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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Thrifty party decorations – DIY paper flowers

If you’re planning a party or simply want to jazz up the kids’ bedrooms, this is the DIY project for you! Paper flowers are easy to make and cost hardly anything, yet they are impressive decorations for any kind of party. You can make them in lots of different sizes and could tailor the colours to match your party theme; go orange and black for Halloween or bright rainbow hues to give a fiesta vibe to your summer BBQ. Gather a few together on a wall to create a backdrop for a wedding photobooth or hang as decorations over a birthday buffet table. Whatever you want to use them for, I guarantee that you won’t want to stop making them once you’ve started, so get your mates involved and even let the kids have ago at making plenty of paper flowers for your next event. Here’s how to make some impressive paper flowers:Decorate for A Party, p105, photography by Leslie ShewringThere are quite a few steps to these paper flowers, but they are well worth the time and once you have made a couple of them the process becomes faster. To make smaller versions just omit the inside yellow pieces and use fewer sheets, cut smaller, for the outer petals.

YOU WILL NEED assorted colours of tissue paper, fuzzy pipe cleaners, scissors

STEP ONE: Carefully stack approximately 12 sheets of tissue paper, lining up all the edges carefully. We decided to use 4 yellow for the centre, these are stacked on top, then 2 or 3 white and then 6 sheets of orange. Start to fold all sheets over at the same time in 5cm/2-inch folds. Now fold back the other way, and repeat accordion style until you have folded all the paper.

STEP TWO: Unfold all the paper carefully and take out the yellow paper that will be used for the centre of the flower. Fold the yellow paper back in pleats, then fold the folded paper in half. Trim off half of the unfolded ends.

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What to wear to a creative job interview

You’ve done it. You bagged an interview for that job that everyone in your industry has been buzzing about for weeks. They all tried out for it, but YOU got it. You were on cloud 9 when you got the call, but now beads of perspiration are starting to form on your brow as you realise that you now actually have to go to the interview. You’re not worried about your experience, you’ve got oodles of it. You can’t be faulted on your people skills and your professional knowledge is second-to-none. BUT you have no idea what to wear. No, don’t start to panic and reach for the nearest glass of ‘something strong’ – I’m here to help!job interview tips inspiration outfit clothing

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We all know that making a good first impression is important – well, you only get to make it once, don’t you? – so it’s a pretty sure bet that what you wear plays a big part in this. In days gone by you would’ve had one interview suit hanging in your wardrobe for occasions like this. Teamed with a pair of sensible shoes and a white shirt you were ready for any interview, anytime, anywhere. But it’s not that simple these days; interviewers what to know what you clothes say about you. Annoying, isn’t it? This is especially the case when you’re going for a creative career and, let’s face it, most jobs do involved some element of creativity nowadays. Here are a few essential tips that you should consider before you head out to that important interview:

1. Make a great impression before you’ve even met. Yes, your interviewers have probably already Googled you so you’ve already made the first impression without even knowing it. We blame social media for this one – they already know your style because you’ve posted hundreds of photos of it. Similarly they know if you’re trying ‘too hard’ just for the interview. The key here is to always stick to your signature style and keep it cool at all times if you want that job – no posting photos of comedy onesies for a while. Continue reading “What to wear to a creative job interview” »


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DIY gift project – Be your own clothing designer

I’m excited to share a fun project I’ve been playing around with this week. Yes, I’ve been designing my own clothing. I’ve been spending time picking out my favourite photos and choosing my ultimate ‘girl boss’ quotes in order to make a few designs of my own. And that’s because I’ve just discovered a new design website Spreadshirt. It’s a pretty cool site that not only allows you to shop a whole range of designs created by a fabulous community of artists, photographers and creatives, but that also lets you get involved with creating your own designs too. Who can honestly say they designed their own t-shirt? Well, I can, and I’m pretty chuffed with the results.spreadshirt design your own t shirt mug hat gift.jpgI actually stumbled onto the Spreadshirt website because I wanted to create a personalised gift for my husband’s birthday. As an artist and photographer, he doesn’t really like mass-produced styles and would prefer to choose to wear something hand-made or designed by a fellow creative. Which is precisely why I turned to Spreadshirt when I needed to treat him to some clothing for his birthday. Let me explain; once you’ve picked out a basic t-shirt, sweatshirt, bag, hat (or even mug) you can get to work adding your own designs OR browsing the hundreds of designs that other creative folk have added to the design hub.spreadshirt design your own t shirt diy step by step spreadshirt design your own t shirt diy step by step beards

If you upload your designs on Spreadshirt, you can sell them for other people to use on their t-shirts

Yes, there are hundreds of designs, quotes and images that you can add to a simple t-shirt to make it a truly personalised gift. Continue reading “DIY gift project – Be your own clothing designer” »


