Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


Map Geek – Make it personal with romantic maps

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll already know what a geek I am when it comes to maps. Old, new and anything inbetween – maps are intriguing, enticing and informative. I’m the kind of person who wanders over to information maps on footpaths or in city centres and looks like a total tourist, but really I’m just interested in the map itself. Why is it here? What’s nearby? Any special information? Someone has taken the time to make that map and put it there, so surely there’s a reason that’s worth investigating. So it probably comes as no surprise that I also love to have maps in my own home too, and that’s where Mapify comes in. Read on to find out more about my Valentine’s map and how you can win your very own personalised map created just for you by Mapify in my giveaway – and there’s THREE prizes to be won!Thankfully, my husband is equally interested in maps, so when there’s an museum exhibit of old relief maps in the Lake District, or an exhibition of Max Gill’s famous street maps at The Lettering Arts Centre we are first in the queue to see it. I guess we’re well suited to each other, eh? So what better gift could I get for my husband this Valentine’s Day than a personalised map? Well, I’m pleased to say that it IS possible to create your own map of any location throughout the whole world, and have a fantastic quality print on your wall in a matter of days. Mapify is the serviceI used to make this special gift, and here’s how I did it.

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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 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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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” »


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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Map geek – Wear your map on your sleeve

I’ve got that map-Monday feeling and I want to show you all something I got for my husband this week; a map on a t-shirt. Not just any map – I could actually choose the location of the map and have it custom-printed. Cool, huh?maponshirt pillow and tshirts printing map geekThe company I went to for this personalised top is I could choose any spot on earth and the map would be recreated on the clothing product of my choice – or even a pillow! Fabric is sublimation printed with the graphics of the map chosen (and any text or markers you wish to add) and then stitched up into a classic t-shirt silhouette. I didn’t want any graphics or text on the t-shirt so I went ahead and ordered a simple map of the Suffolk geek maponshirt tshirt menswear fashion reviewmap geek maponshirt tshirt menswear fashion review-9map geek maponshirt tshirt menswear fashion review-7 Continue reading “Map geek – Wear your map on your sleeve” »


DIY Christmas coasters & festive party game

As you can probably tell from the recent activity on my blog, I’m getting excited about Christmas already. But it’s definitely with good reason; the more prepared I am in advance, the more I can enjoy the big day, with everything I need already here. There’ll be no last-minute impulse buying for me because I’m getting everything sorted out in advance. And this week, I’ve been thinking about table decorations…custom made christmas coasters movie quotes game and mugs_-4 custom made christmas coasters movie quotes game and mugs_-3I wanted to create something myself to include in my festive place settings this year and, seeing as I’m definitely including a hot drinks cart in my celebrations, I knew that I wanted to design my own DIY coasters. I discovered that Snapfish can print photos on cork-baked coasters and I quickly set to work creating my own artwork for the coasters.custom made christmas coasters movie quotes game and mugs_-8 Continue reading “DIY Christmas coasters & festive party game” »


The best personalised Christmas gift ever!

Have you ever thought that you’d like to create something a little different for a special someone this Christmas? Do you want to make a personalised gift but don’t have the time (or skills!) to be able to craft something yourself? I certainly fall into this category but even so, I wanted to create a gift that means something more for the special people in my life and I found just the place!

Continue reading “The best personalised Christmas gift ever!” »

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Easy to send festive gifts & a free ebooks for my readers!

With all the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday last week, the UK has been whipped up into a present-buying frenzy. There’s no denying it is now officially that time of the year and there are probably still lots of gifts on your list.  And if you run your own business (even if it’s just you and your blog), that’s even more gifts to give –  gifts for clients, business partners, vendors, customers. That gets expensive and even posting out greeting cards can be a pricey option! 

An ecard is a popular choice, but let’s be honest—it’s not much of a gift. Instead, consider giving an ebook made with Blurb for something truly memorable (and economical!). Whether it’s your writing, your images, your designs, a selection of your favorite blog posts—or some representation of whatever it is you and your business do—it’s an e-gift that’s personal to you and your clients will enjoy seeing what you’ve created just for them.

