Site Down Due to Blogger’s Maintenance

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Luckily, the site’s not really down, it’s just me! Been awhile since I blogged. I’ve been prepping for, and now am in recovery from, surgery on my dominant hand. Had basal joint arthroplasty and carpal tunnel surgery. In layman’s terms, I blew out my thumb joint and had to have it replaced! As you may imagine, it’s been kind of tricky to type! Guess its time for this old dog to learn yet another new trick, voice recognition for my Mac!

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Happy our handsome son came by to cook a few meals for us.

I’ll be back as soon as I can. Until then, take care! :D

 

Peachy Party Sangria

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For foodie Friday I give you Peachy Sangria!  At our house it’s a summertime party favorite. :)

I spent a chunk of my teen years in Germany where I attended K-Town high school.  It was a military dependent’s school with the Department of Defense.  While there, I met and fell in love with a bunch of other tumbleweeds, fun military brats. Sadly, we lost touch over the years for about 28 years in fact.  But, this story has a happy ending, with the invent of  Facebook we’ve found each other! We’ve loved the many wonderful opportunities to get together all over the US.  Here’s a group shot of our last reunion in Vegas. We don’t look like brats, do we?! ;)578745_3800513609197_1466241526_n - Version 2I have to give a shout out to my lil K-Town friend, Wendi Franzyshen Brown of New Jersey.  She’s the beautiful blonde dead center in this photo.  She shared a version of this sangria recipe with me.  She’s also responsible for the “Creative Gypsy” photo on my blog because, she took it during one of my visits to see her.

This sangrias’s incredible, refreshing, easy to mix, and like me, feel free to adjust the recipe you desire.

Peachy Party Sangria


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2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris

1 C. peach schnapps

6 oz. frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate

2-3 C. fresh fruit, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, grapes,

Mix and let mellow for a minimum of 4 hrs.  This is even better the next day! I just add a little more wine as needed to the mix.  Yummy!!  Let me know if you try it or if you have a favorite recipe!  :D

Kaleidoscope Star Paper Pieced Pattern

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I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I was able to blog.  Summer time fun, family travel, and prepping for surgery on my blown out thumb has had me busy!  I have a few weeks to get ready for surgery so I’m rushing around finishing up last minute projects until I’m out of creative commission for a while.  (I hear four to six months until I’m able to get even a bit of use from my right, dominant hand. “Rut Roh!” in the immortal words of Astro.)

My little friend Rie over at Marie’s Creative Space is at it again!  She has another paper pieced star pattern up for download on Craftsy. I was supposed to help her proof the pattern but the aforementioned busy schedule got in the way!  So, when I could, I printed out her pdf and played with some fabrics in my stash.IMG_3938

I had fun taking my lil Feather Weight on our recent trip to see family.  They live out in the country outside of Tulsa so, when I had a few minutes from time to time, I jumped on this block. :)

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Here’s the preliminary view of the block.  If you’re at all interested in learning how to paper piece, Vanessa Vargas Wilson over at The Crafty Gemini has an excellent video and for beginners. I always tease that you have to be a bit dyslexic “to get” paper piecing.  Maybe it’s because, you look on one side to line up fabrics and sew on the other so, your flipping your piece back and forth as you work.  All kidding aside, it’s an excellent way to get precision piecing when you quilt, here’s a link to get you going!IMG_4181

Marie is one of those souls, you know, the kind that everyone can’t help but love.  She’s not only incredibly busy being the office manager of LaMarre Concrete, her family’s business in New Hampshire, she’s a founding board member of the NHModern Quilt Guild.  She volunteers regularly with her local guild and is becoming quite the pattern designer as well!  She’s constantly got something positive and creative going on.  So, you can easily see our bond even tho miles away. If there were a way to bottle and sale her energy, passion, and kindness we’d all be better for getting some of it!

I hope you’ll go check her out!  :D

Free Knitting Pattern the Pixie Love Hat

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This is a great fast project!  I found this darling hat on Pinterest, designed by Pamela W. Allen, and published on her blog Tangled.   She appropriately named it Pixie Love.  Of course, I instantly dug through my stash to produce this lil cutie!DSC_0380

I pinned her hat and it’s never lost popularity among my fellow pinning enthusiasts.  So far it’s received 304 re-pins, 28 likes, and counting! Therefore, it seemed a good pattern to share with you.  If you are new to knitting, read the next paragraph.  If knitting’s old hat you might be surprised to learn a new tip for joining in the round in the video below.

