Please Welcome the Coolest To Be Kindergartener EVER!

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized



Detox for the Dishwasher: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwashing Detergent

Posted by organicneedle in plastic, product review

It has taken me awhile to get around to this one because I was given a ton of dishwashing tablets when I first got my machine. I liked them…Electrasol. Then about a year ago BJs had a sale and I bought a years worth…without really taking note of the phosphate level…which is apparently reeeeeeeeeeaaaallly high. It is seriously higher than even our government allows…not sure how they managed that one. Now that I’ve run out of the stuff I decided to give a more earth friendly brand a try.

Price…5.49 for 45 ozs. Which is 2x the price of Electrasol powder. I was using the tabs, which are about 2x the 7th generation price. So…for a powder it is expensive…but I’m still saving money.

Packaging…Made from 100% recycled paper and is completely recyclable. Since it is a powder there are no little plastic wrappers like the Electrasol tabs.

Performance…Mixed reviews. It definately leaves some residue, especially in the sippy cups…which means extra water to rinse those clean. It was better when I switched my machine from light cycle to regular cycle…but again that is more water and more energy. But…no chlorine and no phosphates. I think the detox method even with its increased demand for water, electricity and effort wins. I am going to stick with it. Now that I know about the evil in my ol’ Electrasol I can’t go back…even though it made my dishes really sparkely. Doesn’t knowledge suck sometimes.



Organicizing My Makeup: Physicians Formula Organic Wear Concealers

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, organics, plastic, product review, recycling


Even the Needle needs a wee bit of help looking breathtaking each day. So why not try to add a little organicizing to the ol’ makeup bag? So…I picked up Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Concealers in Fair & Green. (No I am not the swamp thing. Green covers red which I tend to get around my nose during the colder weather…when I hear Santa needs help with his sleigh.)

Packaging…Let’s start with the positive. The outer packaging is just paper. With the rather clever construction they completely eliminated the need for the clam shell type covering most makeup uses. Sweet. Hopefully that alone will inspire redesigns for all makeup…organic or not. The inner packaging is better…but the makeup is still essentially in a plastic tube with paper covering. I guess they could use glass…but maybe that would be a safety issue since you are cramming it onto your face.

Price…6.95 each. That seems to be on par with other concealers.

Now for the not so nicey nice.

Smell…yes it is important since I wear the green on my snout. Rancid olive oil. I now know why they add so much fragrance to makeup. Holy skunk butt. If this were the only issue I would just plug my nose and soldier on…but…keep reading.

Ingredients…better…but wait. Sounds really good at first: organic olive oil, organic soybean oil, beeswax, avocado oil….and then a big list of flowers. I’m feeling girly just looking at the list. But right at the end they slip in some other familiar names that don’t sound so tasty: talc, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, which is rust, no? Do these qualify as natural? I guess they do occur naturally. So does snail slime…doesn’t mean I want some on my face.

Performance…Now for the big So What…does it work? Depends what you mean by work. First the makeup was so thick and sticky you couldn’t apply it like a stick…which is kind of the point of a concealer STICK. Both of them broke when I tried. I was able to use a lipstick brush to apply it and it managed to conceal. Amazing!


So…although I give Physicians Formula big props for reinventing the makeup packaging…they have a lot of work to do in the actual makeup department. Bottom line: Swampy no recommend.



Blog Pause

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

Trying to soak up the last bits of summer fun with the wee ones. I will be back to neglecting them and blogging next week.simpsons



Ditching the Daily Zip

Posted by organicneedle in plastic

Isn’t it funny how when you start weeding something out of your life you begin to realize what a far reaching grip that thing had/has? Let’s talk about plastic bags. First we decided to switch to reusable grocery bags…..no big whoop. No big plan involved…just noticed they were piling up and it seemed wasteful. Got rid of the plastic bags, right?

