Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Minimalist mid-century modern window dressing

There’s a lovely big window in our living room. It lets in so much natural daylight and offers a lovely view over the garden. In fact, it’s pretty-much the only feature of the room at the moment, so I want to make the most of it. I wanted to give it a sleek, contemporary window-dressing but still wanted make sure that I can still get the maximum amount of light into the room. Here’s what I decided to do…I’ve always hung curtains in the past.

But this time, covering up the window with heavy curtains didn’t seem like such a good idea. As a blogger I’m always on the hunt for natural light to help me take photos so it wouldn’t be sensible to cover up the main source of daylight in the house, would it?! And as much as I love my bumble-bee curtains, I don’t think they are even the right size for the window. I decided that my old curtains will get a new home in the guest bedroom and I’ve invested in a blind for the living room.Pinterest has changed my style.

I used to quite like fussy window dressings. Y’know, blousey roman blinds with floaty voiles over the top. Or blackout roller blinds with thickly lined curtains in the winter. But since I started planning my new home on Pinterest, things have changed. I found myself drawn to minimalist interiors, white walls and rooms with lots of natural light. I started pinning images of shutters, chunky wooden venetians and long, sleek vertical blinds.I wanted maximum versatility.

I wanted to cover my windows in order to enjoy some privacy in my home, but I didn’t want to block out the outside world completely. And I wanted to control the amount of light coming into the room; sometimes too much sunshine is as bad as too little light. So the idea of shutters went out of the window (excuse the pun). Even though the angles of the shutter could be tilted, a solid frame would inevitably block out more light than I wanted. That said, curtains were too ‘open or closed’ for me too, and even voiles seem to make a room darker.

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My mini kitchen makeover – Seaside stripes

It’s been a rather productive summer in the Cassiefairy household. All those little DIY tasks that I’ve been putting off for months (okay, years) have finally been tackled and I’m so pleased with the results. It’s really satisfying to spend a day with a paintbrush in your hand and then step back to admire your handiwork at the end of a decorating session.diy-interior-design-small-kitchen-makeover-accessories-seaside-colours-3diy-interior-design-small-kitchen-makeover-accessories-seaside-colours-4In fact, my favourite thing about decorating is that moment when you go back into a room later that day, having forgotten that you’ve painted it, and are surprised by the effect. I found myself ‘ooh-ing’ on about 10 different occasions after painting the kitchen and I think I deserve to revel in my success; we’ve had paint swatches dotted around the walls for three years, so it really is about time that the room was finished!

I wrote about my inspiration for a coastal style kitchen on the blog last month and after a lot of deliberation, I decided to go for a duck-egg blue paint from Homebase. The paint actually dried a lot darker than it looked but the darker shade was exactly the colour I wanted (the wet paint looked like off-white rather than an actual colour) and it looks fab with the fabric that I’d chosen for our kitchen blind.

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My mini kitchen makeover – Paint colours & fabric patterns

The summer holidays have arrived! And with them come the opportunity to spend some time at home and get started on a couple of decorating projects that I’ve been bursting to do. You may remember that I shared some inspirational images for my ideal kitchen a couple of weeks ago and I’m now planning to put those ideas into practice. I’m calling it a ‘mini makeover’ for two reasons; firstly, my budget is tiny and I want to get the best result for the minimum outlay, and secondly, my kitchen is also tiny – I’ve actually never lived in a home with such a small kitchen before and I really need to make the best use of the space available. So this interior design project is really going to be a challenge!clarke and clarke candy striped fabric_The thing that I’ve had the most trouble deciding on is the colour of the walls. We’ve had patches of paint samples on the wall for more than a year and I couldn’t decide on a colour until I found a lovely duck-egg blue in Homebase. It’s bright enough that it doesn’t make the room feel any smaller but it’s a little more exciting than just using a neutral white or magnolia to make the space bigger.southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4I really think I’ve made the right decision with the paint colour, and here’s why; Continue reading “My mini kitchen makeover – Paint colours & fabric patterns” »


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My new blinds – the finishing touch for bathroom & kitchen

This week my new blinds arrived. Did you hear me whooping from where you are? I was thrilled when they were delivered at the weekend because, after struggling for ages to find suitable roller blinds for the difficult small windows in the kitchen and bathroom, I’d turned to the internet for a solution.black and white bathroom interior design inspiration blinds-3Remember my blog post last week about taking design inspiration from 4* luxury bathrooms? Well the bathroom at home was starting to look very similar to The Majestic Hotel’s ‘famous’ mens bathroom: with checker-board floor tiles, white walls and black checked border. With black and white accessories and fittings the bathroom was almost complete, but I had struggled to find a blind that would fit the tiny window in the room. It needed to be black and very simple in design to compliment the rest of the room, so where on earth would I find it?

