June – The Heat Is On

Summer is here and although we have had some rather cool days for June, our days are starting to get up into the high 90s and very humid making it feel much hotter.  Very hot days were predicted for the weekend we had the family reunion but Mother Nature decided to give us temperatures in the low to mid 80s with a nice breeze.  It was wonderful!  The reunion was a grand success, and we plan on having it at our place again next year.

With the reunion, cleaning up, and getting everything back in their storage places, my crafting time this month has been cut short.  And in addition to all that, my husband had surgery this month.  So I played nurse for a few days.  He’s not a good patient; but in all fairness, I am not a good nurse either.  LOL  But I have managed some finishes and some progress on other things.

  • My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 110 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 82 blocks to be completed.  I love seeing the number of blocks completed increase as the other number decreases.  It gives me just enough boost to keep me going on this long-term project.

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  • I got all of the appliqués fused to the 14 placemats. I hope to get them all stitched down in July, but it will be a tedious job so may take two months to do that.  And if I decide to do the appliqué stitching by hand, I will allow myself three or four months to get them all done.  That will leave plenty of time to quilt and bind them and have them ready for Christmas giving.  To give you an idea of how tedious this is going to be, here is a picture of half a leaf and there are eight of these tiny intricate pieces to do on each of those 14 placemats.  Yes, you did see that right.  That piece is 2 1/2 inches wide x approximately 1 1/4 inches tall with a lot of ins and outs.

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I finished quilting my nephew’s quilt.  I did have a problem when quilting the outer border.  My nephew pressed the seam between the inner black border and the outer orange print border toward the orange.  Doing the beadboard quilting required me to stitch in the ditch which unfortunately in this case was on the black.  Why was this a problem you ask?  I was using a bright yellow/red/orange/green variegated thread, and I am not the best at stitching in the ditch.  But I found a solution which cost me some extra time but worked.  I used a black Pigma pen to color the variegated thread where it was not supposed to be showing but was.  Now you see it; now you don’t.  In spite of this minor problem, this quilt was such fun to quilt!

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  •  My youngest sister moved from an apartment to a duplex and needed new curtains.  She wanted light pink and blue in her kitchen, so I pulled all my blue and pink fabrics for her to choose from.  She chose a very light pastel pink and blue plaid.  I made simple cafe curtains with a valance and gathered them on spring loaded curtain rods.  They look real cute, but I forgot to take a picture.  Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures when I take the curtains to her for her dining, living, and bedroom which are now in the works.
  • I have given up on my goal to finish a doll clothes pattern every other month. So far this year although three have been in the works, I’ve only finished one.  I knew it was a lofty goal and gave it my best shot.  But life got in the way.  So doll clothes patterns have been removed from my goals list.  But on a positive note, I’ve sold two copies of the one pattern that I published this year, and it has only been available for one month.  Not one of my hottest patterns, but not a failure either.  I did receive pictures from the coat pattern tester of her finished coat. It is as cute as can be.  And she sent me some very good constructive comments that I hope to get incorporated into my instructions in time for a Fall release.

Oh, did I mention that my husband bought me a new sewing machine?  It is a Bernina 590!  I’ve already taken my classes and am definitely enjoying sewing on this dream machine.  I hope to come up with an embroidery project soon so I can try out the embroidery module.  Fun!  Fun!

Until next month, happy crafting,

Lana

 

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May Flowers

I know!  I know!  The title is not very original, but I like it and it fits.  Most of the flowering plants and trees have done their thing already – daffodils, irises, amaryllis, flowering almond, crabapples, redbuds, blackberries, and fruit trees.  Of course there will be fruit from the crabapples, blackberries, and fruit trees later.  Well, hopefully there will be.  Right now the hollyhocks and roses are blooming, and the daylilies will start any day now.  I’ve also put some flowering hanging baskets on our wraparound back porch for lots of summer color.

This month has been extremely busy for us because we are getting ready to host the 2018 Frazier Family Reunion at our place.  I have been busy spring cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I also cleaned the restroom in the shop since most of our activities will take place in and around the shop.  My husband has been working on getting our 6 acres spruced up.  We both cleaned up the flowerbeds around the house.  And amidst all this cleaning and sprucing up business, I managed to meet my goals for the month, make progress toward my two-month goal, and finished some extras.

