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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DIY Neon sign for parties & weddings

I’ve made my first ever neon sign. It’s going to take pride of place in my office in a few months time but I couldn’t wait for all the decorating to be done before showing you the project. It took just a couple of hours, a can of bright pink spray paint and a length of EL wire to create this unique sign. So simple, but really effective. The full step-by-step guide to making the neon sign can be found in my blog post for Make It Yours. It may look complicated, but it’s actually a really simple process that involves some easy drilling and a spot of hot-gluing. I got my EL wire from Ebay, but it’s also available on Amazon and in craft stores. It came with a battery pack and the glowing neon is powered by a couple of AA batteries. The wire has three settings – flash, quick flash and steady on. And if you’re not a fan of pink don’t worry, it also comes in blue, purple, green, red and yellow, so your sign could be any – or all – of the above colours.In fact, I think it’s such a simple enough process that I could happily knock up a sign like this for any occasion. How about a ‘just married’ sign for weddings, a ‘Ho Ho Ho’ for Christmas, a huge glowing ‘2018’ for New Year’s Eve or a ‘#girlboss’ sign for your office? If you can think up a phrase, you can make it in neon! The sign I made works great as a candy station for a wedding, anniversary party, hen do, birthday party or even for the upcoming Valentine’s day. Give it a try – I bet you’ll impress yourself with your neon-sign-making skills!

I’m kind of addicted to this technique now – I want to make all kinds of signs in neon and I can already imagine my Halloween decor! But this isn’t the only DIY guide I’ve shared on the Make It Yours website – check out my profile and have a look at my other projects including snowy window decorations, a festive chair, how to distress furniture and a vintage bike makeover. There’s plenty more coming over the next few months so keep an eye on the website for more easy, thrifty and colourful projects during the Spring.


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Round-up of my festive craft projects – there’s still time to make these quick DIYs!

I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to hibernate for the whole of the Christmas period. Many of us are finishing work early this week and taking a few days to relax and finish off some festive tasks before the big day arrives. So if you’ve got some time on your hands this week, why not have a go at making some of my festive crafts? All of these projects can be completed within an hour, and you only need a few cheap supplies (that you may already have at home) in order to get started. These are some of my favourite projects I’ve made for my own home, so have a look and let me know if you have a go at making any of these for yourself.cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-24I’ve recently just made my first two festive YouTube DIY videos – each is a step-by-step project that can be made in no time at all. First up is my pom-pom ‘SNOW’ sign for the mantlepiece, shelf or windowsill. It’s a cute decoration that isn’t OTT festive, but that has a fun tongue-in-cheek design with tiny skiing figures sliding down the letters. This week I also shared a video that shows you how to add candy cane legs to your chairs. If you’re planning to paint your chairs next year anyway, why not give them a festive design for the coming week and then paint over them again in the new year? Or make a dedicated Santa seat so that he’s got somewhere to rest when he comes down the chimney this weekend 😉diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7I don’t think it’s any secret that I really like pom-pom, so you won’t be surprised to see another snowy decoration project up next. This one is a ‘snow drift’ Christmas wreath for your front door. It has a little penguin skiing down the pom-pom snowballs and looks really cute on my caravan door. Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-13I also made another wreath for my caravan using upcycled pieces of clothing, ribbons and fabric. Here’s the step-by-step guide to making this fluffy fabric Christmas wreath so check it out and use up the old scraps of fabric you already have lying around. I’m really chuffed that this project was featured in Oxfam’s Christmas newspaper too!DIY fabric wreath for Christmas - step by step tutorial-9Why not decorate every room in the house with a festive piece of art? I framed up some free printables to make this gallery wall of snowy chalkboard Christmas art. With a printer and some frames, you could have a lovely festive wall to welcome your guests into your home.DIY festive decorating with christmas art prints using hardwall takkerMake a rustic illuminated christmas basket decoration to brighten up your porch, fireplace or garden. Simply gather nature’s decorations – pine cones, holly and spruce – and add in plenty of sparkly touches to make it look really festive. The basket helps to make your home look more inviting from the outside and can add warmth to an unused fireplace too.diy craft tutorial christmas decorations log basket xmas porch with fairy lights finished displayIf you’re looking for another idea for bringing more fairy lights into your home, how about making my snow-covered kilner jar lanterns? It’s such a simple project and it can be made in minutes, but the group of jars makes for a really impressive display on your sideboard, mantlepiece or even on a bedside table.DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-5A couple of years ago I made this snowy garland using pom-poms (again!), faux flowers and hanging decorations. It looks great on a mantlepiece, or you could make it as long as you need in order to drape it down the handrail of your staircase. Use whatever decorations you have to hand and feel free to change the colour combo to red and green or gold and silver.DIY christmas decoration mantlepiece garland ideas-11I hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration for making a few craft items of your own in time for the big day. And I hope you enjoy the run up to Christmas – this is the best time of the whole holiday for me!


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DIY Christmas decor – Snowy pom-pom letters mantlepiece display

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. cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-21 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-27 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-6And 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?!cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-19 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-1 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-8Click 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).

cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-2 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-9 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-13cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-12It’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.cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-5 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-10 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-16 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-15 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-17It 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! cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-18 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-23 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-24 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-28Hope 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!


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DIY Christmas decor – Candy cane chair project

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.diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7When 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.


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Wahey! My recycled fabric wreath project is featured in Oxfam newspaper!

