My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

It's Just a LITTLE Soap Box, I Promise

Sorry, sorry - I promise I almost never do this, but I just learned something that I think will interest/concern a lot of you Wreckies out there. If you enjoy supporting local artists and makers of hand-made goods, please keep reading.

Here's the deal:

In August the Congress passed the CPSIA, a law making it tougher to sell toys and other childrens items that contain lead - so obviously that's a good thing. However, as a result of this law any crafter or stay-at-home artisan who makes items for kids under 12-- from clothing to toys to school supplies - must have their items tested to the tune of $400-$4000 per item. Since most crafters cannot afford those kinds of fees, this means tens of thousands of stay-at-home moms and small home-based businesses may be forced out of business come February 10, the official "mandatory compliance" date set by the law.

As a small business owner and indie-art-lover I was distressed to hear of this from reader Laurel, especially considering it's an easy fix: all that's needed is a simple amendment excluding micro-businesses, similar to the exemptions granted by the FDA for small producers under the food labeling laws.

So, if you want to help save Etsy sellers, stay-at-home crafters, and countless other small businesses, please visit the Handmade Toy Alliance. There you'll find a sample letter you can send to your congressman and an online petition you can sign, in addition to lots more info and links. Remember, the deadline is February 10th, so please act now if you're going to.

And that's it! We now return you to your regularly scheduled Wreckage.

UPDATE: A few of you have referenced Snopes (an urban legend/rumor fact-checker) in the comments, saying they called this law a false rumor. However, what Snopes was addressing was the resale of USED children's items and clothing, which will in fact still be legal after 2/10. (Click here to read the article.) All new items are still affected by the law.

UPDATE FROM JOHN: Um hi. The comments on this are done. It's all very interesting and I strongly suggest y'all read up on it further. And if you are desperate to make your voice heard, please send a letter to your representative, write about it on your personal blog or even e-mail your friends but I would ask that you not comment on other posts about this one. The only reason I am not taking this down is that Jen really does care about small businesses and she was trying to do a good thing by letting all of our awesome readers know about something that concerned her. That's it. Wreck On and happy Martin Luther King day!

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Reader Comments (118)

Oh wow there is a lot of misinformation out there! I have been following this issue for some time now as it certainly affects me and many people I know.

This legislation started out with the best intentions. Seriously, do you think any parent wants their kid to play, wear, touch, mouth, anything with lead (or phthalates for that matter)?

The unintended consequences of this legislation once it goes into effect are going to be huge if something is not done.

The link to Happy Panda about how much it will cost to test 1 onesie demonstrates how cost prohibitive this will be for small business, especially those that produce in small quantities as each batch has to be tested.

Everything also has to be tested at an accredited facility for the manufacturers to be able to issue a certificate of compliance. You can't just order a little lead test kit like a consumer could.

I urge everyone reading to please, please do your research! Fight this legislation and then fight for something new that will address lead in children's products in a way that preserves small businesses and handmade products.

Check out the Handmade Toy Alliance or Fashion Incubator, or go to the CPSC site and read it all for yourself!

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrenna

Ok, I know I have already said my piece but I just want to give some examples here of how this will impact your lives and it's not as simple as going to Rite Aid to pick up a lead test and swab a product.

Let's say you want to have a garage sale and you are selling tons of baby toys and clothes...that would be a no-go under the new law. Everything would have to be tested first...and this is what they mean by testing...let's use an exersaucer as an example.

The plastic would need to be tested but not just one piece...every separate color would need to be tested. If there is a fabric flower on it that would need to be taken apart so that the fluff on the inside could be tested and then each color of the fabric of the flower would need to be tested and if there is a face painted on the flower, each color of the paint on the face would need to be tested. The screws would need to be tested and if more than one type of screw is used than they need to be tested separately. If the screws are chrome plated than the chrome plating and the metal underneath would need to be tested. If you have one of the clear balls with smaller balls inside(like ours) than the clear plastic would need to be tested and taken apart to get into the inside balls and then each separate color of the inside balls would need to be tested. The seat fabric would need to be tested and taken apart to test the inside and each color printed on the fabric would need to be tested. The adhesive holding the stickers on would need to be tested as well as the sticker itself...and not just one section of the sticker but every separate color that is represented in the sticker because different dyes are used to make different colors. I could go on and on and on and on. What do you have when you are effed up looking exersaucer is what you have.

