DIY Citronella Candles

Good morning!

I hope y’all had an awesome weekend; I know we did! We spent as much time outside as possible this weekend since Dallas decided to have some unbelievable late June weather (it was only 90). Of course, we had to fight off the giant, man-eating Texas mosquitoes with baseball bats… but that’s to be expected, right?

Well not anymore.

My lovely sister Steph is back with us today doing her very first guest post on how she makes her (amazing) homemade citronella candles to send those pesky skeeters packing.

Homemade Citronella Candles Little House. Big Heart.


Hey, Little House. Big Heart. readers!  I hope you like my recipe for homemade citronella candles! The regular store bought candles weren’t cutting it for us, so I decided to make my own!

  • What you need TO BUY:
    • Glass or metal containers: I originally planned to make my own using old tin cans, but I found these at a garage sale for free. They were the perfect colors, except the now blue buckets were once pink. I spray painted them to match Jess’ Talavera-themed patio.


    • Wax: I chose soy way from Hobby Lobby because it burns slower and cleaner. A 2lb bag made 5 candles. The cost was $9.99, but I waited until they had a sale on candle making supplies and snagged it for 50% off, $4.99.
    • Wicks: I bought the thickest wick I could find at Hobby Lobby which was also in a package containing 13 feet of wick. That was was way more than I needed but it was only $2.79 and also 50% off (so I only paid $1.39).
    • Wick Sustainers: Again I found these at Hobby Lobby for $2.49 for a pack of 20. They were also 50% off so I paid $1.24.
    • Pure Citronella Oil: I bought mine here at Bulk Apothecary. Because I wanted to make a lot of candles, I went ahead and purchased a larger quantity, 1lb for $24.36.
    • Additional Scents (if desired): I researched scents that go well with Citronella and found that both Lemon Verbena and Eucalyptus were recommended as complementary “smells”. The Lemon Verbena was $2.99 at Hobby Lobby for 0.5oz (only $1.49 after the 50% discount) and the Eucalyptus was $6.99 at Hobby Lobby for 0.5oz ($3.49 after the 50% discount).
    • Super Glue or Hot Glue (if you really want to be perfect)
  • What you need FROM HOME:
    • Measuring Cup
    • Microwavable Safe Bowl that you don’t care if it gets ruined
    • Spare or plastic fork
    • Teaspoon or if you have a baby or toddler in the house one of their medicine droppers works perfect.
    • Scissors
    • Pliers
    • A few sticks from the yard
    • A tarp, trash bag, or newspaper to work on if you want

    DIY Citronella Candle Ingredients


1)      Make sure your containers are clean

2)      Measure wicks so they stick up about 1.5” about the top of the container

3)      Slide your “cut to length” wicks through the wick sustainers (the little metal discs), then use needlenose pliers to pinch the wicks between the metal and secure them in place. Be sure you do not let too much of the wick show through the bottom of the sustainer or your wick will not sit evenly on the bottom of your candle. You make have to bend the circular metal part of the sustainer to straighten it back out after to pinch the wick in place.

4)      This is the step where you would glue your wick sustainer to the bottom of your container if you wanted. I chose not to do this, because well, honestly, I was being lazy. I didn’t have any super glue and was too lazy to hunt down the hot glue. Thank goodness I had little desire to be a perfectionist while making these!

5)      Next take the sticks you found in your yard and cut (or just break) them so they are a few inches larger than the “mouth” of your container.

6)      After your glue is dry, pull the wick up and tie it loosely to one of your sticks so they will be held in the center of your candle when you pour the wax. If you aren’t sure about the whole “stick from the yard” deal, Hobby Lobby does sells sticks that you can use for this purpose.

Wick Stick

7)      Now it’s time to melt your wax. Measure 5 cups of wax out and pour it into your microwavable safe container.

