Collecting Florals

Have you seen the gorgeous floral collage quilts popping up lately?  I have seen a number of them at the last couple of quilt shows I have attended.  One was a dressmaker’s form made of flowers and at the last quilt show, there was a really pretty rooster wall hanging made of floral fabrics collaged together.

The patterns are the work of Laura Heine.  The more I see these, the more smitten I become.   She has designed all sorts of patterns that utilize this collage method.

Potpourri Collage Pattern; Giraffe on Newsprint Fabric Background

I love this one. The giraffe was created against a background of Carrie Bloomston’s Story Newsprint fabric.  This is one of my very favorite Bloomston fabrics. (If you want a better look at it, click here because I carry it in the shop.). It makes a fantastic background for this design.

Laura doesn’t just use animals (though she has many) but also cars, campers, birthday cakes, pin cushions and even Santa.

She uses the collage technique across all sorts of fun themes.

Last week, while I was shopping at Ben Franklin, I picked up three floral pieces, just 1/4 yard each. I’ve decided to start collecting florals and to attempt one of these patterns. I think smaller floral pieces are adequate and in fact, I could have even bought an 1/8 yard cut. These three are really pretty florals and the colors vary greatly.  I did that intentionally as I don’t have any plan yet so I am unsure if I will only use certain colors or the whole rainbow.

This particular Timeless Treasures fabric is so pretty. It looks like a water color to me.  Cutting it up for the floral bits will be perfect for this sort of project.

When I got home and went to put these away, I decided to do a quick scan and pull any florals I already had.  To no one’s surprise, I had plenty!  Isn’t it amazing what we have tucked away, here and there!

Florals, florals, and more florals.

Reds, purples, teals, blues, pinks and greens.  All kinds of flowers!

Before I go any further with this, I need to pick which pattern I want to attempt.  Then I need to do some research and see whether anyone has any tips on these patterns.  In fact, have any of you tried one of these?   If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on the pattern and the collage process.  I don’t think I should purchase anymore florals until I have a plan. Also, I have a few things in the works that I need to finish up before starting this.  It is fun to look forward though and add this project to the list (the long, never-ending list!)

Linking to Molly Sparkles Sunday Stash link up as well as Main Crush Monday!

Juanitas runners

Finally! My Sister’s Project is a Finish

Last November (a full six months ago) my sister asked if I would make two small runners to put in the window boxes in her flat in London.  She shares her time between Colorado and London due to her husband’s career. Once their kids were up and out, it became possible for her to travel back and forth so she could actually spend some time with her husband.  It is an exciting time for her as she makes new friends and learns to live the city life.

When they rented a little flat, she started to fix it up and make it feel like home.  She has plants in the windows and wanted a runner to put under them. The window sill is about 14″ x 36″ and the runners measure  12″ x  35″.  They (hopefully!) will fit just fine.

It was fun to pick colors for these.  My sister asked for teal and some red.  I sent a few ideas and we ended up with this combination of Sashiko Florette (teal), Corsage Charm, Terra Firma Sunlit, and Kohkhloma Burgundia for the pop or red.  All of these are Art Gallery fabrics from my shop and as always, even though they are from three different lines, they look great together. 

This simple pattern was inspired by Anorina’s tutorial over at  her blog, Samelia’s Mom.  I made it a bit smaller and only made three blocks for each runner. It came together quickly.

While I did use the same fabric for each, I reversed the red fabric with the light blue floral on each runner, just to mix things up a bit.  I looked at this project as a great opportunity to practice some free motion quilting.

For the four inch square blocks on both pieces, I quilted a large flower.  The other sections were filled in with loops, squiggles and leafy vines.

Juanitas runners

When I put these side by side, I could picture it as a larger quilt and it would look great.

When I was just about done quilting these, I remembered I wanted to quilt a word or something more personal on the runner. But seriously, I was at the very end! I managed to squish in the word sister. Not terribly creative but i didn’t think of it in time.

Anyway, it took far too long to make these little guys but they are done and ready for the mail.  My sister is heading back to England soon so frugal side motivated me to get them done and in the mail so I will be mailing them to Colorado and not to England.  Saves a couple of dollars….

