Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General

Scrappy Sewing Machine for August

It’s the 15th of the month (again) and time to show what I’ve been making with scraps.

Remember those hundreds of 1.5 inch squares I had to join together

to make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging?

Well, I’d like to have said I’ve finished it but it’s not quite there yet.

It’s all joined together and actually looks like a sewing machine now rather than a multicoloured cow as Mr. Tialys offered by way of criticism at an earlier stage of construction.

The back view shows the task in more detail

I decided to quilt it by playing around with free motion quilting as it’s only going on the wall in my workroom, a place heavily guarded against inspections by the quilt police.

I found the perfect multicoloured thread to do it with.

As usual, my quilting is by no means perfect, in fact, on this occasion it’s only just acceptable and I’m not even going to make that claim for the back which is why I’m not showing you a photo of that as it will only be going against the wall in any case.

I think it will look fine from a distance.

I had the binding on up until yesterday when I realised, as I was hand stitching the back down, that my mitred corners were not coming together properly and the binding fabric had started to fray so I unpicked it all.

Still, at least that means I will have something to show you on the next Scraphappy Day which is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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Scraphappy Day June 2019

Today, being the 15th of the month, is the day for showing off what you have done with your scraps.  You might remember this pattern I showed you at the end of last month’s Scraphappy post and it has driven me every bit as mad as you might imagine it would.

Having cut hundreds of 1.5 inch squares from scrap fabrics, I proceeded to lay them out in 5 x 5 blocks in the order shown in the pattern, like so.

Having joined the blocks up individually,  they must then be joined in rows which was much more interesting once the first row was completed and I could start adding coloured squares.  Here’s the first two rows joined together and hung out of the way.

I’m making this as a project for Wednesday afternoons when I sew along with a friend of mine and, for the first time when we’re doing a project together, neither of us has felt tempted to do any alone during the rest of the week.  I expect you might not be surprised to hear that.

I am not the most accurate piecer which is why I like to do foundation paper piecing as it enables me to achieve better results.   So, trying to join small squares together was never going to be a piece of cake for me.  I did try, originally, to place the squares on a grid made from fusible interfacing, fold along the lines and stitch then cut the seams open and iron out as I have done for individual ‘postage stamp’ blocks before but, although it made for  more accuracy, it made the fabric stiffer and, worse, took longer to do and I couldn’t face doing another twenty blocks.  So, I abandoned that method after the first row.

Almost worse than the piecing is the ironing.  Pressing all those tiny, close together seams open means burnt fingers and every time you press one seam, the ones only an inch away from it, risk getting ‘unpressed’ again.

I sometimes wonder why I decide on certain projects in the first place but what’s a (sewing) life without a bit of a challenge?

Now, I’ve done three rows and joined them up and can start to see the sewing machine shape emerge, I feel more encouraged.  Also, hung in my workroom window, there’s a nice stained glass effect going on.

Mr. Tialys says it looks like a  cow.  Ridiculous! Who ever saw a multi-coloured cow? Whereas there are plenty of multi-coloured sewing machines around of course 🙄

As it is the 15th of the month, and it’s June, it is also my birthday so I hope to be wining, dining, walking around admiring the scenery and generally enjoying a bit of a break over the border in Spain as you read this.

Just about here….

 

Begur

Hasta la vista, until next time.

 

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJeanJohanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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Seeing Stars

Kate, over at Tall Tales From Chiconia is, once again, assembling and quilting a teal coloured quilt to auction at the Nude Lunch in September to raise funds for ovarian cancer awareness.

This time, the theme is stars.  Kate does like a pun so this quilt will be named ‘Scinteallate’ – get it? – and some of her quilty followers are helping out a bit by making her a few blocks.

These are my three which are all foundation paper pieced

 

Banded Star (from a design by Sewhooked.com)

 

‘Out There’ (from a design by Esther Frenzel)

and my favourite

 

May Flower (from a design by Carol Doak)

All on their way to Australia as I type.

A little heads up to Pelenna Patchworks in the UK who sent this (much needed) stash pack of 10 x 10 inch squares of assorted teal fabrics in a brown paper package using non-plastic tape and, just when I thought, ‘oh, they’ve spoilt it by using a plastic bag’, noticed this on the bag.  Baby steps!

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A Seriously Scrappy May

I decided to get serious for this month’s ScrapHappy day.  There’s not much fabric that’s scrappier than the long bits cut off the sides is there?

I’ve been saving them for a while.

I like the ones with writing and colour swatches on best but not all selvedges are printed equal and some are just too narrow to be useful.

