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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The next big interior design trends for 2017

The New Year is a great time to think about freshening up our homes with new indoor furniture, updated colour schemes and a few of the hottest accessories in line with the latest trends. It’s also the time of year that trend forecasters pull out their crystal balls and announce the home décor trends coming up in the year ahead.
I’ve had a look at all the predictions and here are my picks of the top eight interior themes we can expect to see in 2017.

A photo posted by coshliving (@coshliving) on


Super Natural
As technology becomes more and more integral to our daily lives and developments such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing look set to cause greater disruption, people are looking to nature and natural materials to provide balance. A strong desire to bring nature into our homes and workplaces will see interiors filled with greenery, from hanging pots, to hydroponic indoor gardens planted with vegetables and herbs. Sustainable and recycled materials will also feature strongly, with worn or aged furnishings and accessories. Sofas and designer furniture will be made from sustainable materials;  designers are even beginning to experiment with algae and fungi to develop new products. Key colour for this trend is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017 ‘Greenery’, a bright and powerful green hue.pantone-greenery-colour-pop-interior-design-trend-2017Nordic Influence
Scandinavian style continues to exert a strong influence on interiors with abundant natural light, a sense of space and simple well-designed furniture using natural materials. Natural textures and materials – such as wooden furniture, fur and shearling throws, hides and cork – ensure this look never appears cold or sterile. Bold fabrics and handcrafted accessories are also key elements. Key colours to recreate this look in your own home include white and soft gray with primary coloured accents.sideboard-sandinavian-danish-colour-pop-chair-mid-century-modernRaw and Industrial
The raw, industrial aesthetic is also still a strong influence, with concrete, clay, steel and glass forming the main materials. Again, this suits the trend for upcycled homewares as older items with rust spots, faded colours and patina fit in perfectly. If you’re lucky, you could give your home an industrial look for only a few pounds if you’re able to find disused shop/factory fittings, wooden pallets and rusted metalwork. The key colours for this look are gray, beige, off-white, yellow, white, walnut brown and glints of gold and copper.industrial-interior-design-trend-2017Reflective
For enthusiasts of contemporary furniture and décor, this design theme could be for you. The atmosphere here is soft and friendly, without being overly romantic and sweet. Modern materials and indoor furniture will feature cool mirrored, transparent effects. Look out for iridescent lamps, overlapping coloured glass shapes, shiny glazes, copper finishes, faceted shapes and reflective surfaces. These modern effects are contrasted with the tactility of handmade knitting and crochet to create a very livable theme. Choose muted key colours such as nude, blue, lavender, yellow, rose, turquoise, yellow-green, pastel yellow, peach, mint, lilac and pink.pop-of-colour-yellow-interior-design-trend-2017Pops of Strategic Colour

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Interior inspiration for a Georgian home – Modern greys & retro pops of colour

Today I’m taking inspiration from interior designer Gabrielle Blackman and I’m sharing a tour of her Georgian home in Bristol. Famous for creating classy interiors on DIY SOS, she’s a designer after my own heart, describing her style as “eclectic, relaxed, with pops of colour” so I wanted to check out the way that she has styled her own home in order to pick out some trends for the coming year.   retro modern interior design trend

Citing David Hicks as her personal inspiration for his bold use of colour and crazy geometric pattern Gabrielle’s home reflects this through a combination of neutral greys and bright retro-modern accessories. Retro style and giving old furniture a new lease of life in the 21st century is certainly a continuing interior design trend for 2015, which is clear through the designers decision to use mid-century pieces alongside antique furniture and Georgian features.

