Life story - the short version

I'm a fun loving 30 something year old . Married my favourite guy. Started on my production of children & number 1 is an adorable boy. Big on family. Big on craft. Love country music. Love fuss free + practical ...aaand maybe with just a little bow for decoration!

Love the law of attraction too. And singing ...dancing ...bright colours and excessive punctuation ...and stationery.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Travelling stash one month down, 20% done

Can you believe the stash has passed 6 people already?! It's been 4 weeks, so I think that's a pretty good rate.
Sorry to say that some people will have to wait over 3 months til Sasha reaches them, but the good news is we get to see it take shape all the while.
I've forgotten to keep the trail of blogs going to help you follow Sasha, so here are the blogs in order so far:

In order of turnover
Tracey R
McKenna P
Tina who reported back via facebook, not a blog
Beverley P​
And up next will be Kate W
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quilting on the new machine.... not entirely happy

I haven't quilted on my new machine before this month, and I feel I've just got to "report back" on it.
I'm otherwise LOVING my Brother NS20 so much, but I'm bummed that the distance between the table (that the machine rests on, at my place), and the needle plate are so far apart. IE, it's taller than my old machine (Singer 1108).

So the drape of a quilt over the edge is so deep it's causing me grief :-(
I'm pretty sure my previous quilts weren't this bad, and I don't think it's the fact that they're going in the local show that's making me think that.
Look at the big pinch on the top right and bottom left. Poo.

The good news is I got an extension table for my birthday, it's just not here yet. So I'm grinning (or like wincing in the most positive possible way) and bearing it for the next little while.

In other news: four quilts in 8 days update
I've machined all machineable parts of quilt one (the largest one) apart from binding which I'm undecided on hand/machine finishing.
Sadly it turns out I bought craft wadding not quilt wadding and therefore this one will be spot clean only. Thanks to Jody at All about sewing for leading me back in the right direction so it doesn't happen again.

Here's a super unflattering pic of me basting it...

and a pic of me lugging this unruly joke through my machine!

Also: Sam from Ripple patch has invited me to be a part of her stand at the local show this weekend, demonstrating how to make these kanzashi flowers. I am totally stoked and took her up on the offer. I met Sam through Wyong Patchwork group when I joined late last year

PS Here are pictures of the sewing party cake for Quilting Mumma's and my sewing birthday party

NSW Meetup 2012 Dinner after the craft show in Sydney

It's only 6 and a half weeks til the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair on June 13-17 {YAYY} Quilting Mumma and I are going on Thursday 13 June, and are interested in hosting a dinner get together for you like minded people! We need expressions of interest so that we know what size crowd we are dealing with. I thought a big (high turnover) chinese place in chinatown would work so that we don't have to reserve a whole restaurant out, and if people don't turn up the restaurant has lost out all the empty seats they could have used.

Are you interested? Do you have another venue suggestion suitable for a gathering of people who pay individually on the night? Please comment on this blog, and ensure you have enabled email reply, or leave your email address in your comment.

Also, if you're not already a member at Quilt Club Australia on Facebook, come and join us as much related chatter happens on the wall.

Keen? Grab the button and spread the word!! The more the merrier!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sunday morning loan to me yippee

Have you heard about the newest scrap sorting quilt book "Sunday morning quilts"?
I had seen it on craft newsletters, and then I heard that Quilting Mumma had it (was a bit jealous, but that was quickly quashed by the comfort in knowing she'll gladly let me peek at her copy) and on top of that, Samelia's Mum blogged about it too.
It was getting quite the reputation, but I don't really buy books. I have so many here, if I feel the urge I just go dig out a hand-me-down mag from the 90s and I feel better. Otherwise I have to go thru the guilt of all the projects I have half completed around here when I get a new publication.

Anyway, the universe was clearly asking me to receive it! Seeing as my Mum& Dad's mail is redirected to my place whilst they are on a caravan holiday, I get their mail.
I swear the package was begging me to open it immediately but I thought there's only about 50% chance it would interest me and I didn't.

Then Mum called, couldn't remember what fishpond purchase she'd made & asked me to open it and here we are!!!!

