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 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

Continue reading “DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch” »


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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

Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween” »


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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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3 ideas for a Halloween night in

Halloween has turned into one of the biggest nights of the year in many people’s social calendars. Bars and restaurants run Halloween-themed events and parties and it’s a great excuse to get dressed up in your weirdest and wildest fancy dress and hit the town. However, if going out doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other ways to have fun at Halloween. Have a bowl of sweets at the ready for any trick or treat callers, and then settle down to a spooky night in with the girls.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-11
Check out my DIY glitter pumpkin tutorial for Halloween

Murder Mystery Night
Playing a game of murder mystery is a great option for a bigger group of people, but you have to be willing to prepare ahead. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be too imaginative – buy or download a murder mystery kit, choose a theme and tell each of your friends the role they’re going to play. Just follow the instructions in the kit and the evening should go off without a hitch. Then see which of your friends makes the best Miss Marple amongst you all!halloween-nail-art-manicure-tutorial-using-permanent-pens-white-and-black

Why not give your friends a spooky manicure? Continue reading “3 ideas for a Halloween night in” »


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Ideas for a grown-up bonfire night dinner party

Remember, remember the 5th of November… Tonight is bonfire night and it’s as the celebration is occurring mid-week this year, it seems like the fireworks have been going off all week long! There were displays last weekend and there are definitely more happening this weekend too, with the occasional home celebration in between. Although I love fireworks, it’s been more of a pain than a delight for me to have fireworks going off all week long, as my cats get stressed out and the prolonged celebration means that they have been less-than happy this week. Even so I will be celebrating tonight with a grown-up dinner party and I’d like to share some ideas with you in case you were thinking of doing the same, either tonight or at the weekend!

Firstly, make your dinner table look extra-special: simply adding napkins and wine glasses (even if you’re only serving soft drinks!) can make all the difference to your table. Pick out your best crockery or if you’re thinking of investing in new dishes for Christmas, do it now and get double-use out of them – try John Lewis for a great selection of festive and classic crockery. Just adding a few candles in jars will add to the festive atmosphere of bonfire night and will keep the table well-lit on a dark evening.

autumnal table setting with candles

image source

Next, decide on a suitably bonfire-themed menu. This doesn’t have to be sausages in buns because tonight we won’t be standing in a field but will be seated in the comfort of our own home, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t go all-out with a fireworks feast! There’s nothing better than holding a steaming cup of soup with gloved hands when you’re cold on bonfire night so I would recommend bringing this tradition indoors and serving a warming spiced butternut squash soup with chunky bread and crumbled blue stilton – check out my recipe on the blog.butternut-squash-and-stilton-soup-recipe-on-cassiefairys-pieday-friday-cookery-blogFor the main course, go for a traditional bonfire night meal such as spicy chilli or pulled pork with jacket potatoes and rice. I’ve already prepared my chilli in advance and will definitely be eating this autumnal meal this evening. Here’s my favourite recipe for a 5 bean chilli – just change the quorn for mince if you’re a meat-eater!chilli cooking 1I’ve decided that a few sparklers at home are enough fireworks for me so I’ll be ending the evening with a swish of sparkle outside in the garden – here are the shapes we made last year, and we even got out the torches to create some long-exposure movement photos.

fireworks night - sparklersfireworks night - sparklers heart

Let me know what you think of my plans and whether you’re planning something similar too? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment below 🙂


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Spooky ideas for DIY Halloween nail art

It’s at this time of year that I start to go a little crazy with my nails. I pick out the darker colours and I load up on glitter. I love a bit of simple nail-art as much as the next girl so I like to get my pens out and get creative. And what better excuse to go wild with your nails than Halloween?! It’s almost expected that you’ll have crazy nails for Halloween and I even love to wear a little ghoulish nail art during the day to get into the spooky spirit in the run up to the Halloween party on Friday. avon nail polish pumpkin halloween nails bonfire christmas orange art glitterHere is one of my more ‘subtle’ looks for Halloween and I call them my pumpkin princess nails. It’s a couple of coats of bright orange polish with a little gold glitter over the top. I think this looks like a candle twinkling inside a pumpkin and it’s an easy way to wear a Halloween look on your nails without going all-out crazy!

halloween-manicure-diy-nail-art-tutorial-orange-and-black-pumpkin-faceshalloween-nail-art-manicure-tutorial-using-permanent-pens-white-and-black

A bit more interesting but equally easy are these ghoulish designs. I’ve simply painted all my nails in plain white or orange and then drawn on devilish designs using permanent marker pen. I love the pumpkin faces and enjoy thinking up different scary expressions for each finger. I think that these are ‘friendly’ so designs are fun to draw and they cheer up everyone I see! I’ve gone for a selection of spider, bat, ghost and skeleton images on the white background.

Firework nail polish varnish opia eyeko models own disco mix avon gold purple silver blue bonfire night

And when Halloween is over, I’ll be immediately moving on to these firework fingers! Each nail is painted with a metallic midnight blue base coat for the night sky and then different glitter effects and colours are applied to each finger to look like different firework explosions!

Let me know if you try out any of these looks for Halloween and I would love to see you photos so please tweet me @Cassiefairy 🙂


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DIY glitter pumpkins for Halloween

Yes, I grew these pumpkins in my garden. Can you believe it? I’m still surprised myself! I want to use them to decorate my home for Halloween but I’m really rather poor at pumpkin carving so I thought about other ways that I could inject a little ‘Halloweeniness’ and I came up with this glitter pumpkin DIY.happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorialI tried out a few methods of applying the glitter so that you don’t necessarily need to have to the same ‘ingredients’ as me to get a similar effect. I started with what I found to be the easiest method, which was using used a spray adhesive to spray the top of one of my pumpkins so that the glitter would stick, then I simply sprinkled on some very fine gold glitter (which I picked up from Hobbycraft) all over the top.

