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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Exercise for the mind – dreaming about my ideal home

Do you sometimes find your mind wandering off to a place far away where it settles down on a comfy sofa to take in the stunning coastal view from your seafront property? When I’m daydreaming about my dream home, that’s exactly where my brain takes me and sometimes I can even do a tour of my imaginary home in my mind without ever leaving my desk. Hours of fun, huh? Well I’ve decided that my dream home shouldn’t be confined to my mind any longer and that sharing it on the blog will reinforce what I’d like to achieve in life. So, as a little exercise in projection and ambition, I’m going to research the realities of my dream home to give me a firm focus for the future and maybe you can do the same too!

I’m not saying that I’m unhappy with where I live at the moment – it’s in an idyllic village, on a peaceful road and is well-located (we have a train station nearby and an A road linking to all the big towns nearby) but it’s a small house and is unlikely to grow much bigger over time! This is precisely why I needed to renovate a vintage caravan to create my workshop and office space and we’re currently working on the garden to turn it into another outside room. I’m sure that I wouldn’t need to expand into the garden in my dream home because in my mind it’s already big enough inside!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Perfect seaside homes via Pinterest

I watch regularly Escape To The County on BBC (mostly when the lovely Alistair Appleton is on!) and have no trouble choosing which of the half-a-million pound houses I’d like to live in, but realistically I wouldn’t be able to afford a mortgage on a stately pile or sprawling modern luxury pad! So I’m researching where I’d like to live, what it would look like and how much this would cost me. And I’m starting with location: it needs to be near the coast, preferably with a sea-view, but more realistically it would be in-land but no further than half an hours drive from the sea. I think I prefer this kind of coastal location because as a child I lived more centrally in the country and holidays were always at the seaside so I associate the coast with happy times and relaxation. I know I wouldn’t be on a lifelong holiday if I lived in a seaside town (and I know I’d probably get naffed off with summer tourists!) but I feel sure that I’d spend more time outdoors and live a slightly slower pace of life.

So that’s the location sorted, so what about the house itself? I’d love a barn conversion. In fact, any kind of home which features large open-plan spaces and vaulted ceilings. It’s the sense of space that I’d like to achieve which, after living in bungalows for most of my life, would be a luxury. I do like the Georgian features of pretty doll’s-house-esque town houses; high ceilings, picture rails, tall windows and shutters etc, but I think a large home with these kind of period features would be way beyond my price range. I used a mortgage calculator on the Principality Building Society website and was surprised that I would be able to get a decent mortgage that I could actually afford to pay back but it wouldn’t stretch to my Georgian mansion on the seafront so I’m going for a small barn that I’d like to be able to convert myself.

I’m in no hurry to move, so my dream would be to buy an old farm building with planning permission and turn it into the home of my dreams over the course of a few years. It would have a big brick fireplace, woodburning stove or an Aga with back-boiler and solar panels on the roof because I’d like to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity and heating, as well as having a large enough garden plot grown our own veggies and be self-sufficient in the traditional sense too – although how much digging I’d actually do is anyone’s guess! I’d love to have a sun-trap walled garden that the cats would enjoy lounging in, with a hammock and alfresco dining area, then a ‘secret’ kitchen garden beyond that.

dream home barn conversion inspiration moodboard

My dream home inspiration moodboard on Pinterest

The interior of the house would look just like all the perfectly-staged houses in Country Living magazine and I’d throw in a few of our favourite mid-century pieces of furniture to make it more like the kind of home we would live in. Of course the most important thing in any house is space for a Christmas tree, so the ceiling would need to be open to the eaves so that I can fit in a massive spruce and loads of fairy lights!

This little exercise has been fun (especially hunting out images in Pinterest!) and I hope you’ll give it a go too. It’s really helped me to visualise what I’d like my future home to be and I’m interested to discover that my dreams are fairly realistic and quite possibly achievable n a few years time, which has given me something to strive towards. Can you envisage your own dream home? What would you choose and why? Let me know if you make up your own dream home blog post and I’ll share your links!

