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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The final stretch...

Christmas is almost here! We have had a busy fall here.  The little ones have started day care at a wonderful woman's home, and we couldn't be happier! It has allowed me a chance to get back to my regular real-person job some of the time, and also have time to myself with no children around at all!  It has done wonders for my patience!  I also had time to craft for a local craft show that is very popular!



I had bunting, pillow covers, bags, decorations, everything sewable.  I wanted to have more made, but that's always the way.  Next year I'll make more!  I still have crafting to do before Christmas, but then I'm crafting for the family and/or myself.  I tend to put myself on the back-burner when a craft show is on the horizon.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2011



This is my second time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, this time with an older entry.  I made this mini quilt in January 2010.  I love trees, and this is our first home that does not have many trees at all.  It's nice to see trees in pictures! 


This is one of the first quilted things I have ever made, not that I am an expert now, but I have learned a lot since then.  I did a lot of raw edge applique and free-motion stitching for this, a lot of hand-sewn buttons, and a lot of experimenting. It's not a technical masterpiece, or terribly complex, but it's cheery, and I like it!   You can see a bunch of wibbly wobbly lines.  As much as I am a perfectionist about some things, this was more of a folksy feeling I was going for, so the woobliness was good.  (In our house, woobly is a word).  It doesn't hurt that woobly lines were easier than perfectly concentric circular ones!  But now this little quilt hangs with two others on our dining room wall, a formerly blank space that now is a pleasure to look at! 

Thank you for looking, and be sure to check out the other amazing quilts in the festival!

<div align="center"><a href="http://amyscreativeside.com/" title="Amy'sCreativeSide"><img src="http://amyscreativeside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Fullscreen-capture-9222011-123854-PM-e1316717452510.jpg" alt="Amy'sCreativeSide" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Year Ago...

My little guy was born!

It was a fast and intense birth, and I'll spare you the details.  I can't believe how fast the time has flown.  Our daughter's first year went by pretty fast, but this year has gone by even faster!  Two children just make everything busier.  I don't know how people handle more children than that!  I always thought I'd want to be a stay-at-home-mom, but I've come to the realization recently (or I've been honest with myself) that it is not meant for me!  I need part time work to stay sane.  I find myself getting snippy at times, irritable, and moody, always giving of myself.  Not that my chosen career isn't equally draining, but it is different.  I need to have my children in good day care so that I can fulfill other parts of my life.  Being away makes me appreciate and enjoy them more.  In an ideal world, I would be blissfully happy to stay home all day everyday, but I'm not, and even though it saddens me a little that I feel that way, I am more happy that I realize this and can give my children better days.  Not that we don't do fun things - we are always going to playgroups, the park, the beach, baking, reading, or doing crafts, but then that irritable mother comes back and I think we'd all be happier to see her less.


I love spending time with my kids, but maybe just a little less time with them, and a little more time following my path.  I don't think that makes me a bad mom, but I know I'll feel a bit guilty about it anyway. It's hard when there are so many awesome mom-blogs and these women are super-moms, staying at home with their kids, and doing an amazing job!   But I feel good making my realization, and knowing that working part time means I still get to see my kids a lot!


One year old!  Happy Birthday little guy!  So many changes, and so many more to come!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In less than a week...

I will have a booth at a local fall fair!  It's a nice little fair, inexpensive table fee, and my last show before Christmas.  I am full of ideas and a to-do list that is way too long to accomplish, but I will have a lot of things to keep me busy if I have time...IF!  Time is of short supply here, so I have to be happy with making what I can in what little time I can find.  I am getting better at this.  I manage my time better (but not as best as I could), and feel happier with the results I can achieve.  And here is a little taste of what I have been making.

I have a few of these babies made, and this one just went in my etsy shop. 

Now back to mothering!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quilt in a Day!

August 20, In Which I Sew Like a Mad Woman



Yesterday was a friend's wedding.  I knew about the wedding since January, and sometime in the Spring, I decided to make a gift - I'm crafty, I have a ton of fabric, and a lot of time... And so time went on, and on, and on...
This past week, I did not think a gift would happen, so I planned to just get a gift card or cash.  Friday night, I started thinking and remembering seeing some quick to make quilts, and Saturday morning, I checked them out and very quickly hatched a plan... Based on this site, I decided to do the same!



