Ahh it’s nearly time to take down those festive decorations and get your home back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is! Apparently decorations should be taken down by the “12th night”, although there seems to be some confusion over when that is – it’s either the 5th or the 6th January. Either way, the time for sparkly decorations is up – although I say why not leave it til the weekend when you’ve got more time to do it anyway? Or leave up those fairy lights all year, haha!So before everyone packs away their Christmas decs, I wanted to share some photos that my friend Sophia sent me of her caravan decorated for the holidays. Is there anything more lovely than a caravan covered in fairy lights?? To be honest I keep my Christmas lights in my caravan all year round; they’re solar powered so are an excellent cost-free light source! Please admire these pics of Sophia’s 1967 Sprite caravan renovation project all dressed-up for Christmas: We first started chatting when Sophia got in touch to ask where I got the window seals for my own Alpine Sprite caravan. She had just started work on her old 1967 Sprite in the USA and was planning a big revamp of the old camping vehicle. She’d seen my own carvan renovation project on my blog and knew that I’d have some tips to share about the fixtures and fittings for an old Sprite. Continue reading “The 12th Night & a 1967 Sprite caravan decorated for Christmas” »
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.I 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. I 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. 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. I 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!
Christmas is here again, bringing with it the dark nights, frosty mornings and frozen noses. Have you already decorated your home for Christmas? I bet your tree is up and the fairy lights are sparkling, am I right? But what about the other rooms in your home? Why not cultivate a cosy festive feeling in every room of your house? Don’t worry that Christmas is fast approaching, there’s still plenty of time! Here’s how to quickly transform every room to add a touch of winter cheer and welcome in readiness for the party season.The Living Room
The staple of every home is the living room, the place where family come together and relax after a hard day out in the cold. This season, nothing’s more important than spending time with family and friends, sharing memories, and making plans to create new ones. Turn your living room into a cosy winter wonderland just like the photo above by Lindsay Marcella by shutting off your main light and instead adding lamps and candles to create a warm, cosy winter hue. Add a touch of character and colour with sparkling fairy lights; drape them around door frames and windows. Scatter cushions are usually reserved for the bedroom, but a host of new, mismatched cushions on the sofa can make it feel all the more snuggly. Festive scented candles are a must-have for any winter living room too.
Oh my goodness, it’s Christmas next weekend. How did that happen? I feel like I’m not entirely ready for it yet so want to get a move on with planning my recipes for the festive period. I shared a round-up of my previous Christmassy recipes last week (including 2 types of gingerbread, coffee shop hacks and some Christmas cake ideas) but my favourite part of Christmas cooking is preparing snacks. I love to have hot crunchy savoury treats in the oven throughout the holidays (and mince pies too, of course) just in case a guest arrives. Surely, there’s nothing better than being welcomed into a home with a big plate of nibbles and treats, is there??I’ve made star tarts, pastry rolls, pizza twists and leftover pasties in the past but never have I attempted to make my own crisps. While I loooove crunchy crisps, I do worry about how healthy (or not!) they are, and I know that I’ll be tempted over Christmas. So when I began craving fried snacks I started to do some research into healthier ways to make my favourite treat. Let’s face it, I’m going to want to eat them all month long, and will definitely be dishing out bowls of crisps on New Years Eve too!It turns out that it IS possible to make crisps without a deep fryer, and all you need is a microwave. Considering that I got a new Panasonic steam combination microwave about three months ago, I was feeling very confident that I’d be able to pull off making my own crisps. It’s got a great range of power settings so knew I’d be able to adjust the power accordingly to get that perfect crunch. Well, noone wants a soggy crisp, do they? Here’s how I got on and the recipe for (wait for it…) parmesan and smoked paprika potato chips.Ingredients: Potatoes (1 ‘jacket’ sized potato will make a small bowlful of crisps), olive oil (or you could use Fry Light for an even healthier version), salt and pepper, dried parmesan and smoked paprika.
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. And 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?! Click 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).
It’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. It 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! Hope 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!
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.When 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.
I know I have. Well, every day in December is Christmas jumper day for me… but I’m talking about the official Christmas Jumper Day with a capital C, J and D. This year, Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day is taking place on Friday 16th December. Silliness will be sweeping the nation as schools, homes and offices across the country will be ditching their day-to-day dress for colourful, garish, crazy knitted jumpers instead.I’ve got my pink polka dot squirrel jumper (with sparkly sequinned acorn and fluffy furry tail) at the ready to wear on the big day. And the best bit is that all this silliness has a serious purpose – by sticking on a daft sweater and donating £2 to Save the Children through christmasjumperday.org you’ll be saving children’s lives and giving them a brighter future.
