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

Continue reading “Thrifty Fathers Day Gift Guide & DIY Projects” »


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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” »


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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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Christmas gift guide 2015

It’s that time of year again – gift guide time! I know you’ll all be shopping for presents this week (I know I am!) and if you’re not already ‘all shopped out’ after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’m sure you’ll appreciate a few ideas I’m sharing today.christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-3 christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-4First up is a gift for everyone – your mum, colleague, friend or teacher. It’s a gorgeous Christmas mug from The Caravan Trail. Available in two styles, including a massive ‘Merry Christmas’ crush mug and cute gift boxed spice mug, with two equally festive designs, these cute cups are ideal for the person who had everything. You can bet that they won’t already have these ‘new in’ designs and will love the Christmas prints! Starting at £6 these are a great stocking filler gifts and would be fabulous as a “his ‘n’ hers” present for couples. The mugs are available to buy now on The Caravan Trail website. Fancy sipping your candy cane hot chocolate from one of these stunning mugs yourself? Well, the good news is that you can win one in my gift guide giveaway! Read on to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!christmas chattyfeet_christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-15christmas chattyfeet_-3You may have guessed from my previous blog posts over the years that I love ChattyFeet socks as a gift for friends and colleagues. Happily the guys at ChattyFeet have created a fabulous artist gift set, and seeing as my hubby is an art graduate and photographer, I know he’ll love this box. Characters include Vincent Van Toe, Andy Sock-Hole, Frida Callus and Feetasso and I can’t help laughing at their funny faces packaged up in this ‘exhibition in a box’! A lot of their cheeky characters come in tiny sizes for the little ones too so I’d recommend ChattyFeet for cute parent-and-child gift sets this Christmas. There’s a character for every personality – divas, scientists, superheros and famous faces – so you’ll be sure to find a matching sock for your friends, colleagues or every member of your family!christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-11 My top choices for books this year are these home decorating inspiration books published by Jacqui Small. I’ve been swooning over the Vintage Home book for a while so I’m sure it will go down well with the retro fans & interior design enthusiasts in your life. The book offers fantastic inspiration for including 20th century design classics in your modern home decorating projects. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a very ‘me’ book! It’s packed full of gorgeous photos and makeover ideas so really do think that I’m going to be keeping it for myself, haha!christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-2The second book I’d like to recommend is Shed Décor. It’s all about decorating and furnishing your favourite garden room to turn your shed into a peaceful sanctuary. I laughed when I first spotted this title because my husband loves his shed sooo much, so I knew it would be the perfect for gift him. But it’s not just for men and their sheds – it’s great for us girls too. Remember my beach hut style shed I installed earlier this year? Well, now that I’ve gained some valuable advice from this book, I’m going to make it into a pretty, relaxing space for the summer! I bet that someone in your life will love this book; dad, grandma, friend, brother etc so check it out for the shed enthusiast in your life.christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-7 christmas gift guide 2015 books beauty fashion homewares-8 Continue reading “Christmas gift guide 2015” »


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The easy way to find a Christmas present for your pet

If you’re as crazy about your pets as I am about my cats you’ll understand why I feel the need to share this information with you today. Okay, okay, I know I’ve already bought Christmas stockings for my cats and I’ve shared a festive gift guide for pets a couple of weeks ago, but that was before I discovered the Pet Present Finder app!pet present finder app

Continue reading “The easy way to find a Christmas present for your pet” »


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His stocking ~ Gifts for the guys

What will you be stuffing in your fella’s stocking this Christmas? I’ve come up with a gift guide that combines both high street and web-based shopping for the men in your life.  I’m hoping to be able to give my male family members Christmas presents that they will enjoy receiving this year, rather than the standard Lynx set, chocolate coins and multi-pack of socks, so I’ve done the leg-work and found some bargains that will be gratefully received – check these out:

Firsly, I came across a website that realty caught my eye – JustMiniatures.co.uk – yes, they are specialists in mini bottles of alcohol and I immediately thought that these would make excellent stocking fillers for my husband. This is a great way to buy unusual and specialist alcohol without investing in a pricey full-size bottle or spending hours searching for a rare blend. There’s something for everyone on this website, with all the famous brands alongside more obscure flavours sourced from far-flung distilleries so I’m sure that I will be able to find something for each of the men in my life – there’s even miniature soft drinks for the youngsters and non-drinkers. I’m even thinking of recreating my Christmas Cracker tutorial using miniatures as the gift in the centre for a fun after-dinner tipple!