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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Nautical textiles & DIY roman blind

Do you ever buy some fabric just because you like it but have no idea what you’ll end up doing with it? I actually got this fabric from Abakhan over a year ago and at the time I thought it might be the inspiration for a kitchen makeover. But during the year, my tastes have changed and I no longer fancy a nautical theme in my kitchen. I’ve since moved on to lolly pops, bright colours and googie shapes, but whether this will still be my plan when I actually get round to decorating the kitchen is another story! However, as you’ve probably gathered from reading my bathroom blog posts, I’ve moved my coastal-desires over to the bathroom and I’ve since realised that the fabric will look equally fab in my beach-hut inspired room.

Although there’s not much call for soft furnishings in a bathroom, privacy is still essential so I decided to use the ‘Porto’ lighthouse fabric to make a blind for the window. I followed a basic blind pattern and I spent a few enjoyable hours at my sewing machine making a cute roman blind. I always thought that it would be pretty difficult to make a roman blind and if you read through tutorials online, it’s quite easy to get baffled by all the measurements and 40-step instructions, but I found out that it’s not all that difficult, and if you want to revamp your windows (or even just show off your sewing skills a bit!) have a go at following my ‘simple’ tutorial for making a lined roman blind.

You will need

  • Curtain fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Length of self-adhesive hook and sew-on loop fastener the width of the batten
  • 3 lengths of cord – each twice the length of the blind plus the width of the finished blind
  • Small plastic rings
  • Square wooden batten the width of the blind
  • 4 pieces of wooden dowelling, the width of the finished blind minus 3 inches (I used 4 garden canes) If your window is long, or you would like more folds, add extra dowelling.
  • 4 screw-in curtain wire eye loops

Step 1

Work out the size of your roman blind by measuring from the top of the window to your required finished drop, adding 2 inches to the top and add 4 inches to the bottom hem. For the width, measure the width of the window, subtract 1 inch to allow for smooth movement either side once it is fitted then add 1 inch either side for attaching the lining to the side seam. Position these measurements on your fabric so that the pattern is central – if you have a stripe or repeating pattern, make sure the lines are straight and there is an equal pattern either side. Cut out your blind fabric.

Step 2

Use the same measurements to cut your lining fabric, adding 2 inches to the height for each dowelling pocket – so for my three pockets, I added 6 inches to the length. Cut the lining fabric and mark your hems – measure up 4 inches from the bottom and mark a line across on the back of the fabric, and do the same at two inches down from the top. Divide the rest of the fabric between these lines by the number of dowels you would like to use and mark a line across on the back of the fabric at equal intervals – I wanted to include 3 dowels, so I divided my fabric into three equal sections and marked a line at each point.

Step 3

Fold along the dowelling pocket lines and press with an iron. Pin and stitch a straight line at one inch from the fold to make a pocket for the dowelling. Repeat for each of the dowelling pockets. 

 Step 4

With the right sides of your fabric and lining facing each other, match up the edges and pin down both sides of the blind. Stitch a hem down one side at one inch from the edge, sealing one end of the dowelling pockets. Insert the dowelling canes at the open edge, then stitch a one inch hem down the side of the blind. Turn right-side out. 

Step 5

Working on the reverse of the blind, turn the top edge of the blind and lining down by one inch and press with an iron, then turn down another inch and press. Pin the stitch-on loop fastener across the width of the blind, covering this top hem and stitch in place at the top and bottom of the loop fastener.

Step 6

Still working on the reverse of the blind, turn the bottom of the fabric and lining up together by 2 inches and press with an iron. Turn up another two inches and place iron-on hem webbing along the top of this hem. Follow the instructions to iron on the webbing to glue the hemming down. This keeps the hem in place while you slip-stitch the hem to the lining – making sure you don’t stitch through to the front of the blind.

Step 7

Insert the bottom dowel into the hem pocket and hand-stitch the edges together to seal the dowelling into the hem.

Step 8

Working on the reverse of the blind, stitch the plastic rings along each of the dowelling rod pocket seams in three places – 4 inches from each side and in the very centre. Tie the pieces of cord onto the bottom ring and feed up through the other rings to the top of the blind.

