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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An early morning walk in the frost

You won’t believe it but I’ve already been out and about in the ‘fresh air’ this morning for a walk in a frosty winter wonderland. Although it was freezing cold, I love chilly mornings when you open the curtains and see a white-out of sparkling frost on the ground. At least I know that I’ll have a nice quiet walk with my husband, because who else would be out and about in the cold, this early in the morning? We didn’t even see any dog walkers, but we did get to see a gorgeous pastel sky and take some snaps of the beautiful countryside covered in glittery frost. Here are some photos:

frosty morning la mere layering fashion brag vintage jumper

For my frosty morning outfit, I’ve had a go at my blogger pal Janelle’s La Mere layering technique, which helped me to keep warm without adding too much bulk. It’s all about adding different lengths, textures and accessories to create a stylish look at this time of year – so check it out! For my longest layer I chose a long-sleeved white t-shirt, my ‘cropped’ layer was a gorgeous vintage striped jumper from Brag Vintage and my structured top layer was a grey blazer from Primark. I’ve added my husband’s striped scarf (yes, he got a little cold after I pinched it, but hey, he’s a gentleman!) for the long accessories layer. Let me know if you think this layering technique works and get in touch with Janelle at Confessions of a Fashion Stylist if you give it a go yourself!

frosty morning walk fashion brag vintage jumper

I love the snuggly, cosy jumper I picked up from Brag Vintage – there’s always something different popping up on this website and I was lucky enough to scoop this piece of vintage knitwear last week! I’ll be keeping an eye on the website for more vintage arrivals in my size, especially as they offer free delivery – one of my favourite phrases on  a website! I wore my new favourite piece of jewellery too – a wishbone necklace that my husband gave me for Christmas and that I’ve hardly taken off since. I now have a lovely collection of necklaces that all really mean a lot to me (maybe I’ll share them in a blog post soon) so I really don’t need any more jewellery – but don’t want that to stop my husband from treating me to more if he really wants to ;)

Today’s walk was a bit of kick-start to my ‘get outdoors more’ resolution for new year and even though it was a bit brisk, I certainly felt refreshed afterwards and really enjoyed that steaming-hot cup of tea when we got back home! It’s got to be good for me to get outside more often, whether the weather agrees with me or not, and I’m going to try to investigate local walks and footpaths near to where I live to see parts of the countryside that I’ve never been to before. At least I’m spending some quality time with my husband and just imagine all the lovely photos I’ll be able to take at different times of day and in different weather. Watch this space!


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My little vintage caravan project ~ Pull yourself together

Patient: “Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains”, Doctor: “Pull yourself together”.

So today I’m sharing my latest sewing achievement in my little vintage caravan project – I’ve made some curtains. And roman blinds too. The roman blinds came about by accident because I thought I’d ordered enough fabric to make curtains for all the windows but when I got to work, I realised that I would need to use most of the fabric for just the main window. Apparently the width of the caravan is bigger than I’d realised. So that left me with two smaller pieces of fabric, which would either make a pair of curtains for one of the remaining windows, or it would make two roman blinds with a bit more effort. So not wanting to pay for more fabric (yes I am that stingy) I opted for the roman blinds.

little vintage caravan project diy makeover

What do you think of my fabric? It’s a blue cotton with TINY stars all over it from Abakhan Fabrics. It was a toss-up between blue and mint green, but in the end I opted for blue, because it would look nicer from the outside against the blue of the caravan. Plus, it’s the colour of the sky and kind of blends into the windows and looks right. I simply stitched a hem around all the edges of the curtains and added some curtain header tape to the top. Job done! Here are the photos of making the roman blinds:

cassiefairy vintage caravan project making roman blinds diy

I hemmed around all edges and then attached a strip of sew-on loop velcro to the top of the blind, saving the corresponding sticky hook piece of velcro for later. Next I stitched a ‘pocket’ for the dowling along the bottom of the blind by turning up the hem by 1.5 inches. I then divided the remaining fabric into 3 and stitched another 2 pockets – 1/3rd of the way up, and 2/3rds up. I inserted the dowels and stitches the ends closed. I hand-stitched 3 rings on each of the dowel pockets on the back of the blind – left, middle and right – and then threaded cord through them, attaching it to the bottom ring with a knot. I then had a little help from hubby to affix a piece of wood above the window of the caravan and stuck the hook piece of velcro to the baton. I screwed 3 eyelet hooks into the baton and threaded the cord from the blinds through and along to bring together as the pull-cord and attached the blind to the baon using the velcro strip.

