Be Kind – We’re All On A DIY Learning Curve

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There are days I sit in front of my computer soaking up as much information as I can possibly stand, all in an attempt to avoid making mistakes when publishing my ideas.

DIY projects, especially of the “natural” persuasion, are intimidating by nature. Add to that tens of thousands of people from all walks of life reading the information the second I click “Publish” and you start to imagine how much care must be taken.

The longer I work at this DIY Natural business, the more I realize that I have a lot to learn.

Seeing all of the knowledge that others have, and the millions, billions, or quadrillions of books and articles I would have to read to know it all – well, it just makes me a little weary. Some days I feel I can’t muster up enough brain power to spit out a decent article. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic, but one thing’s for sure: the more DIY-ing I do, the more it humbles me.

All because of a little thing I like to call the DIY Learning Curve.

Humble Pie

These past few months I have been challenged and humbled more times than I can count. And sometimes by some not-so-nice people. You may be surprised to hear it, but I’m still learning too. Aren’t we all?

We’re all on our own journey. We all move at a different speed. My journey is one to inspire others, to find ways to create things myself, to learn, and live a more natural, chemical-free lifestyle.

And my journey is just beginning.

I’ve had to eat my (published) words, admit that I don’t know things, make corrections on articles, and spend hours researching one tiny little fact to respond to just one of the many questions we get each day.

Believe me, it’s all very humbling. I felt like I knew nothing at my last job. (The job for which I had nine years experience and six years in college!) I thought writing about DIY projects would be easy peasy. But alas… it ain’t so.

It would be one thing if we were throwing together DIY products with the cheapest Wal-Mart ingredients possible. But a website with “Natural” in its URL is faced with a deeper set of questions. Stuff like… Is Borax really natural? Can I substitute castile soap in this recipe? What are the health risks of using isopropyl rubbing alcohol? So I research on… seeking the knowledge.

In order to learn, I put myself out there. My body is a virtual science lab. Friends and family all get a good laugh at this.

Like the time I showed up at my mom’s with a strange white powder all over my freshly washed pony tail – from a spray bottle I didn’t take the time to wash well before adding homemade hairspray. Or the time I had a face so shiny you could see your reflection in my forehead – from a crazy-oily batch of homemade moisturizer. Or the piles of times unsuccessful homemade deodorant trials have left me with painful bumps or an itchy rash in my armpits.

All in a day’s work I suppose; and proof that I don’t always know what I’m doing.

Another piece of that humble pie, please?

Where am I on the curve?

Here’s the part where I come clean. And you find out that I’m a girl of medium-intelligence, sitting at her desk, trying to be brilliant, yet often coming up empty-handed. A girl who used to be an Elementary School Counselor, whose husband implored her to quit her stressful job (less than a year ago) to work on websites with him. A girl who has messy stacks of books, files, and notes covering her desk as she attempts to pack her saturated brain full of DIY wisdom. A girl who wants to cry when she gets negative comments on her articles, but knows she has to put her big girl pants on and respond with winking emoticons and witty enthusiasm.

So there you have it. I’m a tenderfoot in this natural do-it-yourself realm.

I have DIY mishaps and failed experiments all the time. I have moments when I’m blown away at a small piece of information that I feel I should have known.

But I’m always progressing, and that’s a great place to be.

Phew. There. I said it.

What I do know

Admitting ignorance is cathartic. Thanks for showing up to my therapy session today. (Kidding, kind of.)

It’s also easy to undervalue your knowledge and experience in any topic, so I must take care not to.

I do know a few things about DIY projects, and I hope you’ll agree:

  • DIY projects can be fun, educational, and work to inspire even more creativity!
  • DIY projects can save you money, time, and resources.
  • DIY projects can support better health by helping eliminate chemicals and unhealthy ingredients from your home.
  • DIY projects give you full control to tailor things to your preference.
  • DIY projects will make (some) people think you’re crafty, resourceful, and maybe a tiny bit genius.
  • You shouldn’t be stifled by all the knowledge and DIY information out there – attempting a DIY project and failing is better than not trying at all.
  • Not everything is worthy of becoming a DIY project. (Like pulling teeth.)

I also know that this is the best job I’ve ever had.

The hours are great, my boss is good looking (hi Matt), and I have the opportunity to learn from a huge community of readers who collectively know so much more than I could ever hope to know.

(Who knows though…maybe in my summer travels I’ll pass through the Land of Oz and Dorothy, the Wizard, and the rest of the gang will all be there. I could beg, plead, rip the Wizard’s curtain back and demand a new all-knowing DIY brain. It could happen. No? Fine. I’ll continue to stare at blank documents on my computer, eat my humble pie, toil and test.)

Be kind (and gentle with fragile egos) please

The DIY Learning Curve

Sometimes Matt and I get comments about DIY experiences gone terribly wrong that are hilarious. It makes us feel normal.

It reminds us that everyone is in a different place on the DIY Learning Curve, and we must be kind if we want to help change the way people live.

We don’t all have access to the same resources, the same support, or the same knowledge-base.

My challenge to you: go easy on each other.