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DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can get a discount on printing your own photos at Cheerz.com by using my code CASGRI for £4 off!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz (use code CASGRI for £4 off!) that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos” »


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DIY sewing project – My little red ted

This week I’ve been crafting away in my caravan and have enjoyed a couple of happy afternoons of cutting, sewing and painting (more on that project soon!). Today’s post is all about the latest addition to my soft-toy family; a cute little teddy bear named Red. red ted teddy bear sewing projectThere’s something about summer that makes me want to be creative. I think that being outdoors more often helps me be inspired by the things that I see and I end up taking hundreds more photos at this time of year; flowers, animals, landscapes, the beach and, of course, ice creams! Can you see any resemblance to a seaside deck chair in my little creation??diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear-26Even though I love being cosy inside my caravan in the winter, it really comes to life in the summer. It’s always so lovely to get outside when the weather is nice and throw open the windows of my caravan to let a soft breeze flow through as I sit at my sewing machine. So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this week.hillarys blinds fabric selectionI wanted to join in with the Hillarys craft competition this month and have been totally inspired by all the amazing creations on their Pinterest board. My mind whirred into action when I saw the gorgeous fabric choices on offer and an image of little Red ted appeared in my mind immediately. I quickly ordered a metre of the Hatti Raspberry striped fabric and set to work cutting out the pattern pieces for my little bear.diy sewing tutorial step by step teddy bear Continue reading “DIY sewing project – My little red ted” »


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An interview about my little vintage caravan

Today I’m proud to tell you that I’ve been interviewed about my little vintage caravan makeover project by the fabulous writer Lela from the Simple Caravan Insurance blog. I’m really pleased with how this article turned out (see the original article here) and wanted to share the interview with you to give you a bit more of an insight into my caravan project.

book review of vintage caravan style by lisa mora

What made you choose the caravan model that you did for your makeover?

I chose this particular caravan for my project partly because of the low price (it was only £100!) and also because the Sprite has a cute curved shape. It was the kind of caravan that I’d conjured up in my mind’s eye as a “vintage” caravan, and I knew that it would look considerably nicer once it had been painted.

When conducting your makeover, did you have a plan from the get-go?

The only plan I had at the start of the project was to strip everything back and start from scratch with an empty shell. The old interior was so badly damaged that only the bases of the seats could be salvaged so once the interior has been removed I could see exactly where damp was coming in and what needed to be done, and only then was I able to make a to-do list. The design of the interior wasn’t planned out at all – all of the makeover decisions were made based on cost! The paint colours were chosen because I’d managed to pick up some end-of-line pots of paint, the wallpaper patchwork wall was made from ends of rolls, off-cuts from friends’ decorating and I even reused old paper that had stripped off my mum’s walls while she was decorating. All of the furniture was bought from charity shops or rescued from a skip, while my fabric was mostly thrifted – the seat covers are my in-laws’ old bed sheets! 

cassiefairy's original caravan

What has been the most difficult part of your caravan makeover so far?

The most difficult part of the makeover was replacing the window trims. It was easy to remove the old window seals because they were crumbling off and letting in a lot of leaks! But adding the new window trims took an entire-day because I needed to move the caravan in order to get access to the rear window and stretching the trim around the frame was complicated – no sooner than I had smoothed one piece into place than another piece would pop off! To make matters worse, I discovered that the side window was held in place with silicone and once this had been removed to fit the window trim, the glass started sliding out of the window and very nearly smashed on the floor! It has now been refitted but I still can’t open the window and it would be good to get it working, so that’s next on the ever-growing list!

 If you did the makeover again, what would you do differently?

I would possibly decorate the space differently, choosing coordinating wallpaper and paints for a more professional finish rather than throwing everything I could get my hands on at the walls! I think this would make the space more desirable if I were ever to sell the caravan in the future. But then again, I’m not intending make a profit nor am I ever planning to sell it, so I’m happy that is becoming ‘my’ space and it is very personal to me. As the project is still evolving I can continue to decorate it and add bits to my patchwork wall as I find them – I doubt it will ever really be ‘finished’!

cassiefairy - my little vintage caravan

What will be the primary use of the space?

 My initial plan for the caravan was to use it as a work space. It would be my version of a garden shed where I could keep all of my sewing equipment and an office space to run my blog Cassiefairy.com from. I use the table as a sewing and writing desk and am currently working on adding more storage space for fabrics and crafts. A second use for the caravan has emerged over the past year: it’s become a spare room. Our house doesn’t have a guest bedroom so when we have visitors either my husband and I will camp out in the caravan (and very cosy it is too!) or my visitors will ask if they can stay in the caravan. So it’s become a very useful second bedroom! It is a also a great space for family meals, because we can’t fit a group of 8/9 around our dining table indoors, but there’s plenty of room in the caravan for a long table and we’ve had many meals out there all year round!

