Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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What to get for the mother who has everything..!

Well she’s already got me, so what more does she need?? haha! But seriously, it’s Mother’s Day on 30th March and I know you’ll all be wanting to shower the women in your life with treats for doing that most difficult job of all. So what can you make and what would you like to buy for your ‘supermum’? I’ve done a little research to make it even easier for you to spoil your mother at the end of the month and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Make your mother a card with a detachable ‘Super Mum’ badge that she can wear all day long! This tutorial from TrimCraft blog shares DIY instructions and even a printable template for the badge so check it out and give it a go for yourself!

DIY mothers day card and jewellery gift ideas

To make it the most special Mother’s Day yet, visit the Swag website to find a sparkly treat for your mother such as this Pandora bangle from the Mother’s Day collection or Diamonfire’s special cubic zirconia heart locket necklace above.

Or how about taking your mum out for a special treat and spending some quality time together? I found some fantastic experience days gifts from IWOOT.com including a decadent lunch cruise on the Thames for two, which sounds like great fun for both of you! And if your mum truly is a ‘supermum’ rushing from one task to the next, perhaps she’d like the chance to unwind and relax during a spa experience? Again, you can go with your mum and have a good catch up while getting pampered!

                       mothers day experience ideas from iwoot

Another DIY idea is to pick up one of those clear plastic photo frames that you can get from pound stores and customise it to create a special family album of photos and scrapbook pages. There’s a fantastic tutorial on the Crafts Unleashed blog which shows you how to create this freestanding photobook below. It would be a perfect homemade gift for Mother’s Day and will show your mum how much you care with all the time and love you’ve put into creating an album of  special memories. Let me know if you give this a go!

 DIY mothers photo album and magazine gift ideas

Finally, for the mother who has everything – why not give her a subscription to a magazine? It’s one of MY favourite things to receive because it’s the gift that keeps on giving – she’ll love getting the magazine delivered to her all year round and will be reminded of your lovely gift each time. Don’t worry if you have no idea what magazines she already reads – simply hop onto the Unique Magazines website (where I have already subscribed to Ethical Consumer magazine!) and find a publication that she won’t have come across before but that fits in with her interests – does she enjoy cooking, crafting, gardening, fashion, pets? There’s something for every taste so check it out.

Let me know if you try out any of these tutorials for Mother’s Day crafts and which gifts you pick out to treat your mother at the end of March. I always find that time runs away with me in March, so I hope to have time to sort out a lovely treat for my own mother and I’m sure there’ll be baking involved – check out my cupcake recipes to make a yummy batch of mum’s favourite cakes!


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Sewing Bee inspired baby onesie

It’s been a week of children’s clothing challenges on The Great British Sewing Bee – first the cute dungarees (that I am bursting to make for my nephew!) followed by the task to turn a pillowcase, children’s jumper and trousers into a fancy dress costume for the little ‘uns. As you probably know, fancy dress is my forte and I would have relished this challenge. In my mind, the first thought was to create a tiny pirate’s costume for my nephew just as Cerina did (and won the challenge with!) and my second option was an angel outfit and the white pillowcase would be perfect for this. Over the previous weeks there have been a few little outfits appearing and it has inspired me to share my little baby-grow project with you.

I didn’t actually make the baby-grow itself and I’m not sure that I’d trust my haphazard sewing against baby-soft skin, so I’ve simply upcycled a bought baby-grow with a t-shirt transfer. I used t-shirt transfer paper that you can print directly on to using a computer printer at home and I designed this tiny ‘He started it’ slogan using Publisher on my laptop. It is a baby-grow for my little niece and I decided that no matter whether it was her father or her uncle holding my her, one of them would definitely have started it because she’s too much of a little princess to get into trouble! I’ve used the same type of transfer paper to print a lucky cat image onto one of my old tops – check out the blog post here. The only thing to remember when using t-shirt transfer paper is that you must print the text in reverse so that it appears the right way round after it has been transferred onto the fabric.