I decided to do a little quilt as you go piece so took a scrap of fabric leftover from the shirt I made Mr. Tialys and a piece of wadding and drew  round a large embroidery hoop to get a circle of the right size.


Then I laid a couple of selvedges right sides together across the middle and joined with a quarter inch seam through all the layers which is where the ‘quilting as you go’ comes in.

Keep pressing each strip open and adding another, the circle slowly starts to fill in.

I put the whole thing into the large emboidery hoop and trimmed the excess selvedges and wadding very close to the wooden edge, leaving some of the backing longer to glue down onto the surround.  You can see the quilting and pretty fabric so I didn’t want to cover it up with another back.

The result is an unusual wall hanging for my sewing room which has the added appeal of reminding me of past projects I made with the fabrics formerly attached to those selvedges.  I deliberately framed it so the selvedges run diagonally (in case you were wondering) because I think it looks a little more interesting than if they were running horizontally.

 

And all from a box of cut off edges.

As you can see, I have quite a few more.

I’ve got an ‘ongoing’ scrappy project to tell you about too. My suggestion to my Wednesday afternoon sewing friend was that we could make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging out of 1.5 inch squares.  Unsurprisingly, she seemed a bit dubious, even slightly unenthusiastic you might say, but went along with me anyway bless her.

We’re doing the mini version you’ll not be surprised to hear.  Even that takes 388 neutral squares and 275 (or thereabouts) coloured ones.  I found the pattern on Craftsy (now Blueprint).

The idea was sparked off by me finding a packet of 1.5 inch squares I’d cut at some stage from a charm pack of batiks.  I have no idea what I was intending to do with them but whatever it was obviously didn’t materialise.

I rummaged through my scraps to make up the number of different colours I need but must confess I had to use a couple of new fat quarters in order to have enough neutrals for the pixielated background.

The 1.5 inch squares are arranged 5 x 5 to make a 5.5 inch square block and then joined together in horizontal rows of five blocks.

I’m not gonna lie, as my daughter says depressingly often, keeping those tiny squares joined accurately is, frankly, a bit of a nightmare for me.  I’m using a 1/4 inch foot on my machine but I still have a few wonky bits. Pixelation might be somewhat enhanced in my version.

I’ll be doing an update next Scraphappy Day but don’t expect it to be finished (or unwobbly).

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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Friday Foxes

Remember I asked for some advice as to whether the foxes on the fabric I was using for the baby quilt really had to be upright which meant messing with the layout of the the design?  Well, those pesky foxes have been tamed, turned on their heads, or sides and sometimes even on their feet and have become a quilt for my great niece who is due to make an appearance in June.

These ‘on the washing line’ photos aren’t the best but are to show you the quilt in its entirety.  The sun is so bright again today they look a little bleached out and creased.  Still, here goes.

As you can see, I saw the sense in putting a narrow, plainer border between the centre design and the busy border.

I also used the same fabric for the back around the centre panel I’d already made from the leftovers of the foxy range fabric.  I was quite brave as, although it looks plain white, it does have tiny spots on it.  Brave because I usually try to hide my quilting – be it by hand (rare) or machine – as much as possible and the plainer the fabric the more obvious any mistakes.

I stitched in the ditch and round the borders because I felt it went well with the geometric design and, I cannot tell a lie, because it’s easier.

Here you can just about make out those little spots – even more easily if you double click on it.


I had to put the parasol up in order to get these outdoor sofa photos otherwise there were shadows, bleached bits and all sorts.  This time last year it was almost constantly raining so I’m not complaining.

If you zoom in you can see that those orange and ‘grey’ triangles are not solid colours but orange with white dashes and white with black dashes.

I definitely think the foxes are fine dancing around the quilt and not forced to be upright.  The only thing I’d change would be the colour of the binding as I would have liked to do it in the same orange as the triangles but they are a sort of burnt orange colour and I didn’t have anything in my stash that fit the bill, whereas the white with black flowers was to hand and I am trying to use fabric I already have as much as I possibly can.

I had to miss out the top row in this last photo but it looked lovely draped over the garden gate and the light was just right in this corner of the garden.

I won’t be sending the quilt until the baby is born because I want to put her name and date of birth on the quilt label but, never fear, I have displayed it in the sure and certain knowledge that my niece never has and never will look at my blog.

If you’re at all interested, the pattern I used was a free one I found here.

