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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Household DIY – How to install laminate flooring

I’ve recently laid laminate flooring in two rooms of my home and I can honestly say that it was a really easy process. I thought it would take days to install but we were finished within a couple of hours. As long as you have the right equipment – a saw, knee pads and a laminate flooring installation kit (including packers) you can easily lay this type of flooring yourself. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:Clear away any existing carpet, tiles or pieces of old underlay. Give the room a sweep to make sure you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface, and vacuum the floor to pick up the smaller pieces of dust. If you’re laying the laminate onto a concrete floor you’ll need to start with a damp-proof membrane before adding a layer of underlay.If you’re starting with a wooden floor, you can go straight to laying the underlay. There are plenty of options for underlay out there; foil-coated sheets that insulate the floor, rolls of foam to cushion the laminate or fibre boards – which is the option I went for.This simply evens out the floor so that the laminate flooring will look perfectly flat when fitted. It also adds an extra layer of insulation and, if you’re using it on an upstairs room, it can add a little sound-proofing so you don’t feel like you’re walking about inside a drum, and causing a lot of noise in the rooms below!

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Household DIY – How to strip woodchip wallpaper, the easy way!

Stripping wallpaper is a skill I’ve recently developed. Woodchip wallpaper in particular. It’s a difficult paper to shift and, unfortunately, it seems to be plastered all over ‘houses of a certain age’. I guess it was very fashionable at one point but nowadays it’s the number 1 thing that puts potential buyers off a house. And it’s bloomin’ hard to remove. Yes, I speak from experience here! Thankfully there are ways to make the process a little easier and here’s the steps I followed:1. Scoring the paper

Use the corner of a wallpaper scraper to score the wallpaper all over. Don’t press too hard, otherwise you’ll leave marks in the plaster. You can also use the flat edge of the wallpaper scraper to ‘skim’ over the woodchip surface. This knocks off some of the woodchip and allows more moisture to soak in.2. Soaking with wallpaper stripper

Sure you can use regular water to soak the surface of the wallpaper, but adding a splash of wallpaper stripper to your bucket ‘super-charges’ the water. I used a bottle of Everbuild wallpaper stripper and only needed 125ml in a gallon of water. That was plenty enough to soak all the walls of the living room. This means that I’ve got three quarters of the bottle left to do other rooms. Mix it into a bucket of water (following the instructions on the bottle) and use a large sponge to spread the foamy water over the wallpaper. Allow to soak in for 15 minutes – coincidentally the same length of time that it’ll take heat up your steamer.3. Steam the wallpaper

Fill the steamer with water and allow to heat up for 15 minutes. You don’t need an industrial or expensive steamer to do this job – the tool I’m using is the lowest priced steam I could find from FFX – the Earlex Steam Wallpaper Stripper. It gives me 70 minutes of steaming per fill, which is about the length of time it took to strip each wall. Hold the steamer to the wall and leave in place for about ten seconds. Move it onto the next section of the wall and hold in place while you scrap the first piece away.

4. Scrape away the woodchip layer

Use the flat edge of a stripping knife to scrape away the top layer of woodchip. You’ll get a speckled effect on the wallpaper as the bigger chunks of woodchip come off. This allows more steam to get into the wallpaper and make it easier to strip away from the wall. Give the wallpaper a second steaming before moving onto the stripping…

5. Strip off the woodchip

Push the wallpaper stripper tool beneath the wallpaper and lift it away from the wall. If you come across a stubborn piece of wallpaper, give it another blast with the steamer before scraping. I used a Stanley Hobby Stripping Knife to ease the woodchip off the wall.

From this (woodchip walls that look perfectly normal at a distance)

To this (a room that now looks like it should be on Homes Under The Hammer!)

And really, that’s all there is to it! Sort of the same as stripping normal wallpaper, but with a couple of important extra steps – the stripping solution and the scraping effect. I’ve made a quick video (shared below and on my new YouTube channel) to show you the whole process, step-by-step so that you can see exactly how we did it.

If you’ve found this helpful please ‘like’ my video or follow my new Cassiefairy channel on YouTube for more DIY projects and thrifty solutions.


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My little vintage caravan ~ DIY pink party cones

Earlier in the week I shared my ideas for a birthday party via this moodboard, and as you can see I’m planning a red and pink theme for my birthday celebrations next week. So I’ve been spending a little time in my caravan crafting my own party cones using pink polka dot paper and spotty doilies from Wholeport. Here’s what you’ll need to create your own party cones at home and a very easy DIY tutorial:

pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

First use a plate (or cake stand as I have) to draw circles on the paper – I found it was best to draw on the back of the paper after my first attempt! Cut out the circles and then cut the doilies in half. Use double-sided sticky tape to attach the doilies half way up the paper circles then roll up into a cone shape, using another piece of double-sided tape to secure the edge.

