Now I know my ABC's... Won't you come and bid on me!

Our school's auction is on Saturday night. This year's theme is Denim, Diamonds and Disco. It's sure to be a great night with great items to bid on. As with every year the kids also participate. This is the Kindergarten class project. Isn't it darling? (Excuse the poor photo quality and the glare of the flash!)

The silent bid will start at $250. It's a fund raiser for the school folks! It's a charitable benefit! We live in Fairfield County... and my work is worth it! ;)

I told the auction heads that I would be willing to recreate the poster for those who want it providing they are willing to pay as much as the winning bid. (I'm hoping for a raging bidding war!)

Memory Board Tutorial

Because you asked!

This is kind of like the blind leading the blind, except I now have one tucked under my belt for experience! I bought a cork board when our local Blue Tulip was going out of business. (Luckily Swoozie's now occupies the space!) I think I paid $2.50 for it! It sat in the basement for over 6 months until I picked it up one day this past summer and painted it pink with white polka dots. She loved it. But I did not. The pink was too bright for her walls. So I let it dry and tucked it back down into the bowels of the basement until yesterday, when I resurrected it to try to think of something better to do with it.

I grabbed all my grosgrain ribbons, some fabric swatches that I picked up at AC Moore, my Mod Podge, my glue gun, some push pins, scissors, and the Lilly Originals postcards that I hadn't wanted to toss!

I played around with the design on the cork board to see what looked best where... I did it all freehand, though in retrospect should have used a ruler and done a little measuring!

Once I figured out where the fabric swatches and postcards were going to be, I secured them down with glue. The Mod Podge did not work so well and caused the post cards to curl up. I used the glue gun instead. Perfect!

Then I measured some wide grosgrain ribbon to cover the ugly metal frame. I made sure to cut too much so that the ends could be trimmed at the end. Here the glue gun did not work, and here is where I brushed on the Mod Podge. I brushed the glue on to the metal frame and then carefully applied the ribbon. When the ribbon was on and secured onto all 4 sides, I trimmed the ends. I happened to have a few silk flowers and glued (with hot glue) them on to the corners. I removed the push pins and applied then to where the ribbons met, crossed.

Then I took thinner strips of grosgrain ribbon and measured length-wise and cut three strips.
I took the end of each strip and carefully tucked it under the wider ribbon at each end, then I secured the ribbon using push pins. I did this three times. And again from top to bottom. I found a few iron on flowers and a wooden alligator that I secured on randomly with the hot glue gun.

There are a few bare spots that I will fill, then I will wrap the board and place it under the tree!

The background of the memory board can be anything really that matches the decor of the room where it will be placed. You can use post cards, material remnants, wall paper remnants, wrapping paper... the possibilities are endless... add a few personal embellishments and your memory board is done!

Seeing Red... and a Lilly inspired memory board

I went in for one of these... just because there is no better feeling than holding a Red Cup in your hands!

And then I saw this on the shelf!

so I snatched it up! Christmas Blend in the morning makes me even happier than a Red Cup!
and then I whipped out my Red card to pay...

and asked if I wanted one of these for free!!

So I went in for this

and got all of this!!!

And I finally got motivated to start Rebecca's memory board. The same one she has been begging me for for months! And I went at it freehand... (perhaps next time I'll use a ruler and be more precise!) But I'm pleased so far... just a little more to add... It's totally Lilly inspired. Can you see what I used with the swatches? She loves all things Lilly... I'm going to add a few more things, find some pictures of her friends, add one of my cartoons and wrap it up and put it under the tree!

this one is really for the birds...

I saw a bird feeder kit in some fancy toy or gardening magazine last week... and upon looking closely the tube looked like a toilet paper roll! What a scam! So I thought we would replicate the craft ourselves, save a few pennies and use items already lying around. I had to buy a bag of backyard bird feed that cost $3 at most!

We used two paper towel rolls and I think they came out really well!

Anyone can make these bird feeders. All you need is a paper towel or toilet paper roll, a few thin sticks from the back yard, some peanut butter (soy bean butter can be substituted for those with nut allergies) and some bird seed.

You'll need to make 4 holes in your tube. 2 at the top through which you will thread something to tie the bird feeder on to the tree, and 2 in the middle through which you can thread your stick to serve as a perch for your little birdies!

