Archive for category Crochet Projects

Hot Crochet

Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions.  I prefer doing the cobra and down dog in an ambient temperature so I thought I’d indulge in a bit of Hot Crochet instead – I might patent the name ; ).

I did use my yoga mat to block a blanket though – does that count?

This is the second version I’ve made of Emma Varnam’s Little River Blanket which I originally made with a lovely collection of 10g balls of Scheepjes River and Stone Washed yarn, bought as a kit from Black Sheep Wools.

It was fast and enjoyable to make so when I saw these little packs of  8 x 10g cotton yarn for 1.75 euros each in our local discount store, I thought I’d make it again.  I had some Rowan cotton yarn in my stash which I’ve had for years so used that for the ‘every 5th row’ colour and the border.

Being 100% cotton it wasn’t too uncomfortable a Summer make and I laid out all the colours I sourced in order to make the same sort of graded effect achieved in the original.

If I’m honest, the feel and texture of the Scheepjes blanket is softer and more luxurious because it has some acrylic mixed in with the cotton but the cost of the 100% cotton blanket was significantly less so…….

Here they are both together – the original Scheepjes one on the right.  I think they are both rather nice.

When I read other people’s blogs and see something I like, I tend to go off on a tangent and get enthused about a project even when I’m already knee deep in others.  So, when I read Pauline’s (aka The Contented Crafter) about large crocheted mandalas as wall art, some white metal hoops were only a few clicks away.

We have a long, blank corridor and I thought a selection of 45cm and 35cm colourful mandalas would look good against the plain wall.

Before the ends were weaved in and a light steam press.

I used Lucy at Attic 24’s pattern called ‘Positivity Mandala’ but added a couple of extra rounds to get it up to the required size for the hoops I bought. (free Mandala pattern here

As you can imagine, I have lots of cotton yarn scraps left from the stripey blankets above – you might remember I recently asked for ideas about how to use them.  The mandalas provide an excellent way of using up those 10g balls of cotton – at least in the centres.  The rest of the yarn is from the range by Paintbox DK of which I have a vast quantity having bought a huge pack of the entire colour range some time ago when it was on sale at a bargain price.

The jury – aka Mr. Tialys – is still out on whether he wants these as wall art in the corridor and, anyway, I wouldn’t have used these colours for there but I did a practise run in the bedroom where the colours go very nicely and I’ve since hung it in the entrance to my workroom.

I’ll keep you posted if I’m allowed to make any more.

Remember my crochet dogs, taken from Kerry Lord’s book?

I can’t recall whether I showed you this little chap.  He’s supposed to be an English Bull Terrier which, if I were to ever actually go to a breeder and buy a dog (which I won’t) this would be the breed I would probably choose – that or a German Shepherd (although, sadly the latter are generally two a penny in the refuges).

I found the patch a little difficult and I’m not sure whether it’s possible to blend black and white a little more efficiently than I have but I think he’s cute anyway.

My sister has a West Highland Terrier called Harvey and this is my rendition which will be posted in the next few days as a gift for her birthday.

I had never done loop stitch before so the head has been waiting to be finished until I had time to sit, hook in hand, in front of a YouTube tutorial.  I was worried I might not have made the loops long enough but she keeps him fairly well clipped anyway as she lives in Spain so I think it will be O.K.

Seems a shame to separate them really.

Right, now the yoga mat is freed up, I suppose I could do a few planks, shoulder stands and warrior poses.  On the other hand, it’s a bit too hot.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Crochet

As a contrast to my last post which was all about neutrals, here’s one to make your eyes bleed.

Do you remember this box of 50 gorgeous little 10g balls of yarn – a mix of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed in all the colours of the range?  They looked so pretty in their box that I wanted to hang it on the wall like a picture.

Still, I managed to get a grip, opened the box and, mixing the little 10g balls with three full sized ones in the colour Moonstone, made a cheerful little blanket designed by Emma Varnam.

The finished measurement is just 90 x 100 cm which is fine for a lap blanket, a baby blanket or something to throw artfully over the arm of a sofa or across the back of a chair.