Help those around you, with a loving spirit, without condemning them for not knowing something. Nurture their knowledge. Gently guide. Teach. Treat your fellow DIY-er as though he or she is just a babe in this DIY world.

So roll up the sleeves on that DIY bedazzled jean jacket… What? Those are out of style? Ok, roll up the sleeves on that no-sew Pinterest-inspired shirt-dress, and start your DIY engine! Prepare to make mistakes, kindly share your knowledge, and press onward down this winding and uncertain road we call the Learning Curve.

As for us… we need your help while we learn.

Keep the questions coming. We love them. Have any knowledge that would challenge information in our articles? Bring it on. We learn something new each time we sniff out an answer! But do us a favor, hold fast to that helpful and loving spirit and I promise you’ll help everyone much, much more.

How about you? Where are you on the DIY Learning Curve?


photo by denise carbonell

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Jo says

    Hi Betsy & Matt,
    Thanks so much for all the time and effort that you put into this website. It’s awesome! I’m loving the DIY recipes you’ve shared. Thank you! All of my cleaning products or diy and now most of my lotions, deodorant, etc is also diy. I’m having a hard time convincing my hubby how good they are, but he’ll come around. He seems to like the laundry soap! I’m actually now so convinced of the benefits, and love the products so much that I have been considering speaking to women’s groups about it. I taught a seminar on it about 1 1/2 yrs ago. If I was to do it again, it would be completely different, because I’ve learned so much since then. So once again thanks for all the hard work you do! God bless you!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m so happy to hear you’re learning from us, and are inspired to teach others what you’re learning! This is exactly how we hope to affect our readers. 🙂

  2. tami says

    Your heart comes through brilliantly in your work, and in your writing! Thanks for keeping this DIY thing going! And the DIY body book sounds awesome! Don’t give up on it. I tried making your laundry soap tonight, and added something my friend told me about: She first shaves the bar soap and heats it with 4 c.water on the stove ’till all is dissolved. She mixes the other 2 ingredients (borax and washing soap) in a 5 gallon bucket, then pours in the soap water from the stove. Next, she fills up the rest of the bucket with water, and adds whatever essential oil fits her mood. I tried it tonight and it smells lovely with lavendar! I only used a tiny bit of the liquid in the washer- maybe 2 TBS. The thing is, I’M NOT A COOK, by any stretch. I can’t remember that there’s something on the stove, if I walk away from it, but standing there waiting is entirely boring! So, tonight, as I waited for my soap to melt in the hot water, I turned it up just a tad b/c it was taking too long. I went to clean my 5 gallon bucket and, not too long after, heard the familiar bubbling/splashing sound as the liquid poured onto my cooktop stove. Dang-it. The cool thing was, instead of dispersing the normal burning smell throughout the house, it was a very pleasant, clean sort of smell. Ahhh! Success! And not a lot of scrubbing and cleaners to get the solution off the stove this time either! -just a little water 😉 I think I’m going to like making my own solutions. Even if they do involve the stove…

  3. Shelly says

    Hi Betsy,

    I love the web site and the book. We are new to DIY cleaner living. We have started with the laundry detergent (LOVE) and vinegar as fabric softner. I’ve made one powdered cleaner and just go my Dr. Bronner’s to make more. Thanks so much for putting yourself out there and taking hits. Not nice or fun, but I appreciate the work that goes into all that you are doing.
    Thanks so much!

  4. Stephanie says

    I found your web site when looking for diy laundry detegent. You two a great job and you started me on my journey to making my own cleaning and personal care products. “You will never truely succeed unless you fail a few times.” We all learn the most from our failures, just keep getting up and keep going! You guys do a great Job, so possative and inspiring. Making your own products (that you thought you could only buy) and having them work better is very satisfying and empowering. Thanks so much! God bless!


  5. Christine says

    Betsy- I first found your website looking for homemade laundry soap- which has worked great! That started my journey on making my own cleaning products, shampoo’s etc. I have found your site SO helpful as you and Matt share your practical experiences. It has given me the courage to try many different things, including an attempt at mozzarella cheese last weekend which ended up down the drain. But- it was fun and I tried it! There are times my husband thinks it is crazy and I should just buy the cheese, shampoo or whatever, but there is a deep satisfaction in making something and then using it yourself. Thanks for your willingness to share with all of us your adventure in DIY!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      That’s exactly why we love DIY…such a sense of satisfaction (especially when things turn out!), enjoyment, and empowerment! I love that you’re having so much fun with it! Your husband will come around to your side eventually…especially once you find a DIY recipe he can’t live without. 😉 Keep at it!

