Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

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!


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!

Related articles


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!


Festive shopping at Snape Maltings

One of my favourite places to visit and shop is Snape Maltings. I’ve visited this Suffolk destination many times over the years, and I love the vintage and farmers markets that are hosted there at regular intervals. It’s a gorgeous complex of independent retails in old maltings buildings and it really does have something for everyone – therefore I headed there this weekend to finish off my festive shopping.

chirstmas shopping at snape maltings toys and crafts

I spent a pleasurable couple of hours browsing around the craft barn and book shop (buying a secret present for hubby along the way…) before heading into the massive home and garden showroom. With inspirational displays of furniture and homewares I could spend hours in there, and the trouble is I want it all – I could quite happily pack up my stuff and move in!

chirstmas shopping at snape maltings homewares

And when I got the kitchenware section, I did actually spend ages deliberating over the stunning range of enamelware below and eventually decided to invest in a couple of pot-bellied pans in red and cream enamel. They can be used on the hob or in the oven, so will be great for my festive cooking, plus they reminded me of the singing casserole pots in Beauty and the Beast! I think this might be the starting point of a whole kitchen makeover, so watch this space…

chirstmas shopping at snape maltings kitchenware

Not only do I enjoy the shops, but the whole environment is inspiring – the old buildings are photo-worthy and there is a picturesque walk around the site, along the river Alde and through the reed-beds at the rear of the Snape Maltings concert hall, punctuated with artworks to stop at along the route. It’s a gorgeous walk to go on at any time of year and I took loads of photos when I visited this week and here are a few photos of the lovely old malt buildings: 

chirstmas shopping at snape maltings

Although I’m usually a sucker for collecting points on loyalty cards in the chain stores, I am happier shopping at an independent retailer like Snape Maltings as I love to support local businesses, and much of the product range and food produce they sell is locally grown or handmade by resident craftspeople. Plus I can still collect points at any of the independent shops with Freedom Rewards when paying by Barclaycard. If you’ve never visited this area of Suffolk before it is well worth a taking a trip to visit the coast – and make sure you stop off at Snape Maltings en route, if only to enjoy their yummy local food in the café!


My little vintage caravan ~ My pink & red birthday party

A couple of weeks ago I started planning my birthday party. I usually completely overlook  my birthday because I get too excited about Christmas. But this year I have my little vintage caravan, which seems to be the perfect venue to celebrate my getting a year older! I have already shared my initial ideas for food, drinks and decor via  my Pinterest moodboards and have had a fun week of crafting DIY pom-pom decorations and paper cones. I’ve also made a lovely red velvet layered birthday cake (check out my pieday friday post!). So today I wanted to share with you photos of my little pink and red birthday party so that you can see how all my ideas turned out:

pink party afternoon tea and cherry milkshake cupcakes

I wanted to create an afternoon tea atmosphere, so I stacked up sandwiches on my old floral stand and presented my red velvet cupcakes on mini cake stands from Wholeport. I layered up my favourite poppy petal crockery with red napkins and used pink spotty doilies as placemats.

pink and red party theme afternoon tea milkshake and popcorn


My favourite drink ever  is strawberry milkshake so I used 1/3 pint bottles and striped straws from the DotComGiftShop to serve my drinks and I after lunch watched girly films with a bucket of popcorn – what a great way to round off the afternoon. I baked a red velvet cake (here’s my recipe) smothered in buttercream, pink sprinkles and whipped cream, mmm yum! I topped it off with a little cake candelabra that I bought specially for the occasion (again from the DotComGiftShop) and felt like a proper disney princess as I blew out my candles and made my birthday wish!

pink birthday cake disney princess candelabra

Red velvet birthday cake recipe

I had a lovely day on my birthday, full of surprise treats and lots more presents than I could have hoped for! I now have a couple of good books to read over the coming weeks including my the books of my favourite films, Julie & Julia and the new Bridget Jones’ novel. I also received a couple of hats, so this may be the start of a new look for me – plus it’ll keep my roots covered until I can get to a hairdresser! Lots more accessories, beauty treats and choccies meant that I felt totally spoilt and couldn’t keep the smile off my face all day :)

