Tag Archives: refinish

Frugal Refinishing

I lovingly refer to our home as Creekside Manor.  It sits on a hill overlooking a tributary of the Ohio River here in beautiful West Virginia.

Here’s the view from off the back porch looking down the hill.

Due to the setting, we’ve opted for a more rustic country style of decorating, some left by the previous owner and some that we’ve added ourselves.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I live together with a dear friend of almost 30 years and her husband (a.k.a. Bestie & Handy Husband)

This is most of the house, looking up from the hill.

Well Handy Husband was doing his usual handy things around the house.. in this case, finally making sense of the basement with our two combined households of boxes after the move and holidays, when he came upon this rustic gem!


You may recall I did a post on Chemical-Free Furniture Makeovers a while back and decided to use the same method to clean up this piece.

Since I’m not overly thrilled with before and after shots, I decided to do this in halves to show you how significant the difference is.  I washed it with a sponge and some hot water with a little Dawn in it to remove all the dust and dirt.

These are the only “tools” I used… a wet sponge, a terry cloth dish towel and my oil & vinegar mixture.

Then I made a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part grapeseed oil (you can use vegetable oil if you’d like) and then blasted it in my Magic Bullet so it didn’t separate.  I’ve whisked it together with a fork before and it works fine, but I love my Magic Bullet and it takes less energy.

I dipped the end of the terry cloth dish towel into the oil & vinegar mixture and rubbed it into the wood in a circular motion.  That’s it!  Just let the mixture soak into the wood.


TADA!  So here it is.  I used some pale yellow paint that matches the kitchen walls in the grooves for the lettering.  I wanted them to stand out more.  That’s it.

I think maybe in the future I may go over it with a little bit of sanding paper since there seems to be a thin layer of varnish in spots.  But for right now, this is how it’s staying.

The total project took about 45 minutes, and that’s including the lettering. Only about 30 minutes just for doing the wood.  And since this piece was found and not purchased, the total cost was far less than a quarter!  It doesn’t get any more frugal than that!

Potato Box

All that with no chemicals, no fumes, nothing that’s going to ruin the house if it gets spilled and it didn’t matter that I did it indoors in the winter.  Of course you know what this means don’t you?  I can’t wait till yard sale season!



Chemical-Free Furniture Makeover

It’s frugal!  It’s easy! It’s non-toxic!

Breathe new life into the pieces you’ve got, or pick up something that looks rather “lived in” for a bargain at a yard sale.

When I was a kid, my mother got a huge beautiful desk that was beat to death.  So many coats of varnish, the only thing scarier was the amount of toxins and fumes used to strip that down and refinish it. (Hey, it was the 70’s… what didn’t have chemicals, right?)   After that I decided that I would never go through that.  When I found this my wheels started turning.  Boy to I have my project picked out now and you will too!

Table Makover 1

Use a mixture of: 

1 part oil (vegetable, olive, grapeseed, etc.)

1 part vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)


Mix together, dip a cloth in it and wipe.  That’s it!

So simple and safe, you can even have the kids help and not worry!


Table Makeover      Table Makeover 3

 Turn this….                   …. and this, 

Table Makeover 6        Table Makeover 5

Into this!

Be sure to check out my Frugal Refinishing project too!

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