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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Suffolk’s “social media stars” – and I’m on the list!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when a friend tweeted me recently to tell me that I was in the local press. I had no idea! Within a couple of minutes I was on the newspaper’s website and was reading through the article.

Thankfully it was for good reasons – I’d been included in a list of “Suffolk’s social media stars”! This must be what it feels like to be Beyonce 😉 Along with 8 fantastic bloggers and instagrammers (many of whom I know and actually follow myself!) my little blog was included in this ‘top 9’ list.  Continue reading “Suffolk’s “social media stars” – and I’m on the list!” »


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My “Take 10” interview in Reloved magazine

Hi all, how has your week been?  Today I thought I’d quickly shared my ‘Take 10’ interview about upcycling and thriftiness from Reloved magazine in case you didn’t get a chance to pick up a copy of Issue 38 last month. My project on restoring leather was also in the January issue, with the aim of bringing old furniture back to ‘good-as-new’ in the New Year. If you want to have a read of the step-by-step guide I’ve shared it on my blog so you can check out the photos and instructions for the leather restoration project herereloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-1reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-2The good news is that I’ve got another project being published in the magazine soon so keep an eye out for Issue 39 of Reloved in the newsagents and online this week. Here’s the “Take 10” page in full so you can read my answers to the interview questions – SO excited to be featured!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-4-2 reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-5


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I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine!

Today I’ve got some really exciting news to share – I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine! A whole two-page spread has been dedicated to my tips, ideas and projects and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve taken some photos of the feature so that you can see what it looks like and maybe have a read of the pages. Continue reading “I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine!” »


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How to restore leather furniture + I’m in issue 38 of Reloved magazine!

I have some wonderful news to kick start the new year – I’m in Reloved magazine this month! My “How to restore a leather chair” project has been given a full four-page spread in the magazine AND it even made the front cover; look carefully and you can see it in the thumbnail images at the bottom of the cover! Not only that, but I’m also their Take 10 interview on the last page – wow!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-1I said once before that ‘you know you’ve made it when…’ you’re in the same magazine as Max McMurdo and Annie Sloan but this is the second time it’s happened now, so I’m beginning to settle into my role of upcycler/writer. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to find my work in a magazine on the shelves of our local newsagents! The eagle-eyed of you might have spotted an Instagram snap of me grinning from ear-to-ear holding a copy of Reloved in WH Smith. I’m super-cheesy, I know, but it was an incredibly proud moment for me nonetheless.reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-2The project I shared in Issue 38 of Reloved was how to repair crumbling cracked leather. My husband bought this chair from the carboot sale but it was in awful condition and needed a lot of TLC to bring it back to life. And that’s exactly what we did – by the end of the makeover the leather was supple and shining once more, the colour was richer than ever and the cracks and splits were gone. I’ve included the full project pages below so that you can read the step-by-step guide yourself, just in case you too have some beyond-help leather furniture that needs fixing up. reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-3As you can probably tell I’m REALLY chuffed to be featured in my favourite magazine and I’m over the moon that the editor wants me to come up with more projects for the publication in the future. In fact, I’ve already sent over another DIY project for Valentine’s Day and I spotted a photo of it in the preview of the next issue so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share another project with you again next month too!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-4Below are my project pages from inside the magazine but be sure to pick up a copy of Reloved for yourself this month because it’s packed full of sewing, craft, diy and upcycling projects including some step-by-step guides by Max McMurdo, Sewing Bee winner Matt Chapple, printer Joy Jolliffe, ‘salvage sister’ Charis Williams and author Kate Beavis.

Continue reading “How to restore leather furniture + I’m in issue 38 of Reloved magazine!” »


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Wooo I’ve been featured in Sew Style magazine!

Great news! I’ve been featured in the current issue of Sew Style magazine! When one of the writers from this fantastic magazine got in touch back in the summer I was really excited. I happily answered all her interview questions and even emailed over a couple of photos from my blog, just in case! Thankfully, the magazine decided to include me in their handmade home feature, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name was first on the page! SO exciting!

I’d been included in the homewares round-up along with four talented bloggers, instagrammers and Etsy creators. The article is all about stitching soft furnishings for the home and it was really interesting to read about all the the other makers’ decorating adventures and home inspirations. Below are the full-size pages from the magazine so that you can have a read through. I hope that everyone finds it as interesting as I do to read through each of these crafters’ interviews too!sew-magazine-style-and-home-homewares-handmade-stitching-sewing-feature-cassiefairy sew-magazine-style-and-home-homewares-handmade-stitching-sewing-feature-cassiefairy-page-2Check out the Sew Style website for plenty of sewing tips and project inspirations.