Uhhhh…not so much. We then began to notice all the produce bags that were going in the trash. Well that’s silly we said. Fixed that problem with my Organic Cotton Produce Bags. And yet…there still seemed to be tons of bags floating about that we never even noticed. 3 bread bags a week. Fixed that by making my own bread. Now that I made my own bread and other baked goods the tortilla bags had a purpose and were saved from the landfill. The cereal liners made great sandwich bags. The pretzel bags made great bags for sliding over the occasional raw chicken. (I buy Bell & Evans which comes wrapped in plastic but sometimes they “pee” chicken juice out so it needs a plastic bag.) For individual bags of dry snacks for the roving gang of toddlers that live with me my 4 year old suggested/demanded putting the snacks in his party bags from school. (My kids get on average about 6 party bags a month. That is 72 bags a year. Insanity that they all just get tossed in the trash.) Potential bags seemed to be coming from all directions. It just took that small initial shift in perspective to notice them.
So…my point? I joyfully realized the other day as I was scanning my son’s school list which includes a box of Ziplocks, that I haven’t bought the sacred ungiveupable bags in about 6 months. I no longer require a daily zip up! I used to believe that life couldn’t be kept fresh and organized without the little wonders. Their clearly visible contents. Their firm dependable grip. Ziplocks were my I-Could-Never-Give-That-Up. And yet…by slowly, step by step, reevaluating the plastic coming into the house and into the garbage I have gone from about a box of littles and a box of bigs a month to maybe a box of freezer biggies a year, if even that, without any real stress or trauma involved.

It may seem small to the serious greenies, but it has been a tiny milestone for us in our quest to decrease unnecessary household consumption. It gives me real hope for all those other areas that still seem just a little too hard to tackle in one giant leap. The little steps really count too.

Besides, isn’t life just a little better when you can eat bunny crackers out of Darth Vader’s Head?



Organicizing My Tea III: Darjeeling 2nd Flush Makaibari

Posted by organicneedle in product review, tea/tea bag

How does one describe a good Darjeeling in general? Pure joy? Light, floral…clean…with a really long tangyness that just makes your mouth feel like it has been scrubbed by happy little dental gnomes. This particular organic Darjeeling was typical with a touch more plantiness than usual, but still very clean and refreshing. gnome

For those of you who think you aren’t into tea, I encourage you to check out Tealuxe or your local tea house and order a dozen samples or so. You would be really surprised at the wide variety of tastes. An Assame is about as similar to Darjeeling as coke is to sprite, or scotch is to a Sancerre. I encourage you to think outside the Lipton’s box and try real tea. (Lipton’s is the Boone’s of tea, just to round out the spectrum.)

(Next week I will delve into the exciting world of fruit/tea infusions. And maybe a little green tea action too if you all behave. The tea world is a wild ride, people. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)



You Should be at the Carnival!

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic

Melissa at Better Living is hosting the first APLS carnival. Plenty to read over there today, including my little essay on sustainability. Go make some new friends. apls

(Just don’t blow your paycheck trying to win that Jack Daniels mirror with the feathered roach clip accent.)



Patches Hide the Shame & the Crazy

Posted by organicneedle in family, projects, Uncategorized

Now my plan for today was to write a brilliant little piece about greening up the back to school shopping. Well…I got my kid’s school list…and …well…noooooot so much. Besides maybe buying a ream of recycled paper over a ream of virgin paper, they don’t give you a whole lotta options. They demand specifics right down to the brand name. !2 plastic tubes of glue, plastic folders, plastic markers, etc. etc. Will I be the crazy mama making a stink about the choice of supplies? No. It is going to be stressful enough for my little guy who much prefers to be at home pontificating with mama than in a room full of kids who may or may not appreciate his full length lectures on the complexities of a spider’s digestive system. I figure I can pretend to be sane for the first year. (Then balls to the wall nuts from there on out kid.) Instead I will find quite little ways to support things we care about without making him a social pariah…yet. vader

