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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Wahey! My recycled fabric wreath project is featured in Oxfam newspaper!

I had a lovely surprise this week when I flicked through the winter issue of Oxfam newspaper: my festive wreath project has been featured in the publication! Of course, Oxfam had been in touch earlier this year to ask permission to use my content and, seeing as I’d created it for the Oxfam Fashion blog in the first place, I was happy to oblige.oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-1In fact, I was over the moon! It’s amazing to think that my little thrifty project is being printed in a real newspaper and distributed to Oxfam customers, volunteers and donors all around the country. Wow, I’m so chuffed!oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-3DIY fabric wreath for Christmas - step by step tutorial-10The feature contains step-by-step photos to show readers how to use scrap fabrics and ends of ribbon to make a funky Christmas wreath. I loved creating this project, enjoyed sharing it on my blog and on the Oxfam website, and now I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s been immortalised in print! Woo!oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-1-2You can find this project and all my other blog posts on my Oxfam blogger profile, and while you’re there, have a look around the Oxfam fashion blog and read all the interesting finds and projects that the other volunteer writers have been working on.


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DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch

Today I’m sharing another fantastic DIY project that I found in Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. This patterned branch would be a great photo backdrop for a party or could even be hung in your home to introduce a rustic feeling to the room. I love to decorate my living room for autumn with pumpkins and flowers, so I’d hang something like this above my sideboard, using autumnal colours and textured fabrics.decorate-for-a-party-p127-photography-by-holly-beckerThis project is also a great way to use up all those fabric offcuts that are too small and thin to use but that you just can’t throw can away! If you have a rummage through your sewing cupboard you’ll probably find all the scraps you need! Or you can buy some low-cost fabric odds-and-ends or ribbons from the haberdashery. It’s a really quick and simple project and all the step-by-step details are below. Plus, there’s a couple more ideas for using branches and fabric this autumn too, such as this fun den and cute packed lunches (below). Have fun making this autumnal decoration and let me know how you get on if you give it a try!decorate-for-a-party-p123-photography-by-holly-beckerThis branch can be made before your party to mark the party spot or later, during your party by inviting the children to help you, because it’s easy and fun. Or, for a party you’re hosting at home, you can make one to display over a buffet or even in another room of your home as additional decor.

YOU WILL NEED a straight branch, cotton fabrics in various prints, white linen (lightweight), pine cones, thin copper wire, scissors, string

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How a new dress can help you stay cool this summer

So I went away last weekend. I didn’t go far, just on our yearly jaunt to the Essex coast, but boy was it nice to be beside the seaside. The cool sea breeze was really needed after that heatwave the week before. Even stepping off the promenade and making my way inland caused instant overheating. Blimey it was hot! It was lovely to be on a UK break that actually felt like a trip abroad, and it meant that we could spend more time on the beach together as a family rather than sheltering from the rain in an arcade!hotsquash summer dress cool fabric ss16 outfitI think I’ve mentioned it before but I’m not great with the heat. My pale, freckly skin just doesn’t get on with the sun. On hot days you’ll find me slinking off into the beach hut to shelter from the sun and I’ll always choose to walk on the shadowy side of the street. SPF 50 is definitely my must-have beauty product at this time of year!hotsquash summer dress cool fabric polka dot outfit

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My mini kitchen makeover – DIY peg bag sewing project + carrier bag dispenser

