Tag Archives | handmade items

Skin Reaction to Tagless Labels

I’ve learned a lot from the Z Recommends watchdog group (a concerned mom and dad) that started the website Zrecs a few years ago.  As far back as September 2008, they were reporting about sores on the back’s of children that resembled minor chemical burns. What were these sores being caused by?  Tagless labels in infant clothing seemed to be the culprit and the companies receiving internet buzz for having this problem included Carters, Circo and Gerber. What ink is making these tagless labels? Plastisol type and solventborne polyurethane. One contains PVC and phthalates, the other contains small levels of formaldehyde in the urethane. Okay – now fast forward to Nov 28th 2009.. . Zrecs and the Center for Environmental Health search nation wide for onesies sold at Target stores (brand name Circo) to be tested because a onesie (picture here) tested three times the legal limit for lead content.  Was it only this one isolated onesie – no!  Zrecs asked it’s thousands of readers to send in any of the Circo ‘green baby’ onesies and all 30+ tested the same ~ having over 1,000 ppm lead content.

Some of you might think this is mass hysteria, but people, chemical burn-type rashes from a tagless label printed with chemical ink on baby clothes. A store like Target that sells millions of products and this was a Target-branded onesie.  To me, it just reconfirms so many things. The big names do not have a trusted track-record with our children.  Advocacy groups, blogs, and websites had to be created to bring awareness to the fact so many household items are dangerous to children. If you want more information on the onesie sold at Target, read the full article on the Zrecs site. They have a picture of the garment and at this time, it’s the only Target item to be concerned with.  But when the opportunity presents itself to purchase more trustworthy and sustainable products – remember this article. I cannot believe the measures parents need to arm themselves with before purchasing clothes, toys, household items for their family! It’s why with the huge sales happening around American Thanksgiving and post-Christmas – I truly worry that stores are dumping toxic product at reduced rates because they are so cheap to begin with or a potential recall is about to happen.

I must admit, I felt like a wet blanket writing my article on Black Friday talking about being aware of discounted items and asking if we really need massive amounts of ‘stuff’.  It would have been so much more fun to talk about the great sales that were happening here, there, and everywhere! I swear by my theory that before a major recall happens from a company, you’ll find the product or brand discounted for months at stores that are known for amazing prices (Winners, etc.).  Shopping for children’s products in this fashion is just not any good for their health.  Many of you know I’ve been battling this Christmas with things to buy my children. Going shopping and buying lots of ‘stuff’ is fun, but I’m staying as true as I can to the course of sourcing toys from sustainable stores, handmade items from local artisans, and it just feels better. I can’t wait to share some of my great finds…but for now I just want to thank sites like Zrecs for helping me sleep a little easier at night because I haven’t yet got my degree as an environmental engineer (which btw – seems to be a qualification these days to being a parent).   =)

Related articles:

Polyester PJs and Flame Retardants

PVC & Christmas Toys

Little Inkers – Growing PVC & Phthalate Free Kids



Buy Local, Buy Homemade Items….Hello Etsy!

Wow – if the experiences I have on Etsy continue, I can kiss my mall and Ebay shopping goodbye.  I keep having these amazing on-line conversations with Etsy artists and their customer service is off the charts.  These unique, funky, adventures just keep happening when I poke around the Etsy site.  

I wanted to purchase some unique clothes for my kids so I went straight to the Etsy site.  I’m lucky that my friends pass along their girls hand-me-downs, but I wanted to do some research (really Ray, it’s not called shopping…it’s called research!)  Well I found some amazing moms that run Etsy stores and I have to share my findings. 

The first is a self taught seamstress and her store is called Sweet November.  I don’t think my girls have ever worn skirts before (dresses of course, but I haven’t gotten the hang of skirts yet).  Well I saw her skirts ** in the owl print none the less!! ** and I had to place my order!  I was worried about the fit, but OMG….they look adorable and the fit is perfect!  The girls LOVE them and have been wearing them over their pants since they arrived.

I also fell in love with monster t-shirts by sister in laws Nissa and Lisa.  Their store is called Nissalisa and their clothing has such personality.  Check out these monster tees and onsies…what an incredible present one would make for a little kid or baby!  My 6 year old saw me checking out their store and asked if I would buy him one.  He has absolutely no interest in fashion or clothes, but one of the monsters look like an alien and he has to have it!  So now I’ll be ordering 4 for my monsters (whoops did I say that out loud?!) I mean my children.  Think of the cute pictures I’ll get with all four in these shirts.

So while I’m excited to visit my first farmers market this Sunday and start supporting the purchase of local produce, I think it’s also important to take another look at supporting all local and/or handmade items.  Honestly, why would I get in my car, drive to the Gap, drag my hysterical 2 year olds around the mall, leave frustrated, when I can support a stay-home mom who is creating these unique items to purchase on-line?  I challenge you to have an Etsy experience!  You can tell the vendors love what they do and really go the extra mile to help you and answer questions.  Also, the shipping cost for my Etsy purchase was $1.50…people are so honest with prices.  I am proud of this purchase because I’d rather help a fellow mom with my business, rather than supporting the huge stores that won’t miss me. 

If you have a special story about an artist or small business like my Etsy experience, please let me know.  I am finding so much inspiration from these creative people.


    My favorite owl fabric in a skirt!         



Reusable Canvas Totes – The New Prada?

I’ll admit I’ve never been an ‘accessories’ girl.   I own one watch (a Roots sports watch that has a night light so I can clock what ungodly hour my kids get me up), no jewelry, purses, umbrella, and really only 1 pair of shoes.  I wait until I’ve worn out my current pair of crocs or boots, then buy another pair to wear.   It’s not because I don’t want to look cute, I just know I’ll lose anything that isn’t nailed down to me.  I might be the last person on this planet that doesn’t own a cell phone.  It’s all I can do to keep track of my wallet and camera.  Oh yes, the 4 kids, their stuffed animals, snacks, change of clothes, diapers…. yikes!   No wonder I don’t have accessories.

However, lately I’ve been carrying a green reusable canvas tote for my wallet, kids’ snacks, diapers, etc. and I’m using it very proudly.   It might not be the most attractive bag ever, but if I loose it (give me a week and that thing is gone); I’m only out a few dollars.  I think I’m onto something…girls, can the canvas totes be our new Prada?   My sister was recently here with her latest Betsy Johnson purse and I was temped to  ask how much, where can I find one, etc., but I think I’m ok with my new discovery.    

Especially when using the canvas tote is in the top 10 ways to green your home.  Read the below from www.livescience.com:

“Eschew plastic bags by bringing your own reusable canvas totes the next time you’re at the supermarket or store. Because petroleum-based plastic isn’t biodegradable, it’s certain to outlive you-by about a millennium or so. Each year, thousands of marine animals, including the endangered leatherback turtle, choke to death on plastic trash they mistake for snackable morsels. Our unholy love for plastic disposables has also bred a swirling vortex of plastic trash the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean-not surprising when you consider that Americans run through about 100 billion plastic bags annually, using up an estimated 12 million barrels of oil.

You’ll easily forget about horrible plastic bags when you see the amazing totes found on Etsy.  I love this site devoted to selling handmade items.  Just to demonstrate that the reusable canvas tote doesn’t have to be ugly like my green selection…check out this one with owls!

Loose Caboose Designs is the adorable shop on Etsy that created this bag.



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