Monday, 16 October 2017

Knitted Shawl Beginnings

In my last post I showed you my haul from the Knitting and Stitching Show.  I've already made a start on knitting with that gorgeous hand-dyed yarn (why finish off all those other projects I've already got on the go, right?!)

First I had to wind the skein into a ball...

Click to see the start of a gorgeous knitted shawl made with hand-dyed yarn.

That's a pretty lovely ball of yarn there!

Then came my first attempts at knitting the shawl.  You'll be a lot more used to seeing crochet than knitting here on my blog, so I had to get back into the swing of it and figure out the beginning of the pattern.  I had to start over about three times, and ended up cutting a bit of the yarn off, where I had ruined it slightly with my messing about and undoing it.

But once the first bit clicked, it's been easy!

Click to see the start of a gorgeous knitted shawl made with hand-dyed yarn.

I'm loving it!  I keep wanting to do just one more row... although they're taking longer and longer as I increase stitches each time.

I'm not sure how long it's going to take me, but hopefully I'll have a finished shawl to show you at some point!  What do you think?  Do you like it so far?



Check out my (very few) completed knitted projects here.


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Knitting and Stitching Show Haul

On Wednesday, I had the day off and ventured up to Alexandra Palace in London for the Knitting and Stitching Show!  I went with my friend Anna, and her friend Catherine, who both went last year.  This was my first time.

It was such a good day full of exciting inspiration and beautiful things to buy.  I thought I'd share my haul with you...


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

This beautiful hand-dyed yarn and some circular knitting needles to make a pretty little shawl.  I bought the pattern too, which isn't shown.  I've been saying all year that I need to get into some knitting, rather than just the crocheting - this will be my start!


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

Aren't the colours just gorgeous?!  This is from For the Love of Yarn UK - etsy shop here.

And to continue the knitting plans...


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

Stylecraft Head over Heels yarn and the needles I need for sock making.  That will be a very new challenge for me!


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

I bought these larger circular knitting needles too - for perhaps knitting a chunky cowl in the round, or some such thing.  I just felt I might need them, I haven't actually got a plan!!

So, although I've never used circular knitting needles, I now own three sets - let's hope I get on with them!


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

These beautiful linen threads were the first thing I bought - I just couldn't resist these colours!  They're from Namolio.  I have no idea what I'm going to make with them, but they were just too gorgeous to leave behind...


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

Those colours!  They go quite well with the purse clasp I also bought - although I'm not sure yet whether to make a fabric purse, or a crochet one, or a bit of both - we shall see!


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

I bought some fabric too...


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

This is a fat quarter of oil cloth - which I might use to make a wash bag, or some other type of bag.  Again, not completely sure, but I liked the pattern!

We were also lucky enough to be given some fabric as a free gift, as we had VIP tickets!


Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace

I managed to nab the set above, which were definitely the best colours/patterns for me!  (There was a fourth fat quarter in the bundle, in brown, which I didn't really like, so haven't pictured it.  Although, it might come in useful for something or other - like the trunk of a tree... I might one day want to make a fabric tree, you never know...!)

I'm very pleased with all my purchases, although I'm not sure which to start using first!  I had a fantastic day, although very tiring!

Have you been before, or are you planning to go this year?  I recommend it!



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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Slow Progress - Crochet Colour Blocks

Since my last post about these colour blocks, I haven't got very much further.  I've finished one block (which I admit was nearly done when I published that post) and started on another...


You haven't seen the purple, blue and pink one yet.  I do like those colours together - I think that is one of my favourite squares so far.

I've just got to plough on with this latest one, then it's one more square and border/joining time!  The final colour on each square seems to take forever, though - I've just got to try to stay motivated!


Check out my completed crochet items here.



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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Enhancing a Wedding Planner with Washi Tape and Lettering

Hello!  Sorry it's been a while, time is flying lately!

I just thought I'd show you the beautiful wedding planner my parents bought Rob and I when we got engaged...

Looking to enhance a wedding planner?  Click to find out how to decorate your planner with washi tape and pretty lettering - it's quick and easy!

It's hard to capture in a photo, but the lettering is in metallic rose gold - it's very pretty!

Inside, it is a ruled notebook made from nice good quality paper.  I decided to create my own section header pages, using washi tape and some fancy lettering...

Looking to enhance a wedding planner?  Click to find out how to decorate your planner with washi tape and pretty lettering - it's quick and easy!

