Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today {a Mom-day post}

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I hope you don't mind that I'm not a posting ninja over here recently.  It seems like life is just about all I can manage from day to day- forget about extras like blogging and showering.  Too much work if you ask me. :)
I'm hoping it's the pregnancy, but even if it is, it doesn't bode well for me, since after pregnancy comes a newborn.  And newborns and sleep don't really go together, and I don't do well with no sleep. :)  Still, I'll do my best to keep things interesting around here.
First up:  A dinner this week inspired by Pinterest.  I followed the link to this recipe for Stuffed Pizza Rolls at Our best Bites.  I changed the outside of the rolls and used pre-made biscuit dough instead.  They were a HUGE hit with my family.  And pretty easy too.  These are definitely going into our regular rotation.  I've tried a couple of recipes I've found on Pinterest and we've enjoyed them all.  I guess in one small way Pinterest is making my life better.  For the most part it just adds to my to-do list. :) (you can find my Pinterest boards here.)

I also finished up this set of custom blocks and figurines for my sister-in-law.  Her oldest was born on St. Patrick's day- so they like to do things up big at her house.  When she asked me about blocks- she requested this saying and I think it's so cute because her kids are her pot of gold.  And the little blonde leprechauns represent her three kids.  Such a fun personalized decoration to pull out every year. :)

So, that's what I've been up to.  We get to find out what the gender of our baby is next Friday.  I'm pretty excited because it means I can finally make some progress in preparing for this newest addition.  We have a LOT to do to get ready- finish the basement, move oldest daughter downstairs, create nursery for baby, get clothes (for me and baby) and on and on.  No wonder I'm tired all the time, just thinking about it makes me worn out. lol
I'd love to hear/read what you've been up to lately- feel free to leave a link to a recent blog post in the comments and I'll jump over and check it out!  Hope you're having a great week.
XOXO,
Amy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giveaway winner announced!

Saturday, February 25, 2012
I am so excited to announce the winner of the Riley Blake Fabric Giveaway!  The winner is Kristen- and as I went to check out her blog I noticed that yesterday was her birthday!  So Happy Birthday a day late Kristen and enjoy some free fabric as a bonus present! :) 
I used Random Number Generator and counted through the comments.  Thank you so much to everyone who entered!  I've learned that fabric is truly a way to creative women's hearts so I'm hoping to have more giveaways in the future. :)
Have a wonderful weekend!
XOXO,
Amy

Friday, February 24, 2012

Point of View Reveal- February- GREEN!

Friday, February 24, 2012
There are a couple of things you might notice about the collage today- the first is that there are only 4 pictures in it!  I'm sad to say that both Camilla and Michelle have decided that they need to leave our Point of View group.  I am really going to miss their fabulous ideas and terrific projects- but I'm thrilled for them that they find themselves in a position that they are busy enough with other things that make them happy that they have to let something go.  We wish them both the very best in all they have in front of them.  The second thing you'll notice is the abundance of GREEN. :)  Yes, that's our theme for February.  I thought the theme this month would be easy.  Boy was I wrong!  This one sure stumped me- so I'm hoping you've had better luck than I did with your Point of View on the theme. :)  I'm sure impressed with everyone's projects this month- I hope you'll take a peek at all of them and check out the details.
Jonie- Just Between Friends- where you can also link up your own GREEN projects for all of us to enjoy
Leanne- Organize and Decorate Everything
Gwen- Gwenny Penny
Amy- just keep reading! :)