  6. Susan Brady says

    Dear Betsy,

    After recently retiring, like yourself, I started researching how to make less toxic, environmentally friendly, and more economical alternatives to many of the everyday products that I use to clean with, cook with and for personal hygiene. I had read many sites on the web when I came across yours. I have really enjoyed that you not only give recipes for these items but that you explain how you have taken the time to really research them and try them before you have put them out there for your audience. When I have taken the time to start looking up ingredients that I have always considered “safe and healthy” in the past, I am many times shocked to find that they do not live up to the reputations that I once believed. The latest one that I have become aware of is Mineral Oil…after some internet research I have become aware of its origins and suspected health issues. I am shocked because this has been a staple product in my house forever and used to treat everything from dry skin, earaches, and even as a laxative…no more, Just goes to show what research will uncover and how important it is. Please keep up the good work!!! And, oh by the way,….”to ere is human”. There is always going to be many, many persons who are ready to find fault and not be very nice in the way they point it out so be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back when you recognize an advancement in your practice even if others don’t recognize it. Whenever I am in a learning situation, I tell my teachers and fellow colleagues to please never hesitate to give me “CONSTRUCTIVE critism”

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks for sharing the mineral oil story…it sounds like my experience with aluminum, which has always been in my house, but I’m learning about the links to Alzheimer’s. It blew me away! Thanks for your support and encouraging words Susan! I feel blessed to be able to bring this information to you! 🙂

  7. Deb k says

    Hi Betsy. Loved the learning curve post! Thanks for putting your shining self out there! Here is a book you might love… Really helped me discover how much you can grow by exposing your own vulnerabilities and authentic self. It’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown.

  8. Joy says

    Thank you, thank you, Betsy and Matt!
    I started with your laundry soap, gosh maybe two years ago, and now I make almost all of my family’s toiletries and all of our household cleaners. My family laughs at me every time I look at a label nowadays and exclaim “Jeez, I can make that!” You’ve even given me the courage to learn how to make my own soaps. I decided one day that I would no longer buy soap to make soap. It gives me a great feeling when my teenagers scoff at my new ‘recipes’, only to try them out and discover they work better than the store-bought stuff!
    Thank you, keep up the good fight!


  9. Fiona says

    Betsy and Matt, your website is THE best and most user friendly I have found. You have saved me a lot of money and taught me heaps although in Australia it’s hard to find some of your ingredients but I get there. People I talk to can’t believe I make my own laundry powder and didn’t even know you could do it. Keep up the great work you do. I can’t believe people would have anything rude to say to you.

  10. mary wesley says

    I love what you guys are doing. Keep up your fight for a better world. Love is the way 🙂

  11. Monica says

    What a great, inspiring post! I hat that someone has been rude to you. I always look forward to my emails and have tried, or at least discussed, just about all of them! You are doing a wonderful thing and I very much appreciate all of your hard work. Hopefully this will help meanies find something better to do with there time. 😉

    Thanks again!!!

  12. Janice says

    Wow, I am absolutely amazed at the positive response to your well written article. I only read about half of them and my eyes wouldn’t keep working. So many fans, so much positive support. Keep, print, these and reread every time a meany “Downer Donna” (from SNL many years ago) gives an opinion.

    God Bless You Sweet Daughter, OX

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Did you ever think I would become a blogger Mom? 😉 Aren’t our readers awesome??? I never received this much support at my last job!

      • Matt Jabs says

        The diyNatural community is amazing, and it’s growing. I said it before and I’ll say it again… “Let’s change the world!”

  13. Kat says

    We are all learning. Your site is very informative and has something for everyone. I don’t agree with everything, but that’s OK. Don’t ever quit!

  14. Diane says

    Betsy & Matt,

    Thank you for your site. I found it while researching homemade laundry soap. I tried your recipe and loved it. I’ve since tried some of your other remedies/recipes with some adjustments of my own along the way. But isn’t this what it’s all about? Edu

    • Diane says

      Sorry…my computer gets a gremlin in there from time to time….meant to say…… Education, awareness, fun, and inspiration. You guys are awesome and I just want to say keep up the good work.

  15. Diane says

    Betsy, When Noah was building the ark, his neighbors all told him that he was a nut. He wasn’t a boatbuilder…how could he build an ark that would actually float? And how was he going to get it to water? When he brought animals into the ark, they jeered and made fun. They complained about the animal poop and those chattering monkeys making so much noise. When he closed himself and his family up inside, they gathered at the local meeting places and talked about poor Noah…he’d lost his mind completely, bless his heart (you can get away with saying anything about someone as long as you say “bless his/her heart” at the end). Is there any help available? Noah’s family is captive and he’s turned looney. But when it started to rain….oh, when it started to rain….they beat on the door and begged to be let in. When the water rose, they were climbing up the side trying to find a way to get on that ark!

    Noad didn’t give up, because he had been given a job to do, and he was faithful to the end to do it in spite of controversy, ridicule, and lack of knowledge. Armed only with a set of instructions instructions (300 cubits long!!! That’s 450 FEET! And what is gopher wood anyway?), he built and built for years on end. He lost friends and he was called names. He tolerated insults, but kept on working.

    Betsy, no one is asking you to build an ark and save the world. Your job is to research and share information…something I don’t have the time to do, so I need you to do it for me. No one who writes anything on the internet (including what I’ve written here) is immune from criticism and harsh words. Disrespectful treatment seems to the be hallmark of our society today, and it is making you discouraged. Discouragement is the killer of dreams, and discouragers are a dime a dozen. Listen to the ones who have your back, ignore the ones who don’t, and keep on working toward your goal.

    And when you get discouraged, just picture Noah swinging that hammer…and smile.

    Now get back to work!

