Thursday, July 31, 2008

The email I received today made me realize why I designed all of those stuffed animals over the years

I got an email today from a young girl who was sad because she lost her beloved companion stuffed animal. I will share it here but keep her identity private.

My name is ----- and I am 15 years old. My mom had gotten a stuffed pegasus we named Rosy from her best friend when she was 13 years old. It was in the 80's. We see on your web sight a unicorn/pegasus that has the same face and body as our Rosy but yours is larger and the legs and mane and wings are different. Our Rosy was thrown away by a heartless maid in a hotel on our last trip two days ago we tried to get her back but it was to no avail. Rosy has gone everywhere with us for 28 years and we are heart broken. We have photos of rosy and we can give pretty accurate measurements. Would you be willing to try to make us our Rosy again? Please call ------------ or e-mail ----------- with the details of what you need from us if you say yes or if you can't, maybe you know someone who can. Thank you, -----.

I wrote her back:
Hi,
If you email me photos of Rosey I can have a look and email you back. I sold a variety of Pegasus stuffed animals in the 1980s in my own little gift shop, called Flaming-Martin Gifts, and Rosey may have been one of my creations. I was making them before they were widely manufactured by big stuffed animal companies. Do you remember if Rosey had a sewn in tag in the rear? None of my creations ever had sewn in tags. If the pattern is one of mine of course I could make you another. I would have to see which of the designs it was to tell you a price. I look forward to looking at the photos.
Blessings,
Becky

Later she sent me photos and said they had found a Dakin tag that belonged to Rosie. I will not copy another businesse's design but I began to search the internet for vintage Dakin pegasus stuffed animals and sent them links and suggestions for their search.

A few hours later I wrote her this letter:

Hi again,

I have given a lot of thought to your family and your loss of your beloved Rosie. If you have never read the book The Velveteen Rabbit you should get the book (it may even be printed on the internet) and read it. Rosie would qualify, like the beloved rabbit in the story, for becoming real. No new stuffed animal will ever be Rosie. It would be like loosing a sister or your dog and trying to clone them or find a look alike. It will never be the same. Rosie came into your life and blessed it and now she is gone. You must grieve the loss. Love again but keep a special place in your heart just for the memories you shared with Rosie and make new memories with a new soft friend. I have spent many years making stuffed animals and there is magic in it. I never name the ones I make because the magic begins when the owner looks into its face and names it. Like a stray cat that you one day give a real name to-- it is not a stray any longer; it is yours now. Rosie has become real through love. The grief you feel is real and don't feel foolish about it. Love and loss are both a part of being human. If we never love we never grieve but then we never fully live either.

Blessings,

Becky

Dear readers of my blog, after reading yesterday about how I was giving up making stuffed animals to sell how do you think this girl's letter made me feel? I am very sad not to be making beautiful creatures that go out and touch the lives of people and bring comfort and joy for years as their little Rosie did. There is magic in it and our federal government representitive was as unempathetic with my plight as any steriotypical bureaucrat could possibly be. We live in a strange world, my friends. I have no idea how we can change it but I used to tell people I made 'smiles" for a living because in the 1980s people would come into my gift shop and before long they'd be smiling.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm frustrated! I'll no longer be offering my finished stuffed animals for sale.

I have been looking into the federal regulations on stuffed animals and after speaking with a federal representative, Dollie Nicholson, regarding flamability testing required on all stuffed animals, no exceptions for home crafters, I have decided to pull my two animals from my etsy store listings. I am feeling very angery and frustrated. Here is the correspondence. What do you think of this?
_______________________________________________________

Dear Ms. Becky:



It was a pleasure talking with you yesterday. I am Dollie Nicholson a compliance officer with CPSC. I am responding to your inquiry concerning testing of stuffed toys. For your information:


1. There are no federal safety flammability standards for stuffed toys; however, there is a voluntary standard that all stuffed toys must conform with.

The voluntary standard is in the toy specification ASTM Designation F963-07. It provides very specific instructions on the test methods for stuffed toys.

The purpose of the test is to determine if the entire toy bursts into flames within a specified time. ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive , PO Box

C700, West Conshohocken , PA , 19428-2959 , www.astm.com

2. I am not aware any laws or standards to make fabrics fire resistant/retardant.


There are CPSC requirements for stuffed toys that your product must meet. They are:

Toys/Children's Products
small parts
FHSA
1500.18(a)(9)
1501
Regulatory Summary
Test Manual
Test Laboratories

Toys/Children's Products
use and abuse tests
FHSA
1500.50 (also pdf)
1500.51 (also pdf)
1500.52 (also pdf)
1500.53 (also pdf)
1500.14(a)(5)
1500.83(a)(8)
1700.14(a)(6)
Test Manual
Test Laboratorie

Toys/Children's Products
sharp edges
FHSA
1500.49
Test Manual
Test Laboratories

Toys/Children's Products
sharp points
FHSA
1500.48
Test Manual
Test Laboratories

Toys/Children's Products
painted with lead or containing lead
CPSA
1500.17(a)(6)
Test Manual
Test Laboratories
Guidance for Lead in Consumer Products
Regulatory Summary
Metal Jewelry Enforcement Policy
Metal Jewelry Test Method
Metal Jewelry Health Rationale
US Candy Importers: Lead in Wrappers
Mexican Candy Producers: Lead in Wrappers
Mexican Candy Producers: Version EspaƱol
Lead Testing for Children’s Metal Jewelry FAQ


Please visit www.cpsc.gov for more information. You may contact me should you have questions or concerns.

