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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How to restore leather furniture + I’m in issue 38 of Reloved magazine!

I have some wonderful news to kick start the new year – I’m in Reloved magazine this month! My “How to restore a leather chair” project has been given a full four-page spread in the magazine AND it even made the front cover; look carefully and you can see it in the thumbnail images at the bottom of the cover! Not only that, but I’m also their Take 10 interview on the last page – wow!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-1I said once before that ‘you know you’ve made it when…’ you’re in the same magazine as Max McMurdo and Annie Sloan but this is the second time it’s happened now, so I’m beginning to settle into my role of upcycler/writer. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to find my work in a magazine on the shelves of our local newsagents! The eagle-eyed of you might have spotted an Instagram snap of me grinning from ear-to-ear holding a copy of Reloved in WH Smith. I’m super-cheesy, I know, but it was an incredibly proud moment for me nonetheless.reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-2The project I shared in Issue 38 of Reloved was how to repair crumbling cracked leather. My husband bought this chair from the carboot sale but it was in awful condition and needed a lot of TLC to bring it back to life. And that’s exactly what we did – by the end of the makeover the leather was supple and shining once more, the colour was richer than ever and the cracks and splits were gone. I’ve included the full project pages below so that you can read the step-by-step guide yourself, just in case you too have some beyond-help leather furniture that needs fixing up. reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-3As you can probably tell I’m REALLY chuffed to be featured in my favourite magazine and I’m over the moon that the editor wants me to come up with more projects for the publication in the future. In fact, I’ve already sent over another DIY project for Valentine’s Day and I spotted a photo of it in the preview of the next issue so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share another project with you again next month too!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-4Below are my project pages from inside the magazine but be sure to pick up a copy of Reloved for yourself this month because it’s packed full of sewing, craft, diy and upcycling projects including some step-by-step guides by Max McMurdo, Sewing Bee winner Matt Chapple, printer Joy Jolliffe, ‘salvage sister’ Charis Williams and author Kate Beavis.

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DIY Christmas decor – Candy cane chair project

This month I’ve been busier than an elf in Santas workshop – yes, I’ve been DIYing lots of festive projects ready to share with you on the blog this December. And what better way to kick off the celebrations than with the ultimate festive makeover: a candy cane chair.diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7When I bought this retro chair from a second-hand furniture shop for just £2 I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. I don’t really have space for another chair, but I knew that it was too much of a bargain to pass up. So I handed over my cash and spent the next five minutes trying to manoeuvre the chair into my teeny tiny car.

Needless to say, the chair sat in my garage for a couple of months before I decided what should be done with it. And during that time we inched closer and closer to Christmas. I began feeling more and more festive, and soon the thought came to me – I was going to make a candy cane chair.

But where do you start when you want to turn an old dining chair into Santa’s favourite seat? Well, with primer of course! A roll of masking tape and couple of coats of red spray paint later, my Christmas chair was complete. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as quick as that but it was easy enough to do – the only thing that took a bit of time was waiting for the paint to dry between coats.

Luckily, I captured the whole process on my camera and I’ve made this little DIY video to show you exactly how to do it for yourself at home. Have a quick watch below or open the video in YouTube to leave me a comment or a thumbs up. And please give me a subscribe while you’re there – I know there’s not many videos on my Cassiefairy channel yet but I promise there will be more crafty DIY videos coming soon, honest!

What do you think of my candy cane chair design? Will you be giving any of your furniture a festive makeover this winter? Let me know if you’ve made any OTT decorations yourself by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me with photos of your xmas décor @Cassiefairy.


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DIY furniture makeover: A quick & easy distressed chair with Rust-Oleum

After packing away all the Christmas decorations, this time of year always gets me thinking about having a good old clear out and a bit of a tidy up. I often take a look around my home in January and pick out the things I haven’t used over the past year. With space at a premium in my tiny home, these are often the first things to clear out, and I love to make a bit of extra money in the new year by selling off a few unused bits and pieces. If something has been put aside just because it has become broken or needs a spruce-up, this is the time of year that I get stuck into new makeover projects and try to make the most of the things I have.Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-24 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-36This week I’ve tried to breathe new life into an old chair with Rust-Oleum. I have a few of these chairs in the shed, waiting to be fixed and slowing growing a layer of mould. Each chair either had a wobbly leg, a missing seat or a rickety back support so I enlisted my husband to help me put together the best bits of all these higgledy-piggledy chairs to make one usable seat. After a thorough cleaning and leaving the wood to dry out in the warm for a while, the chair was ready to be painted.

