Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Nautical textiles & DIY roman blind

Do you ever buy some fabric just because you like it but have no idea what you’ll end up doing with it? I actually got this fabric from Abakhan over a year ago and at the time I thought it might be the inspiration for a kitchen makeover. But during the year, my tastes have changed and I no longer fancy a nautical theme in my kitchen. I’ve since moved on to lolly pops, bright colours and googie shapes, but whether this will still be my plan when I actually get round to decorating the kitchen is another story! However, as you’ve probably gathered from reading my bathroom blog posts, I’ve moved my coastal-desires over to the bathroom and I’ve since realised that the fabric will look equally fab in my beach-hut inspired room.

Although there’s not much call for soft furnishings in a bathroom, privacy is still essential so I decided to use the ‘Porto’ lighthouse fabric to make a blind for the window. I followed a basic blind pattern and I spent a few enjoyable hours at my sewing machine making a cute roman blind. I always thought that it would be pretty difficult to make a roman blind and if you read through tutorials online, it’s quite easy to get baffled by all the measurements and 40-step instructions, but I found out that it’s not all that difficult, and if you want to revamp your windows (or even just show off your sewing skills a bit!) have a go at following my ‘simple’ tutorial for making a lined roman blind.

You will need

  • Curtain fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Length of self-adhesive hook and sew-on loop fastener the width of the batten
  • 3 lengths of cord – each twice the length of the blind plus the width of the finished blind
  • Small plastic rings
  • Square wooden batten the width of the blind
  • 4 pieces of wooden dowelling, the width of the finished blind minus 3 inches (I used 4 garden canes) If your window is long, or you would like more folds, add extra dowelling.
  • 4 screw-in curtain wire eye loops

Step 1

Work out the size of your roman blind by measuring from the top of the window to your required finished drop, adding 2 inches to the top and add 4 inches to the bottom hem. For the width, measure the width of the window, subtract 1 inch to allow for smooth movement either side once it is fitted then add 1 inch either side for attaching the lining to the side seam. Position these measurements on your fabric so that the pattern is central – if you have a stripe or repeating pattern, make sure the lines are straight and there is an equal pattern either side. Cut out your blind fabric.

Step 2

Use the same measurements to cut your lining fabric, adding 2 inches to the height for each dowelling pocket – so for my three pockets, I added 6 inches to the length. Cut the lining fabric and mark your hems – measure up 4 inches from the bottom and mark a line across on the back of the fabric, and do the same at two inches down from the top. Divide the rest of the fabric between these lines by the number of dowels you would like to use and mark a line across on the back of the fabric at equal intervals – I wanted to include 3 dowels, so I divided my fabric into three equal sections and marked a line at each point.

Step 3

Fold along the dowelling pocket lines and press with an iron. Pin and stitch a straight line at one inch from the fold to make a pocket for the dowelling. Repeat for each of the dowelling pockets. 

 Step 4

With the right sides of your fabric and lining facing each other, match up the edges and pin down both sides of the blind. Stitch a hem down one side at one inch from the edge, sealing one end of the dowelling pockets. Insert the dowelling canes at the open edge, then stitch a one inch hem down the side of the blind. Turn right-side out. 

Step 5

Working on the reverse of the blind, turn the top edge of the blind and lining down by one inch and press with an iron, then turn down another inch and press. Pin the stitch-on loop fastener across the width of the blind, covering this top hem and stitch in place at the top and bottom of the loop fastener.

Step 6

Still working on the reverse of the blind, turn the bottom of the fabric and lining up together by 2 inches and press with an iron. Turn up another two inches and place iron-on hem webbing along the top of this hem. Follow the instructions to iron on the webbing to glue the hemming down. This keeps the hem in place while you slip-stitch the hem to the lining – making sure you don’t stitch through to the front of the blind.

Step 7

Insert the bottom dowel into the hem pocket and hand-stitch the edges together to seal the dowelling into the hem.

Step 8

Working on the reverse of the blind, stitch the plastic rings along each of the dowelling rod pocket seams in three places – 4 inches from each side and in the very centre. Tie the pieces of cord onto the bottom ring and feed up through the other rings to the top of the blind.