8)      Add your scents. Now, when I researched “how much citronella to add” all of the websites said 3-9 drops…… Upon “trial-and-error” I decided that 3-9 drops was no-where near enough for me. I mean, not even close. The whole reason I decided to make my own citronella candles was to make one that would definitely repel pesky bugs. With that being said, I added 3 teaspoons (or three droppers full) of citronella oil and ½ a teaspoon of either additional scent (but not both combined).

Wax and Essential Oils for DIY Citronella Candles

9)      If you want to add color to the wax, Hobby Lobby sells coloring in several different forms, liquid, wax, etc. I’ve also heard that you can add crayons for color, but I’ve not tried this nor do I think it would be the best solution.

10)   Melt the wax and scents in the microwave. It took my little microwave just 4 minutes to fully melt the wax and scents.

Melt Wax in Microwave

11)   Now use your “spare” fork and mix up your wax, be sure not to splash. Not all your wax will be melted when it comes out of the microwave, but that’s okay. Just keep stirring and it’ll all melt.

Melty Wax

12)   Pour your wax into your containers. If you can avoid it, try not to get the wax on your wick. However, if you do. It’s not a huge deal. It will melt off and the only problem it might cause is when you go to light the candle for the first time. It may be hard to get started and keep burning but once you get it fully lit there won’t be any issues.

Pour in your Wax for DIY Citronella Candles

13)   Once the wax has fully re-hardened, carefully untie your wicks from the sticks.

14)   Cut the wicks so they are just ¼ to 1/3 inch above the top of the hardened wax.

trim your wicks

15)   And, TA-DA! Light your candles and enjoy your BUG FREE outdoors.

Finished DIY Citronella Candles

DIY Citronella Candles Little House Big Heart

The candles above are for Jess (EDIT: I can’t wait to get them!), but we made lots more for home. You can make them in just about anything that’s not flammable. I hope you try them out because they’re seriously better than the ones you buy at the store!


Have you ever made homemade candles before? Do you think store-bought citronella candles even work? Do you have giant skeeters in your neck of the woods?


Lighting Bugs

I love Little House. I really do. And yet, just like any relationship, there’s a few things about her that just drive me bonkers (like the laundry room and the office carpet and the bathroom tile).

And then there’s the light fixture over kitchen sink. It drives me bananas! I’m not sure what it is about it that I hate so much, but I just don’t like it.

Kitchen Before

While Kevin and I were spring cleaning the kitchen last week, I took the fixture apart to clean it. When I put it back together, I forgot to add one of the pieces… and something magical happened.

The fixture got less ugly. The ones on the left were put back without the dish thingys (for lack of a better term), while the ones on the right were installed with them.

kitchen lights 2

To me, the fixture looks so much simpler without the additional dish things (does anyone know what they’re actually called?), so we went ahead and removed them from the two lights on the right.

What do you think? Which way would you leave the fixture? Do you think it’s as ugly as I do?

Raisin’ Some Cane

Things are a little slow around the Little House these days. We’re grilling, spring cleaning, and finishing up our backyard reno – but all that doesn’t leave much time for any other projects.

Luckily, I have an awesome sister who was willing to let me share one of her projects with you. Say hi to Steph (and Nate) everyone!

Steph and Nate for LHBH

Like Kev and me, Steph and Nate love hitting up thrift shops, auctions, and yard sales. Although, they’re much better at it than we are. Just this weekend they bought an antique piano for $5. Turns out it’s worth more than $1000!  And take a look at these Louix XV Cane chairs they scored for $40 (for the pair!!) from Goodwill.  Gorgeous, right?


Louis XV Cane Chair Repurpose Before 1

Louis XV Cane Chair Repurpose Before 2You’ll have to ignore Cojack. He’s lazy.

A quick search on Pinterest and Etsy will show you lots of examples of just how gorgeous these babies can be. Click on the photo below to be taken to the source.

Vintage Cane Chairs

Vintage Cane Chairs inspiration

Steph is currently in the middle of completely making over both chairs. When she’s done, we’ll be back with a play-by-play of exactly how she transformed her chairs from Goodwill to gorgeous.