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My little vintage caravan – My crafty storage solution

If you’ve been following my caravan renovation project to turn a grubby old Sprite caravan into a cosy office and sewing workshop, you’ll know how important it is for me to create a space that is both practical and beautiful. I’ve previously addressed the damp issue and in doing so I needed to remove the majority of the existing built-in storage in order to ensure that the caravan stays dry, warm and mould-free. Even though I was able to save the bench seats and table – which has proved to be an excellent workspace for writing and crafting – I still had a severe lack of storage. After literally months of trawling the shops and searching online I found the ideal storage system that could be reconfigured and personalised for the space I had and, most importantly, didn’t cost a fortune. It might be a little out of the ordinary but here’s what I came up with:vertbaudet toys storage units

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British-inspired designs for the home

With talk of another royal baby on the way, I’ve come over all patriotic. Just like the Olympics and the Diamond Jubiliee before it, this has made me realise how great it is to be living in Britain! We are a multi-cultural nation with so many traditions, wonderful tourism in bustling cities yet secluded country towns, surrounded by stunning coastline with the breath-taking countryside views to boot. We’re a nation of animal lovers, enthusiastic queuers, our own monarchy and The Beatles. It’s safe to say we’re very spoilt on these little isles!

We all know I love a bit of decorating, especially when it involves crafting my own or sourcing amazing British products, so how can you embrace Britain in your home? Here are my ideas for a home the celebrates the UK in every way:

Look closer to home

Instead of immediately popping to IKEA (or other major home furnishing retailers that have been lucky enough not to be mentioned), do a little research and see what’s on offer closer to home. There are so many small to medium businesses out there that are British based AND source all their materials in the UK too. For example, I came across Jonny’s Sister. Based in the West Country, not only do they create vintage style home furnishings but you can get them personalised too. These make amazing gifts for loved ones (especially if you’re struggling finding something for Imagenewlyweds) and let’s not forget treating yourself too!personalised cannisters from jonnyssister

Image source Jonny’s Sister

Whether it’s your own biscuit tin to deter the partner and kids from your favourite snack or letter cushions to decorate an otherwise bland living room, personalised accessories will make your home feel even more cosy, and you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that the items in your home are made here in the UK.

Pick up mementos wherever you go

A day at the beach is the perfect opportunity for some quirky home improvements. We have all seen my trick with the pebbles. Well, these can be added anywhere and everywhere, and are especially handy if you’re super organised like me! Pebbles and shells are simple yet effective decorations and give that rustic UK seaside look, but you can also go bold with buckets and spades to keep your herbs or bathroom toiletries in. The icing on the cake at the British seaside is coming across a great piece of driftwood; the possibilities are endless. Cleaned, varnished and painted with lettering the driftwood will look great as rustic signage. If you’re lucky enough to find a huge flat piece this could make a brilliant side table (if you wish to take on a little project) and smaller pieces could be cleaned and varnished for use as a centrepiece or a dinner party sharing tray.

Apollo Blinds Elegance Twilight - driftwood

 Image source

Red, white and blue

This can look a little overbearing when it comes to decorating a whole room but taking inspiration from our flag is a great starting point if you’re having a tough time knowing where to start. For example, white or cream walls (and rooms in general) can have spots of red and blue for a stylish finish. This could be just through the accessories such cushions, table decorations or you can take it one step further with striped blinds made in the UK such as these below to really add a splash of colour to the space.

Image source #ApolloTwilight

The kitchen is the perfectly place to really go for it when it comes inserting colour. Usually a room you tend to keep simple due to the clutter, as long as you’re organised, this could make a great impact! For example, the pots and pans can be a mixture of the same cherry red and cobalt blue with red and blue kettle, microwave and other accessories. Furthermore, what about mosaic tiling? Red and blue tiling across the back of your kitchen makes a strong statement and means you can keep the rest of the room fairly simple; thriftiness to the max!

Take inspiration from the seasons

We have such definable seasons in the UK, so this makes a great starting point for new decorating. Revamping your existing decor can be cost-effective and if you have kept each of your rooms as a basic template (cream walls and neutral furnishings), then adding those seasonal extras will be simple. We’re going into autumn and this is the best month to experiment with colour! Think nature with deep mahogany, reds, oranges and yellows for your accessories. You could bring the outdoors in again with conkers, pinecones and can even make a college from those gorgeous vibrant leaves you see scattering the pavements. I have a few squashes growing in the garden that I plan to use in a sideboard display this weekend. Anything to make my home feel cosy as the chilly nights drew nearer!

