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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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Buffalo boots

This week’s footwear trend focus is on buffalo boots and it’s quite possible that you’ve already owned a pair of these stacked-sole shoes in your youth – especially if you were a 90s teenager like me! Think back to the Spice Girls wearing platform trainers and you’ve got it! The look is all about nostalgia for the 90s and is growing in popularity. It is predicted to be one of the top youth market trends for Autumn/Winter 2014 and 2015 so if you like the look of these illuminated soles (and the extra height they give you!) get yourself a pair now safe in the knowledge that you’ll be bang-on-trend wearing them for the next two winters at least!

90s footwear trend buffalo boots for autumn winter 2014
Ashish autumn/winter 2014/15 catwalk, photograph by Marley Kate & light-up Ashish buffalo boot.

The whole look is pre-millennium-bug cyber girl: glitter, LEDs and computer-whites, cartoons and neon. This was pretty-much how I wanted to look in the 90s and I’m not sure that I can pull off this look now… but my little sister certainly can! She’s already been rocking high-top trainers for the past couple of years and this isn’t too far removed from that trend – it’s just been given a little extra cyber-oomph and a massive stack of foam!

If you want to know where you can buy similar platform footwear right now, there are some fab buffalo boots available at ASOS including my favourite unicorn high-tops and pink trainers below.

fashion trend buffalo boots and platform trainers for autumn winter 2015


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An interview about my little vintage caravan

Today I’m proud to tell you that I’ve been interviewed about my little vintage caravan makeover project by the fabulous writer Lela from the Simple Caravan Insurance blog. I’m really pleased with how this article turned out (see the original article here) and wanted to share the interview with you to give you a bit more of an insight into my caravan project.

book review of vintage caravan style by lisa mora

What made you choose the caravan model that you did for your makeover?

I chose this particular caravan for my project partly because of the low price (it was only £100!) and also because the Sprite has a cute curved shape. It was the kind of caravan that I’d conjured up in my mind’s eye as a “vintage” caravan, and I knew that it would look considerably nicer once it had been painted.

When conducting your makeover, did you have a plan from the get-go?

The only plan I had at the start of the project was to strip everything back and start from scratch with an empty shell. The old interior was so badly damaged that only the bases of the seats could be salvaged so once the interior has been removed I could see exactly where damp was coming in and what needed to be done, and only then was I able to make a to-do list. The design of the interior wasn’t planned out at all – all of the makeover decisions were made based on cost! The paint colours were chosen because I’d managed to pick up some end-of-line pots of paint, the wallpaper patchwork wall was made from ends of rolls, off-cuts from friends’ decorating and I even reused old paper that had stripped off my mum’s walls while she was decorating. All of the furniture was bought from charity shops or rescued from a skip, while my fabric was mostly thrifted – the seat covers are my in-laws’ old bed sheets! 

cassiefairy's original caravan

What has been the most difficult part of your caravan makeover so far?

The most difficult part of the makeover was replacing the window trims. It was easy to remove the old window seals because they were crumbling off and letting in a lot of leaks! But adding the new window trims took an entire-day because I needed to move the caravan in order to get access to the rear window and stretching the trim around the frame was complicated – no sooner than I had smoothed one piece into place than another piece would pop off! To make matters worse, I discovered that the side window was held in place with silicone and once this had been removed to fit the window trim, the glass started sliding out of the window and very nearly smashed on the floor! It has now been refitted but I still can’t open the window and it would be good to get it working, so that’s next on the ever-growing list!

 If you did the makeover again, what would you do differently?

I would possibly decorate the space differently, choosing coordinating wallpaper and paints for a more professional finish rather than throwing everything I could get my hands on at the walls! I think this would make the space more desirable if I were ever to sell the caravan in the future. But then again, I’m not intending make a profit nor am I ever planning to sell it, so I’m happy that is becoming ‘my’ space and it is very personal to me. As the project is still evolving I can continue to decorate it and add bits to my patchwork wall as I find them – I doubt it will ever really be ‘finished’!

cassiefairy - my little vintage caravan

What will be the primary use of the space?

 My initial plan for the caravan was to use it as a work space. It would be my version of a garden shed where I could keep all of my sewing equipment and an office space to run my blog Cassiefairy.com from. I use the table as a sewing and writing desk and am currently working on adding more storage space for fabrics and crafts. A second use for the caravan has emerged over the past year: it’s become a spare room. Our house doesn’t have a guest bedroom so when we have visitors either my husband and I will camp out in the caravan (and very cosy it is too!) or my visitors will ask if they can stay in the caravan. So it’s become a very useful second bedroom! It is a also a great space for family meals, because we can’t fit a group of 8/9 around our dining table indoors, but there’s plenty of room in the caravan for a long table and we’ve had many meals out there all year round!