Step 9

Screw the curtain wire eye loops into the batten at the same intervals as the rings on the back of the blind. Apply the stick-on hook fastener to the batten and attach the batten at the top of your window recess – we used grip adhesive because there is a lintel above my window!

Step 10

Attach the blind using the hook-and-loop fastener and feed the cord through the curtain wire eye loops and out to the side. Attach a cleat to the wall where you would like to tie off the blind. Knot the cord together at the bottom and pull up your new blind to create the folds and tie off using a cleat.

DIY bathroom roman blind-1 DIY bathroom roman blind-2

And this is what my blind looks like after I enlisted hubby to install it in the bathroom.  I’m really quite happy with how it turned out and it’s nice to have the extra privacy (and I’m sure extra warmth in winter!) in the bathroom. I’ve still got more fabric left over so watch this space for more projects! Next up on my list is more storage in the bathroom and I’d love to build a towel shelf over the door. I’ve been searching online for tutorials and found a great channel on YouTube which shares easy DIY projects from start to finish. I wanted to brush up my DIY skills and this channel has some great information about power tools; The multi-tool looks ideal for a DIY novice like me!

I just need to find some more wood (hopefully free or found in a skip, like the shuttering we used for the bathroom floor and storage wall) and I’ll be able to start on my next project for the bathroom makeover! I’ll post more updates next week because we’re sure to be doing more DIY in the bathroom over the weekend and I’ll take some photos to share with you. In the meantime, have a fab weekend 🙂

 

 


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Dream a little dream… of a great night sleep

Today is the end of my month-long challenge to improve the quality of my sleep. Hopefully you’ll have already read all about my sleep challenge and how it got me thinking about making some changes to my bedroom decor. If you’re interested to read up on all of my past articles the links are below 🙂

First I dealt with the amount of light that was coming into the room and disrupting our sleep by installing blackout blinds. These blinds also has thermal qualities so kept the warmth in the room and improved the condensation issue I wrote about last month.

I then decided to decorate my bedroom to create a ‘sanctuary’ and I used old books to wallpaper my walls – here’s the inspiration moodboard and another post about the finished room.

Bedroom makeover DIY new hotel 400 thread count white sheets sleep challenge

As the focus of the bedroom, the bed got a massive makeover, with a mattress topper which was a soft as sleeping on a cloud, memory foam pillows that protected and improved my dodgy whip-lashed neck, and lovely crisp new white hotel-esque bedding.

I also followed 30 excellent tips from Dunelm on the practical things you can do to get a better night’s sleep. Alongside the improvements that I made to my bed and environment, t he best ideas were banning technology from the bedroom and taking time to unwind for a while before bed. Here are their final tips for improving sleep:

  1. Try relaxing scents like Lavender or Peppermint to help calm you down before bed, try burning scented candles to help you relax in the bath before you go to bed. Don’t forget to blow them out! http://www.dunelm-mill.com/shop/dorma-lavender-and-chamomile-wax-filled-glass-candle-324630
  2. Increase the amount of natural light that you are exposed to during the day, this will keep you awake and alert and make the night time difference more effective
  3. Practice breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth. It reduces snoring and allows you to take deeper breaths
  4. Take a test to establish your sleep profile so that you can identify what might help you sleep more soundly: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/profiler/
  5. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 30 minutes, try reading a real book under low light until you start to feel tired again

Bedroom makeover DIY new hotel chelsea white sheets sleep challenge christmas decorations

So how did I get on? Has my sleep been significantly improved? I can confidently say yes! The room feels cosier, darker and warmer so is more a relaxing environment to sleep in. The bed itself is considerably more comforable now that I am sleeping on top of a soft mattress topper and uing memory foam pillows, and the bedding makes it a delight to slip into bed every night. Over the years, both my husband and I have struggled with getting to sleep but the tips I’ve been following have been very useful and we will continue to follow these relaxation tips to wind-down and maintain a calm bedtime routine.

I am very glad to have taken part in the sleep challenge and (with the exception of Christmas Eve when I always struggle to get to sleep because Santa is coming!) I am confident that I will continue to enjoy a great night’s sleep from now on!

I am pleased to tell you all that I have been entered into the National Blog awards! It would absolutely make my whole Christmas if you would stop by the voting site and choose Cassiefairy.com – and as an extra treat, you’ll receive a FREE Blogging Ebook just for casting your vote :) Please use this link to vote for me in the lifestyle and fashion categories  http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/vote/ (the blog awards site is working on-and-off at the moment because there are so many people trying to vote, so if it doesn’t work straight away, please pop back later!) Thanks so much, you’re the best! :D

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