Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Black and White

Isn’t there just something so Crisp and Clean about Black and White?

black and white 014


It somehow has a soothing feel to it….a nice look for our upcoming Summer months. 

Today I am enjoying participating with Tam at The Gypsy’s Corner, showing Three or more of my black and white dishes.




The first bowl shown is a favorite of mine.  I purchased it from Nell Hill’s in Atchinson, Kansas.

black and white 007

Below is another favorite (Okay, I guess they are all favorites!)

This one I found at an antique store in Belhaven, NC.

Loved that store, and it has now gone out of business.

Aren’t the little flower bouquets precious?

And can you see the little handles on this platter?

Love it!  

black and white 006



The next black and white is a toile plate I found at

TJ Maxx.

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black and white 012

Okay, just one more  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Queen Maggie



Do go over and visit Tam and see what others have come up with today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Arms of Friendship

Hello Blogging Friends,


I am feeling so loved because I recently had two blogging awards sweetly sent my way.


The first comes from Laura at Hidden Promise.  The award is bestowed with the thoughts of someone with an “Attitude of Gratitude”.  I met Laura a few months back when she became a new blogger and am constantly amazed with her kind and giving spirit.  She is a pure delight and you really should go over and meet her.  You will be very glad you did!



Thank you Laura!!

This award just warms my heart that would Laura would think of me when sharing this award.  I truly have encountered nothing but warm hearts and a spirit of gratitude from everyone I’ve met since I began blogging.  For that reason I invite any and all of you to accept this award from me as well.  Please grab the picture and place it on your blog.  Thank you so very much, Laura!


And if I wasn’t already smiling big enough with that treat from Laura, I read on the same day that Suzanne from Southern Inspirations honored me with a second award.  It’s actually called Makes my Heart Smile.  If you haven’t checked out Suzanne’s blog, you must go over and meet her. She is a sweet Texan who has a heart of gold and I love her to death.



Thank you Suzanne!!

Blogging has done just that for me ~~  it makes my heart smile.  I smile every day when I read your comments and know you have taken the time to stop and leave a quick note.  That is such a part of why we blog, to share friendships with one another and exchange ideas and such.  Smiling comes too when I visit you at your blogs and see what’s on your mind on any given day.

I honestly have to say that all of you make my heart smile, so once again this award is for YOU as well.  Please grab it and place it on your blog.  Tell everyone it’s from me, because you do make me smile. 

I trust everyone is having a great Monday!  I know I am!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Basil Bliss

Do you like Basil like I like Basil?


basil 003

I was at my local nursery this week and found a new form of this favorite herb.  It’s called                            

   Boxwood Basil

It’s just as cute as can be and can be pruned and clipped (and used) so that it forms more of a boxwood rounded shape.  It stays small, growing to a height of 12-16”.  Of course basil requires full sun and does so much better when cut and used before allowing the plant to flower.  I searched online and discovered this is an exclusive Burpee seed item and can be ordered if you can’t find it in your area.

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I purchased a little pot to try but still plan to plant the traditional basil just in case.  I want to make sure I get my fill so I can make pesto later this season.

basil 002



basil 005

I will look forward to watching this small plant  grow and filling out to a rounded boxwood ball.  Oh, it smells so good!

basil 007

While at the nursery I did a good share of browsing ~~ just anticipated a couple more weeks before I can really start purchasing flowers and herbs to plant.

I discovered this rosemary topiary!  Oh I love the charm of this look.  There is something about a topiary that has always appealed to me.  I love the little formed ball on top of the stem.  Do you just love the look of this patina pot???  It is just dripping with cottage charm!

This sweet topiary did not go home with me but I kept thinking about it.  I couldn’t remember if it was $26 or $36.  Passing near this nursery often, I decided to take another look today, thinking to myself I would splurge if it were $26.  Well, darn if it wasn’t  $36.  I was strong thinking how many dishes I could purchase for $36 ;)   and went home without it.

Recently I’ve been reading articles on how to achieve patina on your own clay pots.