Now that I can check this project off the list, I am ready to move on to something else.  Much as I am itching to start something new, I will be disciplined and pick up one of my unfinished projects and get going!

However, sewing will have to wait until next week.  This weekend is going to be busy with my husband continuing to pull out that lower deck.  This afternoon I had a dumpster delivered for the huge piles of scrap wood that are piling up on the property. Hope you have an equally fun weekend planned!! Whatever is on the agenda, enjoy your weekend.

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May Blogger Bundle with Jayne Willis

Today I am going to share a cheerful bundle curated by Jayne Willis of Twiggy & Opal.  Before I jump into that though, let me introduce Jayne.  Actually she likely needs no introduction because I suspect you are already familiar with her spectacular modern quilts. I am not sure exactly how Jayne and I became friends but we have been following each other’s blogs for quite a long time.  She was one of the team of bloggers who supported the opening of my shop about 18 months ago, which was such a nice thing for her to do.

When I think about Jayne’s work, I am really impressed by her improvisational work, the clean lines she uses when she designs a piece, the quilting she does, and the determination she shows from start to finish on a project. I love following along on Instagram as she creates something. She often shows progress shots and the finished project never ceases to amaze me.  She is really a talented quilt artist. I grabbed a quote from her About Me page on her blog that says it well.  “My process may be a little unconventional—I let the fabric speak to me and rarely know where a design will take me from start to finish!”

OK, let’s take a look at the bundle she curated.  I was not at all surprised to see Jayne select black, white and brights for her bundle.  She is the queen of color and she uses it well. What did surprise me was how well the the blues in Flourish and Rainbow Vines (both made by Andover) worked together. Just look at the darker blue leaf on Rainbow Vines – – it is nearly identical to the background blue of Flourish.  These details are what make Jayne’s pull attractive!  I also love that by including the Rainbow Vines fabric, she chose a bright print that has a strong black accent.

Adding Panda Patches and the Basic Circles , Jayne pulled the bundle together – sort of like highlighting the whole collection with black.  Next Jayne selected two soft yellow prints which added a burst of spring to the bundle.

These fabrics are all about spring!  I encourage you to hop on over to Jayne’s blog where she will share the bundle and a project she has in the works.  I guarantee a dose of creative inspiration if you do! Also be sure to enter her giveaway to win a fat quarter bundle for yourself!

If you love this bundle as much as I do, it is available in my shop. I have fat quarter bundles as well as 1/2 yard bundles.  Both will be on sale for 20% off through tomorrow night (Thursday, May 17th). Also, if you are interested in yardage of any of these fabrics, all of them are available in the shop!

Hopefully you are enjoying the bundles that have been shared each month!  It is great fun for me and I learn something about color each and every time!

Linking up to my favorites.  Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Springtime

We had a really fun weekend. Lots of chores but also a good dose of family time.   Have to balance things out, right?  The biggest project happening at our house is ripping out the lower deck.  On the east side of the house we have decks that run the length of the house both upstairs and downstairs.  My husband has had his eye on the lower deck for a while now because he knew the redwood was getting old and starting to rot.

He talked to a cement contractor and they came up with a plan to pour a patio and get rid of the redwood deck.  If you have a wooden deck, you know how much maintenance they can be – it is a ton of work to keep the railings painted. Especially in our climate where the summers are quite hot and winters very cold.  The paint just peels constantly with the contraction and expansion of the wood each season.

To save on the cost, Ray is tearing out the deck and getting rid of the piles of wood he is removing.  It is a lot of work, but also a lot of money saved. My father came over Saturday to help with stacking the bad wood and cleaning any re-usable boards (pulling the nails and stacking in a different spot.) My job was to clean the junk off the deck, and provide lots of water and lunch.  (I know, I got off easy!)

By Sunday afternoon, Ray had made significant progress.  He thinks he is just over 30% done.  He has two more weekends to finish and then they will start to build the patio in the beginning of June.  I am really excited about this project. It is going to be so pretty. We have mature rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas that will form a lush border along the edge of the patio.

