About Kaitlin Cone
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When I was very small, about three or four years old, my dream was to own a zoo when I grew up. Now, over twenty years later, I still love animals, but my zoo consists of a 3-year-old sheltie and the wildlife I spot around our house — deer, antelope, elk, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, and dozens of birds. That being said, I enjoy having more animals around, and when I found these animal scarves I got excited about bringing another animal into the family, even if it was just a crocheted version!
There are of course dozens of animal scarf patterns for sale — dogs, cats, elephants, lions, bears, etc., but I’ve found quite a few adorable free crochet patterns as well for animals as domesticated as sheep and as fantastical as dragons. If you’re looking for a cute gift for a kid or another animal lover, these would make excellent holiday or birthday presents.
If you or the recipient of your gift loves springtime, woolly lambs, and soft pastels, you might want to make the Sheep Scarf from Michelle Taylor. With a “G” size crochet hook, two off-white yarn colors, eyes (buttons will do), scissors, and a tapestry needle, you can crochet up this simple pattern in no time. The only stitches you’ll need to know are the single crochet (sc), front post double crochet (fpdc), back post double crochet (bpdc), and chain (ch) stitches.
Or, if you know someone who adores reptiles, you might want to present them with a gator scarf (this also works if they are Florida football fans). A “K” size crochet hook is needed here, along with knowledge of the following stitches: chain (ch), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double chain (DC), triple chain (TC), and back loop only (blo).
Of course, a mischievous family member or friend might enjoy a foxy scarf from Monica Gallardo. It’s a hat and scarf combination and available as a free pattern on Ravelry. With a size “H” crochet hook and some simple stitches such as single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), single crochet 2 together (sc2tog), increase, and front post double crochet (fpdc), you’ll be wrapping this scarf around them in no time.
For the couch potatoes, the sloth scarf from Knot Bad Ami is the most adorable little companion on the planet. You can use either an “M” or “N” crochet hook and if you know these stitches, you can work this little guy up in a flash: magic ring, back loop only (blo), front loop only (flo), chain (ch) and single crochet (sc). Pick 3 colors of yarn and settle down in your favorite comfy chair to bring this baby animal to life.
If your tastes run more toward fantasy, you can always make the Dragon Scarf from Six Little Mice. Using only single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), triple crochet (tc), and increase and decrease stitches, two crochet hooks (sizes “F” and “G”) and some patience, this dragon will protect your hoards of craft supplies as well as your neck from the cold.
There’s nothing stopping you from making them all, of course, and adding them to your scarf collection. Most of them will work well as beginner projects, although a few of them are listed as intermediate. If you’re ready to get started, you can choose the lamb, gator, fox, sloth, or dragon to get started on your way to becoming the next Dr. Dolittle.
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What is it about capes that makes everything feel more mysterious and magical? I’ve always loved capes, ever since I was a tiny kid growing up in the wild woods of Tennessee. As I grew up I wondered why more people didn’t take advantage of these cozy better-than-coats options. A friend of mine made me a new cape a few years ago, a dark green, floor-length version that made me feel like royalty. But of course, I can’t wear it as part of my normal, everyday wear (although I’m considering it). Looking for alternatives, I spotted this crocheted hooded cape from Linda Kaye Smith on Ravelry and fell in love. It’s perfect for those chilly morning or evening strolls, or to keep warm in the office, or to lounge around at home.
However and whenever you choose to wear it, it can be modified pretty easily. If you want ruffles, they’re an option, but if not, they aren’t an integral part of the pattern so you can add something else, like fringe. To make the hooded cape, you’ll need 14 skeins of chunky yarn (recommended: Wool-Ease Chunky #5), a size “K” crochet hook, scissors, and a tapestry needle. Make sure you check your gauge beforehand, as this is something you’ll wear and want to fit you snugly. Crochet 9 double crochet stitches in 5 rows. The size should be 4 inches.