 


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I’m Cut Out + Keep’s Crafty Superstar!

Did you spot this news on my Twitter feed earlier this week? I’ve been tweeting and instagraming all week long because I’m just SO excited to be featured on one of my favourite sites. When Cut Out + Keep got in touch to invite me to be their Crafty Superstar, I was literally bouncing around at my desk!crafty superstarI sent over my signed photo as soon as I could and I loved every minute of the interview process – I felt like such a star! I couldn’t wait for ‘my’ week as Crafty Superstar and for my DIY projects to be shared with all their readers. You can check out my interview and see 4 of my crafts on the site right now.diy-pink-tulle-pompom-decorations-party-tutorial-cassiefairy - crafty superstar cut out and keep

Cut Out + Keep are sharing my thrifty projects every day this week. My pom-pom DIY has already gone live on Monday, as has my no-sew t-shirt on Tuesday. My distressed chair upcycling project was featured on Wednesday and I’m yet to see what’s going live today – I find it really exciting when I get a notification ping through that another of my projects has been published!diy-fashion-no-sew-floral-pocket-tshirt-for-summer cut out and keep crafty superstarI love visiting Cut Out + Keep for plenty of inspiration for recipes, sewing ideas, craft projects and furniture DIYs. I’ve even been inspired to try to learn to knit (you know, something more technical than just straight rows!) thanks to their knitting and crochet section. It’s like Pinterest but with real crafters. No everyone on the site has a blog or is a pro, it’s just a very welcoming community of enthusiastic makers who want to share their latest projects. Amazing stuff.distresses furniture diy projectI’m SO thrilled to join so many other fantastic crafters in the Crafty Superstars hall of fame and I still can’t really believe that Cut Out + Keep picked me to feature! Please check out my Crafty Superstar page if you get a chance and follow along with all 7 days of my projects as they are published. And do let me know what you think!


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What to wear to a creative job interview

You’ve done it. You bagged an interview for that job that everyone in your industry has been buzzing about for weeks. They all tried out for it, but YOU got it. You were on cloud 9 when you got the call, but now beads of perspiration are starting to form on your brow as you realise that you now actually have to go to the interview. You’re not worried about your experience, you’ve got oodles of it. You can’t be faulted on your people skills and your professional knowledge is second-to-none. BUT you have no idea what to wear. No, don’t start to panic and reach for the nearest glass of ‘something strong’ – I’m here to help!job interview tips inspiration outfit clothing

image source

We all know that making a good first impression is important – well, you only get to make it once, don’t you? – so it’s a pretty sure bet that what you wear plays a big part in this. In days gone by you would’ve had one interview suit hanging in your wardrobe for occasions like this. Teamed with a pair of sensible shoes and a white shirt you were ready for any interview, anytime, anywhere. But it’s not that simple these days; interviewers what to know what you clothes say about you. Annoying, isn’t it? This is especially the case when you’re going for a creative career and, let’s face it, most jobs do involved some element of creativity nowadays. Here are a few essential tips that you should consider before you head out to that important interview:

1. Make a great impression before you’ve even met. Yes, your interviewers have probably already Googled you so you’ve already made the first impression without even knowing it. We blame social media for this one – they already know your style because you’ve posted hundreds of photos of it. Similarly they know if you’re trying ‘too hard’ just for the interview. The key here is to always stick to your signature style and keep it cool at all times if you want that job – no posting photos of comedy onesies for a while. Continue reading “What to wear to a creative job interview” »


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Interview with teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh

What were you doing when you were 14? Going to school? Hanging out with your friends? Me too, which is why I was a little bit jealous when I read Blurb’s interview with Tolly Dolly, a 14-year-old fashion blogger who’s already been featured in magazines and on the BBC. Oh, and she gets to live in France, too. Tolly and I were both finalists in the Company Blog Awards 2013 and we rubbed shoulders at the glamorous awards event, and I’ve since gone on to win a POSH fashion award judged by Tolly Dolly herself, so I’m really pleased to share details of her recent interview with Blurb. Tolly started fashion blogging aged just eleven and now, with her first fashion design contract in the bag, she’s been talking scrapbooking (with a hashtag), achievements, ambitions, and all things festive.
Tolly Dolly quote

Tell us about you, when and how did your creativity begin to manifest and how has it developed to what you’re doing now?


I’m a teen blogger. I’m 14 and started my blog, Tolly Dolly Posh Fashion, in 2012 when I was just 11. I decided to start my blog to get me closer to achieving my goal of becoming a fashion designer. I’ve been featured in UK magazines and have spoken on BBC Radio 4, and I would definitely say this has helped me get to where I am now in terms of my blog and my writing skills. It’s also been an amazing way to gain new skills and add to my portfolio for the future.