Mine is a bit smaller as I missed out one of the widthwise repeats and, once I realised, couldn’t bear to undo what I’d already done for the sake of an extra few centimetres but, no matter, I like it muchly.

So much so, in fact, I’ve started another in some more mini 10g balls of yarn I have found locally.  The Scheepjes yarn is a cotton acrylic mix and is lovely and soft to the touch and a dream to work with.  The new stuff I’ve bought is all cotton and so doesn’t feel as soft.  The texture and drape is different and I made up my own mix of colours but, actually, it’s very light (so far) and therefore a comfortable project to work on in these hot evenings.  Also, the yarn was about a third of the price of the Scheepjes so I can put up with it being a little less pleasant to work with.  A quick pattern that can easily be done in front of your favourite Netflix binge.

I bought the original yarn and pattern as a kit from Black Sheep Wools in the U.K.

Then I must master Loop Stitch and complete the Westie dog I’m supposed to be making for my sister’s birthday in August.  I only need the stitch for the head piece – I’ve already got the body, legs and ears made so I should stop procrastinating and get on with it or her birthday will have been and gone.

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Yes, I finished this one but that’s an English Bull Terrier and she’s got a Westie so that’s no good.

I know some of you are still managing to brandish hook or needles in the Summer heat but have some of you put them away until it cools down a bit? I used to give up yarn related activity in the Summer but now I’ve discovered crochet I find it more doable than knitting in the hot weather.  Can you tell?

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There’s A Mouse In The House

Among the many books I bought when I took up the crochet hook was one featuring animal trophy heads.  A strange choice I think you’ll agree but one can only have so many blankets around the place and I thought they might be fun.

I started with the smallest animal in the book – a mouse – which may have been a mistake as I’m not used to using 4-ply yarn and a 2mm hook so it was a bit fiddly but it is done.

Mr. T. made me a little wooden shield out of some scrap wood he had lying about.

Now the cats have the first of what might well be several trophies for ‘their room’ aka our conservatory.  Maybe it will discourage them from bringing any more real ones in but I doubt it.

I think I’ll do the hare next but I won’t hang that in the cats’ room in case it gives them ideas.

I know they don’t look very dangerous but, trust me, I wouldn’t want to be a mouse (or mole!) in the vicinity (plus there are four others lurking out of shot!)

To think I used to say ‘life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’.

As I used some scrap yarn – albeit Jaegar alpaca no less – and the wood was scrap too, I’m linking up with Kate and Gun’s Scraphappy Day for which we attempt to make something using scraps every month – or just when we have something to show.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me),  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlys, Kerry and Claire

Now, enough with the animal crochet – I have a half finished dress draped over two mannequins that won’t finish itself.

 

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I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face

Remember the super sized amigurumi dog I made from the ‘Edward’s Menagerie Dogs’ book?

Well, I’ve made her a baby.

Actually, this is the ‘standard sized’ dog – there is a smaller one which I might attempt one day although I suspect it might be a bit fiddly and, anyway, I quite like this size.

This time I didn’t take any chances with the placement and used things to mark where I wanted to put the eyes and nose.  I used a piece of felt to mark where the nose should go and then  sewed it on anyway because it looked just right to me.

I gave him some eyebrows because I love dog’s eyebrows – they make me laugh.

I also gave him a rakish grin and a pretend collar and bell so the rabbits will hear him coming.

I know I asked for advice about his Mum’s features because they are nowhere near perfect and  I was going to change them but, as Professor Higgins said, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’.  She will henceforth be known as Eliza – if anybody should ask.

Anyway, I have two dogs under my belt now – things can only get better – I’m going for the English Bull Terrier next.

As you know, I recently finished the divine Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’ve worked out that I probably have enough yarn left in some of the colours to make another one with the purchase of just 5 or 6 more balls.  Hooray!

But not yet.

Firstly, I have another project up my sleeve.  I was tempted by my favourite wool shop who sent me the object of my  desire in their lovely tote bag.