Once you’ve checked the gauge, you can begin the pattern. There are only two stitches used in the entire pattern: chain (ch) and double crochet (dc). While that might seem easy, there are some things that make this less of a beginner pattern and more of an intermediate pattern, although an advanced beginner should have no trouble assembling this project. The cape and hood are made separately and then stitched together, so there is some sewing required. After you join the cape and the hood, you will need to decide whether or not you want ruffles. If you decide to forego the ruffles, you will not need as much yarn, unless you’re adding something else like fringe.
If you are going to add the ruffles, they are made with slip stitches (sl st), single crochet (sc), chain (ch) and double crochet (dc). Fringe doesn’t require any knowledge of crochet stitching but it might be a little more time consuming. You could forego any sort of decoration and have a plain hooded cape.
Fastening the cape can be done in a variety of ways, including a belt, or a frog, or a toggle, buttons, or even a chain. Experiment with different fasteners and see which one suits the cape best. It might depend on the color or sizing as well, so if you have a few options, try each of them and see which one feels more natural. I myself prefer toggles.
Do you need a cape to swish around as you walk through the woods, neighborhood, or local grocery store? You can find the free pattern from Linda Kaye Smith on Ravelry. There are a few photos as well so you can get a visual before you begin. There are also several sizes available.
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I’ve been interested in felt for a long time, but never tried working with it until very recently, when I found this incredibly adorable tiny felt house pattern from Delilah Iris Designs. It was small enough that I didn’t feel intimidated, and cheap enough that I felt I could afford to make mistakes without feeling too badly about it. While I already had notions such as lace, thread, and buttons, I did purchase several pieces of felt for about two or three dollars. Ten pieces of felt will allow you to make several of these tiny houses, which means this craft is thrifty, and if people like your work, you can sell the houses (as long as you credit the designer) and make a nice profit.
Though the original intention for the tiny felt home was to house the felt dolls from Delilah Iris Design’s line (a for purchase pattern available on her site), I found a variety of uses for it, including as a storage area for tea, business cards or recipe cards, and sewing notions. Of course, if you’d like to house little creatures but don’t want to buy the felt doll pattern, you can also use it as a home for Calico Critters and other 3-4″ toys.
To make your own tiny felt home, you’ll need the following materials: felt (2-3 pieces, which can be different colors if you want or simply one color), scissors, an embroidery needle, embroidery thread, lace, and a button. You can also add foam cutouts, ribbon, beads, and Sculpey clay to make your house unique.
I used felt in three different colors — one color for the back of the house, the front, and the door, one color for the sides and bottom of the house, and one for the roof. I cut out an oval shape for the window in the door, and added lace above it. I also included a button doorknob with a ribbon loop to keep it closed.
You will need to know the blind stitch, the running stitch, and the blanket stitch to sew the house together. I learned the blanket stitch to do this project, but the other two I was already familiar with. You’ll want to refresh your memory (or get some practice with any new stitches) before beginning because there are some fiddly bits, such as when you are joining the front of the house (the smallest piece) to the sides and the roof.
Cutting out the pattern doesn’t take very long at all, but depending on how fast a sewer you are, putting the house together can take anywhere between a few hours to an afternoon. I did cheat a little and sewed some of it using my sewing machine, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the felt can stretch and then the pattern pieces won’t match. Despite the few little mistakes I made during the first house, this has quickly become a new favorite craft of mine. I made a second house yesterday and used netting and ricrac to spruce it up.
If you’d like to make your own tiny felt house, you can find the free pattern at Delilah Iris Designs
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Lately I’ve been amassing a bunch of free patterns for plushies (or stuffies, as the Canadians say). While I’ve not gone beyond dolls quite yet, I’ve found some easy, beginner plushie patterns that I’d like to use to make gifts for friends and their kids (and who am I kidding — myself as well. I adore plushies). There is one particular pattern maker that I adore because of their simple designs, excellent written tutorials (with several pictures to illustrate), and adorable creations. Choly Knight (or Sew Desu Ne? on DeviantArt) has several free patterns for plushies that include projects for the beginner who has never made a plushie before to those advanced enough to try something a little more ambitious.