What inspires you?

Lots of things inspire me, in terms of people I would say other bloggers, fashion designers, and upcoming artists. All kinds of creative people. I like to look at people who do what they want and don’t let anybody get in their way. It is definitely inspirational.

Tell us about your process.

In terms of blogging, I am very organized so I get things done quite swiftly, which is quite hard when I’m a busy teen mixing blogging with education. I gain inspiration from magazines and articles I read and think up how I could make them into something brand-new and start from that. I love photography so I mainly use my own imagery, which is always fun to put together. I edit the pictures down and start writing. I like to use music as a bit of a boost too. It really gets those creative juices flowing.

What have been your biggest achievements?

Like I mentioned, I would love to have a career as a fashion designer. Blogging has definitely made me 100% sure that is what I want to do. I’ve recently signed my first design contract with Dutch brand Mooi en Lief and I am so excited for the collection to come out. I can finally say I’m a designer … weird?!

What ambitions do you have and where do you see yourself taking this in the future?

I would say my main ambition is to just keep going and to carry on being confident in what I do. I don’t see the point in carrying on working on something you don’t enjoy, and I certainly enjoy writing my blog. I’d also like to see myself opening up a shop or two by the time I reach 25 … this might sound crazy, but I really hope I can achieve this!
Scrap Social

Please tell us about the project you’ve decided to share with us.

I started #ScrapSocial as a way to gain inspiration for my designing as well as a way to get me off the computer when I have the urge. It’s a great way to get those creative juices flowing in a fun way. I use magazines, which I love, especially ones with matte paper. I love using fashion editorials and putting them together in quirky ways, as well as adding texture and new levels with sequins and fabrics, etc. The name “Scrap Social” mixes scrapbooking with scrapping social media, but then the # means you can go ahead and share your scrapbook too when you’ve added a few pages. I’m really enjoying it so far and it went down a storm on my blog!

What is special about the festive season and Christmas for you?


I love the feeling of being around all my family. Presents are obviously a bonus, but just being in a nice, warm environment with lots of laughter and happiness is such a magical feeling. It’s almost a day to celebrate being together, and I love that, especially now that my older siblings are starting their own little families!

I love the cozy feeling that Christmas brings. Warm wooly socks, a hot fire, and hot chocolates. It makes me feel so happy and warm inside. I love it!

Do you have a personal Christmas ritual or tradition?


Not really, other than my parents putting my stocking at the end of my bed in the middle of the night… Unfortunately I don’t believe in Santa anymore, but the stocking will do 😉

If you were to make a gift book, what would it be and who for?

I would probably make it for my sister. We’ve got quite a big age gap (she’s 12 years older!) and I’d like to give her a book so she can remember all the memories we’ve had as big sis and little sis so far. I think it would be so sweet and I’d love putting it together.

Seriously stylish gift books (with a little French flair)

If you’re looking to copy Tolly’s style—or, better yet, improve on your own gift-giving style—check out these books inspired by fashion, youth, and France.

France - Don McLaughlin

France
Don McLaughlin

Explore the streets of France in gorgeous black-and-white art photography shot on medium format or 35mm film and printed as scans of original negatives.

How Do I Look - Hollie Blundell

How Do I Look?
Hollie Blundell

Tolly obviously doesn’t need this book, but a teen in your life might enjoy an A–Z guide to cutting-edge personal style.

Flawless Issue 14 - Flawless

Flawless Issue 14
Flawless

A new magazine promoting aspiring and established creative artists in the industry, dedicated to bringing you the best talent the fashion world has to offer.

Alexander McQueen: Controvery - Nikki Phennah

Alexander McQueen: Controversy
Nikki Phennah

Meet a true visionary who set the fashion world alight and left it all too soon


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An interview about my little vintage caravan

Today I’m proud to tell you that I’ve been interviewed about my little vintage caravan makeover project by the fabulous writer Lela from the Simple Caravan Insurance blog. I’m really pleased with how this article turned out (see the original article here) and wanted to share the interview with you to give you a bit more of an insight into my caravan project.

book review of vintage caravan style by lisa mora

What made you choose the caravan model that you did for your makeover?

I chose this particular caravan for my project partly because of the low price (it was only £100!) and also because the Sprite has a cute curved shape. It was the kind of caravan that I’d conjured up in my mind’s eye as a “vintage” caravan, and I knew that it would look considerably nicer once it had been painted.

When conducting your makeover, did you have a plan from the get-go?