personalised baby grow printing

If you want to print your own t-shirts or children’s clothes it’s best to follow the instructions on the pack of transfer paper that you’re using so I followed the directions to trim closely around the image or text and put into position on the fabric before pressing with an iron. The pack will guide you on how long to apply the heat to the transfer – too little time will result in the transfer peeling off and too long will discolour the print. The transfer paper usually recommends that the transfer is allowed to cool down completely before it is peeled off so I carefully lifted one corner after about 5 minutes cooling time and the backing paper peeled off easily. Sometimes the transfer needs additional treatment to seal it but it depends on the type of transfer paper you’ve used.

And there you have it – a custom-made slogan t-shirt or onesie for the children in your life, made in super-fast time!


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The Great British Sewing Bee – My shirt challenge

So do you think it’s the only thing worth watching on TV these days? Are you loving The Great British Sewing Bee like I am? I’m a big fan and it really makes me want to get back behind the sewing machine and start making again! I happily sat and absorbed the first show but didn’t really feel all that inspired to start stitching. HOWEVER, during the second week my imagination sparked into life during the shirt challenge and I knew I wanted to give it a go myself.

In the second episode challenge the contestants could choose two patterned shirts and make them into anything they wanted. There were a lot of skirts and baby dresses made but not much in the way of shirts. I know that the judges wanted to see something innovative but I couldn’t help thinking how simple and cool it would be to swap the arms and collar of one shirt for another. So the idea bubbled away in my mind and I found myself flicking through my husband’s wardrobe to see what items of clothing I could nab for my project.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge

Luckily (or sadly, whichever way you look at it) my husband has two shirts that are beyond repair – one has yellow paint splashed down the front and the other is worn away at the collar. Perfect for my project, I say! I’ve photographed the two shirts above before getting to work hacking off the sleeves, collar and pocket of each shirt to get the pieces I needed to create a mix-n-match shirt.

I stitched the grey arms into the white arm holes without checking if I’d put the arms in the correct side (this is why I wouldn’t do at all well on the Sewing Bee – too lazy!) but when I came to check the sleeves – phew – they were in the right place. I’m so jammy! I’d left a little extra of the white collar as a hem to attach the grey collar to but it looked messy after I’d stitched it on with one row of straight stitching so I added a second row which pulled it all together and looked much neater.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge finished

Finally, and extra lazily, I stitched the grey pocket on top of the white pocket so now the shirt has a double-layered pocket on the front – so it can hold lots more pens etc – very practical, I reckon! Of course I forced hubby into the shirt and although it looks a bit like Wee Willy Winkie’s nightshirt, it fitted well and I think it looks kinda funky! Anyway, I completed the shirt challenge yesterday – a whole week after the show – just in time for the next episode and the t-shirt challenge to be set. I just need to find a big jersey t-shirt and I’ll be getting started! Have you been making anything from the show? Has it inspired you to stitch your own goodies yet? Let me know :)


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DIY night in at the movies for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s day fast approaching I’ve come up with a simply DIY gift that you can easily make for your loved ones with time to spare. This gift is a ‘Night in at the Movies’ and includes all the snacks, treats and DVDs that you’d need to enjoy a night in with your favourite person. It’s an ideal gift to give to your partner for Valentine’s day and maybe you can include a couple of action or comedy DVDs that you know the man in your life will enjoy. Or if you’re single you can even make a gift bag up for your bestie and enjoy a girly night in together watching the old classics or the latest rom-com. Either way, you’ll be showing your favourite people just how important they are to you on the most romantic night of the year.

You’ll need: Scissors, small gift bag, double-sided sticky tape or glue, patterned paper or card, candy, microwave popcorn, choice of film.