I was hoping to make my quick makeover as easy as possible, yet I wanted to get a good finish rather than a slapdash result. I therefore turned to Rust-Oluem’s new range of brush-on chalky finish furniture paints, which can be painted straight on to wood without any sanding or undercoats. I picked out a rich ink blue shade for my chair to create an eye-catching spare seat for the conservatory. I also wanted to add a little opulence to the design so I also chose a metallic finish furniture paint in gold as an undercoat so that I could distress the blue top coat and see a touch of gold glinting through.Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-5 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-6 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-7 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-4 Furniture Makeover Project Rust-Oleum paint retro conservatory chair_-12I wanted to be thrifty with my paint, so I planned to brush on the gold paint only in the places where I intended to sand it back after covering with the blue paint. When I saw how far just a small amount of the paint went, I decided that I could spare some more paint and give the whole chair a coat of gold. I still hardly used any of the tin, so there’s plenty left for other projects in the future. Perhaps creating a gilded throne would have been a better use for my chair?! You can see from my photos that the gold paint needs a thorough mixing when you open it, but it soon looked gloriously gold after a quick stir. It’ll be great for sprucing up photo frames, making DIY gifts, and I’m already planning to make my own Christmas decorations for next year using this sumptuous gold colour.

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Back to work… ouch!

This week I’ve had a problem. It started on Sunday and has carried on all week with little or no let up. I’ve had headaches as a result and even had to have mid-day a lie down at times. I’m taking about back pain and it is naffing me off. Just like the dodgy pun in the title of this blog post, it’s annoying. I know many people ensure bad backs for weeks at a time (many of my friends and family included) and this is really only a relatively recent problem for me, but it’s really frustrating to have to stop what I’m doing in order to sort out my problem.

I don’t like taking pills too often so I’ve been powering through and I know that you should keep moving when you have a dodgy back, but this pain has kind of frozen my neck. I think I’ve traced the root of the problem to my poor choices of working environment over the past couple of weeks. Instead of working in my caravan ‘office’ or sitting at my living room desk, I’ve been lazy and have actually been perching on the sofa to do my work. It’s the result of having a laptop with wifi that doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time, so I can literally work wherever I like, whereas in the past I’ve been chained to the desk with all kinds of wires going into my laptop, therefore keeping me in one place. I guess it can’t be good for me to be snuggled up on the sofa while working and my new-found poor posture results in one heck of a crick in the neck as I look down to see my computer screen. In turn, the neck pain has resulted in headaches at the base of my head – not good and almost debilitating.

correct working posture back app

As we speak I have one of those heated wheat-bags around my neck and I can’t carry on like this. I read this article to find out more about posture and have self-diagnosed that my bad back and neck probably is down to my working environment. Apparently even when working at a desk, the kinds of chairs that are often found in offices are probably contributing to bad backs all around the country – so imagine how bad my standard dining-chair and small table must be for me? What hope is there for my dodgy back and sore neck if I’m not even sitting in a supportive chair at an ergonomically design desk?? I do tend to slump a little and have to regularly correct my posture and really I probably need to raise up my computer to a better eye-level.

But it’s not just me who is suffering – according to the article, 80% of people are experiencing back pain in their lifetime and poor posture can be attributed to the increase in tablet computers and smartphones which have created a generation who are happy to be hunched over screens while they work, rest and play – which this article had dubbed the ‘iPosture’. I am guilty of this too as I reward myself for a good day’s work with a Pinterest session. Maybe I need to be sitting at a desk while doing this too? Who knew that the ‘convenience’ tablets would be causing us all to have bad backs and poor posture? I know what I need to do and honestly, I will start working on my desk again for starters. Plus I am now wishing for a posture-pleasing chair like the ones above, but in the meantime I will take more notice of my posture and correct myself if I begin to slump. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a quick improvement in my sore neck and back so that I can finally wave goodbye to these headaches. Let me know if you’ve had any trouble like this in the past or currently and what you’re doing to make it better – maybe I can give it a go too!

