How to Use Neem Oil for Plants as a Natural Pesticide

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How to Use Neem Oil as a Natural Non-Toxic Garden Pesticide

Do you need a non-toxic natural pesticide alternative for your home and garden? Learn how to use neem oil for plants as a natural non-toxic pesticide!

In addition to neem oil’s many medicinal uses – for which I’ve already created multiple recipes for soap, shampoo, salves and lip balm – you can also use neem oil for plants in your garden as a natural broad spectrum pesticide. Neem oil is extracted from the seed of the tropical neem tree and contains thee active ingredient, azadirachtin, which acts as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide.

You can use neem oil for plants in the garden as a natural, non-toxic pesticide to help control slugs, snails, fruit flies, white flies, squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids small leaf eating caterpillars and other harmful insects.

In your home it works against fleas, ticks, ants, bed bugs, dust mites and cockroaches as well as scabies mites.

Simply combine between .5% and 2% of neem oil to warm water depending on severity of infestation. (So for every 16 oz. of water by weight, you’d want to use between .08 oz. and .32 oz. neem oil.) For the garden you can also include insecticidal soap or detergent at .01% – .02% of the water amount. Use the solution within a day or two and then make up a new solution to use as needed. If you have an existing infestation drench soil and leaves and apply once a week until infestation clears. As a preventative measure, use the neem oil at .5% dilution with warm water once a month.

Also be sure to check my natural homemade skin care recipes that contain neem oil: Natural Neem Oil & Rosemary Salve Recipe, Natural Homemade Neem Oil Cold Process Soap Recipe, Homemade Neem Cream Recipe, Natural Topical Anti-Fungal Toenail Treatment, Homemade Cold Sore Therapy Lip Balm Recipe, Natural Homemade Dog Shampoo and my Lanolin & Neem Salve Recipe.

For more home and garden tips and recipes like this one, follow my DIY Lifestyle Tips board on Pinterest. Or keep up with all of my new projects and recipes by following me on Blog Lovin, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google + and Instagram!


DIY Quick Tips and Must Have Soapmaking Equipment

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Turn a Pyrex Measuring Cup into a Double Boiler!

There are often times when making your own homemade bath and beauty products that you come across some rather heat sensitive ingredients that you just don’t want to use a microwave for. Sure a microwave is quick and easy but sometimes it can go a little overboard. Not to mention burnt waxes don’t smell pretty. If you’re just getting started and not ready to invest in a double boiler, no worries.

My friend and fellow blogger, Cari Dunn of Everything Pretty, told me that she uses a canning ring to convert a glass Pyrex measuring cup into a double boiler in a pinch. Simply place the canning ring your pot and set the measuring cup on top, then add your water around the measuring cup and turn on the heat! Or try a Universal Double Boiler for less that will fit your existing 2 quart and 4 quart sauce pans!

Speaking of Pyrex measuring cups, these have become a staple piece in my stash of soapmaking equipment. I own two each of the one cup and two cup measuring cups and one of the four cup or quart measuring cups. Following are some of my other favorite soapmaking tools and equipment I use on a regular basis.

Must Have Soapmaking Tools and Equipment

A good scale is an absolute must. I’ve been using a Baker’s Math Kitchen Scale for years. It measure in ounces, grams, kilograms, pounds and pounds with ounces. It’s heavier duty than standard kitchen scales and postal scales, doesn’t need re-calibrating and comes with a 30-year warranty. You’ll need it weigh out ingredients for soap recipes as well as many bath and body recipes.

A hand blender or stick blender is another must have accessory. It takes the hardest physcial part of soapmaking – the mixing – out of the equation and helps you not only achieve trace faster, but also ensures a evenly mixed batch of soap. In twelve years I’ve only gone through two stick blenders. My latest, and also the cheapest, has lasted longer than the first so it doesn’t need to be brand specific.

Loaf molds. While I regularly use my trusty wooden loaf soap molds my dad made for me – these are the size I use for the cold process soap recipes I post here on my blog – silicone molds have become commonplace and can help make crafting cold process soaps simpler. As there’s no need to line these molds it helps to save on time and waste. The Crafter’s Choice™ Regular Silicone Loaf Soap Mold is a great silicone loaf mold and most all of the soap recipes I create for Wholesale Supplies Plus’ eHandmade Magazine will fit perfectly inside this mold.

