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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Pumpkin carving for Halloween – our spooky designs

For the past couple of years I’ve been using pumpkins to decorate my home during the autumn BUT I haven’t actually carved a pumpkin for ages. I made glitter pumpkins last year (with pumpkins I actually grew in the garden – smug!) and a lovely autumnal display on my sideboard the year before. But this year, my love of pumpkin carving was reignited when my brother challenged me to a pumpkin carving competition.halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-5 halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-projectThe whole family joined in with the competition, with each of us carving a different design on our pumpkins. It’s amazing just how many different ideas everyone came up with, using large pumpkins, mini squashes, stacks of pumpkins and even carrots! I have photographed all the designs and shared them below to provide a little extra inspiration if you’re carving a pumpkin for Halloween today.

My design was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the cat silhouette. I’m sure you could have guessed that without me telling you! My husband’s design was the angry pumpkin eating a mini pumpkin, with spiky nose and carrot arms. We’ve made a similar pumpkin design in previous years, so check out my step-by-step pumpkin carving blog post if you want to recreate this scary squash for yourself. And if you were wondering which pumpkin actually won our carving competition, it was the Barbie-eating pumpkin monster! I’m delighted to say that my cat pumpkin came second, woo!halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-4 halloween-pumpkin-carving-inspiration-ideas-tips-diy-project-3And if you’re looking for quick and easy decorations for Halloween, here’s my flying paper bats DIY video. Hope you all enjoy your Halloween and I’d love to see photos of your own pumpkin carvings so please tag me in your Instagram photos @Cassiefairy or tweet me a pic @Cassiefairy.


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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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DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch

Today I’m sharing another fantastic DIY project that I found in Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. This patterned branch would be a great photo backdrop for a party or could even be hung in your home to introduce a rustic feeling to the room. I love to decorate my living room for autumn with pumpkins and flowers, so I’d hang something like this above my sideboard, using autumnal colours and textured fabrics.decorate-for-a-party-p127-photography-by-holly-beckerThis project is also a great way to use up all those fabric offcuts that are too small and thin to use but that you just can’t throw can away! If you have a rummage through your sewing cupboard you’ll probably find all the scraps you need! Or you can buy some low-cost fabric odds-and-ends or ribbons from the haberdashery. It’s a really quick and simple project and all the step-by-step details are below. Plus, there’s a couple more ideas for using branches and fabric this autumn too, such as this fun den and cute packed lunches (below). Have fun making this autumnal decoration and let me know how you get on if you give it a try!decorate-for-a-party-p123-photography-by-holly-beckerThis branch can be made before your party to mark the party spot or later, during your party by inviting the children to help you, because it’s easy and fun. Or, for a party you’re hosting at home, you can make one to display over a buffet or even in another room of your home as additional decor.

YOU WILL NEED a straight branch, cotton fabrics in various prints, white linen (lightweight), pine cones, thin copper wire, scissors, string

Continue reading “DIY autumn decoration – patterned branch” »


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Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween

A slightly different take on the classic festive gingerbread man, this cookie dough contains cocoa powder so it produces a dark, crisp biscuit. When cut out with a gingerbread cutter they’re the perfect shape for icing a skeleton design for Halloween. The darker colour biscuit emphasises the spooky shape and tastes even better than normal gingerbread thanks to all the chocolate in the recipe!diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-12I think that these homemade biscuits would be great to give out to trick-or-treaters or could be the dessert for your spooky Halloween party. Here’s how to make the dough and bake the perfect chocolate gingerbread skeletons:diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-11Ingredients for around 18 biscuits (depending on the size of your cutter): 300g plain flour, 50g cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 120g butter, 120g brown sugar, 140g golden syrup, icing sugar for icing the skeleton shape.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-puddingdiy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-2Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa, ginger powder and butter together in a bowl. Either use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, like a crumble recipe, or put into a food processor and pulse together until it forms a crumbly consistency. Drizzle in the golden syrup and continue pulsing the processor until it forms a dough, or mix with a knife if you’re doing it the manual way.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-3Step 2: Divide the dough into quarters and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough then peel away the top layer of paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-4 diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-5diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-6Step 3: Use a gingerbread man cutter to press shapes into the dough. Peel away the excess dough, leaving the gingerbread man shapes on the greaseproof paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-8

Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween” »


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DIY thrifty Halloween decorations – flying paper bats garland

Need some low cost decorations for your Halloween party? Look no further! You can make this flying bats garland in a matter of minutes and use it to decorate your dinner table, to hang at your windows or cover your porch. Make as many garland strands as you like, make the thread as long as you like and add as many bats as you like!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-8 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-projectI made lots of strands of 3-5 bats to cover the wall above my sideboard this Halloween. This gives a staggered effect and allows the bats to float around freely. I think it looks spooky for Halloween but not too scary (so is more suitable for younger children’s parties) or sophisticated enough for grown-up Halloween gatherings.halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-9 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-2halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-4I think that showing you how to make the bats ‘fly’ on the thread is better than trying to explain the steps, so check out my video to see how it’s done. You can see just how quick it is to make a garland of bats, so it’s easy to make a large quantity to cover your walls and windows this Halloween. After decorating my wall I’ve decided to keep my trick-or-treat snacks on the sideboard ready for Halloween – I just need to get a pumpkin and I’m ready!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-5 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-3Here’s the video on YouTube: diy-video-thrifty-halloween-decorations-flying-paper-bats-projectLet me know if you have a go at making these paper bats by leaving me comment below or tagging me in your Instagram photos. And please do get in touch if you have any questions about the steps – I hope the video helps to explain it okay 🙂 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-7halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-6/a>


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3 ideas for a Halloween night in

Halloween has turned into one of the biggest nights of the year in many people’s social calendars. Bars and restaurants run Halloween-themed events and parties and it’s a great excuse to get dressed up in your weirdest and wildest fancy dress and hit the town. However, if going out doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other ways to have fun at Halloween. Have a bowl of sweets at the ready for any trick or treat callers, and then settle down to a spooky night in with the girls.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-11
Check out my DIY glitter pumpkin tutorial for Halloween

Murder Mystery Night
Playing a game of murder mystery is a great option for a bigger group of people, but you have to be willing to prepare ahead. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be too imaginative – buy or download a murder mystery kit, choose a theme and tell each of your friends the role they’re going to play. Just follow the instructions in the kit and the evening should go off without a hitch. Then see which of your friends makes the best Miss Marple amongst you all!halloween-nail-art-manicure-tutorial-using-permanent-pens-white-and-black

Why not give your friends a spooky manicure? Continue reading “3 ideas for a Halloween night in” »


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Tuesday Shoesday – Spooky Shoes

The spookiest month of the year is upon us. The stores are full of scary costumes and frightful decorations, so there’s no denying that Halloween is on its way. Until I became I student I never really celebrated Halloween but once I realised that this was the ultimate fancy dress night out, I’ve been a fan! I also think that the appetite for celebrating Halloween has grown over recent years; I certainly don’t remember trick-or-treating as a child but nowadays all the kids in the village are looking forward to the big night. So in honour of this seasonal event, today’s Tuesday Shoesday blog post is all about spooky footwear, but I couldn’t just share a few photos of some scary shoes, now could I? No! Today is special because YOU could win a £50 voucher to buy anything you like from Violet Vixen – shoes or otherwise – so read on and enter now!violet vixen funny bones shoesI admit that I’m a bit of a wimp, and even a plastic spider can make me go all jittery, so I like my Halloween celebrations to be classy rather than terrifying. Yes, it’s all pumpkins and candles rather than ghouls and slime for me! I don’t like to be scared by my own reflection either, so you won’t find me covered in fake blood with a ghostly-white complexion. I do, however, love a bit of tongue-in-cheek design combined with quality clothing and that’s where The Violet Vixen comes in.shoes with skulls for halloween

