Thursday, August 27, 2009

Visiting the Rockies...Bilingual / Ein Besuch in den Rockies ...Zweisprachig!

My sister came to visit this summer. We had a great time together visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is about an hour's drive to the mountains from our house. Still, we hardly ever go there. Why? I don't understand. It is so beautiful in the mountains. I took some pictures to share.

My sister complained about how I hardly speak German to the children. I have been living in the US for so long. It is hard when you don't get to speak your mother tongue every day. I find more and more words are slipping from my memory and being replaced with English only. Maybe it is time to actively fight that. I will try and write more German. How about a bilingual blog, I thought. So here it goes.

For all of you who do speak German: Enjoy. And for those who don't just skip the German parts (colored in red). =)

Meine Schwester kam zu Besuch diesen Sommer. Wir hatten viel Spass bei unserem Ausflug in den Rocky Mountain National Park. Es ist ungefaehr eine Autostunde von unserem Haus bis in die Berge. Trotzdem fahren wir selten dorthin. Warum eigentlich? Ich verstehe es nicht. Es ist so schoen in den Bergen. Ich habe ein paar Bilder gemacht, um sie hier mit Euch zu teilen.

Meine Schwester beschwerte sich, weil ich so selten deutsch mit den Kindern rede. Ich lebe schon so lange in den Vereinigten Staaten. Es ist schwierig wenn man nicht jeden Tag seine Muttersprache spricht. Ich merke, dass ich immer mehr Woerter vergesse. Nach und nach werden sie mit dem Englischen allein ersetzt. Vielleicht ist es jetzt zeit diesen Verlust aktiv zu bekaempfen. Also dachte ich mir: Wie waer's mit einem zweisprachigen Blog?

Fuer alle, die hier Deutsch sprechen: Viel Spass. Und fuer diejenigen, die kein Deutsch sprechen: "Lest einfach ueber den deutschen Text (red parts) hinweg!"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How to make your own labels

A few months ago I read in the Etsy forums about the new labeling laws going into effect on August 15th. Immediately I started looking into ways to label my product and searched for label makers on Etsy. In the past I had labels on my dress-up-dolls. I ordered them from a label maker in Australia. They were the old-fashioned looking, really pretty, and high quality woven label. I remember when I first researched the market for labels I was very frustrated by the few options. Since I did not want to put a huge label on my doll, I was very limited in terms of how much information I could put on a label. Therefore my old doll labels only had my business name and my name on them.The new labeling law requires that a business put a lot more information on their product such as: Name of the Business, Address, Place Manufactured, Materials, Care Information
When I started to ask around on Etsy, I found that many label makers did not respond to my questions at all. The small label making businesses were either on vacation (due to exhaustion) or too busy with current label orders. Bigger outfits, located in Hongkong and Overseas did not respond to my questions in a serious manner. When presented with my problem they simply told me it was not possible to put all that information on a such a small label (0.5 inches by 2 inches).

Luckily I found the answer to my problem in discussions with my Etsy team. I love my Etsy team, the naturalkids team! One teammate, beccijo (, had found an alternative option. In order to solve the labeling problem for her wooden toys she contacted a stamp maker on Etsy: When I contacted Robert I found him super helpful and kind. It took about 4 convos to figure out what I needed. He managed to put ALL the information I asked for on my cool new wooden stamp. I had my stamp in hand about a week later. While waiting for my stamp, I ordered two 72 yard rolls of cotton twilltape online. I ordered two different colors: white and natural. I found the ink stood out much better on the white tape.

Next I had to figure out what ink to use. I needed something that was washable and non-toxic that would work on fabric! I found an inktype called VersaCraft. It works on fabric, wood and paper. The only drawback being that it needs to be heat-set. After stamping the twilltape with my new stamp I had to iron the tape. I washed the tape afterwards to make sure the ink did not bleed out. And voila it worked well!
I think my new labels look great. They may not be perfect since sometimes the stamping is not totally even. But why not have cool handmade labels on your cool hand made product? I think this is a great alternative to ordering expensive labels from a label maker. Do you know what they put in those labels? It may not be safe for children.
I compared prices and found that label sellers charged about 35-40 cents on average.
It cost me around $60 to buy my stamp, twill tape, and the ink pad. With these supplies I will be able to make hundreds of labels. If I want to change the information I can order a new stamp from Rob.
I hope this will encourage you to make your own label. I had a lot of fun on my first label making day!