I’m particularly fond of the Narwhal Plush, which is rated 2/10 for beginners who have little to no experience constructing stuffed animals. It’s one of the easiest to make and will not take more than a few hours. If you like you can leave the horn off the Narwhal and make it a whale, or you can make it and then make it a buddy with Choly Knight’s free dolphin plushie pattern.
If you’re going to make your own unicorn of the sea, you’ll need the following materials: fabric in two colors (the pattern suggests using slightly stretchy fabrics like fleece or minky, as felt and cotton will not stretch and will make the wrong shape), felt for the eyes, fusible web, sewing notions (scissors, thread, needle, seam ripper, pins, etc.), and a sewing machine. You’ll also need to be familiar with the gathering stitch, the ladder stitch, basting, and sewing darts. If you’re unfamiliar with the ladder stitch, it’s the stitch used by employees at Build-A-Bear to sew up the back of their plushies. Once the string is pulled tight, the seam is pulled close and the thread disappears.
The free PDF comes with the pattern (the pieces appear on the last two pages), so I would suggest either printing the pattern pieces out or putting the whole thing in a sewing notebook for reference and later uses. The trickiest parts according to the tutorial are placing the fins and sewing the smaller pieces together. As long as you take things one step a a time and go as slowly as you need to in order to avoid rushing, you will be able to craft an adorable little pocket friend for yourself and your nearest and dearest.
Do you hear the call of the sea? Do you delight in whimsical creations? Then this little narwhal might be the perfect companion for you. You can try out different fabrics and even add buttons, ribbon, and lace to make it a little more fancy (you can use buttons for eyes which will cut down on the assembly time, and you can add a little lace or ribbon bow to the narwhal to make it feel extra special).
If you’d like to make your own pocket narwhal, you can find the free PDF pattern and photo tutorial on Choly Knight’s website, Sew Desu Ne? Be sure to check out her other free patterns as well as her Etsy shop.
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I have followed the evolution of printables for several years now. I signed up for Anne Vanture’s paper dollhouse minis ages ago because they were so detailed, adorable, and easy to make (if you want free printables for a range of dollhouse sizes, I highly recommend signing up for her monthly newsletter), and then it seemed as if the whole craft world imploded with ideas for printables.
Not all printables are created equal, however, and what you want to look for are high-quality, simple prints that can be printed on good quality paper. You may also want a specific kind of printable, so looking through Pinterest or other craft-heavy sites is a good idea.
Recently I was browsing through just such a website and I came across these absolutely adorable guinea pig printables. I’ve never had a guinea pig — I grew up with rabbits, cats, and dogs. But I had several friends who grew up taking care of their own guinea pigs and I’ve always thought them quite delightful. They’re like miniature pigs with their grunts and squeals, they’re soft, and they have quirky personalities. When you’re living in an apartment, however, or you have an older animal or one that wouldn’t get along particularly well with a guinea, you’ve got to resort to other measures — like printing out a few of these!
This is a great craft for older kids, as it does require some dexterity to fold and cut and tape these little guys together. But as long as you have patience and a good pair of scissors, you should be just fine. The first thing you’ll want to do for this project is make sure that you have good, strong paper, such as card stock. Print out the template using this paper and the guinea pigs will be sturdy enough to last quite a long time as long as they’re not handled too roughly.
You can of course experiment with the paper strength as well as color — if you want to make a rainbow family of guineas, go right ahead. The original post shows a photo of one of the guinea pigs that was printed with an earth tone paper, giving the little family a bit of diversity in coloring. This is a great way to use up ends of paper reams (some scrapbook paper is cardstock, but a floral family with regular scrapbook paper would also be cute).
Carefully cut and fold the template together. You can add mod podge over it if you want it to be even more sturdy. Once you’ve cut and folded all the templates, you can put them together for a family photo shoot. The more, the merrier.
These would make a fun craft for middle-school kids on a rainy day, or for someone who loves paper crafts. The guinea pig family can be arranged on a shelf, in a cardboard box “cage”, or in an old goldfish tank. However you decide to display them, and whatever you use them for, they will be cute and cuddly forever. And you don’t even have to worry about feeding them or changing their bedding!
If you want to make your own family of guinea pigs, you can find the template with photos and instructions on The Craft Train.
