Quilts and Quilting

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OI! Hello! It's meeeee!

OI! Hello! It's meeeee!

Hello! It’s me, Caity!  Shocking you as I reveal the alarmingly unflattering arms-length self portrait to show you my even shorter hair and new green framed glasses!  Wooooo!

Yep, that is grey at the temples there.  The pink just fades too darn fast, so I’m going BLONDE next.  At the next haircut.  And I finally got to see my waxer today, so I’m no longer auditioning for any roles as “grotesquely bearded lady” – just “slightly spotty” one.  And given how NONE of you wanted to hear about my facial hair woes mentioned in the last post, I’ll just leave that there, eh?

Sewing: ummmmm – well, I’m going to Gardam’s to order velvet tomorrow after gym… does that count? And I’m planning on rethreading the @*&#!)&*(# overlocker (serger) tonight and replacing the needle that broke right before I went on holidays.  Provided the front room has cooled down some – our wee hoose has no insulation and the temp got up to 36 degrees INSIDE today. That’s 95 F… hot for Toowoomba, but nowhere near the summer scorchers of my childhood.

(In primary school in Dubbo, we all FERVENTLY believed that when the temperature outside reached 46 degrees (115F) we’d be allowed to go home.  I have no idea if it was ever true, but I do remember when the temperature sat at 44 or 45 degrees for weeks and we’d have our classes outside under trees instead. Back in my day, sonny, we didn’t HAVE aircon at school…)

And I will confess to ordering a couple of new Vogue patterns: I like this one from Sandra Betzina especially.


Once my stupid swelly belly problem is a bit more sorted, I’ll sew up some skirt patterns… in the meantime, it’s just easier to wear loose dresses and tshirts with jeans.

Quilting: After quite a long hiatus I actually feel inclined towards making some fibre/quilt art.  I’ve been so out of that loop that I haven’t even read the last few issues of Quilting Arts… horror! And I’ve let my subscriptions to most of the other magazines lapse.  In their most recent email, though, there were some books coming out this year that looked worthwhile…including this one by Melanie Testa:melanie-testa

Doesn’t that look inspiring?

And now I really need to go and get settled for sleep.  I’m trying a new gym class in the morning and I’m feeling very nervous…

… and yes, it was awful.  Not because the psychiatrist was awful  – she was actually helpful, and pleasant, and worth going on with in the new year –  but because I have immense difficulty trying to dig through my memory about previous treatments etc.  (Keep a record, you say? IF I COULD DO THAT SORT OF STUFF, I WOULDN’T NEED THE PSYCHIATRIST!!)

Then I ate according to my emotions and not my Eating Plan.


Boysenberry Cream Cheese muffin.


In an Eating Plan that’s supposed to be 1100 calories and about 30grams of fat FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.  Oh, well done, that girl.

There were plenty of other choices.  I even had a gluten free muesli bar in my handbag.




I can’t even talk about the rest of everything right now.  I’m going to go lie in the (hot!) bedroom with my (stifling!) CPAP mask on and agonise about THE ENTIRE WORLD’S PROBLEMS for a few hours now.

I’m sooooooooo tired!  I slept all day yesterday.  And I mean ALL DAY – I woke up at 4 pm, still feeling tired.  Today – made it up a WHOLE HALF HOUR EARLIER.  Arrgh!

And I’m still tired.  I’m getting to bed early (straight after The Bill last night, and probably even earlier tonight)   – just … well, pain makes me tired.  A lot.

So even though there are patterns cut and waiting, fabric washed and ready, and I’ve even unearthed the pressing ham… I’ve done NO SEWING.

Which means I still have NOTHING TO WEAR! Which wouldn’t be a problem if all I was planning on doing was staying home and sleeping but I am going ON HOLIDAYS in two weeks!


And I didn’t get to meet up with the lovely Brenda, who was in town for a family do. I also didn’t get to go out to the movies to see Australia, or to an afternoon tea with friends… bugger bugger bugger bugger!

Dentist tomorrow, the routine 6 monthly torture session – I’d much rather that than wait and discover horrible damage, but still – it’s … unpleasant.

Not much room for interesting blogging when all I do is SLEEP, dagnabbit!

