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 turn your photo into a giant feature wall mural

Have you ever taken a photo and thought to yourself, ”I wish I could print this out lifesize”? That’s exactly what I thought when my husband took an amazing shot of the sea last week. Well, I suppose my thought does have something to do with the fact that I’m currently decorating my bedroom and I’d been looking for some wallpaper for the feature wall.Having failed to find any wallpaper patterns or prints that I liked enough (that wouldn’t spoil the tranquil feeling of my all-white room) I was starting to think that our feature wall might just get a coat of white paint and be left bare.But when I was flicking through my photographer husband’s snaps from our Valentine’s Day walk on the beach, I came across dozens of images that would be ideal for a feature wall. Okay, I’d used a poster to cover my small bathroom wall with a seascape photo in the past, but how on earth can I possibly print out a photo that’s 2.8 x 2.5 metres in size? Continue reading “How to turn your photo into a giant feature wall mural” »


Household DIY – How to strip woodchip wallpaper, the easy way!

Stripping wallpaper is a skill I’ve recently developed. Woodchip wallpaper in particular. It’s a difficult paper to shift and, unfortunately, it seems to be plastered all over ‘houses of a certain age’. I guess it was very fashionable at one point but nowadays it’s the number 1 thing that puts potential buyers off a house. And it’s bloomin’ hard to remove. Yes, I speak from experience here! Thankfully there are ways to make the process a little easier and here’s the steps I followed:1. Scoring the paper

Use the corner of a wallpaper scraper to score the wallpaper all over. Don’t press too hard, otherwise you’ll leave marks in the plaster. You can also use the flat edge of the wallpaper scraper to ‘skim’ over the woodchip surface. This knocks off some of the woodchip and allows more moisture to soak in.2. Soaking with wallpaper stripper

Sure you can use regular water to soak the surface of the wallpaper, but adding a splash of wallpaper stripper to your bucket ‘super-charges’ the water. I used a bottle of Everbuild wallpaper stripper and only needed 125ml in a gallon of water. That was plenty enough to soak all the walls of the living room. This means that I’ve got three quarters of the bottle left to do other rooms. Mix it into a bucket of water (following the instructions on the bottle) and use a large sponge to spread the foamy water over the wallpaper. Allow to soak in for 15 minutes – coincidentally the same length of time that it’ll take heat up your steamer.3. Steam the wallpaper

Fill the steamer with water and allow to heat up for 15 minutes. You don’t need an industrial or expensive steamer to do this job – the tool I’m using is the lowest priced steam I could find from FFX – the Earlex Steam Wallpaper Stripper. It gives me 70 minutes of steaming per fill, which is about the length of time it took to strip each wall. Hold the steamer to the wall and leave in place for about ten seconds. Move it onto the next section of the wall and hold in place while you scrap the first piece away.

4. Scrape away the woodchip layer

Use the flat edge of a stripping knife to scrape away the top layer of woodchip. You’ll get a speckled effect on the wallpaper as the bigger chunks of woodchip come off. This allows more steam to get into the wallpaper and make it easier to strip away from the wall. Give the wallpaper a second steaming before moving onto the stripping…

5. Strip off the woodchip

Push the wallpaper stripper tool beneath the wallpaper and lift it away from the wall. If you come across a stubborn piece of wallpaper, give it another blast with the steamer before scraping. I used a Stanley Hobby Stripping Knife to ease the woodchip off the wall.

From this (woodchip walls that look perfectly normal at a distance)

To this (a room that now looks like it should be on Homes Under The Hammer!)

And really, that’s all there is to it! Sort of the same as stripping normal wallpaper, but with a couple of important extra steps – the stripping solution and the scraping effect. I’ve made a quick video (shared below and on my new YouTube channel) to show you the whole process, step-by-step so that you can see exactly how we did it.

If you’ve found this helpful please ‘like’ my video or follow my new Cassiefairy channel on YouTube for more DIY projects and thrifty solutions.