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If you’re a crafter, chances are you have a bag, a box, or a drawer full of marbles that you don’t know how to use. They’re fun when you’re a kid, but when you’re grown, how do you incorporate them into anything other than a game? Well, Arty Zen Studios has the answer: you can turn these marbles into lovely pendants. A few simple wire wrapping techniques and supplies and your favorite marbles and a few hours of your day and you’ll have a whole set of jewelry to wear or give away to your friends and family members.
What I love about this project is that it isn’t expensive, it teaches you a new technique, and it’s so easy that you can easily make them as gifts for teachers, mothers, siblings, cousins, and co-workers. They’re delicate enough that people will love them, unique enough that people will notice, and inexpensive enough that they won’t break the bank. This is a great project to do when you need to get through a stash — make an assembly line and get to work.
To make your own marble pendants, you’ll need the following tools: a ruler, flush cutters, round nose, medium stepper, chain nose and flat nose pliers, a sharpie or marker, and a wire straightener. The pliers will usually come together in a kit and are well worth the investment, especially if you’re going to be making a lot of wire jewelry.
Materials for the project include wire, marbles, and a cord for the necklace. The tutorial suggests using 20 and 22 gauge metal-plated wire. You can use gold, silver, copper, etc. Just be sure that the wire is thick enough to be a sturdy enclosure for the marble, but light enough that you can bend it with the pliers.
You’ll need to cut bits of wire and mark them with the sharpie. Bind them together and then bend into the shape of a spiderweb. This is when you’ll add the marble. Be sure and position it so that it is in the middle and not off to the side, as this will create problems later. Keep the marble centered as you bend the wire over and around it, forming the cage. After that, you will twirl each piece of wire into a spiral — there should be six total. This will create the elegant top of the casing. Then you’ll create a loop with the last two strands of wire, which you can affix to a cord for the necklace.
You can adjust the wire as you go, which makes this a forgiving project for beginners. Don’t worry about the spacing since it can be altered later. Concentrate on ensuring the marble is centered in the “spiderweb” and that the spirals are made so that the excess wire can be trimmed to avoid scratching the wearer.
If you enjoyed this tutorial and want more jewelry tips, you can bookmark Arty Zen Studios or follow them on Facebook. There’s also an Etsy shop if you’d care to peruse their beautiful creations. You can find the tutorial for this pendant on the blog at Arty Zen Studios.
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Kirsten Holloway’s Wanderlust scarf might be the most beautiful, luxurious, comfortable scarf I have ever seen. I’m currently scouring nearby shops to see if I can find yarn I love enough to use for this pattern. While the scarf looks like it belongs in a fancy boutique, it is considered an easy pattern with repetitive rows, which means that even if you’re a crochet beginner, you shouldn’t find this pattern too difficult to tackle. The most important thing is to read the pattern beforehand, learn the stitches you may not be familiar with, and then take the pattern one step at a time.
One of the best things about this scarf pattern is that it comes in both a long scarf version and an infinity scarf version, and if you still can’t get enough, there’s a beanie version so you can make a complete set. These would make excellent gifts for friends and family members, especially if made in their favorite colors.
To make one of these beautiful scarves, you’ll need to collect the following: a size “I” crochet hook, 350-375 yards of Lion Brand Heartland yarn, a yarn needle, and a pair of scissors. The stitches used in the crochet pattern include chain (ch), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), front post double crochet (FP dc) and back post double crochet (BP dc). There’s also a special stitch: half double crochet in the third loop (hdc in 3rd loop), but the pattern walks you through it clearly and concisely.
If you’re wanting to check the gauge, you can do so by crocheting thirteen double crochet stitches and then measuring to make sure the swatch is about four inches. The entire scarf should measure about six feet once complete, with a width of six inches. Of course if you’re making the infinity scarf, it will be a little different as you’ll be crocheting in the round. There are instructions for the infinity scarf just below the original pattern.
After you’ve completed the scarf, you can decide whether you want to include extras like tassels or fringe. There are steps to do that as well beneath the pattern. Personally I think the scarf looks great either way, though I do have a penchant for fringe. Without the fringe it looks more boutique, but with the fringe it carries a more cozy vibe.
