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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DIY photobooth props for weddings and parties

This has to be the quickest DIY project I’ve ever done. I don’t even have a step-by-step guide to share with you. But I do have some before and after photos so you can see just how effective this easy project is. Roll on wedding season!I wanted to make some pretty frames to use in a photobooth at a party. These are great for Christmas parties, birthdays, hen parties and anniversaries. And of course, the photobooth is almost a tradition at weddings now! This project really was as simple as:

  1. Take the back off an ornate picture frame and remove the glass
  2. Spray paint with metallic paint.

Okay the 3rd step might be to give the frames a second coat of spray paint. It’s important to only spray paint with fine coats of paint to make sure that the paint doesn’t drip. So it’s better to do two or three thin layers to build up the colour rather than one thick coat. And…

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How to make your party memorable

We all love to party and have fun with our friends and family, but sometimes events can be bit of a chore. We eat the same foods, do the same things for entertainment and see the same faces. Eventually, it’ll just get boring and we’ll probably stop going to as many parties as we used to — but that’s no fun! I love going to parties, and blogger events are the best. I’ve been inspired by some of the fab blogger events I’ve been to recently and have come up with a list of things you can do to turn a party into a truly memorable occasion. Here are some tips for doing away with those boring generic parties – spice it up with a couple of these fun ideas.

Make it an occasion

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a reason to have a party. Perhaps you have an upcoming anniversary, maybe it’s just an end-of-the-month party, or perhaps there’s a big sports game coming up soon. Whether or not you watch sports or care that it’s the end of the month, that doesn’t mean it’s not an occasion to have a party! When you plan an event to coincide with something else, it’s usually easier for the people you invite to remember it and, despite being something trivial, it could turn into a much more meaningful party.

Theme your parties

Always try to mix it up and have parties with different themes. Maybe you could have a fancy dress party one week and then a more formal dinner party another night. Perhaps you could theme a child’s party around their favourite superhero or cartoon character, and maybe you could have a cheeky night in with your friends to watch a film, play some games or do something creative together. Perhaps you could create some DIY neon signs like my ‘Candy’ one above to add to a colourful theme, or perhaps invest in some props to decorate your home with.

Check out my I Heart NY party and Galentine’s party ideas.

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Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week on the 14th February, I thought I would share some ideas with you for an inexpensive night in with your other half.If you want to avoid the crowds in busy restaurants and don’t fancy filling your home with heart-shaped mugs and pink teddy bears, this could be the solution to both your Valentine’s gifts and evening celebration. Read on to find out more and to enter my Valentine’s giveaway to win a fabulous prize bundle from Dartington Crystal and Bolsius candles. I’m talking about an at-home wine tasting. Or beer tasting. Or simply a mocktail evening, if that’s what you fancy. Pop on some music, light some candles and start sipping! The candles create a relaxed atmosphere and will transform your living room or kitchen into a cosy, intimate space for conversation to flow. Spending time together is the nicest thing about Valentine’s Day, so take this opportunity to have a good old catch-up without the distraction of the TV or internet. Of course, this type of evening in would be lovely whatever the occasion, whether it’s a birthday, your wedding anniversary or just a Friday night. Drinks-wise, you could treat yourselves to a bottle of wine, or go for the mini-bottles (like my tiny Prosecco bottle – just the right amount for two!) if you want to cut costs. This will also help to minimise wastage if you can’t drink a whole bottle on a school night..! Continue reading “Valentine’s gifts & an idea for a romantic evening at home” »


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DIY Christmas decor – Snowy pom-pom letters mantlepiece display

With Christmas fast approaching, my latest DIY project is a rather festive one indeed. Yes, I’ve got my trusty glue gun out again and I’ve been busy attaching pom-poms to anything that stays still! Since decorating the Christmas tree, I decided that my mantlepiece was looking rather empty and after a bit of pondering, I came up with these ‘snow’ letters to dress the top of the fireplace. And yes, I filmed the whole process so that I could make a step-by-step video to show you how it’s done. cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-21 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-27 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-6And I’ve been thinking of all of you who don’t necessarily have space for a tree, because these snowy letters only take up the space of a mantlepiece or shelf yet it still makes for a rather impressive and imposing display. This decoration project can be made any size (depending on what kind of craft letters you find) and any colour – just change the spray paint and pom-pom colours to make a bright red SANTA sign or even a sparkly pink ‘LOVE’ display for Valentine’s Day early next year. Multicoloured pom-pom letters could be used to make a birthday celebration display or why not make a glitzy metallic “2017” sign for your New Year’s Eve party?!cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-19 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-1 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-8Click on the video below to view the step-by-step guide.

