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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I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine!

Today I’ve got some really exciting news to share – I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine! A whole two-page spread has been dedicated to my tips, ideas and projects and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve taken some photos of the feature so that you can see what it looks like and maybe have a read of the pages. Continue reading “I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine!” »


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Brown-paper packages tied up with string… DIY festive wrapping ideas

Okay, I admit it. I’ve already started wrapping my Christmas presents. If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen my piles of presents, neatly wrapped and ready to go. I’ve been in a wrapping frenzy this week but it’s not because I’m super-organised, it’s simply down to the fact that I am seeing my best friends today and we are exchanging gifts this weekend because (as we live at opposite ends of the country!) we probably won’t get another chance to see each other again before Christmas. So I’ve taken this opportunity to get started early this year, rather than the usual Christmas eve rush!, and I’ve even tried out a few new decorating techniques that I wanted to share with you today. DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-3 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-4

I like to start by gathering together everything that I will need for the wrapping process, including scissors, Scotch Pop-Up tape dispenser, paper, ribbons, buttons, string, stamping kits, ink, tags, paint, pens, ric-rac and even sprigs of rosemary which look similar to pine needles and will make your gifts smell lovely too! DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-6 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-7 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-9

This year I’ve decided to use brown parcel paper – not because it’s necessarily any cheaper than wrapping paper, but because I want to put in a little extra effort to create home-made wrapping paper and make my gifts really stand out under the Christmas tree. I’ve used a holly leaf pattern stamp on one parcel to make a stamped ‘ribbon’ effect, which I have then decorated with parcel string tied through a chunky wooden button.

DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-13

Wrapping 20 gifts for this weekend wasn’t the chore that I expected it to be because this year I’ve been using a Scotch tape “Pop-up Handband” which dispenses pre-cut tape strips. I usually waste most of my wrapping time struggling to find the end of the sticky-tape and biting the tape off when there’s no scissors to hand, so having ready-cut tape strapped to my left hand really sped up the mammoth task! No longer will I be getting tape tangled and stuck to itself, nor those annoying creases in the paper when the tape doesn’t land flat. I am very happy with how hassle-free the handband made the task and I’m can’t imagine going back to old fashioned tape-on-a-roll now! Check out the facebook page www.facebook.com/ScotchUK to see the product. DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_ DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-16 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-15

Another simple way to funk up the brown paper is to print a snow pattern onto it using the rubber end of a pencil dipped in acrylic or poster paint – or in my case left-over emulsion! Dot random snow balls all over the paper and allow to dry before using. I made my own bow decoration by tying a piece of ribbon into a bow before threading a button onto a small piece of string. I then tied this around the centre of the bow and used the loose ends of the string to tie the decoration onto a strip of red ric-rac trim from the haberdashery. I stretched this around the parcel and taped it at the back.DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-17 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-18 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-19

Did you know that there’s actually a “National Wrapping Day” here in the UK? It’s on Sunday 14th December and I can see why; that will probably be the day when most of use will have bought a lot of our Christmas gifts (on the Saturday) and won’t want them hanging around the house unwrapped where recipients can easily discover them! The decorations will already be up so the presents can be wrapped and put straight under the tree. I’ll definitely be putting National Wrapping Day in my calendar and I’ve already been watching tutorial videos on the event’s website to get help with wrapping difficult items! DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-22 DIY homemade vintage christmas gift wrapping techniques_-20

Let me know when you’ll be starting your festive wrapping and I’d love to see your gorgeous gifts (especially if you try out any of these decorating methods!) so tweet me your photos to @Cassiefairy.


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A new DIY craft for me – cardmaking & embossing

I’ve just tried out a craft that I’d never attempted before – card making. Aside from making cards when I was a child and a feeble attempt at making a homemade card for my husband when I ran out of time to get to the shops, I’ve never even had a go at ‘proper’ card-making so when the opportunity to review an embossing machine presented itself, I thought that now would be a good time to learn a new craft. So I was rather excited when a parcel full of cardmaking goodies arrived and I took myself off to the caravan to try out my new kit.

