Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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How does your garden grow? Finished veggie patch

I now declare this veggie patch… open! It’s planted up with runner beans, peas, squash, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, chillis, lettuce and herbs, plus a gooseberry bush and blackberry plant in the side border and fruit trees in the corner of the garden. At the moment it looks really neat and tidy – the way I’d like it to stay, but I’m sure it won’t be long before the place starts looking like a disused allotment. I’m already finding it difficult keeping the herbs alive – I’m pretty sure that I killed off that basil and coriander and it wasn’t anything to do with the fact that I’d planted a supermarket ‘living herbs’ pot in the garden. Oh well! I’ve sprinkled some basil seeds where the plant once lived and I’m hoping for the best…

Everything seems to be taking ages to grow. I know it’s not the fastest process, growing plants, but I expected the runner beans to at least have started trailing themselves up the canes by now! I keep wrapping their little tendrils around the canes to encourage them! The things that are growing well are the tomato plants in the greenhouse. They have already needed additional support from canes and I’ve remembered to water them (most of the time!) so they are growing upwards and outwards rather well. We’ve just added a couple of lines of peas that we bought from a plant seller at the car boot sale but they’ve just started flowering in pretty colours and looking suspiciously like sweat peas, oops!

Even though I might not be the best at growing plants just yet, I’m sure you’ll agree that the garden has come a long way from its bare grass beginnings (see my first garden blog post here). The new veggie patch has really added some interest to the garden and the patio has added some much-needed outdoor living space for summer!

 I still cant believe that Cassiefairy.com has made it onto the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 shortlist for Best Lifestyle Blog! It would mean the world to me if you would vote for my blog before voting closes on 29th August – thank you SO much!


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My ‘new’ vintage dress ~ the repairs

It’s taken a little longer than I’d hoped, but my vintage dress is finally fixed!

It was mostly down to my laziness over the summer holidays that delayed the repairs but I spent an evening at my sewing machine this week and cracked on with it. My second excuse for the delay is that there was actually more to do to the dress than I’d initially thought. I knew that the sides needed to be repaired – both were split under the arms – but the length and the front of the dress were an altogether more difficult project that I’d imagined. Here are my photos of the ‘easy’ repair, when I ran a simple straight stitch up the sides of the dress and along the arms to rejoin the split seams:

The front of the dress was slightly harder to manage: I didn’t like how the fabric rolled over at the front and no amount of pressing would make it lie flat, so I thought that a little bit of understitching would solve the problem. Unfortunately, the fabric continued to roll outwards even after I’d understitched it, so I tried to re-hem the edge altogether. Again, the fabric rolled out and looked untidy, so I decided that there was only one thing for it: stitch the wrap front to the internal vest so that it became one piece. Thankfully, this worked and now the wrap front lies flat and looks tidy!

Changing the length of the dress was really rather straightforward, once I’d got my head around it! I liked the pattern along the existing hem and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to made a nice job of taking it up and re-hemming the skirt. So I decided to take it up at the waistband instead. I bravely (or stupidly?!) chopped the skirt off the dress at the waistband and shortened the top of the skirt by 3 inches all round. I then pinned the skirt inside the top section, with right sides together, and stitched all the way around the skirt to reattach it.

Thankfully the elasticated waistband helped to ease the skirt into the top and it is now a knee-length dress on me and looks much nicer! Here’s a photo of before the chop and the length afterwards:

So my bargain buy at the Americana Day might have taken me a bit of time and a lot of head-scratching to repair, but now that it’s finished I m delighted! I’m sure I will get a lot of use out of this dress, and because of the dark colour, I think it will be a year-round outfit so I look forward to wearing it with tights and boots this winter too!

 I still can’t believe that Cassiefairy.com has made it onto the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 shortlist for Best Lifestyle Blog! It would mean the world to me if you would vote for my blog before voting closes on 29th August – thank you SO much!


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How does your garden grow? My greenhouse

Last week, I mentioned that we’d finished off the raised beds for the veggie patch and were in the process of completing the gravel path. The side border hadn’t been finished off so I today wanted to share some photos of the side raised bed ‘before and after’ and let you know that I’ve finally planted some herbs in the massive herb planter beside the patio!

I’m also excited to tell you that we’re at the stage of putting up a greenhouse. We bought this greenhouse second-hand from a neighbour and we able to take out the glass and simply carry it into our garden – the aluminium frame was that light. I decided to wash all the panes of glass before they went back into the frame. Everything was going really well, and the glass was coming up nice and sparkling clean, until I lost concentration for a moment and managed to slice my thumb on the glass – ouch! I took a long tea break before carrying on with the cleaning and we put the greenhouse back together again. All in all, the whole process took about 3 hours.

 

We decided to put the greenhouse straight onto the ground and put a couple of slabs in the middle so that we had somewhere to stand inside the greenhouse.  We dug up the grass and added new compost to the soil before planting a few varieties of tomato – it’s a start anyway! In one of the raised beds we planted courgettes and squash in each of the corners, which we had bought from the car boot sale for 75p each plant.  The herbs also came from the carboot sale and we’re just buying a few at a time whenever we see them. We already had a pot of spearmint and some chives, but the rest of the herbs are ‘new’ to us from the market or carboot sale for £1.50 or less including thyme, rosemary, oregano and tarragon. We haven’t been able to find sage anywhere so we have taken a cutting of sage from our parents’ garden and hopefully we’ll be able to grow a plant from this!