DIY night in at the movies gift bag

  1. First you all you’ll need to make the bag smaller so that it holds the DVDs better, so what I’ve done is cut the bag in half down the sides and across the bottom.
  2. Use double-sided sticky tape or glue to stick the two pieces of the bag back together by inserting one side inside the other to make it into a thinner bag.
  3. Cut a rectangle of patterned paper or card the same size of the base of the thinner bag and stick it to the base inside to cover the over-lap on the inside.
  4. Just head down to the supermarket and pick up some snacks and candy – and don’t forget the microwave popcorn!

DIY night in at the movies gift bag - great valentines present

5. Pick up your pal’s favourite genre of DVD – maybe an all-time a classic film such as The Wizard of Oz that I’ve included for my best girlfriend.

6.Add all the goodies into the bag and write ‘A night in at the movies’ on the gift tag then hand it over to your Valentine with the promise of a lovely night in together.

This would be a lovely birthday gift for a film-buff or even a mothers’ or fathers’ day present so you can recreate it all year round for your favourite people!


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The countdown to Valentine’s Day begins

Okay, okay I know it’s not Christmas (although looking at the OTT shop displays at this time of year you’d be forgiven for believing otherwise) but I think, in my own selfish way, that Valentines Day is an important gift-giving occasion (hubby, this is a hint for you..!). In fact, it’s the only thing that gets me through January – looking forward to the outpouring of love that February brings. I know I’ve been super-spoilt on my birthday in December and again at Christmas, but I am someone who relies on these special occasions to get the kind of treats that some people buy for themselves all year round. Essentials like bubblebath, books and bed-socks - these are the kind of things that I wait until Valentines, Easter, Birthdays or Christmas for. I don’t buy treats or gifts or anything much for myself during the year and I want my Valentine to spoil me like the sulky little brat I really am! And it goes the other way too. Mr Fairy (hmm, must work on the husband nickname…) doesn’t buy anything much for himself either and I love to buy him treats and goodies. The fact that I went a little overboard with Christmas this year (due to a lot of early buying, wrapping and then forgetting that I’d already bought something) means that there’s not much else on my fella’s wishlist that I can get for him. Plus everyone is strapped for cash at this time of year, am I right?

knitted heart found on a doorknob in cambridge

I saw this knitted heart hanging from a doorknob while walking through Cambridge, so cute!

So if you are trying to woo someone this Valentines Day or if you just want to cheer up your partner after a rotten grey January you might want to read on. Because once again it has snuck up on me and I really DO want to give my husband a lovely Valentines Day but what do I do with less than week to go? What shall we all do for Valentines Day? Here are some of the treats that you can make yourself at home and the links to the tutorial pages on my blog:

valentines day craft sewing card with stitched lettering and heart motif

Make a hand-stitched card for your valentine - this is the one I made for my husband last year

red love heart nails for valentines day nail art polish

Paint your nails with a cute hear design – here’s my mini-tutorial on how to get the perfect heart shape

Jam tart heart cake recipe valentines day

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (or mine for that matter) - Here’s my recipe for love heart jam tarts

And finally, what about Valentine’s Day activities or that special night out? We have spent a bit of time doing research online this week to try to find somewhere to have a proper Valentine’s date – something that we’ve never done before. Of course we’ve spent time together on Valentine’s Day but have never gone out for one of those 3-courses-Valentines-special meals that all the resturants nearby are advertising. However, I think we might have to scratch that idea because all of the ‘special offers’ I’ve come across would mean spending a small fortune and quite frankly I’d rather buy a new gate for the back garden. So I am taking my own advice about free and cheap date ideas for Valentine’s Day and beyond that I published on the blog last year – check it out here  and hopefully I’ll be doing one of these ideas this year!

Lastly, if you want to communicate your feelings towards your Valentine in more ways than one, here’s a little video from the Makaton Charity, which has been helping me to learn Makaton over the past couple of years, showing the signs for boyfriend, girlfriend, cuddle, date, surprise, friends, February and much more – I can’t believe I didn’t know the sign for ‘kiss’ until I watched it!

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