Check the Poop

Posted by organicneedle in family

We’re off to the woods. If I’m not back by next Friday start checking NY State Park bear poop for organic cotton.bearpoop



Celebrating 5 Years of Tru Love!

Posted by organicneedle in family

My little Einstein turns 5 today. The big 5. In honor of him…

Top 5 things I love about Tru

1. Your sense of humor. In the middle of the chaos you know just what to say to make me laugh so hard I snort.

2. Your favorite place is with your family. I hope we are always your soft place to fall and to laugh.

3. Your brilliance. You are truly freakishly smart. Please use it for good and not evil.

4. Your confidence in yourself even when you are totally outside the box. I hope you never lose that.

5. Your creativity. I love how you entertain ME with stories. Go ahead and reinvent the world Peanut!

I love you and everything you are Little Man. Thanks for being mine.



It’s in the Bag: Stitching Towards the Holidays While Taming the Jabba

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, recycling, sewing

Yes…I have officially made September the month to nag everyone into clearing up those “gonna do” sewing projects. Today let’s focus on two easy and extremely practical project…bags.

I have the world’s easiest little T-shirt recycler project. Take an old T-shirt & sew the bottom and the sleeves shut. Cut a little hole behind the neckband large enough to thread a hanger through and waaaaaaalaaaaaaaaa. You have just created the perfect storage bag for plastic bags, rags, clothespins, pantyhose, or whatever unmentionables you need to organize in your closet. (We’re not here to judge people…just to sew. Okay…you can judge a little.) Anyone can do this one…and it is really practical and helps to get those closets organized. And it doesn’t even have to be pretty. Definitely on the Cat-With-Narcolepsy Skill Level.

Now if you are looking for something to venture outside the house with…let’s talk shopping bags. Since I design and sew mainly by trial and error, error, and then more error…and not so much with those pesky easy to follow patterns, I have opted to take my usual cheap way out and find other people’s really cool easy to follow instructions and steal…I mean highlight them.

Some of the clearest instructions I have found were over at Wild Onion. She shows you how to convert a T-shirt into a bag with some great, very clear, step by step photos. shirtA little more challenging than the closet hanger bag…but still very doable.

Gosh golly…I bet you could find some really cool vintage T-shirts at a yard sale or consignment shop and sew together a set or two for your friends for the holidays. A set with their favorite bands? Come on…who wouldn’t want the complete Def Leopard shopping set? How about making a pile of bags and using them as your gift bags for your other homemade goods? Pour some sugar on your friends and get sewing. Where on earth did I put my good hair-teasing comb?



Camping Preparation for the Clueless

Posted by organicneedle in family

Yes…the city family is headed for the woods for 5 days to celebrate my Little Man turning 5. We are all seriously looking forward to escaping the city & its inhabitants for a few days.

My goals in packing…

1. Try to be techno free for a week. (Which means I will probably get 400 orders, my husband’s sites will all crash, and I will be contacted via e-mail that I’ve won 1,000,000,000 dollars.)

2. Try to avoid disposables within reason.

3. Try to not eat pure canned crap for a week. (A little can 0′ crap perfectly acceptable.)

4. Try not to embarrass ourselves too much. (Kinda out of my hands, but…)

So the question is…what to bring for a week of woodsy survival? I have so many questions. What can be cooked over the campfire? How does one clean a fish? How do you know which ones are safe to eat? bear(I’m guessing a third eye indicates a “no” on the edibility scale.) And most importantly, would it be wrong to tell my children that squabbling attracts bears?

(Okay…we are staying in a cabin with running hot water, a fridge, stove, etc….but we will NOT have a doorman….you heard me…NO doorman…so it is technically roughing it. Don’t judge. Baby steps.)camping



Meet the New and Improved Organic Needle Tea Bag with Tagua Nut Tag

Posted by organicneedle in handmade holidays, organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, projects, sewing, tea/tea bag

I am finally ready to put my tea bags up on Etsy after thinking over my test piggies’ comments and making some design tweeks.

*First I made the bag a little larger. It is still small enough to fit nicely in a mug, even a travel mug, but now has a little more room for loading and cleaning. (Thanks Arduous!)

*The second change was I added a small wooden bead over the cording to allow the bag to be cinched closed to prevent any tea leaves from escaping. (Thanks Joilie!)

Price wise I am thinking $4.50 per bag, or 4 for $15. They are actually quite a bit more labor intensive than a regular produce bag.

I am still working on a simple pouch that could hold the bags and some tea. I have some great organic Harmony fabrics that are beautiful and would make for a very nice gift presentation. Trying to keep it simple to keep the cost down. My goal is to make organic gifts practical for any budget. Not always easy.



