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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My mid-century living room ~ making retro artwork

Ever since I framed up a selection Christmas quotes and hung them on my living room walls during the festive period, I’ve been thinking ahead to the new year and what I could replace these seasonal posters for the rest of the year. I’ve already made the holes in my walls, inserted the picture hooks and the frames look pretty good in formation so I’d like to keep them in place, but the dilemma came when deciding what to put into the frames. I still had retro wallpaper leftover from my feature wall, but is it really a cool thing to frame wallpaper? I also liked the pattern on my old record boxes but other than photographing them and printing out the pattern to use as a background in the frames, I couldn’t think what else I could do with it – plus, I don’t like anything to be too matchy-matchy in my home.

using sheet music covers for retro framed artwork

I’d bought a stack of sheet music from a charity shop when I was wallpapering my bedroom wall with old books and some of these had survived the pasting brush to live another day. I knew I needed to crack on with changing the artwork in the frames because I’d has two visitors last week who had commented that my Christmas posters were still up, so to spare my blushes I made a quick decision to try out the sheet music covers in the frames. I didn’t know how they would turn out, because they were all different sizes and colours – and did I really want photos of random musical singers on my walls? But I had to put something different in the frames – I didn’t want to get a reputation for being “that woman who keeps her Christmas decorations up all year” – so I popped the sheet music in the frames regardless of their size or colour. With the smaller booklets I used some craft paper to make a cardboard-browny background and this kind of tied three of the pictures together, which actually worked out well. I’ve also used one of my hubby’s drawings of a chair again (I’d previously framed it here) and a Wizard of Oz poster that my brother gave me as a gift.

Using vintage sheet music and show posters to make retro artwork

I wasn’t sure how my artist-and-curator husband would respond to my layout of the shapes or colours and I knew that he wouldn’t have any problem with telling me it was wrong (if it was) and taking it all down and shifting it around. But when he came home from work – yes I did the switch while he was out, what a coward - he was happy with the pictures and even went so far as to say that he loved it, so I breathed a sigh of relief and started to like it a little myself. That evening I framed one more old booklet, which was a hobbies and crafts magazine that I’d bought at a carboot sale in the summer for 50p, with the craft paper background and I think this one is my favourite – good thing really because it hangs on it’s own on the wall opposite the sofa so I spend most time looking that wall!

using vintage magazine to make retro artwork

I’m not 100% sure that these artworks will remain hanging in my living room indefinitely, but for now they look good and stop me looking like a forgetful Christmas-fanatic. I’ll probably keep an eye out for more vintage posters or sheet music covers in the future and maybe make some substitutions, but for now I’m happy with the sentiment of the images – especially the music titles ‘Prisoner of Love’, ‘I Love the Sunshine of Your Smile’ and ‘Kiss Me’ – you can’t get much more romantic than that, so I guess I’m ready for Valentines Day now – bring it on!

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Pieday Friday ~ Chocolate orange cupcakes

It’s Pieday Friday and here’s another yummy cupcake recipe that you can prepare in advance, ready for your Halloween parties or just for a tasty treat at any time. I love the combination of chocolate and orange – I don’t know why, but I’m really not a fan of chocolate sponge cake – I’d always choose a vanilla sponge any day! But with the orange flavour, I love it and can’t get enough of it, so hence the reason why I’m making chocolate orange cupcakes for Halloween. Well, I want to enjoy them too! I used these cute solid-side cupcake cakes that I found on Wholeport to make the cakes look even more Halloweeny and the cases are currently on special offer until 15th Oct along with all the other spooky goodies on the Wholeport craft site. The recipe for the lovely icing is below and I actually followed a Mary Berry recipe for the sponge, so you can see her recipe and method by clicking here.

 cassiefairys pieday friday recipe for chocolate orange cupcakes muffins with choccie icing and orange aero balls

Ingredients for the cake recipe: 100g softened butter, 50g cocoa powder, 90ml boiling water, 3 large eggs, 4 tbsp milk, 175g self-raising flour, 1 rounded tsp baking powder, 300g golden caster sugar, finely grated zest of 1 orange.

To make the Icing: Melt 100g of yummy milk chocolate before mixing in 150g icing sugar. Add a teaspoon or two of freshly squeezed orange juice to loosen up the mixture then add more icing sugar to make a thick paste – the thickness depends on the finish you want, so if you’re going to pipe the icing onto the cakes you will need a looser icing paste than I have used. I simply blobbed the icing on top of the cake then used a fork to make it spiky (and more scary!) for Halloween. Add a couple of Chocolate Orange Aero balls on top of the cake and enjoy!

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New interiors trend ~ Decorating your home for Autumn

When the leaves begin changing and the pumpkins start arriving in the stores it can only mean one thing: it’s time to start decorating your home for Autumn – or at least that’s the case according to Pinterest ha! It’s certainly a new trend here in the UK to start decorating your home for Autumn in much the same way you’d decorate for Christmas. In America (where they really do Halloween) is more of a regular sight to spot pumpkins on a porch or a burlap wreath on the door. And now this decorating trend has filtered over to Great Britain and pinners are going autumn-crazy! 

