I’ve been MIA-quick post to tell you about the last few months!!

Hi Everyone!!!

This is a tough post to write and one I’ve put off for some time. But I’ve missed coming here to share. I’ve missed creating because I’ve discovered I really do love it.

This past year, my husband and I separated and divorced after 30 years of marriage. I won’t go in to the details, just know it was an extremely difficult year. And even though my children are older….still very, very difficult.

So, what does that mean for me? It meant saying goodbye to memories, a home I loved and “what could have been.” It meant searching for and purchasing a new home on my own for the first time ever. I am fortunate to be in a situation where I could, so no complaints—just weird and sometimes scary. Okay, I will share there were several panicked phone calls to my oldest daughter who for her 25 years was a constant source of comfort and support. All my children were and I mean it when I say they are the best part of what we shared all those years.

So, I’m in a new place and have been in “project mode.” I’ve painted and painted and tried to come of with storage solutions because this new home is definitely lacking in that department.

I purchased three, yes three of those baskets from IKEA to hide stuff. I have this weird ledge in my master and I came up with this brilliant idea, I would hide all the stuff and put the baskets up there. Well guess what? Those baskets are heavy with all the stuff and that ledge is HIGH. So here one of them sits. I will probably use one as a coffee table in our bonus room, if I ever get to it.

 

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I’m pretty excited to have a front porch and have already spent a considerable amount of time here. I’ll be sharing my fall porch very soon! So hope you’ll stop in again!

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XOXOXO

Chris

Pillows, pillows, pillows

Y’all a second blog post in less than three days!!!! Woo hoo! Something new I’ve recently discovered is how changing out your pillow covers can really transform the look of your room. But boy can get that get pricey!!

I am fortunate to have taken an interest in sewing from an early age.  It started with a few things I learned from my mother, then from my home economics classes in high school and finally, lots of trial and error. Lots!!! I am by no means an expert but I get by okay! And really pillow covers are fairly simple. It is a lot of stitching in straight lines.

I  was recently browsing through a Pottery Barn catalog and came across these bohemian inspired pillows. You can see more like these on the Pottery Barn website here

I loved them at first sight!!!! Insert google eyes-if only I could figure out how to in WordPress???

So I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and chose some fabrics in the same color palette in different patterns.  At $5 a yard, this project is also economical! I’ve been wanting to change out my neutrals by adding some pops of blues or navy. This is what ended up coming home with me.

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I do love mixing patterns!! So much fun!

Using the photos from the catalog, I came up with my own version! Here is my disclaimer…..I do not quilt!!! So for those of you who do, you may cringe when you see how I’ve put together my little quilted pillow covers. I have a good friend who does quilt. Mary makes THE most gorgeous quilts and gifts imaginable! It you want to see true craftsmanship you can find a link to Mary’s blog here. I sure hope you go say hello! She and her sister also have an online fabric shop called Sunny Day Supply which you can link to here.

So I needed a pattern……I improvised with some gift wrap that had a grid on the reverse side.

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This helped me to cut straight lines.

I then started cutting fabric and rearranging until I liked the pattern:

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I overlapped the fabrics to allow for the seams needed to sew the pieces together.

Placing right sides together, I began stitching the pieces together with approximately a 5/8 inch seam allowance. I actually hand basted first until I was happy with the pattern distribution.

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After I stitched the pieces together, I trimmed down the seams and then flattened them out with a hot iron.

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Then just kept stitching until I had a full pillow front.

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I usually put a zipper in my covers but zippers are expensive folks, so I just made an envelope back. Details to come on how to make this simple backing in my next tutorial. Coming soon!!!

Here is the finished product!!

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This is the simple version.

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I will be posting on how I pieced together this funky version when next we meet!! So stop back soon!

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Happy DIY’ing!!

Chris

Happy Easter and Guinness Cake

Hello and Happy Easter!!!! It has been a very long time since I’ve posted or written anything on my blog. Work and home life have been very busy lately. I’m sure most of you can relate.

I was making this Guinness cake which is one of our family favorites and decided to snap a few iPhone pics to share with you just in case you’re stumped for your Easter celebrations. It is a nice dense chocolate cake with a delicious cream cheese icing.