For you fairly new knitters, before you panic and say there’s no way I can make that!  Let me give you a few video tutorials that will have you rethinking your mindset. Let me also encourage you and say if you’re new to knitting or if you’ve just want to try it, it’s not rocket science. It does help to have a decent attention span and a little time to unwind to take on knitting but I promise if you will and you’ll give yourself time, you’ll find it’s very relaxing and peaceful.  If you’re a visual learner, now’s the perfect time to connect with YouTube.  This little hat’s knit in the round, it makes up really fast, count your stitches, place your markers, and you should have no problem making it.  After you’ve cast on the appropriate number of stitches, Nancy Wynn’s video on knitting in the round can help you with that next step.  Later when you get ready to decrease here’s a video tutorial from The Knit Witch on the k2tog (knit 2 together) decrease.

Pamela’s pattern doesn’t include the darling little star but I did some research and Nanette Blanchard has the pattern available for free on her blog, knitting in color.  There’s information on that on my Ravelry page about the yarn and needles I used.

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I like how tidy the decreases are from this view.  I enjoyed making it so much, and thought it was so sweet that I had to make another!  A lil girl version for our friend’s new baby, it’s here: Nora’s baby hat.  Of course, little booties were just begging to go with it.  ;)

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Pamela’s awfully sweet to offer the pattern for free but, she’s asking that, “I offer this pattern for free, but I do hope that if you use it (and even if you don’t), you will make a donation to save the children …thank you!”  Check out her site above for more info.

Give Chalk Paint a Whirl

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I don’t shy away from much.  If I don’t know how to do something, given enough time and a bit of research I’ll figure it out.  Well, I’ve done the research and hands down it looks like chalk paint’s the way to go if you’re considering refinishing a piece of furniture! First off, let me say “chalkboard” paint and chalk paint are two entirely different things. While they are very similar, chalkboard paint is simply that, a paint that’s used to create a chalkboard.  Chalk paint, however, is latex paint with an additive that once dry has a flat chalky appearance, that is, until it’s waxed.  Why use chalk paint?  Because 9 times out of 10 you don’t have to strip or sand, unless you’re working with a high gloss piece. It dries fast and is easy to distress.  Once the wax finish is on it’s a very durable!  It can be used on laminate, glass, floors, and if watered down a bit it can even be used to paint fabric. Pretty impressive huh?!

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Our handsome son. Ok, I may be a bit biased! ;)

So, all that said, I decided it might be best to test this paint on a trial piece before I do what I’d really like, try this on my treasured studio armoire.  My mom found this little table at a garage sale and our son’s in need of a dining table for his apartment. IMG_4031

So voila, perfect test project! (Matt seemed happy to help ;) Because the table top’s surface was a bit dinged up and worn we did sand it, hoping to give it a nice smooth finish once complete.

There are many different recipes for chalk paint on-line. I found the following recipe at SalvedgedInspiration.com.  Denise actually has four recipes listed and this is one I wanted to give a whirl.  In the future, as I try the others, I’ll let you know how they work as well!

DSC_0324My recipe for this piece:

2 parts flat latex

1 C. plaster of paris+ just enough water that, when mixed, it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

First, if you can, SIFT the plaster of paris.  You want to get any lumps and clumps out of the plaster before using it.  Then using an inexpensive hand held mixer, add in a little water at a time mixing until you get that aforementioned pancake batter consistency. Add smooth batter to your color latex paint. Mix until all the plaster batter is well blended into paint.  It’s possible there may be tiny clumps of plaster in your finished piece.

I used a small smooth surface foam roller to apply the paint to this table top then used a inexpensive brush to smooth out any bubbles the roller left behind.  As you’re painting you’ll want to work with thin layers, load your brush with paint and just touch the tips of the brush into water before application, this helps keep brush strokes smooth.

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I was able to get this look with two layers of paint.  Nothing like waiting for paint to dry…

 

You don’t necessary have to do this but as this was a table top and I wanted a nice smooth finish I did go over the table and legs with a bit of steel wool to knock off any stray texture.  I then wiped that off with a damp rag and let dry for a few hours.  Next wax. DSC_0328 Brush it on and work it into the surface much like you would put lotion on your hands.  Rub it in well.  Then with a cloth wipe it off. You want to give it a chance to soak in then wipe it off so that it’s not tacky. I let the piece dry over night and buffed with the next day.

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See where I’ve already buffed the wax? Hint the upper right hand side hasn’t been buffed yet!

A little patience, timing, and a bit of elbow grease is the trick and you should be tickled with your final piece!  I think I’m gonna like this stuff!!  What surface to do next?  Hum…

Remember, most surfaces require no sanding or prep work.  Give it a whirl, you’re gonna love it!