Of course I promise to share if I make any or something inspired by any

posted from Bloggeroid

***Further to the post above, I've since looked through the projects and am now desperate to make a modern scrap quilt out of it!
As I've mentioned before, a lot of fabric was given to me, even scraps. So many of my scraps aren't even mine, and have previously made the idea of a scrap quilt unappealing.
About 2 weeks ago I grabbed two boxes, cut a hole in the side of each, scribbled "2 1/2 inch" on one, and "1 1/2 or 3 1/2 inch" on the other and began cutting my scraps into one of the above sizes.
Not sure if this is going to be suitable for any of the projects in the book, but I'm on the path & loving it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work in progress Wednesday. 4 quilts in 8 days??

I've entered four quilts in my local show. Knowing the forms had to be in by my birthday, but I had longer for the actual quilts, I wasn't too concerned.
Had a wave of realisation last night when I realised that one of the quilt tops still needs sashing, I've got to baste, quilt, and bind all four in, like, 8 days!!
I wasn't even working on one of the quilts when I realised this LOL!

I've finished a mini quilt in 24 hours which I'm so proud of I loaded pics of it to Flickr even though it's supposed to be a surprise. I don't think this person would find me here but just in case, I won't publish it here for now.
It was for a lady who was in the name game swap but her partner fell off the face of the earth. And I volunteered to help with replacement quilts ...should the need arrive ...2 weeks before my first ever exhibit LOL

So the pic above is the biggest quilt of all four, basted (on Mum's floor because my floor is all taken up with playpen) and ready for my first shot at shadow quilting.

Here's a progress pic of the quilt inspired by this quilt from Handmade by Ally

The other two are my height chart, and bed runner....
Some of my quilts were the wrong size for the categories (category size 120x120, but mine for example were 90x150) so on the advice of the coordinator I've entered them and they'll be accepted or rejected at their discretion.
At least I will have finished them even if they're not on display next weekend..... Or that's what I keep telling myself!
posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Living with little people

He thinks if he flees the scene I won't know who caused the craft storm?

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday for tomorrow

Whilst I was mentioning to her about how *anal* my Mum can be at times, this friend of mine retorts “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, honey” and we both laugh. Only a close friend can tell it like it is, and you know she’s close because you have numerous pairs of shoes the same as hers!

Picture this: I had a new co-worker coming to my workplace, in the late 90s. Only being at the bottom of the proverbial food chain at the company, I had no idea of the new girl’s details (even name) until just before her start date.
I was excited and nervous. I’m a real people person and I love to chat, and we would be working pretty closely together. I had wondered whether she would be chatty, younger or older, excited and motivated or distracted and distant......

I don’t remember the day I met Ally, but I know now it changed my life. This new girl was just as bubbly and chatty as I was!
At some point we realised why we were so similar....

we shared the exact same birthday!!!

She was in a long term relationship like me (she was married whereas I only wished I was), and back then we even went to Jenny Craig together (Sorry Ally! LOL remember the work we had to do for one elusive tim tam a week?)


Things changed and when Ally got another job elsewhere we lost touch. I ended up buying a house in the same suburb as her. We both can’t remember why we lost touch, looking back. But that doesn’t matter now...


When I was looking at learning patchwork (Christmas 2009), I found that there is a patchwork store in my suburb!! Looking through the gallery of the store's events I saw a familiar face out of nowhere it was Ally! She actually worked there!

I wondered if she recalled why we drifted apart, and was really concerned I’d done something horrible and since forgotten!

When the store opened in the new year I called the store to ask something and who should answer but Ally!
OMG I was crapping my pants that maybe I was her arch nemesis and I’d forgotten some dramatic reason that we weren’t close friends like we once were! And now I was putting my cheek out for the slapping! WhatdoIsay!!?
All that was rushing through my head and I managed to tell her it was me, and asked if she remembered me. She did, of course, and whilst she was preparing to say “how have you been?” I jumped in to say “before we go any further, did I, like, break your heart or anything???” LOL (*go me* for too honest) and thank God she also can’t remember if we had some blowout or why we drifted apart!!

We said we’d love to see each other again soon, I tried not to act too keen (read: “stalker who knows where you work and live”) by leaving it a few hours before adding her on facebook LOL. I’ve since found out she was anticipating I’d add her straight away and basically we both over analysed it LOL.

