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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Workshop number 2

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few weeks you won’t have been able to miss the fact that I’m currently renovating an old caravan. I’m painstakingly replacing window trims and waterproofing skylights, decorating inside-and-out and looking for storage solutions so that I can use my caravan as a workshop. Yes, very soon I’ll be able to sit in my caravan to do all my sewing projects and to write my blog  and I can’t wait!

The only problem is that hubby has seen the transformation of caravan-to-office and he likes it. In fact, I think he’s getting a little jealous that I have a space of my own while he has no man-cave to speak of.  Okay, he’s got the shed where he shoves all his tools and junk and quickly closes the door before it all falls out again. But he’s got no workspace, and for an artist, that’s pretty bad new. And not just for him; it’s bad news for me too, as paper and brushes and materials are strewn about the living room whenever he wants to make a piece of work. So really, he needs a workspace and that’s where our story starts…

Not content with the ample size of a caravan, hubby wants a serious workshop. It’s going to take up half the garden, or so he says, and it will be insulated, with a proper roof and heating. It will basically be another room in the garden, but with the title ‘man cave’. While he insists that my caravan looks cute and retro, apparently another caravan in the garden will look ‘messy’ and simply would not do. No, he wants double glazing, VELUX® windows and a sturdy door. Possibly even a door mat. This really is going to be a second home, isn’t it?

moodboard for art studio building including VELUX windows office

So before we’ve even finished work on my caravan, I’ve started gathering inspiration from all over the Internet – you know me, I love a mood board! So here are a few of the ideas (above) that I’ve come up with for hubby’s workshop-to-be and you can find the photo sources directly on our shared ‘man cave’ board on Pinterest. I’ve used images in cooperation with VELUX online after browsing their range of windows to get ideas for hubby’s workshop. Despite his ‘technical’ drawings of the building, and even an artist’s impression that he showed me yesterday, I still think might be a long time before he actually gets round to building it… And do we really want to be starting another project right now? at this time of year? when it’s cold outside?? I’m thinking no, but hubby is thinking go, go, GO!

So what do you think of our ideas? Do you think a bit of man space is essential? I know I’m loving having my girly world in my caravan, so perhaps he needs his own space as much as I do? Well see how this project goes and of course I will keep you updated!

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Time for a spring clean – in the summer…

When the sun comes out, my thoughts turn to the outside of my house. I love my garden, but don’t really like getting dirty – so I’m more than happy to sit outside and watch while hubby gets to work digging over the borders! But while I was sitting outside recently, I spotted that my windows and doors are in a right state!

I’ve been living in my new home for just over a year now and I deep cleaned everything when we moved in. I don’t know why, but I scrub everything when I move – I guess I’m making a fresh start – so my home was definitely sparkling-clean only a year ago. But now, as I sat on my lawn, I realised how grubby the windows and doors have become. Another thing about the sun is that it shines in through the windows and highlights any marks on the glass there too. So there was no getting away from it – I was going to have to clean them all again.

cassiefairy's spring cleaning windows dunelm mill click n clean

I got this collection of cleaning tools from Dunelm Mill and I pretty much had everything I needed to give my house the once-over. I started by scrubbing the windows (yes, I’m little and there’s no way I can reach those top windows!) so it’s a good thing that my scrubbing brush has interchangeable poles that can be lengthened and that the head can be changed for any of the other squeegee/mop heads in the Click ‘n’ Clean range. I only used washing-up liquid to clean the windows and after a quick scrub and squeegee, they were looking sparkling clean! Obviously, hubby helped out with some of the windows while I went inside and cleaned the inner panes of glass with the second squeegee head. There was a bit of a ‘discussion’ about who had left a couple of smears on the windows – was it inside or out? (definitely outside!) as we stood back to admire our handiwork. Does anyone have any tips for smears on glass? I’ve heard rumours about vinegar and newspaper etc but would like to know if it works, so please get in touch if you’ve tried it!

cassiefairy's spring cleaning door dunelm mill click n clean

I cleaned all of my external doors too (yes, I could reach them!) and you’ll be impressed with this door to our outhouse above -  a proper before-and-after achievement! I really don’t know how it got so bad but now it looks like it has been repainted – I have even impressed myself! And really, it was so easy to do that I wondered why I’ve not bothered to clean everything sooner. I’m just a bit lazy I suppose! At least now that everything is clean, I can leave it a whole year before having to do it all again!