4 hours later I had my quilt! (Well it would have taken longer if I had taken any breaks, but I was a madwoman, remember?)  

I did a few things differently though...
Instead of using spray basting, I used 16 pins to baste the batting to the backing, and sewed 5 seams attaching the batting to the backing.  I used 100% cotton batting, so the backing fabric clung nicely to the batting!  Then I proceeded to attach my strips of fabric.  I used Anna Maria Horner's LouLOUthi (I got mine from Sew Love Fabrics on etsy.)  I had not cut into them yet, and I have no idea when I would have, but they are so beautiful and I thought my friend would love them. Someone commented on the site I got the tutorial from that they use a fleece Ikea blanket to sew strips to instead of using batting and backing.  I'd like to try this too - definitely a time saver and easier, and cuddly, but not the look I was going for. 

Next time I make one of these quilts, I'll take more pictures, but I was clipping threads right up until we left, and we had some grumpiness and stress happening here...

And now for something completely different: check out my friend Nell's site! 
She's an awesome artist, and she's wearing a different striped outfit everyday for a month!





Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now

Right now, it is Tuesday morning, 9:35.  I was just working on a train puzzle with my 3 year old (it was a reward for using the potty - something we are working on.  I'm sure rewards are frowned upon by some people, but they are not here right now).  We're listening to Joel Plaskett and the Emergency's Ashtray Rock.  The baby is napping, and I'm thinking about whether we should go to playgroup or the beach this morning, getting some sewing finished up (so many works in progress), and when I'm going to make cookies and start using up those giant zucchini we just picked from the garden!  Chocolate zucchini cake and lemon zucchini muffins...mmmm... And now to read a book to the little monkey.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Vintage Find

I just ordered these awesome vintage frames to put prescription sunglasses into!  Very exciting!!!
They are from this shop and on etsy - good selection and great prices!  If you wear glasses, you know how pricey nice frames can be.  I will have to wait a bit for them since Canada Post was recently on strike and there is a bit of a back log of mail to be delivered I am sure, but I don't mind.  Maybe by the time they get through customs everything will be back to normal!

I don't usually wear sunglasses, although I know I should.  I used to have an awesome pair of vintage frames bought at a vintage store in Waterloo, Ontario, and I loved them!  Olive green with hand-painted daisies and a few rhinestones.  They were stolen a few years ago from our unlocked car.  I believe in Karma, or what goes around comes around, but I did miss my glasses, but now these are coming my way!!! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring = Green


We are so happy to be getting outside!  Not so much the lawn-mowing and weed-pulling, but the general outdoorsyness of it all makes it all o.k.  Last year I started seedlings inside, and this year I did that too, but for some reason, I only started hollyhocks and a couple of tomatoes, whereas last year I started tomatoes as well as butternut squash and zucchini.  I just started my squash and zucchini, but since the risk of frost is gone, is there any purpose in starting the seeds inside? 


Anyway, Imogene loves planting seeds.  I should say she LOVES planting seeds!!!  All last summer, all she wanted to do was plant seeds, even when we were picking vegetables from the garden.  Thankfully some of our flowers produce seed pods and I showed her how to open them and scatter seeds.  In the fall I gathered a bunch of marigold seeds just for Imogene to plant this year.  Our garden will be ready to plant soon (later than everyone else around us I'm sure) but who cares.


Hmmm...what's going on here?  Maybe these seeds were not watered enough?  They were pretty dry looking before planting, and I just soaked some last night, and they plumped up and we planted them this morning, so maybe they will go better.  Maybe they will all grow and we'll be inundated with squash!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quinoa Muffins - Yum!