Step 9

Screw the curtain wire eye loops into the batten at the same intervals as the rings on the back of the blind. Apply the stick-on hook fastener to the batten and attach the batten at the top of your window recess – we used grip adhesive because there is a lintel above my window!

Step 10

Attach the blind using the hook-and-loop fastener and feed the cord through the curtain wire eye loops and out to the side. Attach a cleat to the wall where you would like to tie off the blind. Knot the cord together at the bottom and pull up your new blind to create the folds and tie off using a cleat.

DIY bathroom roman blind-1 DIY bathroom roman blind-2

And this is what my blind looks like after I enlisted hubby to install it in the bathroom.  I’m really quite happy with how it turned out and it’s nice to have the extra privacy (and I’m sure extra warmth in winter!) in the bathroom. I’ve still got more fabric left over so watch this space for more projects! Next up on my list is more storage in the bathroom and I’d love to build a towel shelf over the door. I’ve been searching online for tutorials and found a great channel on YouTube which shares easy DIY projects from start to finish. I wanted to brush up my DIY skills and this channel has some great information about power tools; The multi-tool looks ideal for a DIY novice like me!

I just need to find some more wood (hopefully free or found in a skip, like the shuttering we used for the bathroom floor and storage wall) and I’ll be able to start on my next project for the bathroom makeover! I’ll post more updates next week because we’re sure to be doing more DIY in the bathroom over the weekend and I’ll take some photos to share with you. In the meantime, have a fab weekend :)

 

 

Photos of the Suffolk Coast - beach huts at Southwold


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside: beach inspiration for the whole house

Earlier this week I wrote about my ideas for a creating coastal bathroom and shared my moodboard of nautical and Scandinavian influences. Today I’m taking inspiration from beach houses and have been pinning the best images of coastal homes on my Pinterest boards. Beach houses are famous for being bright, cheery, and breezy inside, reflecting the seaside views outside. It’s the use of natural materials, fresh colours and beach textures that really capture the essence of a coastal home so if I can combine these elements within my own bathroom design, I should be able to replicate the feeling of being in a seaside property even though I live about 3 miles away from the coast!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Natural Materials

Beach homes tend to celebrate simplicity and many of the images I found on Pinterest included furniture crafted from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, and unfinished wood. Interior designers tend to chose these textures due to the neutral tones of the raw materials and using roughly finished wood or seagrass for flooring (or even just a rug, such as in the bedroom above) can be more cost-effective. I intend to use rough sawn timber on my bathroom floor, sanded down and white-washed in order to give a beach-hut feeling underfoot.

White Walls

Rather than investing time and money on painting a room in colours that may quickly date and need repainting, I’ve found out that coastal homes often keep the walls white. This makes rooms appear larger and creates the airy feeling that beach houses are famous for. Downlighting can help create the illusion of a the bright light from a clear sky and this will reflect well off white or pale walls. I already have walls that are painted cream in the bathroom and I intend to keep them as they are for now and see what it looks like with the white-washed wood before making a decision on repainting the walls.

Out to Sea

The seemingly infinite view is a cherished characteristic of the coast and this is what I was hoping to achieve with my photowall in the bathroom. Along with artwork of seaviews, it is possible to emulate this visual effect by paying attention to the scale of chairs, tables and lamps throughout the house, drawing attention upwards and outwards rather than towards imposing furniture. Finding small chairs from retailers such as swiveluk.com, choosing simple sideboards and using short accessories such as vases and lamps will all ensure that visual attention isn’t away from outside views or your seascape artwork.

seaside design inspiration

image source 

Stonewashed

The ‘stonewashed’ effect is the ideal way to bring the beach into your home – imagine grey pebbles washed smooth by the ocean and you’ve got it! This can easily be incorporated into kitchens and living rooms with concrete and limestone, such as on tabletops, kitchen surfaces or fire surrounds. These stone textures will complement natural wood and earthy tone, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get this look in your home. I’m considering pebble-esque stone accessories for my bathroom – soap dispenser, toothbrush holder etc – and these can be picked up from places like the Factory Shop for under £5.