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What you’ll need:

A greased 9 inch springform pan-line the bottom with parchment paper

Preheated 350 degree oven

Ingredients:

One can of Guinness

2 sticks of butter

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

2 cups of sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla

2 cups of flour

2 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Topping ingredients:

1 package cream cheese (8 ounce)

1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Begin by lightly greasing your springform pan and lining with a parchment paper round.

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Melt butter and Guinness together over medium heat in a large heavy saucepan

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Mix together cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl. Once butter is melted whisk in the cocoa and sugar mixture.

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In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream and vanilla together and add to chocolate/guinness mixture.

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Next whisk in flour and baking soda until the mixture is smooth.

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Pour in to prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately an hour. You can test with a toothpick. The cake will still stick to the toothpick in little crumbs but won’t be gooey.

Release the springform once the cake has cooled for about 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a cake stand.

Mix the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, heavy cream and vanilla with a hand or stand mixture. The icing should be very creamy. Top the cake to resemble the foam on the top of a pint of Guinness. EnJoY!!!!

Hoping you all have a most Blessed Easter!!

Chris

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Just a few random thoughts and pictures

Ohio weather can be so gloomy but I came home a little early a couple of days ago-the sun was shining and reflecting off the snow on the ground outside. The house just seemed to say, “time to grab a few pics Chris.” I try to pick up my camera once a week or so and just practice.  These pics are the product of that practice. I would really love to take a photography class but there always seems to be something else that seems more important. Maybe one day……..

So I spruced up just a little corner of the house and snapped away.

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I love decorating the fireplace mantel. I am not certain how many more restyles will be taking place on this particular mantel as there will be an inevitable move in my future so best to take as many pics as I can. There have been many, many good memories made around this fireplace and I will certainly miss it.

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Love the silver pieces with the white candle sticks. The little pom and bell garland was from an after Christmas clearance at Target.

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The first snow is always the prettiest in my opinion!

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I recently made some new checked pillow covers. They’re reversible-one side is a soft flannel, they other is a checked cotton. I love doing this with pillow covers because it gives you more bang for you buck.

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You can see the reversed flannel pattern here on the bed:

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And yes, I sort of move things around the house…a….lot.

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Disclaimer: this final shot was NOT taken on my sunny day I first mentioned. This one was taken with artificial lighting because of another gloomy Ohio day but…..Roses brighten my winters.

And spring is just around the corner!!!

Take care and stop back,

Chris

A quick pop in with some winterizing tips!!!

Good Wednesday Evening-I guess you could say I’m a bit of a blogging failure!! LOL! How does everyone keep up with this?? I’ve taken a bit of a U-turn in my personal life which I may share with you at some point so needless to say I haven’t gotten around to posting.

I would like to share just a few tips for decorating spaces for winter. So here goes>>>>

Firstly, this year I was very organized with packing Christmas away. I kept like things together but also kept in mind what could still be used in winter decorating. Greenery-especially anything with pinecones seemed completely appropriate to me. So I set those things aside and didn’t store until I was sure I wouldn’t be using them.

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I’ve probably mentioned a time or two how much I love this open shelving we put up in the kitchen this past year. It is just so much fun to decorate. I went with a winter white theme. Added in the greenery and pinecones and just a hint of copper. Can you believe those Moscow Mule cups were originally $19.99 at Michaels and I purchased them on clearance for under $6.00? They had so many before Christmas that I felt pretty certain there would be some left over for the after Christmas sales. And I was sooooo right and glad I waited!!! Tip #2.

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I wanted to use my dough bowl somewhere other than the floor. I thought it was probably too large for any of my tables but again, kept out some of the neutral Christmas stuff-greenery, twigs, pinecones and the trees that were on my buffet and just stuffed it full after layering in this faux fur rug:

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I just love that little hoot owl. I think his face is precious!!

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It’s a nice wintery transition for the dining room table which won’t be in use for some time.

I have this huge cabinet that houses the television and a vaulted ceiling, so I’m always looking for some way to fill this space. For Christmas I used the old, thrifted wooden chair but wanted to change it up.

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I propped my printers box with the same boxwood wreath (after a ribbon change out) and then slowly started to fill in with the other items pictured here.

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The chalk board was the same one pictured on the console table with the nativity from Christmas. I flipped it “landscape” and added in a little winter scene. I was just tickled when I came across that little striped pitcher. I already had the big one from Homegoods and could not resist.