Regards,


Dollie W. Nicholson

Compliance Officer

dnicholson@cpsc.gov

(301) 504-7603

*****!!! Unless otherwise stated, any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail (and any attachments) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Copies of product recall and product safety information can be sent to you automatically via Internet e-mail, as they are released by CPSC. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this service go to the following web page: https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx *****!!!
____________________________________________________________________-

Dear Dollie Nicholson,

Thank you for sending me the information. I will not be listing them as toys. I will be selling them as soft sculptured collectibles (fabric sculptures) for adults and teens and specifically informing customers that they are not intended for small children.

It is unreasonable to require a craftsperson, who is not a manufacturer, to pay a lab to have their few handcrafted creations burned. They are very time consuming to make. I only make a few of them and the materials cost me a lot of money. Each animal is made with a different plush so I would essentially make the various animals and pay someone to burn them all up. What kind of sense would that make? These are not samples of hundreds, or thousands, or millions of the same identical animal. They are essentially each unique works of art. I make them using the best materials and only new, pure polyester fiber stuffing. I reinforce all of the stress points and use plastic eyes and noses secured with lock washers inside the animal. I don't attach ribbons or any other small parts. I never put wires or other sharp things inside.

Thank you again for taking the time to talk with me and send me this information. Now I am most interested in knowing what terminology I specifically need to use to disqualify my soft sculptured creations from being tested by fire. What would I need to say in the description that would make it clear that these are not toys? Can you send me links to information about who/what is exempt and how to be exempt? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Flaming-Martin
__________________________________________________________

Dear Ms. Flaming-Martin:

Stuffed animals are intended for use by children of all ages. This includes children under the age of 3. If you stick a label that states your product is intended for teens and adults, that conflicts with the age labeling guidelines.

Dollie Nicholson


________________________________________________________________________

So, dear readers, I have decided not to sell my lovely handcrafted stuffed animals anymore. I will continue to sell the patterns.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I have been busy making new things!





All of these pieces are for sale in my etsy store, FantasyCreations1. These are just a sample of all of the exciting new pieces I recently finished ans listed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I had fun at the Gem show.



I'm making many new handcrafted jewelry pieces to list in my Etsy and eBay stores. I went to a Gem show here in Portland and bought many beautiful beads. The (dyed) red coral beads and branches are amazing. I have handcarved coral rose beads that I already worked up into a stunning necklace and earrings set. I'll be listing them in FantasyCreations1 on Etsy.
I hope all of my lovely readers are having a great summer. It is hot here. I need to go open some windows, evening has fallen while I was posting comments in threads in the Etsy Forums. Blessings!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here is another one of my newest additions to my growing Beauty and the Beast Collection


The Unofficial Tale of Beauty and the Beast by Edward Gross. This is a treasure with summaries of all of the first season episodes and interviews and black and white photographs of the cast.

These are photos of the Beauty and the Beast TV show scripts I bought recently

" The Prodigal," written by David Peckinpah, First House Draft Dated August 25, 1988. It is 54 pages long. This script never made it to the screen. It continues the conflict between Mitch and Vincent after Mitch is released to be at his father's side as he dies and then escapes from his guards.... The voices of the characters are so real you can hear the actor's voices through the script.
" Act of Mercy" written by Peter J. Kappesser, First Draft August 18, 1988. It is 56 pages long. This script never made it to the screen. It involves a lion-woman, like Vincent, who grew up in Russia. I hated the ending but the story was engaging and compelling.
"Notes from the Underworld" no author or date is given at all. It is 55 pages long. This script never made it to the screen. This story involves clearing the name of an old man who was blamed for the deaths of his men in a mining accident years before. Vincent risks everything to get the proof that the blame lies with men in power in New York... Even Catherine has to turn her back on him as the "community" sentences Vincent to banishment!


"A fair and Perfect Knight" written by P.K. Simonds, Jr., Directed by Gus Trikonis; Goldenrod paper Nov. 7 1988, (6th=final draft?)
"Labyrinths" Story by Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, Teleplay by Virginia Aldridge, Directed by Daniel Attias Nov. 30 1988; 7th=Grey draft (final?)
"Remember Love" (Formerly "Touchstone"), Written by Virginia Aldridge, Directed by Victor Lobl; Dated September 20, 1988, Blue draft =8th (final?)
"Ozymandias" Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Frank Beascoechea; First Draft =yellow dated Feb 16, 1988.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More photos coming soon!

I bought several Beauty and the Beast scripts and they only arrived in the mail yesterday. Three of them were never made into episodes. One of those was written by David Peckinpah, one of the key writers for the show. The date is August 25th, 1988. I googled David Peckinpah's name and learned he died in 2006. This script is called "The Prodigal" and continues the conflict between Mitch, Vincent and Cathrine. He really has the voices of the characters down perfectly. you can hear the voices of Mouse, Father, and Joe, as well as Mitch. I can see why it never made it to the screen (Vincent would have never pressured Cathrine to get Mitch released from prison even to be at the bedside of his father) but first drafts often get several revisions before they become episodes. The rhythm of each character's dialogue is distinctive. Their word choices and tone are unique to each one. I am hoping to buy more unproduced scripts. It is the only way other than reading fan writing, to get more of the Beauty and the Beast stories. I've been thinking a lot about the symbolism in the show and why it has continued to have such an impact on us, the fans, even after all these years. I'm going to sell some little leather bags in my etsy store, FantasyCreations1. I'm working on offering some quartz crystal necklaces and I want to sell white roses handmade, I think, from polymer clay.
I'll post photos of my newest finds as soon as I can get them photographed. I have a lot more to say about the show too.