The pattern is by Emma Varnam in Scheepjes River Washed and Stone Washed yarns and came as a kit.

A small photo of my instructions which came with the yarn but you can see the whole beautiful, ripply blanket on Emma’s blog here.

It’s very lovely but what really tipped me over the edge tempted me were the teeny balls of wool in their own box which, together with three 50g  balls of cream coloured Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn included in the kit, will make the blanket.

Be still my heart.

Fifty fabulous little 10g balls of wool.  Trouble is, they look so cute in their box, I don’t want to open it.  I might have to buy another one and hang it on the wall but that would be the work of a crazy woman.  Wouldn’t it?

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The Eastern Jewels Finish – An End to the Ends

After all the octagons

and all the squares, the large triangles and the small triangles,

and the seemingly endless ends to be sewn in.

After going maverick and doing a slightly different border in different colours,

taking a deep breath, hand washing it and spinning it for a short time tied in a pillow case with a couple of bath sheets to prevent too much agitation, as recommended,

blocking it out to a 45 inch square on several yoga mats

it’s finished!

I started this in late October when I was in the U.K. looking after my Mum with my sisters.

Finished in April just before going back over to the U.K. to see my daughter in her new flat for the first time.

I’ve loved every minute of making this – well, apart from sewing in the ends that is but, if you do them as you go along it’s not so bad.

I would never have put all these colours together myself but it’s been so cleverly worked out that the overall effect is really stunning  and just goes to prove that going outside your comfort colour zone now and then can be a revelation.

So – we put the flags out – or the patchwork flag up – something I’ve been nagging reminding Mr. T. to help me with for some time now and, as you can see, it didn’t end up in the long, empty corridor as discussed in my earlier post but in the lovely old rickety wooden stairway leading up to the top floor.

Now, what’s next?

Actually, I won’t lie, I’ve already ordered another kit – a different one this time and it should be here by the time I get back from my U.K. trip so I’ll show you then but I am definitely going to make this one again in the future.

Well, I’ve got the pattern now, it would be silly not to.

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Animal Faces

Remember my ‘butternut squash’ dog that I was making using the ‘Edwards Menagerie Dogs’ Book?

He was looking a bit sad, which isn’t surprising as he hadn’t been sewn together yet and had a knitting needle through his head to hold it on to his body for photo shoot purposes which I don’t think would be anybody’s position of choice.  I say he was looking sad but, not having a face, we could only guess at his emotions although I think the body language was clear.

Anyway, the reason I don’t usually make toys of any description – or one of the many reasons – is that I can’t get those features right.  I’m not at all skilled with embroidery threads of any sort .  However, having ‘rediscovered’ crochet fairly recently, I wanted to try my hand at amigurumi because there are lots of cute ones out there and I haven’t done much crochet in the round so thought it would be a challenge.  Impatient to start, I only had this very chunky wool available in a vaguely suitable ‘dog colour’ and that’s why I went for the large size to start instead of the standard.  I think that is what scared me most about adding the nose and eyes so I asked my friend Sandra – who has made quite a few toys and is also au fait with the embroidery side of things – to do the nose for me.

She was a bit disappointed with the result but I pretended to be happy and brought him home.  She doesn’t read my blog (I hope) so I’m going to unpick it and try it myself.  I don’t like the eyes either.

Any tips would be appreciated but, firstly, I think the features should maybe be chocolate coloured instead of black.  Secondly, I think the nose might be too big (as well as being a bit on the wonk) and, thirdly the eyes are probably too high up.

What do you think?

Other than that, I think he’s kind of cute – I say ‘he’ but I think this might be a girly dog for some reason – I’m getting a feminine vibe off this particular arrangement of yarn which is not something you hear me say every day.

 

Leon is unimpressed.

Mac thinks it’s hilarious

and I think we can all tell what Yuki thinks of it.

Sorry about that last bit but, the post is called ‘Animal Faces’ and any excuse to put photos of my lovely cats on the blog, especially when they’ve obliged me with such ‘appropriate’ expressions, is not to be ignored.