For now, here’s a taste of the direction she’s going (and it’s awesome).

Louis XV Cane Chair Repurpose During

Does thrifting run in your family? Do you have the gene? Or are you at the shallow end of the thrifing gene pool?

A {Coffee} Table for Two

Last weekend, while waiting for a dinner reservation, Kevin and I stumbled on the mother of all thrift stores. It was huge! (If you’re in the Dallas area, it was the UGM Super Thrift in Irving right off of 183).

We had half an hour to kill, so decided to wander around a-la the Macklemore Thriftshop Challenge and see what we could find.

We found this beauty and took her home for just under $40.

thrift shop coffee table

coffee table

We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do with it yet (besides give it a good scrubbing), but right now I’m leaning towards a glossy navy paint job. I haven’t decided what I think about the goldish brass squares (part of me loves them, part of me isn’t so sure), but I do love the corner bracket details.

Heck, I may slap some 4″ foam on the top and upholster the dang thing. I don’t know yet.

What would you do with this thrift shop beauty? How do you feel about the gold squares? Have you found any great thrift shop finds lately?



Posted in DIY

Getting Your Chevron On

Good morning! Kevin and I are headed back to the USA today! When this post goes up we’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic. We’re so excited for our last guest post, though! 

I know Carissa from church and love her blog! She has an adorable son and writes about being a mommy, DIY, and a little bit of everything else. Check out her blog, Hooked on the Howards!


First of all, Thank you Jess and Kevin for all of your tips and tricks when it comes to DIY! I think I speak for everyone when I say you inspire me to get projects done around my house.

When we moved into our house, we had absolutely no furniture in our guest room, office, dining room or what is now Landry’s room. We have slowly started working on each room in our house. We’ve painted (a little) and bought some furniture. One of my New Year’s goals was to finish the guest bedroom. So today I would like to show you the new window treatment!
Here is the before picture.
It’s not bad, but I wanted it to be cuter and more inviting. We had the curtains from our apartment, so we just hung them in there. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the curtains are tan and the bed spread is yellow, so they don’t match at all!
window cornice
Materials needed:
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric of your choice (measure your window to find out how much you will need 1yd = 3ft)
  • Batting of some kind (I bought fake snow that you would lay on a table around Christmas time. I got it after Christmas for 75% off. It worked perfect for what I needed)
  • Plywood – we used .25″ thick plywood, but the hubby said it was hard to cut because it splintered. So if you can get thicker plywood, I recommend it.
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • 2X4
Step 1:
Measure your window and cut the wood. Make sure you account for the wall between the edge of the cornice board and the window. If you cut it too short you won’t have any over hang.
Step 2:
We attached the side we used 2X4s as our sides. We also cut one at a diagonal so to allow us to hang it (more on that later).
Step 3:
Cut the batting, make sure you leave some for overlap so you can staple it.
Step 4:
Go outside and spray the wood and the batting. Put a nice thick layer on, then wait a few minutes for it to get tacky. Every spray is different, so read the instructions to know how long to wait.
Step 5:
Once both piece are tacky, put them together and bring them inside.
Step 6:
Lay the fabric pattern side down. Make sure everything is lined up straight. (I was using a chevron pattern I had to line everything up and make sure it was straight. If you are using other fabrics you might not have to do that.)
Step 7:
Start Stapling. We saved the corners for last and got the sides done first. Remember you can always add more staple, but it is very hard to remove them without ripping the fabric. So less is more in the beginning.
Step 8:
The corners, there really is no easy way.
Step 9:
Hang. This is where our diagonal cut comes into play. I did not want to screw or nail through the fabric, so my husband (being the genuis that he is) screwed one board cut at a diagonal to the board before we started and the other to the wall cut at the opposite angle. This way all we had to do set them on top of each and the board slid towards the wall and stayed.
Here is the after picture! I love how it turned out! (I used the leftover fabric to make a decorative pillow to tie the whole look together.)
Before and After:

Paint: 7 Ways to Wow

Good morning! Today we left Rome for the last stop on our Europe trip, a 24-hour layover in London! We’re so excited to be back in the UK but so not ready for this trip to be over! To help us finish it in style we have Krystle from Color Transformed Family here today to teach us seven ways you can transform your home with paint!