  • My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 98 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 94 blocks to be completed.  Did you notice that the number of finished blocks is now larger than the number of blocks to be made?  I’m excited that I am now on the downhill slide with making these.

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  • I finished two quilts this month and pieced the backgrounds and sewed on borders for 14 placemats that need to be finished by Christmas. Let’s see now….this is May, so that means I have 8 months give or take a few days.  So if I average finishing 2 per month for 7 months, I will get them done.  We’ll see how quickly they go.  They have some machine appliqué on them for which I am awaiting arrival of some Lite Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web so that I can get started on that step .  I think preparing those appliqués will slow me down some.
  • While I was cleaning in the sewing studio, I pulled out a practice piece that I had done when I took a class to help me conquer my fear of free-motion quilting.  And since I had already finished my Rail Fence Picnic quilt and didn’t have what I needed to do more on the placemats, I decided to bind this practice piece and hang it in my sewing studio as a reminder that free-motion quilting is not scary at all.  Well, not very anyway.   Oh, and my sister finally got the batting to me for my nephew’s quilt.  So the quilt is on the frame awaiting the arrival of the threads I need for quilting it.  Now why didn’t I think to order the thread earlier?  Well, no problem.  It will be here soon and I can’t work on it for awhile anyway.  Here are my Rail Fence Picnic Quilt and the practice piece from my class:

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  • The 18” doll dress pattern is coming along very nicely. But I did have a head slap moment when I realized I had wasted two afternoons trying to draft and perfect the bodice pattern when I already had one done in another pattern.  Doh!  I’m in hopes that it will be published by the end of June.  I did, however, use one of the two practice bodices to complete this cute little white dress.  Waste not; want not!

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  • I sent the tester for the reversible coat pattern additional pictures with clarified instructions. She said that they were better.  But I still have a lot of work to do on this pattern.  I rounded out the neckline and then found that I also must round part of the facing to match.  That is now done.  I’ve also decided to use something other than the elastic cord I was using to do buttonhole loops but have yet to settle on what will be the easiest material to work with that also looks nice and holds up well.  I need to check out the nice cords in the jewelry findings department at Hobby Lobby.  I betcha those would work nicely.  My tester emailed that she finally finished her coat and will send me pictures and her notes as soon as she recovers from the Memorial day weekend and her company.  I’m looking forward to receiving her feedback.
  • Ann of Ann van Doren Designs just published the Mary Jane shoe pattern that I had the privilege to test. She used the picture of the black faux leather shoes that I made on the cover of her pattern.  I am so honored that she did this.  I thoroughly enjoyed making these shoes as her design and instructions made it so easy for me.  Ann is a very talented designer.  I couldn’t show you the shoes until she had published, so here they are now:

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  • And to finish off the month, I made some pressing tools to use when I make doll clothes – a pressing ham and a sleeve roll. Here they are pictured next to their full-size counterparts so you can see just how small they are:

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And to think, I thought I wasted some time just sitting around doing nothing.  Now I realize that I was just resting from all this activity.  LOL

Happy Crafting,

Lana

April – Showers of Creativity

Sorry for the title; I couldn’t resist.  LOL  But seriously, as you may recall I borrowed a day from April because I lost some time in March due to having the flu, so I had to do a little catch-up in April.  Well, I’m happy to report that although I didn’t get to work on anything but my scheduled goal projects, I did get everything done in spite of spending some time with my mom when she was hospitalized overnight and after.  She is following up with a cardiologist but seems to be getting stronger each day.

April Accomplishments:

  • My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 15 blocks completed. I now have a total of 86 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 106 blocks to be completed.  Hey!  I’m almost half way there!

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  • I finished the quilt for March

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  • and a quilt for April

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  • and pieced a quilt to finish in May.

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  • I’m revamping the pattern and instructions for the reversible coat doll pattern that has given my testers fits. I am still hopeful that I can complete this pattern and get it published.  It is such an adorable coat if I do say so myself, so I am just not ready to give up on it.  I’ve also started a dress pattern for the 18” dolls.  I hope to have it done and published by the end of June.  It is a dress I did some time back before I was doing patterns and have decided to turn it into a pattern so others can make it for their dolls.
  • I finished the doll’s summer outfit pattern! Woohoo!!!  I was blessed with a tester who got it done quickly.  April Brown is a fabulous doll clothes designer in her own right.  You can find her on Etsy at GrannyGooseDesigns and also will find some exclusives and embroidery designs on Embroidery Passbook.  She said that my pattern was easy and quick to make up and fit the dolls well.  She even made a fuller version of the skirt, told me how she did it, and gave me permission to add it to my pattern which I did.  The top to this ruffled outfit can be made with or without ruffles and can be made reversible!  Ruffles Galore! or Not can be purchased in my stores on Etsy and Craftsy.  The links are at the upper right.