Well, so much for His Lord High bloody Gastroenterologist saying I don’t have coeliac – three slices of sultana bread yesterday and I am bloated and miserable!

What IS that smell?


Too sick to do much.

Talk to you all later.

(Okay, I admit, I’m TRYING to let it go, but it still smarts!)

Had a lovely thing happen today as the TeaBot5000 and I were coming out of the town library.  A lovely woman came up to me and said “Excuse me, are you Caityquilter?”

YES!!!  We’ve been reading each other’s blogs for a while, and have quite congruent interests (quilting, reading, poodles, technology) and had yet to meet up – so she said “When I saw you standing there I thought that HAD to be you!”

We had a brief chat about the frustrations of dealing with technophobes, and the joy of meeting up (virtually and in person) with bloggist kindred spirits.

We’re going to meet up for a lunch soon.

Lunch, dahhhhlings!

Lunch, dahhhhlings!

*post abandoned as neighbout’s screaming child is getting TOO MUCH!! More later when my head has stopped exploding…  Jebus may love the little children BUT I DON’T!  Actually, it’s the parents I blame…*



Yep, again with the disgusting gross embarrassing oral thrush.


Fortunately I recognised the symptoms and had a repeat of the prescription from last time.  Still don’t know if the lozenges are supposed to be orange or lemon flavoured – they’re just yuk!  I’ll have to try and get in to the doctors this week   *sigh*

So anyway – I’m sewing.  Or at least getting ready to cut out this:

Simplicity  3921 – I’m making view A, a simple little bolero top.

One side will be plain black cotton, the other black with little white dots – that way it will be reversible and coordinate with the next few things I’m making – and that’s the whole point of the Endless Combinations Contest over on Pattern Review.

The dress I wore for the cup lunch was piece 1 – so piece 2 has to go with that; then the next thing has to combine with either piece 1 or 2; then piece 3 has to combine with any of the previous ones… it’s a great way to make sure I’m not sewing “orphans”.

(And speaking of the cup outfit, I was thrilled to bits that two other blogs featured my hat – the original inspiration, “Outsapop Trashion“, and also “The Lazy Milliner“- wooooohoooooo! THAT’S what blogging’s all about, making connections!!  The hat itself went un-noticed at the lunch, except by those on the same table.  Next I’m going BIG or not going at all!)

I also cleared my fabric stash of a few pieces of fabric that were so very very autumn I couldn’t even use them as bottoms pieces or linings – fortunately they went to a good Autumn home!

Ow. My mouth and throat are really sore.  Obviously I’m working at just the threshold between well and sick – the least bit of stress and overtiredness and BAM! Down I go.

Off to cut fabric now.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Certain people at a group I won’t name but will no longer be associated with in any way need to read this:

Maybe this is even too advanced for them....

Maybe this is even too advanced for them....

and stay the heck out of things they know nothing about.


When sorting through a box of fabric flower making stuff* I got from Nana, I found this treasure: it’s sterling silver with diamantes.  I’m not sure where it came from – stuff has ended up all over the place during various moves, so it might not have been Nana Miller’s at all.

Lil of the Valley brooch

Lily of the Valley brooch

Isn’t it pretty?  It needs a good clean, though – one of the stems is wobbly, and the silver is very tarnished. I’m off to get a quote from a local jeweller to see what can be done.

Can’t you just see this pinned to a plain (vintage!) dress or (vintage, to die for!) hat?

for scale

Anyway, that’s a job for tomorrow.  We used up too much bandwidth this month and so our internet is cut back to dial up speed ’til the new month.  PAINFUL!!

So tomorrow I’ll try and mostly sew, I think.   Hmmm.

I went to Quilters today – first time in ages, since I was so sick before the surgery that I wasn’t going much of anywhere – and THEY DIDN’T RECOGNISE ME!!  It was hilarious watching people whisper “Who’s that?” to each other.

Last time they saw me I:

  • looked really ILL
  • had long hair
  • had different glasses
  • wore no makeup
  • only dressed in jeans and t-shirts!

And today I went in the new frock with cute shoes, a little bit of face on, and my short short haircut – and, if I do say so myself, looking better than I’ve done in YEARS.

Quite the difference.

And now it’s past my bedtime again – catchya tomorrow!

