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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Thrifty ways to earn extra money for summer

Summer is coming! With its long days and beautiful weather nobody wants to be short of money so that they are unable go out into the world and enjoy each and every day that the sunshine offers. There are many ways to earn some extra cash all year round, but following is my list of great and thrifty ways to make extra money to ensure you get the full enjoyment from the sun.

  • Have a sale

A perfect way to ensure that you make some extra money in a quick, easy and thrifty fashion would be to locate the unwanted items that have accumulated around your house and sell them. Whether be a physical garage sale or car boot sale, or whether you put your household excess on a selling website, such as eBay, there will always be plenty of buyers for stuff that you no longer need or desire. The extra exercise of roaming your house to locate these items, and in the case of a boot sale the direct sunlight, will have you looking fantastic for the summer months too – just don’t forget your sunscreen!

  • Go Outdoors

Although we’re not into the summer months yet, the weather is improving and it is doing so to the extent that it is possible to get out of the house and make some money for yourself. The one thing that I find is great this time of year and tends to bring in plenty of customers is dog walking as people are busy with work, the gym and many other different things in life so are looking for some help with the mundane task of taking their dogs out for walks. Print some flyers and pin them on local noticeboards, make a Facebook profile and post on local area pages, tell anybody and everybody about your scheme and you’ll be sure to have people contacting you about your summer time enterprise. What could be better than getting sun and exercise while being paid for it?

sumer dog walking ideas

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Creating a rustic interior

Rustic is defined as simple and artless or even unsophisticated. The term is used in a slightly different capacity, however, when referencing a style of interior design. Rustic homes possess a charming coarseness that is growing ever more popular, being chiefly influenced by nature. The style is inspired by French, English and Swedish country looks, and is rugged and full of textures and lovely natural colours. Rustic bedrooms incorporate sun-washed shades and muted tones reminiscent of earth and wood. If you want to create your own rustic hide-away, here are some ideas to help you.

Walls – Walls should appear textured. Rough, bare stone and wood both help to enhance rustic décor, bringing the outdoors inside. Plaster walls should be painted. Roll the paint on lightly and unevenly to create an aged look and feel. Traditional hunting lodges – the absolute epitome of rustic style – traditionally feature animal hide rugs and wall mountings, so if you really want to go the whole hog, mount faux animal heads, or search your local antique store for the real thing.

rustic bedroom interior decor    rustic wood interior hallway

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Floor – Your floor should be timber or stone for a natural, earthy feel. If you want to soften the space and make it a little cosier pick up some imaginative, woven rugs from a thrift shop or have a go at making your own. Use vivid contrasting colours to really highlight the glossy patina of wooden floorboards and furniture.

Colour Scheme – A rustic colour scheme should be natural and earthy. Look for tones of slate, green, tan, brown, amber and grey. To make the room feel warmer and look brighter incorporate caramel tones and shades of cream. This palette should be used for all furnishings. Walls which are not stone or wood should be painted a light colour, with perhaps one accent wall in a shade taken from your colour scheme.

Wood Burner – A wood-burner instantly adds a rustic look to a living room, and can save you a lot of money on your heating bills in winter. During the colder months, your home will feel warm and cosy, and the firelight will lend a rich reddish shade to your wooden features. Check out a retailer like Fireplace Products to look at a wide selection and choose the perfect piece for your home.

rustic wood furniture

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Décor – In a rustic-style home, the key element should be wood, so absolutely fill your space with wooden furnishings. If you know someone who’s good at DIY, save money by buying some logs and having them transformed into tables or seating. Pine is probably the best timber to use for your décor, stained with a mid to dark tone to really enhance the rustic beauty of your home. The rustic look should be layered through with rough timber accessories, fur or woollen fabrics, and soft lighting evocative of the cosy feeling of firelight playing on the walls should be used.

You can add a further interesting twist with metal worked furniture. Try having metal seats at a wooden table, softened with cushions which match the rest of your colour palette. The materials work together to enhance the wood in the rest of your home, and their deviation really draws the eye, making them fantastic centre pieces. Make sure that the metal is a subtle tone, as the neutral shades will complement each other and provide a harmonious feel to the space.

