Friday, October 31, 2008


I was in a very 'Martha' mood yesterday and I made these delicious Pumpkin cupcakes. They have just the right amount of spice and the cream cheese frosting makes them extra yummy! As you can see in my photo, I added a small pretzel piece to each to make them look like pumpkins.

Here is the recipe so you can make some for yourself!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
4 eggs

In medium size bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well blended; set aside.

Beat sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 2 minutes or until combined. Add flour mixture and beat for 2 more minutes or until just combined.

Divide batter among cupcake pan with liners, about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 box (16 oz.) confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk
Orange food coloring

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl on high for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until smooth and a good spreading consistency, about 2 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if too thick. Add food coloring to desired color. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Mini Plates

As promised, here are a couple of photos of my Halloween mini plates. They are just sooooo cute and are one of my favorite sets!

Outside My Door...

We had our first official snow fall last night. Yes, the white stuff was covering our lawn when I woke up this morning. Luckily, while I was away cropping on Saturday, my dh was busy doing the the fall cleanup in our yard. He emptied all of our flower pots (there are at least 20 of them as I love container gardening!), pulled out the annuals, cut back some perennials, aerated and fertilized the lawn, took in the hoses, raked the leaves, and put my garden statues and birdbath in storage. I knew this had to be done sooner or later, but it always saddens me to see another summer come to an end.

One of my favorite spots in the summer is right outside my back door. My patio swing with my flowers and gardens around me is my little getaway where I can just sit and relax, or read a book, or pray, or talk on the phone, or even nap if I decide to! It is a great place to visit with friends and family and it is a wonderful spot in the evening when the stars are bright and the breeze is cool.

This is a photo of the view outside my door. I will miss my little piece of heaven over the next few months. Spring can't come soon enough!

Monday, October 27, 2008


I can’t say that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Dressing up is fun, pumpkins are great, and the candy is the best (don’t forget, I have a real sweet tooth!). I guess I just don’t like the emphasis on the ‘dark side’. With that being said, I have always tried to make the best of Halloween with special little touches around my home that capture the fun side of Halloween. I have also really gotten into pumpkin carving in the past few years. I think it is another creative outlet for me. In a couple of days, we will be carving our pumpkins for Halloween once again and I am not sure what they will look like this year (any suggestions?) but I thought I would share with you some of the pumpkins we have done in recent years.

I was clearly hormonal when I carved this last one! Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Harvest Crop

We are less than two weeks away from our Fall Scrapbook Retreat where 140 of our scrapbook friends will be joining us for an entire weekend of scrapbooking fun! Now you would think that we would be just a bit stressed, maybe even panicked, thinking about everything that we still have to do to prepare for the retreat (and trust me, the list is very long). You would think that we would need every waking hour between now and then to plan, create, prepare, manufacture, organize, purchase, pack, check and double-check and we probably do. But, we also need to keep our sanity. So when our friend Karan invited us to join her at a day crop yesterday, we decided to take that opportunity to step away and just enjoy some creative time. It was a wonderful day and we had a great time. Thank you Tracey for putting on such a fabulous crop and all the best to the students who will be going to the Dominican Republic for their mission work. Here are a couple of pics from our day and some detail shots of the pages I worked on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

This past Sunday was a beautiful fall day. The skies were blue, the sun was warm and the air had just a bit of a chill to it. It seemed like the perfect day for a trip to the pumpkin patch. So after a phone call to my bff, off we went to our favourite spot (kids in tow, husbands left at home).

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a beautiful sea of orange pumpkins!

The squash and gourds are always so colourful and interesting.

Murphy the dog fell in love with my ds (actually, I think it was mutual!).

The little store carries everything from summer sausage to fall decorations.

We decided to try the corn maze! We were told it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to find your way through. We eagerly started out and were not discouraged by the many dead-ends we encountered!

After 30 minutes in the maze, and getting just a little tired, I decided to do a photo shoot of the corn!

45 minutes later... still trying to find our way out! But totally enjoying the view!

Finally, we found the exit! We sat at the edge of the maze and took a few minutes for some pics.

Carolyn and her gang.

After a long search, the perfect pumpkin was found and we headed home - tired but with a smile on our faces!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chocolate Chipboard

My name is Joanne and I am a chocoholic! There. What many of you have suspected is now out in the open! Rarely does a day go by that I don't eat something chocolate and when Basic Grey came out with their new Chocolate Chipboard Albums I think I actually started to drool! As soon as they arrived at our store, I quickly grabbed one for myself and I couldn't wait to do something with it. I was finally able to work with it the past couple of days and here is the photo-ready finished album!

