Webbie Spotlight: Absolute Sweet Cindy

Friday, June 27, 2008 Jonette 1 Comments


Here's another StumbleUpon offering that simply blows my mind.



Over time, Crafting has given me a growing appreciation for the fine points in handiwork: it's technicalities, precision, and art, all blending together into a form of tangible beauty. This piece here is a fine example of what I'm talking about.



Absolute Sweet Cindy reminded me of Runo's work, but on a much more detailed and larger scale. the doll, although lacking in the facial features department, makes up for it with its joint system and its, ehem, anatomical quasi-correctness. (For some reason, the doll unclothed eerily reminds me of Chii from Chobits.)

The site features the works of other brave souls who have successfully finished a Cindy doll. It's interesting to note that the visitors' dolls have been alterations to the original design: a set of them feature fashionable boys, and another has been given adult proportions. I'd like to think that means the patterns and instructions make room for the maker's personal innovative creativity, which I think is an excellent thing.

I may still not have tried to make this beauty, but gleaning from the instructions themselves, it seems that this project is not for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who does not have the time, diligence, patience and devotion to see this doll through. Beautiful things are rarely easy or quick to make.

I'd like to think once you've finished her and propped her up to sit on your work table, you might end up feeling you suddenly and quite unknowingly acquired a daughter for yourself. People can fall in love with the things they create, and it's not going to be Pygmalion so much as it is Geppetto.

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Webbie Spotlight: Snack or Die

Thursday, June 26, 2008 Jonette 1 Comments


Sometimes, you just gotta love StumbleUpon for serving up unexpected squee-worthy delights, such as this:





Super Mario Mushroom Cookies! Absolutely adorable, and quite easy to make, provided you have all the ingredients (including a sizable, ready-made sponge cake), diligence and patience. I instantly thought this would make really cute and fitting favors for a gamer's wedding, down to the legendary Super Mario cake.

You can find the recipe on Snack or Die, alongside some equally amusing confections for the discerning gourmet gamer. It also features Koopa Shell Cookies, which I think might be a fitting addition to the bridal buffet -- thing is, who do you serve it to? wedding crashers?

...

in-laws? (just kidding, mom. Love you! ^_^)

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Flood Season: June 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments


The months of July and August often herald the beginning of the rainy season for us. It was still June, the last time I checked, and James went home last night just in time before the winds began to rise. It had been raining all day, and had been raining still when I went to bed. By noon, I awoke to dreary skies and even more rain -- coupled with gray rivers in place of streets in front of the complex.




Front Gate, St. Joseph Subdivision, Cainta, Rizal, 2:00pm


When you've lived in a subdivision that gets invaded by floods of this sort on a yearly basis for about the past ten years of your life, you eventually get used to it. Back when I was still a teenager, I admit I looked forward to these cold, wet episodes. These meant canceled classes and more time to read or do stuff at home, but that also meant hauling, shifting, and moving certain first-floor items to higher ground. When the flood-water began creeping in onto the pebbled Star of David on the front porch, it's time to start packing the books, DVDs, bric-a-brac, onions, garlic, and other things the water could get to. Water lapping at the front door in a heavy shower meant rolling up carpets, lifting the couches onto the sturdy dining table and fitting the other single-seaters into it like a puzzle. An inch of water indoors meant lifting the 50-pound refrigerator onto the kitchen counter, rescuing the rice, rice cooker, canned goods, pack noodles, matches and (and the dog) from the kitchen and hieing to the second floor. Half a foot of water in the house meant lights off -- and circuit breaker off.





Street where I live, St. Joseph Subdivion, Cainta, Rizal, 2:00pm


When you live in a place where it floods every year, you get used to it. The family breaks out the rags, the towels, and the alcohol, and by the time everyone's done with their baths, hot rice and tuna and sardines will be ready in the master's bedroom. You huddle together, throwing jokes and telling stories over a steaming rice and fish, and perhaps some leftovers. Meals are best eaten with fingers and stories.




Back gate and area, St. Joseph Subdivision, Cainta, Rizal, 3:00pm



Grove where "the wee ancient ones" live, St. Joseph Subdivision, Cainta, Rizal, 3:00pm



You retire for the night, taking care to put out your candle. (Careful, you don't want to turn into a lighthouse, not like the last time.) you listen to your neighbors as they parody Titanic, the dog's ribs rising and falling as she curls up to you as she thinks you to be the best thing in all the world.