Then all you will have to do is apply the peanut butter with a knife. This is very easy to do. And gently apply the birdseed to the peanut butter. Believe it or not peanut butter is very nutritious and there are quite a few birds that do eat it.

I think there is more peanut butter on Alexander's sweater than on the feeder!

Christopher is my bird guy... he'll watch with binoculars from his bedroom for hours. I bought him a New England bird reference book recently and was amazed by the fact that he sat right down to read it cover to cover.

We do have the most amazing birds on our property. Hopefully he'll be able to capture some for Christmas after he gets his digital camera! (Shhhhhh!!!)

We placed all the feeders on the back of the house so that we will be able to watch when we are in the family room or kitchen.

That'll be 81 clams, please!

Last Tuesday PreppySue and Tickled Pink Talk and I, EntertainingMom, got together for a play date on the beach in Newport. The kids got along famously from the get-go and swam in the ocean, chased annoying sea gulls, made drip castles and collected clams shells! The strong surf from Hurricane Bill must have brought these clams closer to shore. The children delighted in collecting 81 of these super-sized shells. Just as fun as collecting them was cracking them open and feeding them to the gulls flying furiously around their loot! They also collected dozens upon dozens of non-stinging jelly fish. As they busily played, planned and plotted the mothers shared laughs and had an equally as nice, though much less messy time! I do hope we will be able to meet up again next year as I know my children are talking about it already.

Our brief yet fun final trip to Newport this summer marks the end (thankfully!) of our summer travels. While plenty of good times were had by everyone, it is nice to remain on the home turf, at least for a while!

All the sun, beach, pool and fresh air made for a much more enjoyable ride home with children sleeping (all three!) most of the way. In the back of the car next to Christopher was a plastic bag tightly shut with a dozen large clam shells. They've been washed thoroughly in the dishwasher and now I am wondering what I shall do with them.

While perusing Martha Stewart's Website I found some great crafty ideas for my shells! I now have a great collection of shells of varying types and sizes. Below are some of the ideas I like most!

These little candles would look wonderful indoors, outdoors, or around my tub!

I just adore this mood lighting!

What a fun way to dress up outdoor lights!

I love the use of the shells as salt and pepper holders!

This soap dish would look lovely in our downstairs bathroom... when it ever gets finished!

Love these little candles as well!

and a very clever way to dress up a boring planter!
So many shells and so little time! I will keep you all posted on my projects!

Grace, Elegance and Rustic Simplicity... DIY Quickie!

Capture summer or your favorite summer memories forever! Many of you are about to embark on your final summer vacation. My kids always get a little bit sad as this time of year comes to an end. As much as they love everything about getting ready to go back to school, (the new clothes, school supplies, etc.) they are not ready to leave the long, lazy, hazy days of summer behind. Whether school has already started and you are in the South, or you are headed to the shore one more time before Labor Day, bring a Ziplock bag or two and fill it with all your beach finds! When you get back home your children can help make these wonderful luminaries.

I used Mason jars, recycled pickle jars and small bud vases for these. Rebecca helped me with this project. Simply have your child pour desired amount of sand into the jars and then add the shells (rocks are lovely too). When your child is done firmly place a tea light in the middle of the jar. Your child will delight in what they have done!

This can also be done with large hurricane vases and larger shells. Is your child having a Birthday party this summer? This might make for a great and inexpensive craft!

I love having them outside on the deck all lit up at night!

I was cleaning out my car a while back and found some twine! (I have no idea what it was doing there!) I thought it would be fun to use... might look nice if I wrapped it around some jars to create small, rustic and yet elegant vases. So I gave it a try. As many of you know I cannot sew. But I am fabulously talented with a hot glue gun!

This was the easiest project ever and I love the results it yielded! I simply wrapped the twine around the jars (I used one large pickle jar and 2 Orangina bottles -- love their shape!) and as I wrapped it around the glass I would apply a bit of hot glue to keep the twine in place. (Truth be told I chose small objects because I am lazy and wanted instant gratification! But I love the look, I may try this on a larger jar!)

This is a bit messy so where ever you work, please cover your space well and carefully. And be prepared for some very sticky fingers! Since the glue is waterproof I have no problems rinsing the bottles out. (I would not place them in the dishwasher though!) Should a strand get loose, simply glue it back into place.

