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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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… Design inspiration for a coastal bathroom makeover

Over the school summer holidays I made a start on my bathroom makeover. As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been inspired to create a Hollister-esque sea-view theme in the smallest room in the house, with the aim of making it appear bigger. So far I have pasted a large-scale coastal photograph over the entire bathroom wall (which took a lot of choosing, believe me!) and the perspective of the image lends an added depth to the room. Now my attention has turned to the rest of the bathroom, and I can’t believe I never noticed just how shabby it is!

Here are some photos of the bathroom in its current state – please ignore the tools! We’ve bee measuring up and making plans this week and I can’t wait to get stared on improving this tatty room. Okay, I’ve actually lived in worse bathrooms, and I have just been pleased to have a bathroom which is clean, isn’t mouldy (I’ve already sorted out that problem!) and the paint isn’t flaking off the walls. But now that I’ve made a start with the photowall, I want to add a little extra design flair to other parts of the room even though I’m on a super-tight budget.

I really like the built-in cupboards using rustic wood (image from House to Home) and this white wood panelling reminds me of a beach hut (image from John Lewis). I would like to combine these two ideas to clad the wall behind the toilet with white-washed wood. This will cover the exposed pipes and unsightly plastic cistern, and the depth of the false ‘wall’ will provide space for much-needed storage with internal shelves hidden behind the wooden façade. I really want to create the feeling of being inside a beach hut, looking out at the sea – so a wooden floor is a must! I’ve been pinning away on my bathroom decorating board so please check it out on Pinterest to get a good idea of the look I’m trying to achieve on a tight budget.

trend moodboard for a beach hut inspired coastal bathroom

It need not cost a lot of money to make over this small space – as long as I can get hold of some second-hand wood (maybe pallets?) and a tub of paint, I am confident that my husband’s wood-working skills and my slap-it-on-and-see decorating technique will make our bathroom much more appealing. I enjoy searching out a bargain using second-hand websites such as Exchange and Mart in order to find low-cost DIY and household items so I’m hoping to find much of what I need for the makeover there. If I keep an eye on the website, I might even be able to find a new bath panel and taps, which would be great!

I’ve created a moodboard using ‘Scandi’ and ‘Maison’ trend images from John Lewis to keep us on track with the ‘look’ for the bathroom and have included some products that have made my shopping wish list, including essentials such as the natural wood toilet seat and a porthole style bathroom light. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of luxury items to my shopping list, including new towels (love this ‘Stardust’ striped range!) and a bath tray. This item is actually what’s keeping me going with the bathroom project; the thought of relaxing in my bath with a glass of wine on my bath bridge tray and a good book is what’s urging me on to finish the makeover soon!

I will be hunting out the raw materials for the makeover ASAP and will post an update of progress soon, so stay tuned :)


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Warm weather weekend ~ Boats & huts

Just a quick blog post today to share some photos that I’ve taken of my sunny summer adventures so far. I took a trip to out this weekend for a picnic on the shores of the river, where we enjoyed cream-cheese and cucumber sandwiches and a cup of tea. It was a lovely sunny day and the sky was beautifully blue so I snapped these photos of the sailing boats on the estuary.

Cassiefairys summer coastal river boat photos

I love to read the names of all the boats and always thought that there was some kind of art project to be done about boat names, but I’ll leave that up to my artist hubby instead! Along the side of the river (which has a sandy beach that you can walk along) there are lots of these little boat houses. I’m very jealous of anyone who owns one of these huts – especially because some of them are actually bigger and more luxurious than my house – some with verandas and hot tubs outside – very swish! However, this boat house was my favourite even though it’s being swallowed up by foliage. It looks so quaint and like the kind of place that would feature in a fairytale, so if I had to chose one – it’d be this little wreck!