Front gate and street, St. Joseph Subdivision, Cainta, Rizal, 3:00 pm


In the morning, when the flood begins to subside, someone is sent out for cleaning ware, and the soaping, the scrubbing, the exorcising begins. Your uncle handles muriatic acid in the first floor bathroom, and banishes a frightened sewer snake back to the pipes. Your mother finds two catfish, abandoned by the water and gulping for dear life in the kitchen sink. By mid-afternoon, You're sent out to buy goto for the family and you come back all smiles, your treasures of hot, saffroned rice porridge and boiled ox tripe, one bag a serving.

I once told all this to a good friend of mine, a certain Mr. Francis Martinez. He was my teacher for Poetry Writing in College, and god bless him, wherever he is now. He once wrote a warm poem about the morbid fear of sitting down, and he went on to write two more poems on the floods. It was quite sweet of him to give them to me, and I reckon it would do him great justice to show them here. Now, to remember where I last put them....

When you live in a place that floods every year, you get used to it.

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Aaaaaaand therrroff!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments


First off, I would like to direct your attentions to two things.



One, if you would ever so kindly look to the right side of this blog, you will discover a bright orange balloon in the shape of a bird. Meet Winnifred Canary. She will be our delegate/contestant in Orange's first ever internet balloon race. If ever you feel so inclined to take part (either for the thrills, chills, spills, not to mention the "once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ibiza", as the website goes), feel free to sign up and choose a balloon for yourself. Dear old Winnie won't mind the competition. :)

Two, our beloved Hobby Horse blog has now been signed in to be one of the potential stop-overs for this race, as the orange raccoon balloon hovering on the lower left corner of the window will tell you so. Horray, horray!

Let the races begin!

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Cook It! Homemade Nori-tuna Pizza

Friday, June 20, 2008 Jonette 2 Comments

We've lately been enjoying homemade pizza lunches and dinners on weekends for a good number of reasons. They're easy to put together, quick to cook, you can let your imagination run wild. We love how know what goes into our food, which makes it a lot healthier than dialed-and-delivered variety.

The first sausage-studded experiment was a success for lunch, true, but we found ourselves needing something lighter yet satisfying for dinner. (Not to mention we ran out of sausages to begin with. ) So, in times like this, it pays to use your imagination... and turn to the Japanese for some veritable inspiration.

Ok, I know that their idea of the Italian dish doesn't exactly jive with the rest of the Western world (or with a number of sensitive stomachs), but there's got to be a reason why these flavors were so sale-able on their islands. So, we experiment.

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We regretably say...

Thursday, June 19, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments


... the upper tension control of my beloved Brother is shot.



Which means no sewing, no new skirts, and no sewing entries until they bring back my bonnie to me. From the repair shop, of course, which thankfully doesn't lie over the ocean.

In the meantime, more non-textile goodies! :D

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Cook It! The first Tarte Tatin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 Jonette 2 Comments

(Or rather, in this case: Bake It!)

Hello everyone. Finally, a real-time post in Blogger! Yay! I'd want to apologize for the long wait. Work can be quite demanding at times -- specially when you feel the undeniable urge to scamper off and play every now and then. :P

A couple of weeks ago, I set out to try my hand at my first pie. I had voices in my head duking it out for superiority: one side was saying, "Are you nuts? that's a real pie, fer chrissakes! And you've got crusts and fillings to think of, and the presentation and all that stuff." The other side was going, "Come on. That's just Five. Freaking. Ingredients. You just can't go wrong." A few hours later and a few grocery bags full, guess which side won.

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Of Granny Smiths and hitchhikers (June 5, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Yesterday, I found this recipeI wanted to try for the weekend. It does seem like a lot of work considering I'll have to take care of the crust and and peeled apples first, but I'm sure the pay-off will be great.

It also helps to know that the Shopwise branch nearest my workplace had a special on Granny Smith Apples.

I make a mad dash for it, pick up about three six-packs of apples (with two free grapefruits each pack), along with some bread, tomato sauce (for another dish) and lunch ramen. With four heavy and rather bulky bags in tow, I clocked into the office in time, and began settling down.

That's when I noticed I had a hitchhiker.




A closer, semi-decent shot of the little fella:




Five hours of sleep, and loving the scent of apples in my workstation.

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Amigurumi: Squidy (May 24, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

To be honest, I never imagined I'd ever return to crocheting. My memories of it in Grade School Home Economics comprised of vision fatigue, exhaustion and frustration. The vision fatigue and exhaustion are still there, true, but it's not as frustrating anymore. :) Now I'm a bit older, I find it rather calming and addicting. It also helps me pay listen better to my learners whenever we have a lesson.

