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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How to spot a future-proof house

When searching for a property, it’s important to consider the future. I’ve learnt this after viewing countless properties and each of them being just not quite right for us. Sure, plenty of the houses we’ve seen have been fine, more than fine, and would work perfectly well for us right now. But I don’t want this to be a ‘for now’ move, I want to find a home that I can grow into and stay in one place for the first time in years. After moving a whopping 11 times during our 15 years together, my husband and I want to stay put for once! We’d quite like to find a house that will work great for us right now, and still be a good investment in future years. So here’s what we’re considering when viewing properties – hope it helps:blogger writer home office inspiration

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Work proof

You know where you’re working right now, but things can certainly change in the future. You may be offered a position abroad, and would want to rent out your home while you’re working away. So is it rentable? Could it be a holiday home for a period of time? And if your role changes, or you become self-employed, is there space for you to be able to have an office and work from home? We are certainly looking for a house with an office space for me!family room home house buying inspiration ideas

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Family proof

If you can manage to get a slightly larger house than strictly necessary at this stage, it means you won’t need to move again in a hurry if your family grows in the future. It could be that you’re planning to have children in many, many years time but just having that option to fit in a growing family means that you won’t need to give up the home you love just to fit in the little ones. We’re looking at it from the point of view of having nieces and nephews to stay in the future, and living nearby to our family so that we can help out as they grow up. All of these factors should be considered as it may influence the type of house you buy and the location you choose.house buying future proof house dining room downstairs bedroom

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Retirement proof

Okay, I’m talking many, many years into the future now, but we may still be living in the house we buy when we retire. If so, that probably means we’ve been happy living in our home for all these years and wouldn’t want to move in the future. So how upsetting would it be to have to move out when mobility becomes as issue later in life? Sure you can install stairlifts for the home so that it’s still possible to go upstairs, but having the option to use a downstairs room as a bedroom can eliminate the need to move house when you’re less mobile in the future. So we’re keeping an eye out for houses with dining rooms or office spaces that could be a bedroom and, rather unusually, we think that a downstairs bathroom is a bonus!

What do you think is an important thing to consider when you’re buying a first home? Should you try to get everything you need in one house or do you think that moving again in the future is inevitable? Let me know your thoughts and house-buying tips by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.


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Interior inspiration from real homes

It’s easy to swoon over the beautiful rooms in interior design magazines, dribble over perfectly styled images by designers on Instagram, and fall in love with professional decorating projects on Pinterest. However, recreating even the most simple interior design project can be difficult to achieve in your own home; you’ll have room layout challenges to deal with, be possibly working in smaller-sized rooms and even the light in your home will be different and make that gorgeous paint colour you’ve been coveting appear too dark for your space. So I’ve been checking out ‘real homes’ this week for my interior design inspiration and here’s what I’ve come up with…

loft-islay-installA bright and spacious loft-style room

This stunning work space has inspired me this week. This room resembles a loft-style gallery, with the white walls and clean lines, but it is actually an art supplies shop. Even through the room is relatively small, it feels much larger and that’s down to three factors; firstly, the bright white walls bounces light around the space; secondly, keeping furniture to a minimum maximises the floor space; and finally, laying the flooring on the diagonal gives the impression of a wider space. I’d love to recreate this look for an office or studio room as I love how much light comes into this small space and having lots of storage where ‘everything has its place’ keeps the room uncluttered and clean. This lack of mess and distractions, combined with the gorgeous artwork on the walls, makes this a work room where ideas can flow and inspiration can strike!Castello-Beach-Home

Continue reading “Interior inspiration from real homes” »


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How does your garden grow? My little vintage caravan

Last month I told you all about my plans for creating a gorgeous garden over the summer and so far we’ve managed to save a bit of money by thrifting a fence and doing a lot of digging to even out the undulating lawn. After finishing the construction of our new fence we could really see what kind of space we were working with so hubby and I decided to draw up some rough plans for the garden. I’m sure the design will change as we go along and will be mostly based on what we can afford to spend on the garden at the time. For now, there’s one thing that’s clear – we want to move my little vintage caravan into a new location at the bottom of the garden.

planning a new garden

It will be central to the lawn and should be easier for me to access with a path or stepping stones along the side of the grass – no more trekking over muddy ground to get into my caravan workshop anymore woo! Previously the caravan had just been sitting on the grass with a couple of paving slabs underneath the supporting legs. This ended up looking quite messy when the grass and weeds grew beneath the caravan because I couldn’t get underneath it with a mower nor could we move the caravan without help. So before we moved the caravan into the new location, we decided to lay down a base of weed-proof sheeting covered with wood chippings to keep down the grass and weeds, and we put the paving slabs in the corners to support the legs of the caravan.