Other activities this weekend included celebrating Julia’s birthday and Julia’s Junior Prom.  She went to prom with a group of kids in her class and had a wonderful time. I am sharing a picture of Julia and her sweet friend, posing with their shoes.  My daughter is very pragmatic and said she didn’t want to wear heels because they would hurt by the end of the night. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince her otherwise (she is a person who knows her mind and this is actually something I admire in her!) What do you think?

Julia fears the cake is a disaster!

For her birthday, Julia asked for a vanilla cake with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting.  I got to work on what turned out to be one of the ugliest cakes ever made!  (More importantly, it tasted delicious). The problem was I tried to split the round layers and the cake crumbled.  I had cheated and used a cake mix (c’mon, it was such a busy day!). Making a cake from scratch would have resulted in a denser cake and probably would have split fine.  This cake was too light and didn’t hold up to ‘construction’.

We were laughing so hard at this point.  It was hysterical.  Once I got to this stage, I put it in the fridge for a while to let it firm up a bit before icing it.  Also, I was praying that somehow a miraculous repair would occur and the cake would no longer look such a mess!

Icing the cake helped a little bit but If I am honest, the cake ended up looking like a six year old made it. The walnut cake plate Ray made for me added some beauty to an otherwise ugly dessert!

No matter though, it tasted really good and we had fun singing to Julia for her 17th birthday. As always, I found myself wondering how 17 years could possibly have gone by.

Each year on Mother’s Day, I have conflicting feelings of joy and bittersweet nostalgia.  Back in 1994, my first husband (my boys’ dad) passed away suddenly from an aneurysm in his brain stem.  He was only 36 and it was tragic beyond description. I haven’t ever mentioned it here. because how does one fit this sort of story in?  Anyway, to make awful things even worse, he died on Mother’s Day. For his mother, this was truly awful.  Time went by, I remarried and we had Julia.  When I found out I was due the second week of May, it sort of nagged at me. I kept thinking I didn’t want her to be born on May 8th because that was the day my husband passed away. One day I was talking about this fear to my mother in law (the second one, I am lucky to have two great mother in laws!). She very wisely told me I shouldn’t worry.  She said the birth of this baby was going to take this sad time of year and make it joyful.  She was exactly, completely, and utterly correct and I am forever grateful to her for her wise words. Celebrating Julia’s birthday each year, sometimes actually on Mother’s Day, has turned the whole thing around and made this a very joyful season for me.

I hope you also had a great weekend. I haven’t done any sewing since last week.  Yesterday was spent with a migraine so I am hoping today or tomorrow I will find my way into the sewing room. I have projects all over that I want to be working on!!  Just look at the mess that is my sewing space!  I need to take control in there and get things cleared up.

Tomorrow I will share the May Blogger Bundle.  Curated by Jayne Willis of Twiggy & Opal, it is another beautiful bundle!  See you tomorrow.

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Little Pillowcases

About a month ago, my daughter in law texted me to ask if I would make some small pillowcases for my grand baby.  She has recently taken to sleeping with a tiny pillow (which is so darn cute!) So a few cute pillowcases were needed.  Of course I am happy to make whatever I can.  I am unsure why I didn’t get these done sooner because they are so simple.

Hannah pillowcase

Serenghetti Beasties

I made two – each one quite different from the other.  The first one is made with some fabric by Clothworks. It is an organic cotton and the line is called Serenghetti Beasties.  (It is available in y shop and you can find it here.) I love the name! There are all sorts of safari animals like giraffes, zebras, hippos and lions on a crisp white background.  This fabric is so nice and soft, making it perfect for a pillow case.

The back is a coordinate from this line.  The dusty blue and white triangular pattern has little pops of yellow. I made standard, envelope style pillowcases and both finished at about 14 1/2″ x 19″.

Here is the second one I made.  I thought I would choose something more girlish in style.  This is also an organic line but it is produced by Windham Fabrics.  The line is called Paint the Town and it just came in about a week ago. It has a heavier weight to it but is still soft and cozy. There are masses of flowers and a sweet gray kitty hiding among the blooms. (Look for her next to the blue flowers.) This piece looks a bit like a watercolor to me. I think this will be a fun one because the kids have two cats. My sweet grand daughter really loves the cats and I am hoping she might have fun looking for the kitty when she uses this.

