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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5 Things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less. Underfloor heating is a great choice when you’re tackling any home remodelling so I’ve asked the professionals to share a guest post all about underfloor heating today so that you can see whether this heating option is right for you. If you are thinking of taking to leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…1. It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

The great thing about underfloor heating is it flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place. With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve. This gives you some flexibility but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat. The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money, as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

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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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Spring interior design inspiration – Pastel blue hues

It’s the first fresh sunny day of the year today and, even though there’s frost on the ground, my thoughts have already turned to spring interiors. I found myself on Pinterest looking for pastel colours and design inspiration, despite the fact that it’s still darkest winter and I need the coal fire on to keep warm. Even so, Spring IS coming and we need to start thinking about these things, especially with my home decorating project coming up imminently. So today I thought I’d try to get you all in the mood for spring with some bright and breezy pastel interiors.

interior-paint-ideas-words-and-pictures-living-room-blue-painyt

Pastel blue paint helps to bounce light around a room. Photo: Homegirl London Blog

Last year, I styled a spring room with fruity bursts of candy colours alongside my favourite pastel hues. But this year feels different. It feels like more of a grown-up year. Don’t ask me why, but all of the interior design inspiration I see online and in magazines is much more sophisticated than in previous years. It’s all about the light that comes into a room more than the decor, and I believe that nothing can beat bright spring daylight flooding into an airy room. It makes a home feel fresh, yet cosy and welcoming at the same time.blue spring lilving room interior design

Oddly enough, I’ve found that pastel blue hues can enhance this feeling of brightness and freshness without adding that tinge of coldness that is so often associated with blue rooms. Maybe the paint manufacturers have got the mix just right, because all of the pale blue paints I’ve been looking at have felt anything but cold or clinical. Take any of these rooms, for example. They have the bright yet warm feeling of a coastal holiday home, and I certainly associate that with warmer weather and fresh air.

blue bedroom pastel hues

White linens & pastel walls create a very welcoming Spring bedroom. Photo: Stylizimo Blog

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The next big interior design trends for 2017

The New Year is a great time to think about freshening up our homes with new indoor furniture, updated colour schemes and a few of the hottest accessories in line with the latest trends. It’s also the time of year that trend forecasters pull out their crystal balls and announce the home décor trends coming up in the year ahead.
I’ve had a look at all the predictions and here are my picks of the top eight interior themes we can expect to see in 2017.

A photo posted by coshliving (@coshliving) on


Super Natural
As technology becomes more and more integral to our daily lives and developments such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing look set to cause greater disruption, people are looking to nature and natural materials to provide balance. A strong desire to bring nature into our homes and workplaces will see interiors filled with greenery, from hanging pots, to hydroponic indoor gardens planted with vegetables and herbs. Sustainable and recycled materials will also feature strongly, with worn or aged furnishings and accessories. Sofas and designer furniture will be made from sustainable materials;  designers are even beginning to experiment with algae and fungi to develop new products. Key colour for this trend is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017 ‘Greenery’, a bright and powerful green hue.pantone-greenery-colour-pop-interior-design-trend-2017Nordic Influence
Scandinavian style continues to exert a strong influence on interiors with abundant natural light, a sense of space and simple well-designed furniture using natural materials. Natural textures and materials – such as wooden furniture, fur and shearling throws, hides and cork – ensure this look never appears cold or sterile. Bold fabrics and handcrafted accessories are also key elements. Key colours to recreate this look in your own home include white and soft gray with primary coloured accents.sideboard-sandinavian-danish-colour-pop-chair-mid-century-modernRaw and Industrial
The raw, industrial aesthetic is also still a strong influence, with concrete, clay, steel and glass forming the main materials. Again, this suits the trend for upcycled homewares as older items with rust spots, faded colours and patina fit in perfectly. If you’re lucky, you could give your home an industrial look for only a few pounds if you’re able to find disused shop/factory fittings, wooden pallets and rusted metalwork. The key colours for this look are gray, beige, off-white, yellow, white, walnut brown and glints of gold and copper.industrial-interior-design-trend-2017Reflective
For enthusiasts of contemporary furniture and décor, this design theme could be for you. The atmosphere here is soft and friendly, without being overly romantic and sweet. Modern materials and indoor furniture will feature cool mirrored, transparent effects. Look out for iridescent lamps, overlapping coloured glass shapes, shiny glazes, copper finishes, faceted shapes and reflective surfaces. These modern effects are contrasted with the tactility of handmade knitting and crochet to create a very livable theme. Choose muted key colours such as nude, blue, lavender, yellow, rose, turquoise, yellow-green, pastel yellow, peach, mint, lilac and pink.pop-of-colour-yellow-interior-design-trend-2017Pops of Strategic Colour