Bakers & Chefs 12″ x 3000ft. Foodservice Film continues to be a staple for my finished products. It’s not only inexpensive for the quantity but it sticks much better than regular plastic wrap making it a both a smart and simple choice for wrapping melt and pour glycerin soaps and giving them a more professional look. It also works great on cold process soaps. You’ll find that the 12″ size is perfect for most standard size bars of soap.

Graduated Plastic Transfer Pipettes are great for when you’re making smaller sized recipes for things like lip balm and salves where you need to measure out fragrance, oils and flavors in smaller quantities. These can be purchased in bulk and are relatively inexpensive so there’s no reason not to use a fresh pipette for each ingredient. The measurement marks make it easy to measure out your liquid ingredients in both millimeters and portions thereof.

Small graduated glass beakers or plastic beakers are great for pouring things by hand when you need a steadier hand. I love the 50ml beakers for pouring my lip balms into tubes. Trying to use a syringe can cause the lip balm to cool too quickly while a plastic transfer pipette can melt if you try to add the liquid lip balm to the tubes too hot. With the beakers both of those issues are solved and I find even without a lip balm filling tray, my not so steady hand can fill a lip balm tube on a kitchen counter without having to secure it in any way.

Silicone Spatulas are another tool I always have handy for helping get all of my soap in the mold as well as for random bath and beauty recipes. I also have an extra sturdy metal spoon with a thick handle that won’t bend when scooping out solidified coconut or palm oils from tubs and a basic 1 cup measuring cup scooping out ingredients to be weighed like sodium hydroxide and palm kernel flakes.

I also own a trio of stainless steel pots so I always have the perfect size to fit my cold process soap recipes whether they be large or small. It also allows me to make three small batches at one time.

Interested in learning how to make your own homemade cold process soaps from scratch? Be sure to check out my soapmaking tutorial or follow my DIY Bath & Body board on Pinterest for an ever growing collection of handmade soap recipes and bath and beauty DIY’s.

Do you make homemade soaps? I’d love to hear what your favorite tools and equipment are! Share your favorites along with any tips and tricks you have that make the job easier!


Quick & Easy DIY Eco-Friendly Reuable Swiffer Pad Solution

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Easiest Ever DIY Eco-Friendly Reusable Swiffer Pad Solution

One Good Thing By Jillee recently posted her homemade solution for making the easiest ever DIY Swiffer Sweeper refill pads. Her simple alternative solution for eco-friendly, reusable pads is to use chenille socks.

However, you could easily use the same concept and upcycle a pair of old socks that are stretched out or have acquired a hole. Visit One Good Thing By Jillee here for the skinny on how she does it. Plus discover how to refill those canisters of Swiffer Wet Jet solution as well as how to make your own DIY eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaner to refill it with!

For more great DIY homemaking tips and solutions, be sure to follow my DIY Lifestyle Tips board on Pinterest. It’s filled with tips for making every aspect of your life easier for tips and how to’s to home remedies and natural non-toxic cleaning recipes and everything in between.


How to Make Elderberry Syrup

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How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup - Natural Flu and Cold Home Remedy

Black elderberries have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal value in treating colds, the flu, allergies and to boost overall respiratory health. Found along rivers, forests and even roadsides, this common botanical yields ripe berries that are rich in antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Elderberry syrup is a simple and tasty way to ingest the nutrients offered by elderberries. It’s believed that taken daily, it can help to prevent flu and colds as well as aid in the recovery of an existing illness such as the flu, colds, excessive mucus and even a sore throat.

For my homemade elderberry syrup I purchased a little DIY Elderberry Syrup Kit from Jes of Good 4 You Herbals. (Be sure to check out Jes’ DIY for making your own custom herbal tea blends.) However, you can also find all the ingredients you need for this elderberry syrup recipe at Mountain Rose Herbs. Spice this recipe up by also adding cinnamon sticks, organic cloves and organic ginger root.

Don’t have time to make your own? You can also buy Elderberry Syrup. Keep reading to learn how to make elderberry syrup for your family.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe


1 1/2 oz. organic elderberries
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup raw honey


amber or cobalt blue glass bottles with droppers
digital kitchen scale
large pyrex measuring cup
large cotton muslin bag
small funnel
small sauce pan


Start by weighing out the elder berries, then place in a large cotton muslin bag (optional.) Pour your filtered  tap water into a small saucepan on the stove, turn the heat on high and add the bag of elderberries.