If You Use Some of My Garbage…I’ll Use Some of Yours

Posted by organicneedle in csa, plastic, recycling

A few weeks back I inquired within my CSA as to whether or not “our” farm would take back the containers that they use for berries and little tomatoes. Didn’t hear back from them or the farm so I assumed they could not for some sanitation reasons. Most of the containers were that green paper material which I could recycle in the paper bin but some were the plastic kind that can’t be recycled here in the city…so I was a little bummed. Fast forward a few weeks and guess what I saw at the CSA distribution? A little reuse rainbow…a sign saying the farmer will indeed take back the containers AND the farm that distributes eggs will take ANY egg cartons. How cool is that? I had been recycling the new paper Trader Joe egg cartons, but a reuse trumps a recycle, no?
This also inspired me to think about “garbage” I could reuse from other people. Like bread bags. I have run out of my old stash and was contemplating buying a box of zippies but realized that there must be a world of bread bags hitting the trash right in my very building. Most of my friends do not make their own bread. (Yes…they can still be my friends even though they don’t bake bread. Hard as it is…I find ways to love them anyway.)

What can you pick from your friend’s trash? (And no…that is not a euphemism. Get your mind out of the gutter and into the dumpster people!)



Obama Mama

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, organics, politics


I had this very long…and, quite frankly, very boring post all planned out about why everyone should be voting for Obama. After reading it and passing out on my own keyboard I realized a few things. One…highly unlikely any McCain/Palin voters are reading little ol’ Needles crunchfest of a blog. Two…what more can be said. Unless you own a large corporation and are currently enjoying huge tax loopholes that prevent you from paying your fair share and are looking forward to the huge financial profits of shifting your jobs to poor countries where there are no pesky human rights or environmental regulations, or are a staunch…and I mean staunch ..not even in the case of rape or incest Right-to-Lifer, or you are simply a blatant out and out racist, there are really NO justifications for voting for McCain.

So what could little ol’ me possibly SAY that would change the minds of the previously listed? Well…what I can DO, besides voting and contributing to his campaign, is put the girls to work. My message is going on my boobs. That’s right. How many times have you tried to have a quasi serious political discussion with a guy just to realize he is playing “guess the cup size” in his little brain? You’ve got something important to say…a message worth hearing and remembering…boob it up sister! Found the above number on Etsy. Says it all…and its 100% organic cotton of course.

*I in no way am connected to the creator of the T-shirts and will not benefit from any sales except perhaps in getting a president who is NOT evil this time around. A girl can dream can’t she?*



A Cure for Those Eggplant Blues

Posted by organicneedle in csa, CSA/ Local Food, recipes

eggplantI haven’t done a CSA update for awhile. Honestly the past few weeks have been rough because I have had to heavily supplement my share with the markets. Lots of fruit…not a whole lotta greens. So I haven’t been feeling the inspiration. One thing, beside bushels of zucchini which apparently has the world’s longest growing season, we have been getting by the butt load is eggplant. Yup…eggplant. Not a fan of eggplant?  Me neither. Now I don’t mind an eggplant parm now and again, but for the sake of not being shaped like an eggplant, I keep that at the scarce end of diet frequency. I made two huge batches of ratatouille for the freezer which is okay…but labor intensive for an okay kind of meal. I made babaganoosh and it got tossed after a week of everyone pretending they couldn’t see it in the fridge. So what am I to do with nature’s unappreciated bounty? Are you ready….drum roll please….I hide it. Well…it is a little more involved than that. I slice the babies in half, slather them in olive oil, add a touch of salt and pop them in the toaster oven under the broiler. I spend the next 30 minutes thinking about how cool my hair would look feathered with a snazzy sparkly bow accent. I then simple pop the bad boys into the stew pot with the rest of the basic tomato sauce gang…tomatoes, garlic, onions, & basil. Puree the whole gang with my immersion blender. Not only does it hide the eggplants, but it actually gives a nice body to the sauce. I can leave the sauce a little on the fresher side, spend less time cooking, and still get a good rich sauce. You can simply send your fan mail to Organicneedle.com.



Put a Cork in it…And Make it a Real Cork Please.

Posted by organicneedle in handmade holidays, projects, recycling

Yesterday I reminded all of you that homemade holidays take a little bit of planning if you want to avoid giving everyone those, albeit lovely, last minute ziti noodle on a string necklaces. They really do go with everything, but perhaps a flavored vinegar, vodka or oil may say you actually care about someone a little better. (Or maybe the ziti necklace says it all.)