I was very, very tempted to make a pillow for this theme.  Pillows come pretty easy to me and all. ;)  But, I really wanted to do something different and working with paper just seemed like a good idea.  Until I tried to get the project to come together.  It just didn't want to work for me.  The colors were off, the look wasn't what I wanted.  Finally I recruited my sister and between the two of us we worked out the kinks.  The result is this simple but fun Lucky collage piece.  I wish I had more process pictures, but as I was getting more and more frustrated with the project, it never crossed my mind to pull out the camera- so I'll just have to tell you what we ended up doing.  The letters are from recollections at Michaels.  The sheets of cardstock were also purchased at Michaels but I ended up using some of my own paper to get a brighter look on the papers.  The gold glitter paper is from American Crafts.  I used a 1" circle punch and cut out tons (a very specific measurement ;) ) of circles from each of the three colors of paper.  I knew I wanted to graduate the colors from light to dark and I liked the look of "mixing" the layers so there wasn't a harsh line between colors.  When I was pleased with the overall scheme- I pulled off all the circles and started gluing them down.  I just used a hot glue gun since it was cheaper and faster than the other options I had on hand. :)  Once all the green circles were down, we added in the gold and green glitter dots (the green dots were from the alphabet set- they are the dots for the i's and j's ;)  I'm just hoping I'll never need those letters)  The letters were self adhesive, but I found they didn't stick as firmly as I would like, so I ended up gluing those down as well.  I finished it off by gluing ribbon around the edges of the canvas.
I am still working on the finished grouping for this table, but here's where I'm at so far.  The leprechaun houses are birdhouses from the $1.00 section at Michaels.  I was originally going to have them double sided so I could use the birdhouse side for a spring display, but I've decided they will work for both anyway without over complicating the project.  (I think I've already over complicated things enough- haha)  The little figurines are my own creations, you can get a better view of them here.
So there you have it, even though I made this project WAY harder than I needed to- I really like the end result, and I feel pretty "lucky" to have gotten it finished.  Oh man, I think I need to go to bed.
Have a Happy Friday and Don't forget to link up your own GREEN projects over at Jonie's blog- I can't wait to see your point of view!  And, we have some very exciting changes coming to our Point of View group- we'll be announcing them next week- You'll want to stay tuned!! :)
XOXO,
Amy
p.s. If you haven't yet entered- today is the last day to enter my fabric giveaway- HERE!

Friday, February 17, 2012

scalloped underskirt skirt tutorial

Friday, February 17, 2012

I first made this skirt for Riley Blake's Cutting Corners College.  I was so excited to be a part of their great site- they have some amazing tutorials over there.  I am thrilled to share the how-to on my own blog today.  (the measurements listed are for a skirt sized 3T-4T .)

Materials:
Main fabric (waist band and overskirt) 3/4 yard
accent fabric (underskirt) 1/2 yard
scalloped border template
3/4" elastic
optional embellishments- in this case velvet ric rac

Cutting measurements:
From Main Fabric:
waistband 32" X 5"
overskirt (cut 2) 27 1/2" X 9 1/2"
From Accent Fabric:
scalloped edge and connector piece (cut 3) 6" X 42"
Elastic: cut to measurement of waist + 1"

To get template:
Click here and print it out (make sure it's not scaled to fit).  Either print it on cardstock or cut it out of paper and trace it onto a stiffer material like a cereal box.  Note:  The scallop should measure approx 2.75" in diameter.  If the scaling is off, or you don't want to print it out- you can make your own template using any size circle- to adjust the measurements just divide 42" by the diameter of the circle you are using.  This will let you know if you need to add some length to the strips you are cutting (of the accent fabric) so you will have complete scallops all the way around the skirt.  When adjusting the length of the strips, make sure you include a 1/2" seam allowance.  If you have any questions about this, feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll do my best to help you.

Now we're all ready to go:
 Take one of your underskirt pieces and draw a line 1/2" from one long edge, and one short edge.  Line up the scallop template with those two lines and trace.
Move the template down the strip of fabric, lining up the first scallop of the template with the last traced scallop to make sure the spacing stays even.  When you finish the strip there should be 1/2" of fabric at the end.

Take all four of your short strips of  fabric and sew the short ends together to make loops.  On the long overskirt pieces, sew both short sides (right sides together) to make one large loop.  Sew over these seams with a zig zag stitch (or serge).  Press the seams to the side.  (if you have directional fabric you will want to alternate the direction of the seam on the underskirt pieces)

While we're at the iron, let's press our hems into place.  For the waistband fold over the top edge (check the direction of your fabric if necessary) 1/2" and press.  Then fold over another 1" and press.
For the overskirt hem, fold the bottom of the fabric up 1/2" (press) and then again another 1/2".  Press.

