Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Leave a comment

3 things you can sell to make extra money this week

Happy hump day everyone! It’s the middle of the week and already I’m looking forward to the weekend. Want to know why? I’m planning to spend a bit of time clearing out some of my belonging and see if there’s anything I can do without. That may sound like the least exciting weekend ever but I’m really motivated to have a tidy up and clear out the clutter. It’ll make moving easier if I’ve got less stuff to shift AND I can possibly make a little extra money by selling some of it on. So I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’m planning to earn some cash from my unwanted stuff in case you too want to earn some more money this week… 

Clothing you no longer wear? Sell it on!

Clothes

Selling your clothes couldn’t be easier and is a great way to make some extra cash. Take a look in your wardrobe and remove anything you haven’t worn in the past year because you’re probably not going to wear it this year either! Take them to a car boot sale this week and earn a few pounds for each piece. If there are some pieces that still have the tags on (there certainly are in my wardrobe anyway) these will be worth more so you could sell them online via Depop, HardlyEverWornIt or Ebay. Anything you don’t sell can be donated to charity or you could take use websites that offer to buy your clothing by the kilogram, such as Genie Recycling or Return to Earn. The added bonus of selling your clothes is that you’re decluttering your wardrobe and making some extra storage space. You’ll rediscover clothes you already own and love but that you haven’t seen in years because they were stuffed at the back of the wardrobe.

Fallen out of love with your jewellery? Sell it on!

Continue reading “3 things you can sell to make extra money this week” »


1 Comment

4 budget-busting tips for your wedding day

Put the word ‘wedding’ in front of anything and suddenly the cost goes up. It’s insane to think how much the average wedding costs. In the days when I got married 14 years ago, there wasn’t half the choice there is now. Then again, the services that were available didn’t cost half as much as they do today! But, your big day doesn’t have to mean big bucks. On the contrary, even the most thrifty of brides can have a day fit for a princess without having to break the bank. After all, a wedding is just one day; marriage is for a lifetime. So, if you’re a bride on a budget, how can you make sure that your day is one to remember without having to splash out? Let’s find out.

image source

Go DIY

The DIY bride is now a big thing with more and more people taking the plunge in creating their own wedding accessories. From invites, to bouquets to decor, most brides are now popping along to their local craft store to find out what they can make themselves. If you’re something of an expert baker, you could bake your own wedding cake. Unleash your inner creativity – not only will you save money, but you will also have a thoroughly personal wedding. After all, who wants something that everyone else can have? It’ll be utterly bespoke and personal to you.

image source

Call in favours Continue reading “4 budget-busting tips for your wedding day” »


2 Comments

How to earn money from your spare room

When most people think about thrifty living they automatically think of frugality: cutting costs and counting the pennies. But thrifty living is about far more than that. Of course, not paying too much for things you buy is important, as is making your existing possessions work harder by upcycling or repurposing them. But one of the things I’ve not mentioned on the blog before is making the most of your assets – and this is one of the most important ideas in thrifty living.  One huge asset that many people do not do much with is their home. This is surprising because your house is your biggest and most costly asset to maintain, so using it wisely can make a huge difference to your long-term financial future. Renting it out for holidays, short-term lets or even just getting a lodger can enables you to build up a good level of savings, and will have the cash ready for the next time you want to update your home.A potentially tax-free income Continue reading “How to earn money from your spare room” »


Leave a comment

Saving money this winter – tips for home, wardrobe & cooking

If you are living on a tight budget, each season brings its own challenges and I think that winter might be one of the most difficult. During this season one of the biggest issues homeowners face is finding the money to pay for higher-than-usual power bills. We all know that it’s likely that we’ll be using more fuel and power in the winter; it’s cold, so we have to put the heating on. In addition, the fact that the days are shorter and we usually end up spending more time at home means higher electric bills too. We tend to have the lights and electronics, like the TV, on more. Fortunately, there are ways to keep the bills down, so that you don’t get a massive shock when the gas or electric bill arrives in three months time and here’s what I’ve come up with…Insulate, insulate, insulate

