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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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. Here’s the one I watched about making bathroom shelves and after all my adventures with a sander I’m sure that I’ll be able to recreate this!

What do you think? Can I do it?! 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 :)

 

 

eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_-2


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Thrifty & eco-friendly bathroom accessories

After finishing the storage wall in our bathroom and laying a wooden floor, this week has been all about painting more coats of whitewash on the wood (it just keeps soaking in!), and having a look around for some fab accessories to compliment the new beach-hut-esque look of the bathroom.

We started the project with good intentions to reuse what we already have (because the sink and toilet are absolutely fine) and to recycle discarded materials, and we are now starting to see how it IS possible to create a thrifty bathroom makeover that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. So far we’ve spent £11 on a huge pot of white paint, have needed to buy a few wooden batons to support the cupboard structure (about £5) and some hinges for the cabinet doors (£1.99). We already had some grab adhesive in the shed, but even factoring this into the price at £4 per tube and we are still looking at under £30 to get to this stage.

I’m especially proud of the free wood that we found in a skip and even though it looked terrible with a crusty concrete tidemark on the sides, it was quite satisfying to get to work scraping off the concrete, wire brushing off the debris and sanding the wood down to end up with a useable material that would have otherwise cost us about £100 for the same stuff. Considering we were looking at cheap stick-on vinyl flooring that would have cost £70 alone, I am rather chuffed with this!

So after a very thrifty, upcycling start, I wanted to be sure that any accessories that we brought into the bathroom were equally purse-friendly with good eco-credentials. Although it’s not the most exciting of topics, I knew we needed a new toilet because our old plastic blue one had clearly seen better days. I actually intended to keep it and make do – okay it was a bit wobbly and slightly dangerous but I’d lived with it so far… That was until I spotted a rather lovely (?!) loo seat on the John Lewis website. Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was that it was in the clearance section = bargain! The second feature was the natural woodgrain which would look great with the shelf above the toilet so I clicked through to read the description. I’m pleased to tell you that this toilet seat has excellent eco credentials! Yes, it’s made from rubberwood, which is a by-product of the latex industry. So rather than any of the tree going to waste, the wood has been used to create my loo seat!

eco friendly rubberwood toilet seat-2

Of course, after adding this to my shopping basket, I went for a little look around the website and found a couple of other items that I liked; firstly I spotted a striped guest towel that I thought would add a nautical vibe to the room. Secondly, and more importantly, I found myself needing this bath bridge. I’ve always wanted one, ever since watching the Darling Buds of May and seeing Ma & Pop Larkin having their dinner on a tray across the bath. I also thought it would be a good idea to stop my book getting wet while reading in the bath (the rack has a book stand) and it’s somewhere for me to put my glass of wine (also has a glass-holder slot, yay!). But of course, I wouldn’t get something just because I wanted it – it needed to be an earth-friendly product and luckily this one is just that. It’s made from bamboo which is a fast-growing, rapidly replenishing material, which is both lightweight and strong, so it’s an excellent alternative to wood and will fit in perfectly with my beach design. While I was there, I picked up this striped towel in seaside shades from a great range of patterned towels at John Lewis. It’s really lifted the room and links in with the colours on the photowall.

eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_ eco friendly bamboo bath bridge shelf_-2

And finally, this week I picked up a striped beach hut cabinet at the carboot sale for just £1 and although I’m not sure where in the bathroom it will end up, at the moment it’s on the window sill, holding our toothbrushes and keeping them out of the reach of our cats (who love to rub against a bristly brush!). I was adamant that I didn’t want a load of cheesy seaside nick-nacks in the bathroom but at such a low price I had to give in and I actually think it’s quite classy with the dark blue stripe.

beath hut cupboard trifted from a car boot sale beath hut cupboard trifted from a car boot sale-2

I’m sure there will be more additions to come this week as the bathroom is still very much a work-in-progress so check back soon for more bathroom decorating ideas :)


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Dream a little dream… cosy sheets and cuddles

I have a little weekend ritual that I wanted to share with you today. Every Friday afternoon, I clean the bedroom; I throw the windows wide open, I air the mattress and duvet and I change the bedding. It’s become a habit over the past couple of  months since I decorated the bedroom. I take pride in the space and it’s now one of my favourite rooms in the house. My Friday afternoon preparations really get me in the mood for the weekend, and I think that my plumping of pillows and dusting of shelves is my attempt to make the bedroom as hotel-like as possible! I feel like having a clean, fresh, cosy bedroom sets the tone for the weekend; there’s no more tidying to do, just relaxing! natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-2 natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-4