It also helps when cute crochet critters are all the rage on the online crafting community these days. ^_^"


I chanced upon this simple cephalopod pattern, and decided to give it a go. The constant round-and-round movement of the single crochet gave me some confidence. ("Yes, Jonette, you still haven't forgotten your hook skills, and no, it will not get all stretched out of shape. Keep crocheting.") Instead of following the pattern's instructions, I decided to mod the tentacles for a more colorful, curlier appeal. I was able to stitch, stuff, and finish the body in a day while in the office, and finished all eight tentacles in a collated time of three hours. (a few minutes watching my boyfriend play Diablo II, three 30-minute lessons with learners -- with some typing on the side, and a few minutes from my lunch break. For the win. ^_~* )


Nobody Puts Squidy in the corner.


After a few more days, I finally stitched the tentacles beneath the body, and Squidy was born.


It's Aliiiiiiive!!!






Squidy watching me work.




I do realize that salmon eyes are delightfully disturbing. Delightful or disturbing, you decide.




And here's a shot of Little Squidy beginning his onslaught of world domination, one human at a time, gnawing at the head of the delightfully talented Mr. Ray, co-worker and buddy.



BRAAAAINS!!! Om nom nom



As of now, I am constructing Squidy's bride (or sister?) in the same hallucinogenic psychedelic stuff that makes his tentacles. And she's going to be bigger. Ohboyohboyohboy. (Now, if I could just find a place that sells decent safety eyes...)

And now, a brief tutorial on hiding crochet tails. :) (Oh, alright, so it's not entirely perfect, but it's a first and I made it, so there. ;P )

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Homey Things: Lacey Divider Curtains (May 24, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello, everyone. I know it's been ages since my last substantial post, but please do bear with me. My real-world teaching job has bee taking up a big portion of my time and energy these days. Nonetheless, it's high time I shared with you another of my works. Time and creativity wait for no one, after all. (Yyyes, this is indeed an overdue post. ^_^")

Teaching the French has its perks. The month of May gives you three reasons to love them even more: (1) Labor Day on May 1st, (2) V-day on May 8th, and (3) bridge leaves. (bridge leaves are applied for when a certain holiday skips a day before or after the weekend. In both cases, May 1 and May 8 fell on Thursdays. To make a bridge leave, you apply for an ordiany leave on the Fridays that follow after it, and voila! Instant 4-day weekend. Sweet. ^_^)

So, one one of those leaves, I decided to do something productive with the 2 yards of embroidered organza waiting in my stash. (Besides, when you keep your hands busy, it gives you less chances to tear out your hair in frustration over something like, say, a very very overdue broadband installation.) See? Crafting is therapeutic. :)

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Cook It! Baked Eggplants in Tomato Sauce (April 4, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello, everyone. I know that Holy Week came and went, but do indulge me. It was a week of intense cookery, and I feel it would be great to document the entrees I experimented on.

This particular baby I made on Easter Monday (Holidays! Horray for working for the French!), and I have an Italian-born Poppa of a co-worker to thank for. Paul Lazo is one hecuva comedian at work, and knows how to whip up a hearty, healthy meal for his family from scratch. (Believe you me, it takes a lot of talent to to raise and feed four growing daughters well.) Meet him once, and you won't think twice why his family is a happy one. ;)

I was once looking for simple recipes that were quick and easy on the budget. Bitter melon (ampalaya) and okra were out of the question, since James had sworn off eating the stuff. So, what do we resort to? What's left in the veggie crisper, of course: eggplants.

Far as I knew, the simplest dish I knew to cook them with was Tortang/ Relyenong Talong. (Translation: Grilled, skinned eggplants -- in that order --, coated in sugared beaten eggs and panfried.Ground pork optional.) Thankfully, Paul obliged me and shared with me this easy Italian dish. Fire up your ovens.

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Inspiration: Alegria's The White Singer (April 4, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

I don't have much time right now, so I'll make this post as quick and clear as I can. Great ideas are fleeting, and work is always on your heels.

I've lately been on a video collecting spree of Cirque du Soleil acts, and I found inspiration in Alegria. specifically, the White Singer's costume.

Crazy as it sounds, wouldn't it be fantastic to make this in time for Halloween?

Somehow, the idea of "one time, big time" appealed to me.

Some elements I would have to change, of course. (I actually made a sketch of this in pencil on a square note, but will be making an update on that soon.) A silvery (or ecru?) Tudor shirt with billowy sleeves instead of the tight white satin-y body suit. Material will be mildly translucent when hit by strong light. flouncy/ruffly cuffs gathered by decorative rope, maybe silver too.

