Friday, December 19, 2008

Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA from the CPSIA (from

The issue:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public’s trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public’s trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.

How You can Help:
PLEASE write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use this sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Choose Your Favorite Toy!

Through the blur of the last few weeks, I have shamefully & unintentionally neglected my blog... to remedy that, I have great news: my Breakfast Set was chosen to be in the Vote for Best Toy! One of among 60 other amazing pieces in the voting pool, I hope my pancakes do well. I am delighted to be noticed by the etsy admin & am just happy to have the extra exposure to my shop if nothing else! Check it out & vote at:

Happy Voting!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Product Review - BabyBug Shoes

Its "high-five" product review time! After searching Etsy for baby shoes for my little one, I chanced upon & was thrilled to find the perfect baby shoes! When my pairs (yes, I got 2!) arrived, I popped them onto Aubrey's tootsies, & they haven't left her feet since!

These shoes are excellently handcrafted using a high quality, faux suede material that has a soft/plush feel and is very comfortable on little feet. The soles are made from a rubber-coated polyester fabric, which has superior grip whether wet or dry, which is excellent on our slippery tile floor! These shoes also may be machine washed and dried, which is priceless! I love how flexible they are - for cruising & walking practice.

I highly recommend checking out BabyBugShoeDesigns shop, she also offers monogramming & many cute styles of shoes (be sure to see the Mary Jane's). The seller was extremely easy to work with, friendly & I will definitely be back for more shoes! Happy shopping...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Play Food

Holiday season is upon us! The time of chilly winter mornings, steaming hot soup, holiday decorating, cold little noses, snowball fights, sledding, baking comfort foods candy-making & new items in the bugbites kitchens!

This week I am featuring a new item not found in other shops - candy canes! Nothing beats the smell of peppermint & these play food canes are sure to bring out the kid in all of us. Great for tea time treats, imaginary peppermint wands, a new Candyland game piece, gift for friends or just hang 'em on your Christmas tree! They make me nostalgic just thinking about them - like the candycane exchage back in elementary school...

As for our family, we look forward to making real chocolate-dipped candy canes & caramel corn as gifts for loved ones & treats for ourselves!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Production Peek

Just a peek into my newest item in production - Banana Splits! I am surprised at this, but I've yet to see these on etsy. The in's & out's of this design have been tricky, but I am pleased with it so far. The toppings will be removable - with the exception of the cherry, which is sewn on the whipped cream. Don't want little lost cherries rolling around.

This of course is a raw photo, thread hanging out & all.. but that's just life isn't it? I am thinking of a bowl, but haven't decided on plastic or felt. I guess whichever I can get done first. I am looking forward to the Holiday Season & am hoping this is a big seller. Happy Shopping!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

Turkey time! I made this Thanksgiving dinner set for my little ones, who love to pretend to cook. My little Chef will be as busy as me on Thanksgiving! It is similar to the chicken dinner set, however it has been modified a bit with more vegetables (come on, this is Thanksgiving we're talking about! MORE FOOD!) & a side of cranberry sauce. Keep your eyes open in my shop for a whole turkey complete with stuffing that is coming soon!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peony Onesie Product Review

I love shopping on etsy - I love the incredible artists that make up the etsy empire... So, when I find a particularly amazing item, I shout out support for it!

I love this Peony flower onesie that was made by adorablefiend. It is beautiful, eye-pleasing & looks great on this gorgeous little girl! She custom paints the images (I have another one of a Sakura blossom) onto a white onesie - it even has a flower on the bum!

Check out her shop to see her awesome work!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caramel Apple Time!

Autumn is here, so it is befitting to create some Harvest Festival favorites - Caramel Apples! These tasties are life size with the "caramel" felt layer sewn on the apple. The stick is wrapped in felt & securely stitched to the bottom of the apple - perfect for little hands to hold. These make me dream of the real thing... (If you are interested in the most divine sweets & baked nummies, I recommend JustBakin on Enough to ruin anyone's diet!)

Thankfully, my apples are high in fiber & have no fat whatsoever. ;) But please, save me a lawsuit! Don't eat my felt food items... save them for the imaginations of your children.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

That's Just CORNY!

Yeah yeah, cheesy title, but it got your attention didn't it?

With the Fall Harvest upon us, it was time for me to finish a Farmer's Market vegetable basket. Even though our local market is over, I like to relive our fun late summer days at the park eating baskets of tomatoes & peaches with my little felt food Farmer's Market Basket.

These are almost the same as the fresh produce from the local vendors - just more fiber! I love the eggplant & the corn the most. I made the corn removable so little chefs can add them to their pretend dinner plates - maybe the chicken dinner?

So I say, "Come one, come all! Get your 'fresh' farmer's produce! Grown right here locally in the BugBites family garden!" It's a shameless plug, I know, but I'm in a "corny" mood today... Happy Harvest!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Favorite Fall Recipe

I am going to switch gears in this post & talk about some real food love... Apple Carrot Cake! When Autumn arrives with the cool days & color explosion in our canyon, I start thinking about comfort food. & this is one of my favorite things to eat in the Harvest season. It is whole wheat, high fiber, & all that other healthy stuff. I actually serve this to my kids on their first birthdays Here's the recipe so you can fall in love with it too! Try it & tell me what you think...

Apple Carrot Wheat Cake (from Jeffrey L. Anderson)

1/3 c. Granulated Sugar
1/3 c. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. Canola Oil
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/3 c. Buttermilk
1 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 c. Carrots - grated
1 c. Apples - grated
1/3 c. Nuts (Almonds, Pecans)
2/3 c. Oatmeal (not instant) or Granola
1/4 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix sugars, oil, eggs, salt, cinnamon & buttermilk together until thoroughly blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into an 8x8" greased pan & bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 9.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Harvest

Fall is here! With the change of the seasons, I have been gearing up for the Harvest & Holiday seasons. It has been very busy lately & I have been working like mad developing new items.