I was browsing their website last month and started checking out the footwear category to get inspiration for this Tuesday Shoesday blog post.  Within minutes I was actually giggling at the cute and cheeky footwear designs available, in particular, these ‘funny bones’ shoes. I think that the design is great; a classy black ballet pump, boot or heel but with an x-ray-esque bone design on the side. I love this range SO much and think that it would be great for all year round, not just Halloween; surely you can imagine going on a night out wearing those gorgeous heels for any occasion too?!violet vixen corset and shoes

I also spotted that a made-to-order corset is available in the same ‘funny bone’ style and this looks like the ideal Halloween costume for me; not too scary but very cool. On further inspection, this website isn’t just for amazing shoes in unique designs; it’s also packed full of cute accessories, 50s style dresses in bright patterns, handbags and even menswear.  Whether you want bats, skulls, cherries or bows, there’s something for you right there. (And there’s a Halloween coupon code TREAT25 for you to get 25% off everything right now!)pin up girl shoes for halloweenBesides drooling over the skull shoes for Halloween, I was drawn to the stunning pin-up shoes in the Violet Vixen footwear collection. These are definitely shoes for all year round, and the polka dot patterns are adorable. I couldn’t help picking out in a pair of Mary Jane shoes in monochrome stripes for myself. The heel-to-sole ratio is just right for me, the strap ensures that I feel secure while walking in shoes of this height and the design is super-cute. I’m waiting for them to be delivered as we speak and I’ll be sure to show you a photo my new favourites when they arrive.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – details of how you can win a £50 voucher for The Violet Vixen.com! You are free to spend your £50 voucher on anything throughout the site – spooky shoes, custom-made corsets, pretty dresses or anything else you can find on their website! So browse the collection and enjoy a shopping spree on us!  Plus, The Violet Vixen will cover the delivery costs too so you won’t have to spend any of your voucher on postage – bonus! This giveaway is open to UK residents only and the winner will be picked at random once the competition closes. There are plenty of ways that you can earn entries into the prize draw so enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Spooky ideas for DIY Halloween nail art

It’s at this time of year that I start to go a little crazy with my nails. I pick out the darker colours and I load up on glitter. I love a bit of simple nail-art as much as the next girl so I like to get my pens out and get creative. And what better excuse to go wild with your nails than Halloween?! It’s almost expected that you’ll have crazy nails for Halloween and I even love to wear a little ghoulish nail art during the day to get into the spooky spirit in the run up to the Halloween party on Friday. avon nail polish pumpkin halloween nails bonfire christmas orange art glitterHere is one of my more ‘subtle’ looks for Halloween and I call them my pumpkin princess nails. It’s a couple of coats of bright orange polish with a little gold glitter over the top. I think this looks like a candle twinkling inside a pumpkin and it’s an easy way to wear a Halloween look on your nails without going all-out crazy!

halloween-manicure-diy-nail-art-tutorial-orange-and-black-pumpkin-faceshalloween-nail-art-manicure-tutorial-using-permanent-pens-white-and-black

A bit more interesting but equally easy are these ghoulish designs. I’ve simply painted all my nails in plain white or orange and then drawn on devilish designs using permanent marker pen. I love the pumpkin faces and enjoy thinking up different scary expressions for each finger. I think that these are ‘friendly’ so designs are fun to draw and they cheer up everyone I see! I’ve gone for a selection of spider, bat, ghost and skeleton images on the white background.

Firework nail polish varnish opia eyeko models own disco mix avon gold purple silver blue bonfire night

And when Halloween is over, I’ll be immediately moving on to these firework fingers! Each nail is painted with a metallic midnight blue base coat for the night sky and then different glitter effects and colours are applied to each finger to look like different firework explosions!