And that’s not the only way you can help. If you’ve finished with your festive jumper from last year why not take it to your nearest Save the Children store where unwanted Christmas jumpers will be resold (raising more funds for the charity) so that others can join in the festive fun on Christmas Jumper Day this year. You could also pick up an even sillier sweater at the same time to keep an eye out in stores this week.All the money raised through woolly-wearing will help give a child living in a refugee camp clothes to keep them warm through winter, or set up a safe space to give them the chance to be children again. It could also help bring essentials like healthcare, education, protection and food to the millions of children around the world who are missing out on the most basic support. All this, just by wearing a daft jumper – it’s a very silly way to solve some very serious problems!
I hope you’ll join in with all the fun on Friday 16th and hop onto the christmasjumperday.org website to donate. Happy Christmas Jumper Day all!
Today’s blog post is all about bringing a touch of festive cheer to your home this December. Hanging Christmas quotes and pretty festive scenes on your walls is an easy way to bring the spirit of Christmas into every room of the house. Yes, even the bathroom! Today I’m sharing some lovely yuletide designs to give you some inspiration for your own home. And that’s not all – TWO lucky winners will each win a £30 gift voucher to spend at Posterlounge on anything they like in my festive giveaway. Read on to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below..!
One of my favourite ways to decorate my home for Christmas is by using quotes and text. I guess it’s the design student in me coming out, but I think it’s a lovely way to give a nod to Christmas without going all-out santa-and-snowmen on your walls. The colours can match your existing decor to fit in seamlessly, but it’s the text that’s all-important. For example, this ‘merry and bright’ poster has a Christmas-card-worthy quote, but the colours are in opposition to this, looking much more spring-like than festive. I’d hang this one in my office to keep the festive feeling alive all December without going OTT.But, then again, OTT is what Christmas is all about! So why not go all out with snowglobe (above) and bauble (below) designs? I still love chalkboard drawings (after painting my walls with chalkboard paint, how can I not?) so these posters would look great in my home. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this style would fit in with most decors – country farmhouse, sleek modern or Victorian townhouse – and look really festive to boot. If you’re feeling arty, you could always try to draw your own design in chalk on an old blackboard, or go for the slightly easier option and hang a pre-printed chalkboard image instead.Try grouping a few festive designs together to create a gallery-style display. This way you can use co-ordinating text, images, patterns and colour to bring Christmas into your home in a really subtle and stylish way. For example, using gold text in the quote image above really pulls out the gold ‘snow’ from the pine tree image – simply throw in a few geometric baubles and you’ve got a thoroughly modern festive decor. Or if you’ve got pictures already hanging on your walls, why not change them for some christmassy designs in December? After all, the hooks are already in your walls and it’s simply a case of lifting off that graduation photo or the kids’ artwork and temporarily replacing them with some festive designs instead. Again, a touch of glinting gold in the posters is enough to catch the eye and tie in these images with your decorations. Red and gold always go together perfectly at Christmas, let’s face it! And just look at this adorable presents table decorated with a mummy and baby deer design (below). This has got to be my favoutire design of all; I love the ‘googie’ style print with atomic star bursts and the subtle mid-century modern colours are just right for a period home. I could imagine this as a Christmas card sent straight from the 50s! Hanging fairy lights around the poster highlights this lovely little spot as the place to put your Christmas gifts.And now that I’ve shared a few different ways to include Christmassy artwork in your home, we’ll move swiftly on to the giveaway. The brand behind all these gorgeous artist-made posters is Posterlounge and they have very kindly offered to give 2 lucky readers an early Christmas present. There are two £30 gift vouchers up for grabs, and you can spend them on anything you like from the Posterlounge website – it doesn’t have to just be their extensive Christmas range – you could choose a motivational quote for your office or a stunning abstract painting for your living room. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and very best of luck!
Giveaway open to UK residents only. Giveaway runs from 4th December to 14th December 2016. 2 winners will be drawn at random after the closing date via Rafflecopter and will be contacted by email.
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.This 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!I 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.All 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.
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.
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.Brew 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!
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.Brew 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.