The only thing that I don’t think it will be used for again is towing away for a holiday. This is a shame because I’d love to camp in it, but we needed to remove all the electrics when the caravan arrived (they were rather dodgy) so it would need a complete overhaul of lights for towing, as well as fitting a new electric hook-up point. Also, I’m worried that removing the interior fittings might have destabilised the structure because there is no internal bracing now that the cupboards, kitchen and wardrobe have been removed. I don’t know how much this affects the usability of the caravan but I think it’ll take a lot more work to get it back into towing-and-camping-condition!

little-vintage-caravan-project-diy-makeover

What is your favourite feature in the caravan?

My favourite feature in the caravan is the back window. This may sound like a strange favourite to choose, but it runs across the whole width of the caravan and it opens upwards on hinges to let in a lot of fresh air (a must when I’m working in there on hot summer days!) and I love listening to all the sounds of birds chirping in the garden. It lets in plenty of light so that I don’t need to plug in lamps and when you’re lying in the double bed at night you can pull back the curtains and see a wide-angle view of the stars.

What is left to do? Have you stuck to a timeframe or set a ‘due date’?

I have lots more left to do – some of which I’ve already mentioned: fix the side window so that it can be opened, build in some fitted storage for fabrics etc, paint the interior of the door (I like the idea of chalkboard paint there), add a chest of drawers for guests who stay in the caravan, lay slabs outside the caravan and plant a few flowers, find some steps to make it a little easier to hop in and out of the caravan and, if I’m being picky, I think the outside of the caravan need repainting already because it’s not looking as fresh as it did this time last year!

 Is another caravan makeover on the horizon after this one?

I certainly hope so! I’m completely hooked on caravans – I subscribe to Vintage Caravan Magazine and am always daydreaming about getting a caravan that I can actually tow and take away on holiday. I actually want a smaller caravan; just a little two-berth would be perfect for hubby and I to go away in for a weekend. I’ve found plenty of vintage caravans for sale that have already been renovated but I enjoyed the process so much that I’d like to get my hands on one that hasn’t been touched for years and give it a new lease of life.

Vintage caravan makeover project on Cassiefairy blog-6


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My little vintage caravan ~ My patchwork mini desk

Last week I shared photos of my ‘new’ piece of furniture for the caravan. It was a tiny little desk unit, which I bought from the carboot sale. It had clearly been unloved for years, with peeling wood and scratches and stains all over it. I spent a lot of time sanding it down, cleaning it and spray painting – read all about the first stage of the makeover here. This week I’ve been spending a little more time on the project, adding the finishing touches and here’s how I got on…

Vintage caravan project - DIY painted cabinet furniture makeover-20

It looked like the drop-down desk had previously opened with a key, which had been lost long before I bought the cabinet, so the only way to open it was to prise it open with a screwdriver – not the most practical option for everyday use! So once the paint was completely dry, I added a ceramic knob onto the front of the desk. The colour of the roses matches the pink paint, and I love the fact that the design features a butterfly and will continue to remind me of the sleeping butterfly that came with my piece of furniture.

To finish off the project I pasted a patchwork of paper and fabric inside the unit using PVA glue. Initially I though that I would only use paper in the same way as my patchwork wall project but seeing as the desk will be in my sewing workshop, I thought it was only fitting to use scraps of fabric too!  So I’ve included lots of off cuts from other projects in there – such as my blue star curtains & my spotty cushion covers – which ties the whole space together. I pasted the cabinet itself, stuck down the fabric and paper squares and painted another layer of glue over the top to set it in place. I love the pretty, hand-crafted effect of this decoupaged patchwork and I couldn’t resist including a little square of Hello Kitty paper in the design!

DIY decoupage patchwork fabric to renovate an old desk-3

Overall I’m really pleased with how the unit has been transformed from a tired old cabinet (that may well have ended up in landfill or on a bonfire if I hadn’t bought it) into a perfectly usable mini desk for my workshop! I will get plenty of use out of it, and the size is just right for the space available in my little vintage caravan workshop.

 

 


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How to keep track of creative ideas

I forget things easily and I need to do something about it. I’m great at having lots of ideas for content for my thrifty little blog and I get all excited when I see something interesting while I’m out and about. I think to myself, ‘I’ll definitely remember that‘, but by the time I’m sat at my computer, ready to write, the idea will have gone completely out of my head, never to return. Which is why you’re getting a blog post today about me forgetting what awesome blog content was going to be here and a bit of a self-rant instead.