These look wonderful on a small side table, on a bathroom countertop or console, or even in the middle of your kitchen table with homegrown hydrangea and really lovely with your Lilly Jubilee Juice or cocktail ;) Click here for recipe!

Lobster Platter Details

Because so many of you have asked...

Here is what I did! (And it is very easy.)

I picked a paint color -- this could be cute in so many colors really -- and painted Alexander's hands, one at a time. I had someone at the paint store help me. The person at the paint store held the platter in place as I took Alexander's hand and pressed it firmly against the platter. I repeated the same step with the other hand. (Washing hands immediately after.)
I then painted Alexander's foot and pressed his foot against the platter while the other person held the platter in place. I washed his foot and his job was done. I then carefully went over the hands, foot, fingers and toes with a narrow paintbrush to make the color brighter.

I used a pencil to make an outline of the tail, legs, antennae and eyes that I painted over with a super fine paint brush and black paint. If you are not very adept with a paint brush you may want to look into a pottery marker.

The pottery place then put our platter in the kiln and this was the result!

The Best Father's Day Gift Ever!

Seriously, is this not the cutest gift ever?!?! I am totally patting myself on the back this time! I got the idea from someone's creative blog where they used the foot to create the lobster. I added the hand prints, then painted the outline, eyes and tentacles. We spend a lot of time in Maine and Newport in the summertime and so the lobster means something to Daddy. He was positively thrilled when he opened this!

We had a lovely day. I had his entire family over. His sisters, their spouses and kids came to celebrate the day with us. The kids all took off immediately to the playroom or outdoors so that the adults were able to have a nice time as well.

For lunch we had Hoisin Garlic marinated grilled chicken, cilantro rice, and Asian-inspired salad with edamame, scallions, cucumber, peas, raw pistachios, romaine lettuce and a Sesame Ginger Dressing and asparagus lightly sauteed in sesame oil, garlic and sea salt. To drink we had white wine, red wine, assorted beers, lemonade, iced tea, and Arnold Palmers. My mother-in-law brought a homemade apple pie and blueberry pie that I served with the ice cream the kids made last night.


We sat the kids together in the kitchen... We could have had everyone in the Dining Room, but it would have been tight. Daddy was worried that the others would miss the kids not being with us what with it being Father's Day and all, but not a tear was shed when they learned the adults would be sitting separately!

I set up the kids table with extra food so the older two could help the younger ones and not come in and bother us! (Smart thinking!) The kitchen adjoins the dining room so I could see them while we were eating.

The kids loved getting the candy necklaces as favors and played (ate!) them when they had finished their meal.

Below cousin Miren models her lovely neck ware!

We decided last night we would eat inside since everything outside was so wet and more rain was forecast for this morning. So I brought out (and ironed! Yes, I ironed!) the lovely new table linens from Williams-Sonoma my Mother-In-Law got me for Christmas. It looks lovely with my grandmother's silver and I used the trivets I made a few weeks ago. I had intended to use my favorite Ralph Lauren goblets, but they hadn't been used for a while and there was a lovely layer of fog over them and I was not about to wash them this late in the game!

The true highlight of the day was the wonderful slideshow that my Sister-in-law and neice, Brielle, put together for all the Dads. There were pictures of Rebecca as a newborns that almost brought me to tears and hilarious photographs of Daddy and his sisters from the 70s and early 80s!

While we were still at the table (kids had long excused themselves) Alexander decided to do a little decorating himself. I guess he deemed the guest book as unimportant and thought the raptor much more suitable!

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice cream!

I had totally forgotten about these fun ice cream hand prints!

This is a fun and easy craft and perfect for the preschool/toddler set!

First have your child pick some colored paper to represent the ice cream... Maybe they want a color to represent their favorite kind of ice cream. Outline their hand with a pencil and then cut around the hand print. Draw a large triangle to represent the cone, and cut it out. Or if you have no brown paper, simply color your cone brown as Alexander did above.
Glue cone on to paper then glue hand prints on to paper. As you'll see above it looks best when the fingers are together and the thumbs are facing in, as opposed to outward, however Alexander doesn't play by the rules and love the fact that his fingers looked like "drips from melting ice cream!"
He chose to decorate his with a cherry and a bunch of sprinkles!