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Simple guide to creating a festive door hanger

Today I’ve enlisted the help of  Tracy Rowbottom, a top designer at Country Baskets, to share a fabulous festive DIY article on making a door hanger. Not just a wreath, this door hanging is a great way to decorate your entrance for Christmas and it’s a really thrifty option! You can use decorations and candle rings that you already own to create a unique door hanging to welcome guests to your home during December. Here is the step-by-step guide that Tracy had created to help you make your own door decorations this Christmas:

1) Take two small floral candle rings and wire together, back to back.

country baskets door hanging step 1

2) Tie a long piece of rope cord to the top, to create a handle. Make a ribbon band around the centre and tie into a bow on the top to hide your mechanics.

country baskets door hanging step 2

3) Repeat with two large decorative candle rings. Next take one small floral candle ring and tie a rope hanger and bow on top.

4) Cut three pieces of ribbon approx 10cms and secure one to the top of each Christmas decoration with the rope hanger.

country baskets door hanging step 3 and 4

 5) Lay all the components out on the table, starting with the smallest on the bottom, finishing with the largest at the top. Tie firmly with a knot on the top when you are happy with your placements.

country baskets door hanging step 5 and 6

6) Tie a rope loop and make a bow to secure on the loop. To finish tie the bow and rope loop to the top of the hanger and cut off any loose ends.

country baskets door hanging

And here’s a photo of the finished door-hanger! What do you think? Will you have a go at making this for yourself? Please send me your photos if you do! Tweet me @Cassiefairy or leave me a comment below. And check out the Country Baskets website to buy crafting supplies and Christmas decorations to include in your own festive project.

 


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My little vintage caravan project ~ DIY display cabinet makeover

Storage is very important in a small space and after having to remove most of my caravan’s interior due to damp, it is in very short supply. I have precious little of the original storage left in the caravan – only the seats remain with their under-bench storage space and I have easily filled this up with fabric already! So it is time to work my magic on a pretty storage display cabinet.

My mum bought this unit for me from a charity shop because it looked exactly like one that her nan owned when she was a child – even down to the rose mirror pattern on the glass. The display cabinet was destined for the caravan and when we put it inside it fit perfectly over the top of the wheel-arch on the back wall – it was meant to be! But the dark wood looked too much like the old caravan interior and the wood was in such bad condition that it would have needed sanding and re-varnishing to get it back to it’s former beauty. I decided that I wanted to make a complete change so I bought a couple of tins of spray paint from the carboot sale and set to work on a sunny Saturday.

The first task was to give it a good clean and mask off the glass before sanding lightly all over. I then sprayed a thin coat of cream paint all over the unit (using around one whole can) and allowed it to dry before setting to work on the second coat of paint. Building up the thin layers of spray paint gave a gorgeous smooth finish and looked considerably better than I’d imagined. And much better than I ever could have achieved with my usual slap-it-on paint brush technique!

I thought about recovering the back panel but once the unit has been painted it somehow gave the impression that the existing diamond pattern fabric was cleaner and new so I decided to stick with it and reinsert the glass shelves. Minutes later the display cabinet was full of my pretty crockery and nick-nacks so I’ll share the photos of this with you soon.