cassiefairy vintage caravan DIY sewing project making roman blinds

Actually, I’m kind of pleased that I was ‘forced’ to make roman blinds for the side windows, even though they took a lot more time and effort, because I can pull them right up and out of the way. Plus they don’t block out any of the light from coming into the caravan, whereas the curtain-ed window has less light coming in at the sides where the curtains are hanging. After being so used to having no curtains (and therefore lots of light) I was a little bit miffed that I was losing some of precious light just because I wanted to put up curtains. But it’s more important to have the option of privacy for anyone who sleeps in the caravan, and if I’m working in there in the evenings, it’s much more snuggly with the curtains drawn.

little vintage caravan project diy makeover sewing curtains


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My retro living room – lovely autumnal fruit bowl

It’s raining. It’s cold. The mornings are dark. And there is condensation on my windows. Yes, I think I can officially claim that it is autumn. I know I’ve been banging on about the season for the past couple of weeks, but I’ve not really been feeling it, because it’s still been sunny and warm outside. However, it is definitely jacket-weather now, so for me, autumn has begun in Cassiefairyland.

cassiefairys retro midcentury living room design - wooden fruit bowl with autumn oranges and yankee candle

Hubby and I recently picked up a wooden fruit bowl from a carboot sale. We thought it was retro-chic and would look great in our mid-century style living room. It’s smoothly carved and therefore very pleasing to touch and is the perfect teak colour to match the rest of our slightly garish furniture. I’ve filled it with lovely oranges and peaches, and now it’s looking decidedly autumnal on our sideboard with a ‘matching’ orange candle that we received as an anniversary gift. This is fast becoming be one of my favourite pieces in our retro living room, it’s practical and useful, but beautifully made and really rather cool. Compared to our usual ‘ugly’ or ‘garish’ choices, it’s really quite pretty and can be admired by fans of modern and country interiors alike. I’m especially pleased because hubby didn’t spend more than a couple of quid on it, and I love a bargain!

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My little vintage caravan project ~ Oilcloth table

This week I have made great inroads into using the caravan for its intended purpose as a workshop space – I have made a table. This is my version of a desk until I sort something else out at the ‘other’ end of the caravan, so if I want to start working in my new ‘office’ I needed to fabricate a table, and fast!

There was already a small 2-person table in the caravan when I bought it, and this clips nicely onto the wall fittings at either end of the caravan. However, the table is so small that I can barely use it to write on, let alone start any sewing projects on. It’s more of a cuppa-tea table than a desk. But it is the starting point for my new table, because my table top will have to rest on-top of this mini-table in order to be supported in the middle of the caravan.

cassiefairys little vintage caravan project - covering a table with oilcloth

The table also traditionally doubles up as the base for the bed, so I needed a piece of wood that was exactly the right width to span the gap and sit on the lip-edges of the seat-bases. So a lot of measuring and help from hubby with cutting it, we had a piece that would fit the gap. But it looked terrible; it was just a bit of old plywood from the back of the shed with paint stains on! So I decided to funk it up with a length of spotty aqua oilcloth. My reckoning was that it would be wipe-clean (good for crafts, and my regular tea spillages) and would brighten the place up in an instant.

In reality it involved 2 people trying to use spray adhesive to fold the edges over and glue them down while stretching the fabric in the opposite direction to try to remove the creases. In hindsight, I think I could have done with using a thicker oil-cloth (this was a softer tablecloth oilcloth fabric) which may have minimised the creasing – as you can see from the photos, there’s a few creases along the edges of the table top. But as I’ve used the table this week, these seem to have relaxed a bit and don’t look as bad as they do in these first photos of the table!

cassiefairys little vintage caravan project - covering a table with spotty oilcloth

I asked hubby to screw a baton to the back wall of the caravan for the tabletop to brace against when it is sitting on top of the small table in a kind of counter-levered way. It holds the table up nicely, although I might keep an eye out for a folding leg to make it even more stable in the future. When it’s not in use, the table tucks away on top of one of the seat bases with the seat pad on top.

Importantly, the table spans the gap between the seats and I now have a bed in the caravan! Whoop! I know the weather is getting a but worse, but it’s not been freezing cold yet, so maybe I’ll get a night ‘away’ sleeping in the caravan this month?!

cassiefairys little vintage caravan project - covering a table with oilcloth to make into a double bed

Please check out my other caravan project blog posts below and let me know what you think of my project :) The next plan is to create a bit of privacy with curtains and blinds so watch this space for another blog post later this week! Here’s a reminder of what the inside looked like before I started painting and stitching. It makes me feel good about my progress when I look back on it, even thought it’s taken me 6 weeks to get to this stage, because at least I can sit, work and sleep in my caravan now!

cassiefairys vintage caravan project interior clearing out


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My little vintage caravan project ~ Fabric inspirations

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while will know that a few months ago I bought a caravan! While she may not have been the prettiest looking caravan, it definitely gave me a project to sink my teeth into. I set up a Pinterest board straight away to pin all of my design ideas and inspirations on, as and when I come across things I like.