I combined the chocolate chipboard album with Basic Grey's new Granola line, which I also love. The papers, rub-ons and buttons were the perfect match for the brown album. I also used some stamps, ribbons, flowers and pages from the Making Memories spiral journaling book Mocha Paperie (available at Two Scrapbook Friends).

Now I just need to decide what pictures to put on it. I think this calls for a piece of chocolate...

Mini Plates

One of my prized collections are my Mini Plates. Not too many people have heard of them, but they are a delightful collection of seasonal plates that measure about 4-inches across. My sisters started collecting them a few years ago when they found a store in Plymouth, Michigan that sells them. Of course I didn't want to be left out, so I started my own collection. I have received a couple of sets as gifts and I love giving them away as gifts as well. They come in sets of four and you can have a display rack that is vertical or horizontal. The foot print is quite narrow, so they are perfect for that little space of wall where nothing else seems to fit.

I currently have my Thanksgiving set displayed. The wording around them says, "Let us give thanks." I always put this set out for the Canadian and American Thanksgivings. The next set I will display is my Halloween set. It is sooooo cute! I will be sure to post a photo when I change to them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tips & Techniques #2

When I started to set up a scrapbook space in my home, I realized that storage solutions for all the products I had accumulated was not going to be an easy task. I do have a full-sized closet with just shelves that holds most of my papers and larger bins for layouts and photos. But what about all the tools and items that I wanted close at hand when I was creating? I did not want to spend lots of money on organizers so I started to think about what I already owned that I could use. I remembered that I had some old, cardboard magazine holders that I had put into storage about a year ago. I also had some of my favorite Pink Paislee paper. So I decided to get creative and this is what I ended up with!

I didn't get too fancy, but you could easily add labels, tags, photos, etc. to the front of your organizers. I just kept mine simple and used what I had in my collection.

I think this is a great, inexpensive and fun storage solution that you can coordinate with your decor and personalize in any way you choose. It would also be great on the phone counter in your kitchen or in your home office. You can organize your bills, your child's school papers, etc. I don't know about you, but I need all the organization I can get!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! As I reflect on this Thanksgiving holiday, I realize it would take pages for me to list everything I am grateful to God for in my life. Let it suffice to say that family and friends, health, home and faith are at the top of my list. What's on yours?

“Let not Thanksgiving be merely the name of a holiday, but rather a constant disposition of the mind and heart towards our beneficent Lord.” Brian D. Grobbel

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Backpack

Our store is holding a back-to-school photo contest. (See Two Scrapbook Friends blog!) With all the great photos being entered, I thought I would look at the pictures I took of our youngest son on his first day back to school this year and when I did, there it was – the backpack. Now, this was no ordinary backpack. Oh no. According to my son, it was ‘the’ backpack; a must-have, very cool addition to his back-to-school experience.

We, as parents, tried not to give in to this purchase for a number of reasons. First of all, it was white and even though he is in high school, he is still a boy with all the dirt attached. Secondly, it was expensive and he did not have the money to pay for it. Third, would he really take care of it, love it and cherish it, as he promised he would? After much debate, and given the fact that he wears a uniform to school which cuts down on clothing costs, we gave in and bought it for him.

I’ll admit, the backpack became part of our family. It was often at the dinner table with us (with homework spread out everywhere), or on the floor so we could trip over it, or greeting us when we came in the door. Until one day when the sad news came. The backpack was lost! Lost! How do you lose a backpack that you swore you would love and cherish forever?

Well, I guess it all happened when he went out to lunch with a couple of his friends. He was sitting in the fast-food restaurant with his backpack on the floor between himself and the aisle. As he was eating, he saw an elderly gentleman slowly coming down the aisle with a walker. I am sure this man reminded my son of his grandfather, who also used a walker for a while, and my son instinctively moved his backpack under the table so the gentleman could pass with no problem. When lunch was done, they returned to school and it was then that my son realized his backpack was not with him. Numerous attempts were made to find the backpack but alas, it seems to be gone for good…

So, as you might have guessed, he now owns a plain, inexpensive, all black backpack, but has promised to never stop being considerate of others regardless of the consequences.

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