And I’m not just talking about in your loft. It’s draughts that zaps the heat from your home at this time of year but you can stop them today. Getting draught excluders for your doors is a really easy and cheap way to stop heat leakage. Make your own using just a towel and a fold of fabric – here’s my DIY draught excluder project  (I used an old fleece blanket to fill mine) so have a go at making one for yourself and stop that draught now! While it’s not a great idea to not open your windows at all in the winter (the stale air and condensation is a breeding ground for mould, ick!) there will be windows in some rooms that aren’t usually opened anyway. These windows can be insulated using a thin film of plastic that is specifically made to block out any draughts. These kits are widely available and extremely easy to install. In the summer you can remove the film and  you can go back to opening and closing your windows as normal.Knitted layers

Usually if you wear a jumper and a pair of cosy slippers around the house, you can get away with turning your heating down by several degrees. Doing so can save you a lot of money and on average you will save 2% for every degree lower you go. I know it’s kind of the norm to be able to just wear a t- indoors, but I think you should dress as if you’re going outside. In winter you’d usually wear more than just the one layer to go outside and if you wear the same indoors too you’ll definitely be able to turn down the heating. Knitting scarves and big chunky blankets for everyone is a fun winter project, which will soon pay for itself in the extra warmth you’ll all enjoy. Crocheted throws are great for snuggling up under while you watch a movie or play video games when the weather’s bad outside.Slow cooking Continue reading “Saving money this winter – tips for home, wardrobe & cooking” »


4 Comments

How to restore leather furniture + I’m in issue 38 of Reloved magazine!

I have some wonderful news to kick start the new year – I’m in Reloved magazine this month! My “How to restore a leather chair” project has been given a full four-page spread in the magazine AND it even made the front cover; look carefully and you can see it in the thumbnail images at the bottom of the cover! Not only that, but I’m also their Take 10 interview on the last page – wow!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-1I said once before that ‘you know you’ve made it when…’ you’re in the same magazine as Max McMurdo and Annie Sloan but this is the second time it’s happened now, so I’m beginning to settle into my role of upcycler/writer. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to find my work in a magazine on the shelves of our local newsagents! The eagle-eyed of you might have spotted an Instagram snap of me grinning from ear-to-ear holding a copy of Reloved in WH Smith. I’m super-cheesy, I know, but it was an incredibly proud moment for me nonetheless.reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-2The project I shared in Issue 38 of Reloved was how to repair crumbling cracked leather. My husband bought this chair from the carboot sale but it was in awful condition and needed a lot of TLC to bring it back to life. And that’s exactly what we did – by the end of the makeover the leather was supple and shining once more, the colour was richer than ever and the cracks and splits were gone. I’ve included the full project pages below so that you can read the step-by-step guide yourself, just in case you too have some beyond-help leather furniture that needs fixing up. reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-3As you can probably tell I’m REALLY chuffed to be featured in my favourite magazine and I’m over the moon that the editor wants me to come up with more projects for the publication in the future. In fact, I’ve already sent over another DIY project for Valentine’s Day and I spotted a photo of it in the preview of the next issue so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share another project with you again next month too!reloved-magazine-cassiefairy-feature-homemade-handmade-diy-project-restoring-leather-chair-issue-38-4Below are my project pages from inside the magazine but be sure to pick up a copy of Reloved for yourself this month because it’s packed full of sewing, craft, diy and upcycling projects including some step-by-step guides by Max McMurdo, Sewing Bee winner Matt Chapple, printer Joy Jolliffe, ‘salvage sister’ Charis Williams and author Kate Beavis.

Continue reading “How to restore leather furniture + I’m in issue 38 of Reloved magazine!” »


