dining room chairs

DIY: Rejuvenate Dining Room Chairs for a Few Bucks

dining room chairs
Old on the left, new on the right.

Embarrassing. Cringe-worthy.

Recovering the cushions on well-used dining room chairs is a must…and relatively easy if it’s simply covering up the old cushions with new cloth. Continue reading “DIY: Rejuvenate Dining Room Chairs for a Few Bucks”


The Tightwad’s Notebook: Lesson #17–Take Advantage of Spray Paint for Dated Items

The Tightwad’s Notebook: Lesson #17–Take Advantage of Spray Paint for Dated Items

spray painted mirror
We freshened up an old mirror frame by spray painting it black to match our console table. The original frame (over two decades old), was drab natural oak. But, since I wasn’t willing to part with over $200 for the black glass mosaic mirror I really wanted, updating this mirror with inexpensive left-over spray paint was the best option for now (but it’s been over a year since we’ve had this mirror up over our console table).

Even for non-DIYers, spray paint is the way to go to update interior and exterior home items such as frames, outdoor furniture, indoor light fixtures (who knew?) Continue reading “The Tightwad’s Notebook: Lesson #17–Take Advantage of Spray Paint for Dated Items”

Inexpensive Homemade Furniture Polish Using Olive Oil

diy polish
The ingredients to making amazing furniture polish for pennies–olive oil, vinegar, essential oils for fragrance.

A little goes a long way when it comes to making this low-cost homemade furniture polish that smells great, and shines up your wood.

I came across a furniture polish recipe I really, really like, cheap and easy to make, and all you need is a dab to buff on the furniture. To make this amazing non-toxic wood furniture polish, take a look at this recipe adapted from the Do It Gorgeously book by Sophie Uliano. I made some up in a little bowl at first just to test it out and I could not believe my eyes. So, I whipped up a small batch and used it again on the same worn table. I just love the sheen.

diy polish on table
The lower half of my worn console table is buffed with diy polish, the upper half is not. Enlarge the photo to see the difference–it’s very subtle at this size. But…in person, the sheen is so wonderful, so is the fragrance. Thank you, Sophie Uliano!

Here’s the recipe:

Mix in a bowl the following: (I make 1/2 of this recipe because you really don’t need much to polish/buff a table.)

-1 cup inexpensive olive oil (don’t use extra virgin)

-1/4 cup white vinegar

-1/4 tsp of each essential oil (I like to mix orange/tangerine with lemon which is what Sophie suggests, but you can use your favorite essential oil fragrance; also add more essential oil if you’d like. Or, if you’re out of essential oil, by all means, use a bit of lemon juice.)

-Put in a bottle (empty shampoo bottle or small glass container, that sort of thing). Use a tiny bit (dime-size dollup) on a dry rag and buff into wood.

Store the mixture covered in a cool dry place.

 Your furniture will thank you!

If you have any favorite furniture polish recipes, please let TFF know!

UPDATE November 2012: I noticed a Pintrest commenter who said a few weeks after using this polish her furniture felt sticky-ish. I haven’t had that problem at all and I use it on wood tables with heavy traffic. I would suggest extra buffing to work the polish in and then off the furniture. Perhaps the recipe was a bit off and there was too much oil in the mix. Not sure, but again, never had this problem on various pieces of wood. ~Marilyn, TFF

Taking a Little Breather — Repurposing Fairfield Beach’s Finest Shells

Use up your Fairfield Beach shells by making a wreath. Photo: TwoFrugalFairfielders

No, we don’t pretend to be Martha Stewart! But, we are inspired by the wonderful handmade wreaths and other front door decorations that we see on homes as we pass by them on the way to the Fairfield marina and beaches. We hope this will spark some ideas on what to do with your collections of shells that may be gathering dust in a bowl in your own home.

During our well-deserved break today from work, we did manage to use up most of the hundred or so shells collected from our jaunts over the years to Fairfield beaches. Grapevine wreath–$3.99 from craft store, glue gun, an hour, assortment of shells, and we were done.  But we do need to buy our silk ribbon in order to hang it up.

(It beats paying $30-$40 and up for a similar item from a catalogue or store.)

Note: The starfish are fake from The Christmas Tree Shop–they were gathering dust on the porch!

DIY Basement Redo


We’re renovating our basement by ourselves. It was always partially finished, but we need more living space (living in a ranch house, there’s always a need for more space….) so we decided to make it nicer with drywall (as opposed to cheap panelling that’s up now), insulation, a new ceiling and floor, plus built-ins for storage and television. We interviewed three great contractors and were quoted from $9,500 to over $20,000–not including upgrading electric and adding a zone of heat. We decided to do it ourselves–my husband is an experienced diy’er and we estimated $3-5,000 in materials for the job.

We’re on our way, we’ve tackled new basement windows, upgraded electric, now framing and boxing. We’re taking the long road, but paying out in cash a little at a time so we don’t tap into our home’s equity. It’s not easy, but it’s the choice we made to save at least several thousand dollars and do it our way in cash. I’ll post updates along the way.

(posted by Marilyn)