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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How does your garden grow? Up the garden path…

After finishing our patio terrace, it seemed appropriate that the next area of the garden that we should work on was the veggie patch. The steps down from the patio went nowhere, so the next step (excuse the pun) was to dig out a path around the raised beds that we wanted to install. Oddly enough, rather than building the beds out of wood first and then paving around them, we did it the opposite way: hubby measured out the size of the beds and we sliced away the turf from around the edges – dumping the excess soil onto the ‘veggie beds’ as we went.

The garden was particularly uneven in this area, undulating at all different angles, so we wanted to get a path that was a flat as possible. It would still slope away towards the end of the garden because that’s just how the land lies, but at least it would be a flat slope after we’d finished digging out the path! We lined each path around the ‘raised beds’ with weed-resistant membrane and as you can see from the photo we added edging down the left-hand side of the path to separate the grass lawn from the veggie patch. This wood came from B&Q and is actually supposed to be a handrail for the top of a decking ‘railing’- is that the right word? It therefore has a curved top edge, which looks great even at ground-level. The reason we bought this wood was because it was reduced to under £2 per 6ft piece and at the time we didn’t know what we would use it for, but knew that it was a garden bargain! These photos are very much a work-in-progress (excuse the mess!) so I will share the rest of the photos in my next blog post when the raised beds are finished.


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Interior design inspirations ~ 1920s a decade of decadence

With my bathroom makeover in progress, I’ve started researching interior design looks from decades past. It’s interesting how just a few inexpensive details can really change the look of your home and I wanted to share some images of 20s-style bathrooms with you for a little design inspiration today.

Thanks to the luxurious styling of last year’s hit film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, black and gold instantly spring to mind when you think of the 1920s. This balance of a deep, dark moody shade with opulent gold accents has a lot to offer your home, but it’s particularly suited to bathrooms. Think decadent gold fixtures, fittings and accessories – from taps and lighting to mirror frames and towel embroidery – all set against ebony walls.

Don’t feel restricted to black if you have a smaller-sized room, however: as you can see above a white, high-shine floor tiles add a certain lightness to the room without detracting from the twenties-inspired drama. Get the look with hammered pearl, brown and gold mixed mosaic tiles (above) ‘Oriente’ gold floor tiles, and ‘Onix black’ floor tiles with anti-slip.

I’m still in the process of choosing the finish for my bathroom and although the dark shades might detract from my photowall, I’ve been inspired to use lots of reflective surfaces and I love the idea of monogrammed towels! I’ll be reporting back on the progress of my bathroom project soon, so watch this space!

 


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How does your garden grow? My new dining room…

Last week I showed you some plans for the garden and how we needed to move the caravan into a new position to make the design work. Well, the eagle-eyed of you will have spotted a patio area on those plans and that’s exactly what we’ve done – oh boy, was it a lot of work! First we measured out the space according to the number of patio slabs we had then set to work digging!

Hubby had already bought the slabs a year ago when someone was selling their old patio locally on Gumtree. The slabs were used but still in good condition and it meant that we could measure the patio to fit the slabs, rather than the other way around. I also liked the fact that the patio would look weathered as soon as it was laid rather than taking months to blend into the garden. We needed to dig out the top of the sloping garden so that the patio would sit flush with the concrete path around the house, and we used this excess soil to fill in the bottom of the slope so that it would all sit at the same level. Hubby actually built a retaining ‘wall’ using pressure-treated timber so that we could back-fill against it. He actually built it as a long planter and any of the spare topsoil we had left over from digging went into it = retaining wall, compost bin and potential herb garden in one!

From there, we laid weed-proof membrane and levelled the ground even more with a ton of sand on top. We spent ages pushing a plank back and forth to pat the sand flat and get the levels right. I took a brief break to make some lunch and by the time it was ready, hubby had already laid all of the patio slabs! Mr Muscle or what?! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went down. Okay, it know it had taken hours of preparation to get to that point, but it was very satisfying that I could see the result so quickly. We actually moved our garden bench onto the patio that very day and ate our dinner outside! Now all I need is a set of patio doors so that I can step straight out onto the patio and really use it as part of the house as an indoor/outdoor dining area!

