Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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

diy ideas for easter bunny ears


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Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I’m taking a day off and heading to the seaside so I’ll see you all after the Bank Holiday! In the meantime, here are some lovely images from my ‘Special Holidays’ board on Pinterest that I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking at over the Easter weekend – have fun and let me know what you get up to!

 

lisa mora pink vintage caravan magazine blog hop


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An inspirational interview with ‘Vintage Caravan Style’ author Lisa Mora

Do you love vintage? Are you a fan of caravans? Does retro rule? Then this is the blog post for you! I am delighted to be taking part in the Stitch, Craft, Create blog hop today and taking a look at all the gorgeous caravans that are featured in a new book: Vintage Caravan Style. As you know from reading my blog, I’m in the middle of a caravan renovation project myself so you can imagine how inspiring this book has been for me flick through and I couldn’t wait a moment longer to share this magical read with you.
This beautifully designed book was the brainchild of lifelong caravan fan Lisa Mora, editor of Vintage Caravan Magazine and writer extraordinaire, and today I’m going to be sharing an interview with the delightful Lisa herself as she braces herself for the publication to hit bookshop shelves here in the UK. I’m certain that you’ll all want to read a copy for yourselves and if you stick around, there’s a competition to win your very own copy of Lisa’s book at the end of the interview, but first read on and learn more about the lovely writer behind this enchanting book.
blue retro car and trailer from vintage caravan style book
Let’s get stuck into the caravan chat straight away! Tell us about your first vintage caravan…

I got my first vintage caravan for $200. It was a 1970 Chesney and it wasn’t very pretty, but I painted it pink on the inside and took my son on a big road trip up the coast of Queensland to attend his State athletics competition and we had so much fun together seeing so many wonderful things and staying in tropical beach front caravan parks, and I was well and truly hooked! (pun intended!)

Do you have any childhood memories of caravanning?
My parents travelled a lot when I was a kid, and we travelled all around the world. When we did Europe my Dad bought an old camper-van in Italy and we travelled all around in that and so travelling and road tripping is something I grew up with and love. But I also loved horses, so my childhood dream was always to build a horse-drawn gypsy caravan and travel around with that.  As an adult, the horse drawn part seemed a bit unrealistic and I love classic cars, so I had the idea of using an old caravan with a classic car instead – way more practical!
lisa mora pink vintage caravan magazine blog hop
Here’s a photo of the lovely Lisa Mora with her very own vintage caravan taken a couple of weeks ago at an event – it is a 1964 Sunliner made of fibreglass and her name is “Betty” which Lisa tows with her matching pink 1964 Vauxhall Cresta.
What do you get up to in your own caravan nowadays?
Big road trips! I have three vintage caravans now, one in Australia, one in New Zealand and one in the USA and I use them to travel to car shows and caravan rallies. Last year I travelled 14,000 kilometres and attended 12 different shows! I love setting up the caravans for display filled with retro trinkets and my wrought iron table and chairs and my pink flamingos outside and opening it up to the public.  The most common question I get asked at shows is: “Do you actually camp in this?” and that makes me laugh. Of course I do! I always have my accommodation right behind me wherever I travel and for the duration of the events I attend.  I always have the pantry and wardrobe fully stocked so I can hook up and take off whenever I get the urge (which is often!) – my caravan makes people smile and living inside it while I am on the road makes me so happy. If it weren’t for all the magazines I have in storage, I’d happily live in the caravan full time. Even though it is small, it has everything I need; a big comfy bed, a kitchen, a big wardrobe and best of all, an ever-changing view…
pink and red retro trailer from vintage caravan style book
How and why did you start writing Vintage Caravan Magazine?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. i used to journal every adventure we went on as a kid and my dad is a writer, so expressing my feelings and describing my experiences in words came very naturally to me. I started off as a freelance music journalist, and that was how I discovered the rockabilly and kustom culture scene and fell in love with the hot rods and classic cars.  I was then approached by a new car magazine to write for them full time. By then I had my Chesney and had developed a passion for vintage caravans and wanted to write about them in the magazine, but my editor said “Lisa, nobody else but you is interested in old caravans”.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t true and so I persisted. Every week I would offer him another article about vintage caravans and every week, he would say “give me something else Lisa”.  One day he came in and said he had a last minute gap to fill in the next issue and needed me to write up an article by the end of that day, so I convinced him to use one of my caravan articles. When I came in the following Monday he had a big smile on his face and told me that the reactions to the article had been great and asked me give him another one.  It was then that I knew I wanted to focus solely on vintage caravans.  At first I thought I’d like someone else to create a vintage caravan magazine so that I could write for them, but after two years of waiting for someone else to start one, there was still not one magazine in the whole world about them, so I took the plunge and created Vintage Caravan Magazine myself. vintage caravan style book - renovation
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about renovating their own vintage caravan?
My advice to anyone wanting to renovate their own caravan is to not let anyone talk you out of your dreams and just do it! I know there are some amazing vans out there that have had a lot of money spent on them, but if there is anything I want to share it is this: whether you keep yours original, hot rod it to the max, want to do it yourself on a tight budget or are lucky enough to be able to pay a professional to do a ground up restoration job, doesn’t matter. I love the fact that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to vintage caravan styling.  A vintage caravan is the one place in the world where it is totally OK to make it all about you. You can express the wildest parts of your personality in a way that you might not be brave enough to do inside a house.  Adding those personal touches to your styling will help turn your vintage caravan into your very own special happy place.  Of course, if you intend to tow it anywhere you need to make sure that the safety and structural aspects of the van are functioning and maintained properly. I highly recommend getting a professional caravan repairer or experienced person to inspect any caravan prior to purchase if you can, to check the tyres, bearings and chassis strength and make sure all the legal requirements are met with regards to lighting, gas connections, registration etc. Also, be warned: vintage caravans are addictive! Almost everyone I know that steps inside my caravan walks out with a wide grin saying “I want one” and most of us who have one, find it hard to stop at just one. Once the bug bites, it is almost impossible to resist rescuing every cute little bubble you see sitting on the side of the road and it can become an expensive obsession!
Thanks for the great tips Lisa! Now who doesn’t want to renovate their own vintage caravan after reading Lisa’s inspiring words?! It certainly encouraged me to get a wriggle on with doing up my own little caravan and turning it into my sewing room and writing office, so watch this space for project updates! In the meantime, would you like to win yourself a copy of Lisa’s fabulous new book? Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Vintage Caravan Style delivered straight to your door and here’s how:
vintage caravan syle book by lisa mora