Do you want to sell your baby crib to the neighbor lady for $20 bucks...nope, can't do that...against the law without lead testing.

Do you want to sell your kids old shoes and clothes on eBay...sorry, no can do...get them tested first.

This could even go on a much broader scale. How many girls and boys, 12 and under, wear adult clothes and shoes?

So tot hose of you who HAVEN't read the bill...GET EDUCATED before you make ignorant comments.

NONE of us want your kids or our kids exposed to lead BUT there is NO REASON why somebody using certified toxin and lead free products(and have proof of it) should have to get the finished product tested when everything used to make it is toxin and lead free.

The hair bows I make are 100% toxin and lead free...why should I have to close down shop? Well, because of people that HAVEN'T read the law...and they are going to be the same people pitching a fit when they get fined for selling their exersaucer on eBay.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Holly Rock

Remember most manufacturers in the US cannot purchase the RAW materials that contain lead and phalytes. While the only thing that will happen is the corrupt Chinese labs will produce false documents stating their products abide by the law. To be really effective and to help this economy have all imports tested by US labs.....leave domestic suppliers out of it. As we have to abide by it...but again cannot purchase the raw materials that have those levels.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Thank you so much for helping to spread the news about this law. Do you know that some items not intended for children must also be tested? New reports are that the BMX bikes must be tested also - the very type of bikes used in the Olympics - because their tire diameter measures 24". Can you imagine the cost to each of the many small parts of a bicycle?

The US definitely needs some type of guidelines/laws regarding safety of children's products but this law is so poorly written that they need to just start over and do it right.


January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I actually took the time to read the whole bill. It includes many things besides lead testing. One thing it also includes is regulations regarding fire retardant fabrics. That is one thing that crafters will be most effected by.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

what does this have to do with a blog about poorly done cakes?
i have this site in my rss and i feel like every other entry is some special interest note, a plea to vote for the blog in some contest, or an ad to buy your t-shirts.
your blog does not have the history and reputation for you to go off on daily tangents, nor is it aided by your commentary. people are here for the cakes. stick with the theme, or expect to lose a lot of traffic.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynn


She is using her popular blog as a platform to get the word out just as I do with mine. It affects her. People come to my blog to read about and see pictures of my children and what I have to say about the gray hairs they give me. But guess what? There are times that I try and raise awareness about organ donation, registering for bone marrow donation, adoption(my kids were adopted) and so much more.

I doubt she is going to lose traffic especially since people like me emailed her link to about 200 people and I have already gotten most of them addicted anyway.

And by the way, I happen to like her shirts and now because you said that I'm going to buy one.

Our cake wreck blogger are trying to raise awareness. Are you going to be one of the people complaining that your taxes are going to be used to support all of us out of work crafters? Yup! Get involved Lynn...and if you don't care than skip over everything else and just look at the cakes...they post at least one post everyday about cakes, ya know...that never changes.

I'm still on a mission to find an ugly cake and every food store I go into...I go to the cake section first with camera in hand. This cake wreck blog is the first one I check every day and usually gets me in a good mood for the day.

Get over yourself and take your one hit elsewhere...don't vote if you don't want to and that's OK because I go on every day and vote so I'll make up for it.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Holly Rock

Hey, Madeleine.

I can't believe you don't have the ability to skip a post that doesn't interest you, and take the time to complain about the fact that it's not pictures of cakes.

Jen is trying to spread the news about something important that will negatively impact many of us, and the fact that you scorn her for this is just plain ignorant.

It's not like Jen is out of material for Cake Wrecks posts and has begun resorting to post about politics and important issues on a regular basis. This is a one time deal in which she felt this is something important many of us need to know about, and she was right.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAaron James Patterson

Hey Lynn,

"Every other entry"? Seriously? This is my first PSA post EVER, I post cakes EVERY SINGLE DAY, sometimes 2 posts a day, and I'm not allowed to throw in an occasional t-shirt or contest post, too? Here's an idea: if you're not interested in the non-cake posts, then DON'T READ THEM.