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Create a vintage inspired bedroom in 3 easy steps

Vintage-inspired looks offer the chance to create a uniquely personal space, an opportunity long absent from most contemporary bedrooms. As well as offering timeless elegance, a sense of decadence and a homely feel which is often lost in the stark lines and minimalist décor of modern bedrooms, they make the perfect gallery for all of those thrifty bargains you’ve picked up by hunting around and repurposing old furniture and households items – the ones they now like to label as vintage. Soft colours, delicate patterns and textured fabrics help to recreate the romanticism of antique bedrooms, whilst authentic pieces can capture the expert craftsmanship and exquisite handmade appeal of old world furniture, recreating the essence of their original era. If you want to recapture the glamour and opulence of the past without paying a hefty sum for your luxurious new décor, here are a few tips to help you.

Stencil a Wall Panel

A vintage wall stencil is an inexpensive way of creating an elegant focal point. Try to roll lightly and unevenly as you paint the design onto the wall, as this will create a faded vintage effect. To draw attention to your artistry and add an extra touch of opulence, you should make use of your jewellery by hanging it on the wall over the stencil. Source some delicate, pretty white, gold or brass hooks with a floral theme, each in a different style to create the effect of unique, hand-made pieces, and hang them from the wall, draping your necklaces and bracelets from them for a sense of opulent, antique luxury. Place them opposite a window so that the light catches the jewels during the day, throwing pretty patterns across your walls and floor as it passes through them.

bedroom stencilling

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Heirloom Opulence

Lots of pieces of small furniture create a busy effect evocative of modern life. To recapture the dramatic, unhurried grandeur of days gone by, when people still had the time to admire each piece on its individual merits and the quality of its craftsmanship, opt for fewer, larger pieces which make a big statement. The men and women of yesteryear were admirers of solid wooden furniture, but antique furniture is often expensive, and bigger pieces such as beds can be very hard to source and lacking in modern comforts. To circumvent these problems, you should opt for a modern, slightly more conservatively priced take on the exaggerated size and splendour of antique décor. Consider a revival bed from a manufacturer such as Revival Beds or a mahogany chest or wardrobe. Look for a piece big enough to dominate the master bedroom. If you want to stick to antique creations, search local thrift and antique stores, keeping an eye out for smaller, cheaper accent pieces, such as bedside tables.

Linens and Hangings

Charity shops tend to have more lace than they know what to do with. Pick up a single, cheap panel and hang it at the window. This will create an old-world effect, provide privacy and diffuse light. Choose a prettily designed piece to make stunning patterns from light and shadow dance across your wooden floorboards every time the sun shines. The delicacy of the material and the craftsmanship evident in its design will complement the vintage look of the rest of the room, particularly if you source the fabric from a vintage market or charity shop.

monogram bedding    vintage monogram bedding

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Carry on this theme of delicate opulence with floral bed linens in rich fabrics. Handcrafted and vintage accessories should take centre stage. Monogrammed linens and sewed cushions will add a hand-crafted originality to the décor, appearing both familial and elegant. You could easily design and make these yourself, to save money and put your own unique stamp on the room.

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Dressing for sun & rain in Spring – what I’m wearing during this in-between season

Just look at that sunshine out there! It’s amazing how lovely the weather has been all year so far and after such a mild winter I am certainly looking forward to a gorgeously warm spring and summer. Since December I’ve been telling everyone that it will definitely snow this winter – mostly based on the heavy late snow we experienced last February – and I’ve been waiting for it to happen, yet the frost has stayed away and we’ve had nothing more than a few hail stones. I was so certain that snow was on its way that I’ve been stocking up on woolly scarves and gloves in the January sales – but I’ve only needed to wear my bobble hat on one frosty morning in January (around the 5th) and there was a chilly morning on 29th December. I remember it well, because that’s the only bad weather we’ve had.

That’s not to say that the bad weather won’t still come in April. I’ve heard anecdotes from family and friends of snow on their early April wedding day and blizzards on mid-April birthdays so it could still happen. It would be such a shame to have a late snow in April this year because all the plants have come out of hibernation and been growing already but a heavy frost might kill off all those buds. So lets keep our fingers crossed that Spring really IS here and that we’ve only got lovely sunny weather ahead of us!