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Happy Creating,

Lana

March – In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lion

No, I don’t have that backwards.  That is how my March went.  Read on.

March Accomplishments:

  • My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 71 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 121 blocks to be completed.  I also have all the fabrics that I need for the remaining blocks in that box.  I was short a few but received via email a coupon from my local quilt shop for $10 off a $20 purchase.  They also offered an additional $5 off that purchase if I shared their ad.  So I just clicked on the Facebook icon and like magic I received that additional savings.  What fun I had at the shop choosing my fabric!

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  • I didn’t get a quilt finished this month but am very close. I just need to do the label, hanging sleeve, and binding.  There were a couple of reasons for the failure to meet this goal.  First of all, I used this month’s quilt as the one for the Lisa Calle class that I purchased last month.  Takes time to learn new tricks, and as Lisa would say “Quilt it to death”.  LOL  Would you believe I went through 6 large bobbins on this quilt?  And the quilt is only 22 1/2″ square!  And secondly, I got the flu.  I was pretty sick for a couple of days the end of March (out like a lion) and quickly recovered but even a week later am still experiencing some fatigue.  If all goes well this month, I should finish this quilt and a quilt for April which is pieced and ready to go and get a quilt pieced for May.  If all goes well.  I showed you a picture of the quilt top last month.  Here it is quilted.  Thanks to a friend’s tips on taking pictures, I actually got one that shows the quilting pretty well.

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  • The reversible coat doll pattern is still with the testers. Funny how something that I thought was going to be easy can turn out to not be so.  Probably the way I wrote the instructions.  There has been a lot of emailing back and forth.  I have made headway on a little summer outfit for these dolls.  The prototype is perfected, and the pattern is almost completely drawn up.  My plan is to make the outfit up in some cute coordinating fabrics while taking pictures of the process and writing instructions.  If all goes well….oh, I said that before…LOL..I should have it to the testers by the end of April.  I’ll share pictures of them when the patterns are published.

Review:  Divide, Design & Fill for Beautiful Quilting by Lisa Calle

This is the class that I purchased through iQuilt.com last month.  I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned so much from it.  Lisa Calle is a good instructor and kept things interesting and moving at a good pace.  I did, however, wish that she had shown her quilting design process on more than one quilt, but I easily found many quilts she had done by going to Pinterest and searching for Lisa Calle.  I learned a great deal from looking at other examples now that I understand how she came up with those designs.  If you have wondered how quilters like Lisa Calle came up with their designs and are ready to add to your quilting design skills, I highly recommend this class.

Happy Quilting,

Lana

 

February – The Short Month

When I was telling my mom in January about my weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly goals, she was quick to remind me that February is a short month.  I could hear the doubt in her voice that I would not make my goals in the short month, but I assured her that I could and would make it and make it I did.  Woohoo!

February Accomplishments:

My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met each week with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 59 blocks stored in a nice big white box waiting for the remaining 133 blocks to be completed.  And just in case you didn’t see my first post about these blocks, they finish at 4″.

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I finished another charity quilt that is a twin to a quilt I finished in December. Oh, and I’m excited to report that I’ve found a local organization that will take my quilts and see that needy families will get them.  I now have 5 quilts and a baby blanket ready to go.  Just need to make a call and find out when I can drop them off.

