Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Leave a comment

My upcycled picture frame breakfast tray project is in Reloved Magazine!

I’m delighted to share with you some pics of my latest project in Reloved magazine. This month I made a breakfast-in-bed tray as a romantic treat for Valentine’s Day. What do you think??I upcycled an old picture frame and turned it into a breakfast tray by removing the glass, and decoupaging old book pages (a falling-apart copy of Jane Eyre and a Marilyn Monroe biography, if you’re interested!) onto the back-board. It’s a similar effect to the book-page feature wall I created in my bedroom – if you missed that blog post you can check it out here.I added a couple of decorative handles (taken off some old drawers that used to be in my mum’s kitchen!) and gave the whole tray a protective coat of sealing varnish.

The full step-by-step guide to making the picture frame tray for yourself can be found in Issue 39 of Reloved magazine, and if you’re quick you can still pick it up in the shops this week. The next issue comes out on 23rd Feb, so you’ve not got long to grab a copy!Here’s some photos of the magazine itself – I’m always SO thrilled to be featured in print and see my projects shared with so many thrifty readers. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing my name on the page as ‘the designer’ – eeee!

My one-cup teapot set is from The Caravan Trail – lovely bright colours for Spring!

The next of Reloved (Issue 40) is out this week and contains lots of lovely Spring and Easter-themed upcycling projects so be sure to check that out too!


4 Comments

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!” »


Leave a comment

Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo

I can’t believe that it’s been a whole week since this book launched and I’m only now telling you about it. I’ve had my eyes on it for weeks and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. Teaser tweets and Instagram posts by Max have got my excitement for this book bubbling up to a dangerous level. Combine that with my already OTT love of thriftiness and DIYing, and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands. So you can imagine how quickly I tore open the packaging of my book delivery last weekend.gumtreebus-max-mcmurdoThankfully, it book itself didn’t disappoint. I knew it would full of Max’s trademark industrial projects and thrifty flips, but I didn’t realise just how comprehensive it would be. This isn’t just a ‘look at this pretty room’ design book. Oh no. It’s full of practical advice and step-by-step, photo-by-photo tutorials. It’s so detailed that even I feel confident about removing a drum from an old washing machine and turning it into an illuminated side table.max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review-2With techniques for measuring and cutting, drilling and sanding, wiring and finishing, Max teaches you all the DIY skills you need to know in order to complete the projects in the book. If you want to know what a nylock nut is, Max’ll tell you. I thought I was alright at a bit of DIY. Good, even. But it turns out that there’s so much more I can learn. Thank goodness I’ve got this book to teach me the tricks of the trade. They don’t call me thrifty for nothin’ and if I’m going to upcycle, I’m darn well going to learn how to do it properly (and safely!).

Just before the book launched last week I had the opportunity to ask the author some probing questions so that I could share his answers with you today:max-mcmurdo-upcycling-diy-book-review Continue reading “Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo” »


Leave a comment

Guest post: Stupid-simple DIY Home Décor Tricks

Do you want to give a note of freshness to your home but you don’t have the necessary budget? Don’t worry! With a bit of creativity, some skills, and a bit of guidance you can make some amazing DIY projects that will completely change your home’s interior. And, let’s face it: DIY projects are so much more fun than buying stuff from the store! Even scientists remarked that we love more the things we build with the sweat of our brow. Today we are going to offer several simple tricks that are borderline genius if you think about it. And the best part is that, at the end of each project, you’ll have a more beautiful home without spending a fortune on decorating.cabinet door tray finished

Tutorial for turning a cabinet door into a serving tray can be found on the Home Road blog

Repurpose old things

Remember those things that you were going to throw out but didn’t get the chance yet? You may want to reconsider some of them. Here are a few ideas that could help with the general décor:

  • An old cabinet door can be repurposed as a tray (see above) to serve your friends with delicious goodies when they come over. All you need is a bit of paint and two gorgeous looking handles that you can find in any store. At the end of the day, you’ll have an original tray that looks amazing on the coffee table.
  • An old jumper you love but can’t wear anymore because it ‘felted’ in the wash can still be close to you as coasters. All you have to do is find a glass with a wide mouth and a pencil to draw the circle. Simply cut and saw at the edge and voila! You’ve got a set of original coasters that look amazing around the house.
  • Got a piece of rope lying around and don’t know what to do with it? Well, you can use it as a support for a bathroom mirror or a big painting. The rope looks amazing on a colored wall and highlights the object that it is supporting.gallery-wall-home dont cramp my stule bloh

Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style blog shows us how to create a gallery wall in a rented apartment

Continue reading “Guest post: Stupid-simple DIY Home Décor Tricks” »


Leave a comment

A quick kitchen DIY for National Upcycling Day

Tomorrow is one of the most exciting dates in any thrifty blogger’s calendar – 24th June is National Upcycling Day. If you have any plans to do up a piece of furniture or have been pinning sewing ideas on Pinterest for months, tomorrow is the day to start that task! I’ve always got a handful of DIY projects on the go at any one time so it’s a great excuse for me to crack on with them. Plus, if you get started tomorrow, you’ve got the whole weekend to really get stuck into the project and get it finished. Today I’ve created a really simple step-by-step to give your kitchen utensils an easy makeover and I’ve shared how to create your own compact spray-painting ‘studio’. Read on to see what I did…

I love the way that upcycling can help me save money by simply putting in a bit of time and effort to make something old and unwanted into something I can use and love. I’ve renovated an old display cabinet to use in my little vintage caravan, I turned a chest of drawers into a desk, stitched placemats into cushions and even made my own wallpaper from old books. Yes, my blog is full of DIYs and thrifty upcycling projects so I hope you’ll browse around my DIY Interiors category and get some inspiration for money-saving decorating.national upcycling day diy project makeover renovation step by step tutorial upcycle recycle thrifty thrift craft-10 national upcycling day diy project makeover renovation step by step tutorial upcycle recycle thrifty thrift craft-11For National Upcycling Day I’m sharing possibly the fastest and easiest DIY I’ve ever done. For a while now I’ve been pinning photos of kitchen utensils which have been dipped in paint to give them a splash of colour on the handles. I’ve taken inspiration from these projects and have spray painted the handles of my existing wooden spoon collection. There’s probably little need for step-by-step for this thrifty project but here’s what I did just in case you’d like to recreate these colourful utensils at home.national upcycling day diy project makeover renovation step by step tutorial upcycle recycle thrifty thrift craft-9 national upcycling day diy project makeover renovation step by step tutorial upcycle recycle thrifty thrift craft-2 Continue reading “A quick kitchen DIY for National Upcycling Day” »


2 Comments

DIY makeover for mid-century modern teak furniture

Today I’m sharing a tip on making your own scratch-remover using just a couple of household ingredients. If you’re a fan of the mid-century modern style like me but are on a tight budget (also like me!) this ‘polish’ will help bring most teak surfaces back to a soft shine and disguise scratches. Give it a try on your existing retro homewares and see what you think, because if it works for you then you’ll be able to buy battered old teak furniture safe in the knowledge that you will be able to renovate it for a fraction of the cost of getting it professionally repaired. DIY how to repair teak furniture with household ingredients-5I can’t emphasise enough just how much I love mid-century teak furniture. I am literally surrounded by it in my home and the only thing that stops me from buying more is that I have no more room for it. Our living room has a gorgeous teak sideboard that is just the right length for the space and is the perfect location for our old Dansette record player. We have G-Plan book shelves all around the house and we’ve just bought a pair of matching teak desks for our new office space (still very much a work in progress but at least we already have the desks, even if we don’t have a roof yet!). Teak mirrors, drawers and shelves have popped up all around the house and even our fruit-bowl is turned wood. So you can understand why I needed to find a cheap and easy way to clean and maintain my furniture. By the way, if you’d like to check out more of my mid-century modern blog posts – here’s the link. Here are my ‘before’ photos of the chest of drawers:

Continue reading “DIY makeover for mid-century modern teak furniture” »


2 Comments

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ building the beach hut

After installing a massive photowall in the bathroom last month, I’ve had an urge to ‘makeover’ the room, taking inspiration from costal homes. I’ve shared my moodboard so that you can get an idea of how I’d like the bathroom to turn out and have been pinning like crazy to my bathroom ideas board on Pinterest. One of the common design elements of these inspirational images has been wood and I love the idea of turning my bathroom into the interior of a beach hut.

