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I am having a rare weekend at home indulging in some domestic bliss.
As I type this I am eating my lunch – the very tasty Olive and Chilli Sourdough bread in the picture below that I made this morning with dried olives from my friend Martin and Suzie’s Cowley’s Fine Foods accompanied by some delicious cheese from the local deli Radish.
The recipe is by Jo Wheatley and is from the Sainsbury’s magazine a couple of months ago.
I have been doing a little gardening – thankfully my lovely new house has virtually nothing to do in that respect but I have just been tidying up the pots and later I will continue making a medieval cloak for my friend Luke.
Embroidery wise I am working on a christening present for Alice, my cousin’s daughter at the moment.All will be revealed when it is finished!
Mum and I will be going to Plymouth for the christening next weekend as they have very kindly asked me to be a godmother which is very lovely!
This pincushion is from the Blackbird Designs, ’ A Stitcher’s Journey’, book and it is stitched on evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The charm is one I picked up at one of the knitting and stitching shows but you can get similar ones from Sitch Direct.
I backed it with some of the lovely fabric from my lovely friends Helen and Lucy at Material Goods and added a little pocket for scissors or an unpicker.
Well must be getting on with the sewing , hope you are having domestic fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting!
Hasn’t the time flown? Nearly forgot to do this as the end of the month seems to have come so quickly.Click on the pic above to go to Kathy’s blog where you can see all the other lovely pics as well.
Most of these were taken on our recent trip to Lake Como in Italy.
We went on a boat trip across the lake from where we were to a little town called Varenna. We were just wandering up the hill on a little path and came across this villa which is now a museum and this was the view from the terrace – wow!
Can’t live without
I hadn’t got the list for this month’s hunt before I went so used the computer in the hotel to check. As soon as my Mum and the kids heard this category they said ‘red wine’ – so here is a pic of the wine we had every evening – even Jake got into drinking it. Though I think I could live without it …. but do love it!
The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.
This had to be one of my (many) door pics – this one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan – what a door!
While in Milan we visited the Milanese version of Harrods and this was in the Food Hall , designer water . I don’t know if you can see the price tag but it says 59 euros – the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind!
Multi – coloured
From the same store these lovely Pantone mugs – have just bought Jake a couple of the cheap version of these from our local store for his ‘bottom drawer’ for going to University in Sept.
On the move
Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.
The first morning was very dull and misty but that meant there were amazing clouds clinging to the rocks in the village behind the hotel.
Ellie has just bought me this book from my wish list as a pressie for help with her dissertation -she is such a lovely daughter and it did make me smile lots and lots! I love Rick Stein, the series was brilliant and he has a lovely smile as well!
Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.
They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.
The clematis and honeysuckle over my garden arch – just waiting for it all to bloom now.
Hello there everyone
I have just been sitting outside in my garden basking in the late evening sunshine drinking a glass of bubbly (only the cheap cava type!) and celebrating life. It has been the most glorious weekend here – hope you have had nice weather where you are.We have had a really unexpectedly hot weekend – it is never usually this hot in April in Yorkshire, to be fair it is often not this hot in Yorkshire in July.
I have spent most of the last few days finishing off my charity quilt that I posted about earlier this month. This has been a WIP for many months but I got a lot done on the last Quilt Group sewing day and wanted to get it finished to take to the Quilt Group meeting tomorrow. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out – the machine stitching is not perfect but better than I have managed previously.
The quilt was machine pieced and then mainly machine quilted – I quilted ‘in the ditch’ round all the blocks which was good for developing my machining skills and shadow quilted around the dark turquoise border. The original design had the bunny on the front but the consensus at the quilt sewing day was that the front was very nice on its own so I just added some hand quilted hearts and backed it with fleece and the bunny applique.
In the style of one of the bloggers I very much admire, Hen House , I have taken pics of the finished item in the garden, lovely son Jake has been absolute star today and spent two hours mowing the lawn (not that you can see it in these pics) but it has been a great help. I have been on light duties only as my back has not been good so I have been deadheading!
I have posted lots of pics of my garden before but have been trying to take some more arty shots so this is one I took today which I really like, the garden is looking very splendid now which makes such a difference after the horrible wet and messy months.
