1

May

Soap Saver Bag and Scrubbie Cloths Results In!!!!!

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags

My guinea pigs are the best! guniea pigFirst I shale brief the newcomers on what the hairy heck I’m talking about.  A few weeks ago I put out the call to get a few readers to help me out with new Organic Needle designs. (Whenever I have a new idea I force readers to play along.) So for this guinea pig round I sent out my new organic cotton soap saver/body scrubbie bag and my organic cotton mesh scrubbie washcloths. Gave my test piggies a few weeks to get nice and dirty and try them out and anxiously awaited their feedback.

And here it is…..
Organic Cotton Mesh Soap Saver Bag/Scrubbie Review Highlights (Thanks Beth & Carol for Testing!)
OK…results here were pretty consistent with my own findings which is always a plus. The cotton mesh got good reviews for having a decent amount of exfoliation without being too abrasive. Both reviewers and I found it to be a practical and easy solution for where to put soap shards. The major complaint from the testers and myself…the bag was too big. “I would probably vote for the same width, but almost 50% shorter. The drawstring is also kind of long. I felt weird rubbing this long rope on my body, so I wrapped it around the neck of the bag a couple of times until it was just long enough to hang when not in use.” Fortunately…this is a very easy design fix and one I intend to implement. The original bag was 4×61/2. The new design is 4×5. I want to make sure it is still long enough to hold a regular bar of soap if someone chose to put in a fresh bar. One tester loved the texture of the material for all over body washing, but found it didn’t always rinse out completely. Tough to change this since it is due to the porous nature of the material…which is also what provides the lovely exfoliation. Overall…I am very pleased with the results. “I’ve been looking for a good solution to the soap shard dilemma for a long time, and this is the best so far.” Can’t complain about that.

Organic Cotton Mesh Washcloth (Thanks Heather and Cat!)
Reviewer #1:
Overall, I love this! The size is good and I like that it held up to machine washing/drying. I think this is perfect for light exfoliation and I use it on my face every day. I have sensitive dry-to-normal skin and I liked that it was gentle enough to not irritate my skin, but I still felt like it got dead skin cells and makeup off.

I wouldn’t recommend this for heavier exfoliation as there’s not enough scrub in it but it was also great for light exfoliation on my arms and shoulders too.

The only improvement I would suggest would be to maybe add a hanging loop to one corner. I tend to use this in the shower and I wanted to be able to hang it more securely (draping it over my shower caddy sometimes resulted in it falling down before it was dry).Hmmmm….a hangy loop…interesting..this could happen. I think I will present it as an option.

Reviewer #2:
“Actually, what I used it most for was to take my eye makeup off. When I use a normal washcloth, the cloth absorbs too much of the baby oil and I end up having to use tons of baby oil to get my makeup off. Your cloth worked just perfectly though i had to be gentle. 🙂

When I washed it, the makeup didn’t come out though. I’m still trying to figure out what to soak it in to see if I can clean the cloth up. Not that it matters too much to me (who else sees it anyway), but it might to others.

Overall, I like it!” I’m not sure about the cleaning out of baby oil. Anyone out there have a solution for this?

And me:
I have to say…I LOVE my new washcloths, if I do say so myself. I find them to be the perfect amount of scrub for daily washing.

Once again…THANK YOU TESTERS. You have no idea how helpful it is to get such quality feedback before I market things. I can’t wait to put the changes into place and get things up on Etsy. And for the rest of you…don’t fret…I will always have half-baked design ideas that need testing. You will all get a chance to be my little piggies eventually.

*Photos to follow after the new changes have been made!*


18

Mar

More Needle in the Shower

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, organic cotton, organicneedle, projects, sewing

Need to slough off that layer of winter skin? Well…while trying out my soap bag I discovered something…..the organic cotton mesh makes a nice sorta loofah-like washcloth.  Hmmmmm.  I will be making myself a few cloths and perhaps adding them to the Etsy collection. Anyone interested in trying one out? You know my give-away rules. Leave a comment and be prepared to wash and tell.  I’ll be sewing up two extra for the daring & exfoliant deprived.
tortoise


12

Mar

Soap On A Rope Twisted Green: Introducing the Organic Cotton Soap Saver ** CALLING ALL GUINEA PIGS!!!!**

Posted by organicneedle in energy, family, organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags

Let me tell you…the ol’ needle has been in total slug mode lately.  Not sure if it is the weather, old age, or a serious case of hotdog fingers…but I haven’t been inspired to create much of anything new.  But all that changed the other day in the shower as I was attempting to chase the last sliver of my Burt’s Milk & Shea Butter Soap around the tub.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a more dignified way of being a soap conservationist?  And then I remembered a trick my grandparents used.  They used to have a little dish where they would just park the old slivers.  When they collected enough they actually pressed them into a new bar.  I have no intention of buying or building a soap press, but it did get the ol’ brain operating again.  What about an organic mesh bag that could hold the scraps AND/OR be used as a little scrubber at the same time?  Huh?  Huh?    The porous slightly scratchy nature of my organic cotton natural mesh seems like it would be perfect for the job.  Such a bag could also hold a fresh bar, allowing it to be hung and dried out thoroughly between uses…less waste than sitting in a pool of it’s own soap juice.

The bag is quite simple…just 2x organic cotton mesh with organic cotton cording.  No added chemicals to your routine.  I could add a tagua nut to make it fancy or these new wooden buttons I have my eye on…but we can chat more on that once I’ve perfected functionality.guneashower

Now, as usual I will be needing some guinea pigs, preferable ones who bathe a lot and use bar, not liquid soap.  Now…if you plan on using it as a scrubber, it should be a one per customer kind of deal for obvious hygiene reasons.  (If the soap bag makes it through trials, I will probably offer either different choices in cord color or add a tagua nut for personal ID purposes.) If you are just going to use it as a sliver collector for future pressing or as a bar drier, than by all means invite as many people into your shower as per your wont. Any takers? Anyone out there willing to get in the tub with for me?  If so, leave a comment.

As usual, I never give anything away without making you work for it.  Your assignment…should you choose to accept: wash yourself for 2 weeks and then answer these questions.

1.  If you used it as a whole soap bar drier was the bag a proper size to hold your typical bar of soap?  If not…give me some dimensions.  Was the string a good length?

2.  If you used it as a scrubber, was the texture to your liking?  Did the material hold up well?

3.  Did you have any issues with my arch nemesis mildew, mustiness, or mold?

4.  Does this seem like something you would REALLY use long term?  Why or why not?

4.  Any thoughts, concerns, major complaints…keep it relative to the bag people….ideas for improvement?

I’ll be sending out 2 for trials next Friday…so you have until then to put your name in the pot.


10

Dec

Last Minute Sewing Projects

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, handmade holidays, organic cotton, organicneedle

I’m thinking Harmony fabric scarves people. Harmony makes the most beautiful organic cottons you can imagine…cotton art. I had better stop typing and get my sweet fanny in gear if they will be ready for the holidays. Do you think Santa will put off x-mas for a week or two if I ask really nicely…or promise to never threaten to kick him in the nards again?santa




































17

Sep

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.


29

Jul

Single Tea Bag Reviews: My Test Piggies Have Spoken

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, product review, projects, sewing

My Single Tea Bag with Tagua Nut Tag inspectors have spoken.inspector Great feedback guys. Now I was hoping all of you would write me telling me how your lives have been forever changed; you are making more money, your teeth and eyes are shinier, your neighbors no longer scurry away when they see you coming etc. etc. But I guess I will settle for…they brew tea without exploding. There is definitely some tweaking that needs to take place.

Allie’s Review:

I’ve been using the tea bag you sent and LOVING it!

I thought it might leave a lingering taste in the tea, but it didn’t seem to at all. I think my metal grabby tea spoon thingy actually alters the taste of the tea more. It’s easy to clean out — actually easier than the metal steeper, because the tea doesn’t get stuck in the holes at all. I just rinse it and hang it out. It gets doused with boiling water every time it’s used, so I figure that keeps it clean and sanitary. Some tea got caught in the corners, but it wasn’t hard to get it loose.

The weight works nicely and is so attractive.

The first time I used it, there were a few threads that found their way into my tea (from the fabric, not sewing thread), but hey, extra fiber! And it didn’t happen with following uses.

I drink tea that has fairly large leaves. I’m not sure if a finer tea would fall through, but if it would, it would on my metal steeper as well. I’m guessing if you drink fine tea you’re used to a little silt at the bottom of the cup.

1) The mesh fabric can fray along the seam. I have ways of dealing with such disobedient threads…don’t you worry.

