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 Fathers Day Gift Guide & DIY Projects

Today I’m sharing the best deals on personalised gifts and DIY ideas for Fathers Day from around the internet. Yes, I’ve been doing all the hard work on your behalf, trawling site after site, and Pinterest board after Pinterest board, so that you don’t have to take up your precious time searching for the ideal gift for your dad. His ‘special day’ is coming up on Sunday 19th June so get clicking, ordering and making now to ensure you’ve got a treat to gift to dad on Father’s Day. Here’s what I found…personalised gift present fathers day mens male ideas etsy

Whenever I have to find a special gift for anyone, I always turn to Etsy. You can’t beat it for personalised, handmade, can’t-find-it-anywhere-else presents. If I’m stuck for gift ideas, there will always be something on Etsy that is just right for the person I’m buying for. I have two tips for searching on Etsy: Firstly, refine your search using the toolbar on the left to narrow down the shop location. Enter ‘United Kingdom’ so that you only see shops based in the UK. This means you won’t have to pay extortionate shipping costs and you can be sure that the product will get to you as fast as possible, rather than waiting weeks for delivery. Secondly, enter the lowest and highest price you wish to pay for a gift. If I don’t do this, I find that I have to wade through pages and pages of low-cost small craft goods (like buttons and ribbons) before I get to any gifts. Here’s the link to the Father’s Day collection on EtsyUK – I hope you find something special there.fathers day mens male gift birthday present ideas inspiration

 Personalised leather wallet and adventure mug from EtsyUK

What about the things you can make yourself? The DIY projects that show Dad you really care? I’ve been searching Pinterest to dig up some easy and effective handmade gifts that you can craft this weekend to give to your pops on the 19th June. If you’re a dab-hand with the sewing machine, how about stitching up this Wool iPad case? The full tutorial is available on WeAllSew.com and would make a fantastic homemade gift for dad.ipad-case-sewing-patterns-tutorial-diy-project-craft-sew-fathers-day-gift-present

Or how about one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever seen – this Dinosaur planter? I watched the tutorial for this thrifty idea on The Sorry Girls’ YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago and I loved how simple it was to make, yet how effective the finished result is. Check out the full instructions and step-by-step DIY video on their blog – The Sorry Girls.dino planter diy tutorial project

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Cost-saving ideas for setting up your own business

Fancy setting up a business of your own? Do you daydream of sleek white offices or cute boutique shops where you’re the boss? Perhaps you’ve got amazing skills in crafting, sewing or design and everyone keeps telling you that you should do it as a job. Or maybe you’ve been working in an industry for so long that you know it inside out and just know that you could do a better job working for yourself. If you’ve been thinking about setting up a business there are plenty of things to consider long before you take the plunge and I’d love to chat through a few of these with you today.

setting up an online retail business from home

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Setting up your online store

These days many business start out online and grow their customer base before requiring a physical store. So if you’re thinking about creating a website, I’d definitely recommend doing your research before buying a domain, a hosting plan, e-commerce package or site-building software. Some are more user-friendly than others – so you’d be able to design the website yourself and save money – while some might have hidden charges for future updates or for adding more data storage as your business grows. An easy way to dip your toes in is to list your products on already-established retail sites such as Etsy, Folksy, Not On the High Street or even Ebay. You’ll pay different fees for selling via these sites but it may be less expensive than setting up your own e-commerce site and customers will be able to find you more easily.

The internet is THE best place to promote your business so use all the free resources to get your name out there. You definitely want to link a blog to your e-commerce site, because the regularly updated content on a blogroll is great for SEO and will help increase your ranking on Google. There are plenty of free social media platforms you can use to promote your business – think Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ etc.etsy tips for starting a business online

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Save money with better storage

Finding ways to save money should be one of the focuses of every business manager and owner. When it comes to providing adequate storage for a business, this can be a cost-saving measure in its own right. All sorts of costs drop as a result of increased capacity in storage or a more rational approach to keeping stored items in good order. First of all, handling errors are minimised by staff when storage is laid out well. They tend to be able to find the components they need or able to fulfil customer orders more rapidly. This means greater productivity which, in turn, means you need fewer staff, thus saving money.