This quilt is going to a local children’s hospice which is opening soon so it has been a strange piece to make. I have enjoyed making it but I have been thinking a lot about who will use it and the things that they and their parents will be going through. It is a cot quilt so that make is very hard to think about especially as I have so many friends who have young babies or are expecting babies. But life is often not easy and all we can really do is support people who are experiencing difficult times, be it friends who you can help face to face or others who you can give a little gift made with love.
On the subject of made with love I thought that I would show you a few recent baking goodies – one of the reasons that my son is so nice and helps out with the garden is that he gets a regular supply of cake. These are adapted from a very nice recipe from Sainsbury’s magazine and are chocolate orange cupcakes – yum yum.
In other crafting news the pink Sublime baby cardi is coming on well – the eyelets have been a bit of a challenge and my knitting friend Barbara suggested stitch markers which I have been trying for the first time but have been getting a bit tangled with – they seem to slow me down a lot! The Spring exchange piece is almost complete. I am off to Spain on this week so am planning lots of lovely sitting on the terrace in the sun reading and crafting – I have four Benni Harper quilt mystery novels to take with me so am in for a lovely time!
If you read last week’s post about Mothers’ day you may remember I was writing about how much I admired all those Mums who have young kids who craft and this week at knitting group I met another person who does just that. She knits, she quilts and she blogs – it was very lovely to meet Justine and I have really enjoyed looking at all her posts and links to fab fabric sites that I have not come across before. I have saved them in my favourites and may have to indulge very soon! Please do go and visit her blog Sew Justine Sew as it is lovely!
Hope that you have a nice week ahead and see you all in a couple of weeks – thank you for visiting.
As promised here are some pics of the new Jamie at Home items. Some of these are from the party I attended a while ago but there are also some of my new purchases that arrived yesterday, also got lots of lovely things for people for Xmas which shall remain hidden!
I couldn’t resist these – ceramic topped versions of the traditional Kilner jars which I thought were very cute and very good value – tiny ones £2.50 and largest ones only £6 each.
And here is my mezzaluna! I have wanted one of these for years – I bought my brother one for Xmas a long time ago but no-one has returned the favour so had to get myself one. It is a device for chopping herbs etc with a shallow bowl and double handled blade.
Underneath that is a round wooden plate and I also bought the long bread and dip server and an assortment of terracotta bowls for tapas. Am planning to do lots of entertaining in this glorious summer we are going to be having!
Well it has been lovely weather here – last night I got home late and so when I had finished tea sat outside with my free Jamie magazine and a couple of glasses of wine and just enjoyed the garden and the birdsong. Today I also sat out after tea for another hour or so – I really do love this time of year! Am planning the first BBQ of the season tomorrow – wish me luck!
It is now hanging on the patio doors to complement all the lovely flowers I can see in the garden. I really like the beaded hanging string – I often get stuck when trying to match stitching colours to braid for hangings and had not thought of doing that before.
Hopefully my piece for her will arrive soon so that I can show you pics of that.
Hope that you all have a lovely sunny weekend – thanks for visiting.
I hope that you have been enjoying yourselves this weekend. I have had a really lovely time with lots of socialising. This is quite unusual as I do tend to hole up a bit over Winter and not do much except sit and knit or stitch with all my candles lit but I have been very busy.
It started on Friday night with a visit to my friend Cheryl’s house for a Jamie at home party (bit like a Tupperware party but for Jamie Oliver’s cooking stuff!). We had a very lovely time – Cheryl has recently moved to a gorgeous house built in 1907 with so many beautiful original features showcasing the best of the Arts and Crafts movement including some wonderful stained glass and plaster work. Pity I didn’t have my camera!
Cheryl is a friend from work and there were quite a few other work colleagues there with their partners so it was lovely to be able to socialise – we are so busy at work we don’t get a chance to do that much.
I also bought some very nice things – a set of terracotta tapas bowls, some storage jars and something I have been wanting for a long time – a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs and spices to add to my stock of lovely kitchen items so I am eagerly waiting for them all to arrive.
Saturday should have been a whole day in the garden but torrential rain stopped play – I did manage a trip to the garden centre to stock up on compost and bought some pretty Primulas and new herbs as all my old ones died out during the snow.