My monochrome hallway makeover

This week my husband and I have been working hard to decorate our hallway. It’s one of the only spaces in the house that has remained untouched since we moved in more than three years ago, so it was looking pretty tired and desperately needed updating. You may remember that I wrote about my choice of wallpaper last week and, even though I thought it was quite a bold choice, I had a lot of positive feedback from my friends on Twitter and Instagram so I set to work.monochrome home interior design black and white decor hallway makeover dado rail rug-28monochrome home interior design black and white decor hallway makeover dado rail rug-15 monochrome home interior design black and white decor hallway makeover dado rail rug-27 Continue reading “My monochrome hallway makeover” »


National Wallpaper Week – My choice for a hallway makeover

Did you know it’s National Wallpaper Week? After seeing lots of wallpaper project blog posts and fabulous pins appearing on Pinterest all week, I’ve been inspired to undertake my own makeover in the entrance and white graham and brown wallpaper lizzies doodleThe hallway was in a pretty dire state when we first moved in to our home over three years ago, with scuffed walls and flaking paint on the woodwork. Apart from putting up a mirror and adding a door mat, we’ve not really done anything  to improve the space, and after three years of use, it’s certainly ready to be and white graham and brown wallpaper lizzies doodle inspirationI decided to keep the room simple with a monochrome colour scheme; with white walls, black and white flooring and a possible dado rail. I wanted to include a patterned wallpaper below the rail and hoped to find something a little different to ‘lift’ the monochrome look. When I searched online for samples, I couldn’t help falling in love with the sketched designs from the Graham & Brown wallpaper range at and white graham and brown wallpaper lizzies doodle decoratingI particularly liked the black-and-white London prints from the range but the paper that I finally decided to use for the makeover was the black ‘Lizzies Doodle’ design. The pattern was designed by artist Lizzie Mary Cullen and features a graphic representation of winding streets and dream-like design. It reminds me of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film, combined with Grayson Perry’s doodle style – both of which I love – so it’s the ultimate wallpaper design for me. Plus, it can be coloured in – great fun for my niece and nephew, if I decide to let them give it a colourful ‘makeover’ in the future!graham and brown wallpaper lizzies doodle-2The wallpaper has just arrived this weekend so I’ll be decorating my home with this crazy monochrome pattern over the coming week. Thankfully, it’ll be easy to hang because it’s a paste-the-wall paper, so no need for soaking or pasting tables etc. Let’s hope the makeover is as simple as I imagine… Watch this space!black and white graham and brown wallpaper lizzies doodle patternWhat do you think of my choice of wallpaper? Do you prefer a repeating pattern or geometric design? What colours would you choose for your hallway? Let me know by leaving me a comment below or tweet me @cassiefairy.


Bathroom makeover ~ My seascape photowall

I’ve been talking about doing a bathroom makeover for a while now, and I’ve been very keen to include a tromploi-esque photowall in my design, but this week I have actually gone ahead and DONE IT! Yes, I have pasted my bathroom wall with a massive fly-poster of a photo that my husband took at the seaside earlier this summer. And it looks amazing!

After a lot of help from the design team at StressFreePrint – who got the measurements and dimensions of the image exactly right so that two horizontal posters could be joined to make one massive image – I received my poster by special delivery and set to work putting it up. It was definitely a two-person job, so my husband and I got out the wallpaper paste (we used an ultra-strong solvite paste which was around £2) and decided to paste the wall first, before pasting the back of the poster. Because my image was printed on fly-poster paper, it’s intended job is for pasting up advertisements (imagine a huge billboard and you’ve got it) so it was easy to paste and when we pressed it onto the wall, the paper was easy to smooth out, didn’t wrinkle and, in fact, had less trouble with bubbles than any other wallpaper that I’ve ever used!