Do you eat quinoa?  It is a wonder grain (seed, actually) that is a complete protein!  It is a bit nutty in flavour, and we eat it sometimes, but I'd like to cook more with it.  More good news about it is that it is gluten -free, and you can do so many things with it!  You can buy quinoa floor, but I just made my own today but grinding it in the food processor until it was the texture of cornmeal.  Then I made these quinoa muffins, the recipe for which I found on a parent website.  Our little guy is 7 months old, and he is a picky eater.  He'll eat a bit of rice cereal, and that's it!  He really wants to hold his food and take bites of big things - I let him scrape at my apple once, and on a pear - he only has 2 teeth, so he couldn't get much apple at all, mostly gumming it, but I did watch him like a hawk to be sure he was okay.  Anyway, he has had quinoa, and so I made these up with a modification, and he loved them!  Again, he got tiny pieces, but as he gets the hang of solid foods, he'll get larger pieces.  No eggs, and no gluten-grain flours, so no allergy concerns for us here! And since quinoa is a complete protein, they are a great snack for the rest of us too! 

*note - I am no baby nutritionist or doctor, so only try foods for your baby that your doctor/nurse practitioner/naturopath say are okay**



Here is the recipe:

Quinoa Muffins (makes 6)
Into a mixer, combine:
1 cup quinoa floor (you need to grind more quinoa to make less flour...confused?  good)
2/3 cup cold water
Add:
1 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup brown sugar

In small bowl or plate, mash a banana and add 1 tsp baking powder to it.  Let it sit 2 minutes

Add the banana to the rest of the mix.

Add in another 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix well.  Pour into muffin tin (silicone, or papers or greased pan).  They don't rise much, so don't be too stingy.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 


We all love them!
Proof of happy baby eating muffin!


I think I'll experiment with other sweeteners later, like I used to: stewed dates come to mind, but for now brown sugar is the cheap, easy option.  I'll be baking a bunch of these this long weekend and freezing them so that when the weather gets really hot and we want muffins, I don't have to heat up the house.  Maybe we should just build a summer kitchen!




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Triumph over the flood!

Here is my entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival!  I just found out about this festival a few days ago, and it was perfect timing, since I was almost finished this quilt.  The perfect motivation to get it done.

I started this quilt in February, and it is my first large quilt.  I have made some mini quilts, and I have been wanting to make one for my queen size bed.  I fell in love with Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks Voile fabrics and ordered a bunch last summer, and I was inspired by a quilt by Film in the Fridge, entitled Postcards from the Park.  And then our Little Guy was born in September and I was quite busy with him and the Little Monkey too, Christmas happened, and then I got to start my quilt!

I was making good progress, laying out the blocks, and that night our basement flooded.  Big mess, long story short, although everything is cleaned up, we are living in half our house still.  I didn't want the flood to get in the way of making this quilt, and I have triumphed! Our house situation is still crazy, but I made my quilt! My First Quilt!!!

I used my favourite colours of the Little Folks fabrics, and it ended up being quite mustardy over all, which is funny for someone who does not like mustard (the food anyway).  I used a white with it to show off the colours.  I went with the wonky design because I love the look, and also I wouldn't have to worry about matching seams and straight lines.  I used Warm and White batting and quilted in lines that are mostly straight, but that was part of the plan too.  It's not bunchy, it turned out well, and I'm super happy with it!


I learned so much by making this. It took making 156 or so blocks to then realize there was an easier way to do them.  I learned the wonderfulness of the walking foot!  I read even more quilting blogs.  I tried machine sewing the binding, and I will definitely try that again! I learned that I love quilting!  My favourite part was laying out the blocks, and also the feeling that it is completed, I can use it, and I can now move on to another quilt!

I can also tell you that I am sure I did a hundred things wrong, and I won't tell you what they are, because I am sure that some of them are quilting sins! 

So in conclusion, quilting is awesome, I love it, I hope to participate in more bloggy goodness!
Thanks for looking!

ps - I don't know how to get this thing here to work, but check out the Bloggers' Quilt Festival here!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crazy Scrappy Blocks

I've been doing more patchwork lately, and there is so much inspiration out there!  I have started checking out comfortstitching lately, and loved her crazy scrappy blocks and wanted to try some for myself!  I love how the blocks highlight a centre fabric, and even a small image looks great!  I had ordered some munki munki prints from sewdeerlyloved, and what a great way to stretch out this precious fabric (I've a bit of a miser!)

