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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Thrifty fairy lights for Christmas AND Halloween!

I know I sometimes go on about Christmas a little too early but this time it’s for good reason: If you get your fairy lights for Christmas sorted out now, you can make the most of them by using the lights to decorate Halloween too! I’ve already got a few packs down from the loft – especially some red and green ones that I picked up in the sale last year – and I’m planning on stringing them up outside my house ready for Halloween.

Scary window display & red berry lights from John Lewis

Using fairy lights is a great way to make your home look inviting when you want to welcome families of Trick Or Treat-ers to your door; you could line your windows with lights and stick some spooky silhouettes to the glass. It’s good to put out the traditional lit pumpkin too, but fairy lights can even help to illuminate your path if you spread them out along the ground or attach them to poles to create a twinkling rope fence. The lights will give an eerie glow on the approach to your house and will be especially scary in red!

illuminated trees & colourful outdoor lights from John Lewis

Weaving fairy lights around your trees in the garden is especially good if you’re having a Halloween party as it will provide another ‘room’ for party-goers as they spill out onto your patio and will keep the party going outside as well as inside. You could also use traditional white fairy lights to wrap around pumpkins or to fill jars and lantern, and place these around the porch or even indoors on the dinner party table.

I think these are fabulous ways to create a scary decor for Halloween and wouldn’t you agree that buying your Christmas fairy lights now is a thrifty way to make the most of your purchase?! Plus you’ll be ready to decorate your Christmas tree and home as soon as December 1st arrives, haha!

DIY country floral bedroom ideas from House to Home


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Just how house-proud are you?

If you’re anything like me, your home is your hobby. People like us have been flicking through homewares catalogues since our teens, planning out our ideal bedroom (yes, I did this – it was all black ash and hot pink in those days!), and browsing interior design magazines whilst daydreaming about our ‘dream home’ (“I’ll have that rustic bedroom but with a four-poster bed” etc). Nowadays it’s even easier to find home inspirations – you can barely go online without a gorgeous interiors photoshoot or DIY blog post jumping out at you! We’re interested in interiors, cookery, crafting and getting the look for less so we wander down the homewares aisle at the supermarket and always end up bringing home another candle or vase. If this sounds like you – read on! coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

One of my many ‘dream home’ mood boards!

I found out about a fun survey that Carpetright are running on their website until the 13th November which gives you the chance to win a £250 Virgin Experience voucher so of course I entered the competition and took the survey. As I progressed through the survey I was a little surprised by my own answers and it turns out that I’m not quite the clean freak that I thought I was! The survey asked a lot of cheeky and funny questions about dust on your plug cables (guilty), pets (yes, mine ‘rule the house’!) and even how often you clean the toilet! I’ve previously written about a survey on Netmums about how often people change their bed sheets and I thought that I had a rather clean routine but not according to these results, haha!

DIY country floral bedroom ideas from House to Home

It turns out that I am a ‘Nester'; somewhere between fairly house proud and clean but without much time to do it so I prioritise other things. The survey results hit the head on the nail when it told me that I spend a lot of my time searching for inspirational home updates – have they been watching me on Pinterest every evening?!

So what level of house-proud do you think you are? Would you dare shove your hand down the side of the sofa?! What do the treats you buy for yourself say about you? Take the fun survey to find out and don’t forget to enter to win the Virgin vouchers at the end!

DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels-12


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! DIY sewing project: towels for the bathroom

Yes, I do know that it’s possible to buy towels and I’m honestly not buying towelling fabric and making my own. But what I have been doing is sewing a little extra trim onto my old towels to make them fit in better with the whole look of the new bathroom. In truth, I had some fabric left over from making the blinds and I wanted to use it up rather than throw it away. I did a couple of sewing projects for the kitchen with it (I’ll share these soon) but I still had a few lengths left and wanted to include them in the bathroom. There’s not much call for soft furnishings in a bathroom, so apart from the blind I was a little stumped about how to use this fabric. Then my eye settled on my old beige towels. The ones we’ve had for years and that I’d earmarked for throwing out to make way for new towels that would match the beach hut theme.