Now, back to the sewing machine:
Sew down the hems we have just created using a scant 1/2" seam allowance for the skirt hem and a scant 1" s.a. for the elastic casing- making sure on the casing to leave an opening to thread the elastic through. (approx 1")

Ready to make scallops?  Here we go:

Take your piece with the scallop tracing and leave it wrong side out.  Take another underskirt piece and turn it right side out.  Slide the second loop inside the first loop, lining up the seams so they "nest" together as shown in the picture.  Line up the edges of the two pieces and pin in place.  (it is helpful to pin in the "ditches" of the scallops so the pins are not in the way when you go to sew along the traced line)
Shorten your stitch length to a fairly small stitch and sew along the scalloped line.  Pivot at the "ditches".  Then cut out the bottom hem.  I use pinking shears so I don't have to cut the wedges into the curves, but if they aren't available to you you can cut out the scallops leaving a 1/4" seam and notch the curves so they lay flat.

Next you will want to go into each of the ditches and notch them out as close as you can to the stitch line without actually cutting the threads.  The closer you get, the better your scallops will lay flat so take your time.
Turn the scallops right side out.  Don't worry if they look like this at first,  once you push out the seams they will even out. :)  Using a dull, slender tool (I use a blunt turning tool) slide along each of the scallop seams using your hand to pinch press the seams flat and even.  I usually do this at the ironing board, flattening a few scallops at a time and pressing them down.

When you are done, topstitch the scallops to finish them off.  We're almost done now!
If you are embellishing your top skirt, now is a good time to do it.  I wanted to cover my hem stitch line with the ric-rac so I did it at this stage, but you could also do it before you even sew the loops together in the first step.  I ran two lines of stitching through the middle of the ric rac as close to the top of the valley as I could without sewing off the ric rac.  You could also sew along the curves (I'm too lazy) or use some fabric glue (I've never used it so I have no promises to make :) ), or skip ric rac altogether. :)
 Let's make a skirt!  Take your scalloped piece and slide inside your final underskirt loop matching the side seams.  Line up the top edges, pin in place and sew using a 1/2" s.a.  Zig zag the seam.  Press the seam up toward the single layer and topstitch in place.
Now you should have three loops: The waistband, the over skirt and the under skirt.

Take each loop and fold it in half, lining up the side seams.  Mark each of the folds with a disappearing ink pen or chalk.  (at each of the sides there should be two layers of fabric for a total of 4 marked points- make sense?)  This will help with lining up our gathers.  Make sure you mark all three loops.  Now take the two skirt pieces (over and under) and run a gathering stitch along the top, unfinished edge.  (So very sorry about the lack of pics for this part- I always get a little over-excited to finish)  If you need some visual instruction I have the same steps in another tutorial I did on my blog.  Take the waistband piece and turn it right side out.  Line up the bottom unfinished edge with the top of the over skirt (right sides together) matching up the four marks (making sure the seams line up), gathering as needed to fit them together.  Pin.  Now slide the underskirt over the over skirt (right side of underskirt will be facing the wrong side of the over skirt.  Repeat matching up marks and gathering.  I re-use the pins so there aren't a million of them in the seam.  Sew down using a 1/2" s.a.  Zig zag the seam.
Now you will press the seam allowance toward the waistband and topstitch it down.  The last step is threading the elastic in the casing, stitching the ends together and closing up the opening.
 And here's another version I did for my cute niece. :)  Enjoy your new skirt!  And as always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I will fix the tutorial. :)
I appreciate Riley Blake Designs for the opportunity to contribute to the Cutting Corners College and also for the AMAZING goodies in my giveaway!  If you are looking for some awesome fabric, click over to see what's available. :)
XOXO,
Amy
Linked up to EBCE link party at Every Creative Endeavor, I'm lovin' it at Tidy Mom, Weekend Wrap up Party at Tatertots and Jello

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GIVEAWAY Fabric and other Goodies!!!-CLOSED

