DIY On a Dime: Summer Nights Citronella Candle

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Summer Nights Citronella Candle

Make Your Own Luxury Candle

A few weeks ago, I attended a candle making workshop by a local candle maker and it was so much fun. I saved the instructions but had yet to actually make one. Now, Pepper and I sit outside every morning while I drink my coffee. We also sometimes sit outside when I come home from work, or on the weekends when I’m enjoying a new book. It never fails, but I am always feeling attacked by every mosquito in all of Baltimore.

Fed up, I went online searching for a citronella candle I would actually like. I enjoy using essential oils. They help me sleep and make my home smell fresh, so I’d like to think that I’m familiar with a lot of scents and what I like (or do not like). Well, every candle I found was either too boring (e.g., citronella only) or too expensive.

Of course I wanted the expensive one at Nordstrom; but who feels like paying that kind of money for an outdoor candle, that you’ll have to buy again after you’ve burned it all? Sigh. Then I stared at the ingredients for a moment and thought, well, I can totally make that. And I did….so I thought I’d share!

Now granted, collecting the tools may seem like too much money at first, and you’re better off buying the $100+ candle. Well, not really; because a $10 bag of 3lb soy wax is going to last you a few more candles for sure; and, there’s nothing wrong with having the below oils tucked away in your cabinet (I spray Eucalyptus and Lavender oils on my sheets to help me sleep). So, you’re getting much more use out of the list below than one expensive candle.

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Curating Time: 1 - 2 Days

What You’ll Need

 

Step One: Prepare Your Candle Container

Preheat your oven to 150ºF — 170ºF, or the lowest temperature setting for your oven. Heating your container ensures that the wax adheres to the glass or ceramic and will reduce sinkholes.

Step Two: Melt the Wax

Pour 1 — 2 inches of water into a medium pot or saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, pour wax into pouring pot and place metal pouring pot in the boiling water.

Use metal stirrer to continue mixing wax until thoroughly melted.

As you can see from the pictures further down below, I ended up using both the metal pouring pot from the candle kit, and an old measuring cup that I don’t use anymore, since all three cups of melted wax couldn’t fit into the pouring pot at the same time.

 

Step Three: Add Essential Oils

Using thermometer, check temperature of melted wax. You want the wax to reach between 170ºF and 180ºF. Once the melted wax reaches the desired temperature, add your essential oils. For the 3 cups of wax for the ceramic planter that I used, I measured the following:

  • 30 drops of Citronella

  • 10 drops of Coriander

  • 10 drops of Thyme

  • 15 drops of Eucalyptus

  • 15 drops of Peppermint

  • 10 drops of Lemon

  • 5 drops of Vetiver

Using metal stirrer again, mix fragrances into melted wax thoroughly.

Remove the wax from the boiler and continue stirring for approximately 2 — 3 minutes, stirring slowly to reduce air bubbles.

 

Step Four: Wick Your Container

Remove the container from the oven and place on an even work area or counter. Using the wick sticker from your candle making kit, secure the cotton wick to the bottom of the container.

 

Step Five: Pour the Wax Mixture

When the wax has cooled to 125ºF, slowly pour the wax into the container. Do not pour beyond the widest part of the jar (pour close to the center of the jar, where the wick is placed). Depending on the width of your container, you can use the wick holders in your candle making kit. The ceramic planter I purchased from Lowe’s was a little wide, so I used chopstics to secure the wick in place.

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Allow the candles to cool completely and trim the wick to 1/4 inch.

Because I’m extra, I also added a few lavender seed buds I had leftover from my Himalayan bath salts.

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I’m sooo happy with how it turned out. Now, every afternoon and evening, I light the candle as Pep and I sit on my front porch and i can honestly say that the bugs have stayed away.

Anything to reduce bug bites! I hope you like this fun crafty DIY project!

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DIY on a Dime: Summer Floral Arrangement

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Summer Floral Arrangement

Easy Steps Using Grocery Store Flowers

It is officially summer!! I am really starting to enjoy summer in my home, thanks to my growing garden, full of Knock Out Roses, a butterfly bush, pink peonies and hydrangeas.

This past Spring, I really enjoyed creating my Spring floral bouquet. So, I wanted to create another one with even more vibrant colors. BUT!! This time, instead of heading to the Potomac Wholesale Floral, I opted to pick up a few stems at my local grocery. I was able to get all of the flowers — with the exception of the hydrangeas, which came from my garden, for a total of $22!

 
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What You’ll Need:

 

First, cut your stems to the desired length. Remove leaves to allow more room in the vase for more flowers.