When I made this, I ran into a bit of a snag. The fabric is directional, with each kitty facing the same way.  I didn’t cut a piece large enough to have the cats going the right way on both the front and back.  So, I cheated and on the back side the kitties are going the wrong way.  I thought about it for all of 10 seconds and decided it wasn’t necessary to cut more fabric. (Really, I am supposed to sell the fabric, not consume it all myself!)

These were really a quick make.  Cut, sewn and finished in a little over an hour.  I did finish the seams with a zig zag stitch so they won’t fray with a lot of laundering.  They should hold up well and be nice and cozy for my girl.

I am linking up to all sorts of places.  Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Also, if you haven’t yet signed up for the Needle & Foot newsletter, I hope you will.  It is sent out about every six weeks and contain updates on the new fabrics or events going happening in the shop. You can sign up by clicking here or using the link at the upper right side of the page.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Me Made May

Do any of you follow, or get involved in, Me Made May each year?  This event is one to encourage garment sewing and was started years ago.  Now in its ninth year, it is a very popular sewing celebration that happens on many social media platforms. It is the creation of Zoe from So Zo, What Do You Know.  She is a sewist living in the UK and she often blogs about garment sewing and sustainable sewing.

Me Made May is a unique event in that each participant really sets up their own challenge.  Many, many of the sewists will challenge themselves to wear only their handmade clothing each day of the month (some even take it as far as handmade underwear, camisoles and/or bras).  Others may set a personal challenge to wear something handmade once each week.  Others might set out to create some handmade garments during the month.  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it.  I also like that there is no judging, no voting, no huge prizes driving everyone. People share their makes, their sewing ideas and plans with each other – usually on Instagram #mmm18 or #memademay2018 or by blogging.  (Just to give some perspective on the size of this event, it began 6 days ago.  As of this writing on Sunday afternoon, there are over 4,000 posts in#memademay2018.) It celebrates a mutual love of sewing – be it incredibly intricate and fitted garments, or a basic t-shirt.

blanc t-shirt

Which is exactly what I made last week!

Several months ago, I thrifted a bolt (yep, I have a lot of it) of this mauve stretch knit fabric.  I had no idea what I would do with it at the time but I figured I would think of something.  The fabric in general is in great condition.  There are a few spots on the selvage that have a small hole which don’t really cause any issue since they are on the selvage. Thinking I wanted to make a t-shirt, I scouted the internet and posed the question on Facebook, asking for pattern recommendations. One pattern designer that was recommended is Blank Slate Patterns. I liked both the look and simplicity of the Blanc T Shirt.  You can buy the pattern, or if you are a member of their Facebook group, it is a free download.

blanc t-shirt

The pattern has two pieces. Well actually, it is a pdf download and there are 20 pages to print. But 16 of those pages create two pattern pieces. It is sized from XS to XL.  Really, this is a simple process – just takes a little bit of tape and scissors. Not a big deal.

I decided this first round would be a practice session.  I purposely cut it out as a size large because it is easier to size down than up. Plus I was hoping for a loose, kind of flowy look?  Is flowy a word?  Probably not but you know what I mean.

It takes no time to sew front to back. Once I tried it on and decided I liked the fit, I ran a loose zig zag stitch over each seam to finish it off.  Really I should have set up the serger to do this and get a nice finish but you know… it was in the closet…. the sewing table was a mess…. it just seemed like to much work. Maybe next time.

After finishing the seams, all that was left was a bit of finish works. Hemming the bottom and the sleeves came next.  Finally I finished the neckline with purchased bias tape. The only hiccup in the project was the bottom hem.  I ran two lines of stitching and there are several wobbles in the second line.  I am not sure why it happened.  It doesn’t bother me enough to rip it out though. If I were to want a double stitched line I think I would try using a double needle.  I bought one a long time ago but have not yet practiced with it.

blanc t-shirt

I love these little projects because of the quick finish. It is really satisfying to cut out a couple of pieces and then have a t-shirt to wear the next day.  I am going to make one more in this pretty black knit that I bought.  My plan after that is to make something a bit more challenging. I have two patterns sitting out that I keep looking at and debating which to try first.  Stay tuned for more in Me Made May!