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Article and images used in collaboration with Back App.


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Make a TINY chair for the Borrowers…

Here’s a photo of my latest attempt to turn a piece of rubbish into something special – a champagne cork cage twisted into a tiny chair. I particularly love this one because the cap had an orange pattern on it ~ ideal for my retro living room!

DIY craft tutorial tiny champagne cork chair placeholder

I have previously shared instructions on how to do this kind of thing – check out my blog post on making a DIY champagne chair and if you make them, these tiny chairs have many uses – such as place settings for weddings or dinner parties, a cute addition to a dolls house or memo holding. It’s a better idea than just chucking it in the bin anyway 🙂

More quick & easy craft tutorials from Cassiefairy:


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My retro-inspired living room – an old armchair rescued!

I am pleased to say that I’ve got another freebie for my retro living room design project – an armchair that was on its way from a vintage furniture shop to the dump. It didn’t exactly look like this when my hubby brought it home to me; it had a cream damask patterned cover over it which went all the way down to the floor and hid the chair’s legs. When I first saw it, it would be an understatement to say that I was disappointed, in fact I may have even used “urgghhh”. But my husband had already looked beneath the cover and knew that underneath was this lovely original brown and orange patterned fabric.

Okay, I say lovely, and I know that to some people it’s probably even less desirable in this state, but to me it was absolutely perfect for our 60s/70s living room, especially with the orange line running through it. And best of all, it was completely free and I’d previously been looking for a small retro armchair for the living room and all had been out of any kind of price-range that I could afford!

So that’s another item of furniture kept out of the landfill site, recycled and reused in my living room – and that make’s it even more special for me!


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A DIY project – renovating an old dining chair

I desperately wanted a princess chair for my dressing table but the chairs I’ve seen in places like Laura Ashley and Dunelm are way out of my price range – so I very politely asked my husband to help out with the renovation of an old mahogany dining chair. We chose a dusky blue Crown paint ‘etiquette’ for the frame and bought a length of silver fabric trim from Dunelm.

The first step was to remove all the tacks from around the edge of the fabric and gave the fabric a good clean with some upholstery foam. Once dried we covered the edges of the fabric with masking tape ready for painting. A quick sand and a couple of coats of the blue paint was enough to cover the dark wood and once it had dried we used a hot glue-gun to over the rough edge with the lovely silver trim.

We then rubbed over the paint with sandpaper so that some of the wood showed through and lightly flicked a little white paint onto the edges with a paint brush for a distressed look and to highlight the wood carving. Beautiful!

 


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I made this all by myself: Champagne cork cage mini-chair by my hubby!

Whenever my husband and I open a bottle of bubbly (which is unfortunately not often enough!), while I am cheerfully enjoying my drink, he is bending and folding and contorting. Not himself I hasten to add, but the wire of the cork cage – he is shaping it into a mini chair and I always marvel at the finished item – how did he did it with such little effort? It takes me longer to photograph this dainty piece of furniture than it takes him to make it!

I’ve known people to buy this kind of thing as a table decoration/placeholder for weddings and parties so here’s how to do it yourself and save a bit of cash if you want to get this effect for your event (plus you get to drink the champagne in order to use the cork cages!) Maybe start collecting the cages a few months/years before, depending on your usual bubbly consumption, and not all in one go!

  • To begin making your basic chair untwist wire which attached the cage to the bottle neck and pull it carefully out from between the main cage wires, leaving a stool.
  • Straighten this piece of wire, then bend the wire down to form the sides of the chair back.   
  • Line up one side wire from your chair back with the twists on the back leg, and twist the wire into the back leg so that the wire twists blend together.
  • Repeat this twisting process with the wire on the other side of the leg.

And there you have it – a teeny tiny wire chair! The perfect size for any Borrowers you may have living underneath your floorboards!

 

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