I used the thyme and rosemary today as we had friends round for a late lunch - I experimented with a new salad of butternut squash, puy lentils and pickled lemon that I got from my Sainsbury’s magazine which was very nice. Am trying to do at least one new recipe a week – Jake did not try the salad but the others liked it!
I realised that I did not post any pics of the textiles from our recent visit to Marrakesh (how remiss!) so here goes – these pics were taken in a museum behind glass so apologies for the quality. The first one used what appeared to be cross stitch on linen.
This one was embroidered in silk over a patterned background but the pattern was not used for the motifs which I thought was interesting.
This last picture looks very much like a lot of Middle Eastern and Eastern European embroidery that I have seen over the years. The standard of work was very good with exceptionally fine stitching.
Just up from where we stayed in the lovely Riad was an Aladdin’s Cave of textiles, ceramics etc in a government-run Artisan’s warehouse – could have quite cheerfully bought the entire store but limited myself to a beaded mat from this wonderful selection ….
….. a wonderful patchwork hanging for Ellie with lots of goldwork and sequins from this selection…
We also went to the souks (several times and got lost several times as you do and got out again in the end!). We found a fabulous lamp shop where I bought another lantern for the lounge – just look at all this stuff!
So one lamp, several beaded items, one hanging, two tagines, one kaftan, one set of kebab skewers, lots of candles later …… really Marrakesh is shopper’s paradise – if you go take at least one empty case with you – we had three empty hand luggage cases but it was a tight squeeze on the way back!
I hope you have had a very nice weekend as well.Things are going to be a little quieter here thankfully for the next couple of weeks as we have finished teaching for Easter – I have a huge pile of marking to do but am looking forward to a holiday in a week or so when we are off to Spain.
Thanks for visiting.
I am having a lovely Sunday doing lots of things that I have been meaning to do for ages like back up all my camera pics and little bits of domesticity that are not too taxing. It is at the moment a lovely sunny Sunday so they may even be a chance for gardening later (once I am out of my dressing gown – do not want to scare the neighbours!).
I love Sundays during the winter months – we are so rarely here during the summer due to all our events so it is lovely to be inside all warm and cosy with the prospect of knitting and DVDs later on this afternoon (hmm ….. Little House on the Prairie or Tudors Season 3 – decisions, decisions…..). I cast on for the head of the teddy I am making last night and so far so good so may be able to show you an item that looks like a bear later in the week!
I do love being at home even though I love travelling. I am lucky enough to live in a very nice house – the kitchen is especially lovely so I though I would share some pictures of it with you so you can see the hub of my domestic creativity. I love looking at pics of other people’s houses on blogs (satisfies my inner curiosity!) so thought you might like to see some of mine. I have to say this niceness is very little to do with me – the whole thing was remodelled by the previous owner and was one of the main reasons I bought this house.
It is an old house – about 100 years old and is a stone built terrace that looks very traditional from the outside. It has all the original features in the hall and lounge which I love and you will have seen pics of the lovely fireplace, mantel and hall if you have looked at my Xmas decoration pictures. But then you go though to the back of the house and see the kitchen.
The only thing that I did when I moved in was to paint the central unit and the back wall red as I felt it needed a bit more colour and add some pics . This is what used to be the old dining room of the house – the old kitchen is now a utility room and a conservatory was built on to be a dining room.
The dining room is my creative space for large projects and sewing and is one of my favourite places to be as it has a lovely view of the garden – my cat Blackberry also likes being in here - in the above pic you can see him sitting in his favourite place on the left hand windowsill above the radiator watching the birds!
The kitchen looks very funky from the dining room.
The black marble worktop on this unit is great for cooking as I have loads of space to work and good for pastry as it is always cool but a bit of a nightmare to keep clean – it shows every mark! The pictures on the wall at the back are of the New York skyline in the 1920s which is particularly significant to the story of moving into this house.
I like to decorate my rooms in themes and the look of the kitchen immediately suggested New York loft apartment to me when I came and did the viewing. That in itself was significant as I was off to New York the following day with some friends from the medieval group on a hen weekend. I had been trying to move house for some time and had put in two offers on other houses which had fallen through due to not being able to sell ours in time.