Next, I took a look at the John Lewis website and found a very helpful ‘stocking fillers for him’ section. No need to look any further, it was all there! From Mr Natty’s Shave Oil to Reindeer silk ties, leather wallets to bobble hats, I filled up my online basket quicker than you can say “I’ll take a Monty the Penguin please“. And on that note, there are a couple of super-cute Monty and Mabel t-shirts and jumpers available and I’m not sure I can resist them! There are also lots of fun retro toys and classic stocking fillers on the website so I’m sure to find plenty of goodies to pop into the Christmas stockings of all my family members – everyone loves a set of juggling balls!

Finally, I decided to take a look on Etsy to find unique homemade or vintage gifts for my family. I discovered a whole range of independent sellers who have Christmas all wrapped up. One of the first items that caught my eye was this Christmas gift set of natural vegan soaps and handmade washcloth. I am always surprised to find such fabulous quality gifts at a considerably lower-than-high-street prices for something so special. I especially love the personalised items available such as this leather travel journal with recycled paper, which can be engraved with the recipient’s name and a special message. I’ve even found one of my husband’s ‘big’ gifts on Etsy, but I can’t tell you what it is because he sometimes reads my blog!

What do you think of these gifts? Would someone you know love to receive something like this? Do you have any suggestions for blokey bargains this Christmas? Please let me know and leave me a comment below 🙂


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Father’s Day ideas for the man who has everything

It’s Father’s Day next weekend and for once I have remembered this special occasion in advance, so it won’t be a mad dash to the shops to find a suitable gift. I usually find present-buying rather stressful because it’s hard to know exactly what someone else would want and I don’t want to ask them and spoil the surprise! So I’ve had a think and have come up with a couple of ideas for Father’s Day that are guaranteed to be a success.

Firstly (and probably the most likely gift I’ll be giving!) is power tools. If your dad, husband or brother has a garage or shed with a few tools in it, they will be certain to accept a power-tool present with glee! It can be hard to know which tools they already have without going hunting through their workshop, but you can solve this problem by getting a gift voucher for a power tool supplier OR choose a multi-tool such as this one from Anglia Tool Centre. Rather than buying a specific tool the multi-tool has at least got a few uses, so if your father already has a sander, he might make use of the grinder on this tool and so on. I know my husband would be delighted with one of these tool kits!

Fathers Day gift ideas for power tools

Power tool ideas from Anglia Tool Centre

Given that the World Cup starts just before Father’s Day, with the first England game kicking off the night before, perhaps you could invest in some football gear for your father. An England supporters shirt would be a good gift for any footie-lover to unwrap on Father’s Day! Plus, international competitions always seem to spark off the need to have a ‘kick-about’ during half-time so a football would be well received too!

england football shirts and ball father day ideas

England football goodies from John Lewis

Finally, it’s hard to go wrong with food and drink so a thrifty idea for a Father’s Day gift is making your dad his favourite meal, baking a cake or ordering in his top takeaway. If your dad is a fan of real ales you can buy a selection of unusual bottles from the supermarket and package them up in an ice bucket or rustic wicker basket to make the gift even more special – or buy a ready-made mixed case of beers online.

food and drink gift ideas for fathers day

Beer gift pack from Adnams

I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas for your own Father and please let me know what you’re planning and all your top gift ideas – I’d  love to hear all about it so leave me a comment below 🙂


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What to get for the man who has everything – well, he’s already got me ;)

This is a thrice-yearly problem for me. I have a husband who doesn’t want anything. For birthdays he insists he’d rather no-one celebrated it, at Christmas he claims he doesn’t want a stocking, and thinks that Valentines Day shouldn’t warrant any effort. Actually, make that 4 times a year: even on our anniversary he starts dropping hints during the weeks beforehand that he won’t be expecting a gift. Yet he spoils me every time. I think ‘showered with gifts’ is the correct term. Thankfully, I always ignore him and go ahead and buy him loads of prezzies anyway, and of course he is delighted. You see, he’s not all bah humbug or a grumpy old sod, he simply doesn’t want anyone to make a fuss but is always pleasantly surprised when we all do! This year I’ve been going for a different approach to gift giving and trying out some new, thrifty ideas for the man who doesn’t want anything. Here are my plans:

  1. Spend hours creating a Facebook album with all his silliest photos then share it with friends on the big day and tag him in all 100 images. It could be all the fancy dress outfits he’s worn over the years, or his worst face-pulling antics. The album I’ve made is ‘The Beard’ including all the silly shapes he’s trimmed his beard into over our lifetime together including Ali G goatee, handle-bar moustache and ‘the tiger’. There’s nothing like a bit of public humiliation to say ‘happy birthday’ to the one you love.

pieday friday white and milk chocolate chip sponge cake recipe

  1. Bake a massive cake. You don’t have to be the best cook and it doesn’t have to taste amazing: it just has to be BIG with piles of sweets and choccies on top. They say size doesn’t matter, but it does when it comes to a man’s birthday cake. I already know that I’m a bit rubbish at making cake (honestly, I’m getting worse – my last attempt was put out for the birds and even they didn’t want it) so I’ve bought some packet mixes to make sure I don’t go too far wrong and will just cover up any mistakes with a load of buttercream and chocolate icing!