After finding inspiration from my own garden, I have developed a Farmer's Market Basket complete with Carrots, an Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomato, Potatoes, Onion & Peas. (Pictured here is the fruit & veggie basket). The peas are my personal favorite.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monkeying Around

Just wanted to introduce you all to my other "pet-project" (no pun intended)... SOCK MONKEYS! We call this one Peaches. I made her for my little Aubrey who just turned 8 months old. I am happy to say that she loves it! I think its the bell in the tail that does it...

I made this monkey out of a pair of super-soft chenille socks I found the other day - though it was hard not to stick my cold toes inside them before sewing! One of the most fun projects I have had in a while. I made the eyes from several stitches of embroidery floss -as I am very aware of choking hazards with Aubrey's toys.

I look forward to adding this little cutie & her many other monkey friends to our growing collection of lovies. Check back again for more monkey-ish updates!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Production Days

Its been a mad few weeks of production since starting my shop on Keeping myself busy is a pretty easy task with two rugrats, a household to keep & an at-home business to run. With all the things to do in a day, I still find myself hounding my computer, checking email & my shop for any signs of a sale far too often during the day - excited for that lovely red alert on my page signaling a sale. Of which I have made a few, I am happy to say! It must be all that chatting & networking, which occasionally seems a waste of production time - but who knows? I think its beginning to pay off. I thank my wonderful customers for their support!

Between soirées to my etsy shop, I am busy working on new items & updating my terrible first photos. I think things are looking much better now. I came up with some new pizza designs & am quite pleased with them. Still, the elusive crab dinner hounds my creative juices & I haven't found the time to invest in its creation. Someday. Maybe if i quit chatting, more will get done - but then, who's going to promo my shop? Conundrums...

I have been plastering the Alchemy listings with my wares for 2 weeks now & have finally gotten a special order! Baby cookies for an 8mo old. I put in a rattle, jingle bell & crackle paper inside the cookies, for extra sensory fun. I think the customer will be pleased.
Sew on, sew on...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Items

I've been in the BugBites kitchens cooking up some new creations! Tonight, its dinner & dessert...
I now offer a chicken dinner complete with mashed potatoes & green beans! It was fun making the gravy & butter removable via velcro, so little chef's can decide which one they like on their potatoes.

The BugBites bakery has also been in
full production, I now have some new pies to offer little bakers - Strawberry & Key Lime! Complete with whipped cream & slices of the corresponding fruit.

Order up & enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Sales

It has been an exciting week in the world of felt food... I made my first 3 sales! I am much encouraged that my endeavor is going to really work. You know how you get excited about a project, spend hours developing the idea & even more hours creating it - it is very redeeming to have it be successful! Special thanks to my first customers.

This week I have been wrapping up a lot of loose ends - getting food sets completed, finalizing the appearance of my store, taking LOTS of photos, & of course developing new ideas - the best of which come from my brilliant husband, who's brain is so full of creative ideas it makes me stagger.
We are developing: Halloween cookies, Christmas cookies, a Crab dinner, a Fish dinner, some Berry Tarts, a Farmer's Market Vegetable Basket (almost completed) & a Grocery Bag set. Needless to say, I've got some sewing to do!

I am looking forward to the Holiday season & am committed to making/buying handmade gifts for everyone again this year. Happy creating!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shop at!

So I've been really busy lately stocking up for the opening of my store on ... I am really excited for my first sale! I have been working on new creations - new pies & s'mores!
Its been a bit tricky juggling business & two beautiful children (one who won't let go of my leg for more than a few minutes!) All part of being a work at home mom though! ;) Its starting to get cold here in the mountains & we even got snow in our hills last night! I wish Summer lasted longer... Now its the season for soup, hot chocolate, Fall harvest in my garden (anyone want zucchini or tomatoes?), shooshing through falling leaves & cuddling up with a blankie & a book.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome to BugBites!

Hello! I've been sewing like mad these days, discovering some of the culinary possibilities with felt. I have had no shortage of ideas - only time, as I juggle caring for our young family, work & sewing. I've only been in production for about 2 weeks, so check back often as I will be adding new photos of items frequently. Please email any comments, questions, ideas or special requests - I love feedback! Enjoy...Breakfast Set: 1 Pancake (syrup & butter completely removable with velcro), 1 Egg, & 2 strips of Bacon.Lunch Set: 1 Ham & Cheese Sandwich (Ham, Lettuce, Swiss Cheese & Tomato. 2 Slices of Bread). 1 Bag of 4 Chips & 1 Apple.Fruit: 1 each of: Apple, Banana (peelable), Orange, Grapes, Strawberries, Cherries. *Note: Individual Grapes are $12.Veggies: Corn, Carrots, Peas, Tomatoes (baby tomato shown).
Spaghetti & Meatballs: Noodles topped with Red Sauce & 3 Meatballs.

Pizza: 4 Slices with Cheese sewn on. Create your own toppings with removable 8 Pepperoni, 8 Mushrooms & 8 Green Peppers.
Sushi: 2 Rolls, 1 Salmon, 1 Tuna, & 1 Shrimp Tea Party: 2 Tea Bags (non caffeinated of course!) with 2 Frosted Cookies. Pies: Pumpkin, Blueberry, & Chocolate Cream. (Sold Individually).

Please Note - Though I strive for uniformity with each item, all felt food is handmade by me, so each piece is unique & may differ slightly - that's what makes them so special!