Seriously though – if you can offer any advice on getting features looking just right, I’d be very grateful.

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Is It Woolly Going To Be A Dog?

Having honed my crochet skills on blankets – an ongoing process by the way – I’ve never tried amigurumi.  Difficult enough to say the word, I’d always intended to give this sort of crochet a go and even bought a couple of pattern books but, when the Dog one came out it was a ‘had to have’.

Not that I need more dogs in my life but I thought, if they were quick and easy enough, they might be a good thing to sell in aid of Twilight, the home for old and disabled dogs I support.

It will be a while before I get to the long haired varieties like this.

Photo from Book

So I thought I’d start with a beginner pattern – a little labrador

Photo from Book

Searching through my yarn stash, it became clear that I had no ‘neutral colours’  i.e. black, grey, white, cream in the required thickness.  However, I did have some oatmeal coloured yarn in ‘Chunky’ which meant, if I wanted to make a start straight away, I’d have to do the large sized dog – there are three sizes to choose from for each dog – it’s just the size of the crochet hook and the thickness of the yarn that changes.   So that’s what I’m doing – not a little labrador but a large labrador.

Any resemblance to a big butternut squash is purely coincidental.

For scale see the vintage wig stand behind which is, more or less, about the size of an actual human head.

I wouldn’t mind but the dog’s head is a slightly smaller butternut squash which I will attempt to balance atop the body once I’ve got the legs on for stability.  I’ll let you know how that goes :/

The Twilight Easter Fair fundraiser is next Saturday where we are raising money to make life more comfortable for the for old and disabled dogs who have been abandoned or who have been separated from their owners for one reason or another.    I don’t think I’ll be churning these out quickly enough to be able to put them up for sale by then – certainly not at this size – but I’ll have to buy in some neutral colours in double knitting  yarn in order to make some smaller ones which – looking into the future – might be ready for the Christmas Fair and, by that time, I might have progressed to the shaggier versions.

Meanwhile, I have another nine Twilight tea towels to turn into aprons before next Saturday so I’d better leave ears, legs and tail until after then.

The weather here continues to be complete pants and the real dogs are bored.

Flo couldn’t even be bothered to choose which woolly doggy she wants me to crochet for her to play with.

 

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Be More Squirrel (Edited to Contain Warning)

You may remember that last year my dogs ate the plums from our trees from the unripe to rotting stage and would do so all day long if allowed to.  The evenings were not pleasant.

Mr. T. decided that he would cut all twelve trees down as they are very old and the plums are not particularly nice anyway – well,  at least we didn’t think so.  The fig trees are also a doggy favourite but I couldn’t quite part with them so they are staying for the moment.

In future, all fruit trees will be planted on the other side of the fence that cordons off a part of the garden that the dogs haven’t got access to (apart from when they dig holes and get under the fence).

All three dogs have now discovered acorns so our walks are slowed down considerably by them snuffling around eating all the acorns they can find but, luckily, these do not seem to produce the gaseous emissions that plums do so I’m not overly worried about it although I must check they’re not toxic to dogs or anything.  (Update:  Yes, they are – please see note at the bottom of the post).  I truly believe my dogs will eat anything – the more disgusting the better.

I have also become a bit more squirrel this month and have reverted to my old habit of hoarding fabric.  I made a pair of trousers at long last and, flushed with success, placed an order for dressmaking fabric in the mistaken belief that I need more clothes or that Mlle. Tialys the Younger will be persuaded into dresses any time soon.  The trouble is, dresses are my favourite clothing item to make but I live in jeans and  so does Mlle. T.   What am I to do?  I think perhaps a solution might be to make more ‘tops’.  That way I can indulge myself with nice fabric and make pretty things but put jeans on underneath.  Of course, that might mean I’ll have to buy more patterns as most of mine are for dresses.

I have a clear cutting table at the moment while I await Mr. T’s return from the U.K. with my latest haul so I will make a second pair of trousers while I remember how to do it.

