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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5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion

Creating that much-needed extra space in your home can be achieved by creating a brand new room out in your unappreciated attic. Whether you live in an old Victorian semi-detached or a mid-terrace home; a loft conversion could be your next step in home improvement. I definitely want to convert my own attic in the future and so I’ve been doing my research in order to plan ahead. I’ve found a few useful tips on how to plan for a loft extension (and what not to do!) so I thought I would share these with you today. 

Minimalist style and a wall of storage – what more do you need?

An additional room in your home could be necessary for an endless number of reasons. You could create a new, cosy bedroom for the youngest family member. You might want to take your DIY hobbies into your own little indoor workspace. You can opt for some cool lighting, your favourite interior colours and patterns, windows that let the sunshine in throughout the day, built-in wardrobes and so on..!

The main thing to consider when dreaming up a loft conversion project is budget – planning and estimating what kind of loft conversion your building will allow for. As new additional rooms can only be done properly by professionals; it’s important to work with a company that you really click with and who understands what you want to achieve.

Escape to the loft to work in your own home office

After finding the loft conversion company you want to work with, there will be some rules and limits on how you can add this exciting new room to your house. Before jumping into paying a deposit to any designer, architect or a building company make sure you read the specific loft conversion regulations that apply to your property. You don’t want to end up having to pay for something you might not be eligible to get after all. Continue reading “5 things to think about when planning a loft conversion” »


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

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

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

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

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

4. Scrape away the woodchip layer

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

5. Strip off the woodchip

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

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

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

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

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


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My “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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All-white interiors + why a room is not complete without texture

With a new home on the horizon I have, of course, been doing extensive decor research on Pinterest. Yes, research. Honest. Okay, I’ve been pinning plenty of pretty homes and tons of gorgeous homewares over the past couple of months (ahem… years) in order to be well-prepared for my imminent house move. Today I’m sharing some of my interior inspirations and some ideas for making an all-white theme work in your own home.Sunny-Living-room white decor interior design stylizimo blog

I can’t get enough of the interior design inspiration at Stylizimo Blog

You see, my new home is a bit of a wreck and it’s going to need decorating. Or maybe the correct word to use is ‘modernised’ seeing as it probably hasn’t been touched since it was first built in the 1950s. Whatever way I look at it, it’s going to be a big project and I’ve come up with a sensible way to tackle it; go all-white.textured white-cushion-throw

Textured cushions and throws like these from Julian Charles are essential in making an all-white interior look inviting.

As with everything in my thrifty life, I don’t want to splash the cash too much in order to make the house livable, so why not just get a huge tub of white paint and splash it around until the whole house is neutral and fresh? Having seen SO many all-white interiors on Pinterest, I’m sure it would be a great start and would allow my existing furniture to take centre stage. stylizimo blog white interior design texture painting cushion throw

A painting can add texture to white walls, like this gallery-esque room by Stylizimo Blog.

One of the things I’ve discovered during my ‘research’ is that all-white interiors have the potential to look really stark. They can sometimes to be too bright (is that possible?) and look too bare. I’m all for a clutter-free, minimalist environment but I still want my house to feel like a home. It’s the finishing touches that make all the difference and that’s where texture comes in.Texture white shelves minimalist home interior design stephanie sterjovski

Even Stephanie Sterjovski’s minimalist shelves look more personal thanks to the textured blanket, wire basket and pot plants 

Continue reading “All-white interiors + why a room is not complete without texture” »


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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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The 12th Night & a 1967 Sprite caravan decorated for Christmas

Ahh it’s nearly time to take down those festive decorations and get your home back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is! Apparently decorations should be taken down by the “12th night”, although there seems to be some confusion over when that is – it’s either the 5th or the 6th January. Either way, the time for sparkly decorations is up – although I say why not leave it til the weekend when you’ve got more time to do it anyway? Or leave up those fairy lights all year, haha!1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-61967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-31967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-7So before everyone packs away their Christmas decs, I wanted to share some photos that my friend Sophia sent me of her caravan decorated for the holidays. Is there anything more lovely than a caravan covered in fairy lights?? To be honest I keep my Christmas lights in my caravan all year round; they’re solar powered so are an excellent cost-free light source! Please admire these pics of Sophia’s 1967 Sprite caravan renovation project all dressed-up for Christmas:1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-1 We first started chatting when Sophia got in touch to ask where I got the window seals for my own Alpine Sprite caravan. She had just started work on her old 1967 Sprite in the USA and was planning a big revamp of the old camping vehicle. She’d seen my own carvan renovation project on my blog and knew that I’d have some tips to share about the fixtures and fittings for an old Sprite.1967-sprite-caravan-renovation-makeover-project-christmas-holidays-festive-decorations-4 Continue reading “The 12th Night & a 1967 Sprite caravan decorated for Christmas” »