Here’s one you might want to read and try for yourself:


                How to Add Patina to New Clay Pots

Gardeners love the look and charm of patina on their old clay pots, for some inexplicable reason, we aren't satisfied with the look of the clean, orangey-red color of new clay pots. We can't wait until our new clay pots have that lovely shade of green patina on them, and you don't have to

wait long, you can add patina to your new clay pots before you plant the first flower or flower seed in the new clay pot, here's how.
There are several methods to add patina to new clay pots, one of the simplest ways is to just let the new clay pot soak in water for a few weeks. Clay pots need to be soaked in water prior to adding potting soil and planting anything in them, or else the dry clay pot will absorb all the soil's moisture and dehydrate whatever you plant in it. Just make the initial water soak for your new clay pot a long soak to add patina. Place new clay pots in a container of water that is deep enough to cover the entire clay pot and place the container outside in a location that will receive plenty of sun. Algae will grow in the stagnant water, fueled by the sun, and add patina to your new clay pots. Leave the new clay pots in the water until they reach the desired patina look you want, which usually takes 4-6 weeks.
Another simple method to add patina to new clay pots is to use plain yogurt. You can use yogurt that has reached or passed it's expiration date for this patina method. Just slather on a thick layer of plain yogurt all over the new clay pots using your hands, sponge or paint brush, and set the clay pots in a shady location for 4-6 weeks until it reaches the color patina you want. Using this method to add patina will create an odor at first from the rancid yogurt, so place the yogurt covered clay pots in an out-of-the-way location so you can avoid the smell. The smell will be gone by the time the patina is on the clay pots.

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Martha had an article in her March magazine on this procedure.  It looks like a fun project to try.  I think I will do just that and perhaps make my own rosemary topiary in cottage charm fashion.

Do you grow herbs?  What are your favorites?

I’m so glad you stopped by today.  Please take just a minute to say hello so I know you were here!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heirloom Dishes

Tablescape Thursday


Good Thursday Morning!  We are to have a beautiful spring day!  I’m so excited to be thinking about planting flowers and gardening once again.

In the meantime, we have tables to set, don’t we girls?  Well, that leads me to a question.  Each week Susan (we all know and love Susan) over at Between Naps on the Porch presents Tablescape Thursday.  Thursday is my new favorite day of the week. 

Oh! I got sidetracked (my middle name)~~  Here’s my question….how in the world do all you busy ladies find time to set a beautiful table complete with centerpiece and candles and SOMETIMES EVEN FOOD???  I love dishes!  Can I repeat that?  I LOVE DISHES!  I have a ton of them.  Dishes are always the first thing I look for while thrifting, garage sale searching or antiquing.  Each week I tell myself I want to participate in Tablescape Thursday, but I never feel like I have time to set a gorgeous table like all of yours.  Do you really set this up for a photo shoot?  Or are you expecting guests?  Or does your family get treated like loyalty to be seated at such a pretty tablesetting each week?  I would love to know your answer.


Grandma's Dishes 002

click to enlarge

Last night as I was looking through pictures on my computer I ran across this cropped version of an Easter tablescape I did for Easter a couple of years ago and decided maybe it could work!

These dishes belonged to my dear mother in law.  They are marked for Emily (dd#2 who also wants my fil’s map from yesterday).  While Emily isn’t using them, I might as well…right?  When she came home for this Easter meal she loved seeing these dishes actually on a table.  She would have to take them on a plane, so I feel they are “safe” with me for several more years!! *wink* *wink* ;)

The dish pattern is by Myott of England.  It is called Forget Me Not.  On the back of the plate it says, Fine Staffordshire ware.

cropped Easter

The silver is my wedding silver called Silver Artistry.  Tablecloth is by Lennox.  Did you know Lennox makes tablecloths?  The napkins are some I found in an antique store in Richmond, Va.  Flowers by “The Silk Thumb”…

I hope you will enjoy my abbreviated Tablescape today.  Take some time to enjoy all the others who have participated in this event.  There are some gorgeous settings for all us dish lovers!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Traveling in the Bathroom

It’s time to join Barb once again at her blog, Grits and Glamour for a little What’s on Your Wall Wednesday fun.  It’s a great day to peek in each other’s homes and get ideas for walls.  What one person doesn’t think of ~~ someone else does, right?