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Most of what you see here are things I already had. Just moved them around my house. New pieces were the Moscow Mules, and the little Target pitcher. You can do this too. I promise. It works best for me to clear off a few spaces and just think of new ways to use the same pieces. Tip #3

See what you can come up with using items you already have. It’s economical!!

Best wishes and see you soon!

Chris

 

Merry 1st Day after Christmas!!

Okay, okay so lofty goals!!!!!………..I did not keep up with my 12 Days of Christmas concept. I was caught up in the prep and festivities as I hope most of you have been. We had a wonderful Christmas filled with laughter, good food and love.

I have a few more things to share and since I don’t typically take the Christmas decorations down until after the new year. I still have some time right?

Here is our dining room all decked for Christmas.

I’m not sure if it’s the traditional furniture, the china or what but this rooms tends to lean a little more glitter and sparkle than rustic.

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For the table settings I left the buffalo checked “runners” on the table. It is actually just folded fabric. Next I layered the center of the table with a length of sparkly garland, a few wrapped packages, ornaments and of course candles.

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IMG_1050For the place settings I started with red chargers and layered on a gold branch before placing my ribbon patterned red, green and gold china dinner plates.

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I purchased the salad plates from AtHome stores and then topped each with a gold tipped pinecone.

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Each of the salad plates had a different pattern and just a hint of red.

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I styled the buffet one way.

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I’ve had the little topiaries for years. Just gave the bases a quick coat of white spray paint and then a light coating to the greenery to give it a “snowy” effect. I really like to use what I have and paint is usually my go to.

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Then I received a sign I’d won in an IG contest from @homespunsigns and of course had to restyle.

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I think it is just what the dining room was missing. The candlesticks were a goodwill find in a none too attractive finish. I gave them a coat of soft grey chalk paint with a white wash and love the way they turned out.

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The bar cart was not neglected.

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Kept it simple by propping a wreath, wiring a garland to the frame and adding some glass ornaments and artificial pears.

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I hope you all had a most blessed Christmas. I’ll be sorry to put away the sparkle. It adds so much whimsy and magic to our homes.

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All the best,

Chris

More of my Christmas Home Tour-days 5 and 6

Are you feeling a little crunched for time like me? Today was pretty productive. But I’m still behind. I haven’t baked a single cookie. Not one. I do have a few Christmas presents wrapped. I hope you’re all doing better than me.

I did add a few Christmas touches to the master bedroom. I kept it pretty simple by changing out some of the pillows and adding some colorful throws.

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I threw a bit of garland over the mirror that is above the bed. Simple.

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And then of course, I like to restyle the little sitting area to one side of the room.

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I wrapped a scarf around the tree base. No ornaments on the tree. Just lights and some pretty plaid ribbon.

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If you look at this room in my post from the fall tour, you can see how just a few subtle changes really can change the look and feel of a room.

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Next up is the mantle in the family room. I love decorating the mantle. So many options and so much fun during the holidays.

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I wanted to keep the mantle uncluttered. So I just added some fresh cedar and kept a few of the candles, then added the garland. I wanted to do something different with the stockings so I gave this stick a little white wash to resemble birch and hung it from twine.

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IMG_0996Some birch wood logs flank one side of the fireplace.

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A candle and a couple of wrapped boxes (not real presents 🙂 placed on the other side.

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The stockings were a gift to each of my children soon after their births. My mother cross stitched a different one for each of them.

Soon it will be Christmas Day!!

Take care,

Chris

 

 

Quick post for the 12 Days of Christmas/Day 5 home tour

We had a rare evening out last night so I didn’t get to my Christmas tour post. I saw so many people posting this great little flocked tree on Instagram that I had to stop on the way home to pick one up for myself several weeks ago. It was only $30!! Bonus!

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Target has some of the cutest goodies in their One Spot this year. When I saw these letters in a bin I knew immediately what I wanted to spell with them. I had to check out a few stores before I found my second “H.” This one I’m calling the “HOHO” tree. I’ve decorated it with plaids and checks. Most of the ornaments came from the One Spot.

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There were gift tags.

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Using this banner as garland to circle around the tree.

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I covered plastic ornaments with some plaid wrapping paper and mod podge.

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Here I added some greenery and more of the snowflakes my mother made to my blanket ladder. I also hung a little mason jar with a tea candle and placed it beside the tree.

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Have a peaceful and blessed evening!

