Fall Cupcakes!


Yes, fall is here.  Some of you are groaning because this means that summer is over, but remember this also means that, well….autumn is here!  Time for brisk mornings and hot drinks, good books and cozy fires, nature giving its grand finale in firey red leaves and big crysanthemums, and of course, baking!  This year for my father-in-law’s birthday I added to his gifts by whipping up some cupcakes. 

Cupcakes5_5   Cupcakes7_2

I‘ve never made cupcakes before, believe it or not, and I’ve never made frosting.  We didn’t get home until almost 9pm last night and I thought I’d be too tired to get these done, but they went very quickly and easily.  I actually ended up with a little leftover, which I poured into a heart-shaped ramekin for Chris and I to share. 


The long part was the decorating, because it was of course the fun part.  I LOVE baking with pumpkin.  If you do too, you’ll love these.  It’s based off a recipe from Martha Stewart, which I modified to fit my liking.  Hope you enjoy!


Mike’s Birthday Cupcakes (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting)

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Food coloring or paste, in reds, oranges, browns, yellows
  • Candies for decorating, such as chocolate sprinkles, orange sugar crystals, various candy corns, black licorice strings, candy pumpkins, etc.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (this recipe makes about 24 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill yours); set aside. Measure flour by lightly spooning it into measuring cups and leveling with a knife.  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, chocolate chips, 24 drops yellow food coloring, and 16 drops red food coloring.

3.  Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about 1/2 to 3/4 full. 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 for 10 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pan onto wire rack; let cool completely.

4.  Meanwhile, make the frosting:  Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add butter, and beat until fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

Now comes the fun part – decorating!  Spoon a little bit of frosting into small bowls and experiement with adding color.  Red and yellow make orange, add a tiny speck of green to red to make an autumny brick red, etc.  Sprinkle orange sugar crystals over white frosting, wind a rope of black licorice in a spiral on orange icing, nestle a candy corn on red icing.

By the way, a note on herbs and spices – this recipe calls for ground allspice, which I did not have on hand.  When I got to the store to pick some up and saw the $9+ price tag, I just about gave up.  I only needed 1/4 tsp!!  Turns out they had a bulk herbs and spices section along with their bulk foods.  I’ve noticed more and more grocery stores doing this – our QFC when we lived in Northgate had one, and this was the Top Foods in Snohomish.  I bought about a tablespoon of ground allspice and it cost me exactly $0.01.  Needless to say, I may never buy bottled herbs and spices again!


Sugar Cube House

I'm so excited to report that one of our dearest friends gave in to me not-so-subtle urging and started a blog!  Kate is wonderfully creative, colorful, exuberant, and just explodes with life!  She's the kind of pretty gal who wears swishy skirts and strappy sandals that lace up your ankles.  In many ways, actually, she reminds me of my husband, only she's female.  Not that Chris wears strappy sandals, but they are both the type of people to cross by each other on the sidewalk and stop to say hi, and stay there talking for two hours, completely forgetting that they each had a place they were going.  I love that.  Anyway, she's a wonderful writer, lives a life full of adventure, and can be a bit silly too, so I'm so happy she's be sharing her life with us on blog land.  Hope she isn't too shy that I shared her lovely photo.  I'll put myself in here too, so she's not on this post all alone.  :)  Anyway, you can visit her at Sugar Cube House.
And I have to throw in B., too…

Crochet Pumpkin Tutorial


For reasons I won’t speak of just yet (but they are good, not bad!), I have to take a temporary break from blogging – there’s a lot going on for the next couple of weeks and I’m just not sure how often I’ll be able to blog.  So, I’m sharing a tutorial to keep you all busy!  Here are instructions for a pumpkin I crocheted last year – feel free to experiment with different yarn types and colors.  It is a pretty forgiving pattern, because if your pumpkin doesn’t end up perfectly round, its completely OK as there are all different shapes and sizes of pumpkins.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions.  Enjoy!

Crochet Pumpkin


1 skein Monteza Classic Elite llama/wool blend yarn in
pumpkin orange (I used #3885), or similar bulky wool yarn
1 ball Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn in brown (I used
#4673), or similar mohair/wool/nylon blend yarn in complimentary color
1 skein Monteza Classic Elite llama/wool blend yarn in olive
green or brown, or similar bulky wool yarn for the stem
Size H/8 crochet hook
Large eye needle
Fiberfill for stuffing
Optional: Dark green
wool felt, olive green pipe cleaners, small orange button with 4 holes

This project uses only one stitch, the single crochet (sc)
for the entire pumpkin, working in rounds, making it a doable project for
beginners. The stem incorporates a few
half-double (hdc) and double (dc) crochet stitches, but once you get the basic
stitches down, the rest is a breeze. For
instructions on basic crochet stitches, check out any crochet book from the
library, ask a friend or relative to show you, or go to our website www.theweedpatchstore.com.  (Feel free to use this pattern for your own personal use, to make your
own decorations or a gift to a friend, but you may not reproduce or
create for selling.)