The first section is 'Venues' - detailing all the venues we went to visit (9 of them!) with our notes on each one, our shortlist, and then our final selection.

Looking to enhance a wedding planner?  Click to find out how to decorate your planner with washi tape and pretty lettering - it's quick and easy!

'Beauty' is for details on my hair and make-up artist for the big day.

Looking to enhance a wedding planner?  Click to find out how to decorate your planner with washi tape and pretty lettering - it's quick and easy!

'The Dress!' earned an exclamation mark, because... well, it's about... the dress!  Exciting!

To create the lettering, I have been using 'King Basil Lite' font to type the words on my laptop.  I then put the paper over to trace them in pencil, then fill them in with a black biro.  I guess I could use a black felt-tip pen for a more even fill-in - but for some reason the coloured in with a biro look is working for me!

The washi tape is a roll of co-ordinated tape in pale pink, mint and gold that I bought in a Michael's when I went on holiday to Florida earlier this year - it's good to have a use for it!

The wedding planning is ongoing, so there will be more sections, but I think you get the idea...

For other wedding crafting (there hasn't been much yet!) see my bridesmaid proposal message in a bottle.

Looking to enhance a wedding planner? Click to find out how to decorate your planner with washi tape and pretty lettering - it's quick and easy!




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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Garden Diaries 2 : Gladiolus Grandiflorus - Orleans

Who'd have thought it - another garden/flower related post!  This will be the last one for a while, though, as I have nothing else to report really.  Maybe next Spring, although wedding plans may scupper that (but that's fine with me!)

ant to find out more about planting Gladiolus Grandiflorus?  Click to see these impressive flowers in the pink colour Orleans.

We bought a pack of different bulbs which we planted in the spring.  They included these Gladiolus Grandiflorus flowers, in the colour Orleans.  They grew and they grew, without much sign of any flower ever appearing.  We also didn't know what to expect, as it was a mixed bag of bulbs and we had no idea which ones were growing these tall shoots.  (Remember that we are complete newbie gardeners!)

ant to find out more about planting Gladiolus Grandiflorus?  Click to see these impressive flowers in the pink colour Orleans.

When they did flower, they were really quite impressive.  Very tall and lovely blooms!

ant to find out more about planting Gladiolus Grandiflorus?  Click to see these impressive flowers in the pink colour Orleans.

Some of them seemed too heavy for their own good, though, and flopped over.  These two in the pictures (mostly just the same one I've pictured), however, stood up tall for quite some time.  Only in the last week have they drooped and I'm not sure whether it was because we had a big rain storm that battered them down.

ant to find out more about planting Gladiolus Grandiflorus?  Click to see these impressive flowers in the pink colour Orleans.

But I took these pictures before that happened!

SUMMARY

Ease of planting:  Pretty easy - just plant bulbs in the soil.

Plant:  Spring (March to May)

Flowers:  Summer (seemed to be late-ish summer from my recollection - apparently July to September)

Prettiness of flowers:  Lovely.

Recurrence:  Apparently these bulbs will die during the cold months, unless you 'overwinter' them (I've just been googling!)  That seems to involve digging them up and storing them out of the cold - that's not going to happen!!

Will I plant again:  Probably, but the floppiness was a bit off-putting (oooh errrr).

Tips for next year:  Plant them where they might have a bit of support, to counter the floppiness.  Maybe against a fence or something, and stake them to keep them up.

Can you see a few of the remaining pretty Godetia flowers dotted about?!


Check out all my 'Garden Diaries' here.



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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Colour Block Crochet Blanket - Update

It's been a while since I updated you on the progress of my colour block crochet blanket.  Although slow, progress has been made!

Looking for a bright bold colour block crochet design?  Click to see more of this colourful crochet blanket as it takes shape!

I have now finished 9 of the 12 planned squares.  The squares are about 29cm x 29cm so quite big, as the idea is to have big bold blocks of colour, rather than smaller motifs.

That also means less ends, which can only be a good thing!  Although, I still haven't kept on top of them, as you can see.

Looking for a bright bold colour block crochet design?  Click to see more of this colourful crochet blanket as it takes shape!

I have nearly finished the 10th square, so once I've completed that there will just be a couple more to make!  Then it will be all the border and joining work...

What do you think?  It's definitely going to be a bright one!!



Check out my completed crochet items here.