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Seeing Spots on Sunday – Or Maybe Triangles

Continuing on with my baby makes, the main part of the quilt top is finished.  It’s hanging on my flannelette sheet design wall and, as you can see, I decided to stick with the original pattern design for this baby quilt and cast to the wind my concerns about upside down and sideways foxes.  Any way up, this quilt will have some foxes standing on their feet and new mothers have more to worry about than making sure a quilt is always laid down in the right direction – laying the baby down in the right direction was enough to exercise my exhausted brain if I remember correctly.

I’ve tried to brighten up the photos a bit this time so hopefully you can now see those triangles are not grey but white with black dashes on.  Although grey continues to be ‘on trend’ so I suppose it wouldn’t matter if they were.

It will have a 4.5 inch border and I happened to come across these two cottons which are very good matches for the other colours.

Some confetti spots on a white background

and some bright little triangles.

I made a panel of left over strips of the foxy fabric range which I thought I’d put in the centre of whatever I use for the backing and I’ve been laying out the possible options on my bed.

At the moment I’m veering towards the small triangles for the front (right of  photo) and the spotted white to form a frame around the strippy panel on the back.

I’m just wondering whether to frame the quilt top with a narrower border of white confetti spots before adding the small triangles or letting them run riot right up against those wayward foxes as shown.

I’ll probably be doing this sometime today so I’ll show you what I decided next week.

Unless you have any thoughts of course.

 

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Foxing It Up

An intermediate ’emergency’ post this week, bringing my total to three by the time my scheduled post is published tomorrow and it will only be Tuesday.  Tialys overload! Sorry about that but it probably won’t ever happen again.

I wanted your valued opinions on a baby quilt I’m making.  The recipient will be my (other) niece who is due to have a girl baby in June.  I had some entirely different fabric in mind when I went to root through my stash but then I came across this little lot.

I like the pale green and I thought the orange foxes and small black details would give it a lovely, modern feel.

I chose this pattern from Craft Buds which uses HSTs (half square triangles)  and also has a modern look to it so I thought it would be a perfect marriage of pattern and fabrics.

Click on photo to go to Craft Buds free pattern.

The triangles are made using a method which gives you four HSTs at once.  You separate your fat quarters into three pairs, then place two 18inch squares of one pair right sides together and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.  Marking a quarter of an inch from each centre diagonal, you then sew down those four lines.  Cut through the centre both horizontally and vertically and then cut each resulting square on the original diagonal mark.  Confused?  Just click on the above photo to see a much more comprehensive explanation.

This is what my fabrics looked like laid out flat.

I expect, unlike me at that stage, you can already see my problem.  Those smaller foxes are directional and, because of the cutting method used by this pattern they were all over the place which, because the blocks are large at 8 inches square and the design of the quilt is geometric,  just didn’t really look right.

Craft Buds had the same ‘problem’ – see her layout below – but her fabrics don’t have any ‘characters’ on them and it really doesn’t matter which way up a pair of scissors goes does it?

So, despite what I said to Cathy on her blog the other day about direction not really mattering as a quilt is viewed from all angles, in this case, I don’t think I’d be happy with the layout as originally planned.

See what I mean? Click on the photo for a closer look.

So, I then had to play with all the blocks to see if I could make a half decent design whilst getting all the small foxes to stand on their feet.  Here they are, precariously clinging to a flannelette sheet on my makeshift design wall…….

……… and a distance shot so you can see the overall effect.

It will have a border around it – probably some tiny black flowers on a white background I have – but this is it at the moment.

HELP!!  What do you think? Can you see any glaring anomalies in the new layout?  Can you think of any other way I could do it?  Or do you think I should stick with the topsy turvy foxes?

Also, what do you think of the colour scheme? Do you think it is ‘girly’ enough?  I do have some soft, pastelly, birds, rabbits and flowers fat quarters which I’ve long had in mind for the next baby in the family but, if I used this pattern, I would have had the same problem with direction – although the prints in that range are much smaller so I could probably get away with it.

All opinions, advice and admonishments happily received.

p.s. Another title I possibly have to apologise for but I just can’t help myself.

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What A Lot Of Blocks!

The 2018/2019 Footsquare Freestyle (hereafter known as F2F3) has come to end with organiser Kate’s blocks for February being sent, received or in production.

I haven’t been showing you the three 12 inch patchwork  blocks I made each month to send to the nine far flung participants in the colours they chose so I’ve picked my favourite one from each month to show you.

June 2018

I was drawn out of the hat to receive blocks first and made one of my foundation paper pieced (or FPP) Hedgehogs as one of my own three blocks towards the quilt I will eventually make from all the blocks in my chosen colours.

July 2018

Sue wanted blue and white and I made her an FPP banded star.