  16. Doris says

    OMG! Betsy! You have just written one of the greatest natural recipes! LIVING! This is my all time favorite. Thank you for allowing us to travel this journey with you. You have awakened the natural mixologists (is that a word, lol) in all of us! Thank you for being our lab rat and testing on yourself and probably Matt. (Thanks Matt). Myself and so many others are here because you and Matt come through as if you are standing in front of us face to face. You deliver you thoughts and ideas like an old friend. I got scared for a second as I read this article. I thought you were going to stop writing. You are so needed in this world of greed and distrust. You and Matt let me know that there are still people out there who have natural affection for their fellow man by sharing your simple and effective way of living. Don’t you stop! You could write about cow manure, I’d read it!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh Doris…big fat hugs going out to you! 🙂 Sorry for the scare…the naysayers can’t get rid of me that easily! (And I don’t want to go back to my last job. Hehehe.) Hey, who knows, maybe I’ll write that cow manure article. 😉

  17. Melinda says

    As long as we’re alive we all learn something new everyday. I think u guys r great! I share your emails on my Facebook farm page! I also have yur DIY book!

  18. Valerie says

    Even though I eagerly follow your posts I never felt the need to comment until now. It was the part about negative comments that got me. I probably have even thinner skin when it comes to negative comments, but I always try to remember that some people forget their manners when they hide behind a keyboard. Others haven’t yet learned how to disagree without being disrespectful. The fact that some of us can accept the harsh negativity with grace, while others respond with equal hostility shows who is further along the learning curve when it comes to humanitarianism. Oh, yea, and I love the recipes! Thank you for sharing with us!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Negative online comments are kind of like road rage, right? People get so brave when they’re behind a keyboard or in the safe confines of their cars! Hehehe. Thank you Valerie, for following us and for commenting with encouragement and support!

  19. Yvonne says

    I appreciate all you share. Keep it coming. It is each person’s choice to use or not use. Thank you. You are doing a great job.

  20. Pat Mallett says

    Betsy, you are doing a wonderful job and a service to each of us who is on the same journey. I am way behind the learning curve and trying to get a new green living blog going while I am learning. It is slow-going, but very rewarding to read up on topics and get re-educated about so many things.

    You two are my role models, so to speak. I have referenced you several times on my blogs (Grow Old Grace and Green Living Thrifty Frog. I have tried your cleaining products and love them! You have helped me to step out of my comfort zone.

    Thanks for all you do, and thanks that you are not perfect, so we can all relate to your trials. You are loved, you are read, and you are getting through to us! Keep it up!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Congrats to you on your new blogging adventures! I’m touched that you’ve learned from us and referenced us on your sites. Thanks a million for the wonderful words of encouragement! I’m headed over to your site right now to check it out. 🙂

  21. Michelle says

    Thank you Betsy for all the time and effort you and Matt put into this website. Every thing you said in this article is so true. We all need to remember to be kind and this world will be a much more beautiful, pleasant place to be for all of us. A big thumbs up to you for putting all of that out there. I thoroughly enjoyed this article.

  22. Steffanie says

    Very well put! People do need to learn to be nicer to each other. As a new DIYer I love to read your articles. This is quickly becoming a new hobbie of mine. I have always done little things, but since pintrest has opened my eyes up to all new possibilities I’ve kindof gone crazy. True funny story: I tried the No Poo for about two weeks and at that point I’m not sure if I was driving my husband crazy with my complaints or my hair itself was driving him crazy but he looks at me and says “just was your hair already, we can afford shampoo!” lol. He is my biggest supporter most of the time.

    • Diane says

      Steffanie, I’m so glad to read your words on “no poo”. My experience was not a good one either, and I ditched that effort pretty quickly. Some things don’t need to be fixed.

  23. Susan says

    Some people have to pick at someone else no matter what. I have seen comments for online recipes where one says it is the best recipe they’ve ever made and the very next comment will say it’s the worst recipe ever. I think most people are in between these extremes and you just don’t hear from them. I have been using your alcohol deodorant for awhile now and love it, no more white stains. I like reading about your experiences with the things you have tried. Nice to know there are alternatives to all the chemicals we are surrounded by. Take care.

  24. Erika says

    Dear Betsy

    I want you to know, that I admire, appreciate and love your caring and loving persone, please, please, please do not allow this terrible people to control your emotions, they are so not worth it

    Thanks for your knowledge, your effort and for been our living lab (sorry if my English is not perfect) I am learning English as I learn to become a better me, and some DYI, and I love it
    Stay possitive and ignore negative

  25. Marlena says

    Thank you Betsy, for all you do. There are many more of us who love and appreciate your work than not. We could speculate all day on the motives of the “haters”, but you have many more “lovers”. You and Matt keep at it till you get it right, you are saving the rest of us a whole of work we don’t have time for, and I thank you.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks for the reminder to not spend all my time analyzing the haters. 🙂 I know there are many more supportive, helpful, positive readers out there like yourself! We appreciate the words of encouragement Marlena!

  26. Linda says

    I for one THANK you both for all that you do. Sometimes even though people think they are following a “recipe” exactly things don’t turn out as planned. Life happens, learn to move on folks. Sometimes people need to know that what works for us doesn’t always work for everyone and vice versa. The negative comments should roll off your shoulder like rain… sometimes it grows something new and beautiful and other times it hits the ground and fades away. I really appreciate your hard work and will continue to learn from you.

