63. My first jewelry show is Friday!

My Etsy shop has been open for almost three years, but I’ve never made the steps to show my work at craft fairs and markets.  Until now!  My very FIRST jewelry show is this Friday at Bay View Gallery Night! Here’s a link to the event if you’re in the Milwaukee area and would like to stop by: https://www.facebook.com/events/141921984168333

I’m so excited for people to be able to see and touch my items in person.  It really makes a difference in terms of whether or not I’d buy something, so hopefully that translates to other people as well.  Crossing my fingers that I make some sales!

I’m really trying to make sure that my displays are on point, so I’ll be sharing my ideas (and how you can make these displays for yourself) all this week!

Here are a few sneak peeks to tickle yo’ fancy.

Wooden crate jewelry organizer:

crate jewelry storage

Recycled wine crate headband holder:

wine crate storage

I also have an old window frame that I’ll be converting into a necklace display.  The best part: it was FREE!  I totally trash-picked to get it, but it was just laying on the sidewalk begging for me to bring it home.

I hope this got your Monday started off the right way!

XO,
Gabriella

61. Before and After: Vintage Dressers

So…yeah.  I’ve been really terrible at keeping up with this blog lately.  I blame the nice weather!  And going to the gym.  Both fabulous excuses, if you ask me.

Here’s the next post in my furniture series: a lovely makeover involving a set of vintage dressers.  Vintage Kroehler dressers!  That I found on Craigslist for $65.  (You know I’m patting myself on the back over here…)

Here’s what they looked like when we first got them home.

vintage dressers

vintage dressers

vintage dressers
I sanded them and gave them a couple of coats of Behr Popped Corn, which is a nice “warm” white.  I also gave them a bit of distressing with a sanding block and a cheese knife shaped like a miniature meat cleaver.  My tools known no bounds.

Don’t they look perty?

vintage dressers

vintage dressers
I’d eventually like to switch out the hardware to something a little more modern, but they work for now.  Drawer pulls are expensive, and mama’s gots bills ta pay!

Happy Monday, fools.

XO,
Gabriella

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Do you like fashion?  Check out my newest blog, Gabby Gets Dressed!

49. Made From Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table (UPDATED!)

Remember our DIY dining table?  I showed it to you in August of last year.  I’ve realized that the instructions I gave could use some improvement…especially after I realized our table was sagging a bit on one side.  The good news is that I fixed it with my AWESOME new drill, and you reap the benefits by getting an improved building plan.

DIY Rustic Dining Table

Materials:

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
2- 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
1-5/8″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
prestain
stain and/or Danish oil
wood sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

Directions:

1.  Cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.  Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

diy rustic dining table

2.  Flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

diy rustic dining table instructions

3.  While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 boards into 6 pieces, each 32″ long (you’ll only use 5 of the pieces).  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, one at each end, about 3″ from the edge of the table, and space the last two boards evenly between the end and middle boards.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 1-5/8″ wood screws.

diy rustic dining table instructions

4.  Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  Don’t forget about the ends of the table, too!  You should also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

5.  After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

diy rustic dining table instructions

6. When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

7.  Apply a coat of pre-stain using a clean rag.  The pre-stain is optional, but it really helps with an even coat of stain and prevents blotches.  Allow to set for about five minutes, and wipe off excess stain with another clean rag.

8.  Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

diy rustic dining table instructions

9. After the stain has dried completely, flip the table top over and attach the legs.  I ordered legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).

IMPORTANT: Raw steel will rust, even indoors!  I had to learn this the hard way…I’m passing on my knowledge to you so the same does not occur.  In order to prevent rusting, just cover your legs with a few coats of matte acrylic spray.

diy rustic dining table instructions

10.  Finally, it’s time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.  Make sure to follow that manufacturer’s instructions for whatever topcoat you choose, but with wax, you just rub on/off with cheesecloth and buff it out.

Voilà, you have your very own rustic dining table…and you made it all by yourself!

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

diy rustic dining table instructions

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

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19. I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 2)

If you missed the first installment of this four-part series, you can catch up here.

Last time, I talked all about my plans for the living room.  It’s time to turn the corner (literally) and take a peek into our dining room.

