Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sewing Jots & Tittles 4.29.12

"Sewing Jots & Tittles" is my weekly post where I get to ramble on and on about sewing related stuff that's been on my mind. Here what's been bouncing off the wall of my mind.....

-I have 2 projects near completion. They were 2 tops that were super easy to put together. Only thing holding up the progress is my decision on how I'll bind the necklines. I hate when one decision halts progress:(

-I am SO obsessed with this pattern---view A specifically! I know it sorta has sleeves and it's already 80 degrees here but I will still rock this!!! I have the cutest fabric picked out for it!!! It's next on the sew list.

-Recent fabric purchases. I really love these!!!! My little splurges!!!

-I've been watching "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" and I'm intrigued with the over the top wedding gowns. Most can't be purchased so they bring in the likes of Thelma Madine who is the popular dressmaker often featured on the show. I'd love to sew an over the top wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses!!!
(Here's an example of some of the "creative" dresses)

-Long distance service: I won't just trust anyone to service my Husky Viking Serger. I either take it to Tallahasse or Florida for service, 5 and 7 hours away respectively. I have family in both locations. But I need to find someone closer. Any suggestions?

-DVD on the way:. I ordered a Silhouette Patterns DVD---Tissues Issues Made EZ when it was on pre-sale. I own several of Peggy Sagers videos. Can't wait to get it. I love dvd's especially since I sew for clients. It's important for me to understand fitting issues other than my own.

-My 2nd version of my Custom Dressform should be coming this week. Can wait until it gets here!!!

-Fabric store snooping: In the next few months I have to visit Tennessee (to help family move) and Atlanta (for a wedding). I'm going to get started tracking down fabric stores now. The last time I was in Atlanta I didn't really visit too many fabric stores but I'll make up for it on this future trip.

-If I weren't so shortwaisted I'd make this Burda skirt. I love it but it just won't work on my figure!!!

-Had a fun hangout with my daughter and my PATTERNS! They go with me everywhere! LOL!

-Pattern Giveaway Follow-up:
The Lovely Kimberly won a little girl's dress pattern (NewLook 6881) from one of my giveaway's and actually sewed it up. It's just gorgeous!!! She did a phenomenal job!!! Check it out at her blog

-Why did I try to wear THIS dress to church today and FORGOT how to tie it!?!?!?! I'm gonna have to consult the pattern again!!!!


-Yeah right, I doubt growing your own blueberries is that easy. Or is it? Wish it was that easy for me to grow things. Unless it's container gardening count me out!!!! I think Mother Nature has it out for me.

-Had my hubby pick up cheese for mac-n-cheese. Forgot he was riding the motorcycle and it was so hot outside. He nearly melted the cheese into one big clump. Next time I'll send him with an ice pack! LOL!

-I used to be obsessed with finger nail polish in college. My interest kinda fizzled for a few years but now it's back. I have a ton of colors from earlier years but picked up this one ---Sally Hansen's Insta Dri in Slick Slate. I LOVE the color. 

(I need to redo my mani so here's a photo from

-Who would do this to themself? Seriously, double bows?!?!? These have to be some of the worst shoes!!! Wish there was something nice I could say about them.

This is what's been on my mind, what's been on yours?????

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Microwave Sewing

Back in the Spring of 2004 when I was a fledgling seamstress I began taking sewing lessons at my local Hancock Fabrics for a short period of time to jumpstart my learning. I was privileged to have a wonderful sewing teacher named Mrs. Helen who at the time had 25+ years of sewing experience under her belt. She was a marvelous teacher and although I was only with her for only 6 months I learned alot! And her personal stories and project details were particularly inspiring.

I vividly recall how Mrs. Helen would recount incidences where she and a girlfriend would need clothes for a special weekend event and they would talk on the phone about it all day and pull out their patterns and fabric on Friday night and have an outfit ready by the next day. I would listen intensely with admiration and longing----longing for the day when I would be able to churn out sewn clothing as fast. At the times I was just learning how to sew and hadn't even really explored the element of fit. At that point I had a long way to go before that would be my reality. Then it would take me forever to sew and the results weren't always stellar. But with perseverance and hard work things began to change. Fast forward 8 years and things are definitely much different.