I sometimes make notes on my phone, especially when someone gives me some info while I’m at an event; “You really must check out this online radio station…”, “There’s this great magazine website…”, “This is a fabulous shop…”; but once I’ve written it down on the phone, I tend to never check the list of notes ever again. That is, until the next time that I need to write something down and I open the app… I also feel a little bit rude typing on my phone while I’m in the company of other people and always feel the need to explain that I’m writing down the tip or web address they’ve just given me, not texting and ignoring them! It’s just not the best method for me to record my ideas so I’ve decided to do something about it.

tips for keeping track of creative ideas for bloggers crafters artists and writers

Yes, I have got myself a teeny tiny notebook and even a pencil case from BHS. I’ve decided that the only way to keep track of my ideas, plans, things to do and websites to investigate is by actually physically writing them down. I only have a small satchel handbag but there is plenty of room in there for this notebook and it will make my life considerably easier. I liked the pretty floral Sass and Belle design so much that I even got the vintage-inspired pencil case to store my pen, pencil and lipstick!

So now that I have the means to make notes with me at all times, I can jot down my creative ideas as and when inspiration hits and refer back to it whenever I’m ready to do some research or writing. I also feel like it’s more acceptable to get a notebook out and write down some information rather than typing on a phone so I’m more likely to make a note of things at the time, rather than struggling to recall it afterwards.

Here are my tips for using your notebook:

  • Carry your notebook and pen always! Inspiration can strike anywhere and at any time.
  • Write down your idea at the time, not afterwards because you’re likely to forget by the time you get round to it 😉
  • Keep note of important details such as web addresses and phone numbers as this will help with future research
  • If you have already thought of ways to tie an idea into a blog post or article, make a note of this too – one idea often leads into another.
  • Pick up business cards or postcards of businesses that interest you and stick them in your notebook for reference
  • If you promise to send details to someone, get their details, write it down and actually do it!
  • Don’t just write things down – draw, doodle and sketch too.
  • Refer back to your notebook every time you sit down to work.

Let me know if you already use a notebook or whether you find it easier to record information on your phone – tweet me a photo of your sketchbook or note pad if you have one!

 


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My renovation sensation project

When I first heard about the Renovation Sensation project my mind went into overdrive – so many ideas went whizzing around my mind and I was super-excited to get started. The challenge was set by Direct Blinds and I knew straightaway that it was right up my street: I love the thrifty nature of a makeover project to ‘get the look for less’ and I’m always keen to recycle and renovate old or unwanted items to keep them out of landfill. I headed to the car boot sale and kept my beady eye open for a suitable project to get started on.

Continue reading “My renovation sensation project” »


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Sewing block

Sewing. It’s been a while. The dust cover has been protecting my sewing machine for a few weeks now. Okay, who am I kidding? A few months. I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’ve simply not gotten round to doing any sewing for a long time. Considering it’s my favourite hobby and the thing that I love to do to unwind, I’ve been getting really rather upset about it. Not only could I not find the time, but I also couldn’t find the inspiration. I knew that I needed to create some DIY sewing projects for the Oxfam Fashion blog (my last post was in March – so naughty, I know) but the longer I’ve left it, the more difficult its been to start sewing again.

Sewing in my little vintage caravan

I usually get very excited about sewing when The Great British Sewing Bee is on TV, but since then my creative oomph has gone downhill. It’s not as thought I don’t have anything that I want to sew: I have lots of items of clothing that need fixing, a bundle of fabric and patterns ready for the making and dresses that need adjusting. I’ve even got a deadline looming to sew a teddy bear for my niece’s Christening gift (just like I did for my nephew – see my blog post here). I’ve had the date on the calendar for months but haven’t even started cutting the pattern and now the big event is only two weeks away. I’ve got to get out of this sewing block and just get on with it.

This week I did it. Not the teddy bear, but I broke through the sewing block. I needed some sheer curtains in the living room and had bought the fabric for them a long time ago but at the time all the measuring and  sewing seemed like too much effort. I even considered just folding the fabric over the curtain wire and leaving it doubled up rather than sewing it, but when I tried this it blocked out too much light and was also not quite wide enough for the window. In essence, it would have been a bodge-job and I couldn’t have lived with it for long. So I huffed and puffed and sulked for a while before starting on the project. Really, the hardest thing is cutting into the fabric for the first time. It takes so much time and careful measuring before you can even make that first cut and that’s what has really been putting me off doing it. But I measured twice and cut once and as soon as I had the two curtain pieces in my hands I was immediately fired up to sew!

DIY sewing sheer voile curtains

Okay it was only a very simple project: I only needed to fold and sew a channel at the top of the curtains for the wire to feed through, and I added a line of lead-weight rope at the bottom to hold the curtains down. Essentially, it was only four lines of straight stitch, and took a matter of minutes, but the sense of achievement that I felt after completing the project was fantastic. it really spurred me on to keep sewing and I repaired one of hubby’s shirts that had needed stitching for months. I’ve definitely got the sewing bug again and I’m glad that I forced myself to crack on – it goes to show that even starting the smallest of projects is a step in the right direction.

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