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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3 things you can sell to make extra money this week

Happy hump day everyone! It’s the middle of the week and already I’m looking forward to the weekend. Want to know why? I’m planning to spend a bit of time clearing out some of my belonging and see if there’s anything I can do without. That may sound like the least exciting weekend ever but I’m really motivated to have a tidy up and clear out the clutter. It’ll make moving easier if I’ve got less stuff to shift AND I can possibly make a little extra money by selling some of it on. So I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’m planning to earn some cash from my unwanted stuff in case you too want to earn some more money this week… 

Clothing you no longer wear? Sell it on!

Clothes

Selling your clothes couldn’t be easier and is a great way to make some extra cash. Take a look in your wardrobe and remove anything you haven’t worn in the past year because you’re probably not going to wear it this year either! Take them to a car boot sale this week and earn a few pounds for each piece. If there are some pieces that still have the tags on (there certainly are in my wardrobe anyway) these will be worth more so you could sell them online via Depop, HardlyEverWornIt or Ebay. Anything you don’t sell can be donated to charity or you could take use websites that offer to buy your clothing by the kilogram, such as Genie Recycling or Return to Earn. The added bonus of selling your clothes is that you’re decluttering your wardrobe and making some extra storage space. You’ll rediscover clothes you already own and love but that you haven’t seen in years because they were stuffed at the back of the wardrobe.

Fallen out of love with your jewellery? Sell it on!

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Books, books, books – What I got for Christmas & first impressions

I guess I was quite adamant when I said I only wanted books for Christmas, huh? Because that’s what I got – and piles of ’em! So you can imagine how thrilled I am to start the new year with a stack of books to read and plenty of reviews to bring you throughout 2017. I’m just about to finish reading Dave Gorman Versus The Rest of The World so I’m excited to dive straight into these new books. Here’s what I received and my first impressions:book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-3Caitlin Moran – Moranifesto

I’ve read most of Moran’s books and this one has been on my wishlist since it was published in March 2016. I didn’t buy it straight away though because I find hardbacks more cumbersome to read and I was waiting for the paperback version to come out. How long would I have to wait? While I was browsing a book store in Ely in November I found this signed first edition and pointed it out to hubby. Thankfully he took the hint and managed to snaffle it for me without me knowing! Can’t wait to get started on this one.book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-9Tim Peake – Hello, is this planet Earth?

As someone who followed Tim Peake’s mission religiously (and was giddy with excitement when I met him only a couple of days after he returned to the UK) you can imagine how excited I was to unwrap this book. It’s a chunky square book full of beautiful photographs taken by Tim during his time on the international space station. The cover is a shiny hardback (which I think looks a little bit cheap or unofficial) but when you open the pages, it’s full of stunning photos alongside Tim’s own words about the images and locations. I’d actually recommended this book to mum as a suitable present for my husband, but it was actually him who bought it for me. Good thing we didn’t all buy it for each other!book review 2016 2017 books tim peake amy schumer caitlin moran gretchen rubin-7

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Vintage party ideas & inspiration from Glemham Hall

Whether you’re planning a wedding or like the idea of having a fancy birthday party, I think that a vintage theme is perfect for summer events. When I visited the Glemham Hall vintage wedding fair I was struck by how many of the decorating ideas would work perfectly well for a garden party or a wedding anniversary. Even an afternoon tea with friends could be elevated to a special gathering with just a few vintage-inspired touches. Today I’m sharing some of the photos I took at the event and I hope it’ll help provide a little inspiration when you come to plan your own wedding, baby shower or anniversary party. vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-5vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-16vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-19Adopting a vintage theme can also be a thrifty way to throw a party, as none of the elements needs to match – in fact, the more mismatched your china is, the better! Cobbling together some old jars and tins out of the attic, filling them with pretty blooms and hanging a length of floral bunting is more than enough decoration to hint at a bygone party theme.