My first block turned out well I think!  My strips were so narrow, I realized I would have to do many more cycles around the centre, so I went wider at the end. 


My second block was less vortexy, but I still like it!  I splurged and used 2 gnomes this time!

I am loving this orange and pink combo right now!  I think of it as tropical punch, and I saw it referred to as Sangria.  Not sure about some of the more vivid colours, but I didn't have a lot of these colours in my stash.  Guess I need to buy some more!  Especially to go with my special munki munki prints!  I can't wait to make more of these.  These first 2 will be pillows, maybe for the little monkey, maybe I'll split them up and send one to a new little girl I know of.  The next versions will likely go into my etsy shop or the local store I sell at. 

And later tonight, after the little ones are asleep, I'll work on the binding for my first quilt!  I hope to post it by Friday, and get in on the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Busy as a Bee

Yes, I have been busy lately!  There is of course all the time I spend with the children, whether we are going out to playgroups (friends! play! snack!) and getting out to the park now that the weather is warming up, and then I am also trying to find time to cook, bake, clean (some of which I can do with my "helper" (some of these jobs get more complicated and take longer this way), and sew!  I have some things going in a new local shop so I have trying to get as much done as I can, but some days I end up getting nothing done.  I accept this, and am trying to go with the flow.  I decided a good plan will be to try to craft a tiny bit in the morning, since that is when the children are their happiest and most independent.  Then we go to playgroup or the park, lunch, naps/quiet time (sewing? cleaning?) some time outside and supper, then bed, and maybe a bit of crafting depending on the night.  That's my plan for the summer.  Summer is short, so I want to take advantage of it, especially since last summer I was hugely pregnant and it was so hot, I lived in the basement.  It's not my fault I gained 80 pounds, that's what happens when I'm pregnant!

And so, here are some pictures of what I have been up to:
Ponytail holders!

Skirts!

Yoga mat bag
Skirts again!

And we're tired!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blogger's Pillow Party

I really should be sleeping right now, but I can't resist a challenge.  Here is my pillow!  I wanted to try circles, and after several almost but not quite perfect attempts at this way of doing circles, I tried this way by Anna Maria Horner.  I would like to perfect the former way, but time is of the essence, and with my husband away and 2 small children, speed was essential.  And this way of doing circles is fast!  I loved it and will definitely make circles again.  I'd like to embroider a bit around the circles in different colours, but for now it is done.  Maybe next pillow.  Also new to me is the quilting - I know there is a name for it - echo quilting?  Anyway, I like how it adds substance and interest to the negative areas.  And I usually use all patterned fabric, and this pillow has mostly solids and one pattern (Anna Maria Horner) and I chose my solids based on it.  I love the colours!!!  Thanks for looking, and I enjoyed the challenge!

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.stitchedincolor.com/p/bloggers-pillow-party.html" title="Blogger's Pillow Party" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_N_GiKhs_VOc/TRy_tvufbZI/AAAAAAAAAGg/5YOY9dM2VGk/S170/Button.jpg" alt="Blogger's Pillow Party" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day

Okay, a day late for Earth Day, but aren't we supposed to make every day Earth day?  We try our best to do what we can - buy in bulk to save on packaging, bring bags to the grocery store, recycle, but there is so much more we could do.  My latest DIY interests have been in making our own home cleaning products - I already use vinegar and borax for basic cleaning, but laundry soap is next!  I have seen the recipes that involve grating soap, but then I found this and it seems even easier to me!  If you're Canadian, you know who David Suzuki is.  I don't know if average non-Canadians know who he is, but he is a well-known enviro-guy here.  Anyway, check out his site, davidsuzuki.org and the Queen of Green's blog, as well as their YouTube videos which show how to make laundry soap, and among other things, shampoo!  I love my current hand-made local artisan shampoo, but I do want to give this a try.

