Fun gifts for Stitchers and Quilters

Hello Friends! I hope you are doing well despite the cold (very cold!) weather! We are supposed to get some snow tonight even though our high was in the 50s yesterday. Do stay safe! Before I start prattling on, I would like to thank ALL of you who left comments on Gwen’s blog post from last weekend. She read every comment, and was very encouraged.

One thing I do to keep stitching fun for Gwen is to always be on a lookout for stitching accessories to make the process fun and interesting for her. For example, I found these kitty thread keeps that are great tools in teaching a child to be organized with her threads while stitching.

Recently, I came across these fun stitching/quilting gift items made by Zappy Dots. I am amazed at the range of products offered – from apparel, jewelry to notions! Click HERE to visit Zappy Dots’ website. All Zappy Dots products are made in USA.

Many of the products are based on the idea of these nifty and pretty 1″ dots. The dots then find themselves in various gifts and notions like pendants, bracelets, needle minders and scissors fobs. I currently have the needle minder (nanny), scissors fob, and the interchangeable silver bangle.

Let’s start with me showing you the silver bangle, or bracelet. Well, as soon as Gwen saw this, she subtly claimed this one! We agree we could “share” — you know how that goes, haha. Gwen thinks the interchangeable concept is the coolest thing (since sliced bread) because one can effortless change the look of the bangle by using the different magnetic dots that snaps onto the face of the bangle.

There are other bracelet styles as well besides this one I just showed you. Click HERE to see the other offerings, as well as an almost endless range of “dots” you could purchase for yourself and friends.

I like the simple and sweet magnetic needle minder and the scissors fob! The surface of the dots are protected against wear. Gwen loves playing with the magnetic needle minders. They were perfect for me to teach Gwen about the physics of magnetism as well as eletromagnetism.

The scissors fob adds a bit of visual bling to my scissors. More importantly, the fob makes it easy for me spot where I place my scissors at all times. When I stitch, I don’t always place the scissors at one fixed spot like I am supposed to, and I so easily lose track of them.

I find that the items are affordable as gifts for a stitching or quilting friend, or even for yourself. Check out Zappy Dots’ website HERE, and I double dog dare you to not spend more than 20 minutes looking to see if you couldn’t find the perfect “dot”! I found SO many dots that I want to have…. maybe it’s time for another collection!?

I always appreciate you stopping by! I hope you have a lovely rest of your week – do stay safe and WARM! Till next week.


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2-Cent Tuesday

Hello Friends, it’s Tuesday again! You know what that means! Continuing with our discussion on piecing and points, here is something I do!

Oftentimes when I sew block units together when completing a block and there are no butting seams, I guess-timate where the intersection would be where the point forms. Then, I peel back the top unit and check to see if the point is indeed where it’s supposed to be.

Once satisfied it is, I would place a pin where the intersection point is. I would use a much finer pin than shown.

THEN, when getting close to the pin, I actually leave the it in, and use the handwheel to glide my needle over the pin instead of using the pedal. Works like a charm 99% of the time for me! Here is an example…

Alrightie – that’s all the 2 cents I have to offer today. Now it’s your turn! Happy Quilting!


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A guest post: Gwendolyn Sheppard on her Stitching Bag

Hello! My name is Gwen Sheppard. Today I’m happy to guest post on my mom’s blog. I am currently a 6th grader who loves going to school to see my friends. I am in my 8th year of learning to play the violin. In my spare time, I like to explore the woods, read, write, and recently, I started making simple bead jewelry. In the summer time when I have more time, I also like to try out different baking recipes.

Beatitudes ODACS

You may have known that I also do needlework. Here are a few examples of what I have stitched in the past.


I am very excited that my Valentines designs was recently featured in the JustCrossStitch February 2021 magazine.

I stitch all my projects with Aurifil threads. I like their wooden spools for their cotton embroidery floss, and vibrant colors. I myself have curated two thread collections for Aurifil.


Recently, I have begun to store the threads for my projects in a strong, durable bag made by Yazzii.

