Where Did I Put My Instruction Book?

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, Etsy, organicneedle, organicneedle bags

Ahhh…back after a lovely little vacation…and back to my 1/3 life crisis. Here is the poop. I’m not sure what to do with the Organic Needle…or anything else for that matter. I had/have some ideas for bags that I really liked…still like. Cool little ways to create something meaningful and sustainable. Started blogging about it and various other stuff floating about in my head… and a year and a half later…here I am. Now what?

I love designing new bags and bringing them from brain…to paper…to organic cloth. Seeing something wasteful and figuring out how to make it sustainable through a reusable item gives me goose bumps…little nerdy goose bumps. It feels a little like birthing something…only with a lot fewer F bombs…okay… slightly fewer F bombs. The fact that other people like them too has been really cool.

And I love writing. It clears my little head…organizes my thoughts witch tend to be like popcorn kernels coming out of an air popper if left unattended. Plus…I love connecting with other people who have similar interests if not zip codes. So the blog part of Organic Needle has really been a terrific added bonus…for me…maybe not so much for the poor people who read me.

But…here is the major poop in the road. In order for Organic Needle to become the next THING…I would need to hire sewers, contract out to a small scale manufacturer, advertise, travel, become incorporated…etc. etc. etc. And that part brings me no joy. Not an ounce. And frankly…I am a tad bit of a control freak..just a smidge… and the bigger a business gets…the less control you really have over the end product. So where do I go from here? You might say…well Needle …why not just leave it as it is? I could. But deep down in my little soul…I am a bit of a Lisa Simpson. I function better with a plan…a very detailed…moving forward…very type A plan. The idea of having a business that isn’t on a path to the next stage bothers me. This indecision is combined with having to decide on a pile of other paths surrounding me. Will I go back to PS teaching? Move on to college level teaching? Finish my PHD? Move into real estate…(don’t ask)? Freelance? Become a professional speed bump? I still have 2 more years home with my little guy…so I have time…time to freak myself out about having no plan. And…yes…I am grateful to have the problem of too many enjoyable options in my future…I am too well aware of what a gift of a problem it is. But the not knowing what my next step and the 20 after that are bugs the bajeebies out of me and makes me restless…which makes me not enjoy the present as much as I should. And I am all about me enjoying me. So I either need some serious Valium, a personality transplant, or to do some soul searching and figure out what exactly I plan to do…which path to ungracefully charge down.

So…if I am not here as often as I should be I am just off looking for my map. Or I have accidentally sewn myself into something and you should be calling for help.



Let’s Talk About STUFF

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic

Let’s talk about stuff baby.  .

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things

and the bad things that could be…

Let’s talk abooooooouuuut stuff.

I have been reading many a blog post reflecting on this years Blogher convention…yeah I’m a little behind these days….and the concern over the focus on STUFF.  Since mass consumerism and carbon reduction aren’t exactly best friends, I can understand the irritation.

But……we can’t just stick our heads in the sand and ignore stuff.  Why?  Because sometimes new stuff is actually better stuff.  Like cotton shopping bags and produce bags verses plastic disposable bags.   When I first started Organic Needle, one of my little projects was to count the actual number of plastic bags saved by using the cloth ones.  It was hundreds before even a few months went by. To me the new stuff…the cotton bags…even if it they are  made out of completely new materials…are BETTER.  I now see people designing and marketing all types of shopping bags made from all kinds of “alternative” materials…organic cotton, recycled bottles, hemp, even old movie signs and  think it is fantastic.  To say no to all new stuff, free or paid for,  is to also say no to innovation.

Now, I’m just a teeny weeny business woman who does my best to design responsibly, but do not exactly have an enormous  impact on the consumer/environmental balance in the  world.  The truth is if we want to to make BIG changes…we sometimes even need to invite the big evil kids to play because even if we ignore them…they aren’t going away…nor is their stuff and their stuff making capabilities.  Life would be better if we get them to play the games we want them to play. For example, here in NYC so many people now carry cloth bags BECAUSE so many of the chain stores have gotten on board and offer them at a price and an abundance us little guys can’t compete with, making them now the norm. (Yes…I know there are issues with those store bags made from recycled plastic, but I still lean towards it is batter then new virgin plastic each week.) So while supporting small and local is certainly a very good thing, we can’t just ignore the stuff-making giants, nor ignore the potential positive impact they could have if properly guided.

