Has anyone else heard about this? I read on allsorts about Craft Hope–it’s a blog gathering handmade items to be given to children through mission work. You can still participate in the 2nd project which is making dolls for children at an orphanage in Nicaragua. The deadline is June 13th. This is pretty close to my heart as I’ve been contemplating making handmade things for kids throughout the year for Operation Christmas Child for the boxes that go out in December. Giving a child something handmade–something made with genuine love that they might know that someone else loves them so very very much–beyond what any of us could imagine…this is work that I want to do.
So join me and make a doll for a little boy or girl in Nicaragua. If you’re in need of some help, Craft Hope has some doll tutorials on their site, and if you’re lacking inspiration, check out their flickr group.
I’ve been reading about the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act which is going into effect Feb 10th to my understanding. Forcing all toy, clothing, and school supply etc. companies, small or big to test all of their products for lead and phthaltes will put many out of business (many of whom you would never have to worry about those hazards with). The subsequent costs of all of these tests will be pushed off onto consumers or taxpayers for most likely little gain. How much more regulation do we need? Is my kitchen stove eventually going to be taken away because of the possibility of getting burned? I have chosen not to blog about all of this because so many have written about it in the craft blogosphere, but after I read this at allsorts this morning I felt compelled to put my two cents in.
Apparently, this new enlightened law would also require all books intended for children under age 12 to be tested for lead and phthalate. According to this letter written by the American Library Association, this would apply to childrens’ books in libraries that are currently on the shelves as well as new books that are published. This is completely absurd. My question is–who pays for this testing? I think that the cost of most childrens’ books (and other books for that matter) is rather high as it is. I have had a library card since I was probably 5 and my family and I have ALWAYS depended upon libraries to fuel our learning. Even with unlimited money at hand, I would find it hard for anyone to come into contact with the amount of literature found in even just a basic neighborhood library. For families that cannot afford to buy any books, taking them away even for a time to test them (again, who pays for this? Even if libraries had the budgets to do this, it would take money away from the purchase of new books) is a tremendous shot in the foot.
There is something more sinister in all of this legislation besides the immediate effects it will have. It attacks something at the heart of who the Lord has created us to be–which is our uniqueness itself. The only toys that will pass these tests will be from big companies that can afford to test them. As if I don’t see enough Hannah Montana (and other such saccharine ilk regurgitated from the Disney Machine) this that and the other at school, the proliferation of uniform toys will perhaps be more than ever. For example–I have two choices: A) I really want a Barbie staring out from me in its perfect plastic package to play with that all the other girls have or B) I really want that handmade doll that my Mama painstakingly put together herself with her own hands. Which friend will be trucked around everywhere? Which one will survive a brief baking in the oven after reading Hansel and Gretel? Which one can you snuggle with at night? Which one says about you as a little girl or you as the parent of the little girl–I don’t care what everyone else has, this is who I am? I will go out on a limb and say that it’s not the Barbie. It’s one thing to make a stand and say things like “I support handmade” as a person who can afford to do so, but what choice do many families have? So will handmade become a status symbol–will my desire to provide something textural and real from my own hands become a statement of wealth instead of the expression of uniqueness that I want it to be? It saddens my heart to consider this. I am saddened further when I consider what effect this will have on organizations like Samaritan’s Purse who does amazing work with their program Operation Christmas Child which brings gifts of school supplies and toys and other things in the form of little shoeboxes to children ALL OVER THE WORLD. With the price of school supplies going up with this legislation, how many children will not be able to receive a gift next Christmas? And what kind of harbinger is this whole thing anyhow?