Our blog today come to us from Danni over at The Whimsical Cottage. She's letting us in on her favorite part of this season...
The Charm of PumpkinsFor as long as I can remember, pumpkins, those shiny globes of Autumnal joy, have been one of my favorite parts of this season. When the first pumpkins would show up in roadside stands and super markets, gleaming orange and white under natural light or fluorescent, my heart would beat a little faster. There they were, heralding in the season of crisp evenings, colorful leaves, hot apple cider and trips to orchards, corn fields and pumpkin patches.
Those trips to the pumpkin patches were the thing I looked most forward to all year long. My family would all pull on their sweatshirts and scarves and pile into the car to head out to one of the local patches. Once we got there, we were greeted by brisk breezes wafting the smell of kettle corn and caramel apples our way. We'd climb aboard the tractor pulled hay cart and bumble up the dirt trails leading from the parking field, country store and concession stand away in the trees. Often times the people driving the tractor would tell us about the farm or treat us to some seasonal folk lore and legends.
Once the ride was over, the best part started; the hunt for the perfect pumpkin. I'd search high and low, wandering through tangled vines and over ditches looking for the one I'd bring home to turn into my one and only Jack-O-Lantern. Often times, I'd find one far too large to carry and would con my dad, despite his earlier admonishment that I had to find one I could pick up, into lugging it around for me. Once we were all set, it was onto the next wagon down to pay and grab a nip of warm cider and a fresh baked doughnut before piling back in the car to bring our treasures home.
Once there, my mom would lay out layers of newspaper on the table and give each of us a marker to draw our design onto our pumpkin. This usually took a while as we all waffled over making a face or a scene - a very difficult task, you know! Eventually, we'd get it hammered out and drawn on and mom would 'cut open the pumpkins heads!' so we could get in there and scoop out their cold, seedy brain. My brother and sister always loved this part. Me? I wanted to get on to the carving and the eating of the seeds. They could mush pumpkin brains around in their hands and toss it at each other all night long, but I had serious business to get to!
Eventually, the pumpkins would be clean and mom would carve them - or when we got older - we'd carve them. And then, finally, the magic happened! We'd put them all on the kitchen table, turn off all the lights and light the candles. There are still few joys that make me smile harder than seeing my perfect pumpkin come to life with the golden flicker of a candle. We'd leave them burning until bed time and then light them every night through Hallowe'en.
These jacks were done by myself, my husband and my sister a few years ago.
At a hair shy of 30, these traditions are still the ones I most cling to and cherish. The trip to the pumpkin patch remains one of my favorite things to do throughout the entire year, I look so forward to it and when I do go, it is just once and we spend a good chunk of time there. Everyone who knows me knows how special these trips are to me, so much so in fact, that a pumpkin patch is where my husband proposed to me five years ago; down on his knee in the tall grass amidst those magical gourds.
I can honestly say, as I've gotten older, those trips and the ritual of carving haven't lost a single speck of their magic!
Speaking of Magic, here is a wee jack-o-lantern charm that I whipped up to use when I light my candles:
Jack 'O Lantern Light the way,
For the spirits and the Fae,
Ward off those that mean us harm,
With this candle I seal this charm.
(light the candle)
Today we have a autographed print from Sabrina over at The Ink Witch. And if you know Sabrina even the tiniest bit, you know as with all our Crafty Siren's, she puts her heart and soul into every piece she creates.
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Picture Credit Real Simple
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
From The Coexist Cafe
These delicious cupcakes are reminiscent of autumn days, crisp brown leaves, and a cool snap in the air. Top off with a piece of candy corn and transport yourself back to childhood, too!
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin goop
Cream Cheese Frosting
* 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
4. While baking, place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
5. Top with this cream cheese frosting, and finish off with a piece of candy corn.
Today's Craft Idea
Hand print Spider Trick-or-Treat Bag
We love crafts that use handprints. Our daughter loves watching all the fun things her handprints can turn into and we love being able to hang on to these crafts for years to come as a way to remember how small she is now. This handprint spider trick-or-treat bag craft is a great way to get your child excited about trick-or-treat night and it is a great Halloween craft for kids.
What you'll need:
Orange canvas bag
Red and black paint pens
2 googly eyes
How to make your Handprint Spider Trick or Treat Bag Craft:
Lay the canvas bag down flat. Use the paint brush to brush the black paint onto your child's hand. Don't paint their thumb - you only want the 4 fingers for this craft. (We found that handprint crafts turn out a little better/"cleaner" when we painted our daughter's hand than when she dipped her hand directly into the paint).
Help them carefully lay and press their hand onto the bag and then pull straight back up so the handprint doesn't smear.
Either turn the bag and paint the same hand again, or paint the other hand with black paint. Press the second handprint down so that the palm of it overlaps the palm of the first handprint.
When the spider has dried, use red paint to add a smile. Glue on the two googly eyes. Paint a line coming out of the top of the spider so it looks like he's hanging.
Use the black paint to write "Happy Halloween!" onto the bag. **Note: although you are painting on fabric, regular black craft paint is ok for this craft assuming it will most likely only be used on trick-or-treat night and won't be washed. If you think your craft will get more use, please use fabric paint instead so that the bag holds up better.
Just A Reminder!
You have until 8PM EST today to enter the Giveaway drawing for the Gift Certificate from Tess at East Coast Craft & Curios.
The Video for Today
When many people think “creepy pipe organ music” this is usually the piece that comes to mind.