August 2018

A Nell’s Star (or Charleston) block for Claire

September 2018

A special request from Nanette for a hedgehog.

October 2018

A Nova for Moira.

(A pattern designed by one of our participants, Esther.)

November 2018

A Circle of Geese for Robin.

December 2018

The only traditionally pieced block in this selection was for Esther.

January 2019

Everyone, after the first couple of months, got a Zeppelin and this one was for Kathy.

February 2019

Finally, Kate’s turn came and I stretched my paper piecing skills with this unicorn just for something a bit different.

I can’t tell you how much this block swap has once more challenged and encouraged me to do more patchwork.  Working with colours I perhaps wouldn’t normally have thought of using and indulging in my new found love of FPP – it’s been a blast!

It looks like we might be going to do it all again for 2019/2020.  If you’re interested, let Kate know in a comment on her blog here.  Not sure? Have a look at the website she has set up especially for the F2F swaps – Footsquare Freestyle – 3 x 12 inch square finished blocks in whatever design you want just as long as it’s in the participant’s chosen colours.  We need a minimum of 9 people  – Kate and I are definitely in so another 7 and we’re off.

p.s. I’ve just realised my title sounds slightly ‘off colour’ but only if you say it slowly and, why would you?

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Sewing My Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Part One and a Half

Well, I started in autumn and now it’s winter – tempus fugit and all that.  Plus, I showed you a mustard coloured blouse I made a few posts ago which I counted as autumnal so that’s why this post is numbered one and a half.   Just in case you have nothing better to do than wonder about the title of a blog post.

Anyway, behind the scenes of patchwork reindeer heads, crochet dogs, aprons made from tea towels and other various makes, I have actually been doing some dressmaking with varying degrees of success.

I bought the two most recently published patterns by Tilly and the Buttons – ‘Nora’ a boxy shaped sweatshirt type of top and ‘Ness’ a denim style skirt – mostly because I didn’t have anything similar in my pattern library.  In the case of the top, there might actually be a reason for that.

I’m quite short and top heavy so, if I’m honest,  a cropped boxy shape with stepped hem is probably not ideal for me and I feel a bit swamped by the style.  To be fair, I used some very heavy 4-way stretch black fabric I had in my stash which doesn’t help with the swamping and it doesn’t really work with this top – in fact, I’m not really sure what it would work with.  I think I might have had a wrap dress in mind when I bought it but it’s so heavy it would probably be akin to wearing one of those weighted vests you can get to make you sweat a lot and lose weight which would be both exhausting and not very pleasant for anybody you were spending the day with.  Anyway, I might try the pattern again in some french terry or some lightweight sweatshirt fabric which I did intend to do, thinking I had some in my stash, but there wasn’t enough of it when I dug it out from the depths.

A long distance photo (because I’m not happy with it) but you get the general idea from that and the line drawing.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have a classic ‘denim style’ skirt pattern so the ‘Ness’ pattern seemed to fit the bill.  I went for somewhere between the mini and the midi length.  I used the shorten/lengthen line which is what you’re supposed to do but it seemed to result in a slight pouch around my bum which I could probably fill with one of those ‘make your bum look bigger’ appliances you put in your knickers – and Lord knows I need help in that area – but maybe I’ll just do more squats instead.  Next time, I’ll just chop the surplus length off the end.  Still in my ‘mustard phase’ I chose some corduroy to make it with – which looks more camel than mustard in the photos.  I chose corduroy despite a previous nightmare experience with some black cord which I now realise must have been very poor quality – I found it in a charity shop so who knows where it had been, or how long it had been there,  before it came home with me to wreak its black and dusty destruction on my sewing room.

On the other hand – probably because I paid more for it and it was new – this cord behaved very well with only minimal shedding and the skirt instructions – as is always the case with Tilly & the Buttons patterns – are very well written and illustrated.  It all went together very nicely and I used some contrast fabric for the pocket bags in a bit of a fancy touch that nobody will see unless they prise those pocket tops away from my body and peer inside which, I can’t really imagine anybody doing unless invited.   I was very pleased with the fly front which is my third to date as I made a pair of shorts a few years ago and, more recently, a pair of jeans which will not be discussed here yet as I am still not quite over the experience.

Unfortunately, with just the side seams to sew up, my last fitting showed I needed to come down one size at the waist and two at that hips which then caused a bit of bunching which hadn’t been there before. – mostly due to the fact that the pocket bags were all nicely stitched in place so there were multitudinous layers of fabric being taken into the seams which had been laying very nicely before I actually decided to make it fit me.