More caravan articles


My little vintage caravan ~ DIY pink party cones

Earlier in the week I shared my ideas for a birthday party via this moodboard, and as you can see I’m planning a red and pink theme for my birthday celebrations next week. So I’ve been spending a little time in my caravan crafting my own party cones using pink polka dot paper and spotty doilies from Wholeport. Here’s what you’ll need to create your own party cones at home and a very easy DIY tutorial:

pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

First use a plate (or cake stand as I have) to draw circles on the paper – I found it was best to draw on the back of the paper after my first attempt! Cut out the circles and then cut the doilies in half. Use double-sided sticky tape to attach the doilies half way up the paper circles then roll up into a cone shape, using another piece of double-sided tape to secure the edge.

DIY pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

Use a little piece of ribbon to decorate each cone – I’ve used different types of ribbon here so that my guests can keep track of their own cone. These cones would be great for holding popcorn (which I think I will be using them for), savoury snacks, sweets or as party favours filled with goodies. Now I just need to decide on some more food options and I’ll be well on my way to getting ready for my party!

DIY pink paper birthday party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

PS – pinch, punch first of the month and we’re finally in December! I’m opening up my Snowdog & Mr Tumble advent calendars as we speak!

More caravan articles

1 Comment

My vintage caravan ~ somewhere to iron my sewing projects

So on this wet Wednesday morning, what better to chat to you about than my new ironing board. Honestly, it’s a much more interesting topic than you’d think! I needed to replace my previous ironing board this week because I discovered that it has gone mouldy and rusty where it had been leaning up against a damp exterior wall. Do you remember that I talked about my damp bedroom and problem with condensation? Well, it turns out that it wasn’t only my bedroom that had the problem! So when I came to get out my ironing board to iron the darts into the dress that I challenged myself to sew this week, I found that my ironing board had been ruined.

brabantia ironing board outside my vintage caravan sewing room

You can probably tell from the above that I’m not what you’d call a regular ironer, which is why I hadn’t noticed the rust appearing on the ironing board frame. Even so, I need an ironing board for all of my sewing projects and I felt a bit stumped without one. I’m not going back to my student days of laying a towel on the floor and using that as an ironing surface! So I visited the John Lewis website and picked out this Brabantia ironing board – mainly for the cute tea-party pattern on the cover! When it arrived, I realised that it did so much more than I’d expected and could be used at many different heights so it will be ergonomically the right height for even small ladies like me! Plus I can even iron whilst sitting down, that’s how low it goes! It’s really chunky and sturdy, as you’d expect from a brand whose tag line is “solid company”, plus I love the little teapot hot plate for resting your iron on. All in all I thought it was a good choice and I’ll be keeping it in my sewing-workshop caravan now, to make sure that it isn’t met with the same fate as the previous ironing board.

brabantia airing rack outside my vintage caravan sewing room

While on the subject, I also got this Brabantia airing rack, which was equally sturdy and has more hanging surface area than I ever thought possible – enough for a whole washing load. It’s handy for this time of year, because I don’t have a tumble-dryer to dry my clothes (not that I’d want to pay for the electricity to run it, I’m too stingy!) and I reply on good weather and my washing line. Looking out of the window at this time of year, I can tell I’m not going to be getting any washing dry on the line, so I needed an alternative. This airer will sit in my bathroom and the warm air will dry the clothes – plus I don’t mind having the window open to air the bathroom and take out the dampness from the wet clothes.

So although not always the most interesting subject area to talk about, my new clothes-drying-and-ironing system is one of the more exciting things that has happened to me this week and I’m pleased to be getting everything in order so that I can really enjoy Christmas in comfort! Not to mention all those sewing projects I’ll be able to get on with now..!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,757 other followers