Sunday Afternoon Applique Show and Tell

Our Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met this past Sunday and I thought I would share with you some of the projects that we are working on.  Kathy has been busy stitching, of all things, a bridal veil for a friend.  Kathy is the one modelling the veil and I am the bridesmaid, making sure that the veil is lying perfectly flat!

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In her spare time, Kathy has also managed to prep a few blocks of her “Aunt Millie’s Garden”.

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Christie has been very busy stitching the Cardinal block of “To Everything There Is A Season”.  Lovely!

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Lynn has been working away on her blocks of “To Everything…” and this is the beginning of the Summer Vase.

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I have been working on the centre medallion of “To Everything..”  The pieces are bigger than the ones in the blocks, so it is working up quite quickly!

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I am also working away on my hexie quilt, which is starting to take shape.

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How Much Fabric Should I Buy??  This is a question that I am asked from time to time and I thought it would make a good blog post. First, let me take you on a bit of a tour of my sewing room where I keep all of my fabric.  I make no apologies for the size of my fabric collection.  A painter has to have her paints, right?

I have a stash of tone-on-tones in clear colours, which I used to make my Friends of Baltimore.  I also used these same fabrics for the blocks of “To Everything There Is A Season”, but I added a few batiks and a few fabrics with a bit more of a design on them.  I keep these fabrics in containers and  I keep telling myself that if I just folded each fabric after I used it, it wouldn’t be quite so messy!  It is always a good idea to have a good variety of colours in light, medium and dark.

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I am always on the hunt for new fabrics and new colours.  I purchased these tone-on-tones recently, just to add a few more to the stash.  When I am purchasing tone-on-tones with applique in mind, I rarely buy more than a fat quarter.  Fat eighths are even better!  These tone-on-tones can range from looking almost like a solid, to having a bit of a swirl or even some dots!

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If you are just starting to build an applique stash, I highly recommend purchasing layer cakes, which are 10″ squares of an entire collection.  Layer cakes also takes the pressure off of choosing fabrics that “go together”, and a 10″ square is the perfect amount!  You can also add tone-on-tones to these collections of fabrics.

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For my Civil War Bride Quilt, I used a more muted pallete.  Since I didn’t have a lot of these muddy colours, I had to go on a few shopping trips to make sure I had a really good assortment.  Again, I purchased mainly fat quarters and fat eighths.  When I think that a fabric has a lot of potential for fussy cutting, I usually buy at least 1/2 a meter.  You can see that I used fabrics with a much larger print on them and very few tone-on-tones.  Most of the greens I used in this quilt came from a layer cake of Civil War greens.

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When I made my Aunt Millie’s Garden, I used my collection of brights, which include stripes and polka dots.  I find these types of fabrics are easier to buy in a fat quarter bundle (or even better…a fat eighths bundle!) so you get a good assortment of fabrics with the same “feel”.

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When it comes to backings, I always make sure the back matches the front!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

Onward and Upward!

Since finishing my “Friends of Baltimore” last week, I have had a hard time getting back into my sewing room.  Well, that’s now exactly true.  On Monday, which was Family Day in Ontario, I spent the day organizing my sewing room, going through all my stuff and just looking for some inspiration.

On the one hand, I am thrilled to have such a huge quilt crossed off my bucket list.  On the other hand, there is definitely a void in my quilting life.  But as my Mother used to say…”there is already to much strife in the world, is that what you are going to complain about?”  In other words, “quit complaining”!  So, onward and upwards!

I am addicted to stitching my hexies using Inklingo.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just take some time and try it out.  Inklingo is just good clean fun!!

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I just love the crisp corners and I find that hand stitching has the same calming effect as hand-quilting.  It is really just a running stitch.

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I am trying to finish up some projects before I start anything new (what a concept!).  This is the centre medallion of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched last April.  You can check out the patterns on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Til next time….

Kerry

Finished!!

Finally finished!  Here is the last HST border being stitched on…

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And here is the finished top of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”!

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I started this quilt about 3 1/2 years ago and loved every moment of it.  Now that I am finished, I have been walking around in a bit of a fog.  I miss working on it already!

I said it before and I’ll say it again….this quilt is not difficult.  Honestly!  When I first purchased the patterns, I really didn’t believe I would ever start it, let alone finish it.  But then I started looking at just the blocks by themselves, and I soon realized that the pieces (although there are lots of them!) are very manageable.  Just start with one piece, and then another and then another.  Before you know it, you will be on your way!!

Til next time….