This property I spotted when we were on the way out one day – being in the next road along from where we used to live – so I arranged a viewing the evening before I was due to leave. I really loved it so ended up ringing the estate agents the very next day before I flew to New York and putting in an offer. A very tense 3 months followed where I thought I had lost the house for various reasons and we ended up temporarily homeless for a week as we had to move out of the old one before we could move into this! However it all worked out very well in the end.
When we first moved here four years ago I didn’t have a much time for cooking as I do now due to the general busyness of work and family life. However my job role has changed and I am now no longer out in the evenings and with just me and Jake here the housework is reduced so I am very much enjoying the time to use the kitchen outside of parties and special occasions.
I have just bought a new spice rack as I am doing so much more cooking – previously they were all in a cupboard and it took ages to find things but now everything is at hand!
So that this post is not all about the house I shall now share some more stitching. I thought I had finished putting up pics of the gifts I made for Xmas then realised that I had not posted those of the jar decorations I made. My brother’s partner, Amanda, makes the most fantastic jams and chutney so I gave her and Ben, my brother, a jar of my Nigella’s Chilli Jam each for Xmas alongside their other pressies and also decided to make her some little decorated bands for jam jars.
The patterns came from one of my very old Cross Stitch mags and these were a great quick stitch. I bought the aida band at the Harrogate Show. Ellie also stitched one as well for Amanda but unfortunately I do not have a pic of that.
Well thank you once again for visiting and hope that you had a happy Sunday!
I have finished my hat! I am very pleased as I am not a fast knitter and had not expected to finish but I just have and am sitting wearing it as I type (sad I know but it is lovely).
I sometimes struggle to find hats that suit me having very curly hair (naturally so which I know I am very lucky to have) and have avoided hat wearing generally. But it has been so cold recently that I have decided I really need one and it is now ready for the predicted snow this week.
We have had a very lovely weekend – Ellie arrived home from Uni on Friday – she is staying for 10 days until her term starts again. We have made lots of soup (same recipes as last weekend) and done some baking and I have knitted lots!
On Sat we made Nigella’s recipe for Yule Log again from her Christmas book – we did this at Xmas and it was lovely but a bit rich so this time we just made it into a Swiss Roll with pink buttercream (courtesy of Ellie) and a batch of fairy buns which we decorated with some left over Winnie the Pooh sugar motifs that I had in the cupboard. I love making this recipe – used to do it all the time as a teenager when we called it the ‘fatless whisked sponge’. It is quite good for you, only having eggs and sugar in it with no flour or fat so quite healthy (without Nigella’s frosting!)
I started the hat at knitting on Friday. I used Noro wool to match my scarf and used the Seed (Moss) Stitch Beret pattern from a book already in my library – The Knitter’s Bible-Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton. As you know I love Moss stitch and this looked like the right sort of slouchy beret to suit me.
And it is now complete – forgive the quality of these pics – I have taken them in the hall and the light is not good – will have to get some daylight pics. A la Crazy Aunt Purl have used the tried and tested technique of photographing yourself in a mirror while wearing said item ……
I really like the way that the Noro wool has striped – it looks even better on a circular pattern than on a scarf. It was a very, very easy pattern to knit with the decreasing very easy to do – and fast.
I rather like this pic as well – despite the fuzziness – it looks like I am in Paris in a very old movie – maybe a romance or one of those old wartime movies where I am part of the resistance!
These thoughts have obviously been inspired by the fact that my knitting last night was accompanied by no less than 6 episodes (back to back courtesy of the Yesterday Channel) of Wartime Kitchen and Garden – fabulous stuff – Ruth Mott was boiling pig’s heads and canning tomatoes like there was no tomorrow. A perfect way to spend a Saturday night!
I do hope you have had a lovely weekend – thanks for visiting.
Hello and a very happy 2010 to everyone. I am having a very nice unexpectedly quiet and domesticated weekend thanks to the snow. I should have been teaching this Saturday but all classes have been cancelled due to the bad weather so instead I have been concentrating on knitting and making soup!