2) Excellent point about gunpowder teas seeping through. (For you non tea drinkers…gun powder is not actually made from ammunition.) As a big leaf gal myself, I forgot about that. I will definitely put a note explaining that in the description on Etsy. But like you mentioned…the holes are finer than a tea ball…so….

Joilie’s Review:

I like it a lot. The only possible room for improvement I can see is that it sometimes comes open when I don’t want it to. Maybe I’m not cinching or tying the top tight enough? I love the shell/bead thingy!

Excellent observation. I originally intended for it to be tied by looping the nut through the string but thought that might be a pain to do and undo. However, that would totally prevent the escaping of the tea. I could either go with the original tying idea and include a handy-dandy diagram…or maybe a bead. If I put a bead on the 2 strings together it could be slid up and act like cinch. I will have to think about this one. It would have to be a natural material and not take away from the simplicity of the design and not actually poison my customers. I find 9 out of 10 tea drinkers DON’T enjoy being poisoned. I do my research.

Arduous Review:

I tried the tea bag and it seems to work pretty well. I guess I’d have to try it a little longer to see how it works after a week’s worth of uses etc.

The only thing I’d ask is there a way to have the bag opening a little bigger? It’s a little small for a normal sized spoon so it’s a leetle difficult to get the tea in there.

But the bag is very pretty and seems to work quite well with the tea brewing.


I could change the dimensions to make the top wider by 1/2 an inch or so. That would definately mean adding some sort of closing bead or creating clear instructions on how to loop the nut…(oh lord who will show up on mint now)…which would increase difficulty of use.


You gals gave me a lot to work with . Thank you for all of your hard tea drinking efforts. Since you all did such a great job I’m going to get you a bigger wheel for your cage!

wheel
















































7

Jul

Calling all Teetotalers! Organic Needle Give Away…with a Teeeny-Weeeny Clause

Posted by organicneedle in organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, projects, recycling, sewing

About gosh darn time, hey? Well here they are. My little beauties. At first I was just going to go with the single cup version…but then a voice inside my head pointed out that it is summer and people are drinking ice tea by the jug. (Okay the voice in my head is Burban Mom…she likes to hang out there…what can I do….I have had worse head house guests….and who can complain when one actually provides design ideas?) So…after scratching my head for a good long while…I knew just what to do…sorta. (Why yes…the Sun Tea Bag does have a striking resemblance to my small produce bag.)

The tag on the single cup version is actually a tagua nut…what the hell is a tagua nut you ask?

Well…until recently I didn’t know either so don’t feel out of the loop…well…for that anyway. Tagua is a nut that is similar to ivory in look and feel…so in addition to providing a reason to keep the rain forest, and a financial opportunity for the local artists, they can also replace the evils of ivory. Hard not to want to incorporate all that, huh? nutActually the woman who represents the company who creates my organic cotton cording sent me some samples taguato see what I thought and if I could incorporate them into my designs.The chips I was sent instantly made me think of tea tags…don’t ask why. They could be worn for jewelry…but that’s not my racket people. I’m a bag lady…so this explains the birth of the organic cotton reusable teabag with a tagua nut tag.

Now Burban will be getting the sun tea bag to give a good work over since it was really her idea I’m stealing. If Jabster is still out there somewhere she would be getting one of the reusable single bags, if she drinks tea, since she is the one who found me someone to actually make me organic cotton cording. That leaves 2, yes two single tea bags that need guinea pigs to check them out. Now…I will expect some feedback on how well they work…so don’t take one and stuff it in your drawer for prosperity sake. Things I want to know…

1. Ease of use. Is the opening large enough? Does it close tightly enough to keep the leaves in?

2. Is it big enough? (Single Tea Bag= 2×3, Sun Tea Bag 7×7) I want it large enough to allow the leaves to brew properly, but small enough that it can go in a dainty cup or even a narrow thermos.

3. Ease of cleaning. Do the leaves rinse easily out? (You may have to turn it inside out to get the little ones.)

4. Cuteness. Yes…It is important.

Now here is the million dollar question for us all to work on collectively as a class. I need to create a counterweight for the sun tea bag…the thing that keeps the tea bag from falling into the jar/jug and causing you to go elbow deep in everyone’s tea. The tagua slices are too small…and adding bunch would drive up the cost to an impractical level. I would love to use a recycled item…or better yet design it in a way that a common household recycled item could be used…hence the buyer creates their own weight…and saves something from the landfill. Do you think people would see this as a copout or a clever waste reducer? Creating your own counterweight would also keep the price lower and reduce shipping weight.

