20 DIY Projects & Recipes to Welcome Fall


I'm a typical Great Lakes girl who loves having her four seasons, my favorite being fall. To celebrate the beginning of cooler weather and a changing menu of in-season items, here are 15 projects and recipes to inspire you.

 1. Candy Corn Cookie Bark
What a fantastic way to use candy corns! It seems like people either love or hate this confectionery staple of October, but mixed into a delicious candy and cookie bark allows you to enjoy the treat in a new way.

 2. Spiced Caramel Apple Latte
I'm a coffee person for sure, so I had to try my hand at a spiced caramel apple latte recipe one year - I loved the results! I hope you do, too. This post will walk you through the process of creating your own apple simple syrup for use in the latte.

 3. Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies with the Best Butter Cream Frosting
Growing up, my mom and I made this very same sugar cookie and butter cream frosting recipe every October. We'd make pumpkin-shaped cookies; black cats, bats, and more. This recipe creates soft and fluffy cookies, and a butter cream frosting that is thick, versatile, and not overly-sweet.

 4. Apple & Clove Pomander
Apple and clove pomanders were written about in my favorite book series, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ma made these as Christmas gifts, and I've wanted to make on for as long as I can remember. Included in the link is a printable to make gift tags for giving these pomanders away.

 5. Autumn Harvest Popcorn Snack
I created this snack mix for my daughter's October birthday. With a whole grain, a dried fruit, and a source of protein, this snack is a fairly nutritious alternative to trail mix or packaged crackers or granola bars.

 6. Framed Pumpkin
This is one of the most simple, yet most original pumpkin carving projects I have ever seen. It was created by contributor Rachel Anne Jones, and is certain to be the stand-out pumpkin on your porch this year.

 7. DIY Autumn-Inspired Mobile
This is a sweet DIY project created by contributor Jessica Rebelo. The DIY includes a printable template to guide you, and would a wonderful craft to do with children.

 8. Stove Top Air Freshener Recipes
I love using ingredients from around the house. This post shares 8 different stove top recipes, including "Autumn"; "Orange Clove"; and "Apple Cider".

 9. Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yes, pumpkin is everywhere this time of year, but why not? It's seriously delicious, and only adds to the vitamin and moisture content of chocolate chip cookies. This recipe produces a very soft cookie

10. "Gather" Wood Slice Tray Tutorial
Are you looking for an inexpensive and pretty easy DIY project to dress up your table for autumn entertaining? Give this woodslice tray a try. I use a waterproof varnish so it can be used to serve drinks (hot or cold); desserts; or warm dishes at meal time.

11. DIY Woodgrain Stamped Gift Tags
This project is so versatile. I show you how I make my own woodgrain-patterned stamps, which can be used to create this handmade gift tags, as well as on any other paper project you like! 

Pumpkin is so nutritious, and is just as delicious in a savory recipe as it is in sweet recipes. This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is made from pie pumpkins, and not canned pumpkin puree (although it could be made from canned pumpkin if pie pumpkins aren't available, or you're under time constraints).


I can't get enough apples in September and October. This quick and easy crepe recipe features my homemade apple syrup recipe, which can also be made for pancakes and waffles.


I created this recipe to be an extra-special, make-ahead breakfast. The cake is actually a pancake batter, cooked into cupcake cups and topped with a delicious maple frosting. Candied bacon and pecan bits replace sprinkles.


15. Whole Wheat Zucchini Cookies
This is a delicious way to add extra fiber to your diet. While zucchini are more a part of the summer harvest, it could easily be substituted with a different variety squash from the fall harvest.

+ 5 More projects and recipes you might enjoy!
16. Chai Latte recipe
17. Easy Dried Apple Chips
18. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake recipe
19. Mason Jar Indoor Jack-o'-lantern
20. DIY Neutral Tablescape

Taste of Autumn Scone Recipes; + a Sunday Brunch Menu


As part of the September Sunday Brunch bridal shower I threw for my sister last weekend, I wanted to share with you the full brunch menu, as well as the scone recipes I used. This menu was for 30-40 people:


The Menu
  • 20 tortellini skewers
  • 20 caprese skewers
  • 3 quiches: spinach and feta; cheddar; crustless parmesan asparagus
  • Doughnut "cake" with diamond cutout topper: 12 large, assorted doughnuts, 12 assorted smaller doughnuts
  • 45 scones in 3 flavors: pumpkin spice; maple & brown sugar; lemon rosemary
  • Fruit tray of assorted apple slices, grapes, and caramel dip
  • Bagel bar: 26 large bagels from Big Apple Bagels, cut in half. Homemade pumpkin cream cheese; plain cream cheese; garden vegetable cream cheese; apricot jam

Drinks included: 2 gallons of ice lemon water; 1.5 gallons of iced coffee; 2 gallons of orange juice; 1 gallon of apple cider; plus 4 bottles of champagne for those who want mimosas.

To preface: these recipes are meant to make 8 regular-sized scones. I actually produced 16 scones from each recipe, as I split the dough in half to make 16 mini scones:

Pumpkin Pie Scones

ingredients
2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg

* don't have pumpkin pie spice? Try a mixture of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold, thinly sliced or cubed butter, and mix into dry mix with a pasty blender. You can use a fork or your fingers if you don't have a pastry blender, Mix until it is uniformly course.

Mix the pumpkin, milk, egg, and vanilla together in a smaller bowl; add wet ingredients to larger bowl of dry ingredients, and mix until fully incorporated.