In terms of entertainment, I love the idea of using an old record player to provide the background music while you enjoy the party. A cracking record of old songs is a charming soundtrack to a vintage party and you can still buy vinyl records at very low prices in charity shops or at car boot sales. Finding a record player might be more tricky, but ask around your friends and family to see if someone has one stashed away that you could borrow for the day. Failing that, it is possible to hire vintage record players, and even ancient gramophones!

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The 2016 Latitude line up & my unseen photos from last year’s festival

The excitement is beginning to build and I’m hearing more and more mentions of the festival on social media. It can only mean one thing; it’s almost time for Latitude festival. Yes we’re only a few weeks away from East Anglia’s biggest music, arts and comedy festival and I can’t wait to go. It’s the highlight of my summer and kick-starts the holidays for me. The festival runs from 14th-17th July this year and I’ve been following the line-up announcements with anticipation all year. I blogged about the dance line up as soon as I heard about it, because my lindy hop heroes Swing Patrol are going to be performing this summer. I. Can’t. Wait.latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-13

The headline acts were announced earlier this year and includes The Maccabees and Beirut getting the party started on the Friday night, The National and Chvrches on Saturday, and M83, The Lumineers and New Order rounding off the festival on Sunday. If the star-studded line-up wasn’t enough, there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds) more acts to enjoy on numerous stages throughout the festival. Check out the full line up to find out which of your favourite performers will taking to the Obelisk Arena, the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, the Sunrise Arena, the Lake Stage, the Alcove Stage, Comedy Tent, Literature Tent, Theatre, Film & Music Arena, Waterfront dance stage, Poetry tent, Cabaret venue, the Faraway Forest, the Woods and SO many more!latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-8 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-15

Now, you may have realised from my 2015 round-up of Latitude Festival that one of the main reasons I go to the festival is to see the comedy. Where else in the world can you see 50 internationally renowned comedians all in one place? I’m perfectly happy to plonk myself down in the Comedy Arena and not move for 8 hours! The only thing that will tempt me out of the comedy tent is if Nick Helm is performing in the Poetry arena. Or I might consider moving if a group of 5 comedians are putting on an improve show in the Literature marquee. Other than that, I tend to stay put until the last comedian has performed, then I go skipping off (with cheeks that ache from smiling so much) to enjoy the music for the rest of the evening. latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-9 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-12 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-10

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Enjoying football during Euro 2016

With the England game about to kick off in the Euros this afternoon (and almost everyone I know bunking off work to watch it!) I knew I couldn’t let today pass me by without at least a mention of the big game. I think this year’s tournament has been the most anticipated and most exciting that I can remember – like Euro’96, only better! And the other good news of the day is that I’ve got a fabulous giveaway from the lovely folk at www.mywraps.com so read on to find out how you can WIN your own set of unique headphones to stealthily enjoy the Euros this summer..!headphones my wraps competitionWe’re enjoying the Euros so much that we’ve actually got a wall-chart up at home – and that’s something I’ve not done since I was a teenager. It’s fun to fill in the results and keep track of who is going through to the next round, and who has been knocked out. While I’m not that into football for the rest of the year, it feels right to get a little bit excited about our British teams. Even so, during some of the less-exciting games. I’d still rather be baking – so be sure to check out my ‘Come on England!’ strawberry cheesecake recipe to enjoy during the big games!

Don’t get me wrong, I do follow football. I’ve even taken part in fantasy football leagues in the past (a total fluke that I ended up in the top half of the league – I don’t think I substituted any players all season!), but I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic. Apart from my annual visit to the ITFC terraces to cheer on my local team, I can often go from one month to the next without keeping track of any scores. For my husband, however, things are different.

