DIY Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

DIY Trick or Treat Tote

With Halloween two weeks away, I’m finally starting to get in the spirit of the season. Which is an improvement on last year when I made Monica’s dinosaur costume only a few days before the big day. And yes, this year’s costume is still a work in process. However, I found the time to sew her this perfect little trick or treat bag.

DIY Trick or Treat Bag

Last year, we only carried her to a few neighbors’ houses. This year, we’ll walk to a few houses as a family. And since Monica loves acting like the big kids and adults, she obviously needed her own trick or treat bag. I don’t plan on letting her eat any of the candy, but she already enjoys carrying her bag and putting things in and taking them out.

I can’t say exactly how long it took me to sew this tote since I didn’t do it all in one sitting and was taking pictures along the way. If you’re an adept crafter, you can probably whip one up during nap time. If not, you have two weeks!

Halloween tote supplies

Halloween tote fabric and felt

Materials
4 pieces of orange fabric, cut 13 inches wide x 14 inches long
4 strips of green fabric, cut 1.75 inches wide x 13.73 inches long (this was the total width of my green fabric cut into four equal strips)
1 sheet of black felt (I only used about half)
Thread (orange, green, and/or black depending on if you want things to coordinate or contrast)

Tools
Scissors/rotary cutter
Cutting mat
Pins
Sewing machine
Serger – optional
Iron and ironing board

green straps

We’ll start bymaking the straps first. Pin two strips of green fabric together with the right sides of the fabric touching. Repeat for the second pair of green strips.

sewing the straps

Sew the pieces of fabric together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat.

turning the straps right side out

Turn the straps right side out. I pin a safety pin to one side of the strap, pushing it through the opening, and pulling it out the other side.

finishing the strap

Press the straps with the iron. Finish the straps by sewing down the sides (1/8 inch seam allowance).

pin the straps to the right side of the tote

Pin the strap to the right side of one of the tote panels. Make sure the loop of the strap is facing down. I pinned mine to the panel that would ultimately be the lining of my tote. Repeat with the second strap and panel.

stitch the strap to the side panel

Stitch the strap to the side panel, about a 3/8 inch seam allowance. You’ll be sewing the bag together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, so you want to be sure the straps are sewn within that allowance. Set these panels aside.

BOO felt letters

Cut the letters “BOO” out of the felt. Each letter was about 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide.

BOO letters in process

Pin the letters to one of the outside panels. Sew the letters onto the panel. I used orange thread for a little contrast, but you can also use black if you want it to blend in. This might be a good idea of you don’t want any mistakes to stand out.

pin the sides of the tote right side together

It’s now time to assemble the tote! Pin the right sides of the outside panels together. Repeat with the inside panels (make sure the straps are inside and facing down).

Sew the outside panels together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving the top open. Repeat by sewing together the inside panels. You’ll now have two “bags.”

create the bottom corner

If you want, you can sew the corners to create a boxed bottom. Pull apart the sides at one of the bottom corners so that the side seam is directly on top of the bottom seam and the corner forms a sharp point.

Mark a line perpendicular to the side seam at the point where the corner is 4 inches across (the seam should be at the 2 inch mark).

Sew along the marked line and then trim off the excess fabric, about 1/4 inch above the sew line. If you have a serger, you can serge the edges together. If not, don’t worry since the raw edges will be hidden.

pin the bags right side together

Pin the two bags together, rights sides touching.

pin the bag right sides facing and match the seams

Make sure to match the seams up when pinning them together. You’ll want to start pinning at the seams and then work your way around to make sure everything is even.

Sew the bags together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave an opening larger than two inches, or else you’ll have to deal with this once you turn the tote right side out:

turn the bag right side out through the opening

Seriously, I think it took me about 15 minutes to pull everything through that tiny opening. The straps and felt letters were a little bulkier than expected.

leave an opening greater than 2 inches wide

I’d say a 3 inch opening would make things easier.

hand stitch the opening closed

Press the bag with your iron and hand stitch the opening shut using a slip stitch.

If you’re feeling fancy, finish the bag by sewing 1/8 inch in all the way around the top.

Happy Halloween!

DIY Halloween tote

Dressing for a Fall Wedding with Rent the Runway

It’s no secret that I love me some Rent the Runway. Having rented two dresses and written many a blog post featuring their dresses and accessories, Rent the Runway is my “saving money with style” dream come true. I love that a gorgeous dress can be yours for 4 days, starting at $30 (or up to almost $500, if you’re feeling extra schmancy) plus applicable shipping and insurance. Accessories start at $10….a total steal! So when we received a wedding invitation from a fellow Saint Louis University alumni and friend, I thought about how I could create an outfit featuring the signature SLU royal blue. I settled on this blue beauty, which can be rented for $80 plus shipping and insurance.

Why do I love Rent the Runway so much?

The convenience is one of the biggest perks. If the wedding is out of town, I don’t have to worry about packing a dress, let alone two sizes of the same dress. I’ve scheduled my dresses and accessories to arrive the day before the wedding and they’ve always arrived early. And once the festivities are over, all I have to do it put everything back in the pre-addressed return envelope and drop them in the mailbox.

Another perk of RTR is the option of two dress sizes being delivered to you. I tend to shy away from online shopping because I like to try things on in person. However, getting out of the house and trying on dresses can be a challenge with a baby and/or toddler. Fortunately, past renters leave reviews of the dress’s fit on RTR to help you pick out the proper size.

Finally, RTR includes a small insurance policy with each rental. That means I don’t have to worry about spilling wine or salad dressing on my dress. And if Monica drops her dinner on me, RTR’s dry cleaning has that covered too.

I should also add that everything I’ve rented has arrived in perfect condition!