*yeah, more on that later  – I need to figure out how to get a spirit lamp (?) that burns without making soot, I think?

So I’ve been a busy little bee, sewing.  I’m striving towards better “build quality” with each thing I sew… but…..

You know how there is a series of books called “The Missing Manual: The Book That Should Have Been In The Box”? (Pogue Press O’Reilly are awesome technical publishers, BTW. If you’re stuck on something techie, they are THE go- to books, IMHO.) Well, what I need is a “Missing Manual” for the Big 4 pattern companies!  It would include things like:

  • cut the interfacing to the SEAM lines (not outside cutting lines) of pieces you need to interface, it reduces bulk and makes things turn in so much more nicely
  • when to put in a grosgrain waist stay
  • WHEN to finish which edges in construction – the stupid patterns assume you know this, except when they suddenly remember to say things like “Finish long facing edge…” – NOT HELPFUL, arrgh!
  • reminders along the way to hand baste to check fit
  • ideas about alternative ways to finish seams
40 is the new...

40 is the new...

Yes, I have at various times read most of these things in my treasured collection of Threads magazines; but with my menopausal memory (like a steel… sieve!  Yep, that’s it, memory like a steel sieve, me!) I can’t keep so much in my head.  Most of my functioning brain space these days is taken up with thoughts such as “HOT!  Why is it so HOT In here?” and “What was I doing… why am I in this room?” and “Did I just eat that gingernut… or if not, where have I put it?”

Last night I spent HOURS – literally hours – trying to work out how to pin something together that should have been simple.  I know, I shouldn’t attempt to sew when I’m tired; but I reckon losing those brain cells to another general anaesthetic combined with the lack of hormones has made me even sillier than before!

Paris Frocks At Home

Paris Frocks At Home

Actually, the more I look at this book at Vintage Pattern Info, the more I see where my Missing Manual went – this is all the sort of stuff I was talking about!  ARGGGGH!

Could it be that I’m not only menopausal, but need to TIME TRAVEL for sewing lessons as well?

(ooooh, imagine being able to grab that yummy David Tennant as Dr Who and travelling to various couturier’s workshops – who would you pick first?  I think I’d have to at least go to Charles Frederick Worth and see how HIS seamstresses managed those princess lines he allegedly invented!)

Right, I’m off to iron a frock – I’m going to a TUPPERWARE PARTY this arvo  – LOL! (It’s an excuse to eat yummy things and drink champagne and be giggly with the girls – gotta love that!)

Like this sweet young thing, I’m busy sewing.  Results soon!

Sewing, sewing, sewing....

Sewing, sewing, sewing....

The One Hundred by Nina Garcia

The One Hundred by Nina Garcia

And I got a new book!  (Thank you Mr Beloved, *Mwah Mwah*!) BUT I have to swear off magazines.  No buying at the newsagents/shops except for Australian Stitches Magazine and Burda World of Fashion.  Even some of the ones I have subscriptions for  won’t be renewed. (Quilters Newsletter, Cloth Paper Scissors, and maybe even Quilting Arts – I’m talking ’bout YOU!)

Magazines are to budgets what biscuits are to diets – they kinda creep back in, and all of a sudden they’re making you fat.  Yep, magazines make my house look FAT, I hate seeing clutter everywhere! (And after seeing the dietician this morning and not losing anything AGAIN this week, the gingernuts done with, too.)

The illustrations are just superb – Ruben Toledo is a genius!  Have a look inside the book here. (I’d scan in more images that I’d like to comment on, but I am SOOOOO clumsy with the new image editing software that’s it’s unbearable. Grumble grumble.)

Ruben Toledo Illustration

Ruben Toledo Illustration

Also bought some “suck your tummy in” pants at Big W.  (Or for those of us who remember the old ads- “I can’t believe it’s not a GIRDLE!”  – well that’s because it bloody well IS!!) Also a couple of HOT PINK T-shirts because they were 2 for $16 – I can’t make them for that.  Some poor worker at the #74 Hot-Pink-T-Shirt-Factory-and-Political-Prison-Somewhere-in-China sewed them.  Which I feel slightly guilty about, but it’s HARD to be politically correct when you’re a pov!  And I’ve only just learned that after years of wanting to wear HOT PINK, it’s actually a good colour on me – wooo hooo!