When I started my DIY journey the caravan certainly had a lot of work that needed doing both inside and out. When I bought it, the interior was very retro, which although I liked was in such a bad way due to damp that it sadly all needed ripping out. Since then I have slowly been tackling mini (and not so mini) projects with the help of my hubby to get her looking exactly how I want – check out the links below for all of my blog posts about my caravan :)

cassiefairys vintage caravan project painting exterior baby sky blue

My dream to turn the caravan into a beautiful workshop and office space for my crafting is slowly coming together, and while it’s nowhere near ready to start using I’m already getting excited about choosing soft furnishing and fabrics for the interior. I have a few ideas of what I want, but came across the Rodgers of York website. They are based in York which is sadly a bit too far away for me to get to, but they stock a fabulous range of well-known soft furnishing brands including Harlequin and iLiv. I had great fun browsing the website and picking out fabrics that I would love to use in the caravan.

One brand which stood out was iLiv, a Northern interior design company who are based in Lancashire. I love a bargain and couldn’t believe it when I read that the ‘v’ in the company name stands for value! iLiv have a gorgeous collection of fabrics and soft furnishings including cushions, I particularly liked the ‘In Bloom’ collection which is a mix of floral prints and vibrant strips which would look fab mix and matched together. You can create a scrapbook on their website and you can see mine below.

  Cassiefairys vintage caravan makeover project fabrics from rodgers of york

Harlequin are another fabulous brand that I discovered on the Rodgers of York website. Their fun and vibrant colour combinations and prints are right up my street and I got carried away with yet more mood boards of inspiration for my caravan interior. The striking and very funky ‘Impasto’ collection had me hooked and I can’t wait to try and incorporate some of the eye-catching fabrics into my final look.

Cassiefairys vintage caravan makeover project fabrics from harlequin


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My little vintage caravan project ~ All the trimmings

Okay this might not be the most interesting subject of a blog post, but it is part of my vintage caravan makeover, so I’ve snapped some photos of the window trim being replaced. Although it’s not exciting, it is essential, because the old brown window trim had cracked and was falling off, and therefore had the potential to let rain into the caravan during the winter. So it needed to be replaced, and fast. So I hopped on Ebay (where else can I find something as unusual as caravan window trim) and I ordered a 10 metre roll of bright white trim.

The trim comes in very specific millimetre-by-millimetre width measurements and for the first time in my life, I actually checked what size I needed before ordering it. I needed to measure the inside space within the trim so I cracked another piece off and carefull measured it. When the trim arrived, I realised why it needs to be so precisely measured – any smaller and it wouldn’t have fit over the edge and would have pinged off, and just one millimetre later would have made it loose and flappy with potential for letting damp in again. I thought replacing the trim would be an easy process – the original brown trim crumbled off pretty easily anyway – but no. It turns out that there are a lot of window fixings to remove before you can start and the fixings were mostly rusty and firmly screwed in place – so this became a job for hubby.

Cassiefairys vintage caravan makeover project - retro window trim

We also had to move the caravan down the garden because we had parked it too close to the fence to be able to open the back window, so we pulled it out of its parking space and got to work on replacing the trims. After a couple of hours of working in the garden on a boiling hot day, we were flaking out and we still had to get the caravan back into position. I now realise that there is a very slight slope n the garden – not enough to notice in everyday life, but certainly noticeable when you’re trying to push a caravan up it! To make a long story short, after a lot of huffing and swearing (and bruising) we got the beast back in its place, and slightly further away from the fence so that we don’t a repeat incident!

Anyway, I’m very happy with the new trims – I’m certain that it even deters creepy crawlies, because I’ve seen non since it was fitted! Just look at that lovely white curve in the photos above – very pleasing! Also, I’ve found that I’m opening my windows a lot more, simply because it is easier to open them now. So, a rather dull window makeover, but definitely one that I’m pleased with, and will help to keep my caravan in good shape for many years to come. Here’s something a bit more exciting – some ideas that I’ve found on Pinterest (check out my Caravan Love board for all the links!) for caravan seat covers – because the next thing I’m working on is soft furnishings yaaay!

Cassiefairys caravan love pinterest board - ideas for vintage caravan makeover project interior soft furnishings

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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