Along with all of these design ideas, I’ve thought about another way that you can achieve the ‘beach house’ feeling within your home – simply by opening windows and letting the fresh air flood in! Of course, if it’s too cold to open the windows now that the weather is turning, perhaps use scented candles to bring a fresh smell into your home. Let me know what you think and whether you too will be following this trend. Have you already given your home a beach house makeover? If so, I would love to see the photos and possibly get more inspiration for my own home! Please get in touch cassie@casseiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @Cassiefairy.


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… Design inspiration for a coastal bathroom makeover

Over the school summer holidays I made a start on my bathroom makeover. As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been inspired to create a Hollister-esque sea-view theme in the smallest room in the house, with the aim of making it appear bigger. So far I have pasted a large-scale coastal photograph over the entire bathroom wall (which took a lot of choosing, believe me!) and the perspective of the image lends an added depth to the room. Now my attention has turned to the rest of the bathroom, and I can’t believe I never noticed just how shabby it is!

Here are some photos of the bathroom in its current state – please ignore the tools! We’ve bee measuring up and making plans this week and I can’t wait to get stared on improving this tatty room. Okay, I’ve actually lived in worse bathrooms, and I have just been pleased to have a bathroom which is clean, isn’t mouldy (I’ve already sorted out that problem!) and the paint isn’t flaking off the walls. But now that I’ve made a start with the photowall, I want to add a little extra design flair to other parts of the room even though I’m on a super-tight budget.

I really like the built-in cupboards using rustic wood (image from House to Home) and this white wood panelling reminds me of a beach hut (image from John Lewis). I would like to combine these two ideas to clad the wall behind the toilet with white-washed wood. This will cover the exposed pipes and unsightly plastic cistern, and the depth of the false ‘wall’ will provide space for much-needed storage with internal shelves hidden behind the wooden façade. I really want to create the feeling of being inside a beach hut, looking out at the sea – so a wooden floor is a must! I’ve been pinning away on my bathroom decorating board so please check it out on Pinterest to get a good idea of the look I’m trying to achieve on a tight budget.

trend moodboard for a beach hut inspired coastal bathroom

It need not cost a lot of money to make over this small space – as long as I can get hold of some second-hand wood (maybe pallets?) and a tub of paint, I am confident that my husband’s wood-working skills and my slap-it-on-and-see decorating technique will make our bathroom much more appealing. I enjoy searching out a bargain using second-hand websites such as Exchange and Mart in order to find low-cost DIY and household items so I’m hoping to find much of what I need for the makeover there. If I keep an eye on the website, I might even be able to find a new bath panel and taps, which would be great!

I’ve created a moodboard using ‘Scandi’ and ‘Maison’ trend images from John Lewis to keep us on track with the ‘look’ for the bathroom and have included some products that have made my shopping wish list, including essentials such as the natural wood toilet seat and a porthole style bathroom light. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of luxury items to my shopping list, including new towels (love this ‘Stardust’ striped range!) and a bath tray. This item is actually what’s keeping me going with the bathroom project; the thought of relaxing in my bath with a glass of wine on my bath bridge tray and a good book is what’s urging me on to finish the makeover soon!

I will be hunting out the raw materials for the makeover ASAP and will post an update of progress soon, so stay tuned :)


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Maritime trend

With reports of an approaching heat wave, the UK is already gearing up for summer. The supermarkets are stocking up on BBQ goodies and I’ve seen plenty of garden products being pushed in stores. It’s as if we’ve all forgotten that we usually get frosty mornings, sub-zero temperatures and sometimes snowstorms at this time of year. The weather in 2014 has been surprisingly mild and despite buying loads of anti-freeze, windscreen scrapers and de-icer, I’ve not been defrosting the car each morning. Despite buying thermal tights, fluffy socks and insulated boots, I’ve not been stomping through drifts of snow. My woolly scarf, padded coat and chunky jumper has remained unworn. This winter has been weird and unseasonably mild. As a result, the we have decided to skip spring and are ready for summer right now – and it looks like the weather agrees!