  2. Sticking with the food theme, take him out for a big slap-up dinner. Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive, posh or luxurious – just BIG. Think massive portions, meaty meals and huge ‘sharer’ desserts for one. All-you-can-eat buffets really come into their own on birthdays, and if you don’t fancy a night out how about ‘one of everything’ on the takeaway menu? Burgers, chicken, pizza, chips, kebab (hold the salad) and a 2 litre bottle of fizzy pop will result in a very satisfied man at the end of the meal.

  3. Make him do something. Buy an experience voucher and send him out on a fun activity for the day. Paintballing, golf, knitting classes etc. One of the most memorable gifts I’ve ever bought hubby, and the one he always refers to, is a racing day at Silverstone. He loved driving that Ferrari and 9 years on we still have a photo of ‘my little racing driver’ hanging on the bedroom wall to prove it. But doesn’t have to be a pricey activity and there are plenty of discount deals available online, just shop around and go for the cheapest. I mean, the one he’ll enjoy the most. 😉 Or maybe try Giift.com, which is a new and innovative service that helps you to manage all your loyalty programs and gift cards in the same place, so he can choose what he’d like to spend the gift voucher on for himself, and get something he really wants!

So what do you think of my plans for hubby’s next celebration? Do you have any ideas of your own for treating the man you love without spending a fortune?


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Personalised books for Christmas

It can be really hard buying books for people as gifts. After all, you never know just which books they already have. I love receiving books for Christmas (because they don’t take up much space in my tiny home & keep me happy all year!) but some years I have received the same book twice and have ended up swapping with friend and family who have also received duplicate books. And then when you do find the right book and give it to them, how do you make it really personal? Write an inscription? How do you make the whole thing totally them?

blurb-banner

I’ve just heard about a series of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books that you can thoroughly personalise for your friends and family. I loved reading Robert Holden’s “Success Intelligence” (read my review here) – and lots of my blog readers have recommended that I also to read his “Be Happy” book – and I think that these Chicken Soup books will be equally inspirational. Not only do you get to choose from five different story themes, as the title suggests these are stories meant to comfort and heal, but you can also personalise the book with your friend’s name on the cover, as the recipient. And it’s truly from you because your name is printed on the cover as the giver. You can even include an inscription inside the book, on the back cover and add a photo to the back. It takes about five minutes to make it a truly custom book and chances are, it’ll be something they’ll love forever. There’s a quick video on the link I’ve shared that shows you how to fill in all the info using a simple online tool, and the books are all created by Blurb, so you know the quality is going to be great. Get started here and make sure you use the 25% off code that I found: NOVEMBER25


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A special prize from Joanie’s Gifts for July’s Inspiration Challenge

If you’re a long-term follower of my blog, you’ll know how much I love lucky cats and oriental design, so it’ll come as no surprise that I’ve chosen my collection of lucky animals as the starting point for July’s Inspiration Challenge. And I’m delighted to say that the lovely Joanie from Joanie’s Gifts shop has offered a prize for this month’s challenge!

inspiration challenges for July maneki neko

Joanie owns a fabulous online gift shop which retails very reasonably priced handmade treats, fashion accessories and interior design items. Whether you’re looking for a wedding present, birthday gift or something unique for yourself, you’ll be sure to find something amazing in her shop – I’ve personally never failed to find what I’m looking for on her site – from greetings cards to jewellery!

And most appropriately Joanie specialises in oriental gifts and, in fact,  my tiny little lucky cat above came from Joanie’s Gifts! She has very kindly offered to give a prize of a small lucky cat and a lucky cat purse to one lucky contributor to this month’s Inspiration Challenge! All contributions will be put into a draw and the winner will be chosen at random on the 1st August 2013. So check out what we made last month, and have a think about what YOU could make this month!

Anyone can join in – just tweet me with your progress and send me your projects by email to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk or on Twitter to @CassiefairyTutu by the end of July 2013. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly crafted item – it’s just for fun, a chance to try something new and a good excuse to get creative over the summer holidays – plus you might win Joanie’s lovely prize!

It would be great to hear your suggestions for August’s Inspiration Challenge theme so please email with your ideas or photos for next month. Happy making!

Other Inspiration Challenge articles

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