The only plan I had at the start of the project was to strip everything back and start from scratch with an empty shell. The old interior was so badly damaged that only the bases of the seats could be salvaged so once the interior has been removed I could see exactly where damp was coming in and what needed to be done, and only then was I able to make a to-do list. The design of the interior wasn’t planned out at all – all of the makeover decisions were made based on cost! The paint colours were chosen because I’d managed to pick up some end-of-line pots of paint, the wallpaper patchwork wall was made from ends of rolls, off-cuts from friends’ decorating and I even reused old paper that had stripped off my mum’s walls while she was decorating. All of the furniture was bought from charity shops or rescued from a skip, while my fabric was mostly thrifted – the seat covers are my in-laws’ old bed sheets! 

cassiefairy's original caravan

What has been the most difficult part of your caravan makeover so far?

The most difficult part of the makeover was replacing the window trims. It was easy to remove the old window seals because they were crumbling off and letting in a lot of leaks! But adding the new window trims took an entire-day because I needed to move the caravan in order to get access to the rear window and stretching the trim around the frame was complicated – no sooner than I had smoothed one piece into place than another piece would pop off! To make matters worse, I discovered that the side window was held in place with silicone and once this had been removed to fit the window trim, the glass started sliding out of the window and very nearly smashed on the floor! It has now been refitted but I still can’t open the window and it would be good to get it working, so that’s next on the ever-growing list!

 If you did the makeover again, what would you do differently?

I would possibly decorate the space differently, choosing coordinating wallpaper and paints for a more professional finish rather than throwing everything I could get my hands on at the walls! I think this would make the space more desirable if I were ever to sell the caravan in the future. But then again, I’m not intending make a profit nor am I ever planning to sell it, so I’m happy that is becoming ‘my’ space and it is very personal to me. As the project is still evolving I can continue to decorate it and add bits to my patchwork wall as I find them – I doubt it will ever really be ‘finished’!

cassiefairy - my little vintage caravan

What will be the primary use of the space?

 My initial plan for the caravan was to use it as a work space. It would be my version of a garden shed where I could keep all of my sewing equipment and an office space to run my blog Cassiefairy.com from. I use the table as a sewing and writing desk and am currently working on adding more storage space for fabrics and crafts. A second use for the caravan has emerged over the past year: it’s become a spare room. Our house doesn’t have a guest bedroom so when we have visitors either my husband and I will camp out in the caravan (and very cosy it is too!) or my visitors will ask if they can stay in the caravan. So it’s become a very useful second bedroom! It is a also a great space for family meals, because we can’t fit a group of 8/9 around our dining table indoors, but there’s plenty of room in the caravan for a long table and we’ve had many meals out there all year round!

The only thing that I don’t think it will be used for again is towing away for a holiday. This is a shame because I’d love to camp in it, but we needed to remove all the electrics when the caravan arrived (they were rather dodgy) so it would need a complete overhaul of lights for towing, as well as fitting a new electric hook-up point. Also, I’m worried that removing the interior fittings might have destabilised the structure because there is no internal bracing now that the cupboards, kitchen and wardrobe have been removed. I don’t know how much this affects the usability of the caravan but I think it’ll take a lot more work to get it back into towing-and-camping-condition!

little-vintage-caravan-project-diy-makeover

What is your favourite feature in the caravan?

My favourite feature in the caravan is the back window. This may sound like a strange favourite to choose, but it runs across the whole width of the caravan and it opens upwards on hinges to let in a lot of fresh air (a must when I’m working in there on hot summer days!) and I love listening to all the sounds of birds chirping in the garden. It lets in plenty of light so that I don’t need to plug in lamps and when you’re lying in the double bed at night you can pull back the curtains and see a wide-angle view of the stars.

What is left to do? Have you stuck to a timeframe or set a ‘due date’?

I have lots more left to do – some of which I’ve already mentioned: fix the side window so that it can be opened, build in some fitted storage for fabrics etc, paint the interior of the door (I like the idea of chalkboard paint there), add a chest of drawers for guests who stay in the caravan, lay slabs outside the caravan and plant a few flowers, find some steps to make it a little easier to hop in and out of the caravan and, if I’m being picky, I think the outside of the caravan need repainting already because it’s not looking as fresh as it did this time last year!

 Is another caravan makeover on the horizon after this one?

I certainly hope so! I’m completely hooked on caravans – I subscribe to Vintage Caravan Magazine and am always daydreaming about getting a caravan that I can actually tow and take away on holiday. I actually want a smaller caravan; just a little two-berth would be perfect for hubby and I to go away in for a weekend. I’ve found plenty of vintage caravans for sale that have already been renovated but I enjoyed the process so much that I’d like to get my hands on one that hasn’t been touched for years and give it a new lease of life.

Vintage caravan makeover project on Cassiefairy blog-6

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