Apparently I’m not alone in this weekly ritual, with a survey on NetMums showing that 40% of us change our sheets every week and another 36% change them every fortnight. Only a 5th of people leave it a month before changing the bedding and a rather icky 1% only do it once a year. That said, I’m not really changing my bedding because they are dirty and could probably leave it a little longer between washes, but I’m doing it for the reasons I mentioned above, to freshen up the room and get ready for the weekend.natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover My absolute favourite luxury is getting new bed linen and although I love my rose-design bedding (which I’ve had since hubby and I got married 11 years ago) it’s an extra special treat when I find some new sheets that coordinate well with my books-in-the-bedroom theme and I can really up the hotel-factor in the bedroom for the weekend. I love, love, love the striped sheets I got from House of Fraser  this week because they are the same crispness as proper hotel sheets and they feel both cool and cosy at the same time. The minute I shook the duvet out and tucked it around the bed, I felt the urge to dive into it and never get up again. I wanted to take a whole day off work, just to enjoy lying in bed. I think it was the noise that the sheets made that had me mesmerised; the rustle of linen that you only hear in hotels – a sound similar to walking on fresh snow. Sigh.

natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-5 natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-7I’d previously got some white sheets back in the winter when my bedroom makeover started, and I really don’t know what I was thinking. As someone who is a notorious tea-spiller, a push-over of a cat owner, and married to someone who likes to make breakfast in bed, it really wasn’t practical to have bright white sheets. Put it this way; they didn’t stay bright white for long! Before every wash I painstakingly pre-treated paw prints and I even bought ‘back to white’ miracle laundry sachets but to no avail. I’d definitely call them off white now, and although I still love the feel of them and will continue to use them, I am really pleased that I now have sheets that are clean and fresh, and that will be less likely to show tea drips and make-up smudges.

By the way, you may have spotted that I’m reading Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace, I always find his books laugh-out-loud funny and I’ve got Friends Like These lined up to read next. Have you read either of these and what do you think of them? Any opinions and recommendations of  future books of a similar comedic ilk would be gratefully received.natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-3

Okay, I admit it. I’m in bed right now as I write this blog post. I’m basically never leaving the bed again and snuggling under the new duvet is about as good as it gets on a Saturday morning. And I can see myself doing more and more of this as the days get darker and the temperature drops as we head into autumn. Time for a nap I think… natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-9 natural textures and colours in this bedroom makeover-8

using recycled wood from a skip to make a beach hut bathroom floor and storage-11


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ building the beach hut

After installing a massive photowall in the bathroom last month, I’ve had an urge to ‘makeover’ the room, taking inspiration from costal homes. I’ve shared my moodboard so that you can get an idea of how I’d like the bathroom to turn out and have been pinning like crazy to my bathroom ideas board on Pinterest. One of the common design elements of these inspirational images has been wood and I love the idea of turning my bathroom into the interior of a beach hut.

As you can see, the floor needed to be updated and the cheap vinyl tiles that have been gracing the bathroom floor since the house was built had to go. So after visiting a few DIY stores and looking at the off-the-peg flooring options available, hubby and I decided that none of them were quite right for the bathroom. Vinyl ‘planks’ of self-adhesive tiles with wood-grain effect came in a great range of colours but looked rather plasticy and laminate flooring probably wouldn’t last very long with all the splashing that goes on in our bathroom! So a real wood floor seemed to be the only option, but boy was it expensive! So that idea went out of the window too.

Interestingly enough a house nearby had been having a new path laid and a quick peek into their skip showed us that they’d been using shuttering to make a frame for the poured concrete. Having spotted this waste wood, hubby and I quickly measured up the bathroom and realised that our tiny floor space could actually be covered using this shuttering so we asked permission to use the wood and dragged it home.

It’s a pressure-treated timber so it should be fine for our water-resistant flooring needs and the width of the planks was very similar to that of a beach hut floor. Hubby is really good with a saw and took all the measurements before working out which pieces could be slotted in where – like a giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. My job was cleaning up the wood so that it was usable, which meant scraping off all the concrete tidemarks on the wood, using a wire brush to get rid of any dust and mud, and then sanding down the wood to make it smooth enough for bare feet to walk on. Okay, this took quite a bit of time and I was very grateful to have the use of an electric sander but at least we were able to save the wood from landfill!