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-3 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-5

This gave a lovely even coverage and it looks like quite a glitzy glamorous pumpkin. I think this effect would be best for dinner party table decorations as it’s quite classy and simple, and you could also spray the adhesive all over the pumpkins for a complete coverage which would twinkle in the candlelight.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-9 DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-8

For a more traditional Halloween party pumpkin I’ve used PVA glue to paint the words ‘Happy Halloween’ on to the largest pumpkin. I first used a market pen to write the lettering and then I used a small paint brush to apply the PVA glue over the lettering. I then sprinkled all over the letters before the magic moment of blowing all the excess glitter off the pumpkin to reveal the greeting.

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-2 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-9 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-10 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-12DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-10I also decided to decorate my last pumpkin with PVA glue and I simply squeezed the glue onto the top of the pumpkin and let it run down the sides for a ‘drippy’ effect. Actually, this was a very messy process so I’d recommend doing this on top of newspaper and when there are enough drips covering the sides of the pumpkin you can sprinkle on more glitter. Blow off the excess again and leave it to dry completely before moving it into position – I got a couple of glittery PVA drips on the sideboard , whoops!

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-6 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-7 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-8DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-7These last two pumpkin designs could be completed using a glitter-glue pen or you could vary the design to use different colours of glitter or even different quotes such as ‘beware!’ or ‘be very afraid’ and so on. I arranged my pumpkins together with some oranges and a few candles which really made the glitter sparkle in the flickering light.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorialDIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-6

What do you think of my DIY decorations? Will you have at go at making them for yourself? Any suggestions of how I could have made this a less-messy task?! Please leave me a comment below and I’d love to see your photos if you try it out for yourself!

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-11


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Thrifty fairy lights for Christmas AND Halloween!

I know I sometimes go on about Christmas a little too early but this time it’s for good reason: If you get your fairy lights for Christmas sorted out now, you can make the most of them by using the lights to decorate Halloween too! I’ve already got a few packs down from the loft – especially some red and green ones that I picked up in the sale last year – and I’m planning on stringing them up outside my house ready for Halloween.

Scary window display & red berry lights from John Lewis

Using fairy lights is a great way to make your home look inviting when you want to welcome families of Trick Or Treat-ers to your door; you could line your windows with lights and stick some spooky silhouettes to the glass. It’s good to put out the traditional lit pumpkin too, but fairy lights can even help to illuminate your path if you spread them out along the ground or attach them to poles to create a twinkling rope fence. The lights will give an eerie glow on the approach to your house and will be especially scary in red!

illuminated trees & colourful outdoor lights from John Lewis

Weaving fairy lights around your trees in the garden is especially good if you’re having a Halloween party as it will provide another ‘room’ for party-goers as they spill out onto your patio and will keep the party going outside as well as inside. You could also use traditional white fairy lights to wrap around pumpkins or to fill jars and lantern, and place these around the porch or even indoors on the dinner party table.

I think these are fabulous ways to create a scary decor for Halloween and wouldn’t you agree that buying your Christmas fairy lights now is a thrifty way to make the most of your purchase?! Plus you’ll be ready to decorate your Christmas tree and home as soon as December 1st arrives, haha!


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Halloween hairstyles

Halloween is my favourite time of year. I love getting dressed up, covering myself in fake blood and putting on those all-important cat ears which, if I’m honest, have seen a lot of wear over the years. However, not everyone is a fan of fancy dress and some people can feel a little bit embarrassed when walking down the street. Luckily for you, I’m here to help.

This time of year always brings back those styling tricks and tools that you had almost forgotten about. From serious backcombing to old school crimping, there are so many different types of hairstyles to choose from to help bring out your darker side. halloween hairstyles 1

To achieve extreme, hair-raising volume, all you need is some hairspray and a comb. Start to segment your hair and backcomb each section at the roots. Don’t be afraid to be as messy as you want. To get an even more terrifying look, why not backcomb the whole length of your hair, or add some hairspray into the roots to make your hair stand on end. This is an extravagant look and works perfectly for Halloween. You could also add in a few curls or create an oversized quiff or updo for your fright-night look.halloween hair

I’m sure many of you still have crimpers hidden away somewhere (I know I do), so delve into your drawers and give them a quick dust off. You never know, it may be the perfect hairstyle for your Halloween costume and you may even thank me for it!

Being artistic with your make-up is another way to get that unearthly yet chic style. Try framing your eyes with dark shades of brown, green or purple eye shadow, extending your eyeliner beyond your lid and shading in your eyebrows to deepen your ghoulish look. Ghost white complexions are almost a must on Halloween, so apply plenty of light powder or white face paint to create this effect and finish with nude/light pink lips.hairstyles for halloween

So, what do you think you will be dressing up as this Halloween? Have you thought about what you will do with your hair? Let me know in the comments below!

John Frieda have kindly offered Cassiefairy readers the chance to win some fabulous Sheer Blonde Go Blonder products and YOU could win the kit below for yourself by entering my competition on Twitter – simply follow @Cassiefairy and retweet the competition tweet – click here to enter !

Sheer Blonde Competition

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