Let me know if you try out any of these looks for Halloween and I would love to see you photos so please tweet me @Cassiefairy 🙂


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Four Roots of Wisdom: The Tarot – Sioux Connection

As you know, I’m in the process of ‘enjoying’ a week off during half term. Of course, in reality, this means getting lots of jobs done that I’ve managed to put off for the last 7 weeks! Luckily enough, I have another fabulous writer friend who is willing to fill in for me again today so that I can continue doing all my chores around the house. In honour of Halloween and to bring a touch of spirituality to the blog I’ve asked Heather Jackson to write a piece for me because she is fascinated with all things Tarot.  While I know next to nothing about this subject, she enjoys writing about what she has learned in an effort to help others discover the magic of Tarot, just like she has. You can find her fascinating articles mainly on Tarot and psychic websites and here are the insights that she has shared with us today:

tarot cards

 image source

If you study tarot long enough, you begin to think that you live in an isolated world. But, the tarot, and its suits, share some commonality with ancient Indian practices – Native Americans that is. The North American Medicine Wheel is something that comes from the Sioux Indians and contains four quadrants that sort of resemble the four suits of the tarot.

The Yellow : Wands : Fire Suit

This colour/suit is a real tribute to the east. It represents the warmth of the sun and fire. It also represents your own divine spark, creativity, and passion. It informs you of the potential in life that you never knew you had. In this spiritually-driven quadrant, your intangible self lives on and calls to you with ancient wisdom. For example, it may tell you about the passions in life you have that are undiscovered. That hobby of yours might be a distraction or it might be something you need to spend more time focusing on. Maybe your love life needs some tweaking.

tarot deck

 image source

The Black : Pentacles : Earth Suit
Continue reading “Four Roots of Wisdom: The Tarot – Sioux Connection” »


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DIY glitter pumpkins for Halloween

Yes, I grew these pumpkins in my garden. Can you believe it? I’m still surprised myself! I want to use them to decorate my home for Halloween but I’m really rather poor at pumpkin carving so I thought about other ways that I could inject a little ‘Halloweeniness’ and I came up with this glitter pumpkin DIY.happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorialI tried out a few methods of applying the glitter so that you don’t necessarily need to have to the same ‘ingredients’ as me to get a similar effect. I started with what I found to be the easiest method, which was using used a spray adhesive to spray the top of one of my pumpkins so that the glitter would stick, then I simply sprinkled on some very fine gold glitter (which I picked up from Hobbycraft) all over the top.

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-3 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-5

This gave a lovely even coverage and it looks like quite a glitzy glamorous pumpkin. I think this effect would be best for dinner party table decorations as it’s quite classy and simple, and you could also spray the adhesive all over the pumpkins for a complete coverage which would twinkle in the candlelight.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-9 DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-8

For a more traditional Halloween party pumpkin I’ve used PVA glue to paint the words ‘Happy Halloween’ on to the largest pumpkin. I first used a market pen to write the lettering and then I used a small paint brush to apply the PVA glue over the lettering. I then sprinkled all over the letters before the magic moment of blowing all the excess glitter off the pumpkin to reveal the greeting.

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-2 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-9 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-10 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-12DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-10I also decided to decorate my last pumpkin with PVA glue and I simply squeezed the glue onto the top of the pumpkin and let it run down the sides for a ‘drippy’ effect. Actually, this was a very messy process so I’d recommend doing this on top of newspaper and when there are enough drips covering the sides of the pumpkin you can sprinkle on more glitter. Blow off the excess again and leave it to dry completely before moving it into position – I got a couple of glittery PVA drips on the sideboard , whoops!

happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-6 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-7 happy halloween DIY glitter pumpkins step by step tutorial-8DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-7These last two pumpkin designs could be completed using a glitter-glue pen or you could vary the design to use different colours of glitter or even different quotes such as ‘beware!’ or ‘be very afraid’ and so on. I arranged my pumpkins together with some oranges and a few candles which really made the glitter sparkle in the flickering light.

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorialDIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-6

What do you think of my DIY decorations? Will you have at go at making them for yourself? Any suggestions of how I could have made this a less-messy task?! Please leave me a comment below and I’d love to see your photos if you try it out for yourself!

DIY glitter pumpkins for halloween - step by step tutorial-11

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