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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Interior design inspiration ~ photowalls

When I wrote about the interior décor of Hollister stores last week it was pretty clear that I was really inspired by the design. Ever since my visit to the Cambridge shop, I’ve been trying to work out a way that I could inject a bit of Californian holiday atmosphere into my own home and I think I’ve come up with a plan…

The design element that most impressed me was the ocean view windows above. The ‘windows’ were made from screens which projected a wrap-around view of the ocean and coastline, giving the impression that you really were shopping in a tropical hut, possibly on a pier out in the sea. I loved the immersive atmosphere this created and I want to do something similar at home. Okay, I’m not considering installing a TV wall but I AM researching the possibility of including a photowall in my bathroom design.

I’ve gathered design inspiration and have researched companies that can print large-scale posters and I’ve decided to order from StressFreePrint. They are able to take a photo and divide it into posters which can over-lap and be pasted together to create an image the size of any wall up to 8m high! So my little 1.8m x 1.4m space above the bath should be no trouble at all ;) It’s basically like having wallpaper custom-made but without a hefty price tag.

There are different grades of paper quality available and the photos are printed with dry toner inks which are waterproof and UV stable so the image won’t run or fade - pretty good, huh? I’m still planning to varnish the wall after the posters have been hung, just to be certain that the moist bathroom environment won’t damage the image. Here are some interior spaces that have used a photo-wall effect to add a false window or to change the atmosphere of the room:

poster wall art ideas

So now all I need to do is choose an image. I want to use a photo of my favourite coastline, with beach huts and a gorgeous blue sky – but I’ll have to be there on the right day and at the right time to get the perfect weather conditions. I’d rather spend a bit of time creating an image that I’ll enjoy looking at, because it’ll be pretty hard to ignore once it’s pasted onto the bathroom wall! I’m hoping to create the illusion of looking into the distance so that the wall adds depth to the bathroom, rather than over-powering it. It’s a tough decision to make but I’ll share my chosen photos with you as soon as I send it to print!



Fairy, Fairy, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Welcome to my new series of blog posts all about my plans for my garden makeover! I know there are probably lots of historical and underlying meanings that you can read into this nursery rhyme but I am simply using it to set the tone for summer, because with the holidays comes the opportunity (both weather-wise and time-wise) to get out into the garden and start making some changes, which is precisely what I’ve been doing.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

When I think of this rhyme I imagine a cottage garden, boarders full of tall foxgloves (what I imagine to be the ‘bells’) and rambling roses. It’s the kind of garden I like – quaint, low-maintenance and traditionally British – full of colour, scent and stepping stones. What images do you conjure up in your mind when you read the nursery rhyme? I want to make a start in building the garden of my imagination and it starts here:

garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

This is the starting point for my new garden. Grass. Okay, mostly weeds. It’s not a large garden, measuring only about 30ft x 40ft, and it’s at the back of the house. This photo is taken from the gate into the back garden. It’s overlooked by the neighbours’ gardens on two sides and looked rather barren. It’s hard to imagine that anything would grow on this bumpy plot of grass but hubby and I are going to have a good go at landscaping it, planting it up and hopefully even grow our own veggies. If you look carefully at the grass in the photo, you can see that my husband has mowed it into the shape of a heart, but that was the extent of our gardening attempts so far haha!

the start of a garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

Look to the left from the back gate and you can see this view which houses the only other feature of the garden – my little vintage caravan. I’m still working on this project too but it will need to be moved to a new location once we start getting the garden in order. Here you can see the chain-link fence is overgrown with weeds at the side and behind the back-garden fence is the garage which faces the driveway.

the start of a garden makeover on the cassiefairy blog

Looking to the right from the gate you can see this view – the sheds and greenhouse are in the neighbours garden and the brick wall is part of an outdoor store cupboard, which is half joins onto the house. Over the coming weeks I’ll keep you updated with our plans, developments (no matter how dull!) and growth of our garden. Please get in touch if you have any tips or advice or are working on your own garden right now – I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below or email


Dream a little dream… of a cosy glow

Last month I wrote all about how my bedside lamps both broke within hours of each other, just before the arrival of my guests who would be staying in the bedroom for the weekend. Although it wasn’t the best solution, I quickly nabbed our angle-poise desk lamp as a temporary measure, and although it worked fine, the light was little to harsh for everyday bedside use – giving off more task-based illumination than a soft, sleepy glow. So this week I checked out the lighting section of the BHS homewares sale and snapped up a pair of pretty little table lamps to use in the bedroom. They arrived in no time and I was very excited to unwrap them and set them up in my bedroom.

I chose this style in particular because the lamp bases were operated with a simple on/off switch, which is much better than the touch-on-touch-off lamps that I’d struggled with in the past. The white stick base was available with a selection of pretty shades and after a lot of deliberation I chose this traditional ‘lampshade’ shape with this gorgeous roses pattern. The lamps work great with my existing décor, because the script/text pattern looks great with the book pages that I’ve used to paper the feature wall, and the bold roses print reflects the design on my bedding, as well as the drawings of roses that I added to the wall around Valentines Day. All in all, I couldn’t have chosen a better style of bedside lamp even if I had designed them myself! So you can imagine how delighted I am with my new lights and how they tie all the elements of the décor together.