Kerry

Slow Stitching Sunday

Today I am on a mission….I am going to finish this last corner block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  After that I will sew the remaining half-square triangles that will be stitched to the edge of the border.  I told my family that I am having a “me day” and if they need me, I’ll be in my sewing room…with the door shut!  I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday, so go on over and check it all out!!

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Yesterday I stopped at a delightful quilt shop in Shelburne, Ontario called “Cobwebs and Caviar”.  I spotted this spectacular fabric and just had to have some.  I have no immediate plans for it, I just had to have some!  It is by French General.DSCN6641

And, my hexies are coming along quite nicely.  Edyta Sitar has a new book called “Handfuls of Scraps” and I am using her quilt on the cover as a bit of a road map.

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Till next time….

Kerry

Slow Stitching Sunday

This past week I have been busy with non-quilting activities, but I still managed to find the time to work away on the last corner block in the border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  And, as usual, I started with the vase.  This just might be my favourite vase!

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Slowly, I filled the vase….first with some stems and leaves.   You can see that some of the leaves and flowers cover the seam line and flow from the block onto the border.

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So now I have prepped as far as I can.  I am going to stitch everything…well, maybe not everything!… in place this afternoon at my Sunday Afternoon Applique Group.  Once all of the stitching is done,  I will attach this border to the rest of the quilt, and then fill in the missing pieces.  I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday.  Check it out and see what some fine quilters are up to today!

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My hexies are taking on a life of their own.  I am not exactly sure where this quilt is heading.  I am just making it up as I go!  Have you tried Inklingo yet?  All of these hexies were made using Inklingo.  Inklingo is fast, efficient, super-simple and extremely addictive!  Betcha can’t make just one!!

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And, finally, a couple of people asked me if I would show the back of my hexie stitching once it has been pressed.  It’s all about  spiralling the seams!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

So Close to a Finish!

I am in the process of finishing  the fourth and final (!) border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  Once the flowers, vines and leaves were finished, I appliqued all of the tiny details, like the red berries, the yellow centers of the roses.  The embroidery is done with just one strand of floss.

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Once that was finally finished, I did what I did to all of my blocks and borders once I am finished stitching them….I poured a warm bath, added some suds….and tossed the border in!

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Why do I do this?  I do this because I use glue, starch and marking pens on my quilt blocks, so I want all of that to be removed before I stitch the blocks together.  If you want, you can watch my Youtube video on Washing Blocks and you can also check out this post.

After the border was dry, I auditioned it along side the rest of the quilt.  I think Jenny and Bruin are pleased with the results!

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As you can see, I am not finished yet!  I still have the remaining 2 corner blocks to do.  Wanting to keep the momentum going, I started with the vase, an easy place to start.

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Next, I started to add some leaves to the vase.  I have found this little tip to be very helpful when lining up mulitple pieces.  I prep the piece as usual and then remove the freezer paper template.  I flip the template over and place it on top of the prepped piece.  Then I draw on the remaining seam allowance.

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As you start to glue the pieces in place, you can also see the emerging shape that will cover all of those raw edges (in this case, the rose).DSCN6548

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And now I can start to fill in the rest of the vase.  Lovely!

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Til next time….

Kerry

To Everything There Is A Season…Block 10

Happy New Year!  Here is the 10th block of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a  BOM I launched last April.

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If you haven’t seen the blocks, here they are!  The blocks are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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I am sooooo close to finishing Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”!  Once the border is finished, I just have to do the two corner blocks.  Then add the sawtooth border.  Then quilt it.  Then bind it.  Remember, one stitch at a time!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

 

Surrounded by Inspiration!

Today Hubby and I spent a bit of time picking out some porcelain tile that is to be installed at our front door and mudroom.  No matter where I go, I seem to always see quilts designs….I have always loved clamshell quilts and one day I will make one!

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How impressed would your quilting friends be if they came over and saw this  floor in your sewing room?  (Answer:  Very Impressed!)

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If this were my backsplash, I would be reminded of how much I love hexies while I am doing the dishes!

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And, finally, isn’t this the perfect pattern for an appliqued quilt?  Inspiration is everywhere!!

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Last week, I started the final (!) border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I would love to have this border finished by the end of the year.  We will see….First I picked out the fabric for the vase.  I like to start with the vase because it just feels like such an accomplishment once it is completed! This is one of my favorite fabrics. Do you recognize it?

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I used it for a vase in my Civil War Bride Quilt.  Notice the pattern is running up and down.

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I used the same fabric for the vase in my “Bouquets For A New Day”.  In this vase the pattern is running sideways.

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And here is the fabric for the third time!