 

Once the stems are cut at their desired length, group them together, placing the peonies at the center, cupped by the lilies, then the hydrangeas, and finally the veronicas and craspedias on the outer most layer.

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Finally, instead of using a flower frog, I simply tied a rubber band around the flower stems (at the base of the flowers). I decided to do this instead of using a flower frog, like I did for my Spring bouquet simply becuase the vase I am using is smaller than the one I used last season.

Place bouquet in vase and enjoy. I placed new water in the vase every 2 - 3 days. These grocery store flowers lasted two weeks! I love how they came out.

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Pet owners, please remember that lilies are poisonous to dogs and cats. So, if you have a cat that is permitted to climb atop tables and / or counters, I would opt for another flower.

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DIY on a Dime: Colorful Spring Porch Refresh

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Colorful Spring Porch Refresh

My Bright and Budget Friendly Porch Makeover

My front porch has been such a drab these last two years. Although I have had my bench and coffee table for awhile, I’ve been completely laxed on decorating the space and making it an extension of my home.

 
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First, I painted my burgundy chipped door “Dutch Tulip” red by Benjamin Moore. I used the Aura Grand Entrance line in high gloss finish. I’ve seen this front entrance in Dutch Tulip circulate all over Pinterest for years, and i finally bit the bullet and decided to go for it. I knew the color would look great on my little row house.

According to the paint expert at my local Benjamin Moore location, I did not need a primer because my door was already painted a red base with the burgundy. However, if you need a primer, I really like using Zinnser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.

Source:  Benjamin Moore
 

First, I poured liquid TSP cleaner into a bucket of warm water and used a textured cloth to remove dirt and pollen from the door. Once the door was dry, I sanded down any nicks and imperfections.

If you’re using primer, you will want to prime the entire door next (and allow to dry 24-48 hours before painting).

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Next, paint the panels of the door first.

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Then, focus on the remaining trim of the door. I decided to paint three coats, using a single stoke with the paintbrush to reduce the appearance of brush strokes up close.

Please allow at least 24 hours between each coat, so that it may dry properly.

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Next, I worked on my concrete floor. Per the instructions for the Behr Granite Grip and Behr Concrete and Masonry Bonding Primer, I needed to strip the porch paint previously applied. Honestly, there was no way that I was going to get all of this porch paint off of the concrete floor. So, instead, I focused on stripping just the areas that were already peeling badly. Then, I sanded down the areas that were peeling to smooth it out before applying the concrete bond primer.

 

The concrete bonding primer needs a minimum of 2 hours to dry. I allowed mine to dry for approximately 3-4 hours. Then, I applied the first coat of the Granite Grip. Behr recommends at least two coats of Granite Grip for complete coverage. I applied three coats, allowing a minimum of 24 hours to dry in between each coat.

 

I’m really glad that I covered this porch with the Granite Grip. it’s hiding all of the imperfections. And, thanks to the primer, it should last for a few years.

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Shop My Outfit

Midi Dress: ASOS | Headband: Nordstrom | Earrings: Baublebar | Fallon & Royce Straw Tote: Rue La La.

 

Shop My Front Porch

Outdoor Bench Cushion: Hayneedle | Outdoor Floral Pillow: Grandin Road | Outdoor Pink Pillows: Michaels (old), similar here | Door Mat: Kirkland’s | Outdoor Area Rug: Grandin Road (old), similar here | Outdoor Bench: Target | Paris Bistro Side Chairs: Frontgate | Chinoiserie Garden Stool: Home Goods (old), similar here and here | Pink Candle Lantern: Pier 1 Imports (old), similar here and here | Outdoor Coffee Table: Amazon | Wreath: Target (sold out), similar here.

 

Shop my Planters

Tub Planter: Amazon | Chinoiserie Planters: Homesense, also available here and similar here.

 

Shop my Paints

Porch Floor: Behr Granite Grip in Tan Granite | Front Door: Benjamin Moore Aura Grand Entrance in Dutch Tulip (high gloss finish).

 

Shop Miss Peppermint

Dress (old), similar here | Woof Cliquot Plush Bottle: Haute Diggity Dog.

 
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DIY on a Dime: How to Arrange Your Spring Flowers Like a Pro

If you haven’t noticed by now, I enjoy having both silk and fresh flowers in my home.  It’s a habit I picked up from my Dad, who buys a bouquet of flowers from our local grocery store when he does his weekly shopping.  I usually have a small bouquet of silk flowers in each room, including the bedrooms.  I place the fresh flowers in my gorgeous brass vase in the kitchen, and sometimes an extra bouquet in the dining room.