For the pumpkin (using the orange wool and brown mohair
yarns together):

Foundation and Round
 ch 2, then 6sc in 2nd
ch from hk. Place marker by placing a
stray length of yarn of a different color in the last stitch you did, so you
know where the round ends.

Round 2: 2 sc in
ea st around (12 sts total). Move marker
to last stitch (continue moving with each round)

Round 3: [1 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 4: [2 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (24 sts)

Round 5: [3 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (30 sts)

Round 6: [4 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (36 sts)

Round 7: [5 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (42 sts)

Round 8: [6 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (48 sts)

Round 9: [7 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (54 sts)

Round 10: [8 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (60 sts)

Round 11:  [9 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (66 sts)

Round 12: [10 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (72

Round 13: [11 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (78

Rounds 14 – 27: sc in each st around (78 sts each time)

Round 28: [12 sc, skip next st] repeat around (72 sts)

Round 29: [11 sc, skip next st] repeat around (66 sts)

Round 30: [10 sc, skip next st] repeat around (60 sts)

At this point, stuff the pumpkin with fiberfill (not too
stuffed!), and continue adding bits of stuffing as you complete the closing

Round 31: [9 sc, skip next st] repeat around (54 sts)

Round 32: [8 sc, skip next st] repeat around (48 sts)

Round 33: [7 sc, skip next st] repeat around (42 sts)

Round 34: [6 sc, skip next st] repeat around (36 sts)

Round 35: [5 sc, skip next st] repeat around (30 sts)

Round 36: [4 sc, skip next st] repeat around (24 sts)

Round 37: [3 sc, skip next st] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 38: [2 sc, skip next st] repeat around (12 sts)

Round 39: [1 sc, skip next st] repeat around (6 sts)

Round 40: [1 sc, skip next st] repeat around (3 sts)

Finishing: make one
more sc in middle st to close the opening, clip yarn and weave in the tail.

For the stem (using the green or brown wool yarn):

Foundation and Round
 ch 3 (counts as 1st
hdc), 11 hdc in 3rd ch from hk (12 sts total, incl. ch 3)

Round 2: sc in
each st around (12 sts)

Repeat round until the stem reaches desired length, approx 2
– 3”.

Next round: ch 4 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in each sc
around (24 sts total, incl. ch 4)

Last round: 1 sl st, 1 sc, ch 5, 1 sc in 3rd
ch from hk, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, sl st in next 2 sc (one pointy
stem base made). Repeat around,
completing 6 evenly spaced pointy stem base pieces, or alter as desired. Stuff stem with fiberfill.

Putting it all together:

Using a very long length of orange yarn, make three even
wraps around the entire pumpkin to create the pumpkin-like grooves, threading
through an orange button on the bottom if needed to keep secure. Pull yarn fairly tight so that nice deep
grooves are created, and so that the yarn doesn’t slide. Using a length of the green yarn and the
large eye needle, whip stitch the stem to the top of the pumpkin. 


  • If
         desired, cut leaf shapes from dark green wool and stitch near the base of
         the stem.
  • Create
         tendrils by wrapping olive green pipe cleaners around a pencil and tucking
         into the base of the stem.
  • Make
         your stitches tight so that the stuffing doesn’t show through.
  • To
         make a smaller pumpkin, use a lighter weight yarn and a smaller crochet


Daily Life


Just dropping in to say I am indeed back from my sister’s house, but the day I returned Chris came down with the stomach flu!  So I’ve been pretty busy taking care of things while he’s under the weather – so far I don’t feel sick at all myself, thank goodness!  I’m at our store right now adding a bunch of product to our database and watching the counter, so I’ve blogged a bit at our store blog.  Hopefully after this weekend I can get back into the swing of things.  In the meantime, I’ve been browsing a few of my favorite blogs – Holly has reminded me that fall is about here, Alicia Paulson has been sharing some of her summer fun (including the Oregon State Fair), and Molly Chicken has shared another free tutorial that makes me want to cozy up and stitch away!


Halloween has arrived here at the store.  It is funny to watch people’s reaction as they walk through the door – many come in frowning, with a pouting comment "fall already?!"  It seems nobody is ready for the summer to end, but then are we ever?  This summer sort of flashed right by me, waving "so long" as it went by.  Having a baby will do that, I think.  Benjamin is still a delight – it is fun to watch him consciously trying to reach for object so then he can put them to his mouth.  This morning I brought a new toy toward him, rattling it a bit from side to side, and his eyes were so fixed on it he jiggled his head side to side as he was watching it.  It was really funny.


This is Ben at 3 months with our friend Bobby Michaels.  He’s been spending a lot of time with his grandparents while Chris is sick, so I have missed him terribly.  But hopefully Chris will be feeling well soon, and sometime after this weekend I can get back into the swing of things!  Hope you all are enjoying the end of your summer…