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook

Blurb’s ebooks run right on the iPad or in the iBooks app that’s part of Mac OS X Mavericks. For the Apple-free folks on your receiving list, you can create an Instant PDF that’s readable on pretty much every device. These fixed-format ebooks can include text, imagery, links, audio, and video. So you could even include a little office Christmas caroling as an added bonus – Or not; that depends on your singing voice! But a link to your website? That’s a no-brainer.

Ebooks are extremely inexpensive. For just £5.99 you can create an ebook of any size and then give away as many copies as you like simply by sending the download link to your customers, clients, and friends. The Instant PDF is just £2.49 to create. So instead of buying a truck-load of physical gifts and paying massive postage costs, this is a considerably cheaper and easier way to send a little something to your colleagues. And if you want to get something special for those really important clients, you can still make a gift they can physically open—a printed book vesion of the Ebook. So, why not get started? Here’s my Pieday Friday that I created for all my blog readers – please drop me an email if you’d like to receive my free PDF recipe book and I’ll send it over as a little Christmas gift for you, my lovely reader:

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook cookbook

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Give personal gifts this Chirstmas

If you have a digital camera—whether it’s your smart phone or your DSLR—chances are you have a lot of wonderful photos of the people you love. And if you do there’s a good chance that those photos haven’t seen the light of day since you first took them or posted them to Facebook or Instagram. So imagine if those photos were gathered together and printed in a personalised book – Wouldn’t it be the most thoughtful gift ever? And with Blurb’s easy, custom books, you can make a photo gift book that’s both personal and extremely polished. 

You can use your Facebook photos, Instagram photos, or photos on your computer to document a “year in the life” or even a whole lifetimes-worth of images. You can design your own book template, or have it automagically created with Blurb’s Designer Collection templates which I used to created my Pieday Friday recipe book (below). It was super-easy to use and all these ddesign tools run right in your web browser, letting you make a book in as little as ten minutes! A real book. One you can hold, share, show off (as I did with my cookbook!) and pass on. Plus it’s so easily customised that you can create different versions for different people. Just add in a few new photos, change the text, and re-order the prints to make a book on your nephew suitable for Grandma too. If you’re looking to make something a little bigger, like a family history book Blurb has ways to do that too and the templates will help your project come to life.

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook cookbook
Even though you can order up until December 19, ordering early is always better (and a bit cheaper too).So if you want to get started on making a beautiful gift book make sure you use this thrifty code I’ve found to get a huge 30% off  ” SAVE30 “

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Hen party series ~ Make a personal gift for the bride

Previously, Claire from Lacey in Places  blog shared her top tips for planning a hen party (read the article here) and today she continues to share her experiences of organising a vintage hen party for her friend Becky.  She has previously shared a downloadable budget spreadsheet and even invitation templates (read this planning article here) to make it super-easy to keep track of the hens, the accommodation and activities costs and she has also written about making DIY crafty decorations for the hen party! In today’s blog post, Claire is discussing how to create a personal gift for the bride and getting all the hens involved:

It’s a great idea to create a special gift for your bride. In this case, we created a “Becky & Her Birds” book and it gave all hens a chance to get involved in crafting a unique and special treat for the bride. It celebrates the occasion and shows the bride how important she is to all the hens, plus it gives everyone a chance to share their own memories and photos of their relationship with the bride – after all, the hens are there as the very best friends of the bride and any contribution to the book will be greatly appreciated by the bride.

diy personalised craft gift book scrapbook for the bride at hen party

For Becky’s book, my sister Kat very kindly made super-cute mini bunting to attach to the book and decorated the front cover with a photo of Becky with some hens.  Before the party, I emailed all the hens and asked everyone to bring with them pictures with Becky to glue in and write a special message to her. The book we used was from Paperchase for £9 contained 50 pages so I allocated two pages in the book to each hen, adding their names and placed them in alphabetical order. We also stuck in left-over bits of doilies from the bunting decorations and added more kitten stickers from the straw nametags and I provided lots of coloured pens and paper so that the hens could get creative with their pages and the result a lovely book full of memories, with all the pages looking so different and pretty – decorated personally by each hen.

Next week, I will discuss some ideas for party games and share some of the DIY makes you can create for your own hen party activities!

More hen party series articles

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