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My favourite interior trends – Rustic wooden floors

Have you noticed just how popular wood flooring is again? Just browse interior design trends on Pinterest and you’ll find all the evidence you need. Despite the resurgence of lovely soft carpets, the popularity of hard-wearing sisal flooring and the design aesthetic of big chunky tiles, it seems like wood is beating all these flooring options hands down. Or should that be feet down? And I think I’ve worked out just why this is – here are my top 3 reasons why wooden floors are so popular:Lido Island I1. Open-plan homes

For years we’ve been knocking rooms together and opening up our living spaces to create brighter and more spacious homes. No longer are kitchens tucked away, they’re now part of our eating-cooking-living rooms. With this lean towards open-plan living, the desire to have a seamless run of flooring that runs from room to room had led to the increase in the use of wood. Tiles throughout a living space would be cold, whereas carpet in a kitchen just isn’t practical. But wood floors can be easily cleaned, are comfortable underfoot and make a room feel cosy.

Farmhouse Bedrooms2. We’re seeing more of it
If you wanted to decorate a home in the past, you’d probably buy some interiors magazines or design books for inspiration. If you weren’t planning a renovation, you probably didn’t see many homes at all. But nowadays you can’t open up Pinterest or browse through Instagram without seeing hundreds of photos of gorgeous interiors, each more covetable than the next. So with these social sites and popular decor websites such as Houzz, we are simply seeing more rooms than ever before. And our mind tends to pull out similarities as we browse, which is why it seems like wood floors are everywhere. It’s simply the case that we’re opening our eyes to more and more images and noticing the elements that we like the most. Brunstrom Residence3. Improvements in flooring

Continue reading “My favourite interior trends – Rustic wooden floors” »


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A beach bathroom makeover on a budget

With more sunny days than not in recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to summer holidays. While I’m not actually planning to jet off anywhere luxurious for a beach holiday, I DO want to inject a little holiday fun into my life. But how can I do it when I’m having a staycation, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m giving my tiny bathroom a mini-makeover and in a few short hours it’ll be a bathroom fit for a holiday. Here’s how I did it without so much as a lick of paint..!

Continue reading “A beach bathroom makeover on a budget” »


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Click a pic to view my DIY caravan projects

…OR KEEP SCROLLING TO SEE MY RECENT CARAVAN UPDATES BELOW..!

 


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A spring cleaning surprise (& a cruelty-free gift!)

You may have already done the big spring clean in your own home, but what about your relatives? In particular, I’m thinking about your grandparents, parents, uncles and great aunts who may be less able to give their own home a thorough clean this year. When I heard about the #RiseToTheChallenge campaign on social media it really made me think – why not give a little something back to our relatives by helping them out with a mini-makeover? I packed up my dusters and headed straight out this weekend to see what cleaning up I could do for my family.

I wanted my little clean-up to be a surprise so I headed to the shops on Saturday morning before heading to mums to surprise her in the afternoon. I headed to Savers, The Range, Poundland, Superdrug and Sainburys to stock up on plenty of cruelty-free cleaning products and bagged them up as a treat for my mum. She’d recently expressed an interest in my cruelty-free quest and wanted to make the switch over to non-animal-tested products herself. As I’ve mentioned before, chucking out all your old products and replacing them with a whole new cupboard of cruelty-free alternatives just isn’t feasible – it’s wasteful and costs a lot. It’s better to replace each product as it runs out and make the change gradually.

Well, I wanted to give mum a head start (I’m just so pleased she wanted to get involved) and I wanted to take on the #RiseToTheChallenge project and spruce-up her home. Rather than taking all my own cruelty-free household products over to mums (I’ll blog about all my favourite cruelty-free cleaning brands soon, so watch this space!) I decided to pick up a few bottles and give them to mum as a treat, along with a thorough clean-up of her living room. If you’re interested, here are the CF cleaning products I found: Astonish (all around £1 – £1.99), Sainsburys (from just 40p for bleach!), Cussons (£1 for a huge washing up liquid) and Original Source handwash from Poundland. Just goes to show that being kind to animals doesn’t have to cost more – in fact, I’m pretty sure everything I bought costs much less than the branded version.cruelty free cleaning products animal testing CFcruelty free cleaning products animal testing CF spring clean wood floor astonish

Continue reading “A spring cleaning surprise (& a cruelty-free gift!)” »

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