Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

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


Inspiration Challenge ~ What we made in September & new challenge for October

The theme for September’s Inspiration Challenge was bears – based on this cute image of 3 antique bears. We were challenged to make anything inspired by this theme and Abakhan Fabrics were kind enough to sponsor the challenge with a prize of this cute floral sewing kit:

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears win sewing kit from abakhan

1. I made this teddy bear for my nephew’s Christening gift earlier in the month, so my part of the challenge was all finished by mid-September, which makes a change because I’m usually finishing something off at the last minute! I shared my progress in this blog post during the month, and here’s a photo of the finished teddy below. My nephew nearly didn’t get him as a gift because,¬†by the time I’d finished stitching the bear together, I’d loved it so much that I didn’t want to give it away! But I thought of my one-year-old nephew and godchild and realised that he’s love it as much as I did as her grew older (it’s not for playing with right now, because of the small parts!) so I packed teddy up in a straw-lined box and handed him over. I was very careful not to name it, because then I’d get even more attached!

cassiefairys inspiration challenge teddy bear

2. Katy from Etsy store Ella Betsy Boo turned her hand to cross-stitching and created this cute little bear motif. She sent me a sneaky-peek preview of her project during September and here is a photo of the framed finished artwork. I am always so impressed with cross-stitch because it’s such a time-consuming craft, that takes a lot of patience and you only really see the result at the end. I’ve often wanted to have a go at cross-stitching, but I’ve not yet taken the time to learn how to do it, and even if I did I think I would lose heart half-way through! So a great crafty make from Katy this month – well done ūüôā

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Inspiration Challenge ~ a fabulous prize for September!

How are you getting on with this month’s inspiration challenge? The theme was antique bears and I’m so excited to see what everyone will come up with – maybe a cross-stitch, a greetings card, scrapbooking page, drawing or anything else crafty or stitchy!

I’m delighted to say that my favourite haberdashery shop are sponsoring the inspiration challenge again this month and the prize up for grabs is this handy vintage-inspired sewing kit in a gorgeous floral case below. To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize from Abakhan, please send me photos of your teddy bear projects before 30th September to and the winner will be picked at random (using! I’m not judging the projects, so it doesn’t have to be the best item you’ve ever created – it’s just for fun and to see what you can create from the ‘antique bears’ starting point.

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears win sewing kit from abakhan

I’ve been cracking on with my make already this month (I’m usually a bit last-minute with my projects!) and I’m making a bear for my nephew. It’s his christening next week, so I will need to have completed it by then in order to give it to him as a gift! I got a bear-making book out of the local library and photocopied the patterns in the book, but when I started making the bear, I realised it would be a bit too small so I scaled-up the pattern (in a very haphazard way by drawing a line around the outside!) and I’ve started making the limbs! I’ve used a striped cotton that I bought from the Preston Abakhan store when my nephew was first born last year and I’ve added little blue gingham paws and feet pads! It’s still a work in progress so I’ll show you more during the monthly Inspiration Challenge roundup when the little bear is finished. ūüôā

cassiefairys inspiration challenge on the blog - sewing a teddy bear for my nephews christening gift

Don’t forget to email me with your projects – good, bad or indifferent! – whenever you have finished them and in the meantime check out Abakhan online for all kinds of fabrics, hobby and craft goodies!

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Inspiration Challenge ~ What we made in August & new theme for September

inspiration challenge for august 2013 vintage wedding dress from lucylovesya blog

I was delighted when Lucy from set such a lovely theme for August by sending in her vintage¬†wedding dress photo as a starting point for our August makes. It was a very apprioriate theme seeing as we were at the height of wedding season in August and my favourite online haberdashery Abakhan Fabrics offered us a fabulous prize of a Simplicity Sewing Pattern for special occasion dresses in 6 different styles ‚Äď great for bridesmaids, wedding guest outfits, prom dresses or just for wearing on a night out – and it is very appropriate considering our wedding dress theme!

simplicty sewing pattern from abakhan prize for aug inspiration challenge

1. Early in the month I made a little tutu for my brand-new niece using pieces of wedding dress fabric. I had some pieces of tulle that were cut from my wedding dress when the alterations were made to my dress waaaay back when I got married 10 years ago. My sister-in-law also had a layer of chiffon removed from her wedding dress too and I combined this with my dress fabric and some very soft tulle in pale pink (from Abakhan) and baby blue to create a tiny baby tutu. I stitched lengths of the fabric to a ribbon and then attached this length of tutu to a fresh white babygrow and gave it to my new niece for her christening gift.

inspiration challenge cassiefairy tulle tutu for child babygrow

2. Seamstress Lucy¬†sent in this very cute¬†sewing project that she¬†tells me¬†she has been meaning to do for ages!¬†It’s a handy little zipped bag¬†that she created using lace fabric left-over from her wedding dress. The bag would be used to hold all her little wedding bits that she doesn’t want to lose – a great idea for any bride and I should make one too¬†for all my bits that are currently packed away in a shoebox and give them the storage they deserve!