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The two-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern is not as easy for me to meet for a couple of reasons:

  1. I tend to procrastinate on them since they are basically a toy and not an item that someone needs. I’ve been working on the current pattern project for over a year.  I say working on it, but I really mean that it sat in a box in my sewing studio for most of that time.  Ya think that may be the definition for procrastination?  LOL  The quilts take priority over doll clothes patterns as do handmade gifts for family members as their birthdays roll around.  In other words, creating doll patterns is low man on the totem pole.
  2. Once the pattern is with the testers, I am at their mercy as to when they can fit it into their busy work and family schedules. I have three testers that I am so lucky to have, and two of them were ill for a couple of weeks shortly after they received the pattern.  They emailed with apologies for the delay, but there is no need for them to apologize.  This stuff happens.  I’m just glad they are feeling better and getting back to normal.  The third tester is working on a part that just simply takes longer.  She has already sent me some corrections. This particular pattern is a coat pattern and will not be released until late summer or early fall.  It’s a seasonal thing.

iQuilt.com had a sale on their video classes, and  I purchased one by Lisa Calle. As I watched the introduction for the class, I learned about the supplies I needed for the class.  First, I needed a quilt top ready to be quilted.  I have a couple of quilt tops hanging in the sewing studio closet neither of which is appropriate for this particular class.  So I got busy and made a disappearing 9-patch which will eventually be auctioned off at our family reunion to raise funds for the next reunion.

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Then when I got into the first lesson, I felt immediately overwhelmed with the expanse of this quilt top and quickly realized that I needed something smaller.  Just so happened that I made too many blocks for the disappearing 9-patch and had four blocks leftover.  So I made this little quilt top which is as you can see a section of the larger quilt top but in my head not so overwhelming.  Since I’m donating the larger disappearing 9-patch quilt, this smaller one will be a nice memento to hang on my wall.  Doesn’t it just make you think of spring?

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Since this was the short month, I didn’t get any extra fun things worked in so am looking forward to maybe an extra project or two thrown in for measure during March.

Happy crafting,

Lana

January: Where Did It Go?

As the new year started, like most people I set myself some goals.  It worked for me last year, so why not again this year.  So my goals for this year are

  • Weekly goal – make three quad Log Cabin blocks.  I need 192 four inch blocks for the quilt I’m working on.  It is going to take me over a year to get them all done.  So why am I not making more of these each week?  First of all, I’m not in a hurry.  “Really?” you say.  Yes, I know this is painfully obvious.  Secondly, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over.  I get bored.  So I’m putting some other things into my schedule to keep things from getting monotonous.  Which brings me to my…..
  • Monthly goal – finish a quilt.  I had a bunch of men’s cotton shirts that I cut into 2 ½” squares.  I’m turning these squares into quilts that will be donated.  I am sewing these squares into 2 ½” strips mixed in with a background fabric so that it creates a particular design when the strips are sewn together.  Then I load my backing and batting onto my longarm frame and sew each strip to them.  Doing it this way, I finish sewing the quilt top together and complete the quilting at the same time.  Then all I need to do is bind them.  It’s a very quick way to make a quilt which leaves me time to work on my…..
  • 2-month goal – publish a doll clothes pattern.  Well, maybe I should make that a year long goal of publishing 6 doll clothes patterns because I am pretty sure my first pattern is not going to be published by March 1.

January Accomplishments:

  • Weekly goals were met with 15 quad Log Cabin blocks completed.

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  • Monthly goal was met by finishing a western themed quilt for a baby boy.  Don’t you just love this pantograph?

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  • Progress was made on my 2-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern. I have the fabrics to make one more garment from the pattern while I take some better pictures to go into the pattern instructions.  In an effort to speed this pattern up, I will work on it before I finish the quilt for February because I need to get it to the testers.  Then I’m at the mercy of how long the testers take to make it up and send me their feedback.  After I receive their feedback, the pattern will need some tweaking before being published.  It is quite a drawn out process.  Shhhhhhhhhhhh…it’s a secret, so pictures will have to come later.
  • I made a pair of house shoes for my oldest granddaughter for her birthday.  If you look closely, you will be able to see the dragonfly print on the fabric.

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  • I also worked on a doll sweater that will eventually be turned into a pattern.    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh….another secret.  No pictures until the pattern is published.  Sorry.
  • I crocheted a hat and scarf for my dolls.  The only stitch used in the scarf was a slip stitch – a first for me.  Nikki does so enjoy being my model.

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I was telling my mom about my goals, what I had accomplished during January and what I need to accomplish during February.  In her very own back-handed supportive way she said to me, “February is a short month, you know.”  LOL

Have a wonderful, but short, crafty February,

Lana

December Doings

What a busy month!  And on top of cleaning and decorating the house for all the Christmas festivities, I decided to make house shoes for one of my granddaughters, her daughter, and her daughter’s dolly to give them for Christmas.  Found some sparkly turquoise fabric at Hobby Lobby that I knew they would love.  I used home décor fabric-backed vinyl for the soles.  They turned out great and were a hit especially with the 2-year-old.