Most fashion brands also agree and we’re all looking forward to the trends of the summer already. There are florals, metallic, pastels and – my favourite – maritime. This is what I’m looking at today because even though we’re ready for summer I’d like to hedge my bets and invest in new season footwear that can be worn in the colder weather with tights if needed! No sandals for me just yet – I’m sticking to deck shoes and I’m loving them! Check out these different looks:

spring summer 2014 shoe footwear nautical trends from chatham marine

Maritime trend c/o Chatham Marine Lookbook

As you can see, these cute little pumps are great for all kinds of fashion looks: on-trend and stylish for workwear, classy for special occasions and comfortable for casual looks. And of course a pair of leather or suede deck shoes are perfect for following the SS14 maritime fashion trend in a subtle way. You don’t have to wear a stripes or a full-on life jacket to get the nautical look – a pair of soft flat shoes will get the look without you needing to invest in a whole new wardrobe. Plus, as you can see above, they can be worn with a variety of looks all spring/summer long – they look equally cool with trousers, shorts, skirts or dresses. There are very few footwear choices that can achieve that kind of versatility and this ensures that you’ll get a decent amount of wear out of your deck shoes every year. Here are a few of my favourites from Chatham and (as I am quite greedy when it comes to shoes) I want them all!

spring summer 2014 shoe footwear nautical trend deck shoes from chatham

Tropez Moccasin ~ Rita White ~ Fern pumps

You can just imagine how comfortable these shoes would be when going on long summer walks and they would look equally fabulous on the beach as they would in the office. I especially love the tassel trim on the suede pumps above, plus the colours are so girly and cute, including Pantone’s colour of the year Radiant Orchid and summer colour Mykonos Blue. As deck shoes are such a design classic it’s the detail that counts – so keep an eye out for contrast stitching and embroidered stripes like those on the heel of the Rita shoes above. Although I am ‘vertically challenged’ I think I’d rather wear deck shoes (and be both comfortable and on-trend this summer) than exchange comfort for extra height from heels. What do you think of the maritime trend and this modern take on deck shoes? Will you be wearing comfy flats yourself this Summer? Let me know in the comments below :)

Get involved in a future Tuesday Shoesday blog post - Do you have a pair of shoes that you absolutely love? If you’d like to share your favourites – whether they’re your old reliable boots or your snazziest heels – please send a snap to me with a sentence about why they are your faves to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk. I’ll posting them in an article later this month and will link back to your own blog or website, so get in touch!


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The ultimate beach accessory ~ cute summer nail-art

If you’re going to be sporting a swimsuit or bikini at the beach or the swimming pool this summer, really the only accessories you’ll be wearing are your nails! Okay, people might take a look at your towel or beach-bag, and you’ll probably pop on your flip-flops on the way to the water, but in terms of “wearing” something to go with your swimwear while you’re in the pool, you can rely on your nails to ‘make a splash’ haha!

cassiefairy lifestyle blog summer swimwear panache - yr nails and opi nautical nail art

I’ve gone for a matching manicure and pedicure to compliment my pool-side attire and have used some super-cute nautical nail art transfers to complete the coastal look! Using nail-art transfers is actually easier than you might think – they are as simple to use as children’s ‘tattoo’ transfers that used to come in bubble-gum packets when I was a child! Simply choose the right size for your nail, cut out the transfer and soak it in warm water for 30-60 seconds. The transfer floats away from the backing paper and then it’s just a case of carefully applying the design to your previously polished nail and adding a generous coating of clear top-coat to seal the decal onto your nail. I love this cute anchor design and feel a bit like pop-eye! I’m definitely ready for my seaside adventures anyway!

cassiefairy lifestyle blog summer swimwear panache and opi nail art

I was lucky enough to receive this fabulous O.P.I nail kit and transfers from YRnails.com when Panache sent me the ‘Veronica’ swimsuit from their new swimwear collection. I loved the pattern and colour of this ‘Veronica’ swimsuit when I saw it online and after I tried it on I couldn’t believe the difference between this swimming costume and all my old ones – this was so comfortable even though it was a ‘shapewear’ piece, and it even had underwired cups beneath the swimsuit, so it was the perfect fit for me! I will never go back to standard-sized swimwear and I’ve already bought another tankini from the Panache range for my summer holiday and can’t wait for it to arrive! I would definitely recommend that you give proper cup-sized swimwear a try, especially if you’ve not worn it before, because it makes such a difference to the comfort and style of a piece of swimwear.