england football team image source – thefa.com

He’s the type of man that knows who scored a goal in the 92nd minute in an Arsenal v Wolverhampton game in 2002, even though he supports neither team. Of course, I would never know if that game even took place, so that’s just a vague example that I made up. But nonetheless, that’s the type of info he would just know about football, so you can see how keen he is on the sport. And you can imagine how sulky he is to be working today and missing the game. What he needs today is a pair of headphones and 90 minutes of staring at a laptop screen. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen, poor fella.my wraps headphones giveawayI, however, DO get the watch the game. If I get all my work done this morning, I can take this afternoon for myself and pop on the telly. But for all you folk who can’t get away from your computer screens during Euro 2016, I highly recommend getting yourself a pair of MyWraps headphones and plugging them in to enjoy all the action throughout the tournament from your desk. Just check with your boss first, haha! And the good news is that you can enjoy a 10% discount at MyWraps.com with the voucher code “KickEuro10”, and enter my giveaway to try to win a set below.

image source Getty Images from thefa.com

From the photos I’m sharing today I think you can see why MyWraps headphones are so cool; they double-up as wrist wrap. This means you’ve always got them to hand (excuse the pun) and they won’t be tangled up in the bottom of your handbag when you need them. They’re available in loads of different colours and styles, and look much more like a bracelet than a pair of earphones! I’ve got a pair myself and today I’m giving away a couple more pairs for my wonderful blog readers.my wraps headphonesThe fabulous folk over at MyWraps.com have offered Cassiefairy.com readers the chance to win a pair of Wraps Classics wearable wristband headphones so that you can enjoy all the action from the Euros. There are two prizes up for grabs, so that means two winners too. And don’t forget that you can get 10% off at MyWraps.com during the Euros with the discount code “KickEuro10”. There are plenty of ways to gain entries via the rafflecopter form below so enter today and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Competition runs from 16th June 2016 – 26th June 2016. Good luck everyone!


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Best wedding & party songs of all-time

Weddings and parties are wonderful occasions. If you talk to practically anyone about their favourite experiences the chances are, somebody’s wedding day or anniversary party will be on that list. I’ve been to a couple of weddings already this year and the best part was dancing the night away with my friends. And I cannot wait for all upcoming festive parties and New Years celebrations… bring it on!dacne with me

“Dance with me” DIY dance floor idea

Good weddings are magical occasions when everyone can relax and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a chance to re-connect with everyone, celebrate a marvellous event, create new memories, dress up, do something special and have a lot of fun. An important element of any wedding is the dancing.

There really is nothing quite like a buzzing dance floor full of family and friends having a great time. Unsurprisingly some records get everyone up dancing and enjoying themselves, whilst others do not really work for a wedding. The popular songs are the ones that you hear being played at every party you go to, and the ones that you’d be disappointed not to hear, like “Walking on Sunshine” or Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration”.

The list is long but here are the best of them, my floor-filling favourites:

water drinks station for wedding or party

I love this rehydration station idea!

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Latitude Festival 2015

Latitude. What a festival. What a wonderful weekend. It was magical, hilarious, nostalgic and happy. And that’s just my experience of the event. I’d love to tell you all about it today and share some of my photos so that you can get an idea of the fun weekend we enjoyed at Suffolk’s biggest arts and music festival.Latitude festival photos 2015-12 Latitude festival photos 2015-10 Latitude festival photos 2015 Latitude festival photos 2015-2I’m pretty sure that no two experiences of Latitude would be the same; for some it may be one mad-dash from crowded arena to packed tent, watching the UK’s hottest bands and newest stars; for other’s it might have been a chilled out weekend of lake swimming, saunas in the woods and art installations; for me it was a complete mix of crazy-busy music performances, laugh-out-loud comedy and chilling out in dappled shade. You can tell it’s a family festival by the sheer volume of activities and entertainment provided for children and teenagers; I’d love to share my festival experience with you and here’s what we got up to…

 

The mornings at the festival were the most calm and relaxed times of the day for me. There were fewer people on the site – it gradually became busier during the day as day guests arrived and campers awoke – and the performances taking place on the smaller stages were generally acoustic and very chilled out. I certainly noticed an increase in volume after midday as the bigger stages plugged in their speakers! In the mornings the calming sound installations, such as the bandstand adorned with recycled can pieces and giant wind chimes in the woods, tinkled and clunked in the breeze.