I use the bag CA14 to store not only my threads, but my whole team of stitching supplies. I have found it extremely helpful in keeping my stitching supplies organized. The see-through pockets in this bag make it easy for storing what I need to stitch, as well as maybe a couple of toy items.

The bag comes in vivid colors, including aqua, olive green, and hot pink. I chose aqua because it’s my favorite color at the moment. You may find out more about the bag HERE.

The bag looks attractive and is easy to carry around using the handle. The fabric is thick and durable, yet the bag is small, so it is ideal for taking your sampler supplies on the airplane, on vacation, or simply to your favorite stitching spot in your own backyard. I really like my stitching bag.

My Mom asked me to share my stitching tip. I think mine would be keep on stitching until the project is complete. This tip helps me from having UFOs, because chances are I might have to stitch my Mom’s UFOs, haha (at least that’s what she tells me!).

Thank you for letting me visit with you today. I hope you have a most wonderful Valentines Day! I am looking forward to the heart-shaped Valentines Day cake that I have been seeing in the fridge!


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2-Cent Tuesday

Hello Friends! I hope you are all well, and are sewing! My 2-cents will be brief today.

This is actually a little trick my friend Wanda showed me years ago when I was a newbie quilter, and I am forever grateful for this trick. Well, this is how I pin my pieces — I pin toward the raw edges of my fabric pieces.

You know how they tell you not to sew over pins?By pinning my pieces this way, it’s almost as if I can sew over pins without actually sewing over pins!

We all have different ways of doing things. If you have never tried pinning your pieces this way, you might give it a try, and see if you like it. So, that’s my 2-cents for today — it’s now your turn! Till next time!

p.s. See those purple fork pins? I have never used them until my quilting teacher Barbara sent them — I am learning now learning and experimenting with pins because of Barbara. Will have more to share on pins soon.


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2-Cent Tuesday

Hello Friends, I hope you had a great start to your week! We had snow over the weekend, and of course snow days followed!

Last Tuesday we left off our 2-cent Tuesday with me making HST units larger, pressing the seams open and then trim to size. It is VERY important that your HST units remain perfectly square during the process of pressing and trimming.

[But please allow me to remind all of us that we are all of different, and what bothers us as a quilter might not be a big deal for another quilter.]

Because I want to keep my HST units (or any block units for that matter) as perfectly square as possible, I actually almost never use steam in my block construction process, because I have found in my experience that steam distorts the square-ness of my block units.

Dry iron aside, I have also found the following to affect the accuracy in my piecing as well:

#1. When I cut up fabrics into pieces, I make sure the pieces are cut accurately. I have found that sometimes inaccuracies happen when rulers of different brands are used in cutting pieces that go into the same block. So I try to use rulers of only one brand to keep the consistency. This is where personal preferences come into play where he ever so slightly minute inconsistencies might not bother another quilter. Eliminating inconsistencies to ensure accuracy was a big part of what I did as an engineer in my former life. So I think that has definitely carried into the quilting world for me.

#2. Of course cut pieces are only part of the equation in making a quilt block happen. I always check my unit measurements after the pieces sewn together, pressed etc to make sure I get the correct unfinished sizes. If the unfinished sizes don’t come out right, then, I will tweak adjustments like needle position etc to achieve the correct unfinished size.

The following pictures show how the points come out in one of my recent finishes, without any special treatments from me other than: correctly cut block pieces, correct seam allowances and a dry iron.

And I don’t ever really have to square up my blocks after my blocks are constructed. However, it would be remiss of me to not show you the a point that didn’t come out quite to my satisfaction. I inspected the entire quilt of 83″ square, and found about 3 spots where the points didn’t come out just right for me. And that’s when I deliberated if I could live with those not so perfect points. In the end, I decided I could….

That’s all I can offer for my 2 cents today! It’s your turn to share yours. Happy Quilting, My Friends!


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Season to Taste Book Tour

Happy Friday, Friends — I’d bet you didn’t expect to hear from me so soon! Before I go on, I want to thank you for the comments you left on my previous posts. From now on, I will be responding to your comments a little differently: INSTEAD OF RESPONDING TO SOME OF YOU VIA EMAIL, I AM GOING TO BE POSTING MY RESPONSES AFTER YOUR COMMENTS. I may not always respond to each comment, but I do read all your comments.