To make this project you will need:

  • Large craft letters – I got mine from Hobbycraft for £4 each, but I’ve seen cardboard letters for just £1 in The Range.
  • A glue gun and glue sticks – I use the Bostik DIY glue gun because it’s made for DIY projects and is therefore sturdier than a craft glue gun. The Bostik all-purpose glue sticks were a budget refill pack at just £2.84. The cheapest price I could find on glue guns and refills was at the UK Tool Centre – take a look & put one on your Christmas list!
  • White spray primer (or coloured spray paint if you prefer) – I used Plastikote 2500 primer in white (also ordered from UK Tool Centre, so if you’re buying tools for Christmas, use discount code UKTO6OFF80 for £6 off an £80 order.)
  • Cotton wool – I picked up a large bag of cotton wool balls from Superdrug for 75p
  • Various sizes and types of pom-poms – The teeny tiny pom-poms came from Etsy and I got the iridescent pom-poms from The Range £1.50 for a pack of 80, and a pack of 40 is available in Poundland too.
  • Optional extras – Miniature trees and figures – I tracked mine down (excuse the pun) in a model railway shop.
  • Snow spray and glittery faux snow (from Poundland or similar).

cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-2 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-9 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-13cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-12It’s a really quick and easy project to do too – the thing that takes the longest time is waiting for the paint to dry. Which, in fact, doesn’t even take that long. I’ve shared the step-by-step guide on my YouTube channel today so you can see just how easy the process is. I’ve even included a time lapse of all the pom-pom gluing so that you can see how the letters can be built up with lots of different layers and sizes of pom-poms.cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-5 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-10 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-16 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-15 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-17It was actually great fun to make this decoration, and having the glue gun make it super-easy. I wouldn’t like to tackle the project without one – I think that I’d get in a right muddle with superglue! I really enjoy sitting down to make something with my own hands and I’m thrilled that, with a little bit of effort, I’ve got a Christmas decoration in my home that no-one else has. That is, until you all follow this tutorial and make it for yourselves! cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-18 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-23 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-24 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-28Hope you’ve enjoyed looking through all the photos I took at each stage, and don’t forget to check out the video on YouTube for the full step-by-step instructions (and please give me a subscribe if you like it!). Let me know how you get on with this project and please tag me in your photos @Cassiefairy if you have a go at making this Christmas mantlepiece display for yourself! Here are some more pics – enjoy!


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DIY Halloween decorations – fishnet lantern project

Today’s DIY blog post is perfect for a classy Halloween party. It’s a project taken from Mason Jar Nation, which I reviewed earlier this year. You can find a fire-lighting DIY project and a butter-making recipe here on my blog, both of which came from this fantastic book. The tealight holder below looks fabuously spooky for your Halloween celebration, especially if you’ve got adults coming round to ‘trick or treat’ too! Read the extract from the book below and find out how to make this decoration for yourself:fishnet-lantern_aIn his 1957 collection, Mythologies, French literary theorist Roland Barthes penned an essay entitled “Striptease.” In it he enumerated the “classic props of the music hall.” His list included, “the furs, the fans, the glove, the feathers, and the fishnet stocking.” Much like apple pie and ice cream or peanut butter and jelly, feathers and fishnets have made, and will always make, a perfect pairing. Using them to turn a Mason jar into an alluring lantern takes minutes—if not seconds—leaving you time to concentrate on pairings of a different sort. Ooh-la-la.fishnet-lantern_bProject Supplies

1 black fishnet anklet, approximately 9’’ long, 1 quart-size, wide-mouth Mason jar, 1 wide-mouth jar band, 1 feather-embellished hair clip, 1 battery-operated pillar candle fishnet-lantern_cMAKING YOUR FISHNET LANTERNS Continue reading “DIY Halloween decorations – fishnet lantern project” »


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DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch

Today I’m sharing another fantastic DIY project that I found in Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. This patterned branch would be a great photo backdrop for a party or could even be hung in your home to introduce a rustic feeling to the room. I love to decorate my living room for autumn with pumpkins and flowers, so I’d hang something like this above my sideboard, using autumnal colours and textured fabrics.decorate-for-a-party-p127-photography-by-holly-beckerThis project is also a great way to use up all those fabric offcuts that are too small and thin to use but that you just can’t throw can away! If you have a rummage through your sewing cupboard you’ll probably find all the scraps you need! Or you can buy some low-cost fabric odds-and-ends or ribbons from the haberdashery. It’s a really quick and simple project and all the step-by-step details are below. Plus, there’s a couple more ideas for using branches and fabric this autumn too, such as this fun den and cute packed lunches (below). Have fun making this autumnal decoration and let me know how you get on if you give it a try!decorate-for-a-party-p123-photography-by-holly-beckerThis branch can be made before your party to mark the party spot or later, during your party by inviting the children to help you, because it’s easy and fun. Or, for a party you’re hosting at home, you can make one to display over a buffet or even in another room of your home as additional decor.