The trouble with this time of year is that ‘in-between-ness’ of warm and cool, sunny and dull, woolly jumper and t-shirt. What should we wear when a day starts off overcast but blossoms into the warmest day of the year? How silly and chilly would we feel when we head out into the morning sunshine in our sandals only for the wind to start howling and grey clouds to block out the sun. I’ve found this hot-and-cold, sunny-and-cloudy, ultimately changeable weather quite difficult to dress for. So far I’ve dealt with it by wearing lots of layers that can be taken off or added on as needed, always carried a coat with me and I’ve not yet shed the winter tights. Sometimes I’m too hot and sometimes too cold but it’s generally working well for me. The trouble is choosing spring-esque clothes without looking too summery but without resorting to chunky jumpers and snow boots. But I think I’ve come up with a solution:

Dressing for spring tutorial using fine knit jumpers

1. Layers: And the essential item is fine-knit, thin or open-weave jumpers. After a recent shopping trip to London Designer Outlet (great for getting discount designer clothing in the UK) I have bought these light jumpers, one each in deep red, teal, cream and light blue. They are thin enough to layer up with vests and cardigans but are light enough to keep you cool if the sun suddenly makes an appearance. I’ve been wearing these with jeans and tall boots on chilly days and tucked into skirts during warmer weather and so far I’ve been able to cope with whatever the weather throws at me!

2. Colours: I also think that colours are important at this time of year, because you might stand out like a holiday-maker in pastels and tropical prints but look equally suspicious if you’re wrapped up in dark colours on a sunny day in the park. So another suggestion is to wear tones that are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Hang up your black jumpers and burgundy dresses and add a few whites, blues and greens into your wardrobe. This will help you to look fresh and spring-like without going for a full-on summer look.

3. Fabrics: I think that you can’t go wrong with denim at any time of year and it’s the perfect mid-season item. It keeps you warm on colder days but will still look cool if the sun comes out. Canvas is a good thick-but-cool fabric too so pumps, bags and jackets in canvas are perfect for layering with your fine knits.

Fashion styling ideas for spring summer 2014

4. Accessories: You don’t need a woolly knitted scarf to keep warm when the wind gets up, a thin cotton scarf will work just as well when it’s wrapped around your neck a few times so invest in a couple of these in lighter colours so that it still looks cool and fresh when the sun is out. This look actually reminds me of classic French styling so it might be a good idea to check out the French Style Tips section of the La Redoute website – very handy for getting a classic look during this difficult time of year. Also, if you have room in your handbag, always take an umbrella with you! At least then you can wear a thinner, non-waterproof coat and you’ll be able to stay dry under your umbrella-ella-ella if a shower surprises you.

What do you think of these styling ideas for spring into summer 2014? Let me know how you’re coping with the funny weather and what you’ve been wearing during this in-between season, I’d love to hear what tips you have for this time of year.

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Bedroom Furniture: Balancing Style, Budget and Practicality

For those who don’t have a massive budget to play with, finding suitable bedroom furniture is more complicated than simply buying the first thing that catches your eye. The best approach to take is to attempt to strike a balance between the three core aspects of any furniture piece; style, budget and practicality.

Practicality, Size and Purpose

Though it’s only natural to go on instinct when selecting new bedroom furniture, the most important aspects to consider are the practical ones. After all, if you’ve found a bed that you absolutely adore, but it won’t even fit through the front door, then there’s simply no point in pursuing it further. Likewise, a pair of luxurious Futon beds for the kids might sound like a great idea. But will it leave them enough space for their toys and other possessions? Arduous though it may sound, these practical aspects are the essential things you need to consider before even contemplating style. So before you enter a store or shop online, take measurements of the rooms in question and think about which pieces might best serve the purpose you need them for.

measuring bedroom

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Style and Appearance

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to style. Obviously, you’ll want to ensure that your chosen pieces fit within the overall interior design scheme of your home. But second to that, the actual appearance of the furniture is down to your own taste entirely.

Working To A Budget

This is where most people fall down. Finding bedroom furniture that is aesthetically pleasing, practical and affordable is no easy task. In most instances, one of these aspects will suffer, unless you’re prepared to spend a good deal of time looking for that perfect piece. On the positive side, the internet has meant that there is far more choice now. And whilst obviously you won’t have the same experience of being able ‘test’ the pieces of furniture in person, there are a small number of sites (Fortune Woods for example) who offer a large array of quality furniture pieces within a modest price bracket. For those on a budget, it’s definitely worth considering.

A Little Perseverance

Unless you have a fair amount of disposable income, finding a bed that fits aesthetically, practically, financially isn’t as easy as you’d hope. With a little online perseverance though, you’ll get there.