We arrived back from the sunny shores of Spain on Weds – a little late but safe and sound into a very snowy Manchester Airport. We are now once again fairly snow bound here as our road is pretty bad and the pavements icy but we are near the main road and buses are running and I have been and stocked up with food and lots of soup making and baking ingredients so will not go hungry! More snow arrived today and more is forecast for Mon and Tues so who knows if classes will be running this week!
At Jake’s request I made Tomato and Red Pepper Soup from my Covent Garden Soup Company Recipe book yesterday - doesn’t the veg look pretty ready to be roasted.
Today I have made Cauliflower and Roquefort using the Delia Online recipe (Jake didn’t want any of this one though it was lovely!) Tomorrow will be Parsnip and Sweet Potato (a variation on Nigella’s Butternut and Sweet Potato recipe) using some of my left over veg from before we went away. Am also planning to cook the Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies from Nigella’s Christmas book that we didn’t get around to doing on Xmas Eve.
Have been spending some more time knitting just recently and have decided that 2010 will be my year and improving my knitting skills. In terms of knitting for re-enactment purposes I would love to be able to knit my own socks, stockings and hats so need to get really good with double pointed needles and know how to turn a heel before I can attempt these feats! My fellow knitters at the Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed knit groups assure me that socks are really easy once you can understand the pattern so I shall aspire to master that this year. I have just come across an online resource about historical knitting – from this month’s Let’s Knit mag – called Knitting History so will be looking at that for info.
I do know of a very talented woman called Sally Pointer who I met through re-enactment who makes all sorts of lovely knitted and felted items as well as cosmetics. She has a web site where you can buy her very informative books and patterns and I have just discovered her blog Wicked Woollens as well so shall be reading that as well for inspiration.
So I have decided to make lots of birthday gifts to practise pattern reading and new techniques. since all my knitted Xmas gifts were so well received. My first knitting WIP is a present for a friend of mine’s little girl and comes from the Nov 09 Let’s Knit mag -
It is a very cute little bear with a knitted dress that has a bed that folds up to be a bag that the bear can be carried round in.
This is my progress so far …
I have altered the design slightly by chain stitching around the edges of the border and all the rectangles in an attempt to neaten them up! The pattern has not been too difficult to follow though there were no instructions on how to prevent getting gaps between rectangles when you swapped wools but I remember reading somewhere about twisting the wools together at the back on each row and that worked. I really like doing Moss stitch which is all around the border as it has such a pretty effect.
I was very pleased yesterday as my long-awaited ASOE Xmas ornie from Marlene in the US arrived. I was concerned as I knew that she had posted it well in time for Xmas but what with the volume of post and the weather issues here it took a long time to come! But it was worth the wait.
It is really lovely so thank you very much Marlene – I have taken the tree and all the other ornies down but this one is going to stay up for a few weeks and have its five minutes of fame!
I hope you all had a very Happy New Year – we had a lovely (warm!) time in Spain and I will be posting some pics of that later on. I hope that 2010 is going to be a very good year for you all. I had a really good 2009 thanks to my lovely family, fiance and friends and am really looking forward to this one. Thank you to all those people who have visited the Xmas newsletter page to read the summary of our year.
It is always particularly significant having a new decade and this one is going to be very full of big changes for the family – all very positive and lovely ones. Jake will finish school this year and hopefully go on to 6th form college and Ellie is very well settled at Uni. Who knows I might even be a Granny by the end of this decade – more things to knit!
The 1990s were very much about the kids for me – Ellie being born early in 1991 and Jake in 1994 and the 2000s very much about work and career as I started my full-time job at the University in 2001.
So this next decade is going to be about my new roles as I concentrate hopefully more on developing my ideas for my textile business. I am not in position to do much at the moment but have made a resolution for 2010 that I am going to produce a design from scratch based on my pictures from Spain. This is just the tiniest start but who knows what might happen!
Thank you for visiting, hope you are not too cold or snow bound and Happy New Year!
We have had a very nice, and very traditional Christmas this year – this is the first one in 5 years where we have not been away on holiday (first Prague then 4 years in Spain) and Ellie really wanted a traditional family time now she is away at University.
So we had a very lovely time – helped by the very seasonal weather – the first white Christmas I can remember for at least 35 years.