 

As the day warmed up and festival-goers descended into the arena the tents and stages became noticeably busier but, no matter what performance you were hoping to see, it was likely that there would be room for you to view the act. Of course, in some of the tents, such as the popular BBC Radio 6 Music stage, it seemed like standing-room-only for many of the bands but there was always space to make your way into the crowd.IMG_1741Latitude festival photos 2015-24 Latitude festival photos 2015-21 Latitude festival photos 2015-11 Latitude festival photos 2015-8 Latitude festival photos 2015-25 Latitude festival photos 2015-3The highlight of Latitude for me is always the comedy. With more than 40 acts over three days there was always a performance to watch and you could easily lose track of time as one comedian handed over to the next in a continuous schedule of laughs. I had some ‘must-see’ acts circled on my festival timetable including Latitude veteran Marcus Brigstocke and headliner Jason Manford, along with my newest comedy heroes Sara Pascoe and Joe Lycett, whose clever camel improvisation & Tinder jokes had me screaming with laughter.P1060211 IMG_1887 IMG_1911P1060287In amongst these superstars I discovered lots of new comedy acts that I probably wouldn’t have seen elsewhere including a late-night improv show in the literary arena featuring Thom Tuck and Deborah Frances-White that culminated in Lycett snogging Brigstocke on stage. That’s the great thing about Latitude festival, you get to experience performances – comedy, music, theatre and film – that you might never have found otherwise. My evenings since the festival have been spent looking up future performances of the new acts I discovered and my calendar for the rest of the year is already filling up with comedy club visits and tour dates.

This type of festival is full of surprises – not least the unbilled Ed Sheeran popping up on various stages over the course of the weekend – and I love finding myself in the right place at the right time and experiencing something amazing. While deliberating what to eat on Saturday, for example, I heard a commotion in the Poetry tent. We nipped into the rapidly filling-up tent to find a fantastic beatboxing session starting up. I couldn’t believe my ears as entire music tracks – drums, instruments and lyrics – were performed by one person! The BAC Beatbox Academy joined together to create a wall of sound with their voices, recreating a number of  famous tracks, and the performance culminated in a beatbox battle with members of the group showing off their skills against each other. Simply astonishing and I’m so pleased that I was passing the poetry tent at exactly the right moment.

A video posted by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy) on


IMG_1879 Latitude festival photos 2015-32 Latitude festival photos 2015-33 Latitude festival photos 2015-34 Latitude festival photos 2015-37 Latitude festival photos 2015-66 My absolute highlight of the whole festival also took place in the poetry tent. Nick Helm. Need I say any more? I’d spotted a sneaky performance by this talented guy hidden away in the schedule. I actually ran across the festival site when I heard his gravelly voice yelling ‘Do you like jokes?’ over and over at the audience. I wanted to be shouted at too. Not content with standing at the doorway for the performance I slipped inside the tent and found myself sitting at the very front feeling rather nervous (as I know what Helm can do to his audience) but excited to see this rockstar hero in action.

I don’t want to go on and on about how amazing the guy is because I’m sure Helm would hate the kind of review that I would usually write for this absolute legend but watching him belt out songs, yell poetry and hurl punchlines at the audience in his angry growl was the best moment of the festival for me. I never realised I was such a fan-girl; I wonder if anyone else was affected in the same way by Nick’s performance? I didn’t want it to end and, luckily for me, the next act due to perform in the poetry tent had cancelled so a series of artists took to the stage to perform poems for the waiting crowd including another swoon-inducing poetry performance by Helm.