Here’s how it looked right before we moved in:

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I love the built-ins…like, a lot.  (There are actually two, one on either side of the window.)  There is no longer a door to the kitchen, it’s just an open entryway now.  I’m not sure at what point the door went byebye, but it wasn’t there when we moved in.  Again, the color on the walls is staying the way it is…it’s the same color that’s in the living room, and also the same pain in the booty textured walls.  I’m not mentally prepared to deal with something like that.  Nuh uh.

Here’s the progress we’ve made so far:

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I am seriously so frickin’ proud of that table!  I love being able to tell people we built it ourselves, especially when they give the compliment before they know.  It’s like a ton of pats on the back.  All at once.  I’m really proud of the deal I got on those chairs, too…I know they were still a pretty significant chunk of money, but I totally did my research and got the very best price I could find ANYWHERE.

Our Expedit bookcase from IKEA is currently housed here as well (it’s out of frame to the left), but that will get a makeover and find a new home in the living room.  Other than that, there are only three things I’d like to add to this room to finish it off.

1. A bench or settee.  I’d love to put it along the right-hand side of the table (i.e. the side next to the window).  It will hopefully be something antique, and it just so happens I found the PERFECT bench on…you guessed it…Craigslist.

081613_2Oh. My. Gawd.  It’s chippy.  And old.  And did I mention it’s exactly the right length and width?  And the EXACT same height as our current chairs?!  I seriously wouldn’t change anything about it, I’d just park it right next to the table and be done with it.  Well, I’d probably sew up a nice cushion to make it more comfy for its patrons, but that’s it.  I am trying not to jump the gun and buy it, but I’m so afraid it will be gone right away!  And I’m not sure I would find something that perfect again.  If you read Victoria’s blog, you know about the raccoon in her head that tells her to buy things (especially awesome things from Craigslist).  I’m pretty sure I suffer from the same affliction.  We should start a support group.  Actually, it would be better to call it an encouragement group.  Anyway, I digress.  Next!

2. A desk/dresser/buffet.  The space currently taken up by the Expedit will be quite bare after it travels to the living room, so it will need to be filled with something else.  I currently don’t have a “desk”, so it might be nice to find something small…just a nice area to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while I write my blog…and do my science thinking, of course.  I know I can just do this at the dining room table, but that means constantly moving my laptop and other stuff to keep the clutter contained, and I’d rather have a designated spot where I can just plop those sort of things down and not move them.

3. Wall art.  I should just go ahead and say that hanging things on the walls is an area of complete naivety to me.  In all of the places we’ve rented (and there have been many), we’ve never bothered to hang anything.  I never had anything hanging in my room growing up either, save a poster of a baby seal on the back of my bedroom door.  I’ve never really known how to hang stuff to make it look good, but I’d LOVE to have some sort of gallery wall.  I think this room would be a great place for it.  I’m thinking above the new desk.

That’s it!  Not a ton of work, really…as long as I can find a bench that’s already perfectly shabby and a desk/dresser/buffet that only needs a new coat of paint.

Make sure to check back soon for the next installment, the master bedroom!

XO,
Gabriella

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18. So, let’s be brutally honest…I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 1)

This post is the first of a series of posts dedicated to the crazy plans milling about my brain.  Please stay tuned for all FOUR posts!   (Don’t act all surprised…you read the title, folks.)

Too many projects.  And yet, I have the urge to add more things to the list.  Poor hubbins, he will want to declare mutiny one of these days.  Some of these projects are actually completed…or close to being completed, and I just need to write up a nice, tidy blog post about each of them (tidy? ha!).  Others are in the midst of being worked on, and yet others…are just in the back of my mind and don’t actually exist yet.  Yes, I am a crazy person.  I just feel like there is always something that can be rearranged or reworked or refinished or replaced (with an equal or greater thing).

Again, if you don’t know me well enough…I WANT ALL THE THINGS.  ALL OF THEM.

Let’s begin with the living room.  Here is the blank canvas with which we started.  (I know you grammar fiends out there are smiling at my beautiful sentence construction.)