Thursday, February 16, 2012
********THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*******Winner announced here.
When I was given the opportunity to host a giveaway for Riley Blake Fabric, I had no idea how hard it would really be!  When I opened the package to see what they were offering to you my fabulous readers, I honestly had to just remember how awesome you are to find the willingness to give this much gorgeousness away!  Everything you see in the picture (minus the glass jar holding the Ric Rac) is part of the giveaway!  Want a run down of what's included?  First: A Fat Quarter Bundle of Daisy Cottage Cottons- all 25 of them!
A 2.5" roll of Scoot strips.  Crochet flowers and flower buttons from the Sew Together line of notions.  And last but not least Yards and Yards of ric rac!  Brown and Orange Jumbo Ric Rac, pink, gray, navy and black of the medium Ric Rac!  Can you believe it?  All of this amazing stuff will go to one very lucky person!!  (did I mention already that I wish that was me?  I did?  Well, I do. ;) )
Now for the Details:
How to Enter:
1. Anyone can enter.  Just leave a comment letting me know what your favorite line of Riley Blake Fabric is.  If you are anonymous, please make sure to leave an e-mail in the comment, otherwise I won't be able to contact you about your win. (one entry)
2.  Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect or RSS feed. (one entry)
3.  Follow Riley Blake Designs on Facebook  or follow their blog. ******EDIT***** I have just learned that it is against Facebook Policy to have liking a page be a condition of entering a giveaway.  In order to comply with that policy an entry will no longer be given for liking Riley Blake's Facebook page.  If you would like to follow their Fan page- they always have wonderful information and links, it would def. be worth your while if you like their fabric at all.  This entry will now only be available if you would like to follow their blog, Pinterest account, or my Pinterest account.(only one entry for this though- so feel free to do all three, but it will only grant you one more entry.)  I am SOO sorry about the confusion, but I'd really hate to lose my FB page or have Riley Blake lose theirs.  If you are interested in more clarification about the Facebook policies, Tauni wrote a wonderful post on the SNAP Conference blog.

That's a total of 3 entries per person!  I'll leave the Giveaway open for a week (through next Friday Feb 24) and draw a winner on Saturday morning Feb 25!  
Best of Luck everyone!!

And while I do really wish I could keep all this lovely fabric, I do know that I have the very best readers on the planet and you all deserve to win mounds of lovely stuff!  
Happy Friday! 
XOXO,
Amy

In case you were wondering just how AWESOME I am

 My cute friend Andi from Jane of All Crafts tagged me in a post where she answered 11 random questions from someone, asked 11 random questions herself and then tagged 11 bloggers to do the same.  And since I am a complete rule breaker I am following NONE of the rules except for the part about answering the 11 questions.  If you would like to answer Andi's questions yourself- consider yourself tagged. :)  There will be no reward or harm if you choose either path- just for clarification.

1. If you had to eat the same thing everyday for the rest of your life what would it be? Wow, since I pretty much eat the same thing every day NOW, I would probably say I am certain I could live on Ramen noodles forever (since my kids ask for it for lunch every. single. day.)  But if I could choose?  I would have to say ice cream- sorbet specifically.  Love the stuff.
2. If you woke up one day and were an animal, what type would you be? These days in my pregnancy mode I would probably say a sloth.  The rest of the time?  Oh a Unicorn for sure- cuz I'm unique and special like that. :)
3. If you could pick any profession other then your current one, what would it be?
I would probably go back to working in Forensic Science.  I loved my toxicology lab job and I'd definitely be doing lab work somewhere.
4. How many states have you visited? 11.  Man I need to get out more.
5. Ever been overseas? If not where do you dream of going? I have been on a cruise to the Caribbean but that's it.  My great-grandfather was born in the northern fjords of Norway- miles north of the Arctic Circle in a home called Sommerset.  I would love to see that lovely yellow house in person one day.
6. If you had to choose, would you rather be an awesome dancer or an amazing singer? It's nice that I don't have to choose- I'm already both IMHO! ;)
7. What is your favorite beverage? (alcoholic or non) Diet Coke. nuf said.
8. What would your dream home look like?  It would be built by my dad.  It would have a laundry ROOM- not just a laundry small pantry sized area.  It would have a front porch and a back porch, and probably side porches too.  Not too big, but just big enough.
9. What trait about yourself do you value most?  My confidence.  I didn't earn it, or work for it, I was born with it and it has carried me through some very difficult experiences.  I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a firm understanding that I am AWESOME no matter what any one else says. :)
10. Have you ever tasted the rainbow? ;)  umm. yes, but doing that makes my mouth pucker.
11. Mac or PC?  PC.  Mac is trying to take over the world.  I'm all about freedom. ;)