Not only is Krystle a phenomenal blogger and mom to a gorgeous baby girl, but she and her husband are working towards adopting a child from Hong Kong! Their story is really inspiring, so be sure to check out their (ongoing) adoption story!


Hi! My name is Krystle and I am so excited to be guest posting here at Little House Big Heart today while Jessica is off having a wonderful time in Europe! I’m the girl behind the blog, Color Transformed Family, where I like to share all things design, family, and life changing happening in our lives.

 photo colortransformedfamilyheader.jpg

Today I thought it would be fun to look at:

7 Ways to Use Paint

1. Furniture
Painting furniture is a great way to do a quick update to a room as well a give an old piece of furniture new life.
 photo after.jpg

My husband and I found this old Duncan Phyfe table for twenty bucks at a yardsale. It had seen better days and was quite beat up but with a little sanding and some paint it’s hard to recognize it now. The best part is that I made my own chalk board paint for the top of the table so that I kids can draw color on it!
Painted furniture is also a great way to add bold color to the room. Like we did with this changing table in my daughter, Noah’s room.

 photo dresser.jpg

2. Artwork
Creating your own artwork is a great way to decorate your house on a budget. Craft stores are great about offering a two for one or 50% discount on canvases and craft paint is super inexpensive. If you don’t feel brave enough to get your Monet on just yet another affordable way to update your home decor is to give an old frame a fresh coat of paint…or give new life to some old pottery with just a few coats of paint. photo DSCN4922.jpgBoth of these projects can be completed in an afternoon and if you are brave enough… get the kids to help.

3. Wall/Cover Plates photo DSCN3938copy.jpg
Ok. This one is super easy. If you live an older home like me your probably have inexpensive beige (or white if you’re lucky) cover plates for your light switches and electrical sockets. Replacing them with satin nickel or bronze cover plates can become expensive quickly. However, with a little spray paint you can update your existing ones and it will only set you back a couple of bucks. We did this last summer to our cover plates in our bedroom and now almost one year later they are still holding up well. No scratches or chipped paint on any of them!

4. Walls
At first this one seems like an obvious way to use paint. Coat a brush and spread it on the walls. Right? Well, yeah. But you can also add a silver metallic glaze over the paint for a super elegant accent wall or maybe a touch of shimmer for your powder room. photo after.jpgThis project may take a day or two but is sooo worth it in the end.

5. Planters photo backyard.jpgBig colorful planters look great on a deck or integrated into your landscape design. Bright vivid colors really stand out against all the green foliage. If all you have on hand is old plastic planters don’t run out to buy new ones just take some time to give your existing ones new life with a little spray paint. A few coats of paint and they look like new. Plus it will be easy to update them in a few years if your color preferences change.

6. Knife Stand
 photo finishedstand.jpg
This cute idea I saw on Pinterest and just had to give it a try myself. Update your plain jane knife stand with a fresh coat of paint to match your kitchen decor. We are currently in the long DIY process of renovating our kitchen. I went straight from painting the walls Sherwin William’s Lemon Chiffon to painting our knife stand the same color. I love how it brings a little of the Lemon Chiffon to the counter areas and dresses up the look of the previously drab knife stand. This could potentially be done with several items in your kitchen… recipe stand, flower vase, picture frames.

7. Glass (in the medicine cabinet)
Painting glass is great for privacy and an easy way to add some color to an otherwise bland room. Is anyone catching a drift here? Need some color… paint!
 photo DSCN3613.jpg
My name is Krystle and I struggle with organization. There I said it. Haha! So painting the glass in our medicine cabinet was the perfect solution to hiding all our junk. This same method could be used elsewhere too. For instance with vases.