I had a lovely surprise this week when I flicked through the winter issue of Oxfam newspaper: my festive wreath project has been featured in the publication! Of course, Oxfam had been in touch earlier this year to ask permission to use my content and, seeing as I’d created it for the Oxfam Fashion blog in the first place, I was happy to oblige.oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-1In fact, I was over the moon! It’s amazing to think that my little thrifty project is being printed in a real newspaper and distributed to Oxfam customers, volunteers and donors all around the country. Wow, I’m so chuffed!oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-3DIY fabric wreath for Christmas - step by step tutorial-10The feature contains step-by-step photos to show readers how to use scrap fabrics and ends of ribbon to make a funky Christmas wreath. I loved creating this project, enjoyed sharing it on my blog and on the Oxfam website, and now I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s been immortalised in print! Woo!oxfam-newspaper-feature-cassiefairy-felt-wreath-project-diy-christmas-festive-1-2You can find this project and all my other blog posts on my Oxfam blogger profile, and while you’re there, have a look around the Oxfam fashion blog and read all the interesting finds and projects that the other volunteer writers have been working on.


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How to decorate with festive art

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..!posterlounge_christmas-4

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.posterlounge_christmas-6But, 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.posterlounge_christmas-5Try 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. posterlounge_christmas-3Again, 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.posterlounge_christmas-1And 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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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. 


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My new Christmas decorations theme – Blush pink & oodles of glitter

So now that bonfire night has exploded all around the country last weekend, I think I can safely move on to Christmas. That’s the rule, is it? Halloween? Check! Bonfire night? Check! Christmas? Ohhh yeaaah! Here it comes! Which is precisely why I’ve waited until now to show you my new festive decorations. I’ve been shopping this week (can you believe how many shops are full of festive stuff already?!) and was easily tempted to pick up some new bits n bobs.christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas christmas-decorations-pink-heritage-vintage-glittery-trend-winter-2016-baubles-decorations-xmas-8In fact, the prices of my new decs were so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, because I know that some of you will be the same as me and will be hunting out your new decorations for this year’s theme soon and I want to help you get a bargain. I usually stick to the same colours every year and have plenty of baubles that I’ve collected over the past decade that must go on the tree. But this tree is going to end up in the bedroom so I wanted to go for a different look this year.

As always I was inspired by Pinterest (here’s my Christmas board if you want to take a look) and I found myself pinning more and more handmade baubles and ballerina pink hues. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without oodles of glitter so discoball-esque decorations were definitely on the cards. I found the exact dusky pink shades of Christmas decorations that I wanted on the Homebase website but decided to go along to the shop to buy them ‘in person’ so that I could see the size of the baubles and how they looked side by side.

I found so many more options in store that I didn’t even notice on the website so I picked up a few more packs than expected. Even so, I didn’t spend more than £14 on ALL these decorations. A full 1.8m tall tree was covered in this pretty pink theme (including two very special handmade baubles at £2 and £2.50 – my showstoppers!) for this low price. The mini baubles were only £2 for a pack of 20, can you believe it?

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Last minute wedding tips to help you enjoy your big day!

Bridezilla is a state that a bride may occasionally morph into under times of tremendous stress. Though seldom seen, when a bridezilla does make an appearance, bridesmaids, wedding planners, and even the groom take refuge. We’re all well aware of the stress that comes from planning a wedding; money, time, and the looming eternal commitment to another human make for a pretty potent concoction of stress. To decrease the odds of morphing into a bridezilla here are some tips for last minute wedding planning.wedding-planning-last-minute-ideas-inspiration

Keep all your plans together in one book so you can easily hand it over to someone else when needed!

Designate a point person

You’ve been preparing for your wedding for months. So, when the rehearsal dinner finally comes around you should have all your plans already mapped out. However, there are going to be plenty of people who aren’t privy to your very detailed plans. Instead of carrying the burden of your entire wedding plan, offload the plan to a friend who can then answer any questions your guests may have. Make sure your guests know that all questions should be directed towards your trusty sidekick.wedding-planning-bridesmaids-inspiration

Designate tasks to your bridesmaids – they want to help!

Continue reading “Last minute wedding tips to help you enjoy your big day!” »


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DIY Halloween decorations – fishnet lantern project

Today’s DIY blog post is perfect for a classy Halloween party. It’s a project taken from Mason Jar Nation, which I reviewed earlier this year. You can find a fire-lighting DIY project and a butter-making recipe here on my blog, both of which came from this fantastic book. The tealight holder below looks fabuously spooky for your Halloween celebration, especially if you’ve got adults coming round to ‘trick or treat’ too! Read the extract from the book below and find out how to make this decoration for yourself:fishnet-lantern_aIn his 1957 collection, Mythologies, French literary theorist Roland Barthes penned an essay entitled “Striptease.” In it he enumerated the “classic props of the music hall.” His list included, “the furs, the fans, the glove, the feathers, and the fishnet stocking.” Much like apple pie and ice cream or peanut butter and jelly, feathers and fishnets have made, and will always make, a perfect pairing. Using them to turn a Mason jar into an alluring lantern takes minutes—if not seconds—leaving you time to concentrate on pairings of a different sort. Ooh-la-la.fishnet-lantern_bProject Supplies

1 black fishnet anklet, approximately 9’’ long, 1 quart-size, wide-mouth Mason jar, 1 wide-mouth jar band, 1 feather-embellished hair clip, 1 battery-operated pillar candle fishnet-lantern_cMAKING YOUR FISHNET LANTERNS Continue reading “DIY Halloween decorations – fishnet lantern project” »


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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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