I’ve been working on turning my tiny kitchen into a more habitable room for a couple of months now and if you’ve been following my progress you’ll know just how miniature my kitchen actually is! Firstly, I chose a bright colour scheme inspired by the Great British seaside and, in particular, my visit to Southwold Pier. After painting the room a refreshing coastal duck-egg blue, I enlisted my husband’s help to hang a new blind and put up  some extra storage solutions including a retro display unit and a bathroom cabinet. After adding a bright new rug and trying out some magnetic chalkboard paint on the walls, the mini kitchen makeover was almost complete. So today I’m sharing the kitchen sewing projects that I’ve just finished; a peg bag made from a small coat hanger, and a carrier bag dispenser.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-21diy-interior-design-small-kitchen-makeover-accessories-seaside-colours-3 When I got my small custom-made roman blind from Blinds-Supermarket.co.uk, I also picked up a length of matching Clarke and Clarke fabric in the same sugar stripe pattern. I knew that I wanted to create some sewing projects for the kitchen so it made sense to track down the same fabric to create a coordinated look throughout the room. It’s important not to use too many patterns in a small space as it can easily become over-busy so sticking to just the one type fabric makes the room feel less cluttered and more ‘pulled together’.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holderdiy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-12The most essential project for me was a peg bag. I’ve actually been storing my pegs in an oven glove for the past 3 years and it’s not been ideal, to say the least! It was such a simple project to do, so I really don’t know why I hadn’t already made one, but at least I’ve made one now. I used the striped fabric, plain white sheeting, white thread and a coat hanger to create the peg bag and here’s how I did it:diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-21. Place a small hanger (a child’s hanger works best, although I’ve used a hanger that came with some swimwear for my project) on back of the fabric at approximately the height that you’d like the bag to be. Draw around the top of the hanger to get the right slope of the top edge and then cut out two of these ‘house’ shapes from the fabric.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-32. Fold the fabric down by 1cm across the top of the ‘point’ at the top of each piece and hem. Cut one of the pieces in half – this will be the front piece and will provide the opening to store the pegs in. Hem both of the cut edges with a straight stitch to neaten.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-4diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-53. If you’d like to include the word ‘pegs’ on the front of your peg bag, simply cut the letters out of white fabric and stitch onto the top section of the front of the bag before joining the bag together.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-6diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-74. Line up the top edges with right sides of the fabric together and sew around the top, leaving the hemmed opening at the point. Next, place the hemmed bottom piece up against the top piece and match the pattern if you can. Pin and sew around all three sides at the bottom of the bag.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-8diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-95. At this point I used a zig-zag stitch around all the edges to prevent fraying. Then turn the bag right side out and slip in the coat hanger. The hang is ideal for hanging the peg bag in your kitchen or utility room and for hanging on the washing line while you’re hanging out clothes.diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-10 diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-11diy kitchen sewing projects peg bag and bag holder-21 Continue reading “My mini kitchen makeover – DIY peg bag sewing project + carrier bag dispenser” »


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My mini kitchen makeover – Seaside stripes

It’s been a rather productive summer in the Cassiefairy household. All those little DIY tasks that I’ve been putting off for months (okay, years) have finally been tackled and I’m so pleased with the results. It’s really satisfying to spend a day with a paintbrush in your hand and then step back to admire your handiwork at the end of a decorating session.diy-interior-design-small-kitchen-makeover-accessories-seaside-colours-3diy-interior-design-small-kitchen-makeover-accessories-seaside-colours-4In fact, my favourite thing about decorating is that moment when you go back into a room later that day, having forgotten that you’ve painted it, and are surprised by the effect. I found myself ‘ooh-ing’ on about 10 different occasions after painting the kitchen and I think I deserve to revel in my success; we’ve had paint swatches dotted around the walls for three years, so it really is about time that the room was finished!

I wrote about my inspiration for a coastal style kitchen on the blog last month and after a lot of deliberation, I decided to go for a duck-egg blue paint from Homebase. The paint actually dried a lot darker than it looked but the darker shade was exactly the colour I wanted (the wet paint looked like off-white rather than an actual colour) and it looks fab with the fabric that I’d chosen for our kitchen blind.

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Ways to use upholstery fabric in your home

I really enjoy finding a new use for things, so when a friend of mine was getting rid of an old sofa it was too tempting. Even though the sofa itself was broken, the fabric on the back and sides of the sofa were as good as new so I thought I would be able to use it for a future project. Unfortunately, the fabric on the cushions had pretty much gone, so I couldn’t reclaim that, though I think I can probably make use of the cushion pads themselves. I was pleased with my haul, but now have to come up with some ways to use the fabric, which gave me the inspiration for this post.green upholstery fabricBefore I started this project, I did not realise how versatile upholstery fabric is. At first, I was really scratching my head trying to work out what to do with the fabric. To start with, the best I could think of was using it to recover some dining room chairs or make some cushions. Of course, it is perfect for those projects, but I wanted to do more so carried on researching and gradually found some excellent projects. Here are my ideas; how many I will put into action I have not decided yet, but I hope you will be inspired and try some of them yourself.custom printed retro fabric design mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases-2

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My mini kitchen makeover – Paint colours & fabric patterns