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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Garden Diaries 1 : Godetia - Little Frills

Now you may be wondering what is going on here - Garden Diaries?!  I am not green-fingered at all, and no-one would call Rob and me keen gardeners!  However, we did have a little go at planting a few seeds and bulbs this year.  I thought I'd make a record here on the blog - mainly so that in future I will know the easy wins to plant again!

(If you are not into gardening and flowers, fear not - I doubt there will ever be very many of these posts!)

One such easy win was the Godetia seeds we sowed.

Are you looking for easy summer seeds to plant in the spring?  These Godetia seeds are so simple and easy to sew - no effort needed!  They grow into a riot of beautiful flowers - click to find out more!

We had cleared a little spot between some other plants and we just scattered the seeds onto it - I think you might be meant to cover lightly with soil, we may have just ruffled the earth a bit.  I can't remember exactly when we sowed them, but it was in the window of March to May suggested on the packet.  I think it was end of March/beginning of April, but not completely sure.

That was the extent of effort that went into planting them.  They were in an open bit of garden without much shelter, and a sunny spot for most of the day too.  

For a while nothing happened, we weren't sure they'd even grow at all.  Then little shoots appeared and before long the spot was full of green.  The plants either side grew a load and engulfed them a bit over the summer, but it didn't seem to affect them.

They flowered around June/July I think and it was a riot of gorgeous bright happy pink blooms!  I wish I'd taken a photograph when they were in their full glory!  However, by the time I thought of it recently, they'd died off.  (They were flowering a lot for quite a while, though, it wasn't a short window.)

Luckily, during this last week or so more have flowered, so I took a quick snap:

Are you looking for easy summer seeds to plant in the spring?  These Godetia seeds are so simple and easy to sew - no effort needed!  They grow into a riot of beautiful flowers - click to find out more!

These are mainly the whiter ones, but when they were all flowering there was a lovely mix of different pinks, as shown in the first picture.

You can see that they're quite crowded amongst the growth all around them.  Next year I think I'll find a better spot, so they can shine without any competition.  I'm thinking a big trough like pot or planter full of them!

SUMMARY

Ease of planting:  So easy - scatter seeds and forget about them!  (Maybe some watering when you remember!)

Sew:  Spring (March to May)

Flowers:  Summer (June to September)

Prettiness of flowers:  Gorgeous!  Colourful and cheerful.

Will I plant again:  Yes, definitely!

Tips for next year:  Plant them in their own spot/planter to show them off to the best!

Are you looking for easy summer seeds to plant in the spring?  These Godetia seeds are so simple and easy to sew - no effort needed!  They grow into a riot of beautiful flowers - click to find out more!


I've made a new page for these posts (in case I ever post any more!) you can find it at the Garden Diaries tab at the top of the page.


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Hello Sunshine Crochet Squares

A while back, the lovely Hattie from @petalshed did a call out on Instagram for pattern testers of a new crochet square design she had created.  I decided to volunteer.

The square is called the 'Hello Sunshine' square, and is such a pretty design.  There are instructions to make it multi-coloured...


Looking for a cute and pretty crochet square?  Give these colourful squares a go, a pretty new twist on the granny square!

... which I love!


Looking for a cute and pretty crochet square?  Give these colourful squares a go, a pretty new twist on the granny square!

And also in one colour...


Looking for a cute and pretty crochet square?  Give these colourful squares a go, a pretty new twist on the granny square!

... which means less ends to sew in!


Looking for a cute and pretty crochet square?  Give these colourful squares a go, a pretty new twist on the granny square!

I think a blanket or cushion made in a combination of one-colour and multi-coloured squares would look gorgeous.


Looking for a cute and pretty crochet square?  Give these colourful squares a go, a pretty new twist on the granny square!

Details:
Yarn: A mixture of King Cole Bamboo Cotton (DK) and King Cole Cotton Soft (DK)
Hook: 5mm (I have tight tension)
Square Size: 9.5cm x 9.5cm
Pattern: Hello Sunshine by Petalshed

Thanks for the opportunity to test your lovely pattern, Hattie - it was great getting involved!




Check out my completed crochet items here.


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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bridesmaid Proposal - Message in a Bottle

Well, in my last post I shared a little pink crocheted heart which I mentioned was part of a small gift.

Following my recent engagement, the gift was a 'bridesmaid proposal' present to my sister-in-law, Claire.  Who even know bridesmaid proposals existed?!  Not me!  But in my wedding research on Pinterest this curious idea made itself known to me.

