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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DIY photobooth props for weddings and parties

This has to be the quickest DIY project I’ve ever done. I don’t even have a step-by-step guide to share with you. But I do have some before and after photos so you can see just how effective this easy project is. Roll on wedding season!I wanted to make some pretty frames to use in a photobooth at a party. These are great for Christmas parties, birthdays, hen parties and anniversaries. And of course, the photobooth is almost a tradition at weddings now! This project really was as simple as:

  1. Take the back off an ornate picture frame and remove the glass
  2. Spray paint with metallic paint.

Okay the 3rd step might be to give the frames a second coat of spray paint. It’s important to only spray paint with fine coats of paint to make sure that the paint doesn’t drip. So it’s better to do two or three thin layers to build up the colour rather than one thick coat. And…

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Bedroom progress – a retro-style bed & snuggly new duvet

Today I wanted to update you on our bedroom decorating project and share a quick review of my new duvet. You may remember that I’ve been waiting for my bed to be delivered and it has finally arrived! I spent the weekend with a screwdriver in my hand, assembling my new bed. What do you think of it?

It’s a Hygena bed and we got it from Argos using a 20% discount code so I’m really chuffed that we could get such a well-designed retro-style bed at an absolutely bargain price. I chose the frame after selecting my new mattress from eve, because everyone knows that the mattress is what makes the bed, and not the other way around!I’d been sleeping on my eve mattress on the floor and it was already super-comfortable, but adding it to the frame created a whole new level of comfort. Just FYI, one of the main things that I enjoy about my eve mattress is that my husband can flip over in the night and I feel no movement whatsoever on my side of the bed. I don’t know what the science is behind this, but the memory foam keeps me perfectly still while he moves around. I’ve never had such a peaceful night’s sleep!Anyway, seeing as I was so happy with the mattress, eve seemed to be the natural choice when it came to buying a new duvet too. My old duvet was a double size, so it didn’t fit our kingsize mattress and I wanted to feel super-cosy in my new bedroom. After committing a few years to my limp old duvet (how long are they supposed to last? Is it gross that I’ve used the same duvet for years?!) it was time to upgrade.

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Updating my bathroom – a much-needed DIY renovation project

Guess where I’ve spent this week? I’ve had a week off and did I spend it in the sunshine? By the sea? In a beer garden? Nope, I’ve spent it indoors, ripping out my old, dated and leaky bathroom. What else would I do with a week off than more DIY?! Yes, the house renovation project is in full swing, and now we have no bathroom. No water and, worryingly enough, no loo. Eek – time to crack on with the DIYing!With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what kind of look I’m going for in the bathroom. If you can imagine a spa with dark colours and clean lines, that’s the kind of style I like. I had already bought our bathroom suite in the January sale (I know, it’s taken me a while to get started on this DIY project – I’ve been putting it off for months) so I knew what type of bath I was going for.I chose the Voss range from Betta Bathrooms and managed to get the bath, loo, sink, all taps, wastes and plumbing supplies for under £300, can you believe it?! That’s precisely why I ordered it in the January sales, it was too much of a bargain to pass up. The order arrived in February but I’ve only just got the chance to take a ‘holiday’ from my writing work to get started on the renovation this week. You can imagine how excited I am to finally get to work on it.

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Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget

When it comes to the aesthetic appearance of your home often the smallest chip or crack can look unsightly and stand out a mile if the rest of your home is in a good state of repair. The trouble is that repairing concrete can be a difficult and problematic process. But it is possible to DIY it yourself.Of course, the restoration of historic buildings, commercial buildings or any major work on your home should be left to expert contractors of concrete repairs to get the job done – and avoid causing any irreparable damage. But, that being said, if you find a small amount of cracked concrete in your back garden patio or in an exterior wall – and you’re comfortable with DIY – then it IS possible to fix cracked concrete yourself. To top it all off, it can be done on a budget!

What you will need:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Injection ports
  • Crack sealer
  • Putty knife
  • LCR cartridge
  • Caulk gun

It’s easier than you might think to do this repair yourself and, with a little time spent planning, the results you can achieve are every bit as good as if had paid a professional – but at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “Household DIY: How to fix cracked concrete on a budget” »


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Interior design trends – soft minimalism

I love the idea of a minimalist lifestyle. I guess that’s because I’ve got so much clutter in my life! Dreaming of open spaces and white walls provides a complete contrast to my life at the moment. With boxes half-unpacked and not knowing where anything is, I could really do with implementing a few minimalist ideas in order to sort my life out right now! Even though I couldn’t really survive in a white box home (I’m a tea-spiller, after all) I can definitely get behind the ‘soft minimalism’ interiors trend that is everywhere at the moment.Maybe it’s because Pinterest offers ‘picked for you’ pins that I’m seeing so many minimalist interiors on my Pinterest feed. And the more I pin, the more similar images Pinterest serves up. Soon my whole profile will be overrun with soft minimalist inspiration and, to tell you the truth, I’d be happy with that. Soft minimalism is definitely the way I’d like my home to be in the future. We’ve made a start with white walls and laminate floors, but what else is needed to achieve this look? Here’s some key soft minimalist decor ideas that I definitely want to use in my own home…

Soft minimalism inspiration from LionsHome.co.uk – image source: Bloomingville

1. Sleek storage

All the pieces of furniture from the soft minimalism trend seem to be scandi-inspired furniture designs. The lines are straight, the storage is neat and the handles are unfussy. It’s simple, thoughtfully designed and well made. It’s all about practical storage that looks gorgeous too; well, if you want a minimalist home, you’re going to have to hidethe clutter somewhere! And that’s the whole point of soft minimalism: it’s not necessarily about getting rid of your things, just storing them away neatly. Furniture for this trend is usually white, black or natural wood.

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Key ingredients for a perfect bedroom

If somebody asked you what your dream bedroom would look like, what would you say? What kind of vision do you have? I know exactly what I want my own bedroom to look like – in fact, I’ve already started decorating it; check out my flooring blog post with step-by-step GIF of my progress! The trouble is, I can’t really put into words the style that I like. It’s kind of minimalist but not at all stark. Does that make sense? Sometimes, it can be really hard to convert mental images into the real deal. So if this conundrum sounds familiar to you too, today’s blog post should come in handy. Here’s a list of key ingredients and some useful tips to help you design the perfect bedroom.

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The bed

For most of us, the bed is the most important part of any bedroom design. Beds come in all shapes and sizes, and there are styles to suit all tastes and budgets. Some people long for luxury hotel style leather headboards or dramatic four-posters while others dream of a rustic log cabin vibe with solid wood headboards and a sturdy frame. Whatever your style, don’t rush into making a decision when it comes to finding the right bed. You’ll need to find a mattress that you struggle to part with (like I did) and a frame that matches your vision and complements your theme. My bed frame is taking 45 days to be delivered but it’ll be worth the wait to get the right one. Take a tour of some bed stores, try some mattresses for size, and search online for inspiration. If you have an idea in mind, and it’s a little avant-garde, you may also find it easier to source what you want on the Internet.

image source

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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 

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