Bodice will have a hidden zipper at the back and bones, with straps broad at the shoulders and narrowing down to the bust. Square neckline, to expose feminine upper chest. If there's cleavage, so be it.

Medium-sized Elizabethan neck ruff. In Ecru, ideally.

White stockings. Ballet shoes.

The tulle skirt and crinoline will stay. That's why I fell in love with the costume in the first place.

It's a plan. A very big plan. and I mean BIG.

My Resources, or Bibliography of sorts:

Tudor Shirt: A Gentlewoman's Tudor Shift, by Kimiko Small.

Elizabethan Ruff: Ruffs, from The Renaissance Tailor

And something that might come in handy: Cavalier Collars and Cuffs, from The Renaissance Tailor again.

Out of my mind, be back in a few.

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Re-ribboning the Not-So-Loli Skirt. (April 7, 2008)

Sunday, June 08, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello again everyone. Do you remember when I had to replace some burnt ribbon? As promised, here's the happy news about it.

First off, why did the first hem burn in the first place? Well, let's just say overzealousness can be hazardous sometimes, specially when you're wielding a hot iron near synthetic ribbons. ^_^""" It was a very good learning experience, yes it was.

On the upside of things, it was a good as any chance to try out a set of polka-dotted ribbons I bought from a sale at one of my favorite cloth-and-notions shops. (three semi-full rolls at P50.00 each... not a bad deal, in my opinion. ^_~*) and besides -- flowery pastel-pink skirt and baby-blue with white polka-dots: how could it possibly go wrong?

After an hour of painstaking looping into s-scrolls and pinning over and over, I'm glad to say it went splendidly.

On the side, I'm also very happy to say I've finally made peace with my sewing machine. Know the adage "tighty righty, lefty loosey"? (I know they mostly apply to bolts and screws, but I also read it applied to tension dials in one sewing manual.) With the manual as good as gone and having to wrestle with the machine, I've mostly stuck to the above saying and often found myself frustrated to tears over the Brother's uncooperativeness. It was only after I tried experimenting with the dial ( mostly by pulling at the same force and turning the dial very slowly) was I able to discover that it worked backwards! The numbers 1 to 9 were written from left to right, and as the number increased, so did the tension or tightness increase. Ergo, the more I turned it to the right, the tighter the tension.

I see; so even my sewing machine is turning Japanese (from right to left for the best looseness). But of course, it's a Japanese brand! *laughs at her own idiocy*




I love my Brother Sewing Machine. Yes, I do.





Back to work, sewing the ribbons in place.




The finished re-hemmed skirt. (Yay!)





A close-up of the ruffle/ s-scroll work.



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Three Panels: The Indo-Tile Skirt (April 7, 2008)

Sunday, June 08, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello again, everyone. It's mostly catch-up season for me updating this blog. It seems the projects have been happening quicker than I can blog about them. There's work to be busy about and the boyfriend to take care of on weekends, so please do bear with me. (and thank you!)

A couple of weeks ago, I had Saturday all to myself: James had to watch over his dad while his family went off to visit their province. It was an opportune time for me to (1) catch up on my sleep, (2) my chores, and (3) my sewing. I wanted to make sure I could get out as I could of this day, so after a meal and some tidying up, I went right to it.

There were two things on my list I wanted done by the end of the day:
  1. Replace the burnt ribbon hem of the Not-So-Loli skirt ( which will be discussed in a future post) ; and

  2. Finally hem and sew a wrap-around skirt I'd cut up and placed on the back burner for two weeks in a row.
After finishing with #1 at around 6:00 in the evening, I began hemming the remaining raw edges of the three panels. the cloth I used was amazingly airy, soft, and silky to the touch, despite that it was made of pure cotton. It was a joy to iron, and almost entirely wrinkle-proof. Not bad for a summer skirt, eh? ^_^Indo-skirt shot

By the time I'd sewn up all three panels into a large one, I was already getting very sleepy. I remember seeing the clock read 8:55pm, and I still had to mark, cut, and sew a tie-up waistband. So, pretty much, I ended up responding the way most lethargic, novice needle-workers would respond: "goddamn it, I'm finishing this skirt tonight one way or another."

In times like these, garter is a sewing girl's best friend.

In the end, I now have a fluid, three-paneled skirt I'd love to wear on a daily basis. I love the way it swishes when I walk. I wear them like a triangle from above: two panels in front on each side, and one flat at the back. This set-up somehow reminds me of my college-theater days (the wide, flowy pants impression, I guess. )

I owe my inspiration, thanks and apologies to this tutorial. I'd like to give this one more try and give the new skirt a proper wrap-around-tie waistband in the future. (Consider it another good excuse to go cloth-hunting and -shopping. ^_^)

Thanks!