Soak in these final days of this magical time and try not to get too bogged down with the to-dos.

Chris

A few of my favorite things-Christmas Home Tour Day 4

Gosh! Christmas is creeping up on me. How about you? Work is busy, home is busy and I feel like time is tick, tick, ticking away. I did get a little online shopping in this evening (I know-I’m pushing it on the delivery window).

I mentioned in my last post I didn’t really have a plan when I first blogged about my “12 Days of Christmas” home tour. So tonight I’m going to post a couple of areas of my home where I’ve added some Christmas touches that aren’t necessarily a part of a specific room.

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I recently inherited some shelving units from my mother in law. I was thinking I might paint them but my husband was having no part of that. I wanted to see what the middle unit would look like flanking our back door slider. After some challenges positioning and leveling I decided I really liked the contrast this piece brought to the rooms. It sits between the kitchen and family room.

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I filled the cabinet with my white dinner ware, canisters, platters and pitchers.

I love the little bottle brush trees. I had a few on hand but picked up a few more at World Market.

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For some color I added some glass ornaments and dish towels.

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Our entry is rather wide with the dining room (I’ll share soon) to the left and the office to the right (which I won’t be sharing because it is a disaster right now). Just before you step in to the family room there is an awkward niche which I plan to make some changes to and a console table that I recently painted.

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This area originally had a single piece of art work hanging above it. I converted an old painting I picked up at a garage sale for $2.50 to a chalkboard. The frame was a cheap gold paint so I just covered it with chalkpaint and distressed it a little. I used a spray chalk board paint and sprayed it on the glass that came with the frame. The one tip I would give if you try this is to “season” your chalk board prior to adding your chalk art. Otherwise, the chalk sort of in-beds itself in the finish. To do this just rub a stick of chalk all over the board. I would do it a couple of times.

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I haven’t put up our nativity in a few years since my children have gotten older. I decided I’ve missing setting it up.

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Silent Night!

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Holy Night

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All is calm, all is bright!

Under the console I have a giant sized dough bowl I filled with all kinds of odds and ends I had packed away in a Christmas box.

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The lights are those little battery operated LED strings.

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Hope your are all getting your packages tied up with strings!

Stop in again soon! I have a few more areas to share!

Chris

12 Days of ChRiStMaS-Home tour day 3 and more of my farmhouse kitchen.

Welcome back!!! I’m glad you stopped in! I wanted to finish up where I left off yesterday. I have had so much fun decorating my home for Christmas this year. It makes my heart and my family happy. What is it about twinkle lights that automatically lifts your spirits?

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As you walk in to my kitchen from the dining room, you walk past the pantry. I found this little letter holder at Homegoods. I have had a lot of fun figuring out what to place in each of these galvanized trays. And a…..hem more of the striped ribbon.

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I’ve had this tin with the little pewter nutcracker for years. I drag it out periodically and decided this year he would be highlighted again along with some greenery.

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My talented sister in law made this cute little sign for me. It actually isn’t cold outside today. It has been in the 70’s which is unusual for this time of year.

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Yep! Pretty much tied a ribbon ’round anything that wasn’t moving!

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The berries on the chandelier are actually napkin rings. They fit perfectly and add just a little Christmas charm. This view is from the other side of the kitchen. You can see the dining room through the doorway. I’ll be sharing more of that soon!

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One of the things I love most about this kitchen is all of the natural lighting. As I’ve gotten older, letting as much light as possible in during the winter helps keep me from feeling grumpy!

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This window is so big, I thought the wreath looked a little lonely. I tied some twine to some ornaments and hung them on either side.

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Another view of my open shelving and just below that I’ve added a hot cocoa bar with all sorts of toppings! See the little log cabin peeking through? I constructed this from an old Lincoln Log set.  Cute!

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I struggle with leaving white pitchers and creamers in the store when I see them.

It’s a problem and it’s real.

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My mom crocheted the little snowflakes for me. I usually hang them on the tree but wanted to do a little something different with them. What do you think?

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As you turn around you’ll see our family room. We have an open concept floor plan which we enjoy.

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I’ll stop there for now because to be honest I didn’t actually plan out each of my 12 days-I’m winging it! I may even share my coveted and top secret recipe for sugar cookie cut outs! So don’t forget to stop back over! More to come……..

Only 12 days until Christmas!!!

Chris