Meanwhile, I am making progress with the Eastern Jewels crochet blanket and have joined the first two rows together – only two more to go!  The more I do, the more I love it, the less I feel I will be able to part with it.

I took some time off from the crochet to knit up a couple of cotton dishcloths in my bid to cut down wasteful buying of kitchen towels, etc. but I’ve only managed two so far.  I’m going to try crochet ones next as they will probably be quicker.

Love the little ‘French tea-towel’ effect one.  You can find the patterns for both here and here.

  I’ve also been making waxed wraps in an attempt to cut down on single use plastic such as cling film but they are in use around cheese and the tops of bowls.  When I make some new ones – using beeswax this time instead of pure soy wax – I’ll show you some pics.

My fabric arrived from Laughing Hedgehog – don’t you just love the name – a company I hadn’t used before but they had the French General fabric I was looking for to back my Shabby Union Jack.

I was very lucky because I had ordered 1.5m which was being very optimistic but this was apparently the end of bolt so she kindly put all 1.8 m in for me which turned out to be just right.  I used the plain grey/brown for binding and, as you can see, decided to put a sleeve in just in case it ended up as a wall hanging rather than a throw.

Here it is as a throw

and here is the long, plain corridor – leading to the loo and Mlle. T. the Younger’s chamber of horrors  bedroom – where it might end up on the wall.

I think it needs a bit of something don’t you?

I’ll let you know where it ends up.

 

EDIT;

I did eventually Google the risks and found this amongst lots of other warnings –

Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter months. The toxic ingredient is thought to be tannic acid, which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, inappetance and lethargy. Ingested acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage.

So, best not let your dog be more squirrel after all.

 

 

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More P.J.s – The Pears Pair

I showed you the muslin for the Kwik Sew pyjamas I made from the vintage sheet last time, now the real thing is finished.

I used some plain scrap fabric for the collar, cuffs and pocket top and some buttons I’d bought for something else at one time or another now lost in the mists of time and memory.

I bought the Liberty tana lawn on Ebay – 3m for 20 quid which was a bargain – somebody was having a de-stash which I might do one of these days (yeah, right!).  I’ve only used 1.5m for these so I have yet more Liberty tana lawn in my stash now.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually.  Maybe I could make the long bottoms for when there are visitors.

I’m sure you will be glad that I decided to let one of my old mannequins model them, rather than subject you to another view of my legs (even though it was a blurry photo).  I had to faff about with the shorts because of the pole and they’re still not hanging right but you get the idea.

I suspect flat buttons are the norm for pyjama tops but these go so well with the colours I had to use them even though they might dig in me when I’m asleep.  I don’t sleep on my front so I should be O.K. but, if not, I’ll change them for something more practical.  I don’t know how women  sleep on their fronts – don’t their lady bumps get in the way? It’s not supposed to be good for your back anyway so don’t do it although it is supposed to be good for preventing snoring so I might suggest it to Mr. T. who is a champion snorer and hasn’t got any lady bumps so there’s no excuse.  Anyway, I digress – note the double top stitching.  One line is just down the edge and I did that easily enough on the muslin but I chickened out of doing the second line which follows the line of the facing.  I didn’t want the bobbin thread on top so you sort of have to follow the line of the facing on the inside from the outside, if you know what I mean.  It’s the sort of tricksy finishing touch you do at the end that usually goes wrong for me and then I get upset because everything else went well and then I mess up at the last hurdle.  However – this time it worked.

Even though, in close up, they look like I’ve already slept in them (because I didn’t iron them again before taking the photos) I haven’t so I will report on the comfort factor after several sleeps.

Just to let you know –  my hand seems to have recovered quite nicely from the repetitive strain injury, arthritis, tendonitis or whatever else it was that was causing me pain.  I am still wearing my craft gloves though – when I remember – and have bought some more so that I have one up in my workroom for sewing and one downstairs for when I’m wrestling with wool.