Today let’s step inside my guest bathroom.  We have very high ceilings in here  10 or 11 feet and to complicate matters there is one of those fun but dreaded ledges.  Those pesky ledges add fun and a certain element when decorated, but am I the only one that finds them to be a real challenge?


My theme revolved around this old “vintage” map of the

United States.


bathroom wall 001

click on picture to enlarge



This belonged to my dear, fun father in law.  When both of my in laws

passed away and we were going through the household, Emily (dd #2) put her

claims to this map.  You see it wasn’t just any map, it was a

framed map with colorful pins marking different cities across our

fine United States.  My father in law was a corporate pilot for a small

company and he placed a pin to show all the places in the United States

where he had actually flown the company plane.



bathroom wall 001

I’m sure some pins have fallen out, but it really is a nice keepsake.

Well, like a few other things, dd#2 hasn’t taken this map with her yet, so it is in my home.  It has been stored in the attic for several years and I decided it was time to display this family keepsake.


I love this dark brown leather case that seemed to speak “travel”.

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And I had this old vintage camera  ~~~~~

The globe was a gift I gave to Mr. Brown Socks one of the first

Christmases after we were married. Probably around 1971. It is very outdated by now, but doesn’t that add to the charm and interest?  It’s fun for someone who is into geography  like Mr. Brown Socks

and dd#2 to take a look and tell the rest of us this country IS no longer or has

been renamed or whatever they come up with.  I wish I were smarter!


Of course any decent silk plant lady must add some greenery to finish off a look.


bathroom wall 004



On another wall, I have a picture that was actually taken in Washington, N.C.  It’s on Main Street.  This is the town where my dear mother grew up. It is a waterfront town.  I love “little Washington” as it is called and I think the fall leaves portray this street beautifully.  It also just happens to match my shower curtain.


bathroom wall 006

remember to click!



bathroom wall 008 Maybe you can get a better feel for how this room is set up by seeing the ledge above the doorway.



I am quickly learning that to be a great blogger, one must be a great photographer.  I am unfortunately lacking in that department.


Can you see the little light that is positioned on this shelf??  Funny thing, that little light is one of my favorite parts of my house!  It’s nice to have it shining dimly for guests to find their way to the necessary room  ~~

or when my mother spends the night, it is a perfect little nightlight.

Something so little and I almost didn’t splurge for it.


Remember, it is the little things!


Enjoy viewing all the walls of our fellow bloggers on this glorious Wednesday!

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of my Greatest Blessings

Go ahead and take a seat


bird 009


Make yourself comfortable

I have a story I want to tell you this morning.  It’s about my dear, sweet, precious, wonderful one of a kind


Mom's BD brunch 005


Ever since the middle of March, I find myself reminiscing about this time last year….what I was doing, which city I was in…the challenges each day brought and where it took my family. You see last February my sister and I felt that our then 82 year old mom was in great shape.  She shops the mall, goes to the Y twice a week for an aerobics class, out for lunch with friends and on and on.  I was visiting in her home for my February birthday when she announced her dr. wanted her to go for more intensive testing.  He was concerned that her carotid artery might be blocked. 


Our concern turned to pure fright when we were told just a few short days later that the artery was at least 95% blocked.  My spring floral show was to be held three days later.  The invitations were out and the show was all set up.  Thanks to great friends and sweet daughters, the show could go on.  Here I was most worried about my oldest daughter giving birth to her third child a few weeks early, causing my show to be in limbo, never dreaming we were going to have to deal with an emergency situation with our mother.



I won’t go too heavily into details, just enough to give you the feel of our experience.  They got Mom in pronto for the surgery.  We were told it should be a breeze and that she would stay one night in the hospital and then be allowed to go home.

Mom's birthday 2007 009

Barb, Mom, Me

When mom came to, one side of her mouth was droopy and within hours we discovered she could not swallow.  They did a CAT scan and ruled out a stroke.  Weeks later they blamed it on nerve damage.  Mom was in the hospital for ten days and came home with a feeding tube in her stomach.  My sister Barb and I took turns spending a week at a time with mom, assisting her with her feedings.  My home was two hours away, but my husband was very understanding.