As you can see, the floor needed to be updated and the cheap vinyl tiles that have been gracing the bathroom floor since the house was built had to go. So after visiting a few DIY stores and looking at the off-the-peg flooring options available, hubby and I decided that none of them were quite right for the bathroom. Vinyl ‘planks’ of self-adhesive tiles with wood-grain effect came in a great range of colours but looked rather plasticy and laminate flooring probably wouldn’t last very long with all the splashing that goes on in our bathroom! So a real wood floor seemed to be the only option, but boy was it expensive! So that idea went out of the window too.

Interestingly enough a house nearby had been having a new path laid and a quick peek into their skip showed us that they’d been using shuttering to make a frame for the poured concrete. Having spotted this waste wood, hubby and I quickly measured up the bathroom and realised that our tiny floor space could actually be covered using this shuttering so we asked permission to use the wood and dragged it home.

It’s a pressure-treated timber so it should be fine for our water-resistant flooring needs and the width of the planks was very similar to that of a beach hut floor. Hubby is really good with a saw and took all the measurements before working out which pieces could be slotted in where – like a giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. My job was cleaning up the wood so that it was usable, which meant scraping off all the concrete tidemarks on the wood, using a wire brush to get rid of any dust and mud, and then sanding down the wood to make it smooth enough for bare feet to walk on. Okay, this took quite a bit of time and I was very grateful to have the use of an electric sander but at least we were able to save the wood from landfill!

After using a grab adhesive to ‘glue’ the floor down, hubby planed down any raised parts of the planks (yes, I had a go at planing and I was not good at it!) and I gave it a second sanding on any rough areas using sandpaper and elbow grease. I’ve still not decided on the finish of the floor; whether to white-wash it for that true beach hut look or whether to varnish the natural wood, which is already a pale limed colour after scraping the concrete off. At the moment it’ll stay as it is until the rest of the woodwork is finished.

We had some wood left-over so we’ve decided to build a false wall and create some storage behind the wood cladding. As you can see from these photos my husband is a dab-hand with a screwdriver and he create this storage cabinet behind the loo in order to hide all the exposed pipes, while still giving access to the service handles and cistern. He incorporated shelves within the false wall which practically doubled the amount of storage space we have! This is accessed by two cupboard doors which hubby made using a wide plank of pressure treated wood that we had left over from our garden project this summer. Again, I was on sanding duty and I really came into my own when I was needed to hold things in place!

We went for a white-wash effect for the wall, as it seemed a little imposing in the wood and the larger planks of wood were a slightly darker shade so this make the effect look more uniform. I’ve painted on three coats of the white wash and so far the wood is just soaking it up so it’s not quite the shade of white that the finished wall will be but it’s getting there. By the way, the hole a the bottom of the wall is for the cats’ litter tray so that they too can go to the bathroom in privacy! The next job is to build a small cabinet beneath the sink and get to work on painting or varnishing the floor so please come back soon to check on our progress.


2 Comments

My little vintage caravan ~ My patchwork mini desk

Last week I shared photos of my ‘new’ piece of furniture for the caravan. It was a tiny little desk unit, which I bought from the carboot sale. It had clearly been unloved for years, with peeling wood and scratches and stains all over it. I spent a lot of time sanding it down, cleaning it and spray painting – read all about the first stage of the makeover here. This week I’ve been spending a little more time on the project, adding the finishing touches and here’s how I got on…

Vintage caravan project - DIY painted cabinet furniture makeover-20

It looked like the drop-down desk had previously opened with a key, which had been lost long before I bought the cabinet, so the only way to open it was to prise it open with a screwdriver – not the most practical option for everyday use! So once the paint was completely dry, I added a ceramic knob onto the front of the desk. The colour of the roses matches the pink paint, and I love the fact that the design features a butterfly and will continue to remind me of the sleeping butterfly that came with my piece of furniture.

To finish off the project I pasted a patchwork of paper and fabric inside the unit using PVA glue. Initially I though that I would only use paper in the same way as my patchwork wall project but seeing as the desk will be in my sewing workshop, I thought it was only fitting to use scraps of fabric too!  So I’ve included lots of off cuts from other projects in there – such as my blue star curtains & my spotty cushion covers – which ties the whole space together. I pasted the cabinet itself, stuck down the fabric and paper squares and painted another layer of glue over the top to set it in place. I love the pretty, hand-crafted effect of this decoupaged patchwork and I couldn’t resist including a little square of Hello Kitty paper in the design!