After preparing the base, we got help from our family to move the caravan down the garden and into position alongside the new fence. It took quite bit of shoving, because the caravan had actually sunk into the ground in its original position and needed digging out a bit before we could get it rolling down the garden. We weren’t moving it far but we needed to be careful when manoeuvring it into position – we didn’t want to damage the fence we’d just put up or the fruit trees we’d planted!

We made sure the caravan was level but when we stepped back it looked completely wonky because there was a slope on the ground from left to right. This might be something to level out in the future (with a lot more digging!) but I don’t mind leaving it as it is for now. Eventually there will be a little patio outside the front of the caravan and the ground will have to be levelled out for this, so in the meantime I’m just going to grow a couple of pots of lavender at the front and hope that no one notices!


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Workshop number 2

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few weeks you won’t have been able to miss the fact that I’m currently renovating an old caravan. I’m painstakingly replacing window trims and waterproofing skylights, decorating inside-and-out and looking for storage solutions so that I can use my caravan as a workshop. Yes, very soon I’ll be able to sit in my caravan to do all my sewing projects and to write my blog  and I can’t wait!

The only problem is that hubby has seen the transformation of caravan-to-office and he likes it. In fact, I think he’s getting a little jealous that I have a space of my own while he has no man-cave to speak of.  Okay, he’s got the shed where he shoves all his tools and junk and quickly closes the door before it all falls out again. But he’s got no workspace, and for an artist, that’s pretty bad new. And not just for him; it’s bad news for me too, as paper and brushes and materials are strewn about the living room whenever he wants to make a piece of work. So really, he needs a workspace and that’s where our story starts…

Not content with the ample size of a caravan, hubby wants a serious workshop. It’s going to take up half the garden, or so he says, and it will be insulated, with a proper roof and heating. It will basically be another room in the garden, but with the title ‘man cave’. While he insists that my caravan looks cute and retro, apparently another caravan in the garden will look ‘messy’ and simply would not do. No, he wants double glazing, VELUX® windows and a sturdy door. Possibly even a door mat. This really is going to be a second home, isn’t it?

moodboard for art studio building including VELUX windows office

So before we’ve even finished work on my caravan, I’ve started gathering inspiration from all over the Internet – you know me, I love a mood board! So here are a few of the ideas (above) that I’ve come up with for hubby’s workshop-to-be and you can find the photo sources directly on our shared ‘man cave’ board on Pinterest. I’ve used images in cooperation with VELUX online after browsing their range of windows to get ideas for hubby’s workshop. Despite his ‘technical’ drawings of the building, and even an artist’s impression that he showed me yesterday, I still think might be a long time before he actually gets round to building it… And do we really want to be starting another project right now? at this time of year? when it’s cold outside?? I’m thinking no, but hubby is thinking go, go, GO!

So what do you think of our ideas? Do you think a bit of man space is essential? I know I’m loving having my girly world in my caravan, so perhaps he needs his own space as much as I do? Well see how this project goes and of course I will keep you updated!

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My little vintage caravan project ~ A fresh start with a new look

If you’ve not already read about my new caravan workshop project, please have a read of how I came across my little caravan (and all about clearing it out in preparation for painting) the links are below. I like the shape of my caravan – I think it’s small and round and cute, but I don’t really care for the colour. It’s white on the sides, cream above and below and orange at the ends. In fact, the orange was the only bit that I liked – but unfortunately it was mostly rubbed off and worn away. When I cleaned my caravan for the first time, quite a lot of the orange disappeared and I was left with a mottled mess (you can actually see the aluminium coming through on the orange section in the photo below!). So that was my decision made for me. It had to go.