We went through more than you care to hear.  The tube became displaced and she was back in the hospital.  Infection set in.  She is claustrophobic and couldn’t go through with a CAT scan. A mean dr. on call and a nice nurse later, we had things worked out and back on the road to recovery.  Then my son in law had a gall bladder attack, my daughter gave birth, my sister’s chronic colitis kicked in, Mom’s anxiety attacks were more profound than I ever imagined!

We played cards to kill time.  We played more cards.  People came.  Nice nurses were everywhere!  What a blessing they were!  Mom went home.  Back and forth, back and forth I drove.  You know it’s really funny, because as horrible as those two and a half months were, I don’t have bad memories of it this year.  It was a close family time.  We all did what we had to do to get mom independent again and kept her out of a nursing home.  She amazed us with making sure birthday cards were sent out.  Then came graduation cards and wedding gifts.  Wouldn’t you think she would just say, “forget it”?  She is such a special lady.

Donna's birthday 002

A year later, she is 90% back to her old self.  She still has a little problem with her mouth and swallowing, but she eats almost anything and everything.  Her energy level is back and her attitude is fantastic.


Thanks for letting me share a family experience that’s on my mind a lot these days.  I hope you are as fortunate as me to have a wonderful mother and sister.  Thank you, Dear God!


Donna's birthday 005

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Lady Has Lost Her Mind

I have a new hobby.

I am spending almost as much time looking out the window as I am looking at all your blogs.

I confessed to Mr. Brown Socks and to Jamie last night that I am not only a new bird watcher, but now I’ve joined a society on bringing more bluebirds to my area.  Birding is so addicting!  I love seeing the goldfinches at the feeders now with their bright yellow and black feathers.  I’ve learned that they moult and right now they look a little funny because their new feathers are coming in.

The cardinals are always everyone’s favorites, but now I’ve added chickadees, downy woodpeckers and now bluebirds to my list.

My neighbor signed me up to be a member of this bluebird association and she came hauling two birdhouses for me to place out in the back.  bird 009 We are in a perfect spot because we have grassland and woods nearby. 

My neighbor already has a perfectly formed bluebird nest in her house ~~ bird 007 however, they had to fight off a mean house sparrow to succeed.  I’ve learned that house sparrows are the devil and can kill the pretty bluebirds.  I now have a trap in my house just in case the sparrow tries to take up housekeeping in mine.  bird 010

We were told it’s better to not have a birdhouse than to let the sparrows take over.  Oh the things you learn when you have a new hobby!

Mr. Brown Socks and Jamie were following along just fine with the information about the sparrows vs. the bluebirds until I started telling them how bluebirds really enjoy mealyworms.  Jamie about dropped to the floor at the thought of handling these little wiggly critters.  I purchased a tiny little container at the pet store for $2.99.  Now I’m reading we can grow our own for really cheap!  Jamie DID drop to the floor!  She realized this was the same icky thing we found in an oatmeal box deep in her grandmother’s pantry when we were cleaning it out for her once.  I’m really not sure I could grow mealyworms because it really might ruin my love for good ole healthy oatmeal!

My sweet family was convinced I had lost my mind after I talked about birds steadily for 45 minutes while our daughter gave her dad a haircut.  Then came the final clue:

Oh, how I wish I were tech savvy.  I’d insert a little audio clip of what I did next.  While the house was very, very quiet, I turned on the CD player.  Out bellows the call of a catbird that made both cats in the house twitch their ears this way and that! bird 005 Yes, it was an hour long CD of Backyard Birds.  I’m not sure my daughter and husband are as enthused as me. This was the look of disbelief on J’s face!  She did enjoy going out with me after the haircut to inspect the birdhouses.  I’ll have her birdwatching before you know it!  You will be the first to know if I succeed in having bluebirds make a nest in my birdhouse!

Please let me know if you are a bird watcher and what sort of stories you might have.

Gotta run ~~~ I have to make sure there isn’t a sparrow in the box.  Whatever will I do if there is???  :-{

bird 006

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Testing WLW

As my friend Suzanne has said “It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks”.  I’ve been trying and trying to get WLW downloaded and with a little help from my friends, I may finally have it!