So, what can my family do to reduce our footprint on the Earth?  So much, but I'm using the library more, buying used clothing or swapping clothing, sewing more from upcycled fabrics (but I'm still addicted to buying new fabrics), making more things at home and skipping buying super-packaged items that travel on a truck - like granola bars (I'll post recipe soon!) and bread.  Hoping to be a part of the solution!

Happy Earth saving everybody!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling Super

We have some house drama going on right now that I'd rather not talk about, but this is a nice cheery picture!  Our little monkey was given this Grover a year ago - an extra bought by friends of ours for their son, should he happen to lose his beloved first Grover.  At 7 years old and not needing second Grover, our little girl was gifted it!  Oh how she loved him!  He came with us everywhere!  And then as time went by, he was slowly edged out by other toys and distractions.  He wasn't even needed at bedtime anymore! Then one day recently, he re-entered our lives!  We were playing with trains and there was a de-railing and Super Grover came to the rescue!  Well, he needed a cape, so yesterday he got one.  Grover is beloved once again!  I love old school Sesame Street.  I didn't realize how sad it was that this toy was forgotten.  Sad for me.  I think I'm going to get my butt kicked by parenting.  Outgrown sweaters and pajamas, toys no longer loved.  At least I can always count on this little's girl exuberance...and loudness...and love of cookies (like her mom!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Quilt, Almost Done!

I am so excited to be almost done my first quilt!!!  I have made some mini quilts - wall hangings - but this is my first full-size quilt, and I decided to just go ahead and make a queen size quilt for our bed!  I am going to machine quilt it, but I am not quite sure exactly how to do it.  I mean, I know HOW, but free-motion, or straight lines...  I am going to do it this weekend, because I want to use it!  I'll post a finished picture after it's done!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pizza Dough in the Fridge

Our little monkey's birthday party was the past Sunday, and we needed food that toddlers like - pizza!  But with homemade pizza and an unknown number of adults and children coming, I did not want to be watching the oven for 4 or 5 pizzas cooking.  I just made enough for the kids.  I also thought I would try rising the dough in the fridge!  I had read about doing such things, but never tried it before.  It's not a high pressure situation, just 7 kids and the only food they'll eat at the party.

I mixed the dough Saturday night, and per the instructions in my Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook, I oiled the outside of the dough, placed it in a large ziploc bag, and put it in the fridge.

This is what I got the next morning!  The dough had risen!  I just had to grate the cheese, cut pepperoni, and put the toppings on after saucing it up!  It turned out really well, and I can't wait to try rising (raising?) bread dough in the fridge overnight to have freshly baked bread in the morning!  Mmmmm...fresh bread and butter...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blogger's Pillow Party

 

I finished my pillow!  My first communal blog craft!  I started this pillow on Wednesday, and it was born out of the desire to enter a pillow in the blogger's pillow party, (a deadline is my best motivator) and also of the fact that my 2 children were napping simultaneously!  I wanted to do a patchwork pillow for our living room, and always had something else to do instead, but not that day!  Not knowing how much time I would have, I feverishly cut and sewed, with insanely uneven pieces of fabric and no pressing - not even finger pressing, just go go go!!!  My husband was away for work, and accomplishing some crafting feels glorious!  I think I could benefit from less speed and more planning, but that's next time - when he's home to wrangle the kids and I'm sewing.


So as you can see, I love colour, and curvy shapes.  I am trying to break free of my natural tendency for symmetry.  There is a lot to be said for symmetry, but while building block towers with my daughter, I noticed I only built symmetrical buildings, while she was more random.  I loved the randomness of her buildings, but had a hard time doing it myself.  Hence the different sizes and shapes of the white patches on my pillow - I'm trying.  And new techniques used?  After piecing a weird shape, I thought about what to do with it, and decided to put it on an angle, but that would make a small pillow, so I pieced additional patches here and there until it was big enough.  And I don't think I've sewn curves before.  I'll definitely do it again!  I love curves!  I wish I could say this is my best work - I was always taught to do my best work, always, but the goal was to make a colourful wonky patchwork pillow in a short period of time.  I feel I could have made something more appealing had I spent more time making it, but then I would have had to spend more time making it!  Instead, I will always look at this pillow and think of my kids, and that is better than a perfect pillow! 