In addition, well laid-out storage of paper records, stock and goods-out areas means that mistakes are made less frequently. Having to fix something that has gone wrong is so much more costly to businesses than getting it right first time! High-quality storage improves efficiency, leads to better customer fulfilment and reduces costs year on year.packaging ideas for online retail business

Minimise processing costs

There will always be costs associated with businesses who are retailing online, as you need to get the product to the customer quickly and in great condition. So shopping around for suitable suppliers of low-cost boxes, packaging, tape, tissue paper, packing materials and anything else you need to pack up an order (ribbons and personalised stickers are a cute touch) is essential. It might be easy to stick with the first company you speak to, but if you’ve got a quote from one supplier, why not get in touch with a couple more to see if they can match or beat the price. You may find it beneficial to stick with a local company – even if a national brand DOES end up being a littler cheaper – because you’ll probably be able to get in touch with them more easily, develop good business relationships (perhaps there’s something you can do for them?) and if you need something in a hurry you can actually go straight to them to physically pick up a box of tape etc.

Delivery companies also should be compared before you start selling online, so that you know how much you should be charging for P&P. You could end up losing money if you just pluck a delivery charge out of the air! Postage costs vary wildly so it’s a good idea to pack, weigh and measure your product and then get quotes for the delivery. It could very well be easier to pop to the local post office each day, but if you’re sending out high volumes of products each day, perhaps having one courier collect all the parcels from you at once would be more convenient – and cheaper!packaging ideas for small online retail business

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Tuesday Shoesday – Rather fabulous shoe quotes + prints

I wanted to share a quick blog post with you this Tuesday Shoesday after finding some rather cool prints on Etsy this week. I searched for “shoes + art” and I discovered a whole world of fabulous shoe-related quotes. I couldn’t NOT share these classy wall-art designs with you, and I hope you’ll like them as much as I do.

etsy shoe print art girl right shoes high heels tuesday shoesdayMarilyn Monroe quote from LoveLiWedpoem about shoes etsy shoe print high heels tuesday shoesday

Footwear poem from Bespoke Verseetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday french quote little pleasures

Little pleasures from Lucy Bowes Designetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday

 Bold font with gold foil touches from Coco & Dee Designetsy shoe print art shoes high heels tuesday shoesday inspiration

Downloadable print from The Olive Shoe

What do you think of these quotes and prints? Would you decorate your home with one of these? I think it would be great prop one up on my desk or to hang above beside my dressing table. Where would you put a shoe-related print? Leave me a comment below to let me know 🙂

 


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Breathtaking Valentine’s Day gifts + save 33% on flowers!

When you’ve not got much time and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, the quickest and easiest option is to shop for gifts online. But that doesn’t have to mean you’re not putting any thought or effort into choosing a treat for your favourite person. Oh no, there are plenty of simply gorgeous gifts online that you just can’t get anywhere else and I’d love to show you what I mean…rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-2rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-5First up, I wanted to show you some of the unique gifts available on Etsy. As each item is hand-crafted or vintage, you can be sure that your other-half won’t have come across the gift before and it will be a true surprise. Okay, sometimes items are handmade to order, which adds a little extra time to the ordering process and it might have to be a Valentine’s Day ‘promise’ rather than something they can unwrap on the day. But who wouldn’t want to be given a note that reads “I’ve bought you a handmade gold pendant”?! I personally love all the textile crafts you can find on Etsy and these are some of my favourite heart-motif goodies.knitted heart scarf