081313_1

The color is staying because a. I don’t mind it, and b. you can’t tell from the photo, but the walls are textured (almost like Spanish plaster), and ain’t nobody got time for that.  Also, we can’t change anything structurally (remember, we are just lowly renters), and I also can’t paint any woodwork that isn’t already painted.  I love me some white trim, but that’s not gonna happen in this house.  That means the off white carpet and light fixtures also stay put.

Here’s what we have as of today.

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Not terrible, but it’s definitely a far cry from what I’m picturing for this room.

Plans for this room:

1. Get rid of wooden spool tables.  They are super awesome and I love them, but they just aren’t practical.  They are a bit too high to use as footrests, and that was the original purpose I intended us to use them for.  They also have holes in the center (into which lots of things get lost…remotes, earrings, crumbs, etc.) and bolts sticking out of the top.  I currently have one in the corner between the couches, but it’s a little low (you can’t even see it in the photo above).  Maybe I could add some height with a few hairpin legs?

2. Fabricate new ottoman(s) to replace the tables.  I will probably make these from scratch.  I’m thinking low, tufted ottomans with a chic print.  Maybe something like this.  I’m already cooking up some plan and a tutorial!  It will be frickin’ magical.

3. “New” stand for the TV.  I haven’t decided whether I want to hack our current stand from IKEA, or replace it with a distressed dresser or buffet.  They don’t sell the exact stand at IKEA any more, but this one is pretty close to what we have:

Source: ikea.com

Source: ikea.com

I’m thinking I might try to hack it first…and I’m sure that idea would sound better to Jason than hauling yet another piece of second-hand furniture into our house.  I’m pretty sure he gets a horrible sense of dread every time I start a sentence with the words, “So, I was looking on Craigslist…”  (The TV and stand are to the right of the radiator…just out of frame).

4. New throw pillows.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the ones we have, but I feel like the colors are clashing a bit too much.  I’d like to tone it down and have them all in neutrals like gray, white, taupe, and cream.  It’s not boring I swear!  We have a pretty big antique cabinet in our living room that houses my yarn addiction…um, collection…and it’s a deep turquoise (you can see it in the back right corner).  I’d rather let that color be the focal point and not throw in too many other crazy hues.

5. Wall art.  We don’t really have any cool pieces of art to display (besides a painting or two from my dad).  I want special pieces, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open while perusing thrift and antique stores.  We honestly have only one piece of art displayed right now.  You might have noticed it in the photos of our DIY rustic dining table.  It’s a really pretty print of “White Mums”, a painting my Neal Butcher.  I couldn’t find out much about him, so I’m not sure if the print is worth anything…but it only cost me $7 at Goodwill.  Sweet deal.  I’m debating about whether or not I should change out the frame (or at least paint it).  Perhaps that will be a future post.

6. Give our Expedit a makeover and move it into the living room.  I love the storage space, but I’ve grown tired of the dark “wood”.  We have this one:

expedit-shelving-unit__0092703_PE229404_S4

Source: ikea.com

I’ve seen some really cool hacks for this system whilst browsing the internet, and I’m especially fond of this one.  I’d like to paint ours gray and add wooden doors to half of the cubes…perhaps the center columns, just to do something a little different?  Another reason to keep reading my posts, I suppose. 😉

Well, that’s pretty much what I have planned for the living room!  Make sure to check back soon to read all about the plans for the rest of our place.

XO,
Gabriella

 

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17. Ah, finally the story of the dining room chairs!

Did you ever find that one thing you were looking for, only to be disappointed by the price tag?  I love finding exactly what I want within my price range!  It’s such a rush finding a great deal, and I get an insane amount of satisfaction from telling other people about my finds…especially if it helps them save money, too!  Case in point: my search for the perfect set of metal dining chairs.

I am in love with metal dining chairs, specifically the Tolix A chair.  If you haven’t heard of this chair, you don’t know what you are missing!  Here it is, in all of it’s wondrous glory:

Ch-a-rouge_3quart

Source: tolix.com

These chairs were designed by Xavier Pauchard in 1934.  Definitely a timeless classic.  The popularity of this model has only increased with the revival of the Tolix company in 2004, so one can imagine that I would not be so in love with the price tag that comes along with this popularity.  Getting your hands on an authentic Tolix chair will not require you to ship them over from France, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Pottery Barn sells the Tolix A in black, white, red, and bare metal for $269 each.  Yikes!  We wanted 6 of these chairs for our handmade rustic dining table, but with the $60 surcharge ($10 per chair) plus $168 shipping and handling (10% of the order), the total would be over $1800.  None of the available choices were even close to the color we wanted! Um, no.