The summer holidays have arrived! And with them come the opportunity to spend some time at home and get started on a couple of decorating projects that I’ve been bursting to do. You may remember that I shared some inspirational images for my ideal kitchen a couple of weeks ago and I’m now planning to put those ideas into practice. I’m calling it a ‘mini makeover’ for two reasons; firstly, my budget is tiny and I want to get the best result for the minimum outlay, and secondly, my kitchen is also tiny – I’ve actually never lived in a home with such a small kitchen before and I really need to make the best use of the space available. So this interior design project is really going to be a challenge!clarke and clarke candy striped fabric_The thing that I’ve had the most trouble deciding on is the colour of the walls. We’ve had patches of paint samples on the wall for more than a year and I couldn’t decide on a colour until I found a lovely duck-egg blue in Homebase. It’s bright enough that it doesn’t make the room feel any smaller but it’s a little more exciting than just using a neutral white or magnolia to make the space bigger.southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4I really think I’ve made the right decision with the paint colour, and here’s why; Continue reading “My mini kitchen makeover – Paint colours & fabric patterns” »


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DIY project – My ceramic tile design

I mentioned in my blog post earlier this week that I’ve been out in my caravan now that the summer is here and I’ve crafting non-stop. I made little Red Ted and posted my sewing project on Wednesday and today I’m sharing some snaps of my recent attempt at tile painting.diy tile painting pattern designI heard about the Topps Tiles Henley Cool project last month and was totally inspired by the vintage patterned tiles in the range. I couldn’t wait to join in with creating a patterned tile of my own. This week I’ve finally found the time to sit down and spend a fun afternoon painting up my large ceramic tile with a pattern of my own.henley cool tileI’ve been looking through my retro fabrics recently after deciding that this would be the year that I finally make a quilt, and I flicked through them again to get inspiration for decorating my blank ceramic canvas. I really love the garish colours but wanted to stay modern, so stuck to yellow, orange and turquoise for my design. I’ve kept the colour detail at the top of the tile so that it can be hung as a border around a room, much like the Henley Cool pattern itself.diy tile painting pattern design-2 diy tile painting pattern design-3 Continue reading “DIY project – My ceramic tile design” »


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DIY sewing project – My little red ted

This week I’ve been crafting away in my caravan and have enjoyed a couple of happy afternoons of cutting, sewing and painting (more on that project soon!). Today’s post is all about the latest addition to my soft-toy family; a cute little teddy bear named Red. red ted teddy bear sewing projectThere’s something about summer that makes me want to be creative. I think that being outdoors more often helps me be inspired by the things that I see and I end up taking hundreds more photos at this time of year; flowers, animals, landscapes, the beach and, of course, ice creams! Can you see any resemblance to a seaside deck chair in my little creation??diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear-26Even though I love being cosy inside my caravan in the winter, it really comes to life in the summer. It’s always so lovely to get outside when the weather is nice and throw open the windows of my caravan to let a soft breeze flow through as I sit at my sewing machine. So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this week.hillarys blinds fabric selectionI wanted to join in with the Hillarys craft competition this month and have been totally inspired by all the amazing creations on their Pinterest board. My mind whirred into action when I saw the gorgeous fabric choices on offer and an image of little Red ted appeared in my mind immediately. I quickly ordered a metre of the Hatti Raspberry striped fabric and set to work cutting out the pattern pieces for my little bear.diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear Continue reading “DIY sewing project – My little red ted” »


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My Mid-Century Modern living room – Custom-printed retro fabric & DIY envelope cushion covers

Ever since I stumbled upon my first orange LP case at a vintage record market I knew that this was the pattern I wanted to base my entire living room on. I loved the vibrant colours and the crowded floral print epitomised everything I loved about 60s and 70s design. I’d already been searching for the perfect mid-century pattern for my curtains, wallpaper and cushions and had created a moodboard to keep me inspired. After a lot of deliberation I chose orange as the main colour of my MCM room scheme and set about creating the room of my dreams.custom printed retro fabric design cushions mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases catsWhen I skipped home with this £8 record case, I knew that a it would be the ideal storage solution for the room (not just for lps – I store candles in one of them!) and I continued to search for more of the same box. I found a blue case in the same pattern around a year later in a charity shop and by then I was really hooked. I hunted out a green version online, although when it arrived I realised that it was half the depth of the other two – oops! Still, the pattern was the same and I loved the garish green colours. Another slimline orange case soon followed and I’m hoping to add to my retro record box collection in the future.custom printed retro fabric design mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases Continue reading “My Mid-Century Modern living room – Custom-printed retro fabric & DIY envelope cushion covers” »

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