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Pieday friday easter recipe for mini toad in the hole


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Pieday Good Friday ~ Mini toad-in-the-hole recipe for Easter

Here’s an easy but impressive recipe for your Easter roast lunch – mini toad-in-the-hole. These are also great for parties and evening meals so give it a try with this easiest ever batter recipe and let me know how you get on!

Pieday friday easter recipe for mini toad in the hole

Ingredients: Chipolata sausages (the long ones, not cocktail sausages), 140g plain flour, 4 eggs, 200ml milk, pinch of salt

Brown the chipolatas in the oven at a temperature of 230C/fan 210C/gas 8 and the fat from the sausages will grease the base of the tin, ready for you to pour the batter into. The browning should only take about 10 minutes.

Mix together the flour and eggs in a bowl using an electric whisk until smooth. Gradually add the milk and carry on whisking until the mix is completely lump-free. Pour the batter over the hot sausages, distributing evenly into each muffin/brownie space and working quickly so that the temperate of the pan doesn’t drop. Cook for 20-25 minutes without opening the oven door and you should have puffy golden-brown toad-in-the-holes for your Easter lunch at the end of the cooking time!

great recipe for mini toad in the hole

HOPE jewellery handmade in the uk to support charity


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Give a little HOPE with your next gift

Shopping for low-cost, hand-crafted, UK-made jewellery that helps charity projects - sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But I’ve recently discovered an amazing online gift shop that does just that – HOPE Jewellery. As you probably know here at the Cassiefairy blog I love to support ethical companies, charities and socially responsible brands so I when I found out about this shop I simply couldn’t keep it to myself and wanted to share it with you all!

I got in touch with the shop and had the opportunity to interview two lovely volunteers, Natalia Molinero Mingorance and Lakshmi Sankaran about their involvement in Enacus (the student-led company that runs the ethical store) and all the voluntary work they do for the HOPE Project. I hope you’ll find the responses as interesting as I did and that you’ll be able to see why gift shopping with the HOPE store is a great idea.

HOPE jewellery handmade in the uk to support charity

Natalia, please tell us a little about Enactus and what it does?

Enactus Sheffield is a social enterprise company, based at the University of Sheffield. Through both social and commercial projects we aim to harness students’ entrepreneurial spirit, to make a difference in our local community and to communities abroad. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The experience not only transforms lives, it helps students develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever-more complicated and challenging world. Enactus operates in 1,600 Universities across 38 countries. Currently we have a total of 62,000 students who have put 7,300,00 hours into running their Enactus teams and developing their projects.

Lakshmi Sankaran, you’re the volunteer project leader of the HOPE Commercial Team - when did you first get involved in the project and why?

I joined the HOPE team in February 2013 and have been a part of Enactus for over a year now. During this time I have seen HOPE Commercial grow immensely. I joined it due to my passion for helping social causes. This project interested me since it empowers women, motivating me as a woman myself. There are millions of women all around the world who suffer from human trafficking and domestic abuse. As humanitarians we must take a stand to stop this and the HOPE project at Enactus Sheffield provides an elegant, sustainable solution through the use of enterprise. This year HOPE has expanded a lot. We are in two major shops in Sheffield; we have rebranded our website, merchandise and social media; we have also held sales events in large venues, for instance at the final Ice Hockey Varsity game at the Motorpoint Arena. With continued support and exposure we believe we can share our beautiful bracelets as well as our significant social cause with others who wish to change the world, just like us!