I’d asked her plenty of technical questions throughout construction of my first quilt, and would have been totally lost without her when it came to basting. I basted that quilt on the floor at her place before quilting it in my little Singer.


My husband calls me an “All or nothing” kind of person. I’d love to sms all my friends every single day if I had the time, but I think I’d annoy them (so I don’t). Or like when I become a fan of an artist, the “all” part of my personality comes shining through (for example this quilt I made for Bob Corbett!)

Thankfully for me, Ally is somewhat an All or Nothing person too, and we talk every day.

I could go on and on but I’ll wrap it up with a few facts such as she was the first to know I was pregnant with my son (I even sent her an MMS of the home pregnancy test to ask if it was really two blue lines or not and she didn’t flinch LOL), we both love to create, and her third son was born within a few months of my first so we tend to talk ‘breastfeeding’ pretty much weekly hehe.

I thank God she is in my life and we hope there isn’t any more ‘drifting apart’ ever again.

Make sure you check out her blog and her facebook page

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to buy the right quantity of fabric and design your quilt GUEST POST From Quilting Mumma, Allison

If you have read a patchwork magazine released within the last few years you have probably seen a quilt or two, designed by the lovely Allison Nicoll, AKA Quilting Mumma.
Above is one of the latest publications she is featured in, and she has been absolutely pivotal in my quilting journey. In my sewing journey blog I explained that youtube was the teacher of much of my patchwork as it was the Christmas break when I got "the bug". But where Ally comes into my life so that I could complete my first quilt is a whole separate blog, coming later this month. For now, I wont rabbit on about myself, for this blog is about Ally imparting more knowledge (to you)!

Having worked in a number of sewing stores, she has a wealth of patchwork knowledge to share.
When I asked her how she can calculate general requirements for a quilt so quickly, I realised that I'm sure there are others out there wondering too. So she so kindly wrote this guest post for us..... [enjoy]

Hi everyone!
My name is Ally and I’m the designer behind “Quilting Mumma”. Thanks SO much to the lovely Cass for asking me to do a blog post here for all you lovely peeps!

So Cass wanted me to chat with you guys on “how” I go about designing a quilt.

I don’t have one particular way that I use all the time, I guess it varies depending on what fabric Im using, who the quilt is for etc etc. But basically I will give you a few tips and tricks that l find work for me

  • Its ALL about the fabric for me.... I will often find myself designing a quilt pattern in my head just from seeing a piece of fabric that makes my head all giddy!

    As a general guide, I tend to use:
    • A fat quarter selection of a few main prints (Approx 8-10 fat quarters),
    • Then I team them with a solid colour/s that will match.
    • Add 1 yard/metre for border
    • And ½ yard/50cm for binding and I’m good to go!
  • I also LOVE pre cuts this is a great alternative if you are time poor or are not that confident in matching up prints. I will often use a jelly roll or layer cake.
  • I generally will only make lap or throw size quilts as I like to quilt them myself on a domestic sewing machine.
So there you have it, I guess the thing that I want to really point out, is to HAVE FUN! Quilting is something that makes us happy, so go with it and enjoy the time you spend stitching. Dont sweat the small stuff, accuracy is something that comes with practice, and if your seam is out by a smidge YOU are the only one who is going to notice. Be sure to check out my blog... Spend some time today doing something that makes you happy!
Quilting Mumma xxx

For inspiration on block patterns to make up your quilt, go to but don't say I didn't warn you, there are A LOT.
Love Cass

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Sewing space

I like to gawk at other people's sewing rooms, so I thought I might share mine with you!
Plus, I have some ideas that I now would never do without. Can you see something I can improve? Let me know if you like any of my ideas and if you adopt any into your sewing space! I'd love to hear from you whether your sewing space is packed away 90% of the time or your house is small compared to your sewing room!

The storage space

Some of my fabric storage...
The top box contains all my wadding, interfacing, pellon, fusible web, toy fill, and some calico.
Under that is a drawer full of patterns, with my rulers stacked on the left.
The next double drawer is notions and tools that don’t fit in my “fasteners” drawer, such as bias maker, spare needles, press studs, bra clips, pinking shears, lint roller, and I jammed some business cards in there too.