YOU WILL NEED a straight branch, cotton fabrics in various prints, white linen (lightweight), pine cones, thin copper wire, scissors, string

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Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween

A slightly different take on the classic festive gingerbread man, this cookie dough contains cocoa powder so it produces a dark, crisp biscuit. When cut out with a gingerbread cutter they’re the perfect shape for icing a skeleton design for Halloween. The darker colour biscuit emphasises the spooky shape and tastes even better than normal gingerbread thanks to all the chocolate in the recipe!diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-12I think that these homemade biscuits would be great to give out to trick-or-treaters or could be the dessert for your spooky Halloween party. Here’s how to make the dough and bake the perfect chocolate gingerbread skeletons:diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-11Ingredients for around 18 biscuits (depending on the size of your cutter): 300g plain flour, 50g cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 120g butter, 120g brown sugar, 140g golden syrup, icing sugar for icing the skeleton shape.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-puddingdiy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-2Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa, ginger powder and butter together in a bowl. Either use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, like a crumble recipe, or put into a food processor and pulse together until it forms a crumbly consistency. Drizzle in the golden syrup and continue pulsing the processor until it forms a dough, or mix with a knife if you’re doing it the manual way.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-3Step 2: Divide the dough into quarters and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough then peel away the top layer of paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-4 diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-5diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-6Step 3: Use a gingerbread man cutter to press shapes into the dough. Peel away the excess dough, leaving the gingerbread man shapes on the greaseproof paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-8

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A pile of poo and a goat – festive gifts that help others

I’m not even going to say the ‘C’ word yet but I know that many of you are already planning – and buying – your seasonal gifts. In fact, I’m heading out to the high street tomorrow to gather some stocking fillers myself so I know that (if you’re at all like me) you’re already making a shopping list. And possibly checking it twice. Which is why I wanted to jump in feet first today with an idea for what to get ‘the person who has everything’.

Photo credit: Oxfam GB

My answer is; nothing. I’m not being rude, but what I tend to find these days is that everyone gets whatever they want for themselves all year round, so they don’t really need anything in particular. On top of this, we’ve all got limited space in our homes. I know how sad it makes me to receive a big generous gift when I don’t have anywhere to put it. I’m not ungrateful, I love the present, but I have like, literally nowhere to keep it. I have to store so many things ‘for later’ because I just don’t have the room at the moment.

So my solution is a simple one; buy something for someone else instead. I’m talking about charity gifts and, as an Oxfam blogger, I wanted to share details of their festive packages in case you’re already looking for a secret santa present for someone who already has plenty of everything. There are lots of Oxfam charity gift ideas on the website (starting at just £5) but I’m just going to mention my top two today – a pile of poo and a goat.

Photo credit: Oxfam GB

Imagine giving someone a pile of poo for Christmas – it would be the talk of the office as a secret santa gift, wouldn’t it?! I love the tongue-in-cheek nature of the gift, but it’s a whole lot more helpful than the name makes out. The gift is a 100% natural mix of manure and organic fertilizer so that someone can grow their own vegetables and feed their family. It also includes training on how to plant crops so that they are more successful in growing food. This means that the family will have a more varied diet, their health will improve with regular meals and they can sell any excess produce to raise money for other things, such as sending their children to school. Amazing what a pile of poo can do, isn’t it?

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DIY thrifty Halloween decorations – flying paper bats garland

Need some low cost decorations for your Halloween party? Look no further! You can make this flying bats garland in a matter of minutes and use it to decorate your dinner table, to hang at your windows or cover your porch. Make as many garland strands as you like, make the thread as long as you like and add as many bats as you like!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-8 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-projectI made lots of strands of 3-5 bats to cover the wall above my sideboard this Halloween. This gives a staggered effect and allows the bats to float around freely. I think it looks spooky for Halloween but not too scary (so is more suitable for younger children’s parties) or sophisticated enough for grown-up Halloween gatherings.halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-9 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-2halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-4I think that showing you how to make the bats ‘fly’ on the thread is better than trying to explain the steps, so check out my video to see how it’s done. You can see just how quick it is to make a garland of bats, so it’s easy to make a large quantity to cover your walls and windows this Halloween. After decorating my wall I’ve decided to keep my trick-or-treat snacks on the sideboard ready for Halloween – I just need to get a pumpkin and I’m ready!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-5 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-3Here’s the video on YouTube: diy-video-thrifty-halloween-decorations-flying-paper-bats-projectLet me know if you have a go at making these paper bats by leaving me comment below or tagging me in your Instagram photos. And please do get in touch if you have any questions about the steps – I hope the video helps to explain it okay 🙂 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-7halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-6/a>


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How to plan a beautiful baby shower

When your pal is expecting her baby it’s a joyous occasion that you may wish to celebrate. Gathering all her friends around for a lovely afternoon tea party is a lovely way to celebrate your friend, and can even be used to reveal the gender of the baby. It’s basically a much calmer, daytime version of the hen party and you all had a great time at that party, didn’t you?! Basically, I think that any opportunity for a party and to get together with friends should be taken so here are my tips for baby showers:

baby-gold-party-shower-gender-reveal-partiesImage from BestFriendsForFrosting.com

Location: It’s likely that a baby shower will take place in someone’s home. Perhaps grandmother-to-be has a big enough conservatory to serve up an afternoon tea? Maybe a summer garden party is more your thing? Either of these options will hep to keep costs to a minimum as you won’t have to pay out for a venue. However it does mean that you’ll have to sort out the food yourself. Alternatively, a lovely lunch could be arranged at a favourite restaurant or tea shop, so ask around for prices per head and see if you can get a deal for a group booking. decorate-for-a-party-p131-photography-by-leslie-shewring

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