It’s absolutely not like me to throw anything away and of course, these old towels would have probably been turned into kitchen rags or polishing cloths rather than being chucked out, but now I was looking at them with a glint in my eye. Could I make them into something suitable for my new bathroom? The beige colour was starting to look like sand to me, and the leftover lighthouse fabric was just screaming out to be used. So I spent an hour at my ironing board, making a thick bias binding from the lighthouse fabric and I stitched it onto the ends of the old towels. I’d previously learnt how to make bias binding from a tutorial online so how I did it in case you want to stitch a towel makeover for yourself:

Cutting: Cut a length of fabric which is three times the width that you want the finished trim to be and a little longer than the width of your towel. I chose to make a 3 inch trim so I measured 9 inches of fabric and cut out this strip. DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels

Ironing: I then folded it in half with wrong sides facing and ironed a crease into the middle of the strip. Then, to turn it into a bias binding, I turned 1.5 inches over at the top of each side and ironed these edges too.

Sewing: I placed the edge crease 3 inches from the hem of the towel and pinned the binding strip to the towel with wrong side facing up. I straight stitched with a sewing matching along the crease. DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels-5Folding: I then folded the binding strip over the edge of the towel so that the right sides are out and pinned the folded edge crease to the towel before sewing along this edge with straight stitch to seal the binding.

Finishing: At the ends of the strip, I folded the excess under the binding and then hand stitched the opening closed.DIY sewing bias binding project for bathroom towels-8

I repeated these steps for the second towel and after only an hour and a half I had ‘new’ custom-made towels that matched my blind and fitted in with my new seaside bathroom theme perfectly! I am so pleased that these towels were saved from the brink of the bin and have now been upcycled into something that I won’t find anywhere else.

The trouble with doing a makeover in your home is that no sooner than you have fixed one problem – the wall, the floor, the storage – another essential DIY project raises its head. Maybe it just because the whole bathroom is looking so fresh and new that I’m now looking at the other problems with more critical eyes. Whatever the reason, I have noticed how bad my bath actually is and that I could definitely do with a more efficient ventilation solution from Rocburn to remove the damp and steamy air from the room - the existing vent goes into the loft and does nothing! In terms of the bath, I think it’ll have to be a replacement rather because I don’t think I’ll be able to repair it.

It’s an old steel bath that was already here when we moved in and to be honest it had already seen better days back then; it has cracks in the enamel and some chips are actually rusting through. It’s been a battle of the bleach to keep it clean and no amount of scrubbing has brought those tarnished taps back to life. So I’m going to do some research and see whether it is even possible to get a replacement bath on my tiny budget. To be fair, it’s only a tiny bath too – we have less space than the standard 1700mm bath – so surely that’ll mean a cheaper bath, right? At the very least, I would like to replace the taps because not only are they really badly corroded, but at the moment the paddle-handle means that our cats sometimes turn the tap on by themselves. I don’t know how they do it, but sometimes the tap is mysteriously running after our cats casually saunter out of the bathroom. Plus, we have no shower so we’re currently using the old pound-shop solution of a push-on-the-taps-and-hope-it-doesn’t-leak shower head. And yes, it sprays everywhere! So a mixer tap with shower head attached would be a dream.

I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress and post all about any new projects for my bathroom soon.


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A quick garden update ~ Homemade salad dressing

Although I usually like to eat my salads plain or with a tiny side splodge of mayo, I’ve been converted to salad dressings since making my own. It was my husband who first suggested making a dressing, mainly because he really likes balsamic vinegar and olive oil and to be honest he was probably getting fed up of all the dull, bare salads I was making! I caved in when I realised that I would be able to make use of some of the rapidly-growing herbs from my new raised bed ‘herb garden’ and I was eager to give it a try.

Here are a few snaps of my herb garden which is quickly becoming even more unruly since I took these photos so I think it’s time for a trim!

DIY plant markers for garden using pebblesDIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing-2 DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing

The recipe is simple enough: it just involved picking your favourite herbs – we’ve used two varieties of sage, thyme and lemon thyme, rosemary and oregano – and popping them into an empty bottle with a little salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Fill with 2 thirds olive oil and 1 third balsamic vinegar and give it a shake – et voila! Your dressing is ready! The longer the herbs are floating in the oil, the more their flavours will infuse into the dressing, so it will only improve with time.

DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden-2 DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden-3


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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 :)