Free Motion Quilting Tips and Tools

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I’m forgoing Foodie Friday to bring you Free Motion Quilting.  Yes, if you’ve been tuning in, I’m on a roll!  ;)

Demo’ing last night at guild

The Creative Gypsy in her element ;)

In prepping for my Fort Worth Modern Quilt guild’s free motion demo pictured above, I compiled a list of items and ideas to assist in the FMQ process.  Beyond the basic things you need for machine quilting like a sewing machine, walking foot, and or a free motion foot, there are items that make the free motion quilting process go much more smoothly.   Here are a few and in no particular order:

  • Additional surface around your machine, tables, card tables whatever you have that can support your quilt as you work, helps.
  • I love a large sheet of plastic vinyl laid onto of the surface under the quilt.  Drape it across the table and onto the bed of your machine but don’t cover your machine’s throat plate.  The smooth surface helps in the ease of quilt  movement. I found it at Wal Mart for $3-4 a yard
  • Adhesive backed Teflon “Sew Slip” sheet placed on the bed of your sewing machine, helps with the smooth movement of your piece as you quilt.   (After many uses, if the sheet back looses adhesion, you can simply wash the back side to remove the lint. Just don’t use a paper or cotton towel to dry as then you’ve just reattached the lint. If it is really bad and the lint has embedded itself in the silicone side, you can actually run it through a dishwasher cycle. Stand it up against some plates and will come out good as new. Scarey, I know, but it works!” That info was from the owner of “Sew Slip.”)
  • Packaging tape to hold the two previous things in place and together! ;)
  • “High Tech” quilting gloves ;D aka a garden glove with the pointer finger cut, so it can flip the finger tip on and off as needed.  This is an excellent way to answer the phone mid-quilt or turn on your favorite Pandora station to get your quilting groove on.  DSC_0320
  • Teflon washers “Magic Bobbin Washers”, assists with bottom thread tension
  • Additional lighting, one can never have enough lighting!  My fav?  Ikea’s Jansjö flexible neck task light
  • NEW machine needle, I like Schmetz Microtex 70/10 OR Schmetz Stepp-Nadel Quilting needle 75/11.  Here’s some more info on Schemetz needles.
  • Sewers Aid, a silicone based product that can help eliminate skipped stitches not only in free motion but also helps with fusible when you find you’re struggling with build-up on your machine needle.
  • A great new book by Angela Walters, Free-Motion Quilting Workbook . It’s full of great ideas and loads of graph paper for doodling your quilting designs.
  • Blue low tack painter’s tape is great for marking your quitting without “leaving a mark.”
  • The Ultimate Marking Pencil for dark fabrics, irons off!
  • Blue water soluble marker wonderful tool just never and I mean NEVER iron it before removal.  The quilting mark will be permanent. : /
  • 9 times out of 10 I use Connecting Thread’s long-staple, 3 ply cotton thread for quilting I wrote about that here: Your Thread Collection is Art
  • I like Hobb’s 80/20 batting.  It’s a bit more durable for frequently washed quilts.

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  • Oh!  If it’s possible a really nice view. ;)  I got lucky on this one!  Surroundings can make you calm and you will quilt better.  I promise!

In addition, here are some websites to go to for further info:
Leah Day’s probably the most prolific web-based machine quilter/educators today.  Her website not only offers loads of inspiration through countless quilting designs, she has a really nice video tutorial selection available to view and learn from and offers many e-books you can download. She can be found at:   http://www.leahday.com
Currently 21 classes are offered by Craftsy an on-line educator.  They’re not free but they’re affordable and great information on “how-to.”  Definitely worth a look.
If you’d like, I have 115 pins on Pinterest on  my Machine Quilting board.  Yes, I spend may hours chasing rabbits down rabbit holes but, I LOVE reading and the information that’s  out there on the web.Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.20.03 AM

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share?  I love questions and feed back so please feel free to comment or question below. :D Thanks!

Michael Miller Modern Quilt Guild Challenge

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DSC_0321 I was tickled to be included in The Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild, my shiny new guild’s challenge! :)  I’ve quilted for close to 30 years but recently have enjoyed trying new types of quilting.  No, if you’re “unschooled,” they’re not all the same. There are different trends and styles of quilting. There’s traditional quilting, which is the foundation of most of today’s quilting, think of what you’ve seen for years from your mothers or grandmother, traditional patchwork and appliqué.  There are varing degrees of greatness within this form of quilting.  I’ve learned recently, in the Arlington/Fort Worth area, there’s a group of quilters that are known as the DIVA’s and yes, they’ve earned the right to be called that.  They’re experts in piecing, immaculate work, historians of fabrics and blocks.  You’d be hard pressed to find ANY seam not perfectly matched or any quilting stitch awry.