(I don’t know why that right hand pocket looks curved on the left bottom corner – it must be a trick of the camera – see below for proof!)

Never mind, it’s wearable but not as perfect as I thought it was going to be with all my nice felled seams, fly front and patch pockets.  Mr. T. even put some rivets on here and there.

I was going to tell you about another make in this post but I would think you’ve had enough by now so I’ll leave it until part 2 (2 and a half??) which will contain yet another mustard make and another corduroy skirt – can you see a theme?

In a complete change of subject in an effort to keep my non-dressmaking readers engaged, my blocks for the F2F block swap have already been received by Esther in the Netherlands (a swap partner a little nearer to home for December), so I thought I’d add two of those on the end to show you.

Esther chose colours to match her garden pots which are a mixture of soft greens, mint greens and grey blues.

This is my first ever Churn Dash block which is surprising only because it’s a really popular block in patchwork and I’ve never done one before.  I used the central square to show off a unicorn because any excuse to show off a unicorn has to be seized with both hands and a sewing machine.

This is the Zeppelin block I’m making for everybody in the swap as well as one for myself in the colours chosen each month so I’ll have another set of blocks needing assembling and quilting to add to the ones I already have 🤔

Back to the sewing room now to continue with a ‘secret sewing’ project I am hoping to have done in time for Christmas – if not, I’ll be joining up to Amazon Prime for a next day delivery emergency gift to go under the tree 🤞

 

 

 

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A Scrappy Christmas In November

 

A couple of years ago (could be more) I bought a pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts and made this dog cushion…….

………as well as this block which is yet to be made into anything.

I might make another cushion out of it and put it in the raffle at the upcoming old and disabled doggy fundraiser Christmas Fair, if I get the time.  I think I must have done a similar thing with the first one as I can’t find it anywhere.

Flushed with stitch and flip success, I bought a more Christmas themed block last year but, unfortunately, my Mum suddenly became very ill and such things got put aside.

Looking for a new project to work on with my sewing friend on a Wednesday afternoon, I remembered the reindeer and we started searching through our scraps of brown, black and white fabric – actually quite difficult colours to find as brown and black fabric isn’t something I buy that often  Anyway, we found enough between us and shared out what we had.

The pattern is available here

I must say, it was a different prospect to the dog as those antlers are formed of quite small pieces.  Accuracy is not my strongest point when titchy bits of fabric are concerned and I found trying to keep the seams and resulting larger pieces straight quite challenging which is a euphemism for ‘I undid seams lots of times, had to re-cut fabric on a few occasions and swore a lot’.  No fault of the pattern at all, I must say, but I find working in somebody else’s workroom a bit weird.  For this reason, I’m not that great in lessons or workshops – too many distractions.  I like to have my own things around me and to work at my own pace.   Also, we only meet once a week for a couple of hours and, often,  the project we’re working on goes ‘off the boil’ for me.

Anyway, after a few Wednesdays of plumbing the depths of my Anglo Saxon vocabulary, it was done.

But what to do with a pieced reindeer head I hear you ask.  I’m big on blankets around the place but not so keen on cushions or wall hangings – although I have been known to succumb now and again.

Remember the table runner for my coffee table I made from a Tim Holtz fabric selection recently?

Well, I thought I could make a more Christmassy one using the same quilt as you go method as before but with the reindeer head in the middle and various strips of leftover Christmas fabric either side, thereby using up some scraps – and some of my friend’s too as she had lots more than me.

First I bedecked his antlers with some festive bunting.  Not at all because I was trying to hide the fact that my piecing left something to be desired.  As if!

Then I joined scraps of Christmas fabric  in strips of varying widths on to the backing and batting.

Then I quilted it some more using wavy lines across the width and used a double fold binding stitched down by hand on the back as I do on quilts.

So, I don’t think I have any more Christmas scraps left now – I used up the smaller pieces on the binding.  Result!!

It will look quite festive at Christmas on the coffee table – at least the glimpses of it under the usual covering of bucks fizz glasses, mince pies and chocolates  – once the morning’s over it might get worse 🤣

Oh, and I found a felted bead in my stash of ‘things’  – I don’t know where it came from, but I knew exactly where it could go.

 

Joining in with Kate & Gun’s ScrapHappy Day Challenge which focuses on using up your scraps of fabric/yarn/paper/wooden offcuts/anything leftover.  More details and list of participants here.

Now I must go and convert more tea towels into aprons for sale at the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs Christmas Fair on Saturday 24th.  I know how to have fun.

 

 

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