Leave a comment

Homemade upcycled gifts – How to make a memory bear using baby clothes

What do you get for your niece and nephew when you’re the coolest aunt in the world? Why, handmade teddy bears, of course! It’s a project that has been six months in the making and now the bears are finally wrapped up and flying across the sea to reach the little ones in Ireland in time for Christmas. Now, I’m not saying that it took me six months to actually sew the bears – the making part is quite a simple process (thanks to the new teddy bear pattern I used) – it was all the planning that went into the project that took some time and I’ll tell you why.homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-16homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-1I wanted to make a keepsake teddy bear for each child, so I wanted them to be personalised in some way. When I first opened up the pattern I could see that it would be easy to make the pattern pieces fit into items of my niece and nephew’s clothing. What better way to make a personalised gift, and to upcycle old clothing at the same time, than to reuse their baby clothes to make them a teddy bear? I asked their parents if they had any of their tiny outfits left, and luckily they did. I asked for non-stretchy items (which are easier to sew) and it wasn’t long before a bag of baby clothes arrived.homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-17 homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-3I got the newly launched Charlie teddy bear pattern from Amazing Craft and studied the instructions from front to back before getting started. There’s only a handful of pattern pieces and the construction seemed so much more straightforward than bear patterns I’ve used in the past. I was eager to get started and see just how the pattern worked. I’m pleased to report that this is the most simple-to-use set of instructions, and having fewer pattern pieces meant much less tacking, pinning and fiddling. I whizzed up the arms and legs in no time at all. The body is the only piece that has any darts in it, and even then there’s only two small darts so it’s really uncomplicated to construct. I guess the pattern does what it says on the cover – it truly is ‘bear making for beginners’ and it couldn’t be easier to follow. It’s available as printed instructions (which I got, at £6.99) or as a digital download to print at home for only £4.99.homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-12homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-2homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-15 The little trousers were the perfect base to make the arms and legs of the teddies – the linen fabric wasn’t at all stretchy and I could make a feature out of the details on the trousers. I positioned the pattern pieces so that my niece’s bear would have the spotty trim from the trousers around the outside of the paws, and my nephew’s bear has tiny pockets on the legs. I could even reuse the lining of my nephew’s trousers to make a soft inner arm, and I added little monster designs from his tiny t-shirt to make contrasting paws and feet. I used a floral baby-grow to make the insides my of niece’s bear’s arms and even the bears’ ears have a patterned underside.homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-14 homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-19homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-4I wanted the bears to be safe for the little ones to carry around, so I got some safety eyes and plastic safety joints from Amazing Craft. This means that the head, arms and legs are poseable and the eyes can’t be bitten off because they pop together and clamp into place. In fact, I couldn’t even get the joints apart again if I tried! My tip for using these is to get the position of the arms and legs right first time, because you won’t be able to take them off again if they’re in the wrong place, so double-check the position before pushing the joints together. Soaking the joints in hot water for a minute will make them a littler easier to pop together. The plastic joints are also safe to go in the washing machine, which is good news because we all know how mucky kid’s teddies get!homemade-handmade-sewing-project-teddy-bears-ted-amazing-craft-bear-pattern-diy-gift-project-7

Continue reading “Homemade upcycled gifts – How to make a memory bear using baby clothes” »


Leave a comment

DIY Christmas decor – Candy cane chair project

This month I’ve been busier than an elf in Santas workshop – yes, I’ve been DIYing lots of festive projects ready to share with you on the blog this December. And what better way to kick off the celebrations than with the ultimate festive makeover: a candy cane chair.diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7When I bought this retro chair from a second-hand furniture shop for just £2 I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. I don’t really have space for another chair, but I knew that it was too much of a bargain to pass up. So I handed over my cash and spent the next five minutes trying to manoeuvre the chair into my teeny tiny car.

Needless to say, the chair sat in my garage for a couple of months before I decided what should be done with it. And during that time we inched closer and closer to Christmas. I began feeling more and more festive, and soon the thought came to me – I was going to make a candy cane chair.

But where do you start when you want to turn an old dining chair into Santa’s favourite seat? Well, with primer of course! A roll of masking tape and couple of coats of red spray paint later, my Christmas chair was complete. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as quick as that but it was easy enough to do – the only thing that took a bit of time was waiting for the paint to dry between coats.

Luckily, I captured the whole process on my camera and I’ve made this little DIY video to show you exactly how to do it for yourself at home. Have a quick watch below or open the video in YouTube to leave me a comment or a thumbs up. And please give me a subscribe while you’re there – I know there’s not many videos on my Cassiefairy channel yet but I promise there will be more crafty DIY videos coming soon, honest!

What do you think of my candy cane chair design? Will you be giving any of your furniture a festive makeover this winter? Let me know if you’ve made any OTT decorations yourself by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me with photos of your xmas décor @Cassiefairy.


