Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

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


DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos

What do you give to your special someone for Valentine’s Day when you’re both trying to save money and clear the clutter? Something very thrifty and useful, that’s what. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less from me so I’m happy to oblige! I’ve upcycled a gift box that I received for Christmas, used a left-over piece of wallpaper and lots of double-sided tape to create a DIY gift for my husband. Read on to find out how I made this quick and simple gift PLUS you can get a discount on printing your own photos at by using my code CASGRI for £4 off!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-27 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-26I want to show my husband lots of love on Valentine’s Day (and on birthdays, at Christmas and every other day too, for that matter) but that doesn’t always mean buying something new. I think that experiences and the resulting memories are more important than buying something from the shops, so I wanted to reflect back on the things we’ve done together over the past year, and create a box of our shared memories to look back at. Of course, I want to make it a bit special for hubby, so I’m including a handful of retro sweets and some photo-strips from the Valentine’s range at Cheerz (use code CASGRI for £4 off!) that I just got printed up. These special Valentine’s products are available to order until 4th Feb so get started now to make sure you receive your photos before the big day!DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-28 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-4 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-5 DIY thrifty valentines make your own memory box gift_-6But I’m not just making this DIY gift as a Valentine’s Day treat – oh no, it’s totally practical too. This box provides much-needed storage space for all our photos, ticket stubs and scrapbook bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve collected up over the past year. They’ve been sitting in my desk drawer and I’d like that space back now please! Plus I’m always happy to recycle something rather than bin it, so this festive gift box (it had chocolates in, can you tell?) gets a new lease of life as a dedicated storage box now that the contents have been eaten. Let me tell you how I revamped this tired old gift box – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway below..! Continue reading “DIY Valentine’s gift – A box of memories + polaroid photos” »

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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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Making large wall-art using A2 poster

I recently bought some frames at a bargain price from The Range and wanted to make my own unique artwork for my bedroom. The frames were very large carved wooden frames in a lovely dark wood that I thought would go perfectly with my bed frame. I loved the frames, but they weren’t being sold in the empty-frames section –  they were discounted in the ‘wall art’ section. The frames were the surround for an art print of a paris scene, but that wasn’t why I was buying them – it was simply for the frames. It’s a great idea to look in the wall art department when you’re looking for frames, because you can often get frames at a cheaper price, as long as you don’t mind taking out the existing artwork. I got a slightly odd look at the checkout as I bought two of the same artwork, but of course, I was already brewing up ideas for new artwork for my wooden frames!

I encountered a couple of hurdles when using my new frames. First of all, the artwork had been glued in to the mount surround, so rather than just slipping out the print and adding my own images as I had anticipated doing, I had to actually cut the image out of the mount so that I could use it as a surround for my new photos. The second hurdle was that the aperture of the mount was just that bit-too-big to house the image that I had planned to print out using my home printer – A4 and A3 were both slightly too small and would leave a gap around the image.  After a quick look online, I found out that I could get A2 poster prints of my images, and this would be plenty big enough for me to trim off the edges and would fit the frame perfectly.

diy making large wall art cat poster prints printed com

So I chose a couple of images of my pet cats. I know it’s a little cheesy, but these are the very first photos that I saw of my cats when I was browsing the Animal Care website years ago to find a cat to adopt. These two cats had to be rehomed as a pair, and when I first saw the photo of my little black cat I was smitten – and when I saw her tortoiseshell sister I was sold. I have loved these cats for the past five years since they came to live with me back in August 2008, so these photos are very special to me, because they are the first glimpse I ever had of my furry friends. So I sent these lovely photos to be printed (I also found out that I can get business cards printing with but that’s another story!) and they soon arrived and I set to work putting them in the frames. Obviously, I was going to lose part of the print because the frames are square and the posters were A2 but I centred the cats in the frames and snipped off the excess at the edges.

I love my new massive artwork, and I hope you’ll agree that they look pretty good in the dark-wood frames. I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford this size of frame normally, so it was well worth me hunting in the artwork section of The Range to find large frames at a good price – let me know if you find any bargains this way too! 

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A beautiful rainbow over a rural landscape

I really don’t think there’s anything better in nature than a beautiful rainbow. It’s a mini-miracle in the sky and it happens so rarely that you really have to stop and stare when then sun breaks through the clouds on a drizzly day. I love rainbows (and not only because they definitely have a pot of gold at the end) and am always amazed by their beauty, but I find it really hard to capture the magic of a rainbow in a photograph. Skies in general are hard to photograph and I find that the resulting image is nowhere near as good as the scene you’ve seen with your own eyes.  So I’m very happy that these photos came out looking so pretty. Enjoy!

beautiful rainbow photo over field landscape


One of my favourite photos: Fishing Boys by @AndyGreenacre

Here’s one of my favourite photographs from Andy Greenacre’s recent exhibition – check out his website here:

Fishing Boys by Andy Greenacre

This panoramic photograph was taken by the artist back in 2000 in South Africa.

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My Favourite Photos – Possibility

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was set by Jessica Spiegel on the subject of ‘possibility’;  “As far back as I can remember, I have loved taking and looking at photographs of doorways, paths, windows, and roads – these kinds of images have always invited me in and encouraged my mind to wander. What’s beyond that ornate door? Whose window is that? Where would I end up if I continued on that road? These are what I call ‘pictures of possibility‘.”

This is my contribution on the theme of ‘possibility’ showing the paths around Framlingham Castle in Suffolk. I love the light and shadow in this photograph and I know these paths so well; I’ve even slipped down them in the winter in order to get to the best sledging area at the back of the castle!

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