(and yes, HOT PINK does need all caps – how else do I convey that the colour is not some prissy little baby pink, hmmm?)

And now I really should stop faffing about on the ‘puter and go sew this #*&)@$) zipper that I’ve been procrastinating about for days – once that’s done I can go ask my sewing buddy Sue to help me with the hem!

New ‘puter. Hooray for Linux Mint!  FAST!! and STABLE!! two things my poor old Windows laptop was not.  And HOORAY for wider bigger screen!  Boooo, however, to ASUS for having their download site not working.  (And boo for not providing Linux drivers straight off – yep, I’m a convert!)

Booo for having to remember a gazillion different log-ins and passwords though – maaaaaaaan I have NO idea what some of them were!

Also – BOOO for pattern instructions that leave me scratching my head.  I’m still hoping to get the dress done to wear Wednesday morning, but there’s more to still be done than I was hoping…

Go forth! SEW!!

Go forth! SEW!!

So, I just made View A of this skirt, with the lovely cascade formed by a couple of pleats and the shaped hem.

McCalls 5430

McCalls 5430

Pattern Description: Skirts A, B, C have waistband with self-ties and inside buttonholes; skirt A has front pleats creating a cascade; skirt B has optional trim; skirt C has self-faced pockets; length is 2″ below mid-knee.
Pattern Sizing: 6-20.  I made a size 20.

I tissue fitted the pattern and thought I would have enough overlap to allow for my swelly belly – NOPE!! Close, but I don’t know if I can wear it in public.  (I think I might have forgotten to pleat out the pleats.  Truly, I am such a NONG sometimes!)

Wrap skirt

Wrap skirt

What do you think – can I go out in this or should I leave it in the wardrobe until my belly goes down?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  Of course, the pattern illustration girl is unrealistically tall and thin, IMHO….

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.  The only tricky bit is the waistband and attached ties – but just read the instructions through carefully and you won’t have any problems.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern?
Like: It was quite simple to construct.
Dislike: Unless it’s an hour on some planet with a MUCH longer day than Earth’s, there is NO WAY this is a one hour project!  I’m sure I spent at least that long just pressing during construction.

I am, however, now QUITE motivated to learn how to use a narrow hemmer foot properly – because doing the whole “ease stitch, press up, then pin and stitch” on that much hemline, as per the instructions, is just silly.  Next time I might just use the serger for a rolled hem -there’s a LOT of hem!

Fabric Used: Quilting cotton from my stash. (Robert Kaufman Fusion Roses in red from Hancock’s of Paducah.)  I probably should have thought more about the wrong side of the fabric showing in the cascade – but I can live with it.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None! This is straight out of the envelope.  I *should* have altered it to accommodate my larger than normal belly, but I didn’t.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Already got the next one cut out – this time view C with pockets and top-stitching.

Conclusion: Don’t go into this expecting to make a skirt in 1 hour – there’s just NO WAY! But it is a simple and wearable skirt that will be fabulous for summer.


BTW – my hair is even shorter now!  Mr Beloved thinks it’s a little too severe this short. I kinda like it.  And did you see how Constance posed just like in my avatar?!

Oh, and I got my new glasses today – they fit better than the old ones, and are slightly stronger.  Purple frames again! Also, the lenses aren’t scratched – amazing what a difference that makes.  I try to be careful with them but ya gotta LIVE, eh?

Had the most gorgeous afternoon today – it was the long anticipated FROCK UP High Tea to celebrate darling Chriss’s birthday.  She claims it was her 50th – but truly, that can’t be right!  No way this sweetie looks fifty, don’t you agree?

Happy Birthday, Chriss!!

Happy Birthday, Chriss!!

We were treated to a scrumptious high tea.  Chriss assures us that any food consumed at a birthday party contains ZERO calories, so we all enjoyed ourselves.

High Tea - Calorie Free!

High Tea - Calorie Free!

Here we are saying “KIWI!!” in honour of Chriss’s home country, Noo Zillund.

The party was at Platform Nine – which is the Toowoomba Railway Station’s dining room!  They had display cabinets of artefacts from when we had a true passenger service to Toowoomba…(mutter mutter grumble, that’s a post for another time…)

It was the best birthday party ever – and the sweetest pressie from Chriss’s Darling DH.  (altogether now – awwwwwwww!!) She’s also getting A SEWING ROOM!!