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Now on to the fun part.  All those curved pieces at the bottom of the vase need to line up properly.  I did the same thing I did in my last post about lining up the pieces of the pine cones.  First, I removed the freezer paper template from the prepped pieces. Next, I placed the template shiny side up on top of the prepped piece. Then I used a sharp white marking pencil and drew the seam allowance on the pieces. Can you see the white line?  This just makes it so much easier to place the pieces in the correct spot.

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It’s such a nice feeling when things line up properly!

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Next, I added the top of the vase and the curvy section on top of it.  Then I started to add the stems, leaves and flowers!

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Til next time…
Kerry

 

Building a Better Pine Cone

When I mentioned in my last post about “off-block construction” a few of you asked if I would do a tutorial on that subject.  So…here it is!!

I would normally use my Applique Pressing sheet for this tutorial, but, sadly I cannot find it.  A few  weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours organizing my quilting stuff.  I guess I have put my pressing sheet away in a really secure spot.  I am sure I will some across it one day!  But that’s ok….because maybe you don’t own a pressing sheet.  So, let me show you what you can use instead of an Applique Pressing Sheet.

I used a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up).  First I traced the pine cone on the shiny side of the freezer paper with a Sharpie marker.  I have found that a Sharpie marker is about the only thing that leaves a permanent mark of the shiny surface.

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Note:  If I was using my Applique Pressing Sheet, I would simply pin it to the pattern, and build the pine cone on it, like I did with these flowers.

First, I made my templates using 2 layers of freezer paper.  Yes, they are a little on the small side!

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Then I chose my fabrics…light, medium and dark brown.

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Whenever I have a unit that has a lot of pieces in it (and those pieces need to line up) I take the time and do this next step.  Once the piece is prepped, I take out the template and place it on top of the finished piece.  The template has to have the shiny side up.  Next, I take a very sharp marking pen (I like to use a Clover water soluble fine marker for light fabrics and a white chalk marker for dark fabrics) and mark the remaining seam allowance.  You will be very happy you did this!!

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So….next, I start to glue the pieces in place.  The glue will not stick permanently to the shiny surface of the freezer paper (or the pressing sheet), but it will hold temporarily.

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Once all of the pieces are glued in place (and you have made peace with the fact you will have to make 7 more pine cones) you can lift the entire piece off the the freezer paper (or applique pressing sheet) and simply put it in place on the background.  If you are working on a unit that has fewer pieces (or larger pieces) you can actually stitch it before you place it on the background.  I thought this piece would be easier to stitch while it is on the background.  Lots of options!

Til next time….

Kerry

 

Around the World Quilt Blog Tour

Thanks to Rebecca at Cheeky Cognoscenti for tagging me in the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour”.   I am so flattered!!  Before you read any further, make sure you check out Rebecca’s blog and see if her Pineapple Quilt doesn’t give you goosebumps!  It gives me wild goosebumps every time I see it!!  The idea  of the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour” is to answer 4 question and then tag another quilter to keeps things rolling.  So….here goes!

Question 1.  What am I working on?

Oh!  I am so glad you asked!!  As with most quilters, I like to work on more than one quilt at a time.  I think this keeps things fresh and exciting.  If you have read my blog before now, you  probably know that I am obsessed with hand-applique and hand-quilting….and hexies!   To be honest, obsessed is putting it mildly!  I made my first quilt when I was 15 and I have been quilting in one form or another since then.  I have made more than my share of machine-pieced quilts, but it is hand-applique that has captured my heart.

I discovered the world of hexies earlier this year.  It is an addictive world!  The binding is almost stitched on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I used the English Paper Piecing method to make this quilt and I hand quilted it.  I decided long ago that if I am going to quilt by hand, I really want the quilting to show up, which is why I chose to use a Baptist Fan pattern.

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Here are some more hexies that I have played around with and some that are ready to be stitched.  There are definitely more hexie quilts in my future!

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Next,  is “To Everything There Is A Season“,  my own Block-of-the-Month that I had designed by Marilyn at MTDesigns, a talented artist who takes my unorganized, vague ideas and turns them into awesome quilts!  The patterns for these blocks are also available on my website.  Along with the 12 blocks, there is also a centre medallion, which would also make a lovely stand-alone wallhanging.  There will also be borders surrounding the entire quilt.  Each time I complete a block, it my “new favourite”!

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This is Peggy’s Puzzle (also designed by Marilyn at MT Desisgns) and it is almost finished!  Some of you have been making these free blocks that are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  I had this quilt designed with beginners in mind and even made some Youtube videos to go along with each block.  This will be my next hand quilting project.  Can’t wait to start!