The list above is definitely not an exhaustive list of different ways to use paint but it’s enough to get your creativity juices flowing. What are some of the creative and unique ways you have used paint? What is your favorite paint medium… acrylic, oil, spray, latex?

I want to give another huge “Thank You” to Jessica for letting me be her guest blogger for today. I hope to see you all soon over at Color Transformed Family.

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on:

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or RSS.

Feeling Bubbly

Hey bloggy friends! Kevin and I are headed to Florence today! Our trip is almost half over already – I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

Today we have one of my best blog friends, Ashley from Attempts at Domestication, here to teach us how to make her adorable burlap bubble wreath! It’s one of my favorite projects she’s done so far, but be sure to head on over to her blog and check out some of her other awesome projects (like her gorgeous nightstands and DIY dining room curtains)!


Hello there LHBH readers! I’m Ashley from Attempts At Domestication, it’s so nice to meet you! 🙂

While Jess and Kevin are soaking up the luxuries of Europe I’m here sharing some one of my favorite seasonal DIY projects, making wreaths. My favorite wreath I’ve made to date is my burlap bubble wreath.


All you need is about 2 yards of burlap, a foam wreath form, and a pack of sewing pins. If you want to make a wreath like this you really need to use foam, it makes it WAY easier. Start by wrapping a few strips of burlap around the form, so there’s no white foam poking through and pin it in place. I had already jumped into the project at this point but you get the idea.


Now it’s time to make your “bubbles”. Start with a piece of burlap that’s around 4″x4″ (I definitely didn’t measure each square, just eyeball it).


1. Fold the square in half to make a triangle by bringing two corners together. (I used the blue pin to help show you which way I was folding and pinning.)

2. Bring the left corner of the triangle down and line it up with the bottom corner on the front side.

3. Fold the right corner down and line it up on the back side. This is your “bubble.”

4. Pin the bubble to you wreath. It helps if you try to pin it behind the other bubble to hide your pins. I really had to do this since I used colored pins. (They were on sale ;))


Keep going around the circle until you have a full wreath. Don’t worry about decorating the back, unless you really want to, but the wreath will lay flatter on your door without bubbles on the back.


The best part about this wreath is that it can be decorated differently for each season. In the fall I attached a few leaves and some brown ribbon…


…and in the spring I made some fun fabric flowers to brighten things up.


If any of you try this project out I hope you’ll let me know! Happy crafting!

Thanks so much for having me Jess! I hope you’re having a blast! 🙂

Chippity-Doo-Dah, Chippity-ay!

Good morning! Kevin and I landed in Munich about fifteen minutes ago (3:45pm local time, 8:45am CDT), so our vacation has officially started!  And here to help us kick it off in style is Kelly from Corner of Main!

Kelly is truly a girl after my own heart! She’s an engineer-turned-eye-doctor and has not just one, but two Kevins in her life: her hunky husband and her incredibly cute baby boy!  On her blog she shares tons of great DIY ideas, recipes, and pictures of her adorable Kevins.

She’s got a great post for you today, so read up here and then head over to Corner of Main to check out more of her blog! Oh, and thanks Kelly!


Hi Everyone! It’s Kelly from Corner of Main. Thanks so much for letting me stop by, Jess and Kevin! Today I am bringing you an awesome tip that I read in This Old House Magazine. It’s a simple way to touch up chipping paint without having to drag out a big ol’ gallon of paint or clean brushes (or all the other fun that comes along with painting).

PaintBeforeAndAFterThis is a Before and After photo of a wall in our nursery. The chair rail was painted white when we moved in, and we put more white paint over it. Unfortunately we realized that whoever painted over the wood trim initially either didn’t sand the wood or didn’t use primer, because it is constantly chipping now! This wall happens to be right behind our rocking chair, so it gets banged into daily. We don’t really feel like stripping the paint, starting from scratch, or lugging the gallon of paint upstairs every other day, so we have been living with the dings…until last week that is!