We decided to overlap the poster at the join and there was a worrying moment while it was wet, because the paper was slightly see-through and I could easily see the image on the poster behind, leaving a darker blue stripe across the middle of the image. Thankfully, when the paste dried, the stripe disappeared and join couldn’t be seen at all, phew! We left it a couple of days to fully dry out before varnishing the poster with a layer of clear satin yacht varnish in order to make the photowall waterproof so that it would be suitable for use in a bathroom. This step probably wouldn’t be necessary if you were using a photowall in a living room, bedroom or office, but for moisture-prone rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen, I thought this was a good precaution. Now that I’ve got finally my photowall up, I definitely want to keep it looking nice for as long as possible.

Now I am simply head-over-heels for my photowall and I can’t get enough of being in my bathroom – baths take twice as long, and I am still surprised every time I go into the bathroom that the sea-view is there! I was worried that adding an image to the wall might make the small bathroom feel even smaller, but the opposite has happened. The room feels larger now, as you eye is drawn to the pier in the distance of the photograph, which gives the impression of added depth to the room.

create a custom made photo wall in your home-7

create a custom made photo wall in your home-8


Interior design inspiration ~ photowalls

When I wrote about the interior décor of Hollister stores last week it was pretty clear that I was really inspired by the design. Ever since my visit to the Cambridge shop, I’ve been trying to work out a way that I could inject a bit of Californian holiday atmosphere into my own home and I think I’ve come up with a plan…

The design element that most impressed me was the ocean view windows above. The ‘windows’ were made from screens which projected a wrap-around view of the ocean and coastline, giving the impression that you really were shopping in a tropical hut, possibly on a pier out in the sea. I loved the immersive atmosphere this created and I want to do something similar at home. Okay, I’m not considering installing a TV wall but I AM researching the possibility of including a photowall in my bathroom design.

I’ve gathered design inspiration and have researched companies that can print large-scale posters and I’ve decided to order from StressFreePrint. They are able to take a photo and divide it into posters which can over-lap and be pasted together to create an image the size of any wall up to 8m high! So my little 1.8m x 1.4m space above the bath should be no trouble at all 😉 It’s basically like having wallpaper custom-made but without a hefty price tag.

There are different grades of paper quality available and the photos are printed with dry toner inks which are waterproof and UV stable so the image won’t run or fade – pretty good, huh? I’m still planning to varnish the wall after the posters have been hung, just to be certain that the moist bathroom environment won’t damage the image. Here are some interior spaces that have used a photo-wall effect to add a false window or to change the atmosphere of the room:

poster wall art ideas

So now all I need to do is choose an image. I want to use a photo of my favourite coastline, with beach huts and a gorgeous blue sky – but I’ll have to be there on the right day and at the right time to get the perfect weather conditions. I’d rather spend a bit of time creating an image that I’ll enjoy looking at, because it’ll be pretty hard to ignore once it’s pasted onto the bathroom wall! I’m hoping to create the illusion of looking into the distance so that the wall adds depth to the bathroom, rather than over-powering it. It’s a tough decision to make but I’ll share my chosen photos with you as soon as I send it to print!


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Dream a little dream ~ Kiss from a rose

In honour of Valentines day last week, I thought I’d share the recent addition I made to the “book wall” in my bedroom – I added a few pages with drawings of roses. Although I liked the feature wall as it already was, wallpapered with the pages of three books and some sheet music, some of the pages were much darker than the others and was making the room look a little dark. I therefore wanted to cover up some of the dark brown pages (which turned out to be the Marilyn Monroe book) so I looked through one of the other books we’d used which was a book on growing roses. I really liked the drawings of the different rose species and even though these pages were much paler than all the others I thought I would give it a ago.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages


I mixed up some wallpaper paste and started sticking the picture pages onto the wall, but half way though I had a crisis of confidence. Maybe I didn’t like the rose pictures as much as I thought? Does it look too much like wallpaper with pictures on rather than the wall of text that I’d intended it to be? I tried peeling a couple of pages back off, but the wallpaper paste was a particularly quick-drying kind and the pages didn’t want to come away from the wall easily. So I carried on and figured that I could simply add more book pages over the top if I really didn’t like the effect once it was finished. Half an hour later I stood back and took a look at the wall as a whole. And thankfully, I liked it! The paler pages really made the room look much lighter and the roses did look cute and kinda romantic.