Also fun is making ice cream on sticks collages. Clean your ice cream sticks and save them. For the next you'll need an ice cream stick and a piece of paper cut out to look like an ice cream on a stick.
On a piece of white paper glue the stick, then glue the "ice cream" and then decorate as you wish!
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Hot Stuff!

The idea came to me when I was down in the basement rummaging through the wrapping paper the other day. I keep the wrapping paper in the basement all the way in the back by the furnace where there happened to be some (lots) of extra tiles. I picked up a tile and thought the kids would have fun painting them... that they would make great trivets. I don't have any nice trivets, just some ugly cork rounds. The tiles would need some felt pads underneath them so as not to scratch the table... located those. And then I remembered the old Waverly fabric my mother gave me. Why she gave me fabric I will never know as everyone knows I cannot sew. But I had the fabric and it is lovely fabric. When I located it and saw that the fabric color matched perfectly with our dining room wall color I knew I had to take my idea and run with it.
The only thing I didn't have was glue for my glue gun, but that was easy!

Below spare white tile, from master bathroom and felt pieces for underneath.

Fabric and glue gun...

Finished tiles, now trivets! Perfect for hot dishes...

Or as a coaster!

This could not be any easier!
-- Measure and cut out necessary fabric. (I left an inch of extra material on each side.
-- Place material pattern side down on table
-- Place tile in the center of the material
-- Apply glue to one side of the material, and pull tightly over the tile. Press firmly.
-- Repeat on opposite side.
-- On the other two sides, fold fabric over as though you are wrapping a present, apply glue and pull fabric firmly and tighly over the tile. Press firmly. If more glue is needed apply where necessary.
-- Repeat this on the final side.
-- Let glue cool
-- Apply felt pieces on all four (bottom!) corners

Have a Happy UnBirthday to You!

Everyone likes an excuse to celebrate something. Sometimes you're in the mood for a celebration even though there's nothing to celebrate... that's when you need to have a Happy UnBirthday Party!

One day not too long ago before our too perfect weather arrived we were feeling a little bored and blue with not much to do. I decided it would be a perfect day for a Birthday! We'd have a Birthday party, just Alexander and I... except it wouldn't be just any Birthday, it would our UnBirthday!

So we started out decorating our paper cake, which was really a cupcake because that's what Alexander wanted. I cut out the shapes for him (brown paper for the bottom and pink for the icing at his request) and I let him glue and decorate his paper cake. When it was all done we let it sit and dry and then we went to go make some Play Doh cakes!

I took some of his Play Doh toys and some items we have in our kitchen such as a muffin tin, muffin liners, plastic knives and even real Birthday candles and little sandwich flags. Those were both a great hit, We used a combination of store bought Play Doh and our home made stuff.

(We love to make our own Play Doh and it could not be easier. After testing out many recipes I found one I like the best as it does not crumble or feel funny in your hands. Click here for the recipe.)

What's an UnBirthday without any cake?

Of course we had to have a real cake. The request was peanut butter!
We made a cake from a mix, Betty or Duncan and then made the frosting from scratch. I made it first a year ago and it has become a favorite of ours!
1 1/4 Cups of peanut butter, smooth or chunky, but NOT freshly made or all natural
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar
Using a handheld mixer, mix until ingredients are well combined and the texture is creamy and smooth
Spread over cake and enjoy!
Also great on Banana Muffins!
We didn't go any further than that as our Happy UnBirthday Party had to stop in order to get Rebecca and Christopher from school. But we could h ave gone on and on and on with our fun. We could have made decorations like paper chains that we could have strewn across the room, and made party hats. I could have wrapped little nothing gifts like bubbles and jump ropes and boxes of chalk. There's still time to do all that one day... because we had such a great Happy UnBirthday Party that I guarantee we will do it again, but next time we'll do it when Rebecca and Christopher can celebrate too!


Before I start I want to tell you how utterly pissed I am... I had all these How To Pictures for you with step by step photos. I downloaded then on to Picasa and somehow they are gone. All of them. Mysteriously disappeared. Even the picture of the eggs hanging from the kitchen light fixture which was pretty funny! Well, they didn't mysteriously disappear. I must have accidentally deleted them when I was cleaning out my unwanted pictures. Ugh!