Now, I was a bridesmaid for Claire when she married my brother nine years ago, and she's known forever that she would be my bridesmaid, if the day ever came!  So, it went without saying or asking, but I thought this would be cute and fun anyway and I knew she'd like it!

Looking for a cute way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids?  Use this cute and easy message in a bottle idea for your bridesmaid proposal - click to find out more!

After gathering inspiration, I decided to make a little message in a bottle.  Above you can see the message rolled up inside the bottle.

Looking for a cute way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids?  Use this cute and easy message in a bottle idea for your bridesmaid proposal - click to find out more!

The bottle was actually a favour bottle I received at a wedding years ago, and kept.  It had some Baileys in, I believe.  I decorated it with a length of white lace, secured with glue dots.  I then tied a pretty aqua ribbon around it - very simple, but I love how it looks!

I used the same ribbon to tie the scroll, and as a hanging loop on the crochet heart.  I'm currently planning aqua as the colour scheme for the wedding, with pink accents.  Rob seems happy enough to go along with this, but refuses to call it "our" colour scheme - apparently it's all mine!  The colour scheme is not an area in which he wishes to associate himself!!

Looking for a cute way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids?  Use this cute and easy message in a bottle idea for your bridesmaid proposal - click to find out more!

I printed my message onto paper and used some gold peel-off borders from my card-making days to edge it.  (Roon and Loon are our nicknames for each other.)

Looking for a cute way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids?  Use this cute and easy message in a bottle idea for your bridesmaid proposal - click to find out more!

Well, guess what?  She said yes!  (Like she had a choice!)  ;)

And that is as far as we've got with our wedding plans... other than viewing so many venues and still being unable to find one that we're sure about.  I hope we find somewhere soon - fingers crossed!


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Looking for a cute way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids?  Use this cute and easy message in a bottle idea for your bridesmaid proposal - click to find out more!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Pink Crochet Heart

Finally, a bit of crafting around these parts!

Just something quick and mini...

Looking for a quick and easy pattern to make a cute crochet heart?  Perhaps a gift for valentine's day, a wedding, or just to tell someone you love them!   Click to find out more!

A little pink crochet heart.  It was part of a small gift, the rest of which I will share another day.

I made it using King Cole Bamboo Cotton (DK) and a 4mm hook, using this great little pattern.

Looking for a quick and easy pattern to make a cute crochet heart?  Perhaps a gift for valentine's day, a wedding, or just to tell someone you love them!   Click to find out more!

It's nice to have completed a crochet project, no matter how teeny!

Looking for a quick and easy pattern to make a cute crochet heart?  Perhaps a gift for valentine's day, a wedding, or just to tell someone you love them!   Click to find out more!


Check out my completed crochet items here.


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Sunday, 2 July 2017

A Croatian Proposal!

I will try to get back to some crafty blogging soon... but I have some very exciting news!  The title of the post gives it away... I have just had an amazing holiday in Croatia, during which my boyfriend, Rob, proposed!

A romantic proposal in Dubrovnik whilst holidaying in beautiful Croatia

Despite hoping for a while that he would propose, it still came as a complete and utter shock to me!  I had no idea he had been working away secretly to get this ring made and that he'd sneaked it away on holiday with us!

We had gone on a day trip to Dubrovnik, and little did I know he'd been trying to conceal the big ring box shape in his shorts pocket all during the long coach trip and then the 90 minute guided tour.  We finally got some time on our own to walk the city walls, where I was chattering away obliviously, until he got down on one knee.  I was so stunned, I forgot to say yes at first!

It was such a perfect location for it - the views over Dubrovnik were stunning!

A romantic proposal in Dubrovnik whilst holidaying in beautiful Croatia

Not a bad view for a proposal, eh?  It was so exciting - I couldn't believe it had happened!

The rest of the holiday was amazing too - Croatia is such a beautiful country, I really loved it.  We went on a speed boat one day, which was incredible.  We swam in the lagoon below...

A romantic proposal in Dubrovnik whilst holidaying in beautiful Croatia

... and stopped for a drink overlooking this beautiful quiet spot...

A romantic proposal in Dubrovnik whilst holidaying in beautiful Croatia

I don't want to bombard you with holiday photos, so will leave it there.  If you ever get the chance to go to Croatia, however, I can wholeheartedly recommend it - even without the proposal!