Using floured hands, remove scone dough from bowl and place on floured surface. For 8 large scones, roll ball into a flat disk, and cut into 8 equal wedges. For 16 mini scones, break dough into 2 halves. Roll into a ball, and flatten each ball into a disc. Cut discs into 8 equal wedges, for 16 mini wedges.

Place wedges on parchment-lined baking pan, and bake for 8-10 minutes for mini scones; 10-12 minutes for larger scones; or until toothpick comes out clean.

Maple & Brown Sugar Scones

ingredients
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold, thinly sliced or cubed butter, and mix into dry mix with a pasty blender. You can use a fork or your fingers if you don't have a pastry blender, Mix until it is uniformly course.

Next, add maple syrup and eggs; mix to combine fully.

Using floured hands, remove scone dough from bowl and place on floured surface. For 8 large scones, roll ball into a flat disk, and cut into 8 equal wedges. For 16 mini scones, break dough into 2 halves. Roll into a ball, and flatten each ball into a disc. Cut discs into 8 equal wedges, for 16 mini wedges.


Place wedges on parchment-lined baking pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes for mini scones; 12-18 minutes for larger scones; or until toothpick comes out clean.

Spiced Icing Drizzle

This drizzle can be poured onto both flavors of scones.

ingredients
1 cup powdered / confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk


Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a glass measuring cup. Gently pour icing in thin, drizzled strips across tops of scones when they are cooled. Allow icing to set and slightly harden before storing scones.

DIY Mini Soap Bridal Shower Favors

As promised yesterday, here are the DIY details of the September Sunday Brunch bridal shower I threw for my sister last weekend.

I wanted each guest to go home with a little something. While I would have loved to give everyone a full-sized soap, I decided to go with travel size soaps for budgetary reasons and time constraints.

Additionally, some people seem to be sensitive to one scent or another, I wanted at least two different scents for guests to choose from.

Vanilla Bean Peppermint Soap with Shea Butter

ingredients
1 lb melt and pour soap base with shea butter
8-10 drops of peppermint essential oil
vanilla bean seeds scraped from inside of 1/2 a vanilla bean pod

Shea butter can be purchased to add to a melt and pour soap base, but I used a soap base that already had shea butter in it.


Chop soap base into small chunks. Place in a microwave-safe glass container - I use a glass bowl. Microwave the soap base according to package directions. I microwaved mine in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the soap base is completely melted.

Once soap base is completely melted, stir in peppermint essential oil and vanilla beans. Pour melted soap mixture into soap molds, and allow to cool completely.


Exfoliating Lavender & Honey Soap with Orange Peel

I've made a lavender and orange peel soap before, but this version includes real honey and does not include shea butter.

ingredients
1 lb melt and pour soap base
20 drops of lavender soap scent
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of dried orange peel


Chop soap base into small chunks. Place in a microwave-safe glass container - I use a glass bowl. Microwave the soap base according to package directions. I microwaved mine in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the soap base is completely melted.

Once the soap base is melted, stir in the lavender scent, honey, and dried orange peel. Pour into soap molds, and allow to cool completely.

Packaging as party favors

To package my full-sized soap bars as party favors, I started by carefully slicing the soap. How you cut your soap may depend on the shape of the soap mold. For my long, rectangular-shaped soap bars, I cut the soap bar into 4 long, equal slices. Square-shaped pieces of soap would look nice packaged as well.


For packaging, I used small, glassine bags from Wrap and Revel, and sealed them with colored labels/seals (also from Wrap and Revel).

My soaps are labeled with a gold metallic Sharpie.


Would you like to see other soap recipes you might like to try? Check these out:

Peppermint Lavender Soap with Exfoliating Loofah
Lavender Soap with Exfoliating Orange Peel and Shea Butter
Vanilla Bean and Peppermint Loofah Soap
Tea Tree and Lavender Facial Bar

A September Bridal Shower Sunday Brunch


Last weekend I put together a bridal shower for my baby sister. The theme was Sunday Brunch, which I am so happy about. Brunch food is my forte, so that made it really easy to plan the menu.

But first: how it can be that my little sister is old enough to be getting married? It just doesn't seem like it's been 20 years since the day we brought her home from the hospital. I found a picture of that day, so many years ago, and I had to compare it with a picture from the bridal shower - we're all in the same order:


I'm on the right (can you tell I had braces?), our middle sister, Lauren is on the left, and the bride-to-be is center.

Back to the bridal shower. My sister is having an October wedding, which I love. Fall is such a romantic time. I wanted to pick up on the elements of fall and the changing seasons. My color palette for the bridal shower includes warm tones like orange, yellow, and coral; but there is also a bit of green, as September is still holding on to summer.

Here is a little overview of the shower and how I put it together to host 30-40 people.  Every day this week I will share a little piece of the bridal shower, from my scone recipes to my DIY soap favors, printables, activities and decorations.











Stay tuned this week for the full how-to's and recipes!

Ashley Pahl Stationery Fall 2014 Sneak Peek!


I'm so excited to finally share with you my new line of stationery for Fall 2014! I feel like I've been working on this stationery line all year, and in a way I guess I have. I invested a lot of time in early 2014 learning new skills - working on my calligraphy, learning Photoshop, etc.

All of my new skills, along with my love for painting and paper cuts, created these new designs. I felt inspired by celebrations, so you will see a lot of party-related imagery: balloons, presents, candles, and positive words.

I'm also adding in some Fall and Halloween specific cards. They will be available for pre-order next week, and ready to ship soon after that!





This is just a taste of what will be in store. They will be available in my Etsy shop (http://AshleyPahl.Ety.com) next week!
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