But above a pictures of the finished product and I like them so much I am going to go out and get more eggs, in more sizes and more glitter!

Alexander wanted to do a project involving glitter and I had some foam eggs I had been dying to do something with, so that's what I did.

You'll need:

foam eggs, as many as you would like, in the sizes you desire -- available at most craft stores
Craft glue such as Mod Podge
Glitter (I think Martha Stewart's is the best. It is pricier but it is superfine and therefore goes a long way. It is easier to work with and I like the result better.)
A couple of large paint brushes or foam brushes
A (plastic) bowl for the glitter
A (plastic) bowl to pour some Mod Podge

Line your workspace with newspaper, lots of newspaper! You might want some wet some wet paper towels to keep by your work area... hands get awfully sticky!

Paint the foam eggs with glue, be sure to cover all parts very well.
Roll the egg in the glitter. If you can't cover the entire egg use your hands or a spoon to sprinkle the glitter on to those areas in need. When egg is covered, give a light shake and set aside.

OR you could

Pour some of the glitter mixture directly into the glue. Mix well and paint the eggs with the glue mixture. Cover all areas well. If you choose to do this method you can eggs of varying shades of your color by changing the amounts of glitter you used. Set aside to dry. (I did both methods.)

Once all eggs have been painted you will need to hang them to dry properly without sticking. I was able to use my kitchen light fixture as the perfect hanging tool! I gathered up some push-pins and some inexpensive wrapping paper ribbon that I cut into equal pieces. I attached the ribbon to the eggs using the push pin at the top of the egg. I attached eggs to both ends of the ribbon and let them hang to dry. You could string the eggs to dry over a hanger and then hang the hanger (not near a wall or in your closet!) After a couple of hours your Speggtacular Creation should be dry!

You may want to, and I did, spray the eggs with a matte or gloss finish to help keep the glitter from overtaking your home, which it will, for the day, anyway!

Now I am off to get some more eggs and some of that shredded crinkly paper to place under them!

NB. This is a fairly messy project which requires a good bit of supervision for a younger child.

Matisse Meets Lily Pulitzer

I really have no idea what's gotten into me, and honestly if I didn't know better I would wonder... wonder if maybe my sudden urge to clean and declutter, my sudden insatiable hunger and expanding midsection might indicate the arrival of... but I am 200% certain that the symptoms are just a coincidence! (Thank God... I have two hands which is nowhere near enough to handle my three kids!)

Alexander and I were in the kitchen this morning. He's dying to learn how to read. Before he learns how to read he needs to recognize his letters, upper and lower cases. So we were working on some alphabet activities that I had printed out from Starfall and after about 20 minutes of tracing and coloring As and apples he had had enough. He wanted to do some crafts, with glue. Anything as long as it is with glue. So I thought it would be fun to do a collage. In the spirit and the vein of Matisse. I asked him what colors he wanted as I pulled out the craft papers. "Pink. And pink and white. And green." So I pulled out the colors he requested and he selected the dark pink sheet as his background. Together we went to town tearing bits of paper. As I searched high and low for the glue (I found one empty bottle) making an insane mess as I did, I came across the Mod Podge which is my most favorite crafting glue ever. It works like glue but it adds a shine to the finished product. I found a plastic paint plate and a paint brush and Alexander immediately went to work "painting" the glue on to the paper and sticking the pieces of paper over the paint and painting over the glued-on paper. Alexander was having so much fun I decided to join him and created my own "Matisse." I love the end result. In fact, I am going to frame them and hang them in Rebecca's room.

Whose do you like better?! ;)

When we were done Alexander wanted to paint. So I took out the watercolors and while he painted I cleaned out my art basket -- a huge wicker basket that sits under my desk. I tossed old markers, broken crayons, dried up glue, broken brushes, unfinished masterpieces long ago abandoned by my artistes. I removed all the Play Doh and Play Doh accessories and put them in the office, in an empty cabinet. I tossed out dried out and empty paint containers, unfinished craft products, beads and broken googly eyes. I organized my pens and markers and papers and paintbrushes and all my crafting tools.