I hope that some of these ideas have inspired you to bring elements of the UK into your home and I’d love to hear your ideas for decorating a new home – please leave me a comment below and we’ll chat again soon! 🙂


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Fairy, Fairy, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Welcome to my new series of blog posts all about my plans for my garden makeover! I know there are probably lots of historical and underlying meanings that you can read into this nursery rhyme but I am simply using it to set the tone for summer, because with the holidays comes the opportunity (both weather-wise and time-wise) to get out into the garden and start making some changes, which is precisely what I’ve been doing.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

When I think of this rhyme I imagine a cottage garden, boarders full of tall foxgloves (what I imagine to be the ‘bells’) and rambling roses. It’s the kind of garden I like – quaint, low-maintenance and traditionally British – full of colour, scent and stepping stones. What images do you conjure up in your mind when you read the nursery rhyme? I want to make a start in building the garden of my imagination and it starts here:

garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

This is the starting point for my new garden. Grass. Okay, mostly weeds. It’s not a large garden, measuring only about 30ft x 40ft, and it’s at the back of the house. This photo is taken from the gate into the back garden. It’s overlooked by the neighbours’ gardens on two sides and looked rather barren. It’s hard to imagine that anything would grow on this bumpy plot of grass but hubby and I are going to have a good go at landscaping it, planting it up and hopefully even grow our own veggies. If you look carefully at the grass in the photo, you can see that my husband has mowed it into the shape of a heart, but that was the extent of our gardening attempts so far haha!

the start of a garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

Look to the left from the back gate and you can see this view which houses the only other feature of the garden – my little vintage caravan. I’m still working on this project too but it will need to be moved to a new location once we start getting the garden in order. Here you can see the chain-link fence is overgrown with weeds at the side and behind the back-garden fence is the garage which faces the driveway.

the start of a garden makeover on the cassiefairy blog

Looking to the right from the gate you can see this view – the sheds and greenhouse are in the neighbours garden and the brick wall is part of an outdoor store cupboard, which is half joins onto the house. Over the coming weeks I’ll keep you updated with our plans, developments (no matter how dull!) and growth of our garden. Please get in touch if you have any tips or advice or are working on your own garden right now – I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below or email cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk


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Be inspired by a true wonder woman

Some people just have it. The “it’ might be a sense of style and colour, a certain glow, a twinkle in the eye or a combination thereof. Or, as the French say, a je ne sais quoi. I think Lori Andrews is one of those people. Equal parts designer and social-media-savvy photographer, Lori is known for her colourful costumes and irrepressible spirit. Here’s a little video of Lori in Toronto, Canada talking about Instagram, interiors, dressing like a superhero, and capturing her life and work in beautifully crafted Blurb books.


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A foodie day out in Cambridge & dinner at Jamie’s Italian

Over the weekend, hubby and I took a trip to Cambridge and it turned into one of those days of eating and drinking in a surprisingly foodie location. Our sightseeing journey around this historical city involved lots of walking, so we were guaranteed to work up an quite an appetite by the end of the day. Plus all the walking resulted in us needing to sit down and rest regularly and luckily for me there was always a café nearby! Here’s what we got up to and a little review of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant where we enjoyed our evening meal.

We took a trip into Cambridge on the park and ride bus and decided to hop off the bus early near the green.  Here we enjoyed a picnic lunch on a park bench that we’d bought from the bakery – a naughty pasty for me and a big pizza slice for hubby. After this lunch break with a lovely view of the rose garden we continued our trek into the city centre and browsed the shops. A couple of stores really sparked my interest including Tiger for it’s low-priced ethical shopping ethos and Hollister for its dark and gorgeously designed interior. We took a few photos so I’ll share these in a future blog post because this post is all about the foodie surprises that Cambridge has in store!