DIY pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

Use a little piece of ribbon to decorate each cone – I’ve used different types of ribbon here so that my guests can keep track of their own cone. These cones would be great for holding popcorn (which I think I will be using them for), savoury snacks, sweets or as party favours filled with goodies. Now I just need to decide on some more food options and I’ll be well on my way to getting ready for my party!

DIY pink paper birthday party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

PS – pinch, punch first of the month and we’re finally in December! I’m opening up my Snowdog & Mr Tumble advent calendars as we speak!

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Festive framed artwork decorations

I’ve spotted a trend for festive interior decor this year – framed Christmas prints. I’ve seen them popping up in interior design magazines and DIY hacks are all over Pinterest so I’m certainly going to be following this trend and creating my own festive artwork this year. I love this idea for Christmas decorating because it takes up no room, just a little wall space, plus it’s thrifty – you can use frames that you already have hung in your home and simply replace the images for the month of December with your favourite festive quotes or photos.

festive christmas posters DIY art print

Image courtesy of www.landeeseelandeedo.com

There are plenty of ready-made and ready-framed artworks out there to buy, but I think it’s even more special if you make your own. I love the idea of printing quotes over the top of sheet music – an idea that I might use myself to decorate my bedroom for Christmas, which will tie in with the makeover ideas I’m planning. And this is the perfect opportunity to design a piece of artwork yourself, simply hop on the computer, type out your favourite festive quotes and print them out. Make like a graphic designer and use different colours, fonts and text sizes to add interest to your prints. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and check out my Chirstmas board on Pinterest for all the image credits:

 DIY festive christmas posters artwork prints

You don’t only have to stick to quotes – images from Christmas films, vintage christmas cards and your own festive family photos can be collaged together on the computer to create a unique artwork that is personal to you and your family – maybe get a copy printed out for each family member and you can all hang your festive artwork each Christmas from now on.


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DIY Halloween pom-pom decorations

Halloween is nearly upon us and with it comes the chance to dress as a menacing monster and turn your house into a ghoulish lair. To help you create a devilish feel in no time, here is a step-by-step guide to creating these easy to make Halloween pom poms.

diy tutorial how to make halloween tissue paper pompoms decorations

What you will need:

  • Orange and black tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • String, ribbon or fishing wire

Step One

Decide how you want your spooky Halloween pom poms to look.  To get big fluffy pom poms we recommend using 9 sheets of tissue paper. Small delicate pom poms can be made using just 4. The longer you leave the sheets the wider the pom poms will be.

Step Two

Lay out the tissue paper sheets on top of each other and fold one end over to make an inch wide fold. Turn the tissue paper sheets over and fold another inch pleat. Continue in this accordion style folding until you have folded the whole sheet up and round of the end corners of the tissue paper with a pair of scissors.

Step Three

Find the centre and tie your ribbon around the middle. Remember to leave a length to hang your pom pom from. 

diy craft tutorial how to make black and orange halloween tissue paper pompoms decorations

Step Four

This next part takes a little time (and maybe an extra pair of hands) Starting with one half, very carefully start peeling apart the layers of the tissue paper and fluff up as you go along. Keep going until all the layers are separated and voila! You have created the perfect Halloween paper pom poms.

 Tips

  • Adding wings cut from black card to the black pom poms will create spooky flying bats.
  • Tie up your orange pom poms with green ribbon to create paper pumpkins.

You can find other great Halloween decoration ideas here.


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Kitchen decor & breakfast table inspirations

Nothing beats having a lazy lie-in on a Sunday, cuddled up with the paper and a cup of tea. The dream is to shuffle into the kitchen and settle into a breakfast nook (with breakfast waiting for me, of course!). It’s half term next week and I’m hoping that hubby will help me out with a few DIY ideas I’ve been having for our kitchen – although I think he has his own ideas about what to do with the time off, mainly revolving around ‘chilling out’ and ‘watching the football’.