IMG_1742P1060205 P1060240 P1060264 P1060289Now, on to the music. Honestly, it’s a great festival if you’re really into new bands but not knowing half of the names on the line-up really did make me feel my age. Thankfully, there was a decent amount of ‘my kind’ of music too including The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and Noel Gallagher closing the festival at sunset on Sunday. A lot of acts that I wouldn’t mind seeing, such as Years and Years and Seasick Steve clashed with the comedy acts I came to see, and let’s face it, I was still recovering from my Helm experience to take too much notice of anything else on Sunday. Still, swaying the night away to ‘Don’t look back in anger’ while propping up the arena bar was a pretty good way to end the weekend and we made our way through the illuminated woods to admire the finished installations that artists had been working on throughout the festival.

 

 

There’s plenty more festival highlights that I haven’t mentioned so here’s a quick list of must-do experiences: free gondola rides across the lake and this year lake swimming was introduced; the helter-skelter in the kids arena isn’t just for the little ones and looks great lit up like a beacon at night; a 3D animated light show takes place on the lake each evening; caravans, sheds, tents and wooded clearings play host to non-stop theatre performances, story-telling and films; and – my favourite thing – there’s a huge amount of food available and from the gourmet pies to the naughty burgers it was all delicious. IMG_1986 P1060324 P1060303 IMG_1954My sunny weekend at Latitude Festival has really stuck in my mind; I’ve been day-dreaming of comedy performances all week, wondering whether beatboxing could be a new career for me and washing the dust off my toes. Loved it. Want more. Will be back.


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Don’t laugh, but I love this song..!

I think it’s quite a difficult thing to talk about the music you love in public. It shows your taste (or lack of!) like nothing else and is something that divides people the world over. I hate that dreaded question ‘what music are you in to?’ that I heard so many times at university. The only acceptable answer is ‘all kinds’, which I found out after one-too-many winces at my answer of ‘cheesy pop’. There’s pressure to say something cool and retro or to be into something so new that no one has even heard of it yet. I might just start making up bands so that I look cooler – “Did you hear the new Percy and the Unicorns track? It is bare sick” etc. Actually that does sound like a band I would enjoy but hey, they don’t exist… yet. I had to come up with a playlist for our anniversary party last summer and it took me months to get the right mix of music for all our guests of different ages and tastes. It must have turned out ok because most of our friends and family were up dancing the whole night and loved the band we chose, so hopefully my taste isn’t too disgusting.

So it even though it might be cause for ridicule I wanted to share my favourite songs with you all. It doesn’t necessarily mean these are my favourite performers and that I like all their songs, it’s only these particular songs and lyrics that are important to me. They are the songs that give me goosebumps, make me cry, put a big smile on my face and make me want to sing along. I have a massive internal catalogue of my favourites, with something for every occasion – especially in the dance-your-socks-off category – but today I’m going for the songs that I simply love. Favourite bands such as Queen, The Beautiful South, Abba, Fleetwood Mac and *wince* the Spice Girls have missed out on this list because they have too many awesome songs to be able to pick just one.

My 18 month old nephew has got it right – there’s just one song that he’ll clap and dance to – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising – and that’s it. It’s HIS theme song and he’s sticking to it. Making that kind of decision is so much easier when you haven’t already got a lifetime of songs and memories in your head! Plus, I’m not sure he’s all that bothered about the lyrics at his age – he simply enjoys the tune, can clap to the beat and dance around to it without falling over so for my nephew it’s the ultimate song, albeit one of the only songs he’s ever heard outside of Cbeebies.

So here comes my shortlist… Maybe we’ll have something in common or maybe you hate all my choices but whatever anyone thinks of my top tunes, these always have been and will always be MY favourites. So make sure your volume is adjusted and have a listen to these epic songs:

Richard Hawley – Tonight the streets are ours

Mr Big – Romeo

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The Beatles – In my life (with When I’m 64 a close second – our first dance at our wedding)

Elton John – I guess that’s why they call it the blues

Don McLean – Vincent (or if I’m feeling more cheerful American Pie)

Train – 50 Ways to say goodbye

The Mamas and the Papas – Dream a little dream of me

It’s by no means a complete list – songs will no doubt get added as I discover them and maybe you could recommend something I might like? I’ve also not included the whole loooong list of songs that remind me of a time or place, which are therefore equally as important in my life but didn’t quite make the cut this time. Plus, I am really forgetful and I just can’t remember every song I love… then I’ll hear it on the radio and I’ll be shouting “I love this song!” from the rooftops and will wish I’d included it in the list. Do you have a list of favourite songs? Can you pinpoint just ONE best song? What’s your theme song? your anthem?