This season often means spending more time indoors and more family gatherings, so why not spruce up the table with a autumn inspired tablescape? And your fireplace mantelpiece is another great place to bring the season to life in your home, and you can create a beautiful tribute to Autumn with foliage and candles. These 25 blog posts (mostly US-based but equally helpful in getting the look for less!) will get you well on your way to decorating your house with seasonal decoration.:

Autumn fall decoration for front door from thistlewood farm blog

An autumnal entrance by Thistlewood farms

Make an entrance

You can easily create a welcoming front entrance by dressing it up with rustic finds and hanging a wreath on the door to bring some of those autumnal colours to eye level. With the abundance of harvest pumpkins and gourds available at both farmers markets and supermarket, you can easily add some colour and festivity to the entrance of your house. For added texture and height, complement the pumpkins with hay and corn stalks. Tuck in some fallen leaves to bring all of the colours together and you have a solid start to decorating your entrance.  For more ideas, read these five blogs:

Hang it up

You don’t want all of your Autumn decorations at ground level, so you can make (or buy) an autumn wreath to add to your door. Wreaths not only are a pretty decoration, leading seamlessly into Christmas, they can also help to capture the scents of the season when you add in cinnamon sticks, dried apples and pinecones. To learn how to make a wreaths and other hanging decorations, check out these five blog posts:

Tabletop Ideas

If you have a formal dining room table that you don’t use every day, you can dress it up for the season. A festive table runner adorned with pumpkins, foliage and candles will capture the season, allowing you to bring Autumn right into your home. These five blogs will get you started on creating a harvest-inspired tablescape:

autumn fall pumpkin decorations from confessions of a plate addict

Fabulous fireplaces

Once the nights start cooling off, you may want to gather around the fireplace with your family. The mantel ideas in these five blogs will help you decorate your fireplace. Candle sticks and lanterns can add some height to your mantelpiece arrangement and if money is tight, simply use branches from the garden tucked into a vase you already own.  Be creative and get inspired by these blog posts:

The warmth of candlelight

There’s something warm and inviting about candlelight, and you can find many scented candles that capture the very essence of Autumn to add to your decorations. Whether you are adding a decorative candle element to an existing tablescape or to the mantel, you can try some of the ideas that are covered in these five blog entries. Fill the bottom of a hurricane vase with a few inches of acorns, coffee, field corn or dried beans to create a bed for your candle to sit in. The warmth from the candle will also cause an earthy fragrance to be given off while the candle burns. No matter how you choose to use candles, there’s no doubt that it will add coziness to your home:

Thanks to all the blogs featured above for all their crafty inspiration for Autumn and massive thanks to Housekeeping.org for their help with creating this article! :)


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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!

retro 70s living room wallpaper striped orange yellow vintage


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Inspirations for a retro living-room: Wall coverings

I hope you remember that, for most of last year, I have been working on the decor of my living-room of my new home, and although its taken ages (due to limited funds and time-consuming bargain hunting!), its nearing completion. Here’s the link to my mood board if you’d like to see what kind of style I’m aiming for. So with the furniture sorted, the soft furnishings in place and even artwork chosen, I am finally sorting out the walls.

Choosing a colour or pattern for your walls is the most significant decision in interior design, as it will be the first thing that you will notice about your room, either bringing all the elements together to complete your theme,or be completely wrong and make you want to move. So, even though a lick of paint is probably easier (and certainly simpler to change if it’s not right) my retro living room needs some garish patterned wallpaper as was traditional in the 60s and 70s era that I’m trying to replicate.

retro 70s living room wallpaper pattern samples orange brown avocado green

Throughout the process I’ve chosen bright oranges and browns and now is not the time to chicken out. So I’ve looked at some old 70s photos to get an idea of the (albeit kinda garish) patterns and colours of the decade, which will influence my choice of wallpaper for my living room.

retro 70s living room wallpaper striped orange yellow vintage

retro 70s living room wallpaper circle pattern brown orange yellow

retro 70s wall paper kitchen orange floral brown

From looking at these images, I realised that I don’t want an oversize pattern and I couldn’t cope with clashing combinations of bright orange, green and yellow. Nor would I like a dark, oppressive brown or striped pattern, both of which would make my already-small living room appear even tinier. Finally, a pet peeve of mine is anything floral (soooo noughties) so nothing too ‘pretty’. So I’ve picked out a few modern wallpapers that I can get my hands on that I quite like and spent sometime comparing samples and imagining what each would look like on one, two or more of the walls in my living room.

retro leaf orange pattern wallpaper living room

retro g plan living room orange-pattern-wallpaper

And I’m pleased to say that I have made my choice – this lovely Monroe wallpaper below from Next. It’s kind of shimmery so it reflects the light and doesn’t make the room appear smaller. Most of the circles are muted, neutral shades of beige and brown, apart from the juicy orange accent colour. I also really like the Orla Kiely-esque leaves in the background of the pattern. Luckily, when I went to Next to purchase the paper, it was in the January sale and so, at only £6 each, I bought every roll on the shelf ! So my next weekend challenge is to get the room empty and start papering – and in the meantime I’ll have to decide which walls to paper!

retro monroe orange vintage floral leaf pattern wallpaper from next