled for finger entrapment and burn hazards.
To improve the safety of consumer products, on November 1, 2007, Representative Bobby Rush (IL) introduced H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  As enacted, this legislation bans lead from children’s products; mandates third party testing of children’s toys; increases funding authorization for the CPSIA to $100 million by Fiscal Year (FY) 2011; and increases the cap on civil awards from $1.83 million to $10 million.  On December 19, 2007, with my support the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 by a bi-partisan vote of 407-0. Subsequently, on March 6, 2008, the Senate passed this legislation with an amendment by a bi-partisan vote of 79 – 13.  On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law (PL 110-314).

As per your specific concern, it has become apparent there are several issues with components of this law, primarily with regards to lead regulations and third party testing.  On February 10, 2009, the new ban on lead in children’s products will come into effect; however, the CPSC has ruled this requirement will include both goods made on or after this date and any goods in inventory.  Thus, this regulation will be applied retroactively.  Furthermore, the CPSC has delayed in providing guidelines as to how new lead regulations will apply to garments and footwear, making it difficult for those in this industry to begin compliance.  In regards to the new third party testing requirements, there are concerns the fees charged by third party testers will be a considerable financial burden on many small toymaker businesses.  At present, no legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress to address these issues within the CPSIA.

Rest assured, I will well remember your thoughts on this important issue during the remainder of the 110th Congress as well as the 111th Congress.

Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district or Washington
I work for you.

Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

If you wish to contact your representatives, you can write to them all at once here:

Find out more about how this law will affect us here
or here.

If you are on Facebook, you can support the cause by joining here

Also, you can go to, and put this issue on Mr. Obama’s plate.

Thanks, on behalf of all of us who create for children.



Filed under activism, community, sewing, work

I bought myself a present at 1000Markets

…for Peter’s birthday.  I’ve never done that before, but I figured, why not?

I was introduced to a fabulous new artisan site by Shelly from Figgy’s Kids. It’s a juried merchant community and so far, it’s wonderful. The markets are in “sneak preview” mode right now, but there is so much already to see!  I found this at FormFire Glassworks and had to have it!

Look how beautiful:

I applied to open a shop for One Girl Circus and was approved!  Please go check it out and let me know what you think.  I have more, so much more coming after I finish my client’s work this week….like this Autumn Leaves dress:

Have a beautiful day!Ella in Burning Leaves Roxy

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Saturday Hike

_Peter's leading the wayWalking with Daddyfirst encounter with mossElla and Peter at the Lake

Peter loves the lakeElla loves the lakeSomeone's making a tipi

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Market Saturday

We had a great time heading downtown to Eastern Market in Detroit.  We went looking for some locally grown kale, but unfortunately they were all sold out.  We went also to see Gregg and Angela, and pick up some dressing.  Ella loved it so much that she actually wanted to drink it from the bottle!

One day in, and already 1/4 gone!

The coolest thing about these dressings is that if you sign up for the newsletter, Evolve Detroit! you can get the recipe to make them yourself!!  Open Source food.  LOVE it.

(Yes, I already know how to make some of them, but I like to buy them, too, knowing Angela crafts them with such love!)

Plus, I don’t have cool labels and cute bottles at my house.

(Look ho much is gone already!!!)

When we went for “Vegan” pizza beforehand and the new pizzeria, Ella was less than enthused, though she generally loves pizza…The shop was cute enough, but after we ordered our meal, I heard someone in the kitchen say “Wait, she ordered it with no cheese,” and expected someone to come to our table to let us know they had made a mistake and would be a few extra minutes, but instead, a pizza came out so I assumed they were talking about someone else’s dish.  Ella didn’t like it, and after eating two pieces, I noticed little bits of cheese on the slice.  They must have actually scraped it off (mostly).  This is really irritating to me.  I would have had NO PROBLEM waiting for another pizza, or coming back after crossing the street to do some shopping, but the fact that they didn’t communicate and then tried to pass off a pizza with hidden cheese as “vegan”  whatever.  I won’t be going back.

Ooooh Sour

After we picked up a dressing and some cherry tomatoes, we headed back to the car, but stopped at the new Ethiopian Restaurant next door to the pizzeria and WOW was it delicious.  Ella was still hungry, having not liked any of the pizza, and only having drank some orange-sparkle-water at the other place.  We ordered the Ethio Plate and Ella ate ALL the spicy lentils and mouth-watering injera (bread) as little bite-sized sandwiches that I made her.  She usually loves greens, but left those for me.  We will definitely return there, especially since they offer scrambled tofu for breakfast on Saturdays (yippee!)

Also started working on this:

Latest Project

More later, when it’s done.

All in all a wonderful Saturday.


Filed under community, cooking, life, motherhood, sewing


So I received notice from the Detroit Urban Craft Fair that I was not accepted as a vendor for this year’s exhibition.

I’m trying to not take it so hard, but I really feel like crawling under the covers and crying for a week.


Filed under community, creativity, life

Okay I submitted my application

I’m really nervous now….tap tap tap. 

Now it’s time to whip up a birthday gift!  More updates tonight (with photos, I promise.)

Here’s a grouping of some items for fall and a sneak peek to whet your whistle :

Preview Fall 08 032

Sneak Peek

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Blissful Beautiful transcendent Wedding

I love it when people get married in their OWN way.  Our friends Gregg and Angela were married this Saturday. 

Ella and Peter were asked to participate and they were both thrilled to do so.  I was also honored to help pull off the first wedding in the Temple for the American Dream (which Peter and I helped to build!) in under 2 days.

Working with the Detroit Evolution Laboratory has brought me so many new friends, and has quite honestly given me a “place” (even in my own life) where I’m not out of place.  I love my friends Angela and Gregg for that, and for the confidence they’ve given Peter, by having confidence in him and his abilities, and for helping me and my family to BELIEVE in Detroit again.  There’s so much to say, but Pictures are always better:


Ella and Mommy before the wedding P1010785

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