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Inspirations for a retro living room – more garish vintage storage!

You may remember this blog post that I wrote  when I found my first record box from the vintage vinyl fair at Southwold last year. I have never loved a record box, or any storage for that matter, “at first sight” but this time it was different. Because it was orange. And floral. And tastefully garish.

retro record case floral

vintge vinyl record box

But my obsession didn’t start and end in that record fair on that day. Once I’d bought the box home, I couldn’t help myself and trawled the internet looking for more of these pretty little cases. Unfortunately, they are pretty rare and if any do pop up for sale they are invariably too spendy for my liking and with a heavy heart I have to step away from the laptop and reaffirm to myself that I must earn more money

Don’t be too sad for me though, lovely readers, because I found a new one! In my local charity shop, can you believe it?! I couldn’t! There was a seriously swift grabbing motion in the general direction of the record case as I snapped it up and skipped home with a genuine beauty in blue. When I later peeped inside I found that it even had the old retro label from Boots and the original receipt for it tucked away at the bottom of the case. No key though, but you can’t have everything and I’m not in the habit of locking my records away.

Vintage retro record case lp box blue orange storage

I thought that was it. Until Ebay tempted me. There was an auction for a trio of mini record cases in the same OTT pattern; tiny boxes that much have been for 7 inch records and although I liked these little cuties, I couldn’t justify the hefty price-tag and the storage space gained wouldn’t have been enough to give them the space on my sideboard. So they too passed me by. But after a couple of months, ‘greenie’ popped up and set my watch-list a-fluttering. Noone else was bidding and I kept my fingers crossed until sale day, and thankfully I won the auction for the starting price – not cheap when you consider the cost of delivery, but nowhere near as pricey as some of the LP cases I’d dribbled over in the past. There’s only one downside of buying online, which is that you can’t see it and look at it from all angles. The case arrived in near-perfect condition, with exactly the colours and pattern expected, but with one tiny difference. It was half as deep at the other 2 cases. You’d never know it from looking at these three lined up (thank goodness) but it only holds half as many records. I’m sticking with my story that this is a good thing, as I can barely lift the bigger ones when they are full of heavy vinyl, and the with the slimline one, I can! 

Retro living room interior design record LP storage cases from Boots 70s 60s floral pattern green orange blue

I love my record boxes but that IS IT now, I am all collected out and there’s no more space in the living room for the collection to be added to (and you are welcome to give me a good telling off if I come home with more in the future). I can store my old LPs safely and I’m even using one of the boxes for stashing packs of candles – multi-purpose stoage at its best!


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Have you ever seen anything more retro than this? My new record case!

At a record fair that I went to recently, I was browsing the music when the record boxes caught my eye – there were a couple of wooden orange ones, that I thought would be a lovely addition to my retro living room ‘theme’. Luckily, my sister-in-law knows about my penchant for all things vintage and orange, and she pointed out a realllly old, dusty record case tucked away under one of the tables. The box was bright orange and floral. I immediately fell in love with it! And luckily, it was in such a state that the record fair owner was happy to sell it to me very cheaply (evening trying to throw in the country music records inside it!) and of course, my husband bartered him down a bit!

Although it looked pretty grotty I was confident that it would clean up nicely, so back at home we got out the nail brush and some hot soapy water and gave it a good scrub & it came up nicely – an even brighter garish orange! Luckily the inside was in perfect condition and it even has working locks and the correct key, so I’m delighted with this bargain find. I am even considering photographing and replicating the pattern for using in photo frames or even better, printing onto fabric to make matching cushions!

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