Grey and pink knitted scarf by Grace Cook Knitwear

knit heart gloves etsyHand-spun alpaca wool gloves by Spinning Spider Webb

I love love love Maria Allen jewellery and this is one of her gorgeous Valentine’s Day designs. My bestie gave me an amazing personalised locket from Maria Allen for my birthday a couple of years ago and it’s my most cherished piece of jewellery. I can almost guarantee that this would be a winning gift for Valentine’s Day so feel free to use this blog post to drop a huge hint to your hubby ladies!etsy valentines locket marie allen gold necklaceAnd of course, it wouldn’t be valentine’s day without a beautiful bouquet of roses! Listen up hubby! There’s still plenty of time to order a bouquet online at Blossoming Gifts (where I got these sugar-pink blooms from). Ordering flowers online don’t have to be an expensive venture either; these bouquets are stunning yet not over-priced, starting at just £11.99. You can also find potted roses, lilies and orchids that will live on beyond Valentine’s day, plus many bouquets comes with a free gift, such as a box of chocolates or teddy bear. Plus you can save 33% on selected bouquets by using the discount code “BGIFTS33”, bonus!rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present rose bouquet flowers gift blossoming gift valentines present-4I was very impressed when the bouquet was Continue reading “Breathtaking Valentine’s Day gifts + save 33% on flowers!” »


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Inspirational quotes to get you through January – and the rest of the year!

January feels really long this year, why is that? Even though it’s not been particularly cold or especially dark this year, I’ve still felt like January has been a bit ‘meh’. Nothing bad has happened, I’ve not had a tough month, it’s just a bit… hmm. It’s at this time of year that I start to look around for inspiration, and if you follow me on Pinterest you might have noticed that the number of quotes I pin in January is seriously higher compared to the rest of the year. I love finding new inspiration in this way and I’ve decided that I want to keep good ideas at the forefront of my mind this year, so it’s time to treat myself to some lovely artworks that will improve my life.caterpillar into butterfly inspirational motivational happiness quote

Beautiful framed quote from my favourite Etsy shop I Heart The Home (just £10!)

I’m not exaggerating! Inspirational quotes, gorgeously designed and lovingly crafted, improve my home by adding a focal point to my wall or sideboard, making my surroundings more beautiful. Kind words in a pretty frame hanging where I can see them will give me a daily dose of happiness and put a smile on my face each day. Meaningful quotes pinned to my moodboard or propped up on my desk will keep me motivated in my work and focussed on my goals. Finding, choosing and displaying lovely words around my home is a win-win situation. So I’ve been browsing online to find some fabulous quotes that I love and I wanted to share these with you today this happy Monday morning.embroidery hoop art disney quoteAs Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney films, I love this embroidered quote. At first glance it doesn’t seem like a Disney quote and many people wouldn’t recognise it as being Disney at all so it’s not overly girly. Take the words out of the song and the words are meaningful in themselves. When you’re living day-to-day, you probably forget to plan for adventures and this quote bring the idea to the forefront. I also enjoy the craftmanship of this delicately embroidered piece – check out this crafter’s Etsy shop Honey Lemon more for fabulous embroidered designs. I’d love to craft something like this myself so it’s already inspired me to learn new hand-stitching techniques so make a ‘matching’ design to add to my gallery of quotes. Plus, the words make me start singing the rousing song in my head, so that’s great news!motivational quote pencils for work desk Continue reading “Inspirational quotes to get you through January – and the rest of the year!” »


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Mother’s Day treats & ideas

With only one week until Mother’s Day it’s time to get organising some treats for mum. I’ve been thinking about what to do for mum for about a month now and I can’t wait to take her out for the day (but it would be spoiling the surprise if I told you where we are going!). If you’re visiting your mother next Sunday it would be lovely to turn up with an armful of flowers, gifts and chocolates but even if you live far away from your mum, you can still show her you love her and here’s how:mothers day cards etsyAbsolutely essential is a card to wish her your mum a happy mother’s day. Whether you’re posting a card from miles away or handing it to her over the breakfast table, its the only thing that mums truly hope for on the day. Continue reading “Mother’s Day treats & ideas” »


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Her stocking ~ Gifts for the Girls

Last week I wrote about gifts for the guys, followed by a quick gifts for your pets post, but this weekend I’m tackling one of the more tricky gift guides: gifts for the girls. This is basically what I want for Christmas, which I hope will give you some inspiration for the ladies in your life when you head out to the shops!