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Cook It! Vegetarian Nut Rice and Fish Tonkatsu (April 3, 2008)

Saturday, June 07, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments



Weekends have always been designated cooking days for me. Why? That's when the boyfriend comes home to crash at my pad after a night of hard tech support labor, and well, it's the only time throughout the week I get to relish learning how to cook a new dish. For some reason, I decided that it would be a good time to make dinner extra special. (It was also a good excuse to finally bring out the foot-long and six-inch-wide fish fillets I stocked up for Holy Week to good use.)

To add to that, I wanted to introduce my boyfriend to a style of rice I enjoyed as a child with my dad. As a sitar teacher, my father took the family and I once to an eclectic concert for the benefit of an Eastern Philosophy institution. I can't recall anymore if he was one of the acts, but what I do remember singing along to a lively Hare Krishna Hare Rama chant. (You can just imagine how amazingly fan-tas-tic and mind-blowing this all was to an eight year old.)

By Intermission, each member of the audience was handed a styrofoam pack containing a full vegetarian meal -- soy meat a la barbecue, sauteed vegetables, rice, and Laddu. Each entree was pretty much a source of fascination for me, but the rice was especially familiar: it was slightly buttery to the taste, and was mixed in with assorted nuts. My mother successfully duplicated the dish when we arrived home, and usually served it for my dad's birthday. I wanted to see now how well I could bring it back. Call it reminiscing.

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The Galaxia Atari Skirt. (February 19, 2008)

Friday, June 06, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello, everyone.

About three weeks ago, I discovered a quite quirky printed patterned Japanese cotton in an unfrequented shop in SM Megamall. I had been waiting for payday to purchase the pretty, and quickly snatched up three yards of this with my boyfriend. He chuckled over the print, and was pretty much surprised to see this.

The Galaxia Print was screaming to be made into a skirt, Oh, yes.

I had realized after the purchase that the material's airiness proved to be a double-edged sword: while it was indeed lightweight and cool to the legs, I couldn't help but feel unsure how opaque it would stay in sunlight, or any bright light, for that matter. but we loves the pattern, and make use of it we will.

So, we find ways.

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Finished Object: the Scarf. (February 7, 2008)

Friday, June 06, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Ladies and gentlefolk, I am proud to announce The Scarf has been successfully binded off this Monday is deemed officially finished. Yay!

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The Not-So-Loli skirt (February 1, 2008)

Friday, June 06, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

About a week ago, I began work on some pink cloth meant for my first Lolita skirt. (To those who confuse it with Nabokov novel, please read here and here for the definition of the subculture. Better yet, do peruse the styles in addition for a visual idea.) Unfortunately, at two yards length and a sixty inch width were no match for my hips. I realized too late that at my proportions, this pattern from the egl Livejournal community required more than a mere two yards.

My predicted infuriation (after the measuring and drafting and chalking on, dammit!) won out, and infuriation of this sort always resolves itself in the most efficient way possible: if you can't beat 'em, improvise.

So, I brought out one of my reliable skirts, studied it for a moment, and began working. I modified the pattern's measurement specifications. After six hours, this was the result.

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the Scarf. (January 31, 2008)

Friday, June 06, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments



(Scarf's baby picture, taken 14th of January, 2008.)


Hello everyone. Meet Scarf.

Scarf began gestation from two spools of fire-truck red yarn on the second week of December last year. It was meant to be a Christmas gift for James. After a few bungles along the way (including unraveling the entire thing because it was too wide and going back to Square One), I was already feeling quite discouraged with pushing through with it.

All it took was for a gay friend to laugh and tell me that “men do NOT wear that kind of red” for me to give up.

Well, almost.

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Decision made.

Thursday, June 05, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Okay, then.


Alright then.

I've decided to start moving -- more like copying -- my current entries stocked in the Wordpress account over to here. Sometimes life is so much simpler that way.

...

I've just realized now that I've been wracking my brains over blogging about blogging. For two weeks.

I am such a nerd.

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Decisions, decisions

Sunday, June 01, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Ladies and gents, esteemed guests, good day.

Welcome to The Hobby Horse, a would-be blog for my crafting projects, dishes, baked goods, ideas, and such. I say would-be, because I am still in truth discerning whether it would be best to transfer from Wordpress to here. There's the bulk of entires to be considered, as well as the media content, and the (ehem) readership. And well... I must admit I miss the simplicity of Blogger.

Bare as it is for now, I bid you welcome.

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