I have to say that "Microwave Sewing", sewing with a quick turnaround, is a concept that I've become familiar with in recent years. My recent Gala dress is an example of such an occurrence.  That was an extremely quick turnaround---hey I shocked myself. After all of these years I am beginning to feel really comfortable with my sewing & fitting abilities. And with that comfort, provided I don't have any crazy logistics issues, I'm able to sew and complete garments alot quicker. And honestly speaking, I get great gratification out of know that with increased experience comes increased skill and speed. Now I like my more complicated projects like coats & jackets---things requiring tailoring and more time. But I like the thought of being able to work quicker than I ever have. I look forward to becoming a better and faster  seamstress with ever project:)

Well this weekend's a bit busy for me. REALLY BUSY Actually!!!! I've got a few meetings & lots of client alterations. Despite that I'm going to try and sneak a couple of projects in. Here's a few things in my queue.
 I'm hoping I can slip in some "microwave sewing" this weekend. I'm determined to. I'll keep you posted.

How about you? Do you often feel like a "Microwave Sewer"?  Do you feel you complete projects alot quicker than in the past? What helped you get to this point? Where do you see your sewing in the future?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

The lovely Denise@ theBlueGardenia, Lynda at Lynda's Sewing and SWAPS and Jennifer @  have nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award. You Ladies are so GREAT and I'm especially honored to receive such a nomination from such talented Ladies as yourselves.

The rules are HERE!

I'm having such a hard time nominating just 15 fellow bloggers. So I'd like to nominate EVERYONE on my blog roll. I think they're ALL stellar and super talented!!! You guys inspire and fuel my passion for sewing more than you'll ever know. Also, if you're super talented and not listed on my blog roll please let me know. I'd love to add you:)

As far as 7 things about myself.....well here goes......I'll try not to be redundant and re-post anything from previous awards.

1. I think I just work out at the gym so I can use the Sauna. To me that's the best way to end a workout. Hot steamy air and a magazine. I love to SWEAT!!!

2. I've only broken one bone in my body (knocking on wood). I broke my left big toe last year while roughhousing with my Hubby. I kicked his hand and it broke. What a freak accident!!! That was one of the worst pains I've ever felt. It was then I realized I was married to Superman! LOL!
(My big toe x-ray. You can see the break right at the joint)

3. I walk on my tiptoes!!! Usually when I'm barefoot and around the house. Always have since I was a little girl. Guess that's why walking in heels (without platforms) isn't really a big deal!!!!

4. I took a personality quiz and By Golly Dr. Phil has me pegged perfectly---well the gifted or talented part is questionable---LOL! No seriously, particularly the part about my view on friendship and loyalty. Needless to say I have tons of associates but very few friends. I just take it seriously. My hubby took one and it was dead on the money as well. He's the extrovert with all the personality. I love an accurate quiz!

5. Growing up I was alway interested in the Ocean---obsessed really. You see sewing wasn't my first obsession (wink)!!!! I thought I was going to grow up and become a Malacologist so I could study Octopi---my favorite Ocean creature. They're intelligence is intriguing!!!

6. I often sign emails, cards, & love letters to my husband as "Bob".  It's actually a nickname/ acronym given to me by him which stands for "Butt-On-Back"--a little joke about my high derriere. I'm sure this may be confusing/questionable if someone found the cards, etc and didn't know who "bob" was!!!! LOL!!!

7.  I swear, since having my daughter who's almost 5, my sense of smell is like a Blood Hound. I can pick up the faintest traces of scents. I think it's my new super sense. I smell EVERYTHING!!!! Taking out the garbage--any for that matter is particularly unpleasant!!! LOL!!!

Well that's all about me!!!! Please feel free to share about yourself:)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sewing Jots & Tittles 4.17.12

Sewing Jots & Tittles is my weekly post about what's on my mind.
-I'm loving the Jo-Ann's Droid App. It allows you to download store coupons.  I don't even carry my sales ad anymore. I just take my phone to the cash register. This is a MUST if you have a smartphone.

-Can you say Return?
Guess what's going back to the store. Remember I bought these to wear with my Easter dress. Well  these were pretty tought to walk in.  I can do heels but that 1" platform was a bit much.  So they're going back. Now I don't have to feel bad that they also went on sale recently and are $10 less than I paid for them.

-Cynthia Rowley

I'm loving her Spring line of dresses! Like loving them! Only thing is they're too short. I bought a few of these. I'll see if I can add some length to them without taking away from the design.