  27. Timmy D says

    For what it’s worth, I believe in you!!!!! You can doooo eeeet! I love your website and have used the laundry detergent diy and plan to use more so take the good with the bad. Some people just have no real way of expressing something to someone without cutting them too. It’s displacement. There’s douchebags everywhere so don’t let one put a roadblock in the way of your trip to having a good day.

  28. Steph in Berkeley says

    i’ve been reading your articles for the better part of a year now. and i’ve tried some of the recipes with mixed success, but what i think is important is that you are a source of inspiration, as well as of information. i’m glad you’re there doing your thing. i like hearing your new recipes. i understand they’re a work in progress. and i don’t normally comment, but i had to put in my 2 cents to help make the list of supportive pros greater than the list of nasty cons. surely you realize that most if not all sites have such nasty cons. and to every one of you who works in spite of them, i take my hat off. keep DIY’ing. your readers enjoy and get something very beneficial from you–inspiration!

  29. Lauren Collins says


    I know that I wanted to stop using chemicals that made me choke when I was “cleaning” the bathrooms or the rest of the house, especially when my youngest son wanted to clean the bathrooms to make some money. There was no way I wanted to let him use them. I was spending many hours on the computer looking for “green cleaning product recipes”. “Consumer reports does not like a lot of the store bought products”. When I found your book on Amazon, I know that I found the answer that I was looking for. THANK YOU!!!!
    I am still getting all of my supplies together and using up the old stuff but I am very excited about this new phase in my family’s life. People need to be a little more open minded to 1. Peoples feelings.
    2. This is a new area and not a lot of information is available (we are all learning and we love the fact that you are willing to do the work for us).
    3. If you have some information that you would like to share, refer to number 1, learn to play nicely in the playground people!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      So glad we could help…especially to keep little ones safe from commercial nastiness! And I love your comment about playing nicely on the playground. 🙂

  30. Liesa says

    Hi Betsy,

    Thanks for your very open post. It is very true that there will always be individuals out there who “think” they know it all, or at least think they know better than you. It is really those individuals who know the least. I say this because if they believe that condescendingly correcting others is an effective way of transmitting knowledge, then there is a great piece of knowledge they they have missed. We are all testers, we are all experimenters and we all do it in our own time and ways. Individuals like you and myself who are constantly seeking knowledge and are willing to put our words and thoughts out there are very brave and yes, sometimes end up being humbled, but what is most important is that you try again. Make the mistakes, learn from the mistakes, and share the knowledge. That is the key to life… Thank you for your research and willingness to share your mistakes and successes!

  31. Ruth says

    Accomplishments are seldom successful without some mistakes along the way. You provide such a wonderful service to those of us who want to learn and share DIY Natural. Thank you for being who you are!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Your comment encourages me to share more of my mistakes along the way! I think you’ll all get a good laugh if nothing else, right? 😉

  32. KimH says

    What?? Youre normal human beings? How dare you! 😉 I think you’re doing a great job.. and one thing to remember is in the land of online comments, they can be easy to read “attitude” into someones words when in reality they werent there to start wtih. Been talking to people online for about 18 years now & I’ve seen it over & over, so if you’re gonna read into someones words online, read tongue in cheek instead of real venom. Either way, in the end, its not how others are, its how you respond to them.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You’re right…thanks for the reminder about online words! I’m so much better at communicating in person & hate that I can’t read body language/tone through online comments. 🙂 Maybe that’s why I use so many emoticons…I want people to see my true intent in my typing. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hehehe.

  33. Karen says

    I think you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work!! I feel your pain in that MANY times in my job I have to “put on my big girl panties and deal with it!” Even though words can be very hurtful, I pray that you receive more kindness than ugliness.

  34. cassie wadley says

    Betsy, you had me at the first mention of humble pie…laughing and flinching all at once. I do alot of altered art and so many of my ‘billiant ideas’ turn out not so brilliant. Even my daughter (10 years old) told me of her failure at school to make her homemade car run on the air of a balloon, was a failure, it didn’t help when a class mate heard her say that, and chimed in, that not only was her project a failure, but an epic failure. Ofcourse that really bruised her ego. As she was recounting this to me (I immediately thought I bet it would run if we put baking soda in the balloon, then added some vinegar, lol!), I remembered a quote, Henry Ford I think, that said after a failure, that next time he would fail better. I had to explain this a bit to her, but at the same time, I was reminding myself. Everybody’s journey is hard, and kindness goes a long way, but if we do not fail, how will we ever be challenged to go further and fail better the next time? Hang in there, shake the powder off your ponytail, and keep on going girl! I’ve learned so much from you and Matt, and the only real failures are when we fail to try, you and Matt inspire me constantly, and I am only one, so let’s keep on learning the curve together! Cassie

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I just looked up “Henry Ford quotes about failure” and he has several…now I’M inspired for the day! Thank you for this!

      Your comment made me laugh and smile! I’m glad this learning curve thing is a joint mission!

  35. Mary says

    What a beautifully written article. I have learned so much from your web site and have such fun making some of the things. Good things are meant to be shared! Keep up the good work, both of you.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work.