While l I do appreciate this form of quilting, it’s not my passion.  I love art. I enjoy painting and apparently it’s genetic.  My grandmother was an excellent artist and did beautiful work in oils and our  daughter Chelsea paints phenomenal oil portraits.  So, it’s easy to see why I’d be drawn to art quilts.  I venture to say my love has been the art quilt.  Here’s an example of a fiber art piece, I created with a challenge group that started from the Austin Fiber Artists:red bag chaL 9 - Version 2I’ve spent recent years studying and working in this area.  If you’re interested in seeing more examples, check out my Cobalt Blue Challenge post and another challenge,  A Goose landed on my Daisy.  If given enough time in one place, a break from tumbling as it were, this tumbleweed would love to cultivate this type of quilt even more.

In the past few years, however, the Modern Quilt Movement’s caught my eye.  I attended a lecture with my dear friend Errin Risberger, a wool appliqué enthusiast, who I blogged about in May in the post Quilting Acres.  We were retreating in Sisters, Oregon and attending their Outdoor Quilt show last July. I loved what Errin was up to in her quilting:

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She suggested I attend a lecture with her that was to be given by founder and current board member of the MQG, Alissa Haight Carlton and I was hooked! Her infectious attitude about quilting and the on-line community is one of the reasons I decided to blog.  And, I quote their blog, “The MQG developed out of the thriving online community of modern quilters and their desire to start meeting in person. The founding guild was formed in Los Angeles in October of 2009. Through blogs and the Internet, word spread quickly of the fun they were having and soon guilds started popping up everywhere…  In 2009, Alissa Haight Carlton and Latifah Saafir founded the Modern Quilt Guild giving the online community a chance to form in person connections with other modern quilters.” The movement’s become quite a hit and next February, their second convention will be held in Austin, Texas where many of us will be attending “QuiltCon.” It’s exciting to see what this next generation of quilters are up to! Their style includes exaggerated use of traditional patterns, use of negative space, transparency, pixelation, and minimalism just to name a few.

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Here’s the back of my challenge piece. Psst…Don’t tell anyone but there are pins holding the binding down.

If I’m making a quilt for a 20-30 something individual, chances are I’m going to do so with this style of quilting.  Luckily, my decorating taste lends itself to this contemporary style. I fell in love with a quilt I stumbled across on Pinterest recently promoting a new quilting retreat in Tyler, Texas. It was made by Jerriann Massey for her new retreat house The Hidden Star Retreat that opened in June.  It looks lovely, all tucked away in the woods.  I can’t wait to check it out! It’s the perfect location for my Mom and I to retreat to, right between Shreveport and DFW.  The quilt was pictured on her blog Annie McHugs. I really liked her contemporary flair and thought, now that needs to be made out of the Michael Miller fabrics.  So, I now give you my quilt completed:

 

DSC_0335 If you’re interesting in scrappy binding like this check out my post: Scrap Series: Scrappy Binding. 

Better go do some hand stitching. I have binding to finish and a label to put on! :)

Studio Series: Bead Collection Display

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Hello, here’s another installment for motivational Monday’s studio decorating ideas.  Maybe you can relate and like me have many creative interests.  While living in Austin, I found a fun portable hobby that I could take with me while I traveled, crocheting with beads.  I’m a very tactile individual and loved how these bracelets looked and felt.  At the time I sold them on Etsy but have since let that go, with our two recent moves.

 Here are a few pictures of the pieces I was creating:DSC_0487  I used freeform crochet to encrust these bracelets.

Here’s a close up of one of my favorites. This one sold on my lil Etsy store.

DSC_0493And here’s one that was gifted to my sweet Auntie JOYeous. ;)

DSC_0411Here’s a group shot.  Not only is that a lot of crochet, it was a ton of beads!

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Obviously, I really enjoyed making these.  So, what does one do to be organized with that many beads?  Well, if you’re just tuning in I’ve been sharing some ideas on storage in my studio.  The bead collection was one of the first more “artful” displays I came up with.  I love seeing my supplies and am inspired when all that color whispers, “Look at me! Play with me. Create with me… “DSC_0323

You can find these great Art Prism Bins at JoAnns, and often they’re on sale!DSC_0339They’re a great idea for storing beads with their see through crystal clear plastic.  Later, I found the Jumbo ArtBin for my tools, another nice addition to help organize!