A couple of months ago I read a great tip in This Old House Magazine and I am happy to share it with you! An easy way to touch up paint without having to deal with the mess and clean up of painting is to fill a small nail polish bottle with your paint color and use it as needed. Genius! As soon as I read this tip I knew I was going to try it in the nursery. It took me a while, but eventually I took out an old bottle of nail polish and some nail polish remover…


I used clear polish just in case there was any pigment leftover (I doubt that was necessary, but I figured what the heck). I began by pouring what was left in the polish bottle in the trash. I then attempted to remove the remainder by pouring nail polish remover into the bottle. This did not work…so definitely skip that step! Go right to the acetone. Kevin had some in the basement, and because it is so strong it worked like a charm. I filled the little bottle up with acetone, closed it up, shook it around, poured it out, and boom…


Clean bottle and brush all ready for paint!

I then made a small funnel with an old water bottle and painters tape (I just had some laying around, I am sure any type of tape would be fine). Obviously I then used the funnel to pour the paint into the tiny bottle.

CollagewithfunnelMake sure you put something on your table first…if you are anything like me you will spill/blob/drip paint all over.


So, that’s it! Now you are ready to do some touching up! This idea can be used for so many things. I know we can use it in our dining room…one too many dog toys hitting the wall has caused some paint to chip off the trim, or in the kitchen…our painted kitchen cabinets have seen better days and I don’t know if we are ready to repaint all of them. So many possibilities!

What do you think? Do you have any chipping paint that could benefit from this? Do you have any other painting tips?

Handyman Wednesday: Replacing Spark Plugs

Hi everyone, Kevin’s here giving Jess the day off and providing you with another Handyman Wednesday.

We had a sad moment this weekend.  We went to start up our power-washer, and it wouldn’t work.  It’s a really nice power washer, too.  Here’s a link to it.  We got it from Sears Outlet for $200 almost 2 years ago.  If you haven’t read this post from last summer, now’s a good time to.

Craftsman 3000 psi pressurewasher

Ok, back to the problem.  It wouldn’t start. We pulled, and pulled, and pulled.  This model doesn’t have a choke on it, so there’s not much you can do but check the oil, gas, flip the switch on, and pull (really nice when if it works).  Jess and I, after careful online research, decide to replace the spark plug.  If we could fix it ourselves, we would avoid the $89.99 fee Sears charges to fix it.  Spark plugs are also really cheap ($2-$5).

Sparkplug for Powerwasher

Signs you may need to replace spark plugs:

1.  Engine is very hard to start (or won’t start)

2. Engine will “miss” and not develop power it should

3. Backfire caused by un-exploded gasoline going through your muffler


Fortunately, this is a VERY easy repair.  Here’s the steps.

1. Find the spark plug.  It’s about 2″ (5 cm) long and should have a wire with a rubber head connected to it.

2. Pull off the rubber head with your hands.  It doesn’t require tools.

3. Get a deep socket and socket wrench and remove the spark plug.  This will take some turning as there are a lot of threads on a socket.

Remove Sparkplug

5. Go buy a new spark plug at your hardware store (make sure the numbers on the side of the spark-plug match).

6.  Put it on the same way you took it off.  Push the black rubber wire back on, and you’re done!

Replace Sparkplug

If it still doesn’t work, you didn’t need to replace the spark plug.  We had this happen, as we pulled and pulled to no avail.  So Jess looked at the manual and saw that it had a 2 year warranty! Hooray!  We took it to the local Sears Repair Center and dropped that puppy off.  In 10 days, we’ll get it back or get a new one for free!  I love Sears.


Have you ever had tools fail on you?  Why do girls go to the bathroom in groups (seriously)?  If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?  If you cut off a glowworm’s tail would it be delighted?  If scientists were ever going to figure out how to travel through time, wouldn’t we now be seeing people from the future?  If you don’t pay your exorcist, do you get repossessed?