DIY bedroom makeover with old book pages and roses

Plus this reminded me that I already had some bedding with a rose design on which we had been given as a wedding gift 10 years ago but had long-since stopped using on a regular basis. So I tried it on the bed and it worked great with the new roses on the feature wall. I’m happy with how the whole design has turned out and I guess there’s no harm in having a slightly more girly pattern on the wall!


Dream a little dream… books in the bedroom

Hopefully you’ll have already read all about my sleep challenge and how it got me thinking about making some changes to my bedroom decor. Last Sunday I wrote about my plans to wallpaper the bedroom wall using book pages and here’s how I got on with putting the plan into action: Dream a little dream bedroom makeover project - bedside lights from BHS-6

I chose to use a mixture of three books along with some sheet music, which would give me a variety of sizes, texts, images and page colours – each book was slightly more aged than the last. It started off quite formally, working around the edges of the wall to make sure I had a neat edge, and then I began overlapping the pages and positioning the colours randomly as I worked across the room. diy book pages and sheet music wallpaper to decorate bedroomI found it easy to create “organised chaos” with the different sizes of paper, but my neat-freak husband was less keen on my ‘just slap it on’ approach! He did however agree that it was starting to look pretty good by the time we’d covered half the wall and we could really see the ‘patchwork’ of pages taking shape.

DIY wallpaper for bedroom makeover using pages from old books and sheet music

The books I used were a really old, yellowed Marilyn Monroe biography, a book on growing roses (which is where the rose images came from) and a book on feminism which had faded around the edges. I picked up these books from a charity shop, so I was happy to slice out the pages and I will probably read them more now that they are on the wall than I would ever have done before! I used postcard images from The Edwardian Lady’s Diary and choir sheet music with cute titles including “Oh hush thee, my babie” and “Oh, lovely voices of the sky”. I positioned the pages that meant the most to me on ‘my side’ of the bed, such as chapter 4 in the biography because 4 is my lucky number and the sheet music titled “I love to play among the flowers”.  I really liked how the end result turned out and am much more happy to have created my own version of the expensive book-page wallpaper without having to spend a fortune – plus I’ve got something completely unique to me!

diy book pages and sheet music wallpaper to decorate walls

  1. Aches and pains can be balanced out by using a Memory Foam Mattress Topper or Memory Foam Pillows as these mould to your body so provide better orthopaedic support:
  2. Increase the amount of natural light that you are exposed to during the day, this will keep you awake and alert and make the night time difference more effective
  3. Getting comfortable in bed when pregnant can be difficult, using a bolster or a v-shaped pillow to support your bump can help women sleep more soundlyDIY bedroom makeover with old book pages


Autumn colour trend ~ blush pink

Today I wanted to share another hot colour trend with you for autumn. We are well and truly into the autumn season and it’s about time that we took influence from a new colour trends and brighten up our homes and our wardrobes with blush pink.

interior decor trend blush pink wallpaper

Blush pink interiors via Pinterest

This interior decor photo shows just how warm blush pink can look in the home and lends a lovely autumnal glow to a rustic room. It’s often the fear that including pink in a room makes it look like a child’s bedroom, but this room certainly doesn’t – it looks like a classy grown-up dining room with a decadent twist. This wallpaper would look equally good during the spring or summer and it goes to show that you need not go overboard with the shade in order to get an on-trend look for your interior decor.

blush pink autumn fashion trend from pure collection

Blush pink fashion via Pure Collection

Another way to bring extra warmth into your life is to combine hues of pink and blush with tweeds, leather and chunky knitwear for your winter look. Take inspiration from these cashmere goodies from the Pure Collection above (all in the sale section at the moment!) and add a blush top or pink denim with your festive knits to bring your winter wardrobe bang up to date.

pippa middleton price george christening wearing blush pink accessories

Pippa Middleton via Pinterest

If you can’t stand the sugary-ness of a head-to-toe blush pink look, how about just adding a couple of pastel pink accessories to your outfit, as Pippa Middleton did for Prince George’s christening. She was styled by British couture designer Suzannah Crabb, who chose the combination of blush pinks to coordinate with her “warm blush oyster” coat perfectly.

