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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A special honour for Cassiefairy

I’ve received fantastic news that my little lifestyle blog has been honoured by DotComGiftShop as one of their favourite blogs. They contacted me to let me know that I’d won this little award for my crafty sewing projects and that they had shared details of my blog on their ‘beautiful crafting blogs’ page. Here’s what they said about my blog “Whether you’re after ideas for your next homemade project or in need of room decorating ideas, you’ll find it all here at this gorgeous, girly blog. Ever wanted to revamp a pair of funky sunglasses or make your own roman blinds? It’s all here to inspire you! We especially love this blogger’s monthly sources of inspiration. She’s used everything from antique teddy bears to vintage wedding dresses, to get her creative juices flowing.”

Dotcomgiftshop badge

They even sent me a badge for my sidebar and offered me a little gift from their site. I was so chuffed to receive this recognition and it was lovely to browse their collection of gifts to choose a treat for me. I never get to shop for gifts for myself, so this was an extra-special treat. After a fun hour of online shopping I decided on this stunning ceramic cake stand with ruffled edge. It is completely beautiful and something that I’d always wanted but never really got round to buying for myself. It’s an item of crockery that you’d only really use for a celebration, so it’s suitably apt for this special occasion and I’ll definitely remember this accolade every time I use it. Plus now I’ll be able to display my birthday cake with pride next month (although I’ll probably be making it myself haha!).

vintage christmas bunting from dotcomgiftshop in my retro shabby chic caravan and ceramic cake stand

I also swooned when I saw this Christmas bunting set on sale and even though I’m trying hard not to get too excited about Christmas yet, I couldn’t help myself! It’s such a cute retro design and the duck-egg blue and pink fabric colours are perfect for my vintage caravan. It’s a really long string of cotton bunting (about 8 metres) so even my caravan will look suitably festive when I put up my Christmas decorations next month!

vintage christmas bunting from dotcomgiftshop in my retro shabby chic caravan 2013

Massive thanks to DotComGiftShop for choosing the Cassiefairy blog as one of their favourites and awarding me with this badge, I am chuffed to bits! And now that I’ve started visiting the site regularly (checking out the deal of the day!), this store has fast become one of my favourite places to shop and I’ve got a massive Christmas present wish list – I’ll keep dropping hints to hubby and keep my fingers crossed for one of those light-up bunnies! 😉


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My little vintage caravan project ~ the first thing I’ve made in my new sewing room

This is a big moment for me – I’m sharing the first sewing project I’ve done in my little vintage caravan after starting the project to makeover the old retro van into my new sewing studio. I’m still quite far off finishing my ‘office’ but I’ve got a table and somewhere to sit now, so there’s no reason why I can’t start sewing out there as planned!

I’ve borrowed hubby’s loooong outdoor extension lead so now I’ve got electricity and I can at least plug in my sewing machine and have the radio on while I work. I will need to sort out a better and more weather-proof electrics for the caravan if I want to use it over the winter (which I’m sure will result in another dull-but-necessary blog post!) but for now, the roll-out extension cable does the job. So this is the first sewing project I worked on last week – an appliqué tulip design.

cassiefairys applique tulip project for amanda addison creative crafting

After setting so many inspiration challenges of my own, I wanted to join in with Amanda Addison’s craft challenge, which I learnt about during the Creative Crafting blog tour over the summer. She set the challenge to use her tulip design and appliqué it onto anything we like. I started with a piece of gingham and a tiny scrap of red fabric and soon decided that I wanted to create an appliquéd picture that I could frame and hang in the caravan in the future. I used zig-zag stitch over the edges and chose a contrasting pink thread to outline the petals.

I was happy with the finished image and sent a photo of it to Amanda. There were lots of other crafters joining in with the challenge with a variety of results – adding the tulip design to jeans, cushions and even a tray! She has shared some of the projects on her website, so please check out her blog post  and you can even get the tulip design pattern for yourself and add it to your own craft items in the future. And don’t forget that this month’s inspiration challenge theme for my own blog is ‘apples’ so check out the challenge blog post and join in by making something crafty!