Just testing here today to see if it’s really working for me!

Really?  This is suppose to be easier?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Latest Project

I'm sorry I have been missing in action! Life does take over, doesn't it? I do miss reading your blogs and staying in touch so trying to post here before two of my very young grandsons arrive. This is my latest customer request. She had this very large urn (yes, it's as heavy as it looks!) and wanted it refilled. She came over and spent quite a bit of time picking and choosing from inventory in my workroom for her arrangement.
I only had one of these very large, very real looking magnolias left and she HAD TO HAVE IT! I told her I would try to make it work with just one. Because of the size of the flower, I felt it worked just keeping it very low.
This customer has a gorgeous, gorgeous older home in a very nice section of our town. You can see a small portion of it here.
I took this picture for three reasons ~~ one I wanted you to see this pretty fireplace and two the customer and designer are requesting I do a new centerpiece for this table. She said this arrangement has been on her table for a very long time. I need to keep it low and rather small so the family can see over it. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!
Thirdly, I wanted you to see the table and chairs! Isn't this a really fun kitchen set? I love the design of the chairs!
Another view of this room from a different angle.
Sorry the pictures turned out so dark.

Here's a picture of the arrangement in the client's home, set in place.

The walls are faux finished. The finish was chosen around this unusual clock.

I think the magnolia works, don't you? She loved the final result.

It was so heavy, I could not carry it myself. Luckily the drapery installer was working and took it inside for me.

I know Easter was several days ago, and I'm sorry I didn't even wish you all a nice holiday. We had a great time going to church with my mother and then spending a nice day with my sister, her husband, my mother, one daughter and some family friends.
I brought this game for us to play in the afternoon and it really was a hit. There were six of us women, ranging in age from 24 to 83 and it was fun for all of us. It's a game where you don't have to do a lot of thinking, you can talk while playing and it's also fun! I'll try not to wait so long for my next post! Still trying to figure out Windows Live Writer. I can't tell if it downloaded or not! Can't seem to find it!!!???? Til next time, enjoy your day. Spring is finally arriving in the midwest! :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shopping Finds this Week

You have probably heard me say this before but I'll say it again. :) Many of you can probably echo this, but many times I feel like the luckiest mom in the world. I have three adult daughters who I love dearly and they love me back. We all truly enjoy spending time together. We love to sit and talk together, either in person or on the phone, we love to laugh together, cook together, exercise together. .....and of course ~~~~ shop together! My middle daughter, Emily is really into thrifting and antiquing with me now that she has a new condo to decorate. She lives in Chicago, but I am very fortunate that because of her job she is able to come home often to see us. She announced before her arrival that this was a trip to have her dad help her finish up her taxes and then my job was to ~~ Shop with her! Okay! We went to Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, TJ Maxx, a thrift store and an antique mall, all in one day. We also had a great lunch at Paradise Bakery.
Here was one of our Thrift store finds. Emily actually bought a pair of these and they were marked down to $14.99 each! I thought that was a pretty good price. They are a vintage dresser lamp. One has been rewired and the other works, but scares me. Her dad or someone will definitely need to rewire this one.
Aren't they gorgeous? Can you see all the beautiful etching on the globe? She has a fireplace with mantle in her condo and she thinks she is going to use them there. We also need to find new bulbs as one is burned out. This could be a bit of a challenge to find them to fit.
The base is silver plated. My suggestion was she leave them shabby tarnished because she has an absolutely beautiful antique gold mirror that hangs in the center of this mantle. I think the silver will be just fine, in it's tarnished state, don't you?
Here's what I found at the antique mall. A really pretty, colorful fox hunt creamer to go in my downstairs family room. I have a couple of other fox hunt items that will help me pull this look together. The fabric was ordered for my window last week, by the way! More to come on that soon, I hope.
I just love the colors and scenery deplicted in this piece. A little doggy hurrying along trying not to get left behind is on the back.
Here's the bottom, showing it was made in England.
You ARE impressed now, aren't you?? ;)
Here are my finds placed all together. I found another blue cup to put a bunny on a stick for a gift for my mother at Easter. This little robin's egg blue vase was just too soft with pretty lines not to grab.
I loved the Market piece. It should look good down in my workroom.
I didn't find as much as I sometimes do, but that's okay. I really had fun helping Emily shop too. It was a great mother/daughter day.
Thank you, dear Lord for daughters.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Little Secret for You

