I'm Julia Allen, a designer in Napa,
California. This blog is my place for
gathering and sharing inspiration.
It's also where I can share ideas and
processes for my design work.
(and sometimes, you might just see
a posting for the rant, of just because
a moment needed to be shared.)
Please feel free to say hello &
share your tendencies at
first, i'd like to show you a wonderful wooden play kitchen from one of my favorite toy companies, palumba.
the kitchen is lovingly handmade using cherry, ash, birch, & steel hinges. warm and soft to touch, and a lovely addition in your child's room, playroom, or like us in our kitchen.
we penny pinched, and splurged on liam with this kitchen (and haven't regretted it, as it's posed hours of fun, and is a beautiful work of art that will last generations, hopefully for his children one day. we also know there is no hazardous part, & are worry-free of lead paint or phthalates.
palumba has so many wonderful items for the home, focusing on organic, green-built, handmade children's items created from
ALL-NATURAL materials. their toys, musical items, art supplies
and clothing are all dedicated to the natural home.
now, imagine this kind of company, nation-wide were to CLOSE UP SHOP! unfortunately, it's is a huge possibility.
in 2007, when toys with dangerously high lead
content, unsafe small parts, improperly secured and
easily swallowed small magnets were making children sick, the nation became outraged. almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.
congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products
Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent
dangerous toys from being imported into the U.S. 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
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.
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.