Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Join a Flickr Group

Click on the Join Button from the Group Front Page. When the Group administrator approves your request an email will be sent to you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Etsy Order Status

For Purchases:
Log in to; click on 'Your Etsy' at the top of the screen.

Choose 'Purchases' from the left side

On the right side is the order status. For more information on the sale click on 'View Invoice'

For Sellers:
go to your 'Sold (orders)' and update the checkbox when you ship the item.

How to Purchase on Etsy

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to Make a Treasury 101

Etsy's Definition of a Treasury:
The Treasury is a member-curated gallery of short-lived lists of 12 hand-picked items each (plus four alternates). It functions as a high-demand (and pretty!) promotional tool that many devoted Etsians fight to get. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme, or just however they like. The Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy. Admin often choose an exceptional Treasury list to promote on the home page and occasionally make them to tie into Storque articles or special events and occasions.

The Treasury will open to new lists when the number of total lists is below 333.

To see when that will be, sort the treasuries by Expiration; then count back.

When list 333 is close to expiring ~ Do Not Click the Refresh button!
Instead, click the treasury page number.

Sometimes it can take upto 10 minutes for that expired list to actually drop off of the lists. Wait Paitiently. Do not close or refresh. The only thing you can do is click the number. Turn on your sound, it makes a noise when a treasury is deleted or drops off of the list.
When it drops off this is what the boxes will look like.
Type in your title, be quick the boxes will disappear.
Remember to click 'Create'

To fill your treasury, get the Listing Id's from items.

Type or Paste them into the boxes in your treasury.

Once it is filled, you can rearrange the items.

Treasuries are usually 2 days, a random number of treasuries are lucky and last 3 days.
If you create a treasury and it won't let you fill it; exit out of your browser and try to go back in. On rare occasions, you will not be able to add any item numbers.
When there are a lot of treasuries created at the same time, occassionaly some will dissapear for a short time or for good.

For more Information view the Storque Article.
Newbie Advice on Creating a Treasury by Winklepots.
Visit Etsy Treasury to view current treasuries.

Arrange Shops Featured Items

Want to change the items featured on your EtsyMini? Log in to 'Your Etsy'; then under 'Currently For Sale'; click the Featured Star for the items you want to show on your EtsyMini.
Choose one by accident? Click the star again to remove.

Change the order of the items under 'Featured in Shop'

Add Etsy Shop Mini to Your Ning Site Page

Paste your EtsyMini Code into the box and click Save.

Taking Pictures ~ What works for me

Do not use the zoom. Get as close to your object with no zoom. The colors and quality will be a lot better.

Purchase White posterboard for the background; for my white objects I also have light blue, yellow, light pink and neon green.

I use a light box (Photos of my Box), but it isn't needed.
For small items, curve a piece of posterboard in front of a window with lots of sunlight (not direct light). You can use pieces of cardboard like this post by donnapool Donna's Taking Pictures Tips

With a light box ~ Manually set the white balance with a sheet of extra bright white computer paper.

Change the EV Shift to a brighter setting (mine is at +1.3) ~ it makes the photos brighter before editing them on the computer. I learned how in this Storque article, bright-light-big-color-using-ev-and-white-balance

Set camera to the Macro Setting for upclose objects.

My camera (not a new fancy one) allows you to save the settings based on previous photos you have taken. When I get a photo that the color looks really good and it is easy to clean up, I save it so I can easily go back and start from that point the next time.

Here is a blog post on how I remove the background on my photos.
White Background Blog Post

My color is usually pretty good, but I do add brightness and contrast to all of my photos.

I am not at all an expert, just thought I could offer what has been working for me lately.

Square Photos with a Knockout White Background

I am by no means an expert. This is how I do my backgrounds, there are 100 better ways; this is what works for me. Hope this helps you find what works for you. :)

Add a Color Background to White Objects

PhotoShop Elements 5.0 ~ Edit and Enhance Pictures
If your background is a different color than the object, use the 'Magic Wand Tool' to select the background color. When it is selected hit Delete on your Keyboard.

You may have to repeat this step on different areas of the photo.

Select the whole object again, using the 'Rectangle Marque Tool' (Square Outline)
Zoom into your photo and clean up the edges with the 'Eraser Tool'
Depending on how picky you are, this could take hours or a couple of minutes.

I play with this step for hours!

You can also change the background to white (or any color) using the 'Paint Brush Tool'
Choose the color you want to paint down at the bottom; the top color is what will be painted.

You can see I have done both on this picture Deleted some of the Background (checkerboards) and changed some to White.

Now that your background is white or deleted, you can add a color using the 'Paint Bucket Tool'
Choose the color you want it to fill down at the bottom; top square will be the filled color.
It will paint it on the color you click on. If you click on something by mistake, Ctrl+Z will undo. :)