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.



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!*



On Your Mark, Get Set………Wash Yourselves Silly!!!!!!!!!

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, organics, projects, sewing

By random drawing, test piggies winners have been chosen. I will be sending out my goods this weekend. I drew for the bag first and then with the leftover names drew for the cloths.   Beth and CT will be bagging their soap shards and Heather & Cat will be sloughing away their winter layers with the cloths. In about 2 weeks they will all report back and let us all know if they survived the experimentation.

I have been using my soap bag for about 2 weeks so far…and I’m digging it.  The washcloth is also a big hit for me, but I am very curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.

So ladies…go enjoy yourselves a nice relaxing bath and get to work!!!!monkey in tub



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.



Year in Review

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, organicneedle, organicneedle bags

It is about this time last year that I began an attempt to focus my energy and creativity on projects outside the box of mommydom. To track my new efforts I decided to start a little blog…not thinking it would amount to too much, just a little outlet to keep from becoming the woman who shows up at school with lipstick on her forehead. But then things happened…with a little help. Well… here it is…where I was a year ago…the beginnings of the organicneedle…the seedling stage.

December 28, 2007
Starting A Blog
This blog is one of hopefully many steps I will be taking to regain, or at least incorporate a little, an adult existence. I have spent the past 41/2 years home, raising my two boys. I don’t feel the need at the moment to go on and on about the endless joys of motherhood -which there are many. My focus here is on finding a life beyond- perhaps regaining some of the old and definitely adding some new. Pre-babies I was a NYC teacher. Although I loved teaching, my youngest is only 18 months and I have no desire to ship him off to daycare yet. So going back to my old life, old identity, even many of my old friends, isn’t fully possible. But there still has to be something that fits, that uses an adult brain without sacrificing the priority of child raising. I find my lack of intellectual stimulation is causing me to be bored with many things I previously enjoyed. I feel myself less interested in the same old mom conversations. Less sure of who I am and what I want to say or do in life. I have always been a rather focussed, success driven person. After being home for a few years I find myself sitting on several side projects, two of which are small businesses well into the planning phases, without the motivation to complete anything. I feel like I have been mentally sidelined and I’m not quite sure how exactly to get back into the game- or which game I even want to play. I know I am not the first woman to feel herself slipping away into the cloak of motherhood, nor will I be the last. It gets even the best of us. My hope that is if I have a place to report to, bounce ideas off of, I will keep my quest to remain a whole person a priority and not let it slip down the list of things to do below the laundry.
Posted by organicneedle at 8:00 PM

Here’s one of the key things that happened that I must share with you…a little lesson in encouragement. It was Burbanmom who found my little pee-on of a blog and encouraged me every step of the way to keep going…my own needle-wielding cheerleader. If I had gone unheard would I have persevered? I’m not sure I would have. See, in the beginning, I didn’t tell anyone of my bizarre ideas about sewing…and bags. Just not what my crew does…a little too homespun…unsafe…weird. But she heard and took the time to respond, really respond,…and I will always be in her debt. An encouraging word is sometimes all someone needs to make a really important step…or stitch. So in the incoming year remember not to be stingy with those positive words…they are much more powerful than you can imagine.



What can I say?

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, handmade holidays, organicneedle, organicneedle bags, organics, sewing, tea/tea bag


Yes…I was meaning to spend this week giving you more glorious examples of much better and more artistic things to buy this holiday season than the ol’ Walmart crap, but what can I say? My little tea bags seem to be all the rage. Trust me…I am in nooooo way complaining…just not able to assist in the art selections at the moment. Just go to Etsy…you will find something you will like. If you are too lazy to browse their vast variety of goodies…just buy everyone you’ve ever met an Organicneedle tea bag or two. All the cool people are doing it. You do want to be cool, don’t you? 🙂



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.



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.



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!




And the Winners of the Organic Needle Tea Bag Give Away Are…………………………..

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle, organicneedle bags, sewing

pigsArduous and Allie! I will e-mail you both so you can send me your info. or you can post your home address in huge letters on your blog along with a map to your valuables and what time you are usually asleep or dead drunk to the world…which ever method of information transference you prefer. And because I trust that you will do your research throughly, I won’t even make you stay in the guinea pig cages. Aren’t I swell? As for the rest of you, don’t fret my lovelies…I have a few more ideas rolling around in the space between my ears that will need some lab rattery.

***Make sure to check out Burbanmom’s green challenge of the day. It is the most brilliant world saving idea anyone has ever had ever! So…if you love the world follow her instructions exactly…if not…well, I guess we can just make another Earth. You know…whatever works for you.***