Leave a comment

DIY Gifts Video – Step-by-step camera case sewing project

Over the past month I’ve been busier than an elf in Santas workshop – yes, I’ve been DIYing lots of festive projects ready to share with you on the blog this December. And what better way to kick off the month than with a simple gift project – a felt camera case.felt-camera-case-sewing-project-easy-diy-tutorialThis easy-sew project lets you create a custom-made case for your specific camera, with no difficult measuring or pattern-making. In fact, it couldn’t be easier – you simply lie the camera on the piece of felt, pin the pouch in place and stitch it up!diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-14I use straight stitch throughout the project so this can easily be done by hand or on a sewing machine. The fastening is sticky-backed velcro dots so no need to make a difficult button-hole, and the button I stitch onto the front flap is purely decorative, so you could even give this step a miss if you want to make the project even easier.diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-1-2All you need to make this quick and easy project is a piece of felt, pins, a needle and thread (or sewing machine), a button, velcro dots, a ruler and scissors. All the instructions are on the video so have a watch and pause (or rewind) the tutorial whenever you need to. And once you’ve got the basics, you can easily adapt this case to fit other things too; ipads, make-up, mobile phones and so on.diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-2

Continue reading “DIY Gifts Video – Step-by-step camera case sewing project” »


Leave a comment

How to be happy (and cosy!) this winter

Winter is coming, and it’s time to think about ways to stay cosy and, more importantly, happy during the winter. With cold weather and long dark nights (and sometimes days) it’s no surprise that many of us start to feel a little down when December comes. But don’t worry – that seasonal slump can be overcome with a couple of simple solutions. Plus, you can stay warm in your home (without forking out on energy bills) with just a few easy adjustments.winter interior design - cosy autumn bedroom styling idea inspiration festive-3 Our grandparents used to say “just put on an extra layer” to stay warm in the winter. But there are many other practical things you can do that don’t cost much but that will make a difference to the size of your heating bill in the new year. There’s nothing worse than a surprise energy bill dropping onto your door mat! It’s time to get used to lowering the thermostat to a level that keeps everyone comfortable but doesn’t end up creating a sauna effect,. Here are some tips to help you make it through the winter in comfort and with a smile on your face.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan grey sofa retro dralon cushion 60s 70sPile on the blankets Nighttime means everyone’s in bed and pets have found their warm spots for the night, so you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees without anyone realising that it’s cooler in the house. Increasing the temperature warms the entire home, which is essentially wasting energy, as no one’s moving around at night to benefit from the warmth. It’s also a great excuse to snuggle up under layers of duvets and wooly blankets. Well, I’d much rather tuck myself under a cosy throw when I’m reading on the sofa in the evenings than turn up the heating – it just feels so ‘hygge’! Bring back hot water bottles too (or microwave heat pads) to warm your body all evening long. It’s much more efficient to heat a relatively small surface area than to raise the temperature of the whole building. cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place you can sleep-2Combat SAD

Being comfortable in winter isn’t just about warmth and saving money. If you or a family member suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, you can help deal with this troubling subset of depression through activities such as sitting near sunny windows, planning more outdoor time, and using light therapy. It’s easy to wake up in the dark, work indoors all day and then come home in the dark. In fact, I read that the average British worker will only see 52 minutes of daylight in a working week, so make the effort to get outside on your lunch break (no matter how cold it is!) to make sure you get the benefits of daylight while it’s there.autumn colours and leather boots-6Seal those windows

No matter how new or highly rated your windows are, you can expect a bit of air exchange. When you know you’re going to close the windows for the last time until spring, use a temporary caulking material to seal the sash. You’re closing off the small gap that never quite seals all the way and lets air in. The temporary caulk can be easily removed when you want to open up the window again, and it won’t ruin the material the windows are made from. If you have older windows, go over the existing caulk and look for crumbling and/or peeling caulk. Remove this caulk carefully, and then lay in a fresh, new bead and let it dry. You’re creating a new seal that won’t let air in under any circumstances.cats can sleep anywhere - wheres the weirdest place youve sleptEngage in zone heating