The two drawer sets underneath (facing the other way) is all fabric. Fat quarters mostly here. I could never colour sort my fabric (I’m too anal and I am pretty sure my head would actually explode) so I file by size. Plus, I’m more likely to look for a bit of fabric for a certain size requirement than go looking for “that blue” bit.

The orange box and the shoebox on top is “scraps under a fat quarter” but much of it is from fabric that was given to me, not my own scraps

An old mannequin I got for $10 but I don’t know how to use it.

I think this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever come up with. I knew vertical storage was ‘the way to go’ to be able to see my trims, so I chose one trim/ribbon I wasn't going to use, hooked it onto a wall, then put all the others in clear bags and pegged them all the way down it. Gosh I’m smart LOL.

It also compels me to put things away!

The drawers on the left were given to me as my 1st ever Mother’s day present (at request), from Howard’s storage world.

The bottom drawer and the fabric stored on top in a plastic cube are 1m or larger of cotton. The yellow box is my LutterLoh Pattern system.
The plastic cube on the right is full of half completed items.

[The top drawer is open in the picture below].

This ‘drawer’ holds my fastening tools, zips, buttons, Velcro, clips. Plus dolls eyes/noses and quilt hangers.
I'm all for clear storage, as you can see.

The following picture looked terribly messy, I thought about leaving it out, but I try to be pretty honest on this blog, and so I'm bearing all - there's yet another bag of fabric (LOL). This HayHouse bag, further to the right, is non-cotton fabrics such as upholstery fabric, vinyl, satin, flannel etc.

The space

“The workbench” AKA our dining table is the pretty constant home for my Brother NS20.
See my second hand lounge in the background which keeps my nicely ironed fabrics out of DS1’s sticky fingers til he gets taller. And I stack almost-finished projects on the lounge for table space, too.

The other view of my dining table which has a fish tank behind it, and my ironing board. I used to have to walk to the other end of the house to press seams and it was laborious!! Plus I was constantly paranoid I’d left the iron on in the spare room, so I even switched it off between chain piecing sometimes!

The tools

My Threads n bobbins. I like to keep the bobbin with the spool.
I use "Bobbin buddies" (those hot pink things) but they're hard to get hold of. John, the husband of Punch with Judy suggested the company might have gone broke in the GFC? I've also seen an idea somewhere that says you can just cut plastic piping to make a little ring, and it will hold your bobbin tails just as well (but you don't have the cute mini handle).
Below is probably one of the most practical things in my sewing life!!
A recycled container, originally bought from Coles full of Anzac biscuits! No matter how cute I think your caddy is, I wont part with this gem, it’s absolutely perfect for the job. Although I wish it was big enough for my scissors and rotary cutter, that’s its only downfall so far.
Once again: Clear storage rocks!

This little kit below spends most of its life on my lounge for all the handsewing parts of projects.
I do all my handsewing while sitting with my husband watching tv ...otherwise I might forget what he looks like. Perhaps I should put my husband's picture on my sewing machine to be sure I remember his face LOL.

Thank you for looking, please tell me what you think?

Coming this month: My Birthday!! And a post about a very special friend (you're not going to want to miss this, it's a special story!)
Coming in May: Amongst other things, I will share with you my blogging processes

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My sewing journey

The beginning

The first recollection of needle and thread for me was doing very simple designs of counted cross stitch. My Mum did counted cross stitch in the evenings in Winter most years, and like most of us sewists, the progression to me was pretty natural. My two sisters can also cross stitch, but I don’t really remember stitching with them when I was young.

The middle

My Mum had an old “Globe” sewing machine for as long as I can remember. She bought it new when my eldest sister was in high school and always regretted changing from her trusty previous one. I know why... it was a nasty bitch, that thing! I don’t recall ever completing anything on it. I distinctly remember it ruining a whole bunch of things, but back then I never knew the value of rethreading and I never adjusted anything. I just waited til sewing class at school, where the machines worked.
I got my term of sewing in high school, as most of us did. Due to a timetable error by the staff at my school, our class got an extra term at textiles, and never got ‘home economics’ (Damn you, that’s why I can’t make rock cakes!! LOL). But seriously, I’m not a foodie, and my husband cooks dinner! I’m slowly widening my repertoire but I feel like I’m a few years behind my peers.
Anyway, I chose textiles for elective for year 9 & 10, made a couple of garments, got taught English paper piecing which I HATED, and won second prize for my 1950s circle skirt featuring a poodle at Central Coast Leagues Club once.


