Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Labeling Law for Children's Products Effective August 14, 2009

I have not talked much about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's rulings on the new labeling laws for children's products. I am still getting to know my way around this part of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act. Here is a link to frequently asked questions around this issue: This law applies to all products intended for use by children ages 12 and under manufactured on or after August 14, 2009.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CPSIA - Statements on Request to Exclude Crystal and Glass Beads from Children's Products

While I have not posted anything about the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) lately, I have continued to follow it. This issue is not going away, folks!

I have been waiting for their ruling on glass beads, since I use these pieces on the lobsters I make.

Please do read the Commissioner's statements (below). My unofficial take on it is that the law is written so narrowly that the Commissioners--even if they wanted to exempt glass beads and crystals for some low-risk age groups--cannot rule to exempt these items.

It does look like the commission is considering a ruling to put a stay in place while Congress revisits the unintended consequences for this law. From what I can tell, this stay of enforcement has not yet gone into place. Remember the law went into effect February 2009. Even though there is a stay for third party testing, this law does apply to glass beads and crystals. My understanding is--as things currently stand-- these items cannot be used in products intended for children ages 12 and under.

Here are the links:

Commissioners' Statements on the Request from the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association to Exclude Crystal and Glass Beads in Children's Products from the Lead Content Limits Under Section 101(b)(1) of the CPSIA:

Chairman Tenenbaum
Commissioner Moore
Commissioner Nord

To read more about CPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Small Business Guidelines regarding the law, please click on this link:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Murphy (by Cris Lewis)

Watercolors and Fabric Art (by Cris Lewis)

Photo from a "Meet the Artist of the Month" show Cris did at the Oriskany Library. Her exhibit included 50 pieces in watercolor, photography, pen and ink, and fiber art.

Interview with Cris Lewis

It is easy to get caught up in the pressures and deadlines of life. It seems, at times, there is just too much to do and, in focusing on what needs yet to be done, so easy to lose sight of what is really important: the here and now. I know, for myself, the first things to go when I am "busy" are the things my body and mind and spirit need the most to flourish. I put off my walk until tomorrow. I balk at taking the time to cook a healthy, balanced meal. I interrupt my sleep with late nights and early morning projects. I melt down while burning the candle at both ends.

Life, though, has a way of throwing in reality checks now and again. Sometimes, these checks--the opportunities to slow down or stop and reflect--are subtle: a headache or head cold, a call or email from a friend to come out and play, a song on the radio that, nostalgically, reminds us of more peaceful days gone by. On the not-so-subtle side, life, at times, knocks us over the head with the major stuff: a death of a relative, friend or pet, a lay-off from work, a diagnosis of a major illness. Whether big or small, these moments, these resonant "signals from the universe" are all opportunities to reflect on what is important and, if necessary, renew our commitment to stay in touch with those people and things in our lives that nourish us, make us healthy and grow.

Recently, I met Cris, a watercolor and fiber artist, through She generously shared some thoughts on life, art and living with cancer. I am honored to bring you this interview.

"Six year ago," Cris tells me, "I retired from 27 years of teaching and pursued an interest I had saved for retirement: watercolor." Cris took classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts in Vermont and at Munson William Proctor Institute and Kirkland Art Center (both in New York). "I then picked up pen and ink, which I love with color washes."

As Cris left teaching, she looked forward to doing many other things as well. "With retirement," she continues, "came travel. I have three children that live across the country and I visit." And, she adds, "Should I mention cruises?" She brings along her digital camera and has hundreds of pictures from many trips. Cris also looked forward to renewing her interest in sewing. "Time spent at the sewing machine ballooned as did my stash and love for oriental fabrics and design. I am lucky to have a family summer home on Oneida Lake in central New York, which is a very peaceful, restful place to work on my art: a place to escape with paint, paper and fabric." When not traveling, painting or sewing, Cris spent time gardening flowers and vegetables. "I love to experiment with new healthy recipes."

Life, however, threw Cris an unexpected challenge. "Six months after I retired," Cris says, "I received my first cancer diagnosis--found in a routine mammogram. It is frightening, paralyzing beyond belief. During this time, I always kept in mind to take things one day at a time. Even one hour at a time."

Art, for Cris, became a saving grace. "I went to an art class a week after my surgery. My painting when on pain medicines?" she observes, "Interesting!"

Art kept Cris going and took her places far away from her illness. "I now have an inner need to engage daily in some type of creative work. To me it's spiritual. It fills a need in me to express and has--and does--help me with confidence which for many years was not that great."

Murphy also came to the rescue. Murphy is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cris brought home at a time when she felt she was not going to make it. "A puppy took me out of my depression and added a new aspect to my art: painting pet portraits. It started with Murph each year as part of my Christmas card. I began getting commissions and started Paws & Claws by Cris." Cris opened her online shop in December 2008, where she sells custom pet portraits. You will also find quilted pillows and wall-hangings, notecards, bags, felted embellished birds, ACEOs, watercolor and pencil botanicals, and the like.

"Three years ago this October 31st," Cris continues, "I received my second diagnosis. Again shock and disappointment, but I have to say that I knew I could do this. Once again I continued with my art, endeavored to learn new techniques and to--always--work on improving my skills. God has brought me through my illnesses and given me the strength I needed during those times. I am grateful for my talents that he has given to me and thankful that I have begun to use these in his glory."

For inspiration, Cris watches Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life every day and finds her teachings helpful to get through the day. She also reads art and quilting books, and an occasional novel (no particular authors). For music, Cris listens to a variety of CDs in her rack: ABBA, classical, middle Eastern, Natalie Cole and, "Of course," she says, "the music from The Phantom of the Opera."

Cris volunteers for the American Cancer Society, participates in the Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and shares her cancer journey with others. "Actually, anyone who will listen," Cris says. "I encourage and urge women to have their annual mammograms and do regular breast self exams. This comes from a lady who has had two breast cancers with two mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation. I am very grateful for my diligence in screening on a yearly basis. The screenings saved my life. I get angry when I hear women who refuse to have these procedures."

Besides annual mammograms, Cris urges people to get a colonoscopy. This procedure is instrumental in early detection of colorectal cancer. "Such an easy procedure," she says. "I lost my brother 20 years ago to that cancer."

As for what shoes Cris wears? "Comfy. Walking shoes (I walk or do gym 2-3 times a week), clogs to get me through our New York winters, and garden shoes."

You may find more information about Cris and her work in her shop and on her blog.

Cris is a member of the following groups:

ACEO Street Team "ACETSY"
CNY Etsy Team
Kirkland Art Center
Mowhawk Valley Quilt Club
Rome Art Association
Visual Artist Street Team

What Shoes Cris Wears