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A sunny weekend – bargain hunting, art & digging

I had a rather outdoorsy Saturday planned for this weekend and thankfully the weather has stayed pretty good here. To kick-start the weekend hubby and I set out alarms for normal weekday times and dragged ourselves out of bed to go to the local carboot sale. I love rummaging for a bargain but my husband is much quicker at glancing over the stalls than I am. So inevitably I get left behind while he whizzes off to find lovely treasures, then we meet up for a cup of tea and he shows me all the bargains he has bought – usually nothing I’d ever choose but he only ever spends pence rather than pounds so he can’t get it too wrong! Our haul this weekend included some small half-pint pewter tankards, which we’ve taken a shine to since seeing lots appearing on the hooks of our local pub, so maybe I’ll get to have one engraved and have my very own tankard in the pub – however, I’ve heard that cider doesn’t mix well with the pewter so perhaps I’d better stick to having my half in a glass for now rather than going over the ‘the dark side’ and drinking ale from now on!

A normal feature of any sunny weekend is us going in search of an ice cream and stopping off for a country walk around the marshes. We like spotting artworks during our weekend jaunts and here are some snaps of the Henry Moore sculpture, entitled Large Interior Form which is located on the lawn outside Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

henry moore art at snape maltings

I also enjoy looking at the crumbling old malt buildings and we took been taking photos of the area for a few years, documenting their development – it’s interesting to see which buildings have been renovated and saved and which are continuing to crumble away.

The plan for the rest of the weekend was to head home to get on with our gardening work. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but now that summer is approaching (and we can get out into the garden without getting rained on!) we have turned our attention to the garden and have drawn up some plans to make it into a little haven by the summer holidays. I’ll share more about our plans on the blog soon, but in the meantime I’ll just tell you that we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend shovelling wood-chippings and digging over the borders! I’ll share some photos of our progress with you soon and I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to this weekend so please leave me a comment below :)

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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!

Related caravan articles
water balloons frozen ice


Making a garden sculpture from ice – try it, its so easy!

All I can say is; ‘bring on the snow’. This is because I have a plan in place ready for when the temperature drops to below freezing. I’m going to make an ice sculpture for my garden! This may sound like a rather excessive, time-consuming and, ultimately, chilly pastime,  but I assure you that it’s not. Check out this photo of a gorgeous garden display lining a snowy path made from coloured ice balls.

water balloons frozen ice

Honestly, making this feature in your garden is the most simple of activities. I don’t think it really needs a step-by-step tutorial but here it is anyway:

  1. Fill up water balloons with water and tie up the end
  2. Put the water balloons outside when it is below freezing
  3. Wait for them to freeze solid and position wherever you’d like them

What do you think?! Possibly the easiest ice sculpture you’ll ever make, and it looks SO impressive!

So, bring on the snow and the freezing temperatures, and give it a go!

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My favourite photos – a pretty purple poppy

Look at this gorgeous wild poppy that I spotted growing outside an old garage recently. I’ve never seen a purple poppy before, so I quickly took a couple of snaps of it and noticed that it was actually growing out of a crack in some concrete! It’s amazing where wild flowers can grow,  and yet I can’t encourage poppies to grow in my garden when I’ve planted them in the past!

I love poppies with their tissue-paper thin petals and there are a massive variety of sizes and colours – and now I’ve seen this purple one, I’m sure I’ve seen ‘em all ha! I’m glad that I took this photo, because when I went back past the same old garage only a day or two later, the poppy and all the other weeds nearby had been strimmed away. Fair enough, the whole area looked a lot neater – but who could cut down such a beautiful ‘weed’ as this poppy? I know I couldn’t!


Beautiful summer blooms – our garden in the sun

Thanks to all this gorgeous sunny weather we’ve been having this week, all the lovely plants and trees are bursting into life during and a leisurely wander around the garden earlier today we spotted some amazing flowers and my husband photographed these along with boughs heavy with fragrant blossom.


I hope you’ll enjoy these photos too, they certainly make me feel summery and I’ve used one as the desktop background for my computer so I’ll keep the sunshine with me when I’m working indoors – I really must get a work-space set up outside to make this most of this weather while it’s still here :o)

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Angel at the bottom of the garden

Earlier today I had a visit from my niece and pretty soon we had the frilly tutus out and, like my sister (her mum) and sister-in-law a week ago, she pulled on a fluffy pair of angel wings and went out for a prance around the garden! Here’s the photos we took of our angelic niece:



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