So I was given my Singer sewing machine, collectively by my family, when I turned 25. I was stoked, and I am so grateful whenever I think about it. It’s one of those things I probably wouldn’t have bout myself, but was just pivotal in my life today.
Still being scarred by the Globe, I was pretty scared of it (I think we’ve all been there) and would make projects one after the other with the same thread because I didn’t want to rethread it (Haha I can’t even relate anymore!)!
Christmas in 2009 I decided I really love the look of some patchwork (See the quilt that inspired me to try: here) and asked my husband’s Nan how does she do it, with her machine? I hated hand piecing in high school (and still didn’t know what a fabric crush was, back then) but my interest in it exceeded the hate I had for English paper piecing just enough to ask.
Well, Nan told me “You just cut up fabric and sew it in pieces”, lent me her mat, cutter, and ruler, and I went 180km back home with some old Australian Quilter’s Companion magazines in hand!
As it was Christmas break, all the patchwork shops were shut (how rude!). I’d got the desire, had scraps of fabric (boy I didn’t know what a stash was back then, but I already had one! I used to go to Spotlight for all the trims, collecting them for one day!) and my sewing machine were all ready.... so of course I YOUTUBED how to patchwork!!!

Then there was patchwork:

My first quilt was for my dear friend, Danielle. She was due to have her first baby in March 2011, and this baby would have a handmade quilt made by me!
I had a bunch of fat quarters and took some of the blocks I liked from a quilt called “Patterson’s curse” by Carolyn Davis (Quilters Companion No.23 – 46) and designed my own quilt! I didn’t know there were unlimited patterns out there (especially baby quilts!!), because Nan had literally steered me in the direction of patchworking with the quote “You just cut up fabric and sew it in pieces”! So the 84x84 inch quilt pattern was converted by me.
I added the whole cross stitched alphabet with little related pictures (a/apple), and my sisters and Mum helped with the letters.
Gosh I sewed so much love into that quilt! My friend knew it was coming but I hadn’t shown her the whole thing. She got to it at her baby shower and started balling before she even unfolded it (and so did I!). I’m still so proud of that quilt, and she said they used it heaps!!
I quilted it myself on my little singer 8208 sewing in the ditch, as I have done with all my quilts so far.
Moved on to another baby quilt, and I’ve done a queen quilt (quilt as you go) and a bunch of quilts since then.


I’ve been making a lot of garments and other little practical items in 2012 but I’ll always be patchworking in between I hope. I’ve got an awesome local sewing troupe with my favourite ol’ ladies and you lot online. Facebook this year has been all about sewing and I am just loving it so much. I really feel I will get a chance one day to travel around and meet people I’ve connected with, in person. This is the first time I’ve felt any compulsion to travel, because otherwise I’ve got everything I need right here in my postcode.
Much Love XO Cass

Friday, April 13, 2012

TRAVELLING STASH - Travelling WA, who is next?!

The stash has now passed three people and should be in the hands of #4 Tina today or very soon!

The photos haven't been going on flickr because basically all the members are on the facebook group Quilt Club Australia and you can get much more discussion in on facebook than you can on flickr. I'm thinking of shutting down the flickr group (What do you think? Let me know in comments).
I feel like it's either that, or for me to update it by loading the pics from relevant blogs. But it hardly seems worth it, we're getting more out of sharing on facebook, aren't we?

Anyway, so an update is that Janine got it first, and shared the details using facebook. Then it was off to Tracey of The Peony Teacup who blogged about it here

Tracey took some of the orange fabric out and used it for the !!

Now I'm ten million times excited that not only is some of the fabric (previously unused, here in my NSW spare room) going into making a bag by McKenna, but now it's multiplied by over 50+ spread out recipients! I could not have dreamed that (even though it's kind of in a secret way that they'll never know the true meaning) something could have travelled so far and wide! And here's what's more... that fabric was given to me!