Blogger's Pillow Party

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Very Random Patchwork


I decided to dive right in and do some random patchwork.  This is new to me - the random part.  Also new is two children napping AT THE SAME TIME!!!  I grabbed some of my favourite fabrics ( a lot of Anna Maria Horner, you may notice, although no one is reading this, so nevermind) and started cutting.  I had no idea how long they would sleep, so I had to work fast - no time to think!  Just cut and sew!  After a very short period of time, I had this shape.

Snap a picture.  Notice the dinosaur checking things out.  Move to a brighter location for better light for a picture.  Spend some time getting some silly shots of the dinosaur with the patchwork. (Don't all bloggers do this?) Seriously, you'd think I had all the time in the world.  I could have been doing anything, but I was positioning a dinosaur and chuckling to myself.  It doesn't take much to amuse me people.  I am a fan of the ridiculous!




Then I cut a nice little curvy shape and now I am sewing some white quilting cotton to fit the curves while I wait to hear little footsteps or a cry... More pics later!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Soap Experiment

So I woke up this morning feeling terrible - sore throat, tired, achy...the cold I had been avoiding for a couple of weeks and that has already infected my husband, daughter and son has now got me!  We postponed our daughter's 3rd birthday party from tomorrow to next week, and in the midst of all this (flooded basement, birthday, messy house) I had decided to make liquid soap.  Which, as my husband pointed out, could have waited until things calmed down around here.

I had seen some info online about making liquid soap from bar soap, and since I am uber concerned about all the chemicals in beauty products, and the price of completely authentic natural and actually non-toxins containing products, this seemed like a cool option. (Check out Gill Deacon )  CBC's Marketplace has a show about such things tonight, but since our tv is damaged... And I LOVE Marketplace (I'm such a nerd)


I've become a fan of Honey Pie Hives and Herbals soaps and bar shampoos, so I used my Pumpkin Pie soap for this.  I grated a third of it into a small saucepan, then added about 1/4 cup of boiling water.
don't be deceived by the mozarella-look
 Not nearly enough.  Basically I kept adding water, once I brought the mix to a boil to help it all melt, and ended up adding over a cup of water.  After a few hours it was getting too firm, so I added more water.
the gloopy mixture


This morning it was still liquid, so I poured it into pump dispensers and...  it has a strange consistency, like how some parts of egg white are a gloopy mass apart from the rest, so too this mix has some gloopy masses.  I shook it up, but maybe it's a bit  thin?  Well, it was a fun experiment that I am not to try again until the summer!

Edited to add: it never went okay, so I used it in the shower so as not to waste the outcome.  I have learned to not mess with perfection!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"You want to clean up the rain downstairs?"

This is what our almost 3 year old daughter asked the person from First on Site, the emergency restoration people who came Sunday morning to tear out our carpets after the basement flooded!  It's only water, and it's only money...with all the major earthquakes and floods happening around the world, it's hard to be too crazy about this, but it is a headache.  And there is more rain coming, starting tomorrow (Wednesday), and ending Friday.  And all while I was making such progress on my first full size quilt!  It's based on Film in the Fridge's Postcards from the park (I'll make a link when I figure out how to do that).  I hope when things settle down I can start up on it again.  After a few birthdays this month!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I could be baking right now...



...but I'm typing.  I don't know if anyone will read this or not, but I thought why not.  The world needs another blog, right?  I thought about this being a primary means of communication with family, but I really like talking on the phone, and how else will the little monkey get to tell others about her latest adventures?  But why not supplement that?  Also, I enjoy writing, and making things, and sharing.  So whether you are family, friend, or stranger, I hope reading this is not a complete waste of time.  And if it is, don't tell me!  Either suffer in silence or go elsewhere! 


And why Chewy Giraffe?  That's the toy that can keep my 5 month old occupied while I finish typing this.