Sunday, 18 June 2017

Cute Crochet Pineapple

I recently made the cutest little crochet pineapple  - even if I do say so myself!

Click to see a very cute and easy crochet pineapple - what a tropical fruity touch!

We went to a wedding with a tropical theme for the evening party, so I was inspired to crochet a tropical pineapple as a little accessory!  I initially thought it could be for my boyfriend, Rob, to wear somehow... but he didn't seem keen on being accessorised with a crocheted item!  So, I thought it could hang from my handbag...

Click to see a very cute and easy crochet pineapple - what a tropical fruity touch!

However, Rob ended up claiming it for the evening, dangling from a button to give him a tropical touch.  I never thought I'd see the day he'd be sporting my crochet!  I was wearing the dress featured as the background in the picture above - so you could say I was tropical enough!!

I made up my own pattern, inspired by a lot of the crochet pineapple images on Pinterest.

Click to see a very cute and easy crochet pineapple - what a tropical fruity touch!


Check out my other crochet items here.


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Sunday, 11 June 2017

Rainbow Colours

Last week I took part in a little Instagram challenge with the hashtag #technicolourcrafters.  It is organised by @technicolourcrafters.  It's still ongoing, but I wanted to share the pictures I posted for eight of the fun prompts - RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO, VIOLET and RAINBOW.



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on



A post shared by Maria (@dinki_dots) on


I don't usually take photos for Instagram just based on colour, so it was quite fun to do this.  You can follow me here, if you like!



Sunday, 4 June 2017

Living Room Transformation

If you've been reading along for a while, you will know that I bought my home in May 2013, and it needed a lot of de-grannifying!  You can find links to the transformations I've made in my Home Improvements tab.

My living room was one of the first rooms decorated, but it's taken me this long to take pictures of it, as I always felt I needed to change it further and improve it some more.  However, I've realised that I could end up waiting forever, so it's best to just share the improvements I have made.  In fact, these pictures were taken March 2016, which is when I started writing this post.  I'm finally finishing it and sharing it with you now!

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
Estate Agent Picture

Above you can see how the living room looked when I first went to view it - in good condition, but very dated!

It had to get worse before it got better...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
During

It became quite the building site as you can see above!  Until, finally...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

It is quite a tricky room to get good pictures of.  Or I think that possibly the day I took the 'after' pictures was perhaps a bit too bright, or not the right light.  But it was a rare tidy day, so I took the opportunity!

Below is the room before, facing the other way...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
Before

And after...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

The changes included:

  • Getting the ceilings plastered
  • Stripping the wallpaper and painting the walls
  • Ripping out the old fireplace and getting a logburner fitted
  • Removing the electric heaters and having central heating installed (in the whole house)
  • Getting new carpets laid
  • Getting the old back door and windows replaced with patio doors
  • Replacing internal doors (although none of the 'before' shots show them)

The below view shows the old back door (which you can also see in the first two pictures of this post) and the ugly old electric heaters...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
Before

Which now looks a bit like the below photos (unfortunately they're not from the same angle/position - I should have checked my before shots before taking after shots when I took these last year!).  I also annoyingly have better light and photos for some of my before shots than my after shots, which is not ideal in the whole 'before and after' game!  Ah well, it all gives you an idea.  As I said before... if I were to wait for perfection, you'd never get to see any of this at all!

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

You can find out more about the dresser in my DRESSER MAKEOVER POST.

And as you can't see the patio doors properly in any of the after pictures, here is a before and after from around the time they were done back in 2013 - tricky taking a picture straight into the light, though!

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
Before

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

And a bit of a clearer before and after of the logburner side of the room - again, the pictures aren't the same angle, but you get the idea...

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
Before

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After

It actually looks quite cluttered in the after picture, especially compared to the empty before shot, without any furniture when the room was not in use!

If you want to see the transformation of a dated old granny living room / lounge into a bright light modern space, click here for plenty of before and after photos!
After
The logburner glass could have done with a clean before I took all these!  You can see much better pictures of the fireplace changes in my FIREPLACE TRANSFORMATION POST.

Well, I think that's that for the living room transformation!  I'm glad to have finally got it on the blog, although I would have liked to have better photos and more styling in the room.  It's recorded at last, though!

Check out the links below, to see some of the other rooms which have been de-grannified!  There are some big transformations!!





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