After a walk up to the colleges (which were all closed to the public, due to it being exam season) and spent some time admiring the ancient architecture, we wandered through the market square. I was surprised by the number of different cuisines available on the market’s food stalls and despite having only recently eaten lunch, (and having already walked away once!) hubby and I decided we really should sample some of the foodie delights so we went back into the market for a cheese and sour-cream flatbread. I think I was swept up by the feeling of being on holiday and I felt like I was at a Christmas market, but in the summer. Who could resist?? We shared the cheesy-garlicy dough, though I was defeated after only a few bites because it was a very strong flavour but hubby gallantly munched on and did us proud.

By now you can probably imagine that I was ready to pop, but more walking around the city centre ensure that I was soon ready to have a sit down and a cup of tea to boost my energy levels. Soon after we headed into the Cambridge Toy Shop to have a look at all the old toys we remembered from our childhood and even picked up a gift for our nephew’s birthday. Hopping in and out of all the lovely décor and book shops gave us inspiration for decorating our next interior project and plenty of ideas for DIY versions of the expensive-but-fabulously-designed furniture and accessories we saw during the day. I like to browse shops to get inspiration and to keep my mental moodboard ticking over. Sometimes I wish I could ‘pin’ the things I see in real life to refer back to in the future!

Finally, for our evening meal we headed for the brand new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Cambridge ‘Jamie’s Italian’. It serves a simple rustic Italian menu without any faffy complicated dishses and thankfully, without an inflated pricetag! I think the prices are better than some of the comparable Italian chains, with olives at £2, garlic bread at £3 and pizzas from £8 – and not much more on the menu to be honest! The restaurant has only been open a couple of months and is the first that Jamie Oliver has opened, so it was good to try it out and see what we thought of it for ourselves.

The restaurant promotes ‘messy-eating’ so hubby and I teared up our garlic bread starter and munched on a tasty plate of olives before our yummy main meal arrived. I was worried that the portions might have been a little small – I was imagining a ‘posh’ pizza – but when it arrived I couldn’t believe the size of my margarita pizza. My husband had a ‘white rocket’ cheese pizza (no tomato sauce) and he too couldn’t finish his portion! Luckily, the restaurant was happy to pack up our pizzas in a box to take home and enjoy for supper 😉

Despite the massive portions and incredibly rich starters, we still managed to squeeze in a dessert between us and shared two scoops of ice cream (it would be rude not to at only £1.50 each!) so we had chocolate and a yummy mixed berry crumble. Funny how you always have room for pudding, eh?! I really enjoyed our meal at Jamie’s Italian and had spent less than we normally do on a standard pub-grub meal but felt like I’d had a more enjoyable (and delicious!) experience for our money. In fact, I wish this restaurant was closer to home, but that would probably be dangerous because we’d be eating out there every weekend if it was! Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jamie’s first venture into this rustic Italian pizza parlour at Cambridge will be a success and will lead to more of the same opening up around the country.

So, ready to pop and with our pizza box in tow we headed back out of Cambridge on the park and ride and set off home after a long day of food, drink, inspiration, more food and snacks – no wonder we slept well that night!


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Dream a little dream ~ Kiss from a rose

In honour of Valentines day last week, I thought I’d share the recent addition I made to the “book wall” in my bedroom – I added a few pages with drawings of roses. Although I liked the feature wall as it already was, wallpapered with the pages of three books and some sheet music, some of the pages were much darker than the others and was making the room look a little dark. I therefore wanted to cover up some of the dark brown pages (which turned out to be the Marilyn Monroe book) so I looked through one of the other books we’d used which was a book on growing roses. I really liked the drawings of the different rose species and even though these pages were much paler than all the others I thought I would give it a ago.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages

 

I mixed up some wallpaper paste and started sticking the picture pages onto the wall, but half way though I had a crisis of confidence. Maybe I didn’t like the rose pictures as much as I thought? Does it look too much like wallpaper with pictures on rather than the wall of text that I’d intended it to be? I tried peeling a couple of pages back off, but the wallpaper paste was a particularly quick-drying kind and the pages didn’t want to come away from the wall easily. So I carried on and figured that I could simply add more book pages over the top if I really didn’t like the effect once it was finished. Half an hour later I stood back and took a look at the wall as a whole. And thankfully, I liked it! The paler pages really made the room look much lighter and the roses did look cute and kinda romantic.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages and roses

Plus this reminded me that I already had some bedding with a rose design on which we had been given as a wedding gift 10 years ago but had long-since stopped using on a regular basis. So I tried it on the bed and it worked great with the new roses on the feature wall. I’m happy with how the whole design has turned out and I guess there’s no harm in having a slightly more girly pattern on the wall!