Speaking of which, here’s my progress on the Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’m making the squares and triangles for each row and joining up as I go, as well as weaving in the endless ends, so it won’t be such a shock at the end.

The more I do the less I feel I will want to part with it.

Now I’ve finished the second pair of P.J.s I am tackling a quilting project I started a few years ago which I kept glimpsing, peeking at me accusingly from a corner of my workroom.  I’m not even sure whether I like it any more but the fabric was too expensive to discard so I’ll press on and see what happens.  I want to get quilting projects out of the way in preparation for the next block swap I’m participating in which will probably start in March/April this year.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you starting a new project or continuing with an existing one.  Or are you doing nothing whatsoever to do with crafting?  I’ll still be interested.  Honest!!

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A Slow Start

Although, as far as I can remember,  I never qualified as a Doctor I believe I have repetitive strain injury in my left thumb due to overdoing the knitting and crochet leading up to Christmas.  I am trying to rest it, ice it, ibuprofen it and generally wrestle it into submission but the frustration at not being able to continue with my current projects is really getting to me.  I cannot console myself with a glass of wine as I’m doing Dry January and I can’t seem to get back into the swing of sewing – I haven’t taken the cover of my machine for several weeks.  Woe is me!

                               Yes, I know that looks like a seal waiting to come in the house but it’s supposed to be a dog. I call it artistic license.

Although I never qualified as a physiotherapist either, I have decided it’s not so much the crochet activity that’s doing for me as the sock knitting.  I don’t really need any new socks at the moment so I’m putting that project aside until I can manage the close pinching movement needed to hold the teeny circular needles I’m using without taking to my fainting couch with an ice pack afterwards and sulking.

So, I have moved on a little with the Eastern Jewels blanket by limiting myself to half hour(ish) crochet sessions followed by ice and now have four completed octagons.  I might do as Sheila over at Sewchet did and try to join the rows of four as I go so I can be inspired but mostly so I won’t have as much of the boring stuff to do at the end.  I can only hope my blanket will turn out half as beautifully as Sheila’s  has.

                                         The first four being blocked – pinned to a yoga mat which is as much action as it has seen lately.

Talking of being inspired, I rather like Trish’s Liberty tana lawn shorty pyjamas over at The Small Sewing Room and decided to make some myself because I need to get back on that horse  sewing machine again and I don’t really need any new clothes but a new pair of P.J.s appeals as the RTW ones with shorts never seem to fit me properly and are often so short that I end up taking in tomorrow’s washing if you get my drift 😮

                                                                     I might not show off my belly button off quite so freely.  

Anyway, Trish’s version uses lovely, feminine, softly coloured tana lawn but mine will be covered in pears  – although they are still Liberty pears so will be nice and soft and comfy and, anyway, the fabric was a bargain on eBay and I decided I didn’t have anything against pear covered pyjamas at that price.

Once I’m back in the swing of things I will have another look at the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting book I got for Christmas.  I had a quick shufty through and it scared me half to death so I bought a Craftsy pattern cutting course as well to get me started.  I am going to try making a skirt block/sloper for the younger Tialys Mademoiselle.  I was going to do the trousers course, as she wears those more often, but I think the skirt course has more of the basics included which is probably what I need.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

For reasons that I won’t go into again I was very physically inactive during the couple of months leading up to Christmas and over the whole holiday period.  Ironic then that, when I returned to my Zumba class last week, I had the cheek to have my hand and wrist in a support glove thingy as if I’d been doing all sorts of sporty stuff rather than too much knitting.   I didn’t own up to it though – what does that say about me?

Not my hand  – my hurty hand is my left one -you get the idea though.

Usually, I walk the dogs up some very steep land every day and go to Zumba and Pilates classes every week but I had done absolutely nothing.  The difference in my fitness level in the Zumba class was evident to all as I staggered,  gasping for air and water,  out of the side door in the midst of a routine.  Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to stop mid-fling about and swig from my water bottle instead of waiting until the music stopped :/

It’s been a slow start all round but I’m working on it.

Has 2018 begun well for you?

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