Because we’d built the patio up it was now sitting at a higher level than the rest of the garden, so hubby added two steps which we filled with gravel. We now have a patio ‘terrace’ and it’s a lovely sun-trap. My cats Cookie & Muffin certainly like the way that the slabs retain the warmth of the sun anyway! I’m looking forward to eating al fresco more often now that we have a useable outside space – we just need to find a cheap or second-hand garden table now so please let me know if you hear of one :)


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Summer inspiration for sunny interiors

Want to freshen up your home and create a cosy place for your family and guests to enjoy this summer but don’t want to blow the budget? Even if the Great British weather is occasionally unseasonably grey there are plenty of ways to inject a little permanent sunshine into your home without going for a full redecoration and here are some fabulous rooms to give you inspiration for your own summer decorating:

spring kitchen dining room table in yellow and grey

Choose floral patterns & bright accessories to bring sunshine into your home

yellow and grey happer rug from habitat

Grey and yellow is a gorgeous on-trend colour combination 

The quickest way to update a room is by changing the colour of your soft furnishings. I’m not talking about investing in whole new sofa suites but simply adding a couple of bright cushions and perhaps investing in a patterned rug and lamp shades in a coordinating colour. Choosing bright a primary colour such as warm yellow, contrasting this with cool greys and taupes, and adding funky geometric patterns will bring your home up-to-date for summer 2014. 

bright colours for summer in peto rug from habitat

 Include bright pattern with this rug from Habitat

Another way of brightening up your home is by changing the bed linen. Perhaps you have a few sets of bedding that you haven’t used for years which would give a ‘new’ look to a room? Good-enough-to-eat pastels is a great way to give your home a facelift and your friends will notice the difference when they visit you during the summer. You could even dye tired old sheets with a washing-machine dye and freshen up the bedroom with a new bright colour. Don’t forget to add in a contrasting blanket or cushion cover in a summery shade to create a coordinating scatter cushion for the boudoir! Add a rug to ensure wooden floors are cosy underfoot and it’s a subtle way to introduce new colours and patterns into an interior. Friends will enjoy staying in your newly updated guest room and it won’t have cost you a fortune buying new bedding.

Tibby rug from habitat

A subtly sunny room with pastel pattern 

pastel blue and yellow spring color ideas for bedroom makeover

Fresh pastels create a restful summer bedroom

Finally, flowers always brighten up a home and release a gorgeous summer scent – a double whammy! Either buy cheap seasonal cut flowers and combine with branches or foliage from the garden to create large impressive display, or invest in couple of pot plants with pretty blooms which will last longer and give you enjoyment all year round. Adding a small vase of flowers to your dining table will make every meal with your family more of a special occasion and you can add matching brightly-coloured placemats or napkins to create a lovely summer tablescape.

I hope you have been inspired by the gorgeous interiors above and have got some ideas for transforming your interior into a cosy and on-trend home this summer.


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How does your garden grow? My little vintage caravan

Last month I told you all about my plans for creating a gorgeous garden over the summer and so far we’ve managed to save a bit of money by thrifting a fence and doing a lot of digging to even out the undulating lawn. After finishing the construction of our new fence we could really see what kind of space we were working with so hubby and I decided to draw up some rough plans for the garden. I’m sure the design will change as we go along and will be mostly based on what we can afford to spend on the garden at the time. For now, there’s one thing that’s clear – we want to move my little vintage caravan into a new location at the bottom of the garden.

planning a new garden

It will be central to the lawn and should be easier for me to access with a path or stepping stones along the side of the grass – no more trekking over muddy ground to get into my caravan workshop anymore woo! Previously the caravan had just been sitting on the grass with a couple of paving slabs underneath the supporting legs. This ended up looking quite messy when the grass and weeds grew beneath the caravan because I couldn’t get underneath it with a mower nor could we move the caravan without help. So before we moved the caravan into the new location, we decided to lay down a base of weed-proof sheeting covered with wood chippings to keep down the grass and weeds, and we put the paving slabs in the corners to support the legs of the caravan.

After preparing the base, we got help from our family to move the caravan down the garden and into position alongside the new fence. It took quite bit of shoving, because the caravan had actually sunk into the ground in its original position and needed digging out a bit before we could get it rolling down the garden. We weren’t moving it far but we needed to be careful when manoeuvring it into position – we didn’t want to damage the fence we’d just put up or the fruit trees we’d planted!

We made sure the caravan was level but when we stepped back it looked completely wonky because the was a slope on the ground from left to right. This might be something to level out in the future (with a lot more digging!) but I don’t mind leaving it as it is for now. Eventually there will be a little patio outside the front of the caravan and the ground will have to be levelled out for this, so in the meantime I’m just going to grow a couple of pots of lavender at the front and hope that no one notices!