I like my bedroom to feel like a hotel (is it just me, or does everyone love a good hotel room?!) so I’m delighted that I finally have a pair of working, matching bedside lamps. I’m also trying to create a calming, restful environment to make it easier for us to drift off to sleep so over the past few months I’ve installed blackout blinds (great at this time of year when we are actually going to bed while it’s still light outside!) and have even invested in a mattress topper for a softer night’s sleep – read all about my bedroom makeover series here. The softer lighting that my new bedside lamps emit is much more soothing and calming than the bright task light we’ve been using for a couple of weeks and the whole room feels much cosier with the warm glow from my new lamps.

bedroom makeover - bedside lamps



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The Cassiefairy Collection

I mentioned last week that I’ve been working on a project for the past few months to create my own collection of Cassiefairy t-shirt designs. I was so excited when I was approached by and they invited me to design a range of t-shirts. I had completely free rein over the design and I knew I wanted it to be something that reflected me, the blog itself and to also be inspirational – I hoped that people would actually want to wear my designs!

I did a lot of research and looked into what was already out there in the world of fashion at the moment but couldn’t find any inspiration that would be suitable for my design project. So I started from scratch by playing around with scribbles, geometric designs and spirographs, creating all kinds of designs in different colours, trialling fonts and choosing patterns. I’ve written all about the design process last week here on the blog so have a look and see which designs made the cut and which went back to the drawing board!

So after a few weeks of work and some very hard decision-making, I finally submitted my designs and Got The T-Shirt set to work on making my fashion “collection” a reality. It wasn’t long before a parcel arrived at my house and I tore it open to see how the designs had turned out… I was delighted! Not only did my images look great on fabric and not only was the print professional standard, but the quality of the t-shirts surprised me. They were soft Fruit of the Loom t-shirts with a little stretch in them and I felt very comfortable wearing them. I took some snaps before popping them on and pairing them with my favourite blazers.

I knew I wanted to include inspirational quotes on the t-shirts but I didn’t want it to be all slogan and no design, so I’m really happy with how the images have turned out. The colours make the pattern stand out and the writing looks like genuine ink pen – if I hadn’t designed it myself, I would have sworn that the text had been hand-written on the t-shirt! The quotes read: “Follow your excitement”,  “Believe in your dreams”, “Choose to use your wings” and “Just Love” and I will be happy to wear any of them for a casual day out with cropped jeans and a pretty cardi or colourful blazer.


The good news is that you too can own your own t-shirt from the Cassiefairy collection because I am hosting a giveaway this week – you can win your favourite design in any size (even on a men’s or child’s t-shirts if you prefer!). The competition entry form is below and there are FOUR t-shirts up for grabs so FOUR competition winners will be chosen next week on Wednesday 16th July 2014! You can earn extra entries by retweeting the competition tweets on Twitter throughout the week, so keep an eye on my Twitter account @Cassiefairy to earn more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cassiefairy ~ the fashion designer?! Creating my own t-shirt collection…

I’ve been rather excited this week because a little secret work project is finally coming to fruition and I’ve been bursting to share it with you! I’ve had to keep it on the down-low for a while but now it’s in progress I am free to tell you all about it! I was recently asked to design a collection of ‘Cassiefairy t-shirts’ by I know - SO exciting, right?! I never thought that a little bit of blogging work would take me into the realms of (technically!) fashion designer so after a few moments of surprise, shock and sheer terror that I wouldn’t be good enough to do it, I accepted the offer and got to work. I spent a few days coming up with ideas and a bit of a moodboard for the t-shirt designs, which helped me to go from ‘no clue’ to ‘hmm, I’m getting an idea!’. I knew I wanted the t-shirts to be plain, white, simple and fresh but I wanted to put my own stamp on it – the essence of “Cassiefairy”. But what did that mean? Even, I didn’t know! I started with the things I love, which are rainbow colours and inspirational quotes and attempted to incorporate these elements into my designs.

I started off by jotting down some quotes and messages. I like to think I came up with them myself, but who knows how they popped up in my brain in the first place! The quotes I wanted to use are ‘just love’, ‘choose to use your wings’, ‘follow your excitement’ and ‘believe in your dreams’. Some that I’ve got on standby include ‘it’s playtime’, ‘live a life you’re proud of’, ‘don’t grow up’ and a few more, but I think I’ve chosen the right words for the collection. I chose a couple of font options – hand-drawn and scribbly or blocky capitals – so that I could choose which looked best for each quote. I love Spriograph – you remember the geometric drawing tool from childhood? – so I wanted to include a repeating pattern, lots of circles, swirls and scribbles. I played around with some patterns and tried out a rainbow of colours to imitate the effect I used to create with the Spirograph. All of this ‘playing’ resulted in some curvy cuddly shapes, such as clouds, hearts and twirly scribbles trailing off. I especially enjoyed it when I began repeating the shape into a multi-coloured pattern and knew I’d found my design. choose to use finished 1 png choose to use pastel 1 png I tried out each of the designs in a variety of colours – the joy of computer-aided design, eh? It’s great to have the ability to switch up the colours of a design in just a few clicks! The two effects I loved were a bright rainbow of colours and the same rainbow in pastel shades. When I decided to do a three-pattern repeat of the shapes, this lent itself nicely to working with the CYMK printing colour model so I chose a hot pink, turquoise blue and bright yellow for the lines. I also tried this out in a pastel version, and it was very hard to decide between the two… cassiefairy womens t shirt design After a lot of editing and playing around with size, I was finally happy with my final selections. I uploaded my designs using the t-shirt designer software on and submitted my work. I am delighted to have a t-shirt ‘collection’ in process and soon the articles themselves will winging their way to me in the post. When they arrive I will share photos of the t-shirts so you can see how the designs turned out – in fact, I’m bursting to see them myself! I’m also planning to giveaway one of each design to my lovely readers in a competition, so watch this space to get your hands on one of the first ever Cassiefairy t-shirt designs!