I hope you’ll be inspired by the ideas I’m sharing to get your creative space organized.  If you’re interested in seeing more of my studio or perhaps getting a few more ideas for your own, here are a few more posts to check out on studio organization.  Your Thread Collection as Art, Upcycle and Organize your Studio, and Pimpin Out the Studio Table. There’s more to come so, stay tuned. I hope I’ll inspire you in your creative journey! :)

Delicious Flaxseed Munchies

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For Foodie Friday I give you, flaxseeds. I love them. If you’ll give’m a try, they’ll love you back!  Why?  Because, flaxseed’s not only a wonderful source of Omega 3, excellent for heart health, they’re fantastic for your brain, good for eye health, they fight inflammation, they’re an excellent source of fiber, and a powerful antioxidant too!  Yep, they’re pretty much a power food. :)

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My dear friend Rie over at Marie’s Creative Space, shared her recipe with me sometime back.  She and her hubby Eric shared a way to get more flaxseeds into their diets.  It’s an interesting munchie they make once a week and keep handy for snacking.  She knows me and that I’ve used a bit of creative license with my version. ;)

Maybe like me, you cook by feel. A pinch of this, a dash of that.  Well, that’s not an easy thing to translate into written recipes.  Unless, you happen to have this cool tool!  Ladies and gents, I give you the “mini measuring spoon set” where a smidge, a dash, and a pinch is a literal, measurement!  (Oh heck yeah, now I think I got this!)DSC_0286


 

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  • 1 C. of Flaxseeds
  • 1 16 oz. Zico coconut water
  • 2 tbs Real maple syrup
  • 1/4 C. walnuts
  • 3 tbs pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 3 tbs slivered almonds
  • 1/4 C. Bob’s Redmill flaked coconut (optional)
  • 3 tbs Craisins or dehydrated blueberries
  • pinch of all spice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • sea salt to taste

In a large bowl, soak flaxseeds in coconut water until most of the liquid is absorbed. DSC_0268 Preheat oven to 325.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Coat large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.  Pour mixed ingredient into pan, spread evenly with a spatula. DSC_0288Allow to bake for 40 minutes until some of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture begins to brown. As the moisture evaporates it bakes into a nice crust.  Remove from oven, with spatula flip entire contents over and allow moist underside to bake equally for about 15 more minutes. DSC_0294This takes approximately 50-60 minutes total. Your home will smell amazing.  When both sides are a lightly toasted brown, remove from the oven and cool.  Break pieces apart and store them in a container in the fridge.DSC_0296

Disclaimer:  If you enjoy eating healthy, this stuff’s addictive. A few more pounds later, don’t come crying to me!  You were warned! ;)

Scraps Series: Scrappy Binding

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I was tickled when a recent post, “When Life Hands You Scraps Make Rainbows”  rallied a lot of interest! I felt I struck gold with that topic!  So, in that vein I give you the second in a series on scraps, my scrappy binding technique. Maybe you’ve seen’m before. I think they have a charm all of their own. At my TARTS bee in New Hampshire, I was sorting my snippets and scraps of fabric into colors when one lady piped in rather emphatic and quizzically asked, “Why on EARTH would you save those small pieces?! Why, I’d throw those away!”  I think to her at least, I’ve proven my point.  Let me try to do the same with you.

Here’s a few examples of my process. I create fabric for a bound edge or for binding of a quilted piece and yes, it’s made entirely of scraps: IMG_6960

Rather random, huh?  But wait, there’s more.  In this piece you can see how it looks as it’s being applied:IMG_5465

Here’s another example in a less “artsy quilt.” It’s a recent challenge piece I’m working on with my Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild.  It’s the Michael Miller fabric challenge that’s been presented to the entire MQG nationally.  Here’s a sneak peak of my project:

IMG_4048You’re only getting a peak because the reveal’s over a week away… ;)

So, when I make such a project nothing goes to waste. Not if it’s something I can salvage! Here’s an example:IMG_4049

While on retreat with the “Honey Bees” recently, I heard a great little phrase to help remember which direction to sew two strips of long binding together with a bias seam.  You’d place two strips right sides facing at a 90 degree angle. Now, imagine these two strips are legs on a pair of pants. Then sew across the waistband.  If you sew through the crotch, it’s the wrong directions and you’d never be able to get your legs into the pants.  Think about it… you’ll get it!  ;)

These are scraps I’ve cut and sewn into random shapes and strips as seen below:IMG_4050 See the random seams?  Quilters are pretty frugal and I get that this is “extreme frugalness” but I get a kick out of seeing what all I can create with my scraps.  Maybe you will too?  If you do please share, I’d love to see what you’re up to!

Can’t wait to show you the finished challenge piece after next week! ;D

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