Inspiration Challenge for October 2013 theme - apples

I’m pleased to make my first item in my caravan ‘studio’ and I can’t wait to carry on crafting after I build my work surface. Now that I’ve started working in the caravan, I’ve realised that I desperately need some storage solutions – somewhere to put my fabric, equipment and craft supplies, so I’m going to keep an eye out for a desk, some free-standing shelves and storage boxes. I’m sure there will be another caravan update soon, so come back when you get the chance!  🙂

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A massive new project for Cassiefairy ~ my vintage caravan

First and foremost, I’d like to welcome all the lovely new visitors from Creative Crafting’s blog tour – I have been waiting for this day for a while now and I’m so pleased to be able to welcome you to my blog. While you’re here please have a good look around my categories – there are plenty of craft, sewing and DIY projects in my archives, plus articles on fashion, shoes (on Tuesday Shoesday!) and current trends. I’ve recently been blogging about fun summer ideas (such as Gardenbury festival) and party ideas, plus I share thrifty recipes weekly – every Pieday Friday! But without further ado, I’d like to tell you about my new project – I’ve bought myself a caravan!

It’s not the prettiest caravan at the moment and it’s certainly ‘vintage’ as you can probably tell from it’s shabby exterior and tatty interior, but I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I was looking for a ‘garden building’ to use as my workshop/office ever since I moved into my 1-bed bungalow – I needed space for my tutu business and somewhere to keep all my sewing stuff, so I saw the potential in this little caravan. It’s perfectly mobile so I snapped it up for a very low price (you know I’m loathe to spend my hard-earned money, so you can imagine what a bargain it must have been!), had it delivered (included in the price) to my home and parked it up in the back garden. Here are some photos of its current condition, inside and out:

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite

I was in two minds about how to fix it up. When I first saw the caravan I considered carrying out a ‘renovation’, restoring it to it’s original state. I really do love this kind of retro style, especially garish patterns and orange fabrics (as you have probably seen in my living room makeover series!) so it was in my mind to restore the caravan to its former glory and keep it as it was. But when I got inside it, I realised that it had got pretty damp at some point in the past and most of  internal units and cupboards were crumbling and would have to be removed and replaced, the floor lino was torn and the seat cushions were also pretty-much shredded. So I had a rethink and realised that, seeing as I would need to replace all of the internal fittings and repaint the outside of the caravan, I might as well change the design of the caravan completely and go for something that I really liked for myself – it was going to become my studio after all!

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite interior

So, this is the start of my journey of converting my crusty little caravan into a beautiful sewing workshop to be proud of, and I’ll be sharing the ideas, DIY projects, sewing tutorials and progress over the coming weeks. I hope you’ll stop back to see how the caravan project develops! Please let me know if you have created your own home workshop or have converted an old caravan and I’d love to see your photos or feature you on the blog as part of this series – please email me cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @CassiefairyTutu. I’d love to hear from you!

And to all the lovely Creative Crafters; I hope you enjoy what you see here and add me to your favourites list or Bloglovin’ reader and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you feel inspired to join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge (in honour of ‘wedding season’ this month’s theme is vintage wedding dresses!) and share your very own craft projects at the end of the month! Please click here to see what we made last month and how to join in!


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It’s not often that I treat myself to a magazine…

In truth, I hardly ever get time to read them. I was given a copy of Company magazine before it was released when I attended the blogger awards at the end of May but I still haven’t got round to reading it yet. My friends and family pass on the magazines they have finished with, so I have an optimistic little pile of things to look at, but I can’t seem to sit still for long enough to have a proper read.

Cassiefairy lifestyle and craft blog review of Molly Makes issue 29

So this month I have decided to make a little more time for myself and have invested in issue twenty-nine of Mollie Makes. As I flicked through it in the shop, I was actually about to put it back on the magazine rack (for the reasons above, no offence to the magazine intended at all) when a page caught my eye. It was this tutorial for an American quilt and I have been collecting scraps of fabric to make this exact type of quilt all year, so that sold it to me and I handed over my cash there and then.

Cassiefairy lifestyle and craft blog review of Molly Makes issue 29 2013

I’m also pleased with the little giveaway project on the front of the magazine – something else that I will need to sit still and concentrate on this month! I’m suitably impressed that a needle and thread is even included in this little fishy keyring kit, so there really is no excuse for not doing it. I will let you know how I get on… and now I’ve promised that, I’ll actually have to do it!

So, tell me, what do like to read when you get a spare moment to yourself? Do you subscribe to any magazines? Any recommendations for me to try next month? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @CassiefairyTutu 😀

Other crafty articles


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Vintage patterns and unconventional sizing!

I recently picked up this vintage Simplicity sewing pattern from a charity shop and I am going to have a go at making this skirt for myself. The sizing is unusual, because it is the old-fashioned “Miss” sizes which is somewhere between child and adult.

simplicity skirt pattern retro dressmaking sewing diy kit

Luckily I have a very good old sewing book that explains all the sizing that was used in the past that many of us are no longer familiar with. This pattern is for a “Miss” size 16 – which is nowhere near a modern size 16 – the waist measurement is 30 inches. So even though I’d discarded this pattern as being too big for me at first glance, when I looked back at it and realised that is a “Miss” size, I thought that it might be suitable and snapped it up for 75p (original cost on the pattern was 60p – that’s inflation for ya!)