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Tips on using Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014

Is it a big thumbs up or something you’d never ever wear? When colour trend experts Pantone announced the colour of the year I was in two minds as to whether it’s the colour for me. You may remember that last year’s colour was Emerald (which I quite liked and even made my own emerald dress!) and that we’ve previously discussed their autumn tone Mykonos Blue and how to get the look for yourself – see the blog post here. This year Pantone have announced that the shade which will be influencing trends in fashion, graphic design, interiors, beauty and product design during 2014 will be Radiant Orchid – a bright purple shade with both cool and warm tones.

Pantone describes the colour of the year as an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones and says that it is an inspirational shade: “Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” A colour that emits love and joy is certainly something that I should be interested in so I’ve looked into ways of incorporating the Pantone Colour of the Year 2014 into our homes and wardrobes to bring even more happiness and energy into daily life – or will it? My problem with this is that – ironically enough – purple was my favourite colour as a teenager. I therefore do a little wince every time that I see it reported that purple is making a comeback. I wore a lot of lilac, rocked deep purple velvet and even enjoyed all shades of plum at once in a tie-dyed t-shirt. And now that I’ve finally grown out of purple, are you telling me that I have to put it back on the menu again? I don’t know if I can… but here goes!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for interior design

In terms of making a welcoming home you may want to begin adding elements of Radiant Orchid to your interiors. After a few years of taupes, greys and beiges being on trend, this vibrant colour should work with existing neutrals to reenergize your home – or so Pantone says! If you want to unify your interior spaces, simply adding a few splashes of Radiant Orchid on walls or soft furnishings will help to enliven almost any colour palette and I don’t doubt that it will bring a bright and cheery feeling into your home for Spring and Summer. Children, especially, will love a more lively colour scheme and your friends and family will admire your design knowledge even though you have only spent a fraction of the cost of redecoration by adding a couple of cushion covers or an artwork in this bold colour. That’s the theory anyway – but my home is very much UN-neutral so I’m not sure that even a purple rug would work in my own home. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t look great in your home, it’s just a clash-too-far for my retro living room!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for fashion colours

All Images by Radiant Orchid 2014 on Tumblr

If you’re planning to incorporate Radiant Orchid into your spring/summer 2014 wardrobe, you may already be thinking ‘what on earth can I wear it with?’ Well, I’ve done my research and have discovered that the shade works great with those from a similar colour palette, such as purple, lilac and pink. It’s already a bright tone but if you want to make an impact with a real pop of colour, combine it with scarlet red! Similar to the interior design ideas, using Radiant Orchid as a splash of colour in your neutral wardrobe will bring your existing fashion pieces up to date and need not cost a lot to get the look – a piece of costume jewellery or a pair of colourful shoes will increase your fashionista reputation with only a handful (or should that be armful?!) of new accessories.

I think this is the most likely way that I’ll be incorporating the colour of the year into my life – I already have a cute My Little Pony t-shirt in exactly the right colour (one that I’ve never worn since I bought it around 5 years ago, maybe it’s time for the t-shirt to shine!) and I’d be more likely to invest in a handbag or bracelet rather than a whole outfit. The other problem I have with this colour is that it’s not really a colour you can find in the vintage or second-hand/charity shop market. I think everyone, like me, chucked out their purple wardrobe back in the 90s and no-one thought to reuse them as ‘vintage’ because they were so dated. So where would I even buy any ‘Radiant Orchid’ clothes? Certainly not in my normal retail stomping ground of car boot sales, retro markets or charity shops. Nope, this would probably need to be a new wardrobe investment and I’m not sure I really want to wear it that much! Still, I will keep a look out for bright pinky-purple items when I’m rummaging through the flea markets and see if I come up with anything!