DIY decoupage patchwork fabric to renovate an old desk-3

Overall I’m really pleased with how the unit has been transformed from a tired old cabinet (that may well have ended up in landfill or on a bonfire if I hadn’t bought it) into a perfectly usable mini desk for my workshop! I will get plenty of use out of it, and the size is just right for the space available in my little vintage caravan workshop.

 

 


Leave a comment

This cake stand is rubbish…

And I mean literally. I know it might seem a bit manky or downright gross, but I fished this cake stand out of a skip. Yes, I rescued this decorative plate from the bin. I pulled it right out of landfill. Okay maybe that’s going a step too far, but it had been thrown away and was found in a skip. It wasn’t broken, chipped or cracked and the only thing that I can see that might be slightly wrong with it is that the gilded edge is faded in places – but surely that just adds to the charm of a vintage cake stand?

recycled cake stand upcycled from skip

It’s had a long soak and good scrub since being hauled out of the rubbish pile, but here it is, clean as a whistle and looking pretty nice – I even like the blousey floral pattern and will happily add it to my collection of vintage crockery. What I can’t understand is why things like this are going to the tip without being offered to others first? why waste something that still serves its purpose? Even if the pattern is not to your taste, there are plenty of makeover projects for crockery that I’ve pinned on my Pinterest boards, so it’s a great thing to have, even if it’s going to be upcycled!

spring floral cake stand saved from skip

The same thing happens to me when I go to the dump with my recycling: I always see something that I’d be able to make use of in one of the massive bins but unfortunately once something has been thrown into those massive recycling containers, you’re not allowed to take it out – those are the rules. And I’m sure it’s a health and safety issue, but it seems such a waste of resources. I should also point out that you must always ask permission before taking anything out of a skip and luckily for me I’d already asked about taking bits out of this particular skip in the past ad I know that the owner was happy for me to have a rummage. Have you found anything interesting in a skip recently? Have you upcycled something that was destined for landfill? Let me know, I’d be good to know that I’m not the only one being a little bit gross when I pull some goodies out of the bin!


Leave a comment

You’re a star! (says Julien Macdonald)

Oh dear. Here we go again… In case you didn’t already know, and have stayed away from my blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles all week, I went to London Fashion Weekend 7 days ago. I may have mentioned it once or twice, I’m not sure. But this will be the last time, honest! And it’s really nothing much to do with LFW at all. It’s more about the accidental purchase I made this week as a result of going to the event.

And here it is. Can you guess why I couldn’t resist splashing out a full £5.25 in the Oxfam charity shop on this shirt? It’s not my usual kind of top, I’m not all that fond of animal print and I’ve been trying to steer away from black in general. Plus it’s a little too big for me. So why did I buy it in the first place? Because of Julien Macdonald, that’s why.

Charity shop bargain Julien Macdonald top

As you might have noticed I went to see the JM catwalk show and it really was the highlight of my week. In fact, I think I’m a little bit in love with Julien after seeing his gorgeous designs (not to mention that I know he’s a really nice fella, thanks to watching him Strictly last year). Anyway, I was going for my usual rummage around the charity shops in the nearby town when this top jumped out at me. I was actually having a rather half-hearted flick through the clothes and wasn’t really looking at anything in particular – this top was the only one that I’d picked up off the rail – and lo and behold! it was a Star by Julien Macdonald shirt. How could I resist it? I tried it on and decided that the larger-than-my-usual size gave it a funky, floaty, fashion-lecturer look, plus I assumed that it was supposed to be oversized thanks to the dipped back hem. I’m going to wear it with a blazer to give it more shape – if I ever find a suitable place or occasion to wear it.

In reality I bought it not knowing whether I’d ever wear it but just being so happy that I’d got a piece of clothing that would always remind me of the time I was invited to London Fashion Weekend. And I’m sure that Julien would be pleased that I’m recycling one of his pieces for Debenhams. Maybe one day I’ll own one of the catwalk pieces, who knows what the future will bring? But in the meantime I’m happy to know that (thanks to Julien Macdonald) I’m a star!

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close