The product that I’m using is a Sizzix Texture Boutique beginners kit (great for me then!) which is a card embossing machine that can be found in the die-cutting machines section of the Hobbycraft website. It uses patterned plastic ‘folders’ to imprint a design onto card by pressing it through  roller inside the machine. There is everything you’d need to get started inside this kit, including cards and envelopes, greetings transfers, three embossing folders and even a pack of embossing card in different colours and a square of sandpaper. For a while I couldn’t work out why on earth there was sandpaper in the pack of card, but once I’d read the label I realised that once the card had been embossed with a pattern the raised design could be rubbed with the sandpaper to lighten the embossed areas and make the print more obvious.

I embossed the largest folder pattern onto a ready-folded white card to create a background print, then I chose piece of green card to emboss the medium-sized design. It was a simple process of placing the card inside the folder and putting the folder between the two black embossing places. This embossing ‘sandwich’ was fed into the machine and the handle turned with practically no resistance to roll the plate through the machine and press the design into the card. I repeated the process one more time on a small piece of purple card using the smallest folder. The card crinkled a little as it went through the machine and I now realised that I should have cut it down to size before putting into the folder. It didn’t effect the embossed design though and I just cut it down afterwards instead! When I put the card together I decided to lightly sand the purple piece of card to make the flower pattern more prominent.

After this first attempt I thought I should try something a little more adventurous and used an embossing folder that wasn’t part of the kit – you can easily buy extra embossing folders with different designs from Hobbycraft but watch out for the sizes as this machine can easily emboss the 4.25 x 5.5 inch card I was using but anything wider wouldn’t fit between the embossing plates! I had a Kirstie Allsop vintage rose design pack to try out which included one large folder to make a pattern on the background of the card along with a thin folder 1 inch x 5.5 inches which I used to decorate a strip of card to layer on top. I added a blue piece embossed using the original folder then layered up striped washi tape and a gingham washi button to finish off my card design. I’m still deliberating which greeting to transfer onto the card!

Finally, I wondered what would happen if I attempted to emboss an envelope and I gave it a go, using the biggest embossing folder from the original Sizzix kit. I think it looks rather good, and it ended up with a pattern on both sides so it might be hard to write an address on, but for a hand-delivered greetings card it would be a nice touch!

My overall impression of this kit was positive – it was easy to use (and let’s face it, for a beginner like me, it’d have to be!), required no physical effort to press the cards and gave pleasing results in a super-fast time. I think these two cards probably took me half an hour to make and that’s with unpacking the kit, reading the instructions and trying to figure out where there was sandpaper in the pack! I reckon that now I’m a ‘pro’ (yes, my two attempts makes me a professional embosser now!) I would be able to emboss and decorate greetings cards within minutes. I felt like I was making something with my own two hands, but without it being a chore; in fact, it was rather fun!

Let me know if you’re an avid card-maker and whether you would use a machine like this. Perhaps you already have an embossing machine and fancy sharing your card creations with me? What do you use sandpaper for?? Get in touch my email or tweet me @Cassiefairy.


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My little vintage caravan ~ DIY pink party cones

Earlier in the week I shared my ideas for a birthday party via this moodboard, and as you can see I’m planning a red and pink theme for my birthday celebrations next week. So I’ve been spending a little time in my caravan crafting my own party cones using pink polka dot paper and spotty doilies from Wholeport. Here’s what you’ll need to create your own party cones at home and a very easy DIY tutorial:

pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

First use a plate (or cake stand as I have) to draw circles on the paper – I found it was best to draw on the back of the paper after my first attempt! Cut out the circles and then cut the doilies in half. Use double-sided sticky tape to attach the doilies half way up the paper circles then roll up into a cone shape, using another piece of double-sided tape to secure the edge.

DIY pink paper party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

Use a little piece of ribbon to decorate each cone – I’ve used different types of ribbon here so that my guests can keep track of their own cone. These cones would be great for holding popcorn (which I think I will be using them for), savoury snacks, sweets or as party favours filled with goodies. Now I just need to decide on some more food options and I’ll be well on my way to getting ready for my party!

DIY pink paper birthday party cones with doilies for popcorn or sweets

PS – pinch, punch first of the month and we’re finally in December! I’m opening up my Snowdog & Mr Tumble advent calendars as we speak!

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Homemade paper flowers & how to display them

Paper flower making can be fun, it can be relaxing, and it can take considerable talent to turn them out. The flowers can last a long time, add colour and beauty to a room, and can make a lovely, personalised gift. All it takes to make them is paper and a little time. What’s not to like?