Rock on in your 50s, sweetie – the best is yet to come!

That’s me, trying to get ANYTHING done right now!  I feel quite sluggish and plodding.  Today was the warmest day so far (31 C, according to the TV weather) and I felt like I was melting!  Oh dear.  Bring on November 11 and those oestrogen pills, eh? Hot flush plus actual warm weather is going to be .. interesting.

But in GREAT medical news – my blood pressure has fallen some more, and I am now switching to the lowest possible dose of the pills – yay!  A few more kilos (and even less pain, I hope?) and maybe I will be able to get rid of one medication once and for all.

I am cutting out fabric (Shock! Horror!) in preparation for sewing the skirt and the dress.  Meantime, I have lost my Magic Book – the one where I have very carefully stuck down pattern pictures and written the fabric amounts – I’ve spent HOURS on it and I can’t find it!  I’m hoping that by posting about it, somehow magically it will turn up, thereby making me look like a twit.

Pics to follow when there’s something worth photographing…

… was HOT!  Today was the warmest day we’ve had this Spring – misty this morning, burnt off to a sunny blue sky, and is now darkening into this:

Stop just sitting there and RAIN!

Stop just sitting there and RAIN!

so far for all the darkening clouds, we’ve had about six drops of rain.

The Stitcher’s Dream Day Out was held (as usual) under (in?) a marquee on the lawns outside The Quilters Angel.  There were about 140 women in the tent – and not a whisper of a breeze.  Mostly that was ok – just with my wonky thermostat, I had to lie down on the cool grass a few times.

The projects were gorgeous – remembering that I am NOT a “girly-girl”, and pink really isn’t usually my thing!  Everyone gets a kit with the materials to make one of the projects, and all the patterns so you can make the rest later if you want to. The theme was “Vintage”.

Samples plus more by designers

Samples plus more by designers

I was quite happy with the my kit: the design was shown mounted as a wall hanging, but I think it will probably be a cushion: (please note – my photo is wonky, the actually piece does have even borders!) This is “Butterfly Dreams” by Leanne May of Candlelight Creations.

So far, this is where I’m up to:

Um yeah, Chriss and I may have spent more time chatting with each other and the other ladies on our table than actually stitching!

Today I also got to meet up with someone I’ve known online for AAAAAGES but never met face to face before – Carmel!  When she’s had a chance to get home and on her computer, there will be photos.

I’m off for my “nana nap” – you know, the little lie down you have to have after going out? (or just because it’s the afternoon…)

… I am probably gently snoring at the cute anaesthetist.  And the doctors scalpel has probably already revealed just how thick the fat layer is on my belly…and the various nurses etc will have handed him retractors to get my muscles out of the way.  Within 2 hours or so all the girly reproductive gear will be GONE GONE GONE and off in the pathology lab to be examined.


Mr Beloved will be posting updates as soon as he can.  But be assured, I will be back home and blogging for myself REALLY REALLY SOON!

Love yers all,


Major overhaul of immigration policy

Josephine Tovey
July 29, 2008 – 12:03PM

The Minister for Immigration, Senator Christopher Evans, has heralded a new era in Australian immigration law in a speech in Canberra this morning, bringing to an end the previous government’s practice of indefinite mandatory detention, which he slammed as “dehumanising” and detrimental to Australia’s international reputation.

Caity sez: Hear Hear!

The senator told an audience at the Australian National University the Rudd Government would “fundamentally overturn” the previous government’s immigration policy, and implement a risk-based policy of detention.

“Under Labor’s reforms, persons will be detained only if the need is established. (emphasis added by Caity because she is thrilled and relieved that this will be the new policy.) If a person is complying with immigration processes and is not a risk to the community then detention in a detention centre cannot be justified,” he said in the speech, titled “New Directions in Detention – Restoring Integrity to Australia’s Immigration System”.

The senator said all those now held in detention centres who met health and security requirements would eventually be released into the community, but could not say when that would occur. We must hold the government to this – DETENTION OF ALL  CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE !! sez Caity.