Or, I suppose you could take a cue from good ol' Madeleine (Bye, Maddy! Thanks for the memories!) and find your entertainment elsewhere. I mean, obviously you two are right: one non-cake post really IS grounds for a severing of all ties. I have betrayed you in the most heinous manner possible! I am scum! I wrote about something that WASN'T cake!! Egads, the horror! HOW can I sleep at night?!?

Still, in all seriousness, thank you for letting me know that people are only here for the cakes. It's good to know my commentary and writing have absolutely nothing to do with the 49,000 people who visited CW today. No, really, at the end of a long day juggling the blog, the upcoming book, my day job, and life in general, it's nice to sit back and reflect that I'm actually nothing more than so much dead weight hanging on to the photos. We can't have me deluding myself with feelings of competency, now, can we? Well, thank goodness I'll always have folks like you around to keep me on track and suitably crappy-feeling.



And THAT, boys and girls, is why having a blog sometimes sucks a whole lot.

Dang it, now I need some chocolate. [wanders off in search of sugar]

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Wow, people can be so critical about your blog. You do an amazing job of adding quality new content and screening SO many comments. It's your blog, and you can do what you want. As the similarly snarky Tina Fey would say, the critics can suck it! :)

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This ETSY seller salutes you! This is a wonderful action to take.

A Tempting Morsel

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterunknownpoet78

Well, this is the first time I've ever read ALL of the comments and I keep refreshing to read the new ones. So obviously, I'm the anti-Madeleine :)

And I am a LONG time reader. I somehow managed to find this blog right at the start!

January 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica


Don't let the attitude of a few spoil things for you (and the rest of us).

If they bailed on you for something that small (and somehow, I'll bet they're reading these)then it would only be a matter of time until *something* set them off, anyway.

Glad you're here, and that you care about something that will affect a lot of your readers.
Yay for wrecky cakes, and for our nerdily awesome hostess.

(Hope you found some chocolate! :))

January 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercygirlkat

I also run a home-made business with hand crafted kids items. I highly doubt the products I use like ribbon, clips, paint (non toxic), etc contain lead, SO they would still be ok to use and make items.

Personally, I will still continue to make my items. I think if enough home/small businesses stay in business, like a silent march, there will be too many to prosecute. IF the items are found to contain lead that is.

January 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aww Jen,

I've read this blog for a while, and gee, you're human and habe interests too besides cake. As far as voting goes, I see them on every other site that gets nominated, it's kind of a big deal in blogland and I think the t-shirts are cute. Not going to buy one because I don't like the design, but give me a break.

I read fashion blogs, I own a sewing/fashion/hodgepodge one myself and while I see a lot of crap that they point out, it's not intended for us to buy (have you SEEN some of the things that constitute "good" fashion?) and I post a lot of crap, and gee, I've pointed out sales for other people that I get zilch off of. I hope at the end of the day, YOU entertained yourself first and foremost.

January 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersewducky

Okay, Jen, you're awesome. Best rant post ever. EVER.
Except for this one.
Madeleine, Lynn---
The poor dears. How can they handle it! I am weeping for them. WEEPING I TELL YOU. Jen, you evil person! How DARE you! How very DARE YOU!!!! They're probably crying right now, you monster! Now I'll never read this again! Even though I just spent five hours reading through the entire archives, this has killed me! YOU'RE TRYING TO HELP SOME PEOPLE. DIE.
Okay, your rant was better. Still. I'm awesome so it's okay.
What on earth do narcissuses have to do with this? This is a comment on a cake blog, not a flower blog or mythology site. Seriously.

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAyy

Shame on every person who called anonymous a troll. This country is great because of our Constitution, specifically the First Amendment. That person was expressing their opinion, just like other people on this site. Have a little respect for others; he or she did not personally insult you. It just makes you look petty and intolerant.

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Considering that as far as I'm aware, Etsy still exists and crafters are not rioting in the streets, did this law not get passed, or was it amended to death?

November 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

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