After perusing the interwebs for another source, I discovered Industry West.  They sell the Marais A Side Chair for $145 each in a TON of different colors.  Better price, but the cost of 6 chairs plus shipping would still cost almost $1000.  I’m the queen of deals, people; there is ALWAYS a cheaper price!

At last we come to Restoration Hardware’s Remy Side Chair.  These normally sell for $129 each, but I happened to catch them on sale…for $89 a piece!  Also, as if the heavens parted and showered me with extra special rays of money-saving goodness, shipping was FREE.  Yes, that’s right.  F-R-E-E, free.  And no surcharges for being an oversized item!  Although I had stumbled upon a great deal, I was hesitant to order from RH after reading page after page of horror stories.  Items being back-ordered for months without notice, delayed shipments, extraneous credit charges, and damaged furniture…needless to say, not a pretty picture.  However, after inspecting said claims, it seemed that most of these issues stemmed from custom items and large pieces of furniture which were shipped via “white glove delivery” (i.e. a crappy third party delivery company).  Luckily, these chairs did not require the special delivery service, so I pulled the trigger.  I ordered them on a Wednesday, they shipped the following day, and I received them via UPS less than a week later.  No back-orders.  Quick shipment.  Perfect condition.  No suspicious credit card charges.  Pretty hassle-free, no?  I suppose this may be another case of “don’t always believe what you read”, but then again, maybe I just got lucky.  I guess we’ll never know!

I’m so glad I found these chairs.  Look at how GORGEOUS they look in our dining room!

080513_1

The best part?  A set of 6 chairs plus tax came out to less than $570.  Are they the “real deal”?  No.  However, these are such a close match that I’m still in love.  Maybe one day we can get some authentic Tolix chairs, but I’m totally okay with using these in the meantime.

XO,
Gabriella

P.S. If you also love the dining room table, we built it ourselves!  Check out this post for the tutorial. 🙂

 

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14. Made from Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table

IMPORTANT: I have updated these building plans!  To see the new and improved version of this post, click here.

 

 

Jason and I…er, I wanted a rustic looking dining table for our apartment now that we actually live somewhere with a dining room.  We originally narrowed it down to the Garner Extension Dining Table, $599 at World Market.

We planned to wait for the annual furniture sale for 25% off the price, but $450 is still a big chunk of money to drop on a table (even if it is real wood).  Obviously, this lead me to scour the internet for some DIY goodness.  I found quite a few options, but ultimately came up with my own design.  Jason thankfully helped me to execute the table; it was our first project together, and I think it came out pretty darn good!

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(The chairs are super awesome, too…I won’t talk much about them here, I’ll leave that for a future post!)

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to build a table identical to ours (finished measurements: approximately 38″ wide x 72″ long x 30″ high).

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
1 – 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
2″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
stain and/or Danish oil
sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

First, cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.

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Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

Next, flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 board into three pieces, each 30″ long.  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, and one at each end, about 12″ from the edge of the table.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 2″ wood screws (we did ours in a zigzag pattern across each support, about 12 screws per support).  At this point, your table should look like this:

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Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  We also filled in the gaps along the short ends of the table to keep everything looking uniform and polished.  Make sure to also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

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When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

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At this point, we were unsure what we wanted to use for the topcoat: wax or polyurethane.  We decided to think on it a bit, and attached the legs in the meantime.  I ordered our legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).  Aren’t they pretty?

We attached the legs according to the directions on the website, adding a 6″x6″ piece of scrap wood between the leg and the table (to prevent splitting…notice a pattern here?).  The legs are inset a few inches from each side (i.e. we didn’t attach them at the very edge of each corner).

Finally, it came time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.

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I’m so in love with this table!  Even my husband likes the way it turned out, and I can’t begin to tell you how many compliments we’ve received.

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

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