There was snowman building on Christmas Eve -
And lots of baking as we decided to make our own Yule Log this year -
The gingerbread house kit I bought had suffered a bit of structural damage but Ellie got very creative with the pieces -
I bought myself Nigella’s Christmas cookery book as a treat – for the last few years when we have been away I have done a pretend Xmas dinner before we go but it has not been much more than a glorified roast but this year I did lots of domestic goddess stuff and thoroughly enjoyed it – even started off Christmas Day with watching Nigella on TV and doing a bit of stitching before sorting out the turkey as I was up ridiculously early (of course the teenagers didn’t surface for presents till after 9!)
So we had a very nice lunch with some special additions of parsnip and sweet potato bake (not Nigella, think that was Good Food mag), and brussels with pancetta and then the buffets included Nigella’s Chilli jelly (bit liquid rather than solid but very tasty) and some other recipes from my new tapas cook book.
We had lots of lovely pressies and I was very pleased that Jake and Ellie liked their hand knits – they had both asked for money and a few stocking pressies this year and as I have been trying to make a hand crafted gift for most people this year I made them both wrist warmers and Ellie got a matching hat as well.
The patterns for these items are all freebies from Ravelry.
After Xmas lunch we went sledging which the kids very much enjoyed -
As well as the knitting I have been busy finishing the Xmas stitching. The Noel ornament from Helga Mandl that I have mentioned before was my ornie of choice for the girls who are my very good friends here in Hudds so this was the collection I finished just before Xmas -
I am actually taking the pattern away with me to stitch one of my very own for the tree for next year.
I have also just finished these which are for my relatives in Spain – this is from the Gift of Stitch Mag – this year’s Xmas ornie edition.
All of these are once again stitched over my favourite 28 count sparkly evenweave (need my glasses to stitch this these days!) with Silk Mill threads.
We are off to Spain in the early hours of tomorrow morning (snow permitting!) so am looking forward to some warm weather (it is 21 degrees there rather than -3 in Yorkshire), some cycling, some lovely tapas and the Three Kings festival on Jan 5th. Am taking lots of stitching and my latest knitting project as well.
Hope that you all have a very happy New Year and let’s hope that 2010 will be filled with plenty of time for textiles!
Thank you for visiting.
I have had a very rare occurence these last two days as I have been here all by myself! Ellie is of course in Worcester and Jake has gone to London on a drama and media trip. He left very early yesterday morning and is due back very late tonight. He was going to see two shows, visit an art gallery, have a tour of the sights and go to Covent Garden – there was also Pizza Hut for tea which he was very pleased about!
So I have been on my own for the first time in a long time – I think the last time this happened was about three years ago when everyone else had been invited away for the weekend and I was ill so couldn’t go. The house has been very quiet and it has been strange not having to make any meals. This is good preparation for Jake leaving home in a few years – what will I do with all that extra time!
More textiles of course! I can now post pics of the item I have had from Wendy Jo in the US as part of the autumn exchange. As soon as she has posted pics of the ornament I have sent her on the ASOE blog I can post pics of that but in the meantime here is the lovely pumpkin cushion she sent me.
It is a really gorgeous pattern from JBW Designs – I have admired their very detailed work for a long time but never stitched any myself. The back of the piece is equally lovely.
Thank you very much Wendy Jo. It is a very appropriate design as at this time of year I always buy a pumpkin for the kids to turn into a lantern and to make what has become a traditional recipe for this time of year – a soup that I really love. It is from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection recipe book and is called ‘Pumpkin soup with melting cheese’ - recipe is at Delia’s site via this link. It is heaven in a bowl and one of the things worth putting up with soggy Autumn days for.
I shall be making the soup this weekend once Jake has cut out his lantern. He doesn’t actually like the soup though – which just means more for me!
The Winter/Xmas exchange is up next for a new partner Marlene (no blog) . I have hundreds of Xmas designs to choose from but think I know which one to pick. That has to be finished and mailed by 5th Dec so I have a while to work on it.
I have made good progress with my knitting – the second Xmas piece is now finished and I am starting the third piece tonight. Will be posting soon about the lovely new knitting shop we have here that hosts Knit and Natter. In the meantime have banana bread (have added cinnamon to the recipe this time) which smells like it is ready to come out of the oven!
Bye for now.