-More Burda Loot
I caught the Burda sale a few weeks and racked up. I actually went to work late for it---which meant I ended up sitting in the parking lot an hour waiting for them to open. Don't Judge Me!!! LOL! But happy I did. They only had 1 or 2 patterns for each style so in alot of cases I got the only pattern.

-Coveted Top---I want this. I've got to make a few of these for the Summer. I need a pattern. If I don't find one then I'll have to create my own!

-This store window stopped me in my tracks. I'd rock any one of these formal dresses from Cache.

-Too Cute/ Too expensive
Remember I was looking for floral shoes for Easter. Well I saw these CUTE Steve Madden's (the one on left) for I think $78. Too bad the price wasn't cute:(

-I want one!!! Better yet, I want SEVERAL!!! Yay for cumberbund belts!

-Hot Outfit---How could anyone be afraid of bright colors when you have an outfit this cute???!!!!

-Atlanta Thread
Atlanta Thread Supply has now merged with Wawak. Check out their new catalog. I love purchasing supplies from here (thread, zippers, etc) and from a quick glance it looks like alot of great new inventory has been added. This means more savings which I always appreciate.

-New "Blush" shoes
I've been wanting nude shoes FOREVER! Well I finally copped some and for a great price. Well they're not exactly nude---they're blush. What the heck, they're close enough LOL! I love these. I feel like Betty Boop in them:)


-Someone's going through a princess/ Barbie, that take's me back a bit. Who didn't love Barbie growing up:)

-This past Easter "Full Moon" was huge, wasn't it!!!! It was CRAZY visible during the day!!!

-Indexed Cutting Mats----I WANT one of these!!!!! They're black cutting mats in a holder with tabs to keep all of your cutting items reserved to one mat. I think there was a $40 something price tag on this. I know I can find it cheaper. Let the search begin......

-Easter Family photo---This was a fun shot. I even got to get my Hubby in pink:)

-Fuel for Sewing?!?!
I've kinda been on a chocolate cookie kick. Udi's make's the best gluten free chocolate cookies. I think I've eaten all of these in the last 2 months.  I knew it was bad when I started hiding them in my sewing room away from my  hubby. Time to cut back. Hey at least the containers make great notion holders LOL!

-What? I ran across this crab skeleton the other day while taking my daughter to our local aquarium. I would love to know who named this species of crab. What a sense of humor!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

McCall's 6463---The "In the Nick of Time" Gala Gown!!!

For this year's Gala I waned to wear something a bit different. I wanted to get away from a long gown like LAST YEAR's and wear something that was a stark contrast. So I ran across McCall's 6463 and it was an instant attraction. 

 As I mentioned in my last post, I had a very short window of time to sew this dress in. I'm amazed that I finished this dress in time for the Gala!  By finish, I'll honestly admit it was 99.98% done (I had to  sew the lining to the zipper using long running stitches instead of a slipstitch and I had to use 2 inconspicuous safety pins to hold the neck collar since I had no time to sew the hook and eyes). Despite that it was done and I'm SERIOUSLY amazed! I didn't begin sewing it until 6pm on Saturday night. I resumed sewing at 6:30 am Saturday morning and sewed off and on until I had to leave---so roughly 14 hours of sewing. I never meant to get such a late start but had a few obstacles along the way. My daughter came down with a stomach virus and I had to take her to the pediatrician. You know my Baby comes first so I had to get her taken care of.  After meds and some motherly TLC she was ok and recovered quickly. Then other issues popped up and there were further delays----well you know how that goes.

Suprisingly, I was completely calm during the whole process. I worked HARD and the dress went together quickly. Between quoting Phil 4:13 under my breath and pretending I was Michael from Project Runway.
 (Remember Michael? He sure could sew REALLY fast!!!)

I worked steadily, doing lots of tweaking and alterations to get the fit I wanted.  I made my deadline and I'm SO proud. I actually got a little teary eyed afterwards. The thought of creating something beautiful with your hands is a humbling and overwhelming at times.

 My new custom made dressform (despite the bust issues and not having the replacement yet) helped TREMENDOUSLY! I just put one of my bras on it and positioned it higher. Worked like a charm! It was SO easy to do the necessary alterations on it.

 Needless to say I felt like a million bucks last night and I received numerous compliments. Without further ado---wow, I'm in "Chatty Cathy" mode on tonight-----here's the revew..............