If you are interested in being my little piglets, just leave a comment. I will post next Monday who is getting a bag. Hopefully in a month…after we have a little trial time/you guys do all my work for me…they will be up on Etsy in all their perfected glory.

(Oh…and I’m thinking of calling them Big Dipper and Little Dipper.)


9

May

Why Yes….Yes I Do Make Reusable Organic Cotton Coffee Filters

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, coffee filter, organic cotton, organicneedle, sewing

filter

A few weeks back I received an organic cotton distress call from one Beth Terry….AKA Fake Plastic Fish. (Yes I have a special hot line for just such emergencies.) After I was done squealing in delight that SHE was requesting my little needle’s help, I actually bothered to read what her dilemma was. Her need…an organic cotton reusable coffee filter not packaged in plastic. My solution….well…an organic cotton reusable filter not packaged in plastic. Clever, aren’t I? So I set out to create a cone 4 filter…which was lucky because that is just the size I have too. Using the paper cones for pattern fodder, and my little noodle to figure out how best to keep grounds in the bag without it clogging…I was able to create a few demos…with the help of my assistant of course. Good Help is Hard to Find 1

Using myself and Beth as test piggies…we gave them a few weeks trial and guess what…they are pretty darn good if I do say so myself. So…if you too are in need of an organic cotton reusable coffee filter click your little self over to Etsy and pick yourself up a little reusable joy. Heck buy one for everyone you know. I’m getting slick, aren’t I?

🙂 Thanks Beth for the idea, being a test piggie, and for writing nice things about our little project.


6

May

Oh the Details of the Teeny Greeny Buisness…Eco-Printers, Organic Cording, Recycled Labels, Oh My,

Posted by organicneedle in organic cotton, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, projects, sewing

homerSo…I had some ideas for bags to help me and others overcome the plastic addiction. If I only realized that was the easy part. Running a business requires stuff…running a teeny greeny business requires a lot of well researched stuff. And math. So here is the rundown.

The fabrics were the fun part. All organic for the most part. Exploring bamboo and other fun things…but very little stress. The only real stress has been trying to find organic cotton or organic hemp cording for the produce bags. It would be a hell of a lot easier than hand braiding the bamboo yarn. So far…no luck.

For packaging…I am using USPS on the recommendation of the very talented and lovely burbanmom. Their flat rate envelopes and boxes are made from recycled paper…and are recyclable. Plus, as la burbarina pointed out, the truck is going there anyway. Easy peasy.

Invoicing…obviously recycled paper is the way to go if paper is involved. Easy to get. Relatively affordable. One problem. After contributing 3 printers in 10 years to the landfill, my husband and I kinda put a ban on getting another one. Might have to take that back. I could skip the whole paper thing entirely for invoicing and do e-invoicing, but I have a feeling that will bite me in the rump at some point…and hard. Is there such thing as an eco-printer? How comfortable are people with shopping on-line without any paper trail? Can I run an entirely paperless or at least printerless business?

Address labels…I found an English company that makes labels out of 100% post consumer waste…but they don’t personalize them and they are on some weird peg hole system from like the 1800s. machine pegI was also hoping to get bright green ones…but can’t find anyone that makes green labels on recycled paper. Hard knocks life…I know.

Obviously the whole point of this rather dull post is to trick you into doing research for me. Go my minions…go forth and find me proper greeny office supplies. Okay…maybe a slightly less bitchy tone would be better. I would seriously appreciate any info. and opinions anyone has.


22

Apr

Happy Earth Day to My Butt! Why You Should Be Slipping Yours into Levi’s and NOT the Gap

Posted by organicneedle in organic cotton, plastic, random rants

When I posted about my quest to get Gap to produce organic jeans , the kind and ever resourceful Arduous pointed out that Levi’s had already made the huge GREEN step to provide organic cotton jeans. So….in honor of Earth Day…I am going to promote the promotion at Levi’s. Why do something so commercial to celebrate Earth Day?

  1. I really believe switching to organically produced cotton en masse is going to have huge benefits to the world and its inhabitants.
  2. I would really like to stick it to the Gap and their ever so environmentally friendly policies . (I can’t really type a sarcastic tone….but it’s there. Read it again. See?)lev's

Now put your ass in some organic Levi’s and let clothing manufactures and the rest of the world see how good a chemical free tushie can look!