Paper flower making has plenty of scope for letting the imagination run wild. Almost any type of flower can be made with paper, from carnations and cabbage roses to peonies and poppies. They can be made out of card, paper, newspapers, recycled paper, tissue or crepe paper, and can look almost like the real thing and certainly last longer. They can be used to decorate gifts, form a long-lasting bouquet, or be used as a hair decoration.

paper flowers tutorial from stylishtrendy blog

Beautiful paper flowers tutorial from StylishTrendy.com

How to display paper flowers

Paper flowers obviously do not need water to keep them alive, so why stick to a conventional vase when putting them on display? Considering the time and effort that goes into making each flower, they deserve pride of place in any home. Look at objects differently and there will be plenty of items available around the home that can take the place of a vase and really individualise the masterpiece that is the paper flower.

An empty wine bottle is perfect for those long-stemmed flowers, such as lilies or tulips, that look good as a small group. These look best in a country-style kitchen, displayed on a table, dresser or a windowsill. For a really rustic look, reuse empty tin cans – with or without their labels – for short-stemmed flowers such as daisies. Again this will look best in a kitchen area, especially if the labels are kept on. Perhaps not quite so aesthetically pleasing, but useful nonetheless, is an empty soft drink or water bottle. Go quirky and use a squat teapot for those flowers that have an abundance of petals, as the volume of the flowers will complement the rotundness of the pot. A coffee pot works equally well. Try an empty popcorn carton for tall flowers, which will create a perfect display for any retro living room. Other kitchen and dining ware could make the base for a great display, such as gravy boats, sugar bowls, pitchers and jugs.

Paper_Flowers_DIY_Married_To_Craft_Paper_To_Petal_Wedding_Ideas_BeforetheBigDay_Wedding_Blog

Image from Married 2 Craft blog

For a vintage look, retrieve some of those elegant champagne flutes and other crystal glasses that lie at the back of the cupboard. These make an elegant setting for a single flower and can even look like a petite version of a regular crystal vase. They will add a touch of sophistication and are perfect for living rooms, dining rooms and even bedrooms. For a more simple yet just as vintage look, use plain glass jars and bottles. For something a little different, why not try tying twine or copper wire around the necks of the jars and bottles and suspending them from the ceiling to create a hanging display of flowers?

Let me know if you try making your own paper flowers and how you prefer to display them – tweet me @CassiefairyTutu with your photos 🙂

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DIY craft project ~ making a funky patchwork frame

paper craft DIY project washi tape frame by cassiefairy

This week, I’ve been having fun upcycling some frames to make them look prettier and more summery. I began with this first project to funk up a white-board frame, so that I have a place to write my ‘notes-to-self’ in my workshop. I bought these pretty patterned washi-tapes, fabric tapes and masking tape strips online and didn’t really know what I wanted to make with them, so when I saw this blank, plasticy whiteboard frame, I knew I could jazz it up with a patchwork pattern.

You will need: A whiteboard with pen and holder (or photo frame if you prefer), selection of washi-tape or sticky fabric tape or coloured masking tape (try craft stores such as Wholeport or even Ebay), scissors.

craft DIY upcycle washi tape whiteboard photo frame by cassiefairy

  1. I got this whiteboard from a discount pound store – it’s a good idea to check out places like this for cheap things to upcycle! The first step was to dismantle it – the whiteboard slipped out just like a picture in a photo frame and if you’re using a picture frame, just take out the backing and glass.
  2. Cut a selection of washi-tape or coloured masking tape to size, making sure that the lengths will wrap around from the back of the frame, around the frame and around to the back again.
    Stick the tape onto the frame in a ‘patchwork’ effect, piece by piece, trying not to place the same patterns or colours together.
  3. When you reach a corner, use a sticky fabric-tape, which can be stretched a little to cover the corner neatly.
  4. When you have covered the entire frame, slip the whiteboard or glass/photo-insert back into the frame and clip on the whiteboard pen and holder.

craft DIY upcycle masking washi tape whiteboard photo picture frame by cassiefairy

And there you have it – a pretty decorated frame that is unique! Although it took a little while, it was quite a relaxing process – just me, sat down, quietly crafting and listening to music. I’m very proud of the results and will be adding washi tape to many more frames in the future! Let me know if you give it a go and tell me how you get on – leave me a comment below or tweet me a photo @CassiefairyTutu.

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