One thing my little brain has come up with is the idea of patches. My son won’t be getting a spanky new hard plastic techno colored bag. He will be taking his pre-K bag or the ol’ family Eastpak…which has survived through about 48 years of college use…I hope it can make it through a month of public school. Now I am not a heartless wench that doesn’t get the excitement of the new stuff for the new year. I’m a heartless wench who realizes that a little goes a long way with a 5 year old whose expectations have been sufficiently whittled down. To make the bag his and special I will be sewing on patches of pure evil…Darth Vader and two Stormtroopers. (He insisted that Vader wouldn’t travel with just one. By insisted I mean looked at me with pure contempt that I could even suggest that Vader travel with such little protection. I think my allegiance is under serious question.) The great thing about patches is that they can be changed should he suddenly want to leave the dark side. If you don’t have a bag and need to get one, spend a little more and buy a good quality canvas based one instead of the plastic, which will crack if you sew on patches. It should hold up to years of being crammed into a locker and can handle a few patch swaps. And stop sniveling about not knowing how to sew…they make iron-ons for the thread challenged.



Organicizing My Tea II: Assam Organic

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle bags, product review

Yes…hold on to your tea cups…it is another Organic Needle organic tea review. (Don’t think I don’t realize there are probably a grand total of 3 people in the entire universe who give two squirts about a tea review…but for you, my fellow really geeky tea drinkers, I will give it my all.) tea drinker Now Assam, which is an Indian tea, is a new one for me. I tend to be a big leafer, a Darjeelinger if you will, but I must say I was impressed. The Tealuxe description said malty and, by gum, malty is just what it is. Very smooth, but strong…kinda like a good scotch, but yet socially acceptable to drink at the playground. (You politely offer a stranger tips to correct her baby’s unibrow and suddenly everyone gets to question your Sigg bottle contents. Like it was news. Geesh.) The tea, however, was quite enjoyable.

The only down side is that tiny leaves pass through the strainer. Now…time to tooooooot my own horn. Less, yes I said less, leaves passed through good ol’ Organic Needle Reusable Organic Cotton Tea Bag than did the strainer. You didn’t think I was possibly NOT going to plug my own stuff did ya? I may be classy enough to drink tea, but not THAT classy.



Vermicomposting Battle Number Three: Making the Mitey Fall

Posted by organicneedle in worms

That stern “hungry robin” talk I had with my worms before departing for vacation must have worked. They managed to NOT invite every fruit fly in the neighborhood in for a quick egg lay, but they did seem to make some new friends. The mites. If it looks like someone spilled a container of mustard seeds in your bin…and you are fairly certain no one is in fact sneaking into your bathroom in the middle of the night and spicing your worms…then you have mites. Fortunately for us, we fully expected a full entomological safari to be taking place in the bathroom so a few mites seemed like easy pickens.worm

So how did we manage to rid the bin of the mites? Ask nicely and I may tell you. A little nicer. Well…you don’t have to be pushy about it. Okay…here is our trick. Conventionally you mix the shredded paper throughout and moisten it. We do this and add a layer of completely dry shredded paper to the the top as well. A little mixed in seems to help with absorbing the worm tea, and the the dry on top helps absorb the condensation because, I may have mentioned,…NY is a tad muggy. This top layer method also helps with the unwanted critters by covering the smell of the food a little better. The bonus of all of this is that the mites, being the snobs they are, seem to like to live in the penthouse of the worm bin, the upper layers of paper. We simply go in once a week and peel away the infected layers. Bye bye elitist arachnids. (Extra bonus…the fruit flies like to lay their eggs in this layer too.) I have read that a melon rind on top will also attract the mites but we don’t really want to attract any newcomers, so we’re sticking with this. Yes…the paper goes in the garbage which isn’t ideal, but it allows us to have a very healthy worm population without the out of control extra gross populations. Just in case you are a mite sympathizer…here is a head shot.mite