The only thing that I don’t think it will be used for again is towing away for a holiday. This is a shame because I’d love to camp in it, but we needed to remove all the electrics when the caravan arrived (they were rather dodgy) so it would need a complete overhaul of lights for towing, as well as fitting a new electric hook-up point. Also, I’m worried that removing the interior fittings might have destabilised the structure because there is no internal bracing now that the cupboards, kitchen and wardrobe have been removed. I don’t know how much this affects the usability of the caravan but I think it’ll take a lot more work to get it back into towing-and-camping-condition!

little-vintage-caravan-project-diy-makeover

What is your favourite feature in the caravan?

My favourite feature in the caravan is the back window. This may sound like a strange favourite to choose, but it runs across the whole width of the caravan and it opens upwards on hinges to let in a lot of fresh air (a must when I’m working in there on hot summer days!) and I love listening to all the sounds of birds chirping in the garden. It lets in plenty of light so that I don’t need to plug in lamps and when you’re lying in the double bed at night you can pull back the curtains and see a wide-angle view of the stars.

What is left to do? Have you stuck to a timeframe or set a ‘due date’?

I have lots more left to do – some of which I’ve already mentioned: fix the side window so that it can be opened, build in some fitted storage for fabrics etc, paint the interior of the door (I like the idea of chalkboard paint there), add a chest of drawers for guests who stay in the caravan, lay slabs outside the caravan and plant a few flowers, find some steps to make it a little easier to hop in and out of the caravan and, if I’m being picky, I think the outside of the caravan need repainting already because it’s not looking as fresh as it did this time last year!

 Is another caravan makeover on the horizon after this one?

I certainly hope so! I’m completely hooked on caravans – I subscribe to Vintage Caravan Magazine and am always daydreaming about getting a caravan that I can actually tow and take away on holiday. I actually want a smaller caravan; just a little two-berth would be perfect for hubby and I to go away in for a weekend. I’ve found plenty of vintage caravans for sale that have already been renovated but I enjoyed the process so much that I’d like to get my hands on one that hasn’t been touched for years and give it a new lease of life.

Vintage caravan makeover project on Cassiefairy blog-6


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What’s in my bag…

I’m willing to bet that you too are carrying around at least one or two of the same things that I am in my handbag. I find it really interesting to see what other people have in their bags; it’s quite a private space and can reveal a lot about your personality. Actually, I never usually let others go rummaging through my bag unsupervised – who knows what they might find?! Even so, a handbag is an intriguing place and I’d love to share the contents of mine with you. I even find the choice of bag interesting, as it sometimes dictates what you can and can’t carry with you and obviously reflects your style.

Whats in blogger Cassiefairys handbag-1

What’s in my bag:

  • My bag is Paperbird by Disaster Designs – I told my husband that I would ‘never need another bag ever again’ if he bought it for me for Christmas. So I’ve not been allowed to so much as look at another bag since December 2011. It’s getting a bit battered and faded now and a pen leaked all over the lining, but it IS the most useful bag I’ve ever had and I use it daily.
  • My purse is an Accessorize one that my friend Claire bought for my birthday that same year, so now I don’t need to shop for purses anymore either! It’s great quality and can hold everything I need including business cards and a photo of hubby.
  • My camera is usually in my bag to record ideas and things I see, and I store it in a grey knitted case.
  • At the top left is a fold-out shopping bag from Joules – that’s the sort of thing my mum would carry, but I love it – as Tim Minchin sings; ‘take your canvas bags to the supermarket’.
  • Whats in blogger Cassiefairys handbag-2
  • Nivea lipbalm (there’s usually 3 of these hanging around in there) the best I’ve ever used and this one has an SPF too
  • My glasses and my lenses pot – just in case I have a contact lens disaster while I’m out and about
  • Speaking of disasters, I’m always prepared – I have a couple of safety pins, paracetamol, Carex anti-bacterial gel, Aveda hand cream (the best in the world) and a tape measure (hubby always needs one) tucked in the back pocket of my bag. Plus, on my keys is a screwdriver keyring: I like to be able to help when someone needs something.
  • Notebook (from Julia Rothman), pen and pencil –because I never stop working and I forget ideas really easily.
  • Stila Lipglaze in Rosebud that my US friend Leslie sent me and bargain Collection 2000 XXL Volume Sensation mascara for quick touch-ups
  • Sunglasses that my sister-in-law gave me – I carry these all year round because I hate squinting; I can’t afford the wrinkles!