See more of my caravan project posts by clicking here and please send me details of your own camper makeovers to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @Cassiefairy – I’d love to see what you’ve been up to! And you really should check out Lisa Mora’s book Vintage Caravan Style for inspiration and gorgeous caravan photos! Read my review of the book on my blog here and read about my own renovation project so far here.


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My little vintage caravan project ~ I’ve got the power!

Ever since reading Vintage Caravan Style when it was released last month (here’s my book review) I’ve been bursting to get on with my own caravan renovation project. Last week I shared details of my new bookcase and I’m hoping to be able to spend more time out there working. At this moment, this is proving difficult because I don’t have a proper power supply in the caravan so I’m relying on a long extension lead that runs from the house to the caravan at the end of the garden. It’s not ideal but at the moment it’s the only way that I can get on with any projects that require power tools or a sewing machine – I’ve tried sewing with a hand-powered Singer and the novelty wore off pretty quickly! So this week I’ve been investigating ways of getting power out to the caravan on a more permanent basis.

Vintage caravan project - ideas for power supply-1

When the caravan first arrived it had all the electrical components fitted for the external vehicle lights to work so that it was safe on the roads, but internally the caravan had a gas stove and even gas lights. Yes, it really was an old caravan and hadn’t ever been upgraded to run on electric. So now that I want to use the space as a workshop rather than somewhere to camp I definitely will need a plug socket or two. I checked out the Critical Power Supplies website to investigate the options for installing electricity and found out that I had a couple of options; running a proper outdoor supply cable to the caravan so that I could have plug sockets etc inside, or installing a solar-powered unit to charge big campervan batteries. I’m very keen on the idea of renewable energy and it would mean that I could actually use my caravan for camping if I ever wanted to go away in it in the future! It’s an easy way to get power for the tools I want to use and doesn’t involve running a cable across the garden, which I prefer. I’m happy to use lamps and don’t need a whole circuit of over-head lighting fitted so that makes the whole process much more simple and the solar-powered battery becomes a lot more feasible! I’m still having a think about it so I’ll let you know what I decide 🙂

Vintage caravan project - ideas for power supply-2

The second thing that really needs addressing in the caravan is the window hinges. After changing the window trims and getting a nice tight seal around the windows, I realised that one of the windows couldn’t be opened anymore. This was because the glass has slipped out from the hinges at the top of the window so it’s being supported by the windowsill and the hinges are simply keeping it flat against the side of the caravan. So when I open the window outwards, nothing is supporting the glass and it slides out. This happened a few times while we were fitting the window seals and I’m lucky that the glass didn’t drop to the floor and smash – what an expensive mistake that would have been!! So I’m planning to order a couple of replacement glass hinges from Barrier Components in order to fix the problem. It will be lovely to have an opening side window again so I can’t wait to get this in place. Watch this space for updates!


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Cheesy love-hearts and pink champagne – it must be Valentines Day!

What did you get up to for Valentine’s Day yesterday? Are you celebrating today instead? I know a lot of my pals are making it into a weekend-long celebration but for hubby and I we did all our Valentine-ing yesterday and really enjoyed ourselves. I was completely spoilt with the biggest bunches of flowers that I’ve ever seen in my life plus a couple of gorgeous notebooks with stitched-binding, a teddy-bear Russian dool (very appropriate for the Winter Olympics right now!), a Beautiful South album and a book on graffiti. I went all out cheesy with a Christmas-stocking-esque heart-shaped gift bag full of ‘bee mine’ bumble bee chocolates, love-heart boxers and every other tacky Valentines gift in the £1 section of the market! Plus the coat that I was planning to get for my husband for Christmas but didn’t get round to buying was reduced to £7 and his size was the only one left on the rail – if that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what is!