I don’t dare suggest personal gifts such as perfume or beauty products, as every woman has their own preferences, instead my gift guide is a mixture of pretty things, lovely dresses and, of course, sparkly shoes – so there really should be something for everyone. Lets hope so!

etsy gifts

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Tuesday Shoesday – Make your own Valentine’s treats for your feet

As Valentine’s Day drawers nearer, I couldn’t help looking for inspiration for loved-up footwear, and this week’s drool comes in the (heart) shape of Marc Jacobs and the insane heels below:

marc jacobs heart shoes valentines day tuesday shoesday 2013

I would probably never wear such crazy shoes myself (although obviously I wouldn’t turn down a pair if hubby has chosen an extravagant Valentines gift for me!) but they are the kind of shoes that should be shown off on a shelf or in a gallery display cabinet – shoes for admiring as art, rather than walking in!

Around this time least year I went all soft over Vivienne Westwood’s famous jelly shoes with heart motif on the toes. Compared with Westwood’s usual prices, these jelly shoes were reasonably priced and tons of celebs were spotted in them all year round.  I’ve noticed that many brides are choosing to trot down the aisle in these beauties, which would be a lovely treat on your wedding day, and they look pretty comfy too! I would still love to own a pair of these – or seeing as they are available in so many colours, I could start a collection 😉 – but in the meantime, here’s an idea for recreating the Westwood look on a budget: Get yourself some hair clips with a heart design that covers the whole clip – there are plenty available on Etsy such as these sequined clips below – and clip them to your favourite shoes or pumps for an instant Valentine’s Day treat! tuesday shoesday vivienne westwood heart shoes sequin red clip valetines day heels


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My favourite craftspeople – House of the Fickle Queen

 

I recently stumbled upon a fabulous jewellery company when The House of the Fickle Queen popped up on my Twitter feed and I followed their links to their website www.FickleQueenHQ.com where I discovered the cutest retro-pop jewellery! The site is run by Farquarson and Firth who specialize in laser-cut necklaces, brooches and earrings, which they sell alongside quirky charm bracelets and vintage-style cameo rings. All very kitsch, and all very cute!

 

While the quirky vintage shapes and cameos really caught my eye, it was the personalised jewellery option that stood out for me. I’d liked these laser-cut jewellery items on the Little Mix girls (above, plus check out the frilly tutu skirts!) during last year’s X-Factor but had no idea where I could get such a thing from! Luckily, House of the Fickle Queen also create text-based items, with a choice of font, colour and your own words/name, which is absolutely awesome!

After a jolly good browse around the site, I quite fancied getting a piece of jewellery for myself and I fell head-over-heels for this Disney princess style horse and carriage necklace. I was so excited when the package dropped onto my door-mat and I was totally thrilled with the quality and beauty of my gorgeous necklace. And here it is (are you well jealous yet?!):Let me know what you think of my new piece of jewellery! What’s your favourite piece of jewellery? What text would you have laser-cut and why?! Leave me a comment below 🙂

 


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My Favourite Craftspeople – Nicola B from The Catkin Boutique

Last week I was craving a little fashion inspiration for the Diamond Jubilee (with the aim of deciding what to wear for the celebrations I’m attending over the weekend of the 2nd-5th June) when I stumbled into a gorgeous Etsy shop The Catkin Boutique, where I was surrounded by a plethora of lovely handmade jewellery (including the cutest brooches), comfy cushions and unique accessories.

 

I immediately spotted this über-chic vintage-style bunting necklace and couldn’t believe the array of different colours, patterns and sizes available (not to mention the price – what a bargain!). I think this would be the ideal accessory to complement my patriotic red, white and blue Jubilee outfit – what says Jubilee celebration more than classic bunting?!

The queen of this store is Nicola B, who carefully handcrafts all her products and can personalise items for special orders. I especially like these floral-print letter necklaces and have added it to my birthday wish-list (take note hubby!).

 

So having chosen my favourite style bunting – this gorgeous one below called ‘Picnic in Paris’ – I got in touch with the very friendly and ultra-helpful shop owner Nicola and she rushed an order to me in super-fast time to make sure it arrived in plenty of time before the jubilee. It was so beautifully packaged and even her business card is a work of art!

 And you won’t believe the compliments I’ve already received whilst wearing it; its such a cute girly look and everyone tells me they adore the necklace, so I think it’s the perfect head-turner, not just for this weekend but for the whole summer long! Check out her Etsy store The Catkin Boutique as soon as you get the chance 🙂

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