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite

Seeing as I’m not planning a retro restoration, I decided that now would be the time to start afresh and choose a new colour. As I was cleaning the caravan I also removed a lot of green gunge from the surfaces and in the end, the cream sections didn’t look too bad, so I decided to keep these cream (and the little cream ‘eyelids’ over the windows were cute too!) and choose a colour that would look nice with this base. I used exterior paint suitable for metal and I chose a colour to be mixed up to make sure that I got exactly the cheerful, sunny-sky blue that I wanted for my little caravan. I only needed about half of a 5 litre pot, and I rollered it onto the surface. I’m sure that some people would criticise me for painting it this way, but it’s not going to be travelling anywhere and it looks great. If it wears off at all in the future, I’ve got another half of a tub of paint to re-paint it with anyway! 

cassiefairys vintage caravan project painting exterior baby sky blue

The paint took about a day to full dry with two coats and it looks like a brand new caravan now. The cream and blue works well together and it’s starting to look like the vintage caravan on my dreams. I’m still taking inspiration from other retro caravans so here’s another caravan inspiration from Pinterest which was one of the very first caravan photos that I pinned to my Caravan Love board – love the pink fairy lights!

pink vintage camper from cassiefairys pinterest caravan love board

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A massive new project for Cassiefairy ~ my vintage caravan

First and foremost, I’d like to welcome all the lovely new visitors from Creative Crafting’s blog tour – I have been waiting for this day for a while now and I’m so pleased to be able to welcome you to my blog. While you’re here please have a good look around my categories – there are plenty of craft, sewing and DIY projects in my archives, plus articles on fashion, shoes (on Tuesday Shoesday!) and current trends. I’ve recently been blogging about fun summer ideas (such as Gardenbury festival) and party ideas, plus I share thrifty recipes weekly – every Pieday Friday! But without further ado, I’d like to tell you about my new project – I’ve bought myself a caravan!

It’s not the prettiest caravan at the moment and it’s certainly ‘vintage’ as you can probably tell from it’s shabby exterior and tatty interior, but I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I was looking for a ‘garden building’ to use as my workshop/office ever since I moved into my 1-bed bungalow – I needed space for my tutu business and somewhere to keep all my sewing stuff, so I saw the potential in this little caravan. It’s perfectly mobile so I snapped it up for a very low price (you know I’m loathe to spend my hard-earned money, so you can imagine what a bargain it must have been!), had it delivered (included in the price) to my home and parked it up in the back garden. Here are some photos of its current condition, inside and out:

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite

I was in two minds about how to fix it up. When I first saw the caravan I considered carrying out a ‘renovation’, restoring it to it’s original state. I really do love this kind of retro style, especially garish patterns and orange fabrics (as you have probably seen in my living room makeover series!) so it was in my mind to restore the caravan to its former glory and keep it as it was. But when I got inside it, I realised that it had got pretty damp at some point in the past and most of  internal units and cupboards were crumbling and would have to be removed and replaced, the floor lino was torn and the seat cushions were also pretty-much shredded. So I had a rethink and realised that, seeing as I would need to replace all of the internal fittings and repaint the outside of the caravan, I might as well change the design of the caravan completely and go for something that I really liked for myself – it was going to become my studio after all!

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite interior

So, this is the start of my journey of converting my crusty little caravan into a beautiful sewing workshop to be proud of, and I’ll be sharing the ideas, DIY projects, sewing tutorials and progress over the coming weeks. I hope you’ll stop back to see how the caravan project develops! Please let me know if you have created your own home workshop or have converted an old caravan and I’d love to see your photos or feature you on the blog as part of this series – please email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @CassiefairyTutu. I’d love to hear from you!

And to all the lovely Creative Crafters; I hope you enjoy what you see here and add me to your favourites list or Bloglovin’ reader and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you feel inspired to join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge (in honour of ‘wedding season’ this month’s theme is vintage wedding dresses!) and share your very own craft projects at the end of the month! Please click here to see what we made last month and how to join in!

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