  36. C-Marie says

    Really sweet article! Sounds similar to Julie in the movie Julia and Julie. Giving it your best and being honest with us who read you. And I go forward today refreshed towards the people I will be with today. So good to hear once again, that we all err, but let us go on anew. God bless you, C-Marie

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It’s touching for me to hear that people are benefitting from my writing…makes dealing with all the naysayers so worth it! 🙂
      (And now I want to rent that movie to watch again…loved it!)

  37. Mamie says

    A big {HUG} from me too. I appreciate very much what you are doing and have been a DIYer for many years. The fact that you put yourself out there is the bravest part. All the other comments pretty much say what I feel as well: you are doing a great service for communities everywhere. Forget about the negative stuff. Unfortunately it goes with the territory but it can also be a learning tool.

  38. Kathy says

    I’ve just recently found out about DIY and am delighted to see all the homemade recipes of all natural products. And I’ve been telling all my friends who will listen. I have a health problem that may have come on from using all the chemicals in our cleaners and cosmetics. So this is a test of my own to see if my quality of life improves with natural solutions. And there will always be critics who are way too harsh if one product doesn’t work out perfertly. Loving your neighbor is the best way to approach it and let it go. Last month, I discovered homemade hairspray. It works wonderfully and costs me pennies to make.

    Thanks again for all the wonderful info. and I look forward to more in the future.
    A grateful fan of DIY.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I hope things improve for you with more natural solutions! That would be the BEST testimony to those around you!

      We cherish you as a fan and reader Kathy! (And you reminded me I need to go make myself another batch of hairspray or I won’t be able to go out in public today!) 😉

  39. ananda says

    Well, I think you’re doing great!

    I know nothing about natural anything and have learned to be more attentive to everything around me! Because of you!

    I don’t have the guts yet to try most things but I do use a DIY Natural vegetable pesticise that went horribly wrong to become an all purpose disinfectant that I use on all our surfaces! No itchy hands or burny eyes! So thanks! Heaps!

    I am building up ingredients since I have no clue what it is or where to get most of the stuff you use! But I never would have known!

    From an even more know-nothing-DIY-Natural-enthusiastic in South Africa!


    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh gosh…you made me laugh…hard!!!

      Thanks for reminding me that some people don’t know where to find some of the ingredients we recommend. I’ll do my best to include more info on ingredients in future posts! 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words Ananda!!!

  40. Sue says

    Hi Betsy and Matt,
    I have been getting your DIY email newsletter for at least several months now and I just want to say I love it and I think you guys are great!! I am relatively new to the natural, organic,DIY, etc… and I know very little- you two are my gurus! Please keep doing what you are doing! So many benefit from it! I have used many of your amazing ideas. You also write about it all very well and with a touch of humor that is so appreciated. Keep up the great work and I hope you continue to enjoy it because we should all enjoy our lives. God Bless….

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Wow Sue…this is my first official time being called a guru!!! I’m throwing myself a party for this milestone. 😉

      Hope you can keep learning and having fun with us along the way!!!

  41. Carol says

    I can honestly say that your blog was the very first one that got me started on my own DIY adventure. You guys have a lot of great information here and I can always verify that info on lots of other sites as well. So I know what you put on here is well researched. I am at the beginning of my learning curve and I know I have SO much more to learn.

    Thank you so much for your hard work and all the time you guys put into this. Oh, and the personal science lab you have created with your own bodies for the sake of others.

    You can’t please everyone all the time, but if you know you’ve done the best you can with what you’ve got right now, then no one can fault for honesty. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are an inspiration to so many people.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      We’re honored Carol! Keep trudging along on the learning curve…and feel free to update us on your progress along the way. 🙂

      I’m off now to test out a new homemade shampoo on this personal science lab of mine. Hehe.

  42. nicolette says

    I am not one to write on blogs or respond to many thing over the computer, but i had to comment…
    I have to say i value your honesty more than anything. I get overwhelmed with to much research and sucked into the world of technology at my finger tips… then i never do any projects because it takes to long or so much time has passed that it’s no use anymore. So, i value all the homemade projects and the simpleness of it!
    I truly value and will continue to look at your site, because you are honest and true to your heart. That’s what’s most important. Not may people are honest especially when they are behind a computer, so a BIG THANK YOU for all of the knowledge, fun times creating homemade projects, and can’t forget the malfunctions & failures (these are the times that make us get even more creative!)
    Continue to do what you guys do! There will always be someone who complains or has a rude comment… continue to ignore them and keep chugging forward!
    God bless!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I hear you! You should see the piles of “ingredients” I purchased that are waiting to be put to use in a new project. Some of them have been sitting so long that I can’t remember what they were purchased for!

      I truly appreciate the kind words and encouragement! (Reaching through the computer and giving you a hug now.) 😉

  43. Linda says

    I started making homemade laundry soap and it went very well, so, when I found a recipe for homemade dishwasher powder using almost all the same ingredients I was excited. We made the dishwasher powder and it ended up in a solid clump, so had to add something to absorb moisture. We looked at several websites and they suggested rice. So, we added rice. A couple of weeks went by and the dishwasher seemed to not be functioning well and on closer inspection we had cooked rice clogging up our dishwasher. Now I put the rice in little gauze baggies, or use the silica packets out of other things, and dishwasher is feeling much better.