Zone heating is the act of heating one or two rooms and closing off unused rooms. If you find that you’re not going into some rooms very often, close them off by shutting the door and turning down the radiators. You do want to make sure the room gets some heat in order to keep it dry. The heating that would normally go into that room is diverted into rooms with turned on radiators, keeping them at a comfortable temperature. You can also use plug-in electric and oil heaters to keep a room warm while you’re using the space, but make sure to follow safety precautions at all times and unplug when you go to bed.Orange Tweed Mill Blanket Knitted Wool Throw Tartan greyYou don’t have to turn your home into a refrigerator to save money on heating costs this winter. These are just some of the ways to help you stay comfortable (and happy!) without having to go to extreme settings on your thermostat or getting a scary energy bill in the new year. Let me know your own tips for staying warm in the winter and tell me what you get up to in order to keep that smile on your face during even the darkest winter days – leave me a comment below to share your ideas or tweet me @cassiefairy to chat.


1 Comment

Pieday Friday recipe – Coffee shop Christmas menu hacks

You know that Christmas is approaching when the coffee shops start serving their Christmas drinks. The usual selection of coffee and tea suddenly flips over to the festive menu sometime in early November. One day you’re buying your usual latte and the next day there’s a turkey and cranberry toasty on the sandwich counter and gold stars are being sprinkled on top of every drink. Yes, the coffee shop Christmas drinks are here to stay (until January, at least) so I thought I’d see whether I could hack some of the famous recipes from Costa, Starbucks and Neros for you. In previous years I’ve blogged my favourite flavoured hot chocolate recipes for Christmas, but it’s all about the coffee this year. Here are three festive coffee recipes that you can enjoy at home that might help you to save a little extra cash over Christmas.

Gingerbread latte

All of the coffee chains create a gingerbread latte in some form or other at this time of year – even McDonalds have a spice cookie latte on the menu. Here’s what you’ll need to recreate it at home: Coffee (I used flavoured coffee capsules of Gourmesso for each drink in this blog post, saving a little extra money on the usual Nespresso capsule prices – see, always thinking thriftily!) hot milk, gingerbread syrup or a couple of cubes of crystallized ginger, gold star sprinkles (find them with the baking aisle in the supermarket with the hundreds-and-thousands), ground cinnamon and a mini gingerbread man. You could make your own, or skip this step like I did and buy a ready-made box of festive gingerbread biscuits from the supermarket.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.ukBrew up a shot of coffee into a festive-jumper patterned mug (mine is from The Caravan Trail). Stir in a shot of gingerbread syrup. If you don’t have syrup, pour a little boiling water over the crystallized ginger to melt it a little before stirring it into the coffee. Top up the coffee with hot milk to create a creamy latte. If you have a milk frother to hand (my little whisk was £3 from the supermarket and it makes fantastic foam!) whisk up a thick milk foam to top the latte. Sprinkle on some gold stars and sit a little gingerbread man on top – I think it looks like rudolph is drinking my latte in this photo!

Honeycomb latte

A new festive coffee in our local coffee chain, we tried this drink for the first time last week. The main flavour of this drink is cinder toffee, so essentially a Crunchie bar will do the trick! Here’s what you’ll need: Coffee, caramel syrup, hot milk, whipped cream, a Crunchie or chocolate-coated cinder toffee nuggets.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.ukBrew a shot of coffee into a latte glass and stir in a splash of caramel syrup. If you don’t have coffee syrup like this, you could use some toffee ice-cream syrup or even melt a chunk of Crunchie bar into the coffee. Fill the cup with hot milk before finishing with a swirl of whipped cream. Crush up the Crunchie bar or cinder toffee into small nuggets and sprinkle over the top.

Toffee nut latte

Sure, you can find tons of pumpkin spice latte recipes online (I could dedicate a whole pinterest board to it!) but this year the big American coffee chain has a festive nut toffee latte on the menu this year. Even though I’m not a fan of nuts, I know that many of you will love this recipe so who am I to skip it? To recreate this recipe at home you will need: Coffee, caramel syrup, hazelnut syrup, hot milk, whipped cream and peanut brittle. Hopefully this will give you a similar taste, although I can’t be sure as I’ve never tried the original coffee shop version.Image by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk

Continue reading “Pieday Friday recipe – Coffee shop Christmas menu hacks” »

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close