My Handmade Nursery- TwinSoulArt

I love these collage blocks by TwinSoulArt (formerly ThreePaperPigs) on Etsy.com

Each side of the blocks were adorned with her cool collage work. Great for when my son can identify objects and they look amazing and fun in his room! I chose 2 of red, blue n yellow but she also has black available.

You can see her great collages, also available as prints & cards on her site. I just love the graphic quality of the images... they look like fine art.

The blocks are very cool and would even look great in my studio ! Hmmm...


Salt City Urban Art & Craft Market

Join me this Saturday, October 22nd along with 49 other great vendors for the 3rd annual Salt City Urban Art & Craft Market in Syracuse!
This year it will be located at a very cool Leeds certified bldg, King & King Architects
at 358 West Jefferson Street.

Take a look at the other vendors that you'll see there!

Show opens at 10 am and runs till 6pm. A great time to find some wonderful wares.

Hope to see you then!


My Handmade Nursery - Criswell Creations

A lovely addition to the nursery is this darling mobile made by CriswellCreations on Etsy.com.

The mobile is made of a trio of hand stitched patchwork birds in turquoise prints. Each bird sits upon a real branch that is counter weighted perfectly. They look like real birds sitting naturally on a tree.

Below is the view my baby can peer up to every morning, what a way to start your day! Really wonderful and perfect for any bedroom. Maybe I'll have to get one for my room! You can see more lovely mobiles and fun items at her shop on Etsy.com


My Handmade Nursery - QuietudeQuilts

I have been in baby land for the past couple of months, but now that my son is almost 4 months, I've gotten into a routine and wanted to highlight some of the great handmade finds I have found for his nursery!

My first Handmade Nursery Find is from Quietude Quilts on Etsy.com. Her cute "Tiny Forests" are just adorable and come in all different colors and prints.

I loved the black and white high contrast prints. My son is only still very young, so I'll have to wait till he can add them to his play repertoire, but they look lovely just adorning his bookshelf until then.

You can see more of her Tiny Forests and other wonderful handmade items at her shop on Etsy.com.


Organic Crib Mattress Research Part 2 Boric Acid

After doing some preliminary mattress research, I found a number of chemical names being tossed around. One was Boric Acid used as a flame retardant in crib mattresses.
What is Boric Acid? I've been told by some it's totally natural and safe, Boron is an element found naturally in fruits, which is true.. but have also read Boric Acid is an active ingredient in Roach Killers? Google.com says-

Boric Acid-
  • Known also as Boracic acid, Orthoboric acid and Acidum boricum
  • Contains Boron, Hydrogen and Oxygen and is a colorless crystal
  • It is a weak acid used in insecticides, flame retardants, and nuclear power
  • Used in the manufacturing of glass, paper, adhesives, detergents, food preservation
  • "Moderately" toxic

Boric Acid is used in some Crib mattresses to make them flame retardant. It is usually combined with a fiber creating a flame retardant layer underneath the surface of a mattress.

"Here is how Boric Acid is applied to cotton batting: “Generally applied in the mixing machine prior to garneting, boric acid is introduced to the cotton fibers along with a small amount of oil and chemical surfactant. To further achieve even distribution and adherence to the fibers, the boric acid is ground to a very fine consistency prior to application. … Applied as a white powder, boric acid is inorganic and is odorless.” (NCBI) Thus you can see Boric Acid is not chemically bound and exists as loose dust in the surface of our mattresses. As the mattress gets older and oils dry out even more Boric Acid will kick up into our faces with every body movement for us to breathe and absorb."

Some of the risks of using Boric Acid as a flame retardant I've found are-

"Boric Acid is a known reproductive and developmental toxin, and a known respiratory irritant. Exposure also demonstrated injury to the gonads and to the developing fetus. There is a high prenatal mortality with overexposure. Neonatal children are unusually susceptible. There are already 6,463 U.S. cases of Boric Acid poisoning each year. One human exposure study showed reduced sperm counts and reduced sexual activity in humans."

"The EPA and CDC warn of Reproductive, Developmental, and Neurological Damage. It has many known health risks including, genital damage, brain damage, anemia, infertility, birth defects, and death, and at the very least may dry and irritate your skin and lungs.

Boric Acid is absorbed through skin contact, particularly damaged skin, and inhalation. Quoting the federally required Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Boric Acid (H3BO3):

Inhalation: Causes irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. May be absorbed from the mucous membranes, and depending on the amount of exposure could result in the development of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rash, headache, fall in body temperature, low blood pressure, renal injury, cyanosis, coma, and death.
Chronic Exposure: Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible. Studies of dogs and rats have shown that infertility and damage to testes can result from acute or chronic ingestion of boric acid. Evidence of toxic effects on the human reproductive system is inadequate. "

"There are no labeling requirements of the chemicals in beds. Mattress makers are under
no obligation to tell the truth. They all claim they don’t use chemicals or say their systems are nontoxic. The CPSC Table 1 of chemicals used proves these statements wrong. There are no chemical free and safe systems.

There can be two pounds of poison in the surface of your mattress. All the Boric Acid systems also contain Antimony. Other systems include Formaldehyde, Silicon, or Ammonium Polyphosphate, but these were not studied. The CPSC did prove Ammonium Polyphosphate leaches from mattresses in large quantities. It is doubtful our children absorbing this fertilizer will grow any better.