I still haven’t decided what I’m wearing to the wedding. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to reserve this dress ;)

*No, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really like RTR. If you also have a wedding on the calendar and are looking for a lovely dress at a lovely price, you can sign up through my Rent the Runway referral link, and we’ll both get $20 off our next orders. Muchas gracias!

Herb Roasted Potatoes and Onions

As I said in my last post, I was just in New Orleans for #FinCon14. As expected, I learned so much about blogging (and got a much needed kick in the pants), but my biggest takeaway from the conference was growing my network of financial bloggers. I wasn’t going with anyone in particular (besides John and Monica), but had a list of people I wanted to meet. My new blogging bestie has to be Leah Manderson, and I’m also glad to have met Jamie from Spirited Gifts, lots of folks from the XY Planning Network (Sophia Bera, Alan Moore, Eric Roberge, Matt Becker, among others), Leisa of Wealth Clinic, Jessica from Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses, Samirian of Budgetwise Financial Solutions, Sam and Linsey Knerl, and so many more. While I continue to mentally unpack from the conference and write a post about how kids learn about money, I leave you with an extremely tasty fall side dish: herb roasted potatoes and onions.

marble potatoes and herbs

Truth be told, I first made this recipe about two months ago. Yes, in the heat of the summer. We had purchased a pound of marble potatoes at the farmer’s market, thinking we would make potato salad. And then we bought some local cheddar jalepeno brats for dinner. Couple that with an abundance of herbs in our garden and we were due for some herb roasted potatoes.

pouring olive oil on the potatoes

This dish is the epitome of Fall. If we host Thanksgiving in the near future, I think these potatoes would make the menu. Until then, these potatoes and onions might help John forget the Bears’ dismal loss to the Green Bay Packers.

marble potatoes, herbs, and onions

And while Fall came a bit early with these herb roasted potatoes, I don’t think the season has officially begun since I still haven’t enjoyed my first pumpkin ale. As for that other sterotypical fall drink, I can’t say I’ll be drinking a pumpkin spice latte after reading this expose.

herb roasted potatoes and onions

Herb Roasted Potatoes and Onions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound marble potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A handful of fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ onion, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425*.
  2. Rinse marble potatoes, scrubbing to remove any dirt. Spread evenly in a baking dish or on a rimmed cookie pan.
  3. Rough chop herbs.
  4. Coat the marble potatoes with olive oil.
  5. Add herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
  6. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes until fork tender

 

wedding photo

On Holding Each Other Accountable

Over the weekend, John and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. It was a low-key day as we donated blood in the morning and later went out to dinner with Monica. In past anniversary posts, I shared discussion points and tips for merging finances and wedding planning tips. This year (with #FinCon14 happening now!) I can’t help…

Read More »

quick refrigerator dill pickles

We Can Pickle That

A couple weeks ago, I shared that we’ve been trying our hand at pickling. Each year, it seems like we have an over-abundance of one vegetable. The first year, it was zucchini. Last year was tomatoes. And 2014 is the year of the cucumber (and dill). One weekend we picked 14 cucumbers! We’ve probably picked…

Read More »

how to start saving for college

How to Start Saving for College

Last week, Monica started in the toddler room at daycare. And while we’re several years away from paying for college, we also started to make some progress on her college savings fund. Up to this point, any money given to Monica sat in her savings account, accumulating a few pennies of interest income at a time….

Read More »

new scarf outfit

7 Tips for Building a New Wardrobe

In addition to my blog redesign, I feel like my wardrobe needs a little redesigning and refreshing. Things I wore in college aren’t exactly (cool) mom-appropriate. And some of my business casual clothes are gathering dust since I can now wear jeans everyday to work, though I wore an outfit extremely similar to the one…

Read More »

pink shoes

Little Happies: Pink Shoes Edition

My friend Stephanie hosts a lovely little link-up called Little Happies where bloggers can share the little happy things going on in their everyday life. I thought I’d finally join in and share some of the happiness in my life: For the longest time, I’ve been on the hunt for new black flats. I looked online…

Read More »

fiscally chic on blogger 2014

Welcome!

Hi! Welcome to the newly redesigned home of Fiscally Chic! This redesign and move to self-hosted WordPress has been a while in the making. To be honest, I first started thinking about WordPress at the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference and then again in 2013. I wanted a cleaner and more professional looking blog, but could never pull the trigger….

Read More »

jerk chicken and pineapple salsa

Jerk Chicken Quesadillas and Pineapple Salsa

During spring break of junior year of college, I took a Caribbean cruise with my Mom. It was a super fun girls trip and one of my favorite pictures of us was during the muster call. We swam with sting rays (before Steve the Crocodile hunter died), climbed the Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, and saw…

Read More »

baskets

Tidying Up

first row: Target (no longer available), right second row: left, center, right third row: left, right While it appears to be all quiet on the western blogging front (it is summer, after all), I’ve been tidying up my blog design. (And moving to WordPress…eek!) At the same time, it’s a battle to keep things tidy…

Read More »

running-half-marathon

On Blogging and Running

About a month ago, Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum was a guest on The Lively Show. I enjoy reading food blogs, but hadn’t heard of Pinch of Yum until then. In addition to sharing delicious recipes with gorgeous photography, Pinch of Yum shares their monthly income reports. Their first income report was for August…

Read More »

toolbox-essentials

Toolbox Essentials for the New Homeowner

It’s summertime, which means DIY projects and household improvements are filling people’s weekend “to do” lists. The summer is also a prime time to buy a new house, which means you need to be prepared for repairs. If you’re in either of these camps, you’ll enjoy today’s post sponsored by Gotstock. What’s in Your Toolbox?…

Read More »