As you can see from the photos, we’ve (almost!) finished the gravel path and we’ve spread wood chippings either side of the greenhouse to make the whole area look neat and hopefully the weed-resistant membrane beneath will keep the weeds at bay for now! More updates to come next week…

easy recipe for banana bread bites-5


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The Great Blogger Bake Off ~ My recipe for Banana Bread Bites

In honour of #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff, which is taking place each Wednesday to coincide with The Great British Bake Off, I have decided to move my regular Pieday Friday recipe column to Wednesdays for the duration of the series. I thought that two recipes each week might be a little too difficult even for me to achieve, so it’s now one recipe each week, on a Wednesday, based on the theme set on GBBO. This week it is bread and of course I didn’t just make a standard loaf. Oh no, I went for it with a big batch of banana bread and customised the recipe that I found on the BBC website by adding juicy sultanas and making banana bread ‘bites’ using a square muffin baking tin, rather than a loaf. Here’s the recipe:

285g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, ½ tsp salt, 110g butter, 225g caster sugar, 2 free-range eggs, 4 ripe bananas, 85ml of milk mixed with 1½ tablespoon of lemon juice, two handfuls of sultanas, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Here’s how I did it:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar together before adding the 2 eggs, mashed bananas, milk and vanilla extract and mixing well. Sieve the flour, barcarbonate and salt on top of the sugar mixture and fold in. Grease a muffin tin and spoon the banana mixture in. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Eat warm with a dollop of ice cream, or leave to cool and pop in your packed lunch box for tea break!

 I still cant believe that Cassiefairy.com has made it onto the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 shortlist for Best Lifestyle Blog! It would mean the world to me if you would vote for my blog before voting closes on 29th August – thank you SO much!


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ His & Hers

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were out at an event with some friends when one of our pals drew attention to our footwear. There was pointing and a cry of ‘His & Hers!’ as they spotted that we had chosen, completely independently, to each wear a pair of tan brogues; mine from Clarks (which I wrote about earlier in the year) and his from the carboot sale (they have also popped up in a Tuesday Shoesday blog post on 50p shoes recently!). Okay they weren’t exactly the same – mine were boots and his were shoes, but it was noteworthy enough that our male friend thought to comment on it and we took a photo. I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t noticed this when we were getting ready in the morning. Our tastes are gradually merging and we are becoming one person..!

tuesday shoesday fashion footwear - his n hers brogues

The same thing has happened again this month. We’ve been shopping online and were both choosing a new pair of shoes when we made another ‘his & hers’ decision without realising it. Hubby had previously got some grey Farli Limit shoes from Clarks (which are so pretty that I wrote about them) and found that they were so comfortable that he wanted to get the same style of brogues but in the midnight blue colour.

The coincidence that I’m talking about today is the fact that I (completely independently!) ordered two pairs of ladies brogues from Clarks too. I picked two pairs of Hamble Oak brogues; in stone and in navy blue but when I came to check out, only the navy shoes were in stock in my size. So this week the postman delivered hubby’s Farli Limit brogues in navy blue nubuck and my still-in-stock Hamble Oak brogues in navy blue suede. Can you believe it?! We’ve done it again! I think it’s really rather nice that we have such similar tastes and that we like the same styles, but I think we should be careful about wearing the same shoes at the same time! A regular occurrence in our household is that I’ll be getting ready for a day out with my husband and will put on jeans and a burgundy jumper, for example. Hubby will get ready, then as we are about to leave the house we will look at each other and realise that he too is wearing jeans and a burgundy jumper. It happens all year round – my wardrobe seems to have accidentally coordinated with his - and we often make the same choices without realising. The only time we are guaranteed to be wearing something completely different is if I put on a floral dress in the summer!

blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_

blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-3

The same thing used to happen with me and my best friend; we would go shopping independently and would end up buying the same clothes. On more than one occasion I’ve worn on a skirt and she too has turned up with the exact same skirt – and neither of us even knew that the other had bought it. Even recently, when we are living in completely different counties at opposite ends of the country, we have bought the same dress! Just call me Cassie the Chameleon.

blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-2

blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-4

Anyway, our shoes from Clarks arrived and I couldn’t resist taking these photos as we tried out our new shoes at the beach. Although we might not wear them at the same time again, I don’t really mind if we do. I think it’s nice that we have similar tastes (not least because we both love brogues of all colours!) and at least we’ll never criticise each others choices  :) Let me know if anything similar has happened to you with a partner or friend and tweet me @Cassiefairy your photos of your ‘his & her’s shoe or outfits.

blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-5

 I still can’t believe that Cassiefairy.com has made it onto the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 shortlist for Best Lifestyle Blog! It would mean the world to me if you would vote for my blog before voting closes on 29th August – thank you SO much!