So I’m going to have a go at making it this week and I will let you know how I get on. How about you – have you made any clothing items from vintage patterns? How have you found the sizing? Please let me know (leave a comment below or tweet me @cassiefairytutu) ‘cos I’m going to need a little help with this project!


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Happy Valentines Day – DIY a stitched card for your Valentine

Valentine’s Day always creeps up on me, and I never get a chance to get my husband a card in advance, so I can often been spotted making something myself the day before. But it’s not just my forgetfulness that means my hubby has to settle for a hand-made card each year: it IS lovely to give something that you’ve spent a bit of time making yourself and this card design could be adapted for mother’s or father’s day and birthdays too. Seeing as I have already given hubby his card this morning, I think I’m now safe to share the photos with you all 🙂

valentines day craft sewing card with stitched lettering and heart motif

You will need: card, small scraps of fabric, thread, needle, double-sided tape, scissors, craft knife

1. Cut a piece of card that is double the size of the card that you want, then fold in half and set aside.

2. Cut a piece of fabric for the background – a little smaller on all sizes that the front of your card.

3. Cut out a design for the centre of your card – I’ve used gold silk to cut out a heart shape (because my hubby has a ‘heart of gold’!)

valentines day stitched card DIY tutorial amazing husband sewing

4. Pin the heart to the centre of the fabric rectangle and stitch together – I used a machine to stitch around the heart a few times for a rustic effect but you could just as easily hand-stitch it on.

5. Use a thicker thread and stitch your chosen message onto the fabric.

6. Stick double-sided tape on the back of the finished fabric rectangle and stick to the front of your card. You can add stitches around the edge at this point if you wish.

I hope you get some use out of this tutorial – please tweet me your pics @CassiefairyTutu and check out these links below to more Valentine’s Day ideas on the blog


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Craft Project – Creating new cushions & artwork for my retro living room

I was lucky enough to find this set of vintage RSPB placemats and coasters in almost brand-new condition at the Shakespeare Hospice Furniture Shop in Stratford Upon Avon and although I loved the autumnal bird design straight away, I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. I don’t often need placemats and I already have some 70s wicker coasters, so I took a second look and viewed them as pieces of fabric rather than finished items. And I’m glad a did, because I realised that the shape was ideal for creating cute rectangular cushions  to sit on my retro armchair and sofa, and the embroidered bird design has the perfect colours for my retro living room – and the robin motif will be great for autumn/winter!

  1. I chose some beige checked cotton fabric for the back of the cushions and I carefully measured out two pieces which would cover the size of the placemat with an extra 2 inches: allowing enough fabric to turn the hem back on itself in the centre and to overlap on the back where the buttons would be placed.
  2. I stitched the hem along the edges that would become the middle of the cushion and then inserted button holes using my sewing machine at three points along the hem on one of the pieces of backing fabric.
  3. I stitched buttons on to the opposite side and buttoned the pieces together.
  4. I then placed the front placemat and back pieces on top of each other with their right-sides facing together. I pinned the front and back together and stitched along all four edges.
  5. I unbuttoned the hem and turned the cushion-cover right-side out and slipped it onto a rectangular cushion pad and re-buttoned the back. Job done!

I also found a use for the coasters – I framed up two of them to create cute embroidered artworks – and I still have a pair of placemats and coasters left for when I want to lay the table to match my soft furnishings!


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My Maneki Neko obsession – The ultimate must-have fabric…

Can you believe your eyes..? That’s right… Maneki Neko print fabric! Have all my Christmases come at once?! I can tell you right now that I NEED this lucky cat fabric. The only thing stopping me is that it is a fairly small piece (you can tell by the tape-measure at the sides), and is fairly highly priced… and would it really go with my retro-inspired living room design?  I’m going to umm and ahh over it for a while and figure out what I could use it for – any ideas, anyone? leave me a comment below 🙂


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That’s what Bank Holidays are for:

I spent a lovely sunny bank-holiday monday morning at a carboot sale, where I purchased a men’s blue t-shirt for 30p – I had a craft project in mind and needed some fabric before I could carry on with my plan to make a patriotic noticeboard. A few bits of ribbon and a lot of staples later I had created my very own union jack pinboard and proudly hung my creation above my bed!

This inspired a floral noticeboard and padded lettering for my mother’s bedroom and my sister is planning a red striped version to match her living room decor. Have a go – it’s fun and fairly easy to do – no sewing involved!

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