Fall Back To Work

After a hectic move and a good deal of poison ivy — hello there country life! — pen&thimble is back open with ready to ship crowns, bibs, teething toys, and placemats. (All CPSC compliant because handmade should be made with love, quality, and safety in mind.)

Want to see our new digs? Still a work in progress, but the new studio has a great view, a hanging plant, toys for the girls!

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Want to see more? Check out the video from the live studio tour on our Facebook page. Or pics and daily behind the scenes on the My Story feature of Instagram.

And if you are looking for a stylish drool-stopper for your baby or toddler, shop our new fall organic cotton prints on Etsy: www.penandthimble.com

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So excited the shop is back open! So excited to show you the new ideas I’ve been working on! Stay tuned!

Same pen&thimble Products, Extra Assurance!

I have always spent extra time searching for the BEST materials to create items–organic cotton, 100% natural cotton, thick waterproof PUL, organic wood rings that have passed safety tests. My priority has always been to make safe and effective products for babies and children; that means selecting and crafting with quality materials.

In addition to using the highest quality materials, pen&thimble products are now officially compliant with Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines (CPSC/CPSIA).

Nothing has actually changed; I’m still using the same quality materials and my same functional designs, but I now have documentation that all materials and products have passed third-party testing requirements and meet federal regulations for child safety–small parts, lead, phthalates, flammability….all compliant.

Yay! What does that mean for you? You can expect the same quality, same baby-safe materials, but now with extra assurances and adorable new tags!

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Keeping Watch: The Sequel

So my Keeping Watch post started some neat conversations here, on FB, Twitter, and Instagram too! Thanks for weighing in and sharing your thoughts on selling items with licensed characters. It was so cool to hear from both Etsy shop-owners and customers! And all of your input was so varied! Some shop-owners and customers suggested I go for it while other vendors and shoppers advised me against it.

Ultimately, the response that really resonated with me was that selling items with licensed characters just isn’t what my handmade shop is about. And that is what I was feeling in my heart. It isn’t even about “getting caught” (but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t take that lightly). What it comes down to is what my shop and the pen&thimble brand is all about.

So while this is cuuuuuute…

Super drool fighters!
Super drool fighters!

…it is being sent to my nephew (due in March) as a gift.

And a crayon rollup that I forgot to take a proper picture of, went to my daughter’s friend from gymnastics class, but it won’t be in my Etsy shop.

I’m going to stick to pen&thimble — handmade for babies&children, handmade for function& fun. I’m going to stick to combining my quality and thought-out designs with fun fabric, just not licensed fun fabric.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to weigh in! It helped me more-deeply consider what my shop is all about and where it is going from here.

Plus, I’ll have three nephews and two daughters come March — current and future Marvel fans — so this cool fabric won’t go to waste! 🙂

Keeping Watch

“I’ll keep watch.”

In 7th grade our middle school hallway was adjacent to the hall with a door that led to the auditorium catwalk. For whatever reason, this door was often unlocked. My friends walked or ran to the middle of the catwalk and back at least half a dozen times during 7th grade. I’m sure it was thrilling, but I never did it. I always volunteered to “keep watch” — which meant I stood outside the door panicking that we’d all get caught, because I would still be guilty by association!

I’m A LOT older and now mostly savvy to which rules are hard rules and which rules bend a bit, but I still respect rules…usually. Unless they are, like, totally dumb and some are and so they don’t count. But I respect the ones that make sense.

All of this to say that right now I feel like I’m sweating, standing outside of the catwalk door praying that Mr. Webber or Mrs. Haggis won’t walk around the corner. Why you ask? THIS…

So pretty! So against the rules!
So super marvelous! So against the rules!

I’ve cut into it! I was so excited to start making super things for my customers to marvel at when I realized, “Wait! This is the exact type of fabric I avoid — fabric with licensed characters!” Why, you ask? It is written right on the fabric that it is not to be used for commercial purposes!! Right here:

SEE!
SEE!

I know people do it. But if this fabric was meant for sales it wouldn’t say “DON’T RUN ACROSS THE CATWALK,” right on the selvedge! So now I don’t know what to do. To sew and sale or embrace my inner 7th grader (and honor this previous post) and continue to keep watch?