This has been a lot of fun.  Thanks for tagging me Andi.  And again, since I'm too lazy to come up with new questions, or specifically create a list of 11 other bloggers, consider yourselves all tagged.  If you answer the questions, leave me your url in the comments and I'll create a backlink for you on this post.
Have a wonderful Thursday! (don't you wish it was already Friday?  I do.)
XOXO,
Amy

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A catch-up post

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I sure hope you weren't waiting on me for super awesome Valentine's day ideas because they sort of fizzled over here.  Oh, the kids still got their candy, but the dressing them up and making them fancy went no further than these last couple.  Really, they didn't care, and I just didn't have the energy so I guess no harm done right?

I did, however, manage to get a couple of skirts made up for my niece.  My sister and I bought the fabric for these before Christmas and I just finally got up the oomph to get them made.  This one I made using my Scalloped Skirt tutorial.  I love that top fabric.  So springy! :)
This is her other skirt.  I am also loving this fabric.  I will have a tutorial up on this blog in the next few days.

I am also trying to get production going for boutiques and things coming up.  It's very slow going, and not nearly at the levels that I'm used to, but for now, it will have to do. :)
And one last little teaser before I sign off today.  I have a giveaway coming up you are going to LOVE!  Riley Blake is sponsoring a fabric giveaway on my blog this week and I am DYING over how much and how gorgeous this fabric is.  You will for sure want to stay tuned!
Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!
xoxo,
Amy
Linked up to Look What I made at Creations by Kara.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A slight but important shift in perception {Monday is Mom-day}

Monday, February 13, 2012
I have never tried to cover up the fact that motherhood for me has been harder than I thought it would be.  Not so much the being the mother part, but definitely the homemaker part.  And while I would not trade what I am doing with my life right now for anything- I have had a difficult time catching a glimpse of the "bigger picture" of mothering I have been missing. 
This weekend I read a couple of things that have started the wheels turning in my mind, and I think I may have found the answer to what I have been feeling.  The first thing I read was this article that I found through a pin on Pinterest.  In it she tells about her struggles with infertility and how the journey through the pain of not having children has changed her heart to where she is today- and how she is in the process of becoming the mother her children deserve while she waits for that opportunity to come into her life.  And even though I am already a mother, I think that I have so far to go in becoming the mother I want my children to have.  And it's less about doing things like the valentines treats, and more about doing things like leaving them love notes so they know how special they are to me and making sure they know what I know about faith and trust and love and working hard. 
The second thing I read was actually given in a lesson in church on Sunday.  The teacher read a scripture in Matthew 25:34-40.  In this scripture the King is giving his faithful servants reward for being charitable to him, and the servants ask when they did these things for the king.  v.37 "Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?  or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?.... v.40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
The teacher said she thought it was a perfect metaphor for motherhood.  Often we see naked people and clothe them (as my naked baby just comes down the stairs- perfect timing), we feed the hungry and thirsty of our brood, and care for them in illness.  Before when I would read this scripture I would think of the service I render to those outside of my home as the acts I would do to qualify for the reward from the King.  It wasn't until yesterday that it really struck my heart that these acts of service, performed daily in my home, if sanctified by my love for my children and the willingness of my heart- are also acts worthy to qualify me for that reward I seek.  And that these acts, lovingly performed for these children I have provided physical bodies for, are acts performed unto my King. 
Motherhood, then, is not merely about surviving the different phases of raising children, or keeping the house neat and tidy, or keeping up with laundry and shopping.  Motherhood is a purifying, sanctifying, learning process that takes the mother and refines her into someone stronger, better and more capable.   We all have the opportunity to become the kind of women our children deserve, whether we have children or not.  But being a mother provides me unique opportunities for service and learning that I might not find otherwise. 
So today- I'm off to serve my children, and my King.  With a willing heart and a mind open to seeing the lessons I am in need of learning.  To look at the dishes not as a pain (which they totally are) but as a chance to learn and to teach- one I will try ever harder to embrace.
Have a Wonderful Monday!
XOXO
Amy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fun with Figurines