How to Make Natural Homemade Elderberry Syrup - Natural Flu and Cold Home Remedy

Bring the water to a boil.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe - How to Make a Natural Elderberry Syrup Home Remedy for Flu and Colds

Then reduce heat and allow to simmer for twenty minutes or until the water is reduced to half.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe - How to Make a Natural Elderberry Syrup Home Remedy for Flu and Colds

Now remove the elderberries from the water and press firmly to squeeze out all of the remaining juice from the berries. If you did not use a mesh bag, strain the berries from the water.

Combine the water with the raw honey – I bought local clover honey from my Farmer’s Market – in the glass pyrex measuring cup and stir to combine thoroughly. (Keep in mind raw honey is not recommended to children under two years of age.)

Natural Flu and Cold Home Remedy - DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Finally, using a funnel, slowly fill your amber glass bottles. Don’t fill them too full or the syrup will spill out of the edges when you place the lids with the droppers on them. Label as desired.

Store in the fridge for 2-3 months

You can store your elderberry syrup in the fridge where it will keep for 2-3 months. To use, take one Tablespoon daily to help prevent illness. If you have an existing cold or flu, take one teaspoon every 2-3 hours while ill.

Want to teach your children about the benefits of natural herbs and botanicals? Check out the book, A Kids Herb Book, by Lesley Tierra! It’s packed with beautiful illustrations, charming herb facts, coloring pages, herb checklists, funny stories, herbal bedtime stories, a “how to make” section, herbal mythology written for kids, as well as a plethora of engaging herbal information for the young ones.

What are some of your favorite home remedies?


A Generic for Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips?

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Save Money On Cosmetic Favorites By Analyzing Ingredient Lists - Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips vs. Pharmaceutical Grade (Refined) Anhydrous Lanolin

I first learned about Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips through a sample I received in one of my orders from Birchbox. It’s touted as an all natural hydrating, healing product that later gained notoriety as the ultimate lip gloss, primer and multipurpose balm among London makeup artists. In addition, it also works great as a nipple cream for nursing moms, soothes and smooths dry patches of skin, repairs damaged cuticles, split ends, sunburns, and even diaper rash. A half ounce container runs $14.50 retail.

However, there is really no secret formula to this product. The ingredient list has only one ingredient – pharmaceutical grade lanolin. You may remember lanolin from previous posts on my blog including my recipes for a homemade lanolin salve, a natural lanolin shaving soap, and my natural lanolin & neem salve.

Basically, lanolin is a naturally occurring wax secreted by the glands of sheep and other wool bearing animals that helps them shed water from their coats. When sheep are sheared in order to use their wool for textiles such as yarn or felt, the wool is first run through rollers in order to extract the lanolin. Because lanolin is very similar in composition to the oils secreted by our own skin it’s able to provide a protective moisture barrier when used in skin care products. It acts as an excellent moisturizer and skin smoother as it’s capable of not only penetrating the outer layers of our own skin while still allowing it to breathe. As such, it’s long been used as a moisturizer and can be substituted for petroleum based products like petroleum jelly. It’s also one of the main ingredients in Carmex. Liquid lanolin – which has had the ester removed consequently making it less sticky then pure lanolin – is often used in lieu of mineral oil in beauty and skin care recipes.

Pure lanolin has a natural yellowish tinge to it and a slight odor. The only difference between lanolin and pharmaceutical grade lanolin is that pharmaceutical grade lanolin has been refined. During the refining process, some color and the natural scent of lanolin is removed.

For $8.90 you can purchase 2 oz. – that’s four times the product of Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips for almost half the price – of pharmaceutical grade lanolin like the Australian Golden Lanolin pictured above. For $14 – just fifty cents less than the retail price of Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm – you can purchase 16 oz. (one pound) of Saaqin Ultra Refined Deodorized Lanolin.

You can pay more for Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips and it’s cute little tube or you can buy lanolin in bulk and take advantage of all the great uses and recipes that lanolin can be used for. Want to make your own Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips? Simple. Just add refined lanolin to the container of your choice. Alternately, if you don’t mind the scent, you can also use Pure (Unrefined) Lanolin from Now Foods. 7 oz. of this product is just under $10.

What’s your experience been with generic brands and lesser name brand substitutes?