  44. Tosha says


    Way to go, girl! I love your honesty! Sometimes we can all forget the real value in being vulnerable. I am about to launch an “all natural” laundry wash line after passionately trying to better my home environment for my family. I know I will be put to the test of scrutiny and my “sensitive” hormones will be racing!!! When we put ourselves out there, there is always going to be some resistence from people. We cannot let that break us down but make us (as you have shown) inspired to find the truth. Sometimes we get called out! That is ok especially if we become better, smarter and more dependable in what we offer and share. You are inspiring me to be strong in my beliefs and forgiving of myself and others for not ALWAYS “doing it right” all the time! 🙂 I love your website and am impressed with it every day! Thank you for sharing….I mean….REALLY sharing! 🙂

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh Tosha… we could be friends. 🙂 Not that this article was written to fish for any sort of comments, but I needed to hear that!

      Congratulations on your huge step! You’ll be blessed for doing what’s right for your family, your customers, the environment, and yourself! I’m excited for you and I don’t even know you!!! 😉

  45. Jeanie says

    There are always going to be people out there who will make themselves feel bigger and more powerful by putting someone down or ‘in their place’. It takes a strong person to march on in spite of their words. Only people who take no chances escape criticism (and in reality they likely get criticized for that too!). So keep it up, 99% of your readers will appreciate your efforts and those are some pretty good odds.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh, so true! These are things I used to tell the kiddos at school when I was counseling… See? I knew it would be beneficial to invite everyone to my therapy session! Hehehe. Thanks for reminding me of these things. 🙂

  46. Donna says

    Thanks for all you do. I look forward to each of your articles. Can’t tell you how many newsletters I subscribe to and how many I have learned are better left un-opened. Keep up the good work and hopefully we will all keep learning until our last moment here.

  47. Ellie says

    Saw your post today, and had to write. I am so grateful to have found you and your wonderful DIY recipes and tips. While looking for Super Washing Soda and borax the other day, I ran into another woman who whispered to me that she has going to make her own laundry powder. We chatted for quite awhile. I am so thrilled that more and more people are getting into doing things naturally! We shared knowledge and both went home ready to do even more things naturally. If you hadn’t been willling to put yourself out there, this wouldn’t be happening. And we are all human, so if we make a mistake…with natural ingredients, it probably wont be so bad as with tons of chemicals. Thanks for all you do, and feel free to shorten this as needed.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Ha! I just love when DIY projects become a learning AND a bonding experience…so cool. And great point about mistakes with natural ingredients Ellie! Not so bad, right? 🙂

  48. Judy says

    First I want to say that I love your website. I have put to use many of your ideas. Secondly, as the wife of a minister, I have learned that it is impossible to please everyone all of the time. Words can be very hurtful. So, we live and learn, and continue with our endeavors. Thank you for all that you do.

  49. Kathi Bourg says

    Well said, Betsy! Thanks to you & Matt for all you do, and for being such an inspiration to me.

  50. Melissa says

    Keep up all the hard work! I research DIYs everyday, for fun and pleasure. There is a lot of information out there to sift through and many variations of each little detail that can be tried and true. It is IMPOSSIBLE to know everything! You may think these other people know way more than you, but honestly, there is always more to learn. There just might be people feeling the same way about you =). And the negative comments you receive…GOOD! They only make you stronger as a person and better at what you do. Nobody is perfect; mistakes are made. [BUT!!!] What others need to understand, is that there are multiple ways to each and every DIY there has ever been and everyone’s body reacts differently to them: some work better than others. When these negative comments come rolling in, just try to remember that you are the one taking the time to try and help others live a healthy, simple life. You aren’t doing anything wrong.

    *Just a couple thoughts –
    Having been on your site and reading through many comments on different posts, I notice that you sometimes change the way you wrote some recipes. Maybe somewhere within the original article, you can make an update in bold lettering. This way people can see that you are continuing to grow and understand all the research and hard work you put into what you do. So they may have another option to try if the first way didn’t work out.

    Also, I am sure you have your way of going about things, but I just wanted to share what I do when going about a DIYer. When I come across something I could be doing different at home, I literally become obsessed with getting down to that one, truly perfect concoction. I will research and make a sort of comparison chart of all the recipes I can find on the specific subject. Once I have every option I can possibly find, I research each individual ingredient to find what I feel may be the best for my health and excellent results. I try, compare, recreate, try and compare. All while finding the best option for me, and other possibilities that may work best for others. There is no ONE WAY to do something. Maybe give readers more second options and explain why =)

    Thank you for all that you and your husband do. And have fun!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great points Melissa! I really appreciate your suggestions, recommendations, and tips! Wish I had a few of you around to obsess & test things for me. 😉 You sound so organized…love it!

  51. Rhonda Spellman says

    Betsy, You and Matt are doing SUPER! I have learned SO much from you.

    Recently, I was in the grocery line. A young man was behind me. He had a huge roast and a gallon bottle of vinegar. Out of curiosity I asked him if he was going to do something with them together.