Cassiefairys summer photos overgrown beach hut boat house suffolk coast


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My beach hut cushion + the Inspiration Challenge

I’m delighted to say that I’ve had a few messages asking for a quick tutorial on how I made my beach hut cushion for the beach hut Inspiration Challenge in June. So I’m pleased to share the step-by-step photos of my cushion with you all today and I also want to remind you that there is still plenty of time to get involved and make something  for July’s Inspiration Challenge too!

First, I chose a selection of fabrics from my stash of fat quarters (mainly from wholeport and some thrifted from old clothing) to cut out the beach hut shapes and I snipped around a lighthouse design on the piece of Porto fabric I already had from Abakhan. I positioned these on the sky-blue “background” piece of fabric and pinned them down before machine-sewing around the edges.

inspiration challenge for June beach hut cushion by cassiefairy using abakhan porto

I then stuck on some sticky fabric-tape (like washi-tape but made of fabric, I found mine on Ebay) for the beach hut roofs and went over this with a line of stitching too. When it came to attaching the sun and the seagull, I added a little adhesive webbing to the back of the pieces and ironed them in place before sewing over the top.

For the sea I layered up pieces of folded fabric with sparkly ribbon, running lines of stitching back and forth using the sewing machine. This was my favourite part of the cushion and I’d like to do this effect all over a cushion front next time, perhaps with a rainbow of colours or use co-ordinating fabrics to create a striped/patchwork effect.

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I then stitched the front ‘picture’ piece of fabric to two pieces of pink fleece which overlapped to form the back of the cushion cover – leaving a flap to put my cushion pad inside. When I had finished, I realised how well the cushion matched my vintage Paddington Bear pillow case – it even has a red lighthouse too!

Please join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge. The theme is Maneki Neko/Lucky Animals and you can make anything you like with this inspiration as a starting point. Even if you’ve never made anything before, maybe this month it is the perfect time to start crafting, sewing, painting or writing and I’d love to see what you come up with! Send me your projects to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk and I’ll share your photos and links at the start of next month – and don’t forget that there is a special prize draw to win a ceramic lucky cat and a purse from JoaniesGifts.co.uk - all the projects will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be picked at random on the 1st August!

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A beach hut inspired story by author Amanda Addison

One of the wonderful contributions to June’s Inspiration Challenge was the start of a story by writer Amanda Addison. You may remember that I shared an excerpt of the text in the Inspiration Challenge blog post which focused on projects inspired by beach huts and now I want to share the rest of the prose that Amanda submitted so that you can enjoy her writing for yourself.

Samantha hangs up her wetsuit. The wind’s getting up and whistles in through the gaps in the wooden walls. Impatient and still breathing heavily from her swim, she turns her head and drips water from her sandy coloured hair onto the patchwork, forcing her to grab the beach towel and rub her hair dry before she can begin. She moves the fabric around on the little white plastic table and tacks another section of the pale blue cotton – whose former life was a bed sheet – onto the patchwork.

She shivers, throws a fleece on over her jeans and tunic and gets up and lights the Primus stove. Whoever composed the motto a watched kettle never boils must have been making a brew whilst camping, or in a beach hut. She returns to the quilt and is a couple of stitches away from completing another panel when the kettle whistles and she starts.

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‘Matty!’ gasps Sam. With one hand she pours water into the mug and with the other she rummages for her phone and keys in a text. He’d be proud of his mother’s skills, both holding the phone and texting with one hand. She clicks send, knowing full well she shouldn’t fuss her son, he’s almost an adult. He is an adult. She wonders what she’s doing sending him reminders to get to work on time. Is she being a hypocrite? She’s usually one of the first to join in the conversation about incapable teenagers, how young they all seemed these days. But like many parents she’s tried to make up for things. To make up for her own youth, her own incapable mother.

Sam sips her tea and can’t resist raiding her secret biscuit tin for a Tunnock’s marshmallow – her favourite. After all she’s earned it. Swimming in the North Sea in November should have burned up a few calories. Sam unwraps the silver and red packaging and lays it out flat wondering if she could stitch it into her patchwork. Unfortunately the metallic colours don’t complement the blues and pastels of the beach hut design. She tucks it into the side of her plastic ‘bags for life’. For another project.