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This is my “Friends of Baltimore” which I have been working on longer that I have been blogging.  These are the blocks I had completed when I wrote my first blog post.

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And this is where I am now!

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So many people have contacted me and said that I have inspired them to begin this “once-in-a-lifetime” quilt.  That is so nice to hear!  Believe it or not, these blocks are not difficult.  Time consuming?  Oh yes!  Lots of pieces in each block?  You bet.  But they certainly are not difficult if you have experience in whichever method you choose to hand-applique.

This year I completed my Civil War Bride Quilt, which is hanging in our living room.  I look at it and wonder when the heck I had all that time to make a quilt like that.  I tend to work in smaller chunks of time, as opposed to larger spans of time.  All of those smaller chunks of time add up.  Like most quilters I know, I go to work, make dinner, do laundry and so on and so on.  But I make the time to quilt every single day!  I also have been trying to get in 10,000 steps each day.  If I could figure out a way to stitch and walk at the same time, I would be all set!

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Last year I taught a Beginner Class (we used the Peggy’s Puzzle pattern) and this year I am teaching them the skills to make a Baltimore quilt!  Here is the first block.  I am using pinks, burgundy’s, reds greens and maybe a touch of blue and gold.

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I wondered what the same block would look like if I made it in totally different fabrics.  This is what I came up with.  I think it is really important for new quilters to see different versions of the same quilt in different colours so that they can find their unique style or look.  I love to teach and am always thinking “I would just love to show someone how to do this!”

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I am also working on Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.  I have 3 blocks completed and I am going to start one of the borders next, just so that when the blocks are all done I won’t get overwhelmed with the borders.  I saw “Ladies of the Sea”  in a magazine a few years back and my jaw dropped to the floor.  I knew I had to make it for my son, Chad, and I ordered the patterns right away.

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I also just finished hand-quilting “Circle of Tulips” (another free pattern on my website).  I made these blocks around 15 years ago when I was teaching myself  various hand-applique methods.  I kept these blocks around with the thought that one day I would do something with them.  So last year I stitched the blocks together and quilted it by hand.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.  I wanted it to look antique and dainty with a scalloped border.  Mission accomplished!

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This quilt (a pattern in Quiltmania 100) caught my eye and I have been slowly collecting fabrics for it.  I am anxious to get started!  These are my blues (so far) and the background.

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2nd Question:  How does my work differ from others?   I would love to teach everyone how to hand-applique.  I secretly believe that if everyone knew how to hand-applique, the world would be a better place!  True story.  So not only do I love to show the techniques I use, I also love to show  how I work through my blunders, whether it is switching out a fabric that I thought would work, but sadly, did not.  You can see that I started out with a red cat and a blue bird…

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…and ended up with a black cat and a red bird.

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I also don’t mind showing you how I was getting ready to stitch my bias stem, only to realize I glued it in place, wrong side up!

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Or washed my block without first making sure that everything was stitched in place.  I want everyone to know that hand-applique is very doable, you just need to learn a few skills and practice those skills!

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3rd Question:  Why do I create?  I think that eveyone is capable of creating beautiful works of art, whether it is a quilt or a symphony or a painting or  wonderful meal.  I feel so fortunate that I have found an outlet to express myself in a way that I love.  I am creating a legacy of quilts that I hope my family will cherish for many years.  Hopefully, they will realize there was more to my life than the cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry!

4th Question:  How do I work?  The more quilts on the go, the happier (and more productive!) I am.  I think that creativity breeds creativity and a wheel in motion says in motion.  I have taken over the spare bedroom so all of my fabric, books, patterns etc. are in the same spot, which is handy.  I must confess, the room is in a constant state of chaos, but I like it that way!

I am very aware of how valuable time is and how easily it can be wasted.  So I try to make the most of every moment that I can find to sit down and stitch.  I only work on quilts that excite me and (more importantly) challenge me.  When I first saw the picture of “Friends of Baltimore”, I never thought in a million years I would be able to make the quilt.  Seriously…it looks so daunting and overwhelming.  That is, until I started to break it down into blocks.  And then I started to look at the pieces in each block and say: “Gee….I think I can do that!”

Okay…enough about me!!  Let me introduce you to Ruth Quinn at Stitching Impressions.  Ruth (a fellow Canadian!) will write her post on Monday November 17.   She is a quilter who also loves to hand applique. and has actually completed Lily Rosenberry! Ruth is a talented longarm quilter who spends most of her waking hours machine quilting for others, including Patti Carey from Northcott Fabrics.  But as you will see, she is talented in many other ways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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