Over a pound of Boric Acid exists as loose dust simply mixed with cotton fibers in flameproof mattresses. It is a known respiratory irritant, also used as Roach Killer, is a known reproductive and developmental toxin, “Demonstrated injury to the gonads and to the developing fetus.” “High prenatal mortality. Neonatal children are unusually susceptible.” One human chronic exposure study showed reduced sexual activity and sperm counts. There are already 6,463 U.S. cases of Boric Acid poisoning each year."


"Although no adverse effects have been reported from inhaling boric acid dust, it is absorbed through mucous membranes. Ingestion of 5 grams or more may irritate gastrointestinal tract and affect central nervous system. Contact with dust or aqueous solutions may irritate eyes; no chronic effects have been recognized, but continued contact should be avoided. Dust and solutions are absorbed through burns and open wounds but not through unbroken skin."


The MSDS Sheet for Boric Acid http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/b3696.htm

The US Boron Industry says "Conservative estimates of exposure to boron from sleeping on borate-treated mattresses, based on wipe test results after a roller test simulating 10 years of use, show negligible exposure for both adults and children. The estimates were based on a series of conservative assumptions, which are designed to err in the direction of overestimating exposure. For example, it was assumed that a person sleeps naked on a bare mattress with 100% of the body surface in contact with the mattress surface. Similarly, it was assumed that a child licks a 6 x 6 inch area of the surface of a bare mattress daily."

It's up to each individual parent to decide if Boric Acid in a baby's mattress is safe as a flame retardant and needed or not. There are many more websites out there, not cited here, that can help you find information on Boric Acid

How do you know if a crib mattress has Boric Acid as a flame retardant inside? Well, you don't. Companies do not list exact chemicals and even sometimes don't list materials that make up mattresses in their descriptions. It's up to you, the consumer, to find out for yourselves.
Contact the companies who make the crib mattress you are interested in and ask


Organic Baby Crib Mattress Research Part 1

I've been doing a lot of research on crib mattresses, now that I'm in the market for one, and I'm surprised at what I'm finding. I just figured I could find an organic cotton mattress not treated, buy it and whalla, it's done..NOPE. It looks like I'm getting a lesson in flame retardancy with chemicals hidden everywhere, not to mention advertising using "Eco" or "Organic" in the titles to lure you in. It seems like many big name companies will use some great materials than mix in some not so great chemicals to comply with flame retardant standards and waterproofing needs.

I'm looking for a crib mattress that is firm enough, made with natural ingredients, preferably organic cotton and organic wool with good ventilation. There's godda be an affordable on out there right? What I don't want is a crib that is full of chemicals that my new baby will be inhaling in the crib.

My search started, where else, at my local department stores, Target, Babiesrus, etc. Target has a mattress that said "organic" It's called the Munchkin Comfortsafe Organic Crib Mattress, which sounded great to me. So I added that to my list to look up.

Next I went online, and found that Amazon.com has a ton of different ones listed, and started to read reviews and descriptions of different companies cribs. After days of comparing and contrasting, let alone confusion, I started making a list of pros and cons based solely on what actual properties are listed for each mattress and the materials or chemicals I made note of for each mattress. Here is the first 2 mattresses I looked up ..

First, I contacted the Munchkin company for some more details on their crib, as I was unable to find any reviews or information online. They responded that day very quickly with more details.

The Munchkin Comfortsafe Organic Crib Mattress-

-It's Dual sided for infant and toddler
-It's super affordable about $129.99 + Shipping
-210 Coils inner spring
-Outer "unbleached natural cotton cover with no treatments" (Great!)
-An inner Organic Wool layer (Even better!)
-"Has a waterproofing backing inside the mattress", (not sure what that means...plastic maybe?)
- Has a cotton flame retardant barrier inside that is treated with "minimal amounts" of boric acid (Uh-Oh, What is Boric acid? More to follow)

The Sealy Soybean Dream Crib Mattress-

The "Sealy Soybean crib mattress" has some great reviews online everywhere, BUT has a vinyl cover..Hmmm, who wants to sleep on vinyl, let alone it's plastic based!!, So someone mentioned on a blog that Sealy makes one without a vinyl cover but with a fabric cover, this one.

- About $180.00
- Says"Foam is CertiPUR-US
® certified and has been tested for indoor air emissions, durability and substances including phthalates, formaldehyde, PBDEs, lead and other chemicals"
- Uses a sustainable material Soybeans to create foam (Sounds Good)
- Says "Fabric cover feels soft, no plastic waterproof coating is used" BUT uses chemical treatment of "STAPH-GARD® woven jacquard fabric covers offers liquid, stain and allergen resistance" (Ok, wait, a chemical waterproofing agent that is woven into the fabric that my baby will sleep on? Uh-No)
- If using GMO grown soybeans, the foam has a % of petrochemicals anyway, could be up to 85%! (http://organicgrace.com/ntb_crib-mattresses) (So basically plastic/soy foam?Hmmm)

So, so far no good. Both of these mattresses looked great on the get go, but both turned out to be treated with a chemical either for waterproofing or flame retardancy.

I get that waterproofing a mattress may be important to parents as your child may have accidents, etc, but can't we use a removable puddle mat made from wool or natural rubber to resist that? I'd rather have something non-toxic that I can remove and wash than a spray that can off-gas forever in my newborn infants body creating who knows what.

I'm gonna have to do more research on some of the flame retardant chemicals and see what they actually are and what they can do. Next blog to follow...