As far as swag and other give aways go….follow the same rules you follow for shopping…
1. Only take things that meet YOUR personal standards in terms of materials, production ethics, etc.
2. Only take things you REALLY think you will actually use.
3. Only accept things that will potentially reduce your impact. For example…is it a long term item that will replace a disposable one? Is it made from more sustainable resources than your current brand of whatever? Is it more local? Yadda yadda yadda.

(I saw the soap nuts were part of the swag. I totally would have been all over those.)

My point is that complete anti-consumerism isn’t the answer.   Responsible consumerism that encourages the innovation in goods we desire may take a lot more thought…but will in the end by the solution. So…yes…you should look the stuff gift horse in the mouth and have a good ol’ looksy around for potential evil…but do have a look.    Just make sure you’re looking in the right end.



Cash for Clunkers = Cash for Consumerism = Lack of Innovation

Posted by organicneedle in Economics, energy, reuse

Yes…I get the part about promoting the auto industry and supporting all of those who rely on the auto industry for their livelihood. But aren’t we thinking very small here, people?  And does anyone else smell a little green washing with the lower millage business?  Really?  Producing thousands of new cars, using all those resources and chemicals, shipping the damn things to dealers, and then junking the old cars has less of a carbon footprint then having the old cars with slightly higher millage still on the road?  (Now if anyone out there has found some actual data as to the carbon footprint of all these new cars verses the carbon footprint due to millage increases please send me a link. I have yet to find any concrete numbers.)
Is the only way for the auto industry to make money is to produce more new stuff and waste already existing stuff? Can they only survive by causing people to spend MORE money then they have?  Or..perhaps…just maybe….with a little thought by people much smarter than myself…there are a whole host of things that could be going on that would be better for the environment, better for the auto industry and all those who rely on it for the long term, better for tax payers, and better for people’s personal finances.  The complete lack of innovation with this plan and our approach to converting  industrial America is shocking and disappointing.

Here are just a few thoughts that come to my completely *non-technical mind*.

What about the auto industry building more stations to support electric & solar cars? These cars are perfect for urban areas and train commuters because we don’t need to drive them very far and in the case of a power failure we are never far from civilization. But…there are very few places to have these cars serviced.  And those of us in apartments can’t do electric because we don’t have a place to plug in. Couldn’t the auto industry be working on that solution? Making money and jobs by creating service stations and garages & charging a plug in/spot fee?

What about the auto industry running their own version of the Zipcar? (The Zipcar service is a smart little program that allows you to pay a monthly fee to use a car as you need…perfect for people who do a weekly shopping trip, etc.)They would make more money off of each individual car because many people pay for the right to use them…therefore they would need to use less resources making more cars and still make money.  People who don’t need a daily car would spend less money than buying a personal car, and fewer cars would be clogging up the streets needlessly.  Win. Win. Win.

Couldn’t they be working on finding an affordable way to convert an already existing used  car with less then desirable millage to one with very desirable millage?  Many people would pay to have their current car upgraded if it would pay off in 5-10 years in gas savings.  Again…the auto industry could be making that money, employing people to do the upgrades, while saving resources  and carbon emissions, and saving consumers from the big expense of a whole new car.

I feel like there is a lack of effort on the part of these auto companies receiving our big bailouts to really reexamine where they went wrong and begin to create a NEW plan…not just get funding for their old plan that didn’t work.  And we’re letting it happen all for the promise of a few thousand dollars if we are willing to put ourselves further into debt.  There must be more the auto industry could do to remain viable without putting consumers and the environment deeper into dept?  Is a perfectly usable car in a dumpster the image we want of American economic innovation?

*(I fully disclose that I have no idea about the technical parts of any of my ideas.  Not a clue…but I am assuming there are plenty of people out there who can make it happen.  Now if you need a snazzy set of  organic cotton fuzzy dice…I’m your gal. )*