Here are a few inspirational areas I’m lusting after :

Kitchen dining area in loft apartment from comfreevia Comfree

This one taken from a home in Calgary, Canada is missing my favourite feature of a window seat, but I think that the exposed brick walls more than makes up for it – I love the brick walled loft apartment look. The location allows for the missing curtains (although I’d probably DIY some anyway), because the windows let in so much natural light.

kitchen dining area with built in storage from Pretty Little House Things

via Pretty Little House Things

This cozy little area is just adorable. Very snuggly for this time of year and the earthy colours are very autumnal. The pillows look easily dupe-able, sure to be done with some extra fabric scraps and buttons that I’ve got lying around. I bet you didn’t notice the secret storage underneath the window seats! If I could build a little breakfast area myself, it would probably look exactly like this!

 fresh spring yellow kitchen dining table from better homes and gardens

via Better Homes and Gardens

This colour palette of yellows and oranges is sunny and perfectly bright enough to get me out of bed and ready to face the day. The chairs can easily be found at a boot sale and covered with a fresh coat of paint on the cheap. Market fresh flowers always spruce up an area, too!

 built in kitchen dining table from Cardea Building

via Cardea Building

I love the look of a glass table top, it just looks so neat and fresh (especially after a fresh scrub with Windolene). The roman curtains are something that have been on my radar for some time, and I’ve got some fabric from Abakhan Fabrics to make some, so seeing them in this setting makes me feel good about my choice! Also, I’ve noticed how each of these kitchens feature wooden floors – a look that I particularly love and would be practical yet homely in the kitchen. I’m going to check out a variety of timber flooring options and see if we can include it in our kitchen redesign.  We’ll just have to wait and see whether hubby find the energy to help me with my DIY plans, or whether we both stick to the original plan of lazy lie-ins instead!


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DIY accessories ~ funk up your sunglasses for the last of Summer

If you’re getting a little bored of your sunglasses after wearing them all summer, or if you’ve picked up a bargain pair in the summer sales, maybe you’d like to funk them up with some cute appliqué accessories?!

I’ve spent an enjoyable hour gluing lovely things to my sunglasses and I’d recommend you do the same to breathe new life into your old accessories! I used a strong super-glue, but you can use a hot glue gun if you prefer, both of which will keep your buttons or bows safely attached. If you use the hot glue gun be very careful of the hot glue (which can burn!), but on the plus-side, your glasses will be ready to wear as soon as the glue has gone cold. The super-glue might take a few hours to set (aways follow the instructions on the pack & be very careful where you put it – you don’t want to get things stuck where they shouldn’t be!) so once it’s completely dry, you are free to wear your new sunglasses – any sooner and you’ll probably get your hair stuck in the tacky glue!diy-accessories-funk-up-your-sunglasses-for-summerI’d recently been given a box of buttons that a relative had collected over the years, so I chose some lovely old vintage buttons to create this first pair of sunglasses, mixing and matching the colours for a funky look. I also did a ‘classy’ version with black glasses and retro silver buttons. You can get similar buttons from craft and thrift stores or try shopping online. I got these resin bows below from Wholeport online and I love this for an on-trend look – these cute cabochons are everywhere this year!cassiefairy DIY fashion cabochon resin bows sunglasses and tshirt

Really, anything you can think of can be added to your sunglasses – little trinkets, old earrings, artificial flowers, broken jewelry, ribbon bows etc. As long as you can still see out of your sunglasses, anything goes! Have a go for yourself and make your own unique sunglasses and when anyone asks where you got them, you can proudly say “I made them myself!”.


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My little vintage caravan project ~ Ice cream colours

This week I’ve moved on to the interior of the caravan and I’ve cracked open a few old tins of paint from the garage to see what colours I already had (I am trying to fix up my caravan on a budget after all). I was pleased to see a tin of pink wood paint (that I had previously used on a chest of drawers makeover) and a pale yellow emulsion that I must have picked up from a DIY store sale in the past but never used. I am not worried about creating a uniform look inside my caravan, and I like the idea of pairing Neapolitan ice-cream colours together so I was happy to paint the biggest wall with the yellow paint, and the two ends of the caravan in pink.

cassiefairys vintage caravan project interior painting pink and yellow

I knew that the ceiling needed a lick of paint too, so I invested in a new pot of white paint and, after filling and sanding all of the holes that were left behind after removing the roof units, I rollered on a couple of coats of white satin, which reflected the light and freshened up the whole interior of the caravan. I am really pleased with how quickly this colour change (and the blue outside) has completely altered the ‘feeling’ of the caravan – it’s definitely turning into MY space now, and is becoming unashamedly girly! I picked up some wallpaper samples while I was at the DIY store, because I’m thinking of papering one of the large side walls, so I’ll let you know how I get on with this soon!