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Big Night In ~ Enjoy Gardenbury festival

This weekend I’ve been enjoying watching all the bands and soaking up the atmosphere of Glastonbury. But I’m not forking out for a ticket, I’m not travelling 200 miles and I’m not hanging around in a muddy field. I’ve created my own mini-festival experience in the comfort of my own home – well… garden!

big night in festival at home glastonbury latitude camping

Luckily enough most of UK festivals are being broadcast on TV and radio this year, and in truth, I can’t afford to spend a small fortune on attending the festival itself. I can however afford to buy a few essentials in order to join in with the festival experience at home. So my pals and I have taken the radio outside and as long as the weather says fine, we’ll be able to continue soaking up the Glasto atmosphere in the garden.

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping radio tv bbc iplayer wellies 2013

This is not only a money-saving idea, but it’s super-convenient and much more enjoyable (my cats are there, for a start!):

  • I don’t have to stand on tiptoes in a massive sweaty crowd to watch my favourite bands – I’ve got a front-row view in front of the TV.
  • No massive queues for pongy porta-loos - I’ve got a clean, flushing toilet just indoors and I honestly saw an inflatable crocodile floating in the long-drop loos at the last festival I went to.
  • If I get hungry or thirsty I can easily get hold of any food or drink I want from the kitchen (or my picnic hamper!), without having to lose my place in the crowd, lose my friends or lose a pocketful of cash buying from pricey catering vendors.
  • I can warm up inside my home and carry on enjoying the festival if it turns cold or starts to rain, rather than shivering in the rain getting muddy.
  • I can wash at any time and won’t have to scrub mud-splattered skin, detangle dreadlocks or wash stinky clothes for hours after my weekend at Gardenbury.

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping pot noodle cider fashion 2013

So I’d say that enjoying festivals at home is a great idea. Okay, okay, I know it’s not quite the same, but maybe it’s the way forward people like me – I was more than a little miffed when my tent got slashed last time I went to a festival and I really don’t like getting dirty or – more importantly – having a kink in my fringe and no hair straighteners to sort it out!

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping bonfire fire pit marshmallow

So here’s what I did in order to get the festival experience at home and maybe you can recreate this big night in for yourself:

  • You need shelter – from both the rain and the sun, so I put up my tent in the garden and filled it with a comfy airbed, sleeping bag and cushions for catching forty-winks in between performances. If you’re feeling particularly keen, maybe camp out over night, but I’m planning to head back indoors to my comfy bed tonight!
  • Without the festival itself, you’re just a person hanging around in their garden, so bring out the radio, TV, laptop or iPad and enjoy performances by your favourite bands out in the open air.

big night in festival at home glastonbury latitude camping tent fairy lights candles 2013

  • Food and drink is essential, so gather together festie classics such as pot-noodles, breakfast bars, packets of crisps and hotdogs and enjoy a drop of cider in your plastic Latitude cup, like I did!
  • You’ll probably need a BBQ or camping stove to cook up your food (or you could just nip indoors!) and I’ve got a small BBQ that doubles as a fire pit, so I can keep warm and toast marshmallows as the sun goes down.
  • Dress up in your festival finest and don’t forget your waterproof mac and wellies, just in case you have to splash across the grass on your way to the loo indoors.
  • To get a bit of a chilled-out festival ambience going, I’ve got some solar-powered fairy lights and a couple of citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay.
  • Most importantly, you need company – so invite over your other cash-strapped festival fans and share the fun with them!

big night in v festival at home glastonbury latitude camping tent fire hot chocolate marshmallow

water balloons frozen ice


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Making a garden sculpture from ice – try it, its so easy!

All I can say is; ‘bring on the snow’. This is because I have a plan in place ready for when the temperature drops to below freezing. I’m going to make an ice sculpture for my garden! This may sound like a rather excessive, time-consuming and, ultimately, chilly pastime,  but I assure you that it’s not. Check out this photo of a gorgeous garden display lining a snowy path made from coloured ice balls.

water balloons frozen ice

Honestly, making this feature in your garden is the most simple of activities. I don’t think it really needs a step-by-step tutorial but here it is anyway:

  1. Fill up water balloons with water and tie up the end
  2. Put the water balloons outside when it is below freezing
  3. Wait for them to freeze solid and position wherever you’d like them

What do you think?! Possibly the easiest ice sculpture you’ll ever make, and it looks SO impressive!

So, bring on the snow and the freezing temperatures, and give it a go!


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My new favourite flowers – back to black

I’ve recently spotted a trend emerging in the world of plants and I want a piece of it! I love the idea of black flowers, and although its pretty impossible to get a truly black flower, deep, dark, rich reds and purples that are one-tone away from black are pretty unbelievable when you see them in real life. I’ve been so amazed by the flowers below that I’ve stopped to take a photo and I really would like to introduce some dark blooms to my pretty ‘normal’ flowerbed.