Do you have allergies?
Or were you just born with permanant dark circles beneath your eyes?
For those of you old enough to remember the commercials, has anyone asked you if you were a Tereyton Smoker and asked if you'd rather right than switch? (Think black eye!!)
If so, I have found just the product for you.
It's by Benefits and it's called
Lemon aid

I first apply the Lemon Aid on top of my eye cream
and follow up with a Bare Minerals product called
Well Rested
Can't hurt, might help, right? It does seem to help, so give it a try. Another product that was suggested to me is by Bare Escentuals. It's bareVitamins Eye Rev-er Upper. It's suppose to give you a more refreshed look when applied first thing in the morning and then reapplied a few hours later. Trouble is, I always forget to reapply!
I'd be interested in knowing products you have found helpful for dark circles.
Another little hint my daughters just told me about is that you can purchase a good size packet of L'Occitane products including little soaps and perfume/lotion samples for $3. It's a great way to try out a variety of their products. My girls have me loving this line. Some of there things are a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. I use their Cream Mask as a night time moisturizer and a jar last for many weeks.
Thank you for the compliments on my little grandson and his birthday cake. Your comments really are all read and appreciated so much!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oh! Another Birthday Cake!

We had another birthday in our family last week. :) Our youngest little grandson turned ONE. That's always a happy milestone and in true Grammie tradition, I wanted to make it special.
In a previous post, I have shown some other birthday cakes I've enjoyed making for my little grandsons, and this latest came the day after my spring show.
I had the thought to make a carousel cake but wasn't able to find a simple one that was pictured in my mind when I googled. When my sister was a young child I remember our neighbor making her one. My sweet mother even dug through pictures trying so we could remember what it looked like, but we didn't have a very good closeup so I could see details.
I finally found enough to get me going. This was one of the easiest cakes I've done and it was really a lot of fun.
I started off by baking a two layer cake mix in two 8" round pans. I freeze the layers because it frosts better if frozen. I made homemade frosting and tinted it blue.
Now that I'm posting about it, I realize that even though I've been blogging since late October, I still have a lot of room for improvement. I keep forgetting to take pictures when I'm in the midst of a project, so I am having to reinact this one.
First step is to make the canopy for the carousel.
Take a dinner plate and trace on top of wrapping paper. I actually had some with little animals on it in my wrapping paper box. The Lord is with me!
Next, I traced the plate on top of a gift wrap box to give it a little stability.
Being somewhat of a perfectionist on things like this, I wanted the bottom to be complete so I traced two of the wrapping paper.
Next I used a glue stick and glued the top of the paper to one side and the another layer of gift wrap to the underside of the gift box circle. Take scissors and make one slit from outer edge to the center of the circle. This allows you to form a canopy shape. I used hot glue to secure this form.
On my craziness trying to pull my spring show off, I didn't have a lot of time to search for old fashioned stick candy like I wanted, so I used straws instead. I cut off the bendable part because it would be too flimsy. Next I hot glued the blue and white ribbon around the straws to give it a more finished look. I needed a center pole....thinking...thinking...thinking... I went down to my workroom and found a slender bamboo pole which I cut to make the pole. I tied the matching ribbon into a bow just for cuteness sake. Next I selected the best looking animals I could find from the misformed animal crackers in a bag. I used frosting to attach the animals to the straws at different heights. Think merry go round. I had purchased these colorful "reception sticks" when I was desparately looking for stick candy. They were too little to use as the poles, but being so perfect for the look I was going after, I stood them up around the center pole just because I felt they added. I dug into the Easter candy. Perfect! The colored malted milk balls would work for decorative trim. I used one single white one for the tip top. I used some cake sprinkles and a candle that said 1
and I now had a cake that was perfect for my latest grandson to stick his fingers in to. Don't you just love those frosting pictures of little one year olds??