 McCall's 6463

 Pattern Description:
Lined dress (partially interfaced) is close-fitting through bust and has neck band, boned bodice with side front/side back seams, skirt cut on crosswise grain of fabric, no side seams and invisible back zipper/hook & eye closure.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 12 for the bodice but ended up letting out a few seams at the bust and waist area to give me a little more room. I'm a 36" C cup and knew that the 12 wouldn't give the necessary ease without some tweaking.
(Side shot)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty Easy!!!! I made some minor changes to my liking.

(Back view)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I was attracted to this pattern because I loved the collar and exposed shoulders. I also loved the back and voluminous skirt.

Fabric Used:
I used a polyester brocade from Jo-Ann's. It's black with red mums on it. I've used the same brocade in reverse colors to make my Goddaughter's dress on last year. Earlier I decided to use a solid teal fabric but switched to the brocade because it gave me the results I was looking for. The black backdrop with the pops of red really turned up the drama in my opinion.

(A better view of the fabric. Brocade is tricky to photograph)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
To get the fit I wanted I did a mixture of alterations
-I used 5/8" seam allowance for the bodice middle pattern.
-All other seam allowances were 4/8"
-Shortened the back bodice 1" in the center and tapered to nothing at side seams.
-To prevent gaposis in the front (front bodice and side bodice seam) I sewed a 6/8" dart and tapered 3"
-I lengthened the skirt by 1"
-I cut the lining and hem the same length and sewed a 4/8 seam  allowance.
-I evenly gathered the skirt which was different from the instructions. I didn't want the gathers concentrated at the back of the dress. I have a high derriere. That would not be a good look! LOL!
-Ommitted the zipper.
-The back of the skirt ended up being too full. Before sewing in the zipper I put both sides of the skirt  together (wrong sides together) and cut 3" at the back skirt bottom and tapered it to the waistline. I was able to remove a "wedge" of excess fabric. I did the same with the lining. Hope that makes sense.
-The back of the skirt ended up being too full. Before sewing in the zipper I put both sides of the skirt together (wrong sides together) and cut 3" at the back skirt bottom and tapered it to the waistline. I was able to remove a "wedge" of excess fabric. I did the same with the lining. Hope that makes sense.
(The Shoes)

(The earrings. With exception of a bracelet I went light on the jewelry since my fabric was so decorative.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Who knows? I have a long laundry list of other things to sew before I can even think about a repeat.

Fabulous dress! I felt like a MILLION bucks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My next project is due in 42 hours!!!

I wrote this post to try and kick my butt into gear. I have a Gala to attend this Saturday evening (In about 42 hours) and I haven't completely even cut out all of the patterns pieces just yet. Ok to be fair, I've already made a muslin and noted all of the fit adjustments.  Now I've got to actually go through the motions with the real fabric. I tell ya, I procrastinate at the most interesting times. It's been a mix of procrastination and a very busy schedule.

BTW, McCall's 6463 is the pattern I'm using and I think this dress is so stunning. It looks great in muslin so I can't wait to see it in the fashion fabric. I hope the finished product turns out perfect.
And I switched from making it out of the teal stretch satin that I'd picked up in NYC. For some reason, although I liked it, I didn't think it would really do the pattern justice. I needed something fancier and more pizazz. Well I found it! I decided to make it out of a fancy brocade I found at Jo-Ann's.  I'm keeping my fabric choice a secret for now but I'll tell you it's one of these......
Ok, I'll resume cutting and proceed with sewing on tomorrow. I'm not too worried, the pattern dress goes together pretty fast and I know I'll meet my deadline (knocking on wood). Wish me luck(wink)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rowdy Kids and Fabric Stores Don't Mix!!!

There should have been a sign on Joann's on last week when I visited that read "No Bad Kids Allowed". I'd been going to my local store for the last 8+ years and have never had the experience I did that day. Chaos took  the 2 form of 2---12 year old boys and their Mom who couldn't seem to control them. At first I didn't notice as much. I was so preoccupied with looking through the fabrics and letting my mind wonder about all of the possibilities of use.