Today is my turn in Jessica Dayon’s Season to to Taste book tour! If you haven’t heard of this newly released quilting book, you need to check it out. You may have seen Jessica’s work all over the place, because she is an amazing designer! She hosts many quilt-alongs as well. Check out Jessica’s blog HERE.

Jessica’s book takes you through an entire year of 12 quilts (with complete patterns) according to the seasons. So, it’s a really neat book concept. For my book tour project, I decided to make a mini quilt out of the large leaf block in Jessica’s Gratitude quilt.

I just recently finished a leaf quilt myself, but the way I constructed my leaf blocks was different from the way Jessica constructed hers. So I was intrigued. I followed the steps exactly as prescribed in the instructions. I like the way Jessica made her leaf blocks, especially how to make 4 HST units at one time!

Jessica also hand-embroidered sayings on her large leaf block in the book. I decided to quilt mine instead — because I can quilt much faster than I can do handwork, haha!

I really enjoyed making this mini quilt. I set out with the following goals with this project:

#1. CHECKED! Making a mini red/white solid quilt – for some reason I have never been brave enough to do a red/white solid quilt. So I thought working on a mini first would help me get a feel of things!

#2. CHECKED! Trying a different way to make a familiar block – Jessica’s method is brilliant!

#3. CHECKED! For the last seven years or so, I have been playing with the idea of feathers and letters — and I was able to try it out on this mini quilt! This is the first public sighting of my feathers and letters concept. You will be seeing more feathers & letters from me soon!

I have more technical aspects about this mini quilt to share, but will save that for a different day — because today is Jessica’s day! Would you check out her book HERE?

Till next time — have a great weekend!


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2-Cent Tuesday

Happy Tuesday to you, my Friends! I know some of you got a whole bunch of snow. We haven’t gotten any significant snow yet where I’m at, but it does look like we might have some in the forecast.

Have you seen my La Rouge Basket quilt in the Feb 2021 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting? Complete instructions are in the magazine. This quilt is actually not complicated — it has 2 blocks that you just make over and over again. Then, the quilt design emerges from tweaking the block orientations. This design is a great segway to my 2-cent for today: Half-Square-Triangles (HST). This quilt has a total of 936 HST units.

DISCLAIMER: I want you to know my 2-cents are NEVER dogmatic — there are MANY other ways to successfully make HST units!

I always cut the squares for making HST larger than the conventionally recomended size — and that’s my 2-cent for constructing HST units.

For example, if you are to make a 6″ finished HST unit. The conventional measurement for the squares would be 6 7/8″. I would instead cut my squares at either 7″ or 7 1/4″. Then, I would do the usual: Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one 7″ square. Place it, right sides together, on another 7″ square. Sew 1/4″ away on both sides of the drawn line. Cut along drawn line to yield two HST units. Open and press.

NOW — I press my seam OPEN in this case to distribute the bulk from the seams. Then, I line up the diagonal seam of the HST unit (on the right side) against the 45 degree angle line on the quilting ruler. And square up and trim my HST unit to the right unfinished size. So if we are using the previous example 6″ finished HST unit, the unit would measure 6 1/2″ unfinished after squaring up and trimming.

Then, I would treat the HST unit as if it is a 6 1/2″ square cut up to be used to make a quilt block.

And that is all there is to it. This little trick has served me well for large, small, and tiny HST units. I have made them as small as 1″.

Here is a closeup of the basket block. You can see my little trick works out quite nicely for the points to come out decent.

I just used the same trick to start making a few blocks for my Patriot Dream quilt sample, granted, there aren’t 936 of them I have to make, ha! You may purchase the pattern HERE if you want to sew this quilt with me. I will be sharing snippets of the process as I make it.

So, that’s my 2 cents for today — and next week, I will have sort of a sequel to this trick that kept my basket blocks from turning into problem children.

NOW — it’s your turn to share your quilting 2-cents with the rest of us!