Well Tracey drove over to give it to the next recipient McKenna who blogged about it here

One of the pics from the contribution into Sasha stash

And yes, the stash is growing! I kind of knew that with a bunch of women (who are stereotypically caring and giving beings), that it would get bigger and bigger. I hope postman pat is kind (and looks the other way) if it exceeds 3kg! I couldn't really help it though, it was already on 3kg when it left because (being one of those stereotypical caring/giving beings) I kept adding to it thinking "that doesn't look like enough" til it was just about to burst LOL.

McKenna said it well when she spoke about her Grandmother saying "quilting life went far beyond the confines of her sewing space" and it truly is AMAZING to me too.

I have spent so much time at the computer recently, gravitating to my new likeminded friends, believing that maybe I can build on what I have, believing more in myself, and forging relationships that I enjoy so much, since finding facebook group Quilt Club Australia and am grateful to you all from the bottom of my heart! I dream of one day meeting as many of you as I can in person, but will already know so much from meeting you each night online. BIG HUGS!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mug Rug Swap April 2012 at Quilting Mumma

Have you heard about the Mug Rug Swap at Quilting Mumma?
Sign ups are only open until Monday 16th April 2012 - not many sleeps! To join in, become a follower of Ally's blog AND leave a comment ON HER BLOG (not mine) with your email address.
Mug Rugs must be posted by Monday 14th May 2012

An example of a mug rug:

Maybe you will be MY partner...?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Half-done things. It's like WIP Wednesday but on a Monday

In line with that pledge to show projects in progress, I want to share what I've been up to this week....

A friend bought me this delicious fabric from an opshop for FIFTY CENTS! I made this skirt thinking it would look good on me ...then when I was halfway through I found I was wrong! So I offered it to a friend, and finished it on Friday.

I'm working on a hungry-caterpillar height-chart for my son (and subsequent children when he gets siblings in future). I want to embroider a few marks every ten centimetres on it so that I can mark his height and give a rough answer to him without having to source a measuring tape.

Binding is cut and pressed ready for after embroidery.

Some of the new fabrics I got from Spotlight on the weekend (not all of them, I went twice LOL)

A bit of Easter Sunday fun, here is my son in the bucket at his Nan & Pop's place on sunny Easter Sunday

I don't have any kind of certification, but I'm pretty sure he's the cutest thing in the whole world ;)

I bought this panel at the Rosehill show this year, trimmed the pieces half an inch away from the edge of the print, and then went WTF!? Look how crooked they are!!

Hopefully I can recover from the bias print. I told my husband it was "misprinted something fierce" and added "get it!?" ...Something fierce?
He just shook his head at me like all good husbands do LOL.

So from left to right, I have the height chart, laying on the batting for (this green & orange quilt) which is folded up on the right hand side under the fabric ready to be cut for the binding.
Then the tiger panel which is going to be a bedrunner for my bed, and I recently ironed a label onto my baby quilt I made a year ago, just got it there to secure with a few handstitches.

And this afternoon I made some very boyish cupcakes!

Love Cass

List of bloggers who are a part of the Travelling Stash!

Finally I've composed the list of Travelling stash members!!
You may want to bookmark this page so you can come back and check out everyone's page as you get the time (I've coded them to open in a new window to try and save you getting lost).
Consider hitting "Follow" as you reach each blog.

Also, we have a button now! I only ask you to share it if you want to, because entry is closed anyway.
If you want to display it, put this HTML code into the field on your blog/page:

And that will give you the image below, which is a link back here :-)

Now grab a cuppa and get acquainted with your fellow stashers!
In alphabetical order

Ally N
Anorina M
Beverley P​
Bronwyn B
Carol L
Danielle R
Ellie-Mae M
Fiona M
Jane D
Jessica R
Joelle J Facebook page for KNJ-Handmade-From-The-Heart
Julie Gorse
Kaitlyn B ​
Kate W
Kelly G
Kristy R
Marieka A
McKenna P
Sarah O sarahssewingjourney.blo​
Tracey R
And the members for whom I don't have a blog address for are Carolynne V, Fiona B, Jane K, Kylie B, Lara M, Lisa H, Maribel F, and Tina F
Thanks for stopping by.