Does this sound like a project you’d enjoy? You can find the tutorial for the regular scarf and infinity scarf on Kirsten Holloway Designs, as well as the tutorial for the beanie. The tutorials are free, but if you’d prefer an ad-free pattern you can purchase one from Kirsten’s Ravelry store. If you want to keep up with the latest designs and patterns, you can follow her on Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, and Pinterest. You might also want to bookmark her website — she has a section for Crochet-A-Longs, which provides a work-along tutorial, and if you have a question you can post it on her Facebook page. This year’s project is the Art ‘n Soul Scrappy Scarf, which looks like plenty of fun wrapped up in an easy-to-make package.
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I’ve long been a fan of paper mache and the beautiful, whimsical creations that arise from it, but have never been able to sit down and make something out of it for myself. However, upon finding this helpful tutorial and gorgeous photos from Ann Wood, I might just have to make some time and put some of these delicate cups together for my next tea party.
If you’re new to paper mache, it is quite a forgiving medium. Nothing has to be perfect. You work at your own pace. And the materials are cheap. It’s a great skill to learn for 3-D art, and there’s plenty of inspiration to find online, particularly on Pinterest. I’ve pinned a few dozen paper mache projects (including animals, dollhouse furniture, and jewelry) and am looking forward to giving this craft a go.
Whether you’re an old hat at this or are beginning your journey into paper mache, these teacups are a great project. There’s a template available from Ann Wood, along with a written tutorial and plenty of photos for the step-by-step process. To make your own teacup (or set), you’ll need the following materials: a template, paste (Ann recommends wallpaper paste), cardboard (thin like cereal and cracker boxes as well as thicker pieces from pizza boxes or Amazon packages), newspaper, scotch tape (invisible isn’t necessary), glue, a pencil, an exacto knife, scissors, and whatever you’ll be using to decorate the teacups, such as scrapbook paper, mod podge, magazine clippings, stickers, fabric, ribbon, etc.
Once you’ve gathered the materials, you’ll need a large, clean work space. Remember to wear older clothes that you don’t mind getting messy. Paper mache is for people who like to work with their hands and enjoy getting them dirty. Use the template to cut out your teacup and then slowly turn and tape it into the teacup shape. You can make a handle or not, as you choose. Ann suggests not using paper mache on the handle. You only need one layer, but if you prefer a chunkier teacup, add a few more.
After the paper mache, you can decorate the cup (and add the handle). You can use paint, markers, pastels, whatever suits your fancy. Allow for plenty of drying time between layers, or, if you’re using acrylic, keep some water nearby to refresh your brushes and keep the paint from drying too quickly.
What do you do with these teacups? Well, you can use them as a centerpiece for your next tea party, but they can also be used for other things, like a jewelry case (put your earrings or rings inside), a paperweight to hold your paperclips, a tree ornament for the holidays, as containers for your tea bags, or as organizers for your craft notions. There are dozens of ways to utilize these pretty paper cups, and they also make great gifts — just fill with tea, chocolates, or potpourri and you have a present perfect for friends, family members, teachers, and co-workers.
If you do end up making one or several of these beauties, Ann would enjoy seeing them! You can upload them to Flickr or leave a link in the comments. You can find all the instructions and photos at Ann Wood’s Handmade site. Happy crafting!
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I remember when technology was not as advanced as it is now — I had to string tiny beads one or two at a time and hope I didn’t move too much in case they popped off whatever I was making. However, now that we are in the 21st century, there is such a thing as a bead spinner. The bead spinner is a simple device (sometimes wooden) that allows you to string tiny beads in mere seconds. Amazing, right? Just think of all the possibilities!
Instead of spending hours on one cuff bracelet, you can make 3-5 in that time. The bead spinner cuts time so you can concentrate on more important aspects of the bracelet, such as color, size, and accents. The Art Bead Scene has a post about making these beautiful cuffs that also includes a video tutorial if you’re interested in how to use the bead spinner to speed up your creation process.