Please check out my previous caravan blog posts below and come back to see how the caravan project progresses soon!


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A massive new project for Cassiefairy ~ my vintage caravan

First and foremost, I’d like to welcome all the lovely new visitors from Creative Crafting’s blog tour – I have been waiting for this day for a while now and I’m so pleased to be able to welcome you to my blog. While you’re here please have a good look around my categories – there are plenty of craft, sewing and DIY projects in my archives, plus articles on fashion, shoes (on Tuesday Shoesday!) and current trends. I’ve recently been blogging about fun summer ideas (such as Gardenbury festival) and party ideas, plus I share thrifty recipes weekly – every Pieday Friday! But without further ado, I’d like to tell you about my new project – I’ve bought myself a caravan!

It’s not the prettiest caravan at the moment and it’s certainly ‘vintage’ as you can probably tell from it’s shabby exterior and tatty interior, but I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I was looking for a ‘garden building’ to use as my workshop/office ever since I moved into my 1-bed bungalow – I needed space for my tutu business and somewhere to keep all my sewing stuff, so I saw the potential in this little caravan. It’s perfectly mobile so I snapped it up for a very low price (you know I’m loathe to spend my hard-earned money, so you can imagine what a bargain it must have been!), had it delivered (included in the price) to my home and parked it up in the back garden. Here are some photos of its current condition, inside and out:

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite

I was in two minds about how to fix it up. When I first saw the caravan I considered carrying out a ‘renovation’, restoring it to it’s original state. I really do love this kind of retro style, especially garish patterns and orange fabrics (as you have probably seen in my living room makeover series!) so it was in my mind to restore the caravan to its former glory and keep it as it was. But when I got inside it, I realised that it had got pretty damp at some point in the past and most of  internal units and cupboards were crumbling and would have to be removed and replaced, the floor lino was torn and the seat cushions were also pretty-much shredded. So I had a rethink and realised that, seeing as I would need to replace all of the internal fittings and repaint the outside of the caravan, I might as well change the design of the caravan completely and go for something that I really liked for myself – it was going to become my studio after all!

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite interior

So, this is the start of my journey of converting my crusty little caravan into a beautiful sewing workshop to be proud of, and I’ll be sharing the ideas, DIY projects, sewing tutorials and progress over the coming weeks. I hope you’ll stop back to see how the caravan project develops! Please let me know if you have created your own home workshop or have converted an old caravan and I’d love to see your photos or feature you on the blog as part of this series – please email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @CassiefairyTutu. I’d love to hear from you!

And to all the lovely Creative Crafters; I hope you enjoy what you see here and add me to your favourites list or Bloglovin’ reader and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you feel inspired to join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge (in honour of ‘wedding season’ this month’s theme is vintage wedding dresses!) and share your very own craft projects at the end of the month! Please click here to see what we made last month and how to join in!


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Fabric craft project for Mother’s Day – or any day!

I’ve been working on a little craft project especially for Mother’s Day and here’s my finished item, based on a tutorial that I saw on Pinterest. The original idea came from this image from Pretty Pastels and then I went looking for instructions on making a DIY version – which I found at Well My Stars blog – check out the step-by-step tutorial here.

Pinned Image

I didn’t have any chunky paper maché letters to use in my project, so I decided to make a flat, wall-hanging version of these padded letters using normal cardboard and a few fabric remnants that I had lying around.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Cut out letters from very thick cardboard – I chose MUM for Mother’s Day, but you could make a name or spell out a word
  2. Use the letter as a template to cut out wadding and fabric a little bigger than the letter on all sides
  3. Put double-sided tape on the front of the letter then stick your wadding to it
  4. Stick more double-sided tape on the back of the letter
  5. Layer your fabric on top of the letter and stretch it round to the back and stick down to the double-sided tape
  6. Glue on a loop of string or wool to the back of the letter to hang it on the wall – done!

Padded letters craft tutorial DIY project for mothers day from Cassiefairy pinterest

I’ve been extra keen to do this project this month – mainly because mum deserves a special treat, but also because I’m taking part in the PinAddicts Challege – a fun challenge that encourages serial-pinner like myself to get on with making the craft projects that they’ve pinned during the previous month! So often I pin something and think I’ll come back to it.. but never quite find the time to get round to it, but the Pinterest Challenge really gave me the ooomph to do it! You can get involved too – make something you’ve seen on Pinterest and link it up below 🙂

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list of other craft projects created for this month’s challenge!

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