Those arriving by boat on Australian shores will still be detained to undergo mandatory health, identity and security checks, but would be released into the community once they had been cleared. Ok, but how about a timeline, then?  Say, “within 4 weeks”? I don’t think that’s unreasonable, do you?

“The set of values adopted are designed to drive the development of a very different detention model.

“The values commit us to detention as a last resort; to detention for the shortest practicable period; to the rejection of indefinite or otherwise arbitrary detention,” Senator Evans said.

Children will also no longer be detained in Australian detention centres. Our household cried with JOY when we read this.

Unauthorised boat arrivals made up only a small fraction of Australia’s detention centre population, comprising six out of 357 people now detained in facilities throughout Australia, he said.

Most people detained under the current policy were those who had overstayed their visa.

Senator Evans strongly criticised both the morality and the effectiveness of the former government’s approach.

“Desperate people are not deterred by the threat of harsh detention; they are often fleeing much worse circumstances. The Howard government’s punitive policies did much damage to those individuals detained and brought great shame on Australia,” he said. (Caity’s added emphasis again there, because Yes, they did. )

The senator began his speech with an anecdote about eight Burmese people who had been left languishing on Nauru, despite being recognised as refugees.

“When I asked why the eight Burmese had not been settled in Australia in accordance with international law there was an embarrassed silence.

“Eventually the answer emerged. The Howard government had ordered they stay put. They had been left rotting on Nauru because the Howard government wanted to maintain the myth that third-country settlement was possible,” he said.

This new story has cheered me up immensely.  Here’s to HOPE!

edited to add: Of course the Oppostition has IMMEDIATELY jumped and rather than thinking through policy alternatives, or the good of the country, has just said  (in effect): “SHAN’T, So There!!”


So here I am after yet another day spent mainly in bed… I did get out to the doctors but could hardly walk, so we didn’t do the lung function stuff today after all.  We’ve re-scheduled- she thought it might be a good idea to do it before the anaesthesia.  (ya think?!)

Doc prescribed Brufen for the pain and swelly belly – she was very sympathetic but limited in what she could offer, with the TAHBSO now just 4 weeks away.

Mr Beloved  went out to (local department store) Bailey’s closing down sale and bought me two nighties for the hospital trip – in the worst weather I’ve seen since moving to Toowoomba – the news tonight confirmed that with the wind chill, our 4 degrees outside temp actually felt more like minus four.

Still quite apprehensive about the op – not so much the operation itself, but the aftermath: recovery from the wounds, healing time, and of course the fear of what the pathology might turn up. I find it hard to believe that these symptoms are benign; the sheer swelling and pain are making me so miserable and nervous…this can’t POSSIBLY be normal.  And you know those ads on the tv lately about ovarian cancer? *shudder* At least soon we will KNOW, there’s comfort in that.  But I’m still a bit ok a LOT freaked out.

(That’s my eye there – one of them, anyway – being FREAKED OUT.  Note my “aztec sun” eye pattern which is apparently typical for “Autumn” colouring. There ya go!)

Poor little Constance has been doing her Faithful Guard Dog Schtick™ non-stop: she has to be convinced to eat when she’s on duty, and will only leave her post to go to the loo when I do, or when she becomes utterly desperate.  The least sign that I might be getting out of bed brings her to full alert – even tuning over to get a better position around the hot water bottle or stretching my toes has to be treated as moving to Defcon 1.  (And if I swing my legs over the side and slide my feet into my slippers – the Twirly Whirly Poodle HaPpY dAnCe of JOY™ must be performed. With vigor.)

Poor old cat cat was brought up from the shed after quite disconsolately sitting in front of the unplugged heaters, and looking at Mr Beloved as if to say “These ones don’t work.  MAKE THEM WORK, Daddy!”

Time to download my podcasts (including this new one from Wendy Harmer and Angela Catterns – yaya!) and head back up to bed.   The podcasts are such sanity savers – when I’m feeling slightly less blah I work on the Tuesdays and TV quilt and listen, but mostly I just turn off all the lights, huddle around the hot water bottle, and enjoy the audio without distraction.

Hoping to get to Toowoomba Quilters tomorrow if I’m not too sore and miserable… although it’s a bloody cold room… hmmmm.  Maybe not.

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