In the comments of yesterday Chile brought up an excellent question…how do we get the greenest supplies possible to store our delectables?

Bottles…any bottle that can be sterilized and corked, lidded, or capped can be used for bottling your creations. The aesthetics are up to you. Obviously clear bottles allow you to see the infusing herbs inside a vinegar or vodka, but darker bottles would be better suited for preserving the longevity of oils…and also if what you have created is tastier than it is pretty.

Where to get bottles…If you drink wine or use vinegar you probably have a few good bottles kicking around the ol’ recycly bin already. If not, start snooping through your friends’ and neighbors’ bins. Put the word out with your peeps as to what you need so they remember to put the goods aside for you. If you want something a bit fancier, check thrift stores, yard sales, free cycle, etc.

If you don’t find what you are looking for try buying recycled glass from SKS.., which makes basic medicinal looking bottles or Traders & Company which have a more artsy, and expensive, flair. Who wouldn’t love homemade raspberry vodka in this bottle with these recycled shot glasses? shot glasses

Corking Your Hole…Once you have picked your vessel you will need to be sure to have an airtight seal. The SKS bottles come with screw on caps which may or may not be to your liking depending on whether or not you are making an edible or a smearable. The logical choice for hole plugging is a cork. A REAL CORK! Responsible cork foresting is actually a good thing for people, animals, and the environment. If you are crazy about corks read more here. To buy corks check The Widget Company or Crazy Corks.

As far as what to put in your bottle.. oils, vinegar, and vodka can pretty much be infused with anything. I have linked to the basics…but be creative. Use your garden and your local markets as your inspiration. Feel free to leave a list of your favorite flavors in the comments to give others some ideas. If you make a raspberry mint infused vodka and you aren’t sure it tastes quite right, send it to me and I will taste it for you. Over and over and over. I can do that for you. I’m such a giver.

Vodka Infusion Basics

Vinegar & Oil Infusion Basics



Handmade Holidays

Posted by organicneedle in family, handmade holidays, projects, sewing

santaThat’s right. I’m talking about the holidays already. Here’s the deal. What happens every year? You think..”Oh it would be so great to get out of the consumerist grind of big box stores and actually make authentic gifts that come from the heart.” Yes..you think this. On Dec.22nd, 23rd perhaps? Well…NOW is the time to start creating a holiday strategy that works for your ideals.

First…take the handmade pledge yourself. handmade After all…do you really need another automatic banana peeler from Aunt Babs?

Second…make a list of people you want to create for this year and start planning. Be realistic!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have 400 people on your list you will NOT be crocheting each a matching maroon pant suit no matter how dedicated you are.

I have created a wee list of the world’s easiest and well appreciated handmade gifts just to get our little jingle brains a movin’.

1. If you have a garden you have one of the best tools ever to make someone feel special…a taste of summer in the winter. Check out Crunchy’s Jam recipes, or ….Chile’s Blueberry Pickles. Whatever you’ve got…there is a way to preserve it. I know anyone I’ve ever met will be getting 3 dozen zucchini breads this year. And of course…if all else fails…chuck it in vodka. Nothing lubes the yule tide cheer like a little homemade limoncello. The bonus here is once you jar these babies up you can put your feet up and knit yourself up something snazzy while everyone else is doing the joyous gift scavenge,

2. Knit a scarf…really basic…you can even make your own pattern. Use organic cotton yarn, or bamboo… which is very silky. Most basic craft stores carry both now. Go in and give a good feel up before buying! There are even some natural animal fibers that might make things interesting. ANYONE can knit a scarf, beginner or expert. Check out Aboutknit.com for pointers.

3. Napkin Set- fancy or whimsical. Sooo easy to sew these up. You can use any material that works for the recipient. It is the gift that not only says I care enough about you to help you wipe mustard off of your face…but it also encourages people to put down the disposables in the least naggy way.

4. Lunch Set – How about a few sandwich mats or bags? Reusable drawstring snack pouches? You could even sew up a little matching lunch tote if you really like the person.

5. Shopping Bag Set…Tote bags are very easy to make. Depending on your skill level you can even go a little fancier by adding pockets for cell phones, coupons, money. Even if you give a conventional gift, how about creating a nice little tote for it. A reusable handmade bag beats the snot out of one time use wrapping paper any day. For more bag ideas check out Heather’s Make-A-Bag.

A yard of fabric, a ball of yarn and a little of your time can go a long way in showing people how much they mean to you. And hell, if you truly are all thumbs, or simply have more people on your list than you can sew for, then let someone over at Etsy do the homemade jobbies for you. We promise not to tell.