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After completing the house shoes, I put buttons on the fly-away bells on the sleeves of a blouse I had bought.  The sleeves kept getting into everything so had to tame them a bit.

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And I made a tea towel for my mom.  There is a story behind it.  Of course there is, you say!  LOL  I had made a tea towel a couple of years ago that my mom wanted, but it was my favorite, and I couldn’t part with it.  And I didn’t have anymore of the fabric.  But as luck would have it, I bought a box of scraps at a garage sale; and, lo and behold, there was a piece of that fabric in there!  Woohoo!  So now my mom has a tea towel exactly like mine.  She’s a happy camper.

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For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been scouring thrift stores and garage sales looking for 11 x 14 frames to put my little sister’s artwork in that she was giving for Christmas gifts this year.  She told me she had 9 pieces to frame.  On Thanksgiving Day she told me she had 13.  Okay, we are 4 frames short!  So we went on a wild shopping spree searching for more frames.  In case you are wondering why we are looking for them instead of her, it’s because she has autism.  We help her out on such things when they prove too difficult or confusing to her.  Some of the frames needed replacement glass which we found at a local lumber hard for half the cost of everybody else, and several needed mats which were purchased one per week at Hobby Lobby using the weekly 40% off coupon.  Then we picked up her artwork, put everything together, and returned all to her so that she could wrap them.  I watched as our other two sisters opened theirs on Christmas Eve.  They went right to Kip and told her that these gifts are by far the best gift she had ever given them.  Our mom and dad received theirs a few days earlier and called me to let me know how much they liked them and how much they appreciated us helping her.  Thirteen gifts cost Kip only $34.21.  We won’t count the gas, wear and tear on my car, or our time.  LOL  Here is the picture Kip gave to us.

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Somehow during preparing for having 20 plus people over on Christmas Eve and going on wild shopping sprees, I found time to work on a quilt.  I had it more than half done by Christmas Eve and finished it a couple of days later.  This was a fun experimental quilt.  The plaids and stripes I used were cut from a number of men’s cotton shirts I purchased from the thrift store way back when I first started quilting.  I feel this purchase requires a little explanation.  When I first started quilting, I was extremely short of funds.  The thrift store would have $3 bag sales.  I could fit a lot of cotton garments into that big brown paper grocery bag which gave me lots of fabric to play with.  I’ve used pieces from this stash in a quilt for our grandson, a throw for a cousin whose wife passed away, and a doll quilt.  I still had an overflowing tub that I needed to do something with.  I certainly didn’t want to waste them so decided to cut all into 2 ½” strips and squares.  Took a good while to do that but mission accomplished.  Next step is to get all into warm quilts.

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Now back to the experimental part of the quilt.  I loaded the backing and the batting for the quilt onto my longarm and then pieced long 2 ½” wide strips.  As I finished a strip, I took it to the longarm and placed it horizontally across the frame and stitched it in place using my longarm.  Bonus was sewing the strips together and quilting the quilt all in one seam.  It really went quite fast and made a pretty nice quilt.  See for yourself.

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But, really, I need to get back to making quad Log Cabin blocks.  After all, I need 192 of these 4” blocks to make my quilt; and even though I started it in January, I only have 29 made.  So during the month of December I added 3 more to that total and have determined that I will make 3 per week during 2018 and will assemble the quilt top in 2019.  Oh, I almost hate to mention that there is a lot of appliqué on the border.  This is a long-term project mainly because, although I really do like this quilt pattern, I find these blocks quite tedious to work on and each one takes so long to make!  I figured out that in order to make one block, I actually make 5 blocks – 4 Log Cabins and 1 four-patch.  So I will spread it out over time – a long time – and will eventually get it finished.

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To top off the month, I whipped together a baby quilt top.  Started it at about 8:30 one evening, worked for a couple of hours, and got up the next morning and finished it.  And, yes, I used some of the plaid from those shirts I cut up and the leftover backing fabric from the other quilt I finished this month.

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I need another 1 ¼ yards for the backing which I will pick up at Walmart next week.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for the pantograph to come in that I am going to use for this one.  It’s called Yippee Ki Yay!  This quilt is destined to be the first one I finish in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Lana

 


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