Category Archives: work

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


…will be the death of me.

Why can’t I be up sewing until 2:30 am? Why do I think it’s okay to stay up to complete this project and not my own?

Answer: Money.

I guess I wouldn’t want to HAVE to finish something overight on the sewing machine for someone else at the last minute, even with a rush charge, and even for money, either.

I just wish I were sewing.

Back to work!

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…and the real live onegirlcircus who is ella is (actually) sleeping at a reasonable hour, so short and sweet, but I just wanted to share the look for my new company! (Before I get back to work for other peoples’ companies yet tonight….)

onegirlcircus logo

hopefully soon I will have some time to execute on all the fabulous ideas in my head to fill my etsy shop with more than words…until then, it’s pixels and vectors, not fabric…*sigh*

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back and buried, but happy!

…but working on the etsy shop and my sewing space while I chase Ella (and Peter) around the house.  J and I spent almost all weekend between Ikea and home, installing lighting and helping Peter get his homework done, building my new cutting table and the boys’ art supply storage station (pictures to come) with Ella’s help of course.

 I also worked on a flyer for a future prenatal yoga session, in my favorite yoga studio.  If you’re pregnant, please go!  Astarte Yoga is a serene, balanced, and simple space, full of beautiful energy….just the place to treat yourself and your baby with lovingkindness:
Prenatal Yoga in Farmington Hills, MI


Filed under creativity, life, motherhood, work

upcoming delights and obstacles (work)

First this:

Then this:
Inspiration, waiting for me
Ella, admiring mommy's new fabric

Most definitely engaging in some of this with Peter.

and this:
girly style, waiting for me to finish

even if I have to pack it up and take it here to finish.

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Swollen Gums again and work, work, work!

Ella in “Olivia Underdress”

Originally uploaded by Pranamama.

Ella has been “teething” since she was 4 months, old but the first teeth just appeared at 11 months. No she has a mouth full of molars and various teeth (out of order) that just don’t seem to give her a break! Once again, my poor baby has a mouth full of swollen gums, but she’s in good spirits. She did have all of her siblings here to entertain her today while J and I took turns working and making travel arrangements.  She even insisted on going outside in the weather (snowing in the ‘teens!) so that she could hang out with daddy and Jack instead of boring old mom.

Just 2 more weeks until San Francisco and J is losing his mind neck deep in work. I feel for him, and I’m not far behind.  At least I have my visit with Tracy to look forward to, and keep me excited about going.

I had to take a sewing break today. I cannot believe how long it’s taking me to make myself a shirt, but I am pleased with how it’s coming along. I needed the handwork to calm my senses. I can only illustrate tiny software icons of car parts for so long in one day without going cross-eyed!

yippee, a muffler.

Just a little update for now. More tomorrow once the icons are done and I move on to brochures.

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burn, baby burn…it’s healing

I’ve been working my life away since we’ve returned from Seattle.  Peter is at camp and Ella is back on a nice nap schedule.

 I still cannot wear my rings, but the hand is healing.  Yesterday I had to run down to the sewing machine to assemble a hat for my mother to give as a gift, and it felt SO GOOD to be back at my table.  As soon as this project is done and the family reunion is over, J has agreed that I can leave the baby with him while I disappear and sew for a few hours.  Julia also has a half-finished skirt and I’d love to help her finish it.

I want to participate in the  sewalong.  I love the pattern for the “Susan” blouse and I have it printed and ready to trace and cut.  All I’m missing is some appropriate fabric.  As if the pattern isn’t already challenging enough, I have to scale up some of the areas to fit my post-baby still nursing body.  I think I can do it.

I’m having trouble finishing my project because I really, really want to get downstairs and make soemthing with fabric instead of electrons.  *sigh*

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