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Monday Check-in!

Hello Friends, I hope you had a great weekend. How is it that we are in late January already?

I thought today is a fun day to share a poem Gwen recently wrote of the elephant.

Here goes:

The Elephant

by GKS, Jan 2021

Oh, creature of colossal height!

Oh, creature of such stately might!

Your trunk is like a garden hose

But bigger. And, as for your toes

They are huge! Oh, Mighty One,

When most see you they want to run.

Your trumpeting is louder than

An orchestra. And, having no fan

You slop black mud between your ears

Which takes care of your sweaty fears.

Your tusks! Well, they’re something to see!

For they are made of ivory!

Oh, wonderful! Marvelous to behold!

What a brave creature and bold!

I think we overlook your tail.

You show it off, but to no avail.

So I will help. Oh, lovely tail!

It’s quite thin, quite as thin as a rail.

And your legs! Oh, gracious, they’re like trees!

And just look at those giant knees!

Oh, how could I forget the ears?

With them, one most assuredly hears

Things that us humans do not know

Such as ‘Elephants know their friends from foes!’

Your physique is clumsy, I’m afraid.

It is the truth, it must be said.

However, you can run, if needed.

Your wise advice is quite best heeded

Because of your great memory

And because you are quite, quite free.

And now, my poetry must relent –

Goodbye, my friend, the elephant.

So, how’s your stomp going if you decided to join the fun? Feel free still to jump in anytime. Pat Sloan has the information HERE. Pat’s schedule has 2 more Mondays left after today.

Check out Pat’s Facebook Quilt Along page HERE and see all the different versions of Elephant blocks. Just looking at the fabric choices is most inspiring. Pat Sloan has the information on the quilt along on her blog HERE.

You may purchase the Pattern PDF here. And Fat Quarter Shop has both paper and PDF formats here. I am sewing along and making a second quilt. This is one of my blocks using Woodland Song fabrics by Poppie Cotton.

I want to thank those of you who have purchased my patterns, and supporting my daughter’s college fund! I released two more patterns within the last week. Both are availabe from my Etsy Shop HERE.

Patriot Dream

2. At A Glance — because New Year means new clipboards to keep track of quilt projects.

That’s all for now — I hope you enjoyed Gwen’s little poem, and I will be back tomorrow with my 2-Cent Tuesday!


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Hello Friends, Happy Tuesday to you! I hope you have been well. Today kicks off a weekly 2-cent-Tuesday on my blog! I used to have “my two cents” in my machine quilting posts, and I have been wanting to continue that to cover the various aspects of Tuesdays… so here we go:

If you quilt your own quilts, leave the completed quilted piece alone for at least 24-48 hours. Chances are you would anyway – if you are laying the piece on the floor for squaring up purposes. THEN come back and and admire your piece. More than likely, all you see is just quilted texture, and not any mistakes!

Feel free to share in the comments section your 2 cents on anything quilting! I look forward to reading them, and learning from you!


Have you joined Pat Sloan’s Stomping Ground Quilt Along? Check out her Facebook Quilt Along page HERE and see all the different versions of Elephant blocks. Pat Sloan has the information on the quilt along on her blog HERE. I am sewing along and making a second quilt. This is one of my blocks using Woodland Song fabrics by Poppie Cotton.

You may purchase the Pattern PDF here. And Fat Quarter Shop has both paper and PDF formats here.

This is one I had mock-up digitally, and I have called it the Paint Chip Ellie version!

That’s all for today — don’t forget to leave your 2 cents in the comment section! Have a great day!


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Merry Christmas 2020 & Stomping Ground Sewalong

Hello Friends, Merry Christmas to you! I hope you had a blessed one. I know that many of of us weren’t able to do what we usually do for Christmas this year, but I was comforted to know that Christmas is Christmas no matter what I usually do! So this year without our usuals, I was able to focus on the FIRST Christmas, and enjoyed the simple things. My daughter and I even “binge-listened” to Bach’s 6-part Christmas Oratoria in one sitting on the radio, as opposed to, say, watch a group perform live. “Mom, this is really old-fashioned, and I love it!” – said my daughter.