    He started into this endorsement of DIY and how there were “… all kinds of great recipes” and how he was a college student who could now afford to do more because of DIY. It was terrific and we involved the cashier and the person in line in front of me. Seems that everyone had positive life-changing experiences thanks to DIY.

    When you are doing what you are doing for the purpose of helping others you are doing the right thing! Anyone who finds reason to complain is going to be miserable no matter what you or anyone else does. That is their choice. Believe in the Law of Attraction and keep sharing your goodness.

  52. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm says

    I hope the day I died of old age, I go into eternity having learned something that day. Hopefully something new -smile-. Libraries are FULL of stuff I don’t know; much less the i-net. Unfortunately, some people haven’t had a fulfilling day unless/until they have been mean to someone else.
    You and your husband are doing good work; don’t give the naysayers time as they are totally undeserving. OTOH, if someone gives constructive criticism, learn from it and move forward.
    No one should have your permission to be disrespectful to you and if they are, be gentle and call them on it. It’s okay to say, “You are not an intimate and don’t have permission to be disrespectful. If you want to make a constructive, critical comment, that’s allowed but, if necessary, drag out your nice, dust it off and use it. No meanness allowed!”

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Ha! I LOVE the way you put it…”drag out your nice, dust it off and use it.” You’re absolutely right Sandra, and I soooo appreciate the tips! 🙂

  53. Lynne says

    Dear one. Lots of hugs and many, many blessings to you. Celebrate your endeavours and your desire to make a difference. I keep reminding myself that those who think they are on the top of the mountain, looking down, a really sitting on the work of all the amazing pebbles holding it up! There is no shame in mistakes or wrong turns on the journey. There is much to be learned from our mistakes, like Edison, we find all the ways not to do things. It is our mistakes, honourably faced that show our true integrity, SO, blessings on you and keep doing what your doing. Only take on board what is genuinely yours, leave the rest, it is their rubbish. 🙂

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great illustration about the mountain Lynne…I’ll be holding this in my mind as I write in the future. I SO hate making & admitting my mistakes, but you’re absolutely right! Thank you!

  54. michelle says

    Awesome post! You guys are great and I could write stories myself about the snide comments and unapproving looks from family and friends when I decided to leave the corporate grind and make my home based business my full time job. I guess there will always be those who “think” they know better and those who are just plain negative. Both you and Matt have provided me and my family with loads of useful information that truely does work! Over the memorial day holiday weekend, we went fishing on Watauga Lake in TN, and I forgot to put on deodrant before we left the campground. I remembered your post about DIY deodrant and used one of my daughters alcohol wipes (shed type 1 diabetic) under my arms and didn’t stink at all even after baking in the boat all day! My daughter and husband thank you dearly! Thank you for all you do & keep up the great work!

      • michelle says

        LOL! I now keep a couple extra alcohol wipes in my purse….. *Just in case!

        It IS totally worth it! Except the gossip gets kinda boring…. Listening to myself….talk about myself is really no fun at all! Ha ha!

  55. April Gardner says

    THANK YOU!! for your transparency. Every blogger, no matter their subject matter, feels exactly as you described. And never mind those negative comments. There are more out there who love you than don’t! I, for one, am SO thankful I stumbled across your blog last month. If nothing else, you gave me a deodorant that actually works. For someone who NEVER found one that did (much less that it was natural!), I thank you, thank you, thank you. No more stinky worries. Hehe! Keep writing. You’re doing a great and worthy thing!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Your victory over stinky pits is HUGE!!! 😉 I’m so glad it worked for you! And thanks for the reminder that all bloggers feel this way. We’re so glad you found us!

  56. Nora says

    Thank you for everything that you do and for your candor today in this article….and you’re right, we should always try and be kind to one another. What a better place this world would be if we did that. Meanwhile, i look forward to getting more of your articles.

  57. Jill says

    I just want to give you some kudos for a wonderful and very practical site and newsletter! In the cyber world, where there is that element of anonymity and we miss out on seeing each other face to face, it makes it so easy for people to be less thoughtful to others. I’ve been impressed not only with the great ideas you have shared, and that I have enjoyed and benefited from, but also in the graciousness you have demonstrated in your responses to readers. You are setting a wonderful standard, not only in the practical ideas you share, but in your conduct. God bless you guys in continuing the endeavor of educating and encouraging others to be less dependent on big industry and more self-sufficient!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      So true Jill…maybe I should do more videos so readers can see my face and take it easy on me. LOL! You’re too kind! 🙂

  58. karen says

    {{{HUGS}}}, from a stranger but from someone who’s “been there done that” blogger. I know exactly how you feel and as someone who answers questions like you mentioned almost daily on the blog and via email, there is a huge learning curve in the DIY world. I learn a lot from these questions and comments readers leave but I have to say, there are more readers who support what we do than who criticize our efforts. So hang in there. I’ve been a huge supporter of your blog for years…..I just don’t comment often. ;P

    But I’m with you and Matt. And thank YOU both for taking the time and being the guinea pigs. We really do appreciate it!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks for the reminders and encouragement Karen! It’s kind of fun being a guinea pig…especially when an experiment goes well!!! 😉