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
 I know I showed these to you already, but sometimes I just love looking at them en masse.  I think it's so fun to look at all those blocks and know they're going to great homes. :)
 My aunt asked me to make her two sets of these blocks.  They are customized for her and got me thinking that perhaps I will branch out into more custom offerings.  I already change out hair color if it's requested- but I'm thinking about doing children's names and adding custom figurines that reflect the interest of the child- princess, ballerina, soccer player, etc.  Hmmm...wonder what the interest would be in that?

Some close-ups of the figurines.  I think the girl looks a little like Debra Winger in Urban Cowboy.  Not that I've ever seen the movie, just clips.  But I adore their big belt buckles and boots.  The hats were fun too.  and the yellow bricks are hay bales, just in case it's not clear from the picture.

Do you like to customize things for the recipient?  Or do you just make it how it comes and they can deal? ;)

Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday.
xoxo,
Amy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

confessions {a Mom-day post}

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I know it's Tuesday, but this post has been weighing on my mind and I just couldn't seem to get to the computer yesterday (at least when it was working).
I got a phone call from an old friend last Monday.  (not that she's old, we've just known each other a long time ;) )  She was calling to let me know that another friend from our old group had just suffered a terrible tragedy- her 2 year old son was accidentally backed over by her husband and killed.  My heart is simply broken for this family.  It is the sort of thing nightmares are made of, one this family will never wake from.  As my friend was conveying the message she said, "It could have been any of us."  That thought has struck home so much for me this past week.  My mom made the mistake of reading the comments on the story that was published in a local newspaper's online site.  Instead of finding sympathy and compassion there was condemnation and criticism, judgment and anger.  All of these thoughts swirling around have led me to this:
My confession:
I am not a perfect mom.
I try, I really do.  I worry about my children, and do all in my power to keep them safe and healthy.  
But, I am human.  I get distracted and tired and sometimes they just get away from me no matter how focused I am.
I walk around my large SUV every time I leave the house, except for the times when I don't.  It doesn't happen often, but in those moments of hurry or distraction- but for the grace of God I could be the one suffering regret and pain.
I guess my plea is this:  Forgive me my imperfections.  Know I am doing my very best, even though I am well aware that there are plenty of times my best is not nearly good enough.  Assume I am trying, even when you see me failing, or floundering or completely dropping the ball.  Understand that I love my children with every fiber of my being and that I would willingly give my life for theirs if I could, but that sometimes my own sanity has to take priority or they will be left without a sane mother to raise them.
If you look closely, you will see plenty of mistakes to judge or criticize.  You will raise your eyebrows at me when one (or all) of my children are acting out in public.  You will see hand-me down fashions and worn out shoes.  You may even see me feeding my baby formula on occasion. (gasp!)
In a cyber age, where personal contact is fading and anonymity allows for aggression and criticism- understand that behind the story, or the blog, or even the Facebook post there is a real person, with feelings and dreams and hopes and struggles and failings and weaknesses.  A person who is very aware of their shortcomings without any help or suggestions from you.  Someone who just needs encouragement and understanding and sympathy.  Be the one to give it.  To lift and support and love.  
And even with all my shortcomings- I promise to do the same.
XOXO,
Amy

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Point of View Features and Feb. Theme

Saturday, February 4, 2012
I have chosen to feature this awesome crayon art from Polly at Helping Little hands.  I just love how she created it and the depth of color she uses.  Plus, I love the primary colors!  Amazing Job, Polly!

And if you are interested in jumping on the Point of View fun wagon- next month the theme is going to be GREEN!  Play that out how you will and come link up next month.  We'd love to see your Point of View!

And, if you're still looking for some Love Day ideas- head over to the Point of View link party from last week and check out all the amazing projects that were linked up.  There's some really good stuff to see. :)

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend and we'll chat on Monday.
xoxo,
Amy
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