Watching the wildlife that come through our yard is always special.

Earlier in December, my daughter hosted a Christmas party for her American Heritage Girls troop. My oven was working almost 24-7 for several days there while I dried orange slices while my daughter was in school. The orange slices were then used to decorate the centerpieces. I ended up with tree upon tree after the party. What you see aren’t all. I ended up scattering the rest throughout the entire house.

During the hectic craziness leading up to Christmas, I had a red and cream quilt published in the Feb 2021 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. This quilt has the most half-square-triangle units I have EVER made that go into one quilt – 936 of them! The quilt isn’t hard – just lots of repetitive parts! I had to say the whole process was made really fun because of the pretty fabrics I used. For this quilt, I used La Rouge Rose fabrics by Moda.

And if you subscribe to Pat Sloan’s blog or YouTube channel, you know TODAY is the day! Today starts the sewalong Pat Sloan is doing with my Stomping Ground pattern! Here is a screen shot from Pat’s blog post dated December 21, 2020. Click here for her YouTube episode on how to cut pieces for an elephant with a 10″ layer cake square.

Here are pictures of the quilt I had made before. This version is made with Pat’s Morrison Park fabrics.

Here are a few more color options if you want to join the sewalong but aren’t sure about what fabrics to use:

I am making this quilt the second time with Woodland Songbirds by Poppie Cotton! These fabrics are really sweet. Look me up on Instagram later to see my blocks. My handle is ivory_spring.

Well, where to get the pattern?

From my Etsy shop (pdf download): click HERE.

From Fat Quarter Shop (pdf download): click HERE.

From Fat Quarter Shop (paper format): clikc HERE.

And that is it — Ready, set, stomp for the New Year! Blessings to you all. I shall check in with you after the New Year!


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Answers to a few questions…

Hello Friends, I hope your week got off a lovely start!  I am still chugging along at my end tending to the different irons in the fire!  First off, the second round of flowering has begun on my rose bushes.  Due to the heat, the flowers aren’t as pink as in the early spring.  And they don’t last as long either.


I actually tracked the “life” of a rose on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago, trying to see how long it took for a bud to mature into a flower.   With the growing conditions in my reason, I say it’s about 14-18 days.  I never thought it would be that long.



Every week I receive emails from quilters asking where they can purchase stand-alone patterns for kits they see in catalogs like Keepsake Quilting.   Most of the time these patterns are not available as stand-alone for sale patterns because they are exclusive collaborations among all the parties involved in offering a design as kits .  The only way to get the pattern is to purchase the kits.  I have also learned that Keepsake Quilting almost never re-kit a project after their kits sell out.

So if you like a kit you see, it’s probably best to purchase it while it is still available.  Click HERE to check out the kits that I have designed for Keepsake Quilting.  

I thought I would share with you the newest kits available that I had designed with the Walnut Creek fabrics by Windham Fabrics.

Walnut Creek

The first one is Homestead.  Click HERE to purchase the kit.  Remember the house blocks I had shared with you a few weeks ago?  The design is offered as quilt kits using the Walnut Creek fabrics.

Recolorr4_60 x 72

The second one is Plum Creek.  Click HERE to purchase the kit.

Recolor1_Larissa_93 x 93


Receiving frequent requests for my stand-alone patterns is a big determing factor for the launch of my own pattern line in December 2019.  I want to thank those of you who have purchased the patterns.  I am appreciative of your support.  Please know that my editors and myself work really hard to make each of these pattern happen!

Click HERE to see the current offerings.  More will be added within the few weeks.  

All my patterns are non-fabric specific, and oftentimes precuts friendly.  And chances are I am sewing my quilts right along with you!

What if you really like the version(s) of my quilts I have shown in my fabric choices?  Email me, and I am more than happy to share with you names of fabric lines, and pertinent details.

Please also let your quilt shops know that copies of paper pattern are offered exclusively to them.  They just need to email me for details.

Precuts Friendly_FQ_Elliptical

This is one I am working on.  It is actually a log cabin quilt.  In case you missed it, I had blogged about it here.  Pattern is available here.  And here is my latest progress picture.  A quarter of the blocks are made!