Linking up all over the place.  Check out the link parties I enjoy!  They are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Fabric Kits for Fire Burst Mystery QAL

Remember last week when I mentioned I had never done a mystery quilt along?  It was in the post about the April blogger bundle curated by Cheryl Brickey.  I said that mystery quilts made me nervous since I didn’t get to see the overall pattern for the quilt. Well I am making progress! I am involved in the new Fire Burst Mystery Quiltalong hosted by Tish Stemple.

However I should explain.  Tish took the mystery out of it for me when she asked me to curate two different kits of fabric for the event.  She had a few readers mentioning to her how picking the fabrics was a challenge for them, not knowing what the quilt was to look like.  She thought offering a few kits might appease the nerves of some of the participants. This sounded like a lot of fun for me so I got to work.

With lots of emailing back and forth between Tish and I (or is it me??) there are now two different kits available in the shop for the event!  I really like them both.  I created each one to be quite different from the other so the color choices would appeal to a wide variety of taste.

The first one! This kit appeals to me with the jewel tones standing out most. The dark blue and fuschia fabrics are from the 76 line by Alison Glass.  Along with those, are two fabrics from Amy Gibon’s Meriwether line made by Windham Fabrics. 

I set up the kit so that the background fabric is the creamy off-white print with the little stars. The floral is also from that line and it looks great with the Alison Glass fabrics. So this kit is as follows:

Background Fabric: Twinkle Farmhouse by Amy Gibson (the creamy off-white stars)
Fabric 1: Stitched in Violet by Alison Glass (the dark fuchsia)
Fabric 2: Frolic in Farmhouse by Amy Gibson (the lovely floral on creamy off-white)
Fabric 3: Numbered in Peacock by Alison Glass (the dark blue)

 

Kit number two is quite different. For this one, I selected a subtle print for the background.  Called Dancing Daisies, it is from the Camping collection  by Art Gallery Fabric.  I really like the pale green, soft little daisies and the pop of orange in the center of each flower.

Because I used a print as the background, I stayed with solids for the other three fabrics.  Drawing from the colors of the print, I chose three pieces from Art Gallery’s Pure Elements solid fabrics. I love both shades of orange and how the daisy centers are enhanced by them. I think this is a really pleasing but bold combination.

Here are the details for Kit 2:
Background Fabric: Dancing Daisies, made by Art Gallery Fabrics.
Fabric 1: Tiger Lily (the dark orange)
Fabric 2: Mandarin (the light orange)
Fabric 3: Emerald (the dark green

I have to say, this was such a fun project.  I am trying to decide which kit I will use when I sew along with this, my first, mystery QAL!  I know, it is like I cheated because I got to see the pattern.  But baby steps, right? Baby steps.  🙂

I hope you will go check out Tish’s post today.  Whether you are participating or not in the Fire Burst Mystery QAL, her post is full of great ideas about color selection.  I really like how she explained it and found it quite helpful.

What do you think of these two choices?  Which is your favorite? I would love to know because it is helpful to me for these kinds of projects as they come up in the future.  Also, are you participating in the QAL?  Hope so, it is going to be a lot of fun. The schedule is very relaxed and the quilt pattern is doable for quilters of all skill levels.

If you have ay questions about the kits, leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Both are available in the shop in two sizes, baby quilt (32″ square) and lap quilt (64″ square).

April blogger bundle

April Blogger Bundle, by Cheryl Brickey

It is time again!  I have a new blogger bundle to share with you.  This month’s bundle was curated by the talented Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs. Many of you know Cheryl through her wildly popular mystery quilt event that she hosts annually. I have a confession.  I haven’t done one of these yet because I feel intimidated by the process.  I know, kinda weird but it’s true.  I may have to jump on board with the next one though because I have always loved seeing the amazing quilts made by the participants of these events!  Cheryl is an engineer by day,  a very talented quilter and pattern designer by night and a wife and mom 24 x 7.  Many of the patterns in her shop  are modern takes on some classic blocks.  She also recently co-authored the book, Modern Plus Quilts, with Paige Alexander.  Cheryl must be incredibly organized to be able to accomplish all that she does!