If you’re wanting to make one of these gorgeous cuffs for yourself or a friend, you’ll need to purchase the following items (or locate them in your stash): memory wire (the tutorial recommends 3-5 loops unless you want a smaller or larger size than the original), seed beads (peanut beads and seed beads work the best — try different color combinations such as metallic and earth tones, or royal tones with black), a decorative headpin (optional), a charm (optional — you can purchase pewter, steel, or whatever metal-plated charm suits your color scheme), and a few jump rings. You’ll also need to have pliers (round and chain nose), wire cutters (the tutorial recommends that you use the specific memory wire cutters as the material is different and more difficult to work with if you are using regular wire cutters), and a bead spinner (The Art Bead Scene recommends the Spin-N-Bead).
Once you’ve gathered your tools and materials, you’ll need an area in which to work. First form a loop at the end of the memory wire so that the beads won’t slide off while you’re assembling. Then put your seed beads in the spinner and insert the memory wire. Watch the video beforehand so you know what to expect. This should take just a few minutes. Decide where you want your headpin, bead accents and charm(s) and then attach them to the cuff using the jump rings. And there you are — a fashionable cuff bracelet to wear and show off at parties, work, and during the holidays.
These bracelets would make great gifts for friends during special occasions such as holidays, weddings, and anniversaries. They would also be appreciated by teachers, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and nieces (of course, there are also men who enjoy cuff bracelet jewelry, particularly younger men — maybe your brother, nephew, or son would enjoy one!).
If you would like to watch the video tutorial for the bead spinner or walk through the instructions for the cuff bracelet, you can find them both on the Art Bead Scene blog. It’s also worth bookmarking The Art Bead Scene (they’ve moved to Art Bead Scene Studio) for their monthly challenges, free project tutorials, and inspirational photography.
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My family loves birds. My grandma and grandpa live in the hills between North and South Carolina, and when I call I always ask my grandparents what birds have been around. They usually have chickadees, wrens, cardinals, and tufted titmouses (which happen to be my favorite). My dad loves hummingbirds and has several feeders on the front porch. There’s a feeder out back for the less exotic birds, and we keep an eye on it to make sure the squirrels aren’t hogging it. My in-laws have several houses and feeders, as well as stands for the birds they care for, even going so far as to avoid the corner of the porch where a wren nested for a couple seasons and had a batch or two of babies. I also have several friends that love birds, and we’ve spotted several beautiful varieties while traveling.
With so many bird lovers around me, I’m surprised that I’ve never built a birdhouse for one of them. I painted a birdhouse once at camp, but other than that I haven’t spent any time working on that particular craft. However, this little project just might change my mind. What’s cuter than a vintage-inspired birdhouse? This specific one is modeled after 40’s and 50’s campers, which has become very popular in the last several years. And what’s not to love? It’s a fun shape, it’s two tone with happy, bright colors, and the details make it pop.
Even if you don’t have the woodworking tools to cut your own pieces for this trailer, or you don’t have access to sheets of aluminum, or recycled materials, there are options if you still want this birdhouse for your backyard or a shelf in your home or the front porch. Of course, you can purchase the trailer already made, but sometimes it’s more fun to put it together yourself, especially if it’s going to be something an animal lives inside.
Of course, if you have the woodworking know-how, all you need to do is create a blueprint and choose the wood you want to work with. You can go to a craft store and pick up some balsa wood, or you can try some pine or other soft wood. With some heavy-duty tools, you should be able to create the pieces in an afternoon. After that, you’ll need to attach them to each other with a strong glue, and then you can decide whether you want to varnish the outside or paint it. If you’re going to keep it inside, you could use something like chalkboard paint and decorate it with doodles and quotes. You can also put it on a stand and wrap it in Christmas lights. You can also hang it on a rafter, or put it out on the front porch, or you can use it as the base of another project, like a centerpiece for the table.
If this sounds like something right up your alley, you can make your own after looking at the inspiration below. If you’d rather buy one pre-made, you can find them on Etsy. Or, you can buy a kit and put it together yourself. There’s one available for purchase on Bird Folk Collective.
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