After using a grab adhesive to ‘glue’ the floor down, hubby planed down any raised parts of the planks (yes, I had a go at planing and I was not good at it!) and I gave it a second sanding on any rough areas using sandpaper and elbow grease. I’ve still not decided on the finish of the floor; whether to white-wash it for that true beach hut look or whether to varnish the natural wood, which is already a pale limed colour scraping taking the concrete off. At the moment it’ll stay as it is until the rest of the woodwork is finished.

We had some wood left-over so we’ve decided to build a false wall and create some storage behind the wood cladding. As you can see from these photos my husband is a dab-hand with a screwdriver and he create this storage cabinet behind the loo in order to hide all the exposed pipes, while still giving access to the service handles and cistern. He incorporated shelves within the false wall which practically doubled the amount of storage space we have! This is accessed by two cupboard doors which hubby made using a wide plank of pressure treated wood that we had left over from our garden project this summer. Again, I was on sanding duty and I really came into my own when I was need to hold things in place!

We went for a white-wash effect for the wall, as it seemed a little imposing in the wood and the larger planks of wood were a slightly darker shade so this make the effect look more uniform. I’ve painted on three coats of the white wash and so far the wood is just soaking it up so it’s not quite the shade of white that the finished wall will be but it’s getting there. By the way, the hole a the bottom of the wall is for the cats’ litter tray so that they too can go to the bathroom in privacy! The next job is to build a small cabinet beneath the sink and get to work on painting or varnishing the floor so please come back soon to check on our progress.

Photos of the Suffolk Coast - beach huts at Southwold


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside: beach inspiration for the whole house

Earlier this week I wrote about my ideas for a creating coastal bathroom and shared my moodboard of nautical and Scandinavian influences. Today I’m taking inspiration from beach houses and have been pinning the best images of coastal homes on my Pinterest boards. Beach houses are famous for being bright, cheery, and breezy inside, reflecting the seaside views outside. It’s the use of natural materials, fresh colours and beach textures that really capture the essence of a coastal home so if I can combine these elements within my own bathroom design, I should be able to replicate the feeling of being in a seaside property even though I live about 3 miles away from the coast!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Natural Materials

Beach homes tend to celebrate simplicity and many of the images I found on Pinterest included furniture crafted from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, and unfinished wood. Interior designers tend to chose these textures due to the neutral tones of the raw materials and using roughly finished wood or seagrass for flooring (or even just a rug, such as in the bedroom above) can be more cost-effective. I intend to use rough sawn timber on my bathroom floor, sanded down and white-washed in order to give a beach-hut feeling underfoot.

White Walls

Rather than investing time and money on painting a room in colours that may quickly date and need repainting, I’ve found out that coastal homes often keep the walls white. This makes rooms appear larger and creates the airy feeling that beach houses are famous for. Downlighting can help create the illusion of a the bright light from a clear sky and this will reflect well off white or pale walls. I already have walls that are painted cream in the bathroom and I intend to keep them as they are for now and see what it looks like with the white-washed wood before making a decision on repainting the walls.

Out to Sea

The seemingly infinite view is a cherished characteristic of the coast and this is what I was hoping to achieve with my photowall in the bathroom. Along with artwork of seaviews, it is possible to emulate this visual effect by paying attention to the scale of chairs, tables and lamps throughout the house, drawing attention upwards and outwards rather than towards imposing furniture. Finding small chairs from retailers such as swiveluk.com, choosing simple sideboards and using short accessories such as vases and lamps will all ensure that visual attention isn’t away from outside views or your seascape artwork.

seaside design inspiration

image source 

Stonewashed

The ‘stonewashed’ effect is the ideal way to bring the beach into your home – imagine grey pebbles washed smooth by the ocean and you’ve got it! This can easily be incorporated into kitchens and living rooms with concrete and limestone, such as on tabletops, kitchen surfaces or fire surrounds. These stone textures will complement natural wood and earthy tone, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get this look in your home. I’m considering pebble-esque stone accessories for my bathroom – soap dispenser, toothbrush holder etc – and these can be picked up from places like the Factory Shop for under £5.

Along with all of these design ideas, I’ve thought about another way that you can achieve the ‘beach house’ feeling within your home – simply by opening windows and letting the fresh air flood in! Of course, if it’s too cold to open the windows now that the weather is turning, perhaps use scented candles to bring a fresh smell into your home. Let me know what you think and whether you too will be following this trend. Have you already given your home a beach house makeover? If so, I would love to see the photos and possibly get more inspiration for my own home! Please get in touch cassie@casseiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @Cassiefairy.