Inspiration Challenge wedding dress theme handmade bag by LucyLovesya blog

3. Glass artist Alison made these amazing crocheted flowers below to add to all the floral displays at her own wedding this August. She used metallic wool and sparkly buttons to jazz up her table centrepieces¬†and bridesmaids’ bouquets. I don’t know how she found the time to make 100s of these gorgeous flowers while organising the whole wedding and looking after her cute baby son too¬† – what an achievement! I think these would look excellent made into as brooches or hair accessories after the wedding too.

cassiefairy inspiration challenge wedding theme august 2013 crocheted flowers and photography

4. Photographer Andy took beautiful panoramic¬†photographs (above) of a friend’s wedding that he attended in August. He used a splicing technique to create a very wide-angle sweep around the wedding venue and he captured the guests milling around the courtyard following the ceremony, both of which he has sent to the bride and groom so that they can remember the details of the medieval building that was the venue for their ceremony.

inspiration challenge for august 2013 vintage wedding dress winning simplicity sewing pattern prize winner

All the lovely craft, art¬†and sewing projects that were received¬†this month have been put¬†into a prize draw using and the winner of this lovely¬†Simplicity sewing pattern¬†has been chosen¬†– its¬†number 2 Lucy – Congratulations! The prize is provided¬†by¬†but don’t worry if you didn’t win this time – all of the Simplicity sewing patterns are 50% off at Abakhan Fabrics online until 14th September so you can get your hands on any of their easy-to-sew patterns right now!

And here is the new theme for your September Inspiration Challenge projects – bears.

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears

This photo of a vintage set of the¬†bear family from Goldilocks and the Three Bears is from the Antique Teddy Bear Crossing blog, where old bears get new homes, and I think it is the ideal starting point for September when the weather starts getting colder and all I want to do is snuggle up with a duvet and a teddy bear! So take inspiration from the bears themselves, from¬†children’s stories or even just be inspired by the fluffy fabric – the choice is yours! Whatever you make, send me your photos before the end of September 2013 and tweet me with your progress throughout the month @CassiefairyTutu.¬†It’s just for¬†fun so have a go at¬†making anything that you’ve been inspired¬†to create – and if you’ve not yet joined in with the Inspiration Challenge, take the plunge and have a go at making something this month, I’d love to see your creations, whatever they are!

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My beach hut cushion + the Inspiration Challenge

I’m delighted to say that I’ve had a few messages asking for a quick tutorial on how I made my beach hut cushion for the beach hut Inspiration Challenge in June. So I’m pleased to share the step-by-step photos of my cushion with you all today and I also want to remind you that there is still plenty of time to get involved and make something¬† for July’s Inspiration Challenge too!

First, I chose a selection of fabrics from my stash of fat quarters (mainly from wholeport¬†and some thrifted¬†from old clothing) to cut out the beach hut shapes and I snipped around a lighthouse design on the piece of Porto fabric I already had from Abakhan. I positioned these on the sky-blue “background” piece of fabric and pinned them down before machine-sewing around the edges.

inspiration challenge for June beach hut cushion by cassiefairy using abakhan porto

I then stuck on some sticky fabric-tape (like washi-tape but made of fabric, I found mine on Ebay) for the beach hut roofs and went over this with a line of stitching too. When it came to attaching the sun and the seagull, I added a little adhesive webbing to the back of the pieces and ironed them in place before sewing over the top.

For the sea I layered up pieces of folded fabric with sparkly ribbon, running lines of stitching back and forth using the sewing machine. This was my favourite part of the cushion and I’d like to do this effect all over a cushion front next time, perhaps with a rainbow of colours or use co-ordinating fabrics to create a striped/patchwork effect.


I then stitched the front ‘picture’ piece of fabric to two pieces of pink fleece which overlapped to form the back of the cushion cover – leaving a flap to put my cushion pad inside. When I had finished, I realised how well the cushion matched my vintage Paddington Bear pillow case – it even has a red lighthouse too!

Please join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge. The theme is Maneki¬†Neko/Lucky Animals and you can make anything you like with this inspiration as a¬†starting point. Even if you’ve never made anything before, maybe this month it is the perfect time to start crafting, sewing, painting or writing and I’d love to see what you come up with! Send me your projects to and I’ll share your photos and links at the start of next month – and don’t forget that there is a special prize draw to win a ceramic lucky cat and a purse from – all the projects will be entered¬†into a prize draw and the winner will be picked at random on the 1st August!

inspiration challenges for July maneki neko

Other Inspiration Challenge articles


My new sewing project – making roman blinds

I recently spotted¬†a gorgeous lighthouse curtain fabric from the new Abakhan¬†fabrics range online and I knew it would be perfect for my kitchen. I’m planning to decorate my kitchen with a lovely fresh blue colour scheme and I wanted to use red and white¬†as feature colours for the room, so this pattern incorporates all these colours and lends a coastal feel¬†to the kitchen. I think this fabric would look great in a bathroom too,¬†or even as upholstery fabric in a campervan or for beach hut curtains! Basically, I’m trying to make my kitchen look as holiday-cottage-like as possible haha!

cassiefairy roman blind moodboard featuring the mustard ceiling and aberkhan fabric

I’ve got a length of the Abakhan Porto Lighthouse fabric in beige (which is double-width at 280cm) and some matching thermal lining fabric and, having taken inspiration from the images above, I’m planning to make a roman blind for the kitchen.¬†Maybe I’ll even make a pot-holder and oven glove if I have enough fabric left over! I always thought that it would be pretty difficult to make a roman blind, and this is the first time that I’m attempting it, but I’ve done a lot of research and have read up on lots of tutorials, so I’m fairly confident that I can make a pretty blind for my little kitchen window. I’ll update you soon, and hopefully share step-by-step photos too, so watch this space!

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