April blogger bundle

I was excited when Cheryl agreed to curate a bundle for me because I so admire her style.  The bundle does not disappoint. She chose a selection made entirely by Art Gallery Fabrics.  Designers of these pieces include Maureen Cracknell, Katarina Roccella, Angela Walters, Pat Bravo and Sharon Holland.

April blogger bundle

The palette of black, white, navy and yellow is sophisticated and modern.  But the blue piece from Sharon Holland’s Bountiful line softens it just the right amount.

April blogger bundle

Another aspect of this collection that is really pleasing is the relationship between the Scenic Blue Sky fabric and the yellow Terra Firma Sunlit.  The bits of yellow used to accent the cozy farmhouses on the blue print is emphasized when placed with the yellow of the Terra Firma Sunlit piece.  I love this because it just pulls everything together.  Kudos to Cheryl on the selection of such a pretty bundle.

As before, this bundle is listed in my shop in both fat quarter cuts and 1/2 yard cuts.  The price is reduced by 20% today through Saturday.  Also, Cheryl is holding a giveaway on her site so one lucky reader will win a fat quarter bundle.  Be sure to go check out the project Cheryl made with these fabrics.  It will be fun for you to see how she utilized the fabrics.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this collection.  Leave me a note in the comments!

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Planning the Week

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope the weekend treated you well.  Last week my husband and I had our 20th wedding anniversary.  It was a crazy day which culminated in a meal of scrambled eggs for dinner.  Not really the best way to honor twenty years of marriage! But we did get to celebrate a few days late.  We took the weekend off and went to our little house in Downieville together.

Hiking along the river in Downieville.

We had a great time on our ‘twenty-moon’ and hated to see the weekend end. Saturday was gorgeous outside, maybe 75 degrees or so?  We hiked along the river and enjoyed some gorgeous scenery.

 

DownievilleWe really love our little bungalow up on the river.  Each time we are there I we wonder why we don’t get up there more frequently but you know how that goes.  So many things competing for our weekend time!  As we drove home Sunday afternoon, Ray was saying he needed to hop on the mower and get the hillside and yard mowed.  This is a weekly chore during the spring and early summer which takes quite a chunk of time (he mows about two acres.). But surprise!  Our youngest son (who came to hang out with Julia while we were gone) had mowed for him.  An anniversary gift of the best kind and a very thoughtful gesture.

fabric shop

These shelves are packed!

This is the main project I am working on this week! My shelves are completely full (with the exception of the one in the top, left corner. I have two orders of fabric delivering this week, one from Windham Fabric and the other from Andover.  (I am so excited!!) Anyway, there is no room for more.

This is the space opposite the fabric shelves.  I need to clean it out and get the desk out of the room.  (It is a beast – solid oak which makes it huge and quite heavy). I don’t use it other than to stack junk on.  So, the junk is going, the desk is being listed on Craigslist and I am putting shelving on this wall.  I have the shelving so that part will be easy.  But getting rid of all of this might take a little time!  I am excited to have the area available though.  Decluttering the space is actually very motivating and I should be able to get most of this done today.  I am not exactly sure how we will get the desk out of there though.  It really is monstrous.  I think Ray will have to take it apart to move it. (I am lucky to have him!)

Scrap Pack of Art Gallery Fabrics

As I clean up the shop, I am putting together some scrap packs.  Here is one filled with eight ounces of Art Gallery pieces, some of which are designed by Sharon Holland, Pat Bravo and Maureen Cracknell.  There is only one of them but if it appeals to you, hop over to the shop!

Julia and olive

Olive loves her belly rubs!

Here is a picture of Julia and Olive.  This piglet loves a good belly rub.  She is so sweet-natured which becomes apparent when she sees Julia.  She flips to her back and waits for the petting.   She has a little smile on her face when they are together.  Julia is actually a bit concerned because she doesn’t want Olive to flip to her back for a scratch when Julia is competing with her in the ring for showmanship!  Clearly it may take a bit of training and practice to keep Olive up and moving when she is supposed to be.

Finally, on Wednesday this week I will be sharing the April Blogger Bundle.  It was curated by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs.  Don’t miss it, this is a lovely collection! See you Wednesday.