pantone color of the year 2014 radiant orchid ideas for beauty colours

Pantone has discussed the use of this colour in beauty and tells us that the rosy undertones of this shade will enliven complexions and radiate on the skin. Despite looking like an unwearably strong make-up shade at first, this tone of colour (which is actually both cool and rosy at once) can be worn as an eye shadow to outline eyes and make them glisten or as a lipstick to bring a healthy glow to the skin. It’s supposed to be an almost universally flattering shade, looking great with many combinations of hair, skin and eye colour, so don’t be afraid to try out such a bright colour for yourself. I have decided that nail polish is the way to go for getting this look on a budget whilst still looking like myself!

I hope these tips have helped you to identify ways that you can incorporate Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014 into your daily life, bringing your home and wardrobe up to date and infusing your life with the joy and energy that Radiant Orchid promises to bring!


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Dream a little dream… my bedroom sewing projects

At the weekend I told you all that I’d finished sewing the cushions for my bedroom that I’d been putting off for ages. I finally powered through my sewing-block and used the leftover fabric from the bottom of my bedroom blinds to rustle up a pair of cushions for the bed. It is kind of lucky that the blinds were too long for my tiny windows: although it meant I had more work to do before I could hang them – spending time trimming them to size and stitching up the hems – it also meant that I had some leftover matching fabric to use for my cushions. I used two squares of the striped fabric for the cushion fronts and to make the simple envelope cushion-backs I used a different fabric – a beige checked fabric which had previously been a single duvet set that I wasn’t ever going to use again.

DIY sew your own quilted bed runner throw

It’s been great cutting up this duvet set rather than going out to buy fabric as it has given me enough quantity to make these cushions, some cushions for my living room, the lining of a Christmas stocking for my nephew, and now it has become the back and binding tape for a bed throw. When I had a narrow strip of my striped fabric leftover, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to make more cushions and the base of the bed was a little bare with it’s plain white sheets. Even so, I knew there wouldn’t be enough fabric to make a proper quilt and I didn’t really want to introduce any other fabrics to expand the size of the quilt. So I decided that a bed ‘runner’ would be adequate to add a little interest at the foot of the bed – and something for the cats to sleep on, it turns out! I used three layers – the top layer of striped fabric, a thin quilting wadding from Abakhan, and the checked single duvet fabric. I pinned and stitched along the longest side of the layers to hold them in place, then I machined down the stripes to make a quilted effect without actually having to cut and stitch the quilt. It was a little fiddly to get it through the machine – especially at the centre of the runner, so I rolled it up from the edge (which you can see in the photo above) so that I didn’t have to struggle with excess fabric while sewing. After the whole runner was ‘quilted’ I used a narrow piece of the duvet fabric to make a binding and stitched this around all the edges to finish it off.

Stripe cushion and bed throw DIY sewing project on Cassiefairy blog

And here are the finished cushions and throw in the bedroom. As you can see, my cat Cookie took to it immediately and managed to curl up and go to sleep on the runner before I’d even managed to take a photo of it, and I didn’t have the heart to move her as she snored happily. Also Mrs. Rabbit likes the cushions and called for Mr. Rabbit to join her as she snuggled in but he was busy reading a book at the time so only Mrs. Rabbit made it into the photo of the cushions. Did you ever watch or read the Velveteen Rabbit as a child? I loved that story and I think that’s probably why I asked for Mr. Rabbit as a birthday present only 3 years ago and still have a pair of plush rabbits living in my bedroom!

Using books in the bedroom - DIY sewing and decorating project on Cassiefairy blog

I feel like my bedroom makeover looks more ‘complete’ now that I have cushions on the bed – I don’t know why, but it seems to finish off the bed as a focal point in the room. If you want to see how I wallpapered a feature wall using  old books please check out my blog post here. I know I’ve got plenty more that I need to sort out in the bedroom, such as storage and curtains, but I feel more like it’s getting there and at least I’ve stopped procrastinating and have broken through the sewing ‘block’. What will I make today I wonder??

More articles in my bedroom makeover series:

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