DIY special valentines decorating ideas for bunting and lighting

Anyway, we didn’t go out for a big restaurant meal and instead we cooked up some new recipes that we’ve never tried before including Morroccan Lamb with couscous, homemade tortilla wraps (yes, even I was impressed!) and a big strawberry and apple crumble for pud. We shared some Champagne that we’d been given by our lovely friends for our 10th wedding anniversary back in the summer and scoffed out valentines chocolates – it was practically Christmas day number 2!

DIY special valentines meal ideas with napkin folding

I thought I’d better share some photos so that you can get an idea of how very cheesy the day was – just the way we like it!  Did you notice my awesome napkin folding?? I have an old book on napkin folding and this heart design was really easy to do – it’s only 6 folds so I guess it shouldn’t be too challenging for me! I hope you also had a lovely Valentines day, wherever you are and whoever you were with. Let me know what you got up to – especially you can beat my cheesiness!


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DIY glitter banner for Christmas

It’s not long to Christmas now and I’m sure that many of you will be decorating your homes for the festive season soon, if you haven’t already! I’ve come up with a super-easy DIY that you can make ready for the big day and it’s so easy to do that you can get the children involved and they will love sprinkling the glitter over the flags and seeing the letters come to life! Here’s my step-by-step guide to creating your very own Happy Christmas bunting banner:

1. You will need: Thin card or thick paper (I have used brown scrapbooking paper), pencil, scissors, string, double-sided tape, glitter

2. Cut out one bunting ‘flag’ shape from card and use it as a template to draw around onto the paper you’re using – the children can help out with drawing around the shape.

step by step making festive celebration banner

3. Cut out the number of flags you’ll need to spell out your chosen greeting and use pencil to write the letters on the flags.

4. Use the double-sided tape to stick over the lettering to spell out the message and peel off the backing so that the sticky side is visible.

 step by step making festive celebration banner glitter lettering

5. Sprinkle glitter all over the sticky letter – this is the fun part, that the children will love to get involved with!

6. Tip off the excess glitter and see the letters sparkle!

step by step making festive christmas celebration banner bunting chain

7. Fold the top of the flag backwards to make a lip to hang over the string.

8. Add the letter flags to the string in the correct order and tape down on the back.

DIY festive happy christmas celebration bunting banner glitter lettering

And you’re finished – time to hang your festive banner with pride! When Christmas is over, you can easily change your banner into a “Happy New Year” banner by making a few more letters and changing them around! This technique can be used all year round to make congratulations banners or birthday signs, using different colours of card or glitter – if you can imagine it, you can make it!

If you’re interested in how I created my book page wallpaper check out my bedroom makeover blog post!

Plus, I have been entered into the National Blog awards and it would be super-awesome and completely make my Christmas if you would pop over to the voting site and choose Cassiefairy.com in the lifestyle or fashion categories – and as an extra treat, you’ll receive a FREE Blogging Ebook just for casting your vote :) Please use this link to vote http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/vote/ don’t worry if the site doesn’t open properly, it’s just because there have been so many people trying to vote that the site it sometimes exceeds it’s bandwidth limits! So if it doesn’t work straight away, please pop back later! Thanks so much, merry Christmas to you :D


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My little vintage caravan ~ Pink party food ideas

Last week I shared my inspiration for creating a pink and red themed birthday party. I usually forget all about my birthday in the excitement of the run-up to Christmas, so this year I’ve made an effort to mark the occasion with a little party in my little vintage caravan. I’ve already shared my inspiration “moodboard” and now I’ve gathered together some party food ideas that go well with the colour theme. Please check out my “Parties” board on Pinterest for all the image credits and let me know if you have any other ideas for creating yummy party food for a pink and red themed party:

red and pink cakes themed birthday party food

So I’m off to the shops to buy cherries, jam, cream and sprinkles! Next up is sorting out the decorations and having a go at creating them myself, I will share my DIY attempts with you soon 🙂

 

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