Matisse certainly worked in many mediums and had a broad range of styles and phases. But the simplest of all seemed perfect for my 3 year old. I will try more complicated things with the older two, or I may not. There is something beautiful with his simplicity.

It was a productive day indeed... I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Meantime if you want unleash your inner Matisse here are a couple of great kid-friendly sites to visit:

Meet Matisse

Matisse for Kids

In school Alexander is learning about Frida Kahlo and on Wednesday we are going (his preschool class and the 7th grade Spanish class) to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant and talk more about Frida. I will report back about that on Wednesday.

I'm going to sign off and clean out the armoire now!

(For more of my crafty ideas check out the crafts under the Labels section and visit my abandoned site

Fun Valentine Craft for all ages!

You can't expect Valentine's day to come and go without a fun craft idea for all ages, can you? We love Play Doh. Well the kids do. They play and I clean up after it. But that's another story! Play Doh is one of those things that keeps all three kids busy for hours on end. It's something they can play with alone or with each other. I've made Play Doh before... have tried all different recipes but none seemed right. Christopher brought home some that he made in class not too long ago and it was perfect! Not too sticky and not too tough. It didn't stick to your hands. This dough was not a gooey blob that that was icky to the touch (couldn't think of a better word!) This dough was perfect... soft and pliable and not at all crumbly. I wrote Christopher's teacher and she kindly shared her recipe. Alexander and I made it the next day. Then I had an idea... we needed to bring in Valentines to the children in his class. We would bring home made Play Doh and package it up with a heart shaped cookie cutter and a copy of the recipe. We made two batches. The children will either get purple dough or pink dough. I think this is a great idea and will be a big hit!

Should you want to make it for a class or make it with your kids at home, a rainy day project just follow the simple steps below! This should take no more than 10 minutes start to finish!


2 Cups of flour
2 Cups of water
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp oil
1 cup of salt
Food coloring, optional


Mix all ingredients in to a bowl and mix well with a spoon until well blended. Should you add a lot of food coloring, as I did for my pink dough, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of flour. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The mixture should resemble bread dough. Remove from pan and cool. If the dough is too sticky, add and knead in powder until the dough is no longer sticky. Will feel like Play Doh when done. At first the smell is not pleasant, but this will disappear!

We made gift tags/recipe cards
I printed out the recipe and cut and pasted them on to index cards. I used a hole punch to punch a hole to tie the cards on to the gift bags. The small hearts were created by inserting Alexander's thumb onto an ink pad... we positioned the two thumb prints to resemble the shape of a heart. (Love this idea... not sure where it originated... could have been Martha Stewart's.)

Below, the finished product!

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Spectacular Painted Pumpkins

I am reposting this because I do not think that the last post and photos did any justice

Here are her directions!

For the glittered pumpkins at school, I used Martha's glitters in Green Agate, Copper and Antique Silver. Honestly, the glitter pumpkins are easy and fast. I did 1/2, let it dry, then the other half. Once they were dry, I finished it with the Glaze so it wouldn't "shed" glitter too badly. My tips would be to do them in a box and on sheets of wax paper so you can re-claim and re-use your glitter. It can get messy otherwise. I never actually watched Martha's video, so I'm not sure how she did it. I used a wax sheet as a funnel and worked between 2 sheets per pumpkin with the pumpkin set in the box.For the painted ones, I used Delta Ceramcoat in Light Ivory for the pumpkin, Folk Art Acrylic paints in Asphaltum for the handles, Metallic Peridot and Metallic Antique Copper for the stenciling. I then finished them with Folk Art Clearcote Hi-Shine Glaze in the Brilliant Finish (it's an aerosol can). I also played around with the combo of colors, but only used what is listed above. The metallic green body pumpkin was the same paint I used for stenciling on the others. The painted pumpkins take about 2 days because you need drying time and the final glaze really needs 24 hours to cure. But, there is room to be a little more creative. I did find that since the pumpkin is curved and grooved, using an actual stencil was difficult. (I tried brushes, sponges, etc) but could never really get good sharp edges. I ended up copying the stencil in pencil onto the pumpkin and then basically going over that with the paint. Some of them were just easier to freehand. to Kim's Spectacular Painted Pumpkins. I am reposting better pictures... same directions!