In 2018, the University of North Florida conducted a scientific study in conjunction with the Society of American Florists.  The study provides empirical evidence showing that flowers can reduce stress.  So, it’s no surprise that buying yourself flowers boosts your mood, especially when you come home from work and you can smell the fresh floral scents.

I wanted to share some tips on how I arrange my pretty – and reasonably priced flowers – with all of you (I can find beautiful flowers at Harris Teeters or your local market).  You don’t need to purchase expensive bouquets for everyday flowers, and still get the look of a professional floral designer.  Since it’s Spring (YAY!), we’re going to focus on making a beautiful and colorful Spring arrangement, so you know exactly how to make your momma, wife, or girlfriend a bouquet just in time for Mother’s Day.

What You’ll Need

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Step One:

 Place your vase on a flat surface.  For this arrangement, I chose a dark navy ceramic vase (approx. 18”) to give my arrangement a modern and sleek look.  Next, place your flower frog on top of the vase opening. If you use Easy Arranger’s flower frog, you can bend the outer parts of the flower from to hug the vase opening.

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Step Two:

First, add your peonies.  I chose beautiful pink peonies to distribute first. Your peony blooms she be open.  If not, use your fingers to help open the flowers.  Remove any outer petals that are worn or damaged. If you need to cut the stems, remember to cut at an angle.

Since I used the Easy Arranger flower frog, I also removed some of the leaves.

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Step Three:

 Next, add the roses and ranunculus in groups throughout the vase.  For my roses, I used off white / light peach cabbage english garden roses, and bright yellow ranunculus. Remove any leaves and/or outer blooms that are not appealing.  You should also remove any thorns, if present.  You can prep your roses with a knife or your garden shears. Again, remember to cut the stem at an angle.

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Step Four:

Then, add the sweet peas.

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Step Five:

Finally, continue to remove any worn or damaged petals from your arrangement.

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Voila!  Your first floral arrangement is complete and beautiful as ever.

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After you’ve completed your floral arrangement, be sure to maintain so that they last a little longer (and you get your money’s worth).

  • Change the vase water every other day.

  • Mist petals with spray bottle.

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DIY on a Dime: My New Kitchen Tile

I finally painted my kitchen tile! I procrastinated on this DIY project for the longest — mostly because my kitchen tile is glass tile and I was unsure how the final project would look once completed. I’m sooooo happy with how it turned out! This project was super easy and took one weekend only. I wish I did it two years ago when I first moved in. Better late than never!

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What You’ll Need:

  1. Blue painter’s tape;

  2. White Bristle Paintbrush for oil based paints;

  3. Foam paintbrush;

  4. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water Baded Prime;

  5. Latex high-gloss paint and primer. I used Behr Premium Plus Interior Hi-Gloss Enamel in Ultra Pure White;

  6. TSP Cleaner; and,

  7. Microfiber Cleaning Rag.

 
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Step One: Clean Your Tile

First, pour 1/4 of a cup of the TSP cleaner into a bucket. Next, fill the bucket with warm water (I poured approximately one gallon). Take your microfiber cleaning rag and scrub the diluted cleaning solvent on the tile. If your tile is heavily stained, add more TSP solution to your bucket. This takes some good elbow greasing to remove actual kitchen grease and stains. Please allow the tile to dry before priming (I waited about 7 hours.)

 

Step Two: Prime Your Tile

I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water Baded Primer. I only did one coat of primer. Please wait at least 24 hours before painting the tile. Make sure that you are also priming the grout!

When priming your tile, try to apply the primer moving the brush in one steady direction. Since I was painting over glass ceramic tile, moving the brush back and forth was causing brush strokes or lines to appear, very visibly. I noticed that when I applied the primer by moving the brush strokes in one direction, it reduced the appearance of brush strokes to the naked eye.

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Step Three: Paint Your Tile

Once your primer is dry, begin painting the tile. Again, you want to apply the paint with the bristle brush, moving in one direction, the same direction you applied the primer.

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Painting my ceramic tile took approximately two coats plus touch-ups on the grout.

While painting your tile, be sure that you are painting your grout. My tiles were originally brown with grey grout. So, it was very important that I painted the grout as well, to create a seamless look of white subway tile and white grout. For touch ups, I used a small sponge brush since the tip of the brush fit in the grout lines perfectly, without messing with the brush strokes on the tile itself.

 
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What do you guys think? Do you prefer the brown glass tile? I think the white subway look really brightened up the space and changed the energy of the room. I would love to know what you all think, so feel free to comment below!

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