What does the HOPE Project aim to do?

HOPE Jewellery works with survivors of Human Trafficking, and victims of sexual and domestic abuse in South Yorkshire, with the aim of providing skills, knowledge, training, and confidence to be able to support themselves and their family financially in the future. This is partly achieved through the model of a jewellery business where the women hand-craft beautiful jewellery to sell. The women we work with are then empowered to use the skills and knowledge transferred to them independently in gaining employment or setting up their own micro-enterprises. This allows them to independently finance themselves and their family, enabling them to have a better and brighter future. All profits made from the jewellery sales are either directly fed back into the project, or kept aside as a micro-finance pot for the women to access when they need it.

HOPE jewellery new collection of bracelets made in the uk

How does the jewellery help the survivors of human trafficking?

We aim to empower vulnerable women to lead a better quality of life providing them with essential entrepreneurial skills. All the profits made by the commercial team, selling the bracelets, goes back to the women in their times of need. They can approach HOPE to provide them with financial support if they are interested in starting their own business. This project provides the women with many employability skills; communication, teamwork, planning, sales and motivation. This year the project was aimed to further develop the women’s entrepreneurial skills by locally sourcing all the materials for the bracelets as well as giving the different safe house teams the chance to design all the bracelets.

The women come to the craft fairs as well to see the commercial side of the project. The hope social teams run sessions to improve the women’s employability skills. For instance some of the women from the safe houses are involved in our sister company, HOPE Cosmetic’s placement scheme. This provides them with writing CVs, interview training and important workshops that build the ability of the women to go out into the world and be independent. We aim to provide continued support for women when they leave the safe houses with our community projects.

Please can you tell us about your sister site, HOPE Cosmetics?

By selling cosmetic products this team contributes so much to the ongoing success of the HOPE project. By bringing in new streams of revenue, the reps make sure we can keep offering our placements and empowering survivors of human trafficking and victims of domestic abuse. 

HOPE cosmetics natural scrub and body butter

So what do you think? Fancy buying the next birthday gift for your mother from HOPE? Or how about treating yourself to a natural, handmade HOPE cosmetics product such as a lip balm, scrub or body butter? All of my friends and family can certainly expect a to receive a little HOPE with their next gift and I’d love it if you would consider shopping and supporting this charitable project soon. Check out their Facebook page here – HOPE Sheffield.

french bedroom boudoir interior design style ideas on a budget


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A French Boudoir on a Budget

A French boudoir is probably the most luxurious and seductive place you can be. It’s the perfect room to get ready and feel unstoppable or to wind down for some pampering time.  If you’ve always wanted a beautiful boudoir, you don’t have to sacrifice your dreams just because of a limited budget. It’s often unnecessary to splash out on numerous new items when giving a room a makeover in your home. Instead, opt for reusing old items or making your own to save money and add personal style. Here are a couple of points to guide you through the process when creating your irresistible boudoir parlour.

The Bed

If your boudoir is going to be the bedroom then the bed is probably the biggest focal point that you want to emphasise. Make an impact with brocade bedcovers that don’t have to have multiple fabrics but instead cheaper printed patterns will work just as well. Don’t cut back on the number of pillows as a nothing says luxury better than a cosy bed full of comfort. Get your hands on some cheap, extra fabric pieces in deep purples and reds to make some simple and effective cushion covers. For a DIY project, why not create your very own designer headboard for the perfect statement with an impact.

french bedroom boudoir interior design style ideas on a budget

French bedroom DIY using grain sacks via Pinterest

The Dresser

The next most prominent feature is your dressing table. There are plenty of stunning and affordable vintage mirrors that can be found in antique shops with fantastic French style frames. Don’t be afraid to compare different shops and barter the price down for the best deal. Invest in a dark mahogany or black table and chair set that will be durable and create the essential boudoir look in the room.

The Lights

Lighting should be warm and atmospheric in a boudoir. Either opt for a lighter airy feel with a pastel or cream colour scheme or create a Moulin Rouge style parlour with dark reds and black. Either way, there should be crystal or beaded trimmings on the lights; be they wall lights, lamps or chandeliers. Empire chandeliers are always a good choice and you can even create your very own.

french bedroom boudoir interior design style ideas

Lights, chandeliers and mirrors create a French boudoir via Pinterest

Everything Else

Accessories are essential in a French boudoir. Include plush rugs, throws, cushions and chairs in the room. Vintage artwork, photographs or film posters add an intriguing touch to walls and decorate vases flowers or feathers to give that dose of glamour.

Soon enough you’ll feel like pampered royalty or an irresistible showstopper in the Moulin Rouge. French vintage boudoirs are timeless and endlessly appealing so you’ll be sure that whatever room you’ve created will last and be enjoyed again and again in the years to come.