Apricot & Ash2

Meanwhile, I am working on these blocks…. details coming soon!

Just Need Shortcake1

Morrison Park1

That’s all for now, Friends.  I am burning midnight oil trying to get a huge quilt completed…. This quilt has more than 850 HST units!  I am crazy, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Take care, and may the bluebird of happiness fly up your nose!


Till next time!


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Elliptical Quilt: Construction Tips

Hello Friends, Happy Thursday to you.  I am glad you stopped by today!  Here is a fun tip for you before we go further!  I am guessing you probably have folded fabric stacks somewhere in your sewing space.  I find these fabric stacks a great way to keep track of units I construct for my quilt blocks.  Just stick a pin and the units to a fabric stack — and chances are, you won’t lose them like I would if I place my units somewhere on my sewing desk.   I have tried using trays, but I think because I work on more than one or two or three quilts at one time, it’s harder to keep track of various block units using the trays.


Now, onto my newly release pattern Elliptical Quilt.  Pattern is available HERE.  Elliptical Quilt is a fat-quarter-friendly design.  So, get busy raiding your stash.  You will need a total of 18 FQs + backgroudn fabric!  You can also use jelly roll strips to cut the print pieces as well.

Precuts Friendly_FQ_Elliptical

DESIGN SUMMARY: This is actually a quilt made with log cabin blocks with a twist!  The conventional log cabin blocks end up being square blocks, but these log cabin blocks have to end up being rectangular in order to achieve an overall elliptical look!

apricot & Ash block


Because of the elliptical nature of the quilt design, here are a few things to watch for —

1. Follow the block cutting diagram CAREFULLY when cutting the pieces because the pieces are not cut at the more regular or familiar dimensions.  For example, one of the pieces is cut 2 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ — be sure to cut at those dimensions and not 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.  Or there is a narrow piece that is cut at 1″ x 6″ — be sure to not cut 1″ x 6 1/2″.

All those dimensions are necessary in order for us to achieve the elliptical look.

2.  Therefore, I find it easier to cut the pieces piecemeal as I make the blocks instead of mass-cutting.  The following pictures show how I organize my pieces.  I find that index cards are great for keeping my pieces organized because I can write down the dimensions of my cut pieces.

Elliptical Organization

3.  The other thing to watch for when constructing the blocks is the block orientation.  The left and right blocks are mirror-imaged, and will need to be constructed as such.

Elliptical Quilt Left

Elliptical Quilt Right

4.  One more thing, the mirror imaged concept applies to inside blocks as well.  If you look closely, you will notice that the inside blocks has an extra rectangle at the tip so that the center makes a secondary 9-patch design.

[Note:  If you don’t want to be bothered with making the inside blocks, you can always just make the outside blocks, noting the block orientations of course, and you will be fine!]

Elliptical Quilt Inside Block

5.  It’s also helpful if you sew with an accurate scant 1/4″ seam allowance, especially for the pieces cut 1″ width.  You could cut the 1″ wide pieces at 1 1/4″, and then trim to size after you sew.  For example, when the pattern calls for a 1″ x 6″ piece, cut the piece at 1 1/4″ x 6″.  Sew, and then trim to 3/4″ width measuring from the seam line.

Elliptical Trimming

6.  There are raw edge to raw edge measurements listed after you complete certain steps in the construction process.  Be sure to use those measurements to double-check your cutting!

I am making mine in the upcoming Apricot & Ash by Moda Fabrics.  I think they are shipping to stores sometime in August this year.

Elliptical Fabrics

Elliptical Blocks

I hope with these tips that I learned from making the blocks myself, you will find that it’s really fun making these hipster Log Cabin blocks!  Once you get the details figured out, it should take about 15-25 minutes max to sew up a block.  For me, the effect from the overall layout is the best part about this design.

By the way, did you know that the log cabins are a Scottish invention?

Thank you for stopping by!  Happy Sewing, Everyone!

Thank you for stopping by, and I wish you a lovely rest of the week!


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