Whats in blogger Cassiefairys handbag-3

That’s actually quite a lot to carry, and sometimes I’m also carting around my hubby’s wallet, iPad and a drink – that’s the trouble with having a large satchel handbag: everything can fit in and everyone asks me to carry their bits n bobs! I think that the contents of my bag show that I am well organised and ready for all eventualities, possibly a little pessimistic with all the ‘emergency’ items I keep with me, and quite ‘mumsy’, wanting to take care of everyone I’m with. If you don’t mine me being nosy (and sharing photos on my blog!) please do send me snaps of what’s in your handbag and this might well turn into a feature on the blog! Email me Cassie@Cassiefairy.co.uk

 


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Sewing tips to make a vintage dress fit

I am forever spotting gorgeous vintages dresses when I go for my weekly rummage in the charity shops but I am often put off from investing in an outfit because it is far too big for me. Last week, I tried on this vintage shirt dress from Oxfam, which was around 3 sizes too big for me, but I loved the (so on-trend!) tropical pattern of the fabric that I decided to give it a new home and see what I could do to make it fit me.

The dress didn’t have any labels in it, so it may well have been handmade in the first place so I didn’t feel too bad making adjustments to it, although that first cut is always difficult, because I don’t want to ruin something that has survived so many years! At least it will be worn if I can make it fit me, whereas it would be relegated to the back of my wardrobe if wasn’t brave enough to make any changes, so I got my scissors out and set to work.

before and after vintage dress

  1. First of all I put the dress on to see where the adjustments needed to be made. The shoulders were too wide, the side seams could be taken in about 6 inches and I wanted to make it into a knee length dress, otherwise it would be too long for me. So I pinned down the sides to make it fit, pinned up the shoulders and measured how much fabric would need to be removed in order to make it knee length.

  2. I began by stitching up the side seams by following the line of the pins to create a more figure-hugging shape, trimmed off the excess fabric and zig-zag stitched over the seam to prevent it from fraying.

Cassiefairy - sewing tips for shortening a vintage dress

  1. Instead of taking up the hem of the dress, which already had a perfect blind hem stitched in place, I decided to shorten the dress at the waist. So I cut the dress straight across at my waist point (a very scary moment – I needed to be brave!) which left me with a ‘top’ and a ‘skirt’.

  2. I used the measurement for the right length that I noted down whilst trying on the dress, which was 4 inches shorter, so I cut a strip 4 inches deep from the top of the skirt – cutting straight across again.

  3. I then reattached it by pinning the skirt around the bottom of the top, with the right sides of the fabric together. I zig-zag stitched around the middle to join the dress back together.

Now my vintage shirt dress is 4 inches shorter and about 6 inches smaller and fits me perfectly. After I tried on my new dress, I realised that the sleeves would look better if they were a little slimmer too, so I took in the sleeve seams by about an inch too. So next time you find a dress that you love which is too big for you, don’t dismiss it straight away. Think about what you can do to make it fit, and give the dress a new lease of life!

 

 

 


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My little vintage caravan ~ Pillows & cushions

Before the summer holidays were out, I fully intended to sleep in my caravan and camp out for a couple of nights while the weather is good. In fact, it’s sometimes a little too hot to sleep indoors so I thought that a night in the caravan would be ideal to cool off. I started looking for bedding and I was lucky enough to snap up this vintage Paddington Bear pillowcase at a table-top sale in a village hall.

vintage Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover vintage Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover-2

I really like the retro design and the fact that Paddington is beside the seaside – it makes me feel like my caravan could be anywhere. Plus the design reflects the lighthouse in the appliqué cushion that I’d previously made. Yesterday was the ideal night to camp out and we decided to stay in the caravan, watch the stars in the clear night-sky and fall asleep under the glow of the my pretty purple solar-powered fairy lights.

Retro Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover

It was very comfortable to sleep on the cushion pads that I’d re-covered and now all I need is a vintage-inspired duvet cover for the cooler months and my caravan will be a great place to sleep out all year round!

Also today is the last day to vote for Cassiefairy.com for the Best Lifestyle Blog award in the Cosmopolitan blog awards EEK! So please hop onto the Cosmo website and cast your vote TODAY – thank you SO much!