She rummages around in the lucky dip and pulls out a square of blue and white twill and immediately remembers starting sixth form at the posh girls’ school. You had to buy the blue and white twill fabric and make your own skirt. The day before school started she still didn’t have a uniform. That night Dad came home with an old sewing machine he’d borrowed from someone at work and three yards of the herringbone weave from Palmers department store. They’d sat up to the early hours, Dad cutting out the fabric and Sam machining it together. It was always Dad who looked after me, she thinks. The twill is discarded, too heavy and frays too much.

inspiration challenge beach hut picture by katy ella betsy boo blog

She dips into the bag again. What she really needs is a section of yellow. She pulls out some old yellow leggings. She holds them against her. The egg yolk yellow clashes perfectly with her purple fleece. The leggings, like a piece of music or a long forgotten smell take her back to the early 1990s. Did she really wear yellow leggings with a black leotard? She’s back on a step board wearing yellow and black, flailing around to Madonna like a demented wasp? Times have changed. Nowadays everyone does Zumba.

Her hand runs across the yellow Lycra and begins to tremble. Why is her body letting her down, revealing feelings from the past that are best left in the past? Is the past always best bagged up and put away? She hadn’t worn those leggings since she went to Amsterdam – when she was Matty’s age.

All that is left of her Amsterdam days was in the diary, or so she’d thought. She gazes up at the wooden shelf and pulls some books forward to reveal her teenage diary. She can’t resist taking down the diary down from the shelf and slumping into the deck chair. She flicks through the faded pages, looking for his name, the street, the café they used to visit – all written in the strange language of from just across the North Sea.

It’s getting late, the nights are drawing in. In the twilight she copies the words, words which are heavy and full of her past, down on the back of a supermarket receipt. She’s about to put the diary back on the shelf, back in its usual hiding place behind an out of date Rough Guide to Amsterdam and last month’s book club novel, when she has a change of plan. Moreover, a change of heart. She pops the diary and the travel guide on top of her scrap bag, throws the quilt on top, shuts up the hut and sets off across the beach for home.

Copyright Amanda Addison

inspiration challenge beach hut watercolour painting by Andy Greenacre

Ooh I just want to read more! I hope this will turn into a book, because I’m already hooked and want to learn more about Samantha’s life! I’ll certainly be first in the queue to buy it if it grows into a new novel. Amanda is the author of one of my favorite books Laura’s Handmade Life and if you’ve not already read it, get yourself a copy – it’s the perfect summer read and I’ll certainly be re-reading my copy during the holidays! And make sure you check out Amanda’s website www.amandaaddison.com for information on her articles, craft projects and reviews.

Get involved in this month’s Inspiration Challenge and get crafty with the theme for July: Maneki Neko Lucky Cats

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The June inspiration challenge ~ get involved!

Just a quick reminder that there’s still plenty of time to get involved with this month’s inspiration challenge. You don’t have to be a professional crafter, seamstress or artist to join in – it’s just for fun and it gives us all an excuse to make something with our hands this month and keep our creativity flowing!

With summer well on its way the theme for June’s inspiration challenge was a building rather than an object – that classic icon of the British seaside, the beach hut! inspiration challenge for june beach hutsSo make June the month that you give it a go and join in the inspiration challenge. Make anything that takes your fancy and beach huts are just a rough starting point – if it takes you into a seaside dream, so be it! Please send photos of your projects to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk by the end of June (along with any links you want included to your own blog/website/Etsy shop/Twitter) and I’ll share them on the blog as soon as I can at the start of July. Plus suggestions of objects or themes for future Inspiration Challenges are very welcome too so please send me your photos of your favourite vintage items as a starting point for next month!

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