What do you think of this new season colour trend? Will you be adding pink to your home or winter wardrobe? Digging out those blush summer clothes that you’d packed away for winter could be a thrifty way to get the look for less – simply combine them with your cream cashmere cardi and your tweed winter coat and you are all set to look super-fashionable for the whole of the winter period.


My little vintage caravan – DIY patchwork walls

I’ve decided to go for a little ‘design feature’ on one of the walls of my little caravan. I want to wallpaper one wall to create a feature wall, so I went to the DIY store and picked up some samples of pretty wallpapers in shades of pink, yellow and blue, to coordinate with my previously painted walls. After lots of pinning up samples and hmm-ing, I still couldn’t choose a pattern for the wall. I knew I wanted something floral, but it seemed too oppressive in a such a small space. I also considered spots or stripes, but again it made my eyes go funny. I’ve been looking at that wall for a while now and not getting anywhere…diy display cabinet makeover for vintage caravan_-16

So due to my inability to make a decision and chose just one wallpaper, I decided that the only way to break the deadlock was to patchwork the wall. I’ve seen this technique for children’s bedrooms on Pinterest (check out my caravan board here) and I wasn’t too sure how it would work out in a caravan, but I went for it with a big bucket of wallpaper paste and waited to see how it would turn out. I started with a first layer of pink-and-white striped wallpaper and vintage floral wallpaper because I had bought these two rolls of wallpaper from a charity shop for a quid each. So I hung (with the help of my hubby!) a drop of striped, followed by a drop of floral and so on, for the initial covering of the wall.

vintage caravan renovation project patchwork feature wall wallpaper cassiefairy

I then cut up my wallpaper samples of funky patterns into neat squares (including some Cath Kidston paper that I could never afford!) and pasted the second layer of larger squares to the wall. After they dried, I realised that wallpaper paste is not designed for gluing wallpaper on top of wallpaper, so the patchwork squares were peeling off at the edges. So I had a re-think and decided to use good old PVA glue to stick the peeling edges down and glue the rest of the smaller patches over the top. We’ve recently helped my mum redecorate her living room after 20 years and I kept some of the old wallpaper that we stripped off the walls, because I liked the old floral pattern (the darker one below – I’m sure Laura Ashley make the exact same paper now!) and I wanted to include it in my patchwork as a memory from my childhood.

vintage caravan renovation project patchwork feature wall wallpaper cassiefairy finished

Here’s what the wall looks like now, but I’m not sure it’s completely finished yet – I’m sure I’ll add some more bits to it as I get them, maybe including wrapping paper, vintage sewing patterns or decal stickers – it’ll be a development over time 🙂

My summer holiday reading this week is the Granny Chic book that I got for Christmas and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a caravan called “Maude” in the book – it had a patchwork ceiling inside the caravan and a patchwork outside too! I don’t know how they have achieved this look (it must be waterproof?) but I really liked the effect they got – much more old-fashioned, darker and looks more antique than my modern-day patchwork, which is very light and bright and fresh.

I think that the wallpaper that I’ve included in my patchwork are more suitable for my caravan because they look good with the bright colours and girly style I’m going for, but I would certainly consider using darker colours and dense patterns like the Granny Chic patchwork if I were doing a vintage caravan restoration. If you want to check out the Granny Chic book for yourself, the book is written by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel and published by Kyle books. I highly recommend it for crafty souls  and it’s one of the few crafting books that I’ve actually read from cover to cover! There are so many fabulous ideas and pretty projects in this book that I’m sure I will write more about it soon on the blog 🙂

vintage caravan renovation project patchwork feature wall wallpaper cassiefairy Granny Chic book

Check out my other vintage caravan articles below to follow my progress of my little makeover project and tweet me @Cassiefairy with photos of your own caravans, campers or workshops – I need all the inspiration I can get and I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

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