As I neared the cutting table the noise became more distinct and LOUD---and I could readily see the source. I'll just let you use your imagination. These boys were doing everything but running on the cutting table (something tells me that would have been next). They were wrestling, running, knocking down fabric, wrapping themselves up in fabric, running into people etc.  The Mother clearly couldn't control them.  The young female associate at the cutting table was rolling her eyes in disgust. Others were staring, mouths gaped wide. And at some point, one of the boys ran into me while running from his brother. Then they went running behind the cutting counter. It was PURE chaos! I mean, I have never wanted to leave Jo-Ann's but I did that day.  I did all but run out of that store!!! Had this been a Wal-Mart the behavior would have been appalling but yet somehow fathomable (we all know that strange stuff always happens in Wal-Mart---LOL!!!) But NO, it wasn't Wal-Mart, it was my beloved fabric store and this behavior was just plain unacceptable!!!

I don't mean to over hype the situation but it wasn't until that very moment that I realized the sense of reverence I feel when I walk into a fabric store. Ok, Jo-Ann's is really a craft store but the only things I seem to care about are the fabrics, patterns, notions---all things sewing. Ok, I digress. In all honesty IT IS MY HAVEN. It's my place of calm when I've had a bad day or when I need to just get away from the rest of the world and surround myself with lovely textiles. Heck, I don't really need a reason to go. I just love how soothed it make me feel. And at the same time it's my place of exuberance and excitiement. It can make my heart flutter and beat fast all at the same time. So many fabrics to see.  So many patterns to match with the right fabrics. So much to see and think about it. My eyes and brain move from project to project. Nothing excites me and yet simultaneously brings me so much peace!

And to think, those 2 young boys really disrupted the peace & calm of that day. That was the worst experience I've ever had at a fabric store. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Sigh, ............exhales. Well you know what they say, "boys will be boys". And in all reality it wasn't the boys fault--the mother should have been a better disciplinarian.  I am happy for the fact that that day did made me realize how much I love my local fabric store. It will always be my place of solace and I will always hold a reverential respect laced with lots of love for it.

So my question for you is "What's the WORST experience you've had at a Fabric/Craft store???

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter/Resurrection Day Dresses--Vogue 1285 & NewLook 6879

I want to wish everyone a HAPPY Easter / Resurrection Day! For me it's the pinnacle of my faith in Jesus and an important day. He is my source of life and my Friend:) As with all special occassions I like to mark them by making something special to wear. Actually I don't really need much of a reason to sew--but I'm sure all of you know that by now (smile).  Well here are the two dresses I made---one for myself and one for my daughter.

Vogue 1285

Pattern Description:
Lined, mock wrap dress has collar, close-fitting bodice with bands/hook&eye, fitted skirt, overlay with mock band, belt loops, sleeve bands and invisible left side zipper. Darts are stitched on the right side of fabric. Lining forms attached slip with shoulder and lingerie straps. Purchased belt.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 12
(up close details)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty much

(Back Shot---love those exposed darts)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the wrap and the visibly stitched darts. The neckline is lovely as well.

Fabric Used:
I used a raspberry colored rayon/cotton lycra blend knit that I picked up from my trip to NYC in February. It was pretty stretchy. After sewing the dress & doing several fittings I had to wash the dress to shrink it back to size. It fit like a glove afterwards.

(Gratuitous shoe shot. I couldn't find a flora print so I went with this. No fancy namebrand but was called the "Fuschia Peacock". They have a hidden platform which I HATE (between that and the 3" heel they made me super tall) but they were cute)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
*I shortened the back length in the middle by 2" and tapered it to the sides. After sewing the dress there was still too much back length (due to the stretchy nature of my fabric) so I had to take another 2" out--1" out of the back bodice & 1" out tf the back skirt.
*I stabilized the shoulder seams with clear elastic.
*I stabilized the invisible zipper with stay tape.
*I sewed in the sleeves using the flat method.
*I ommitted the slip. My fabric wasn't sheer so I didn't need it.
*I ommitted the belt loops.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Probably not, I only need one of these types of dresses.

Pretty dress and an easy sew---what more could you want:)

(Can you tell she likes taking photos? Sure didn't get that from me! LOL!)

NewLook 6879

Pattern Description:
Dress with various bodice styles.
Pattern Sizing:
Size 4. I think I made view D but w/o belt. I made separate belt.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Absolutely!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Super simple!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Liked everything. Just needed something simple enough to showcase the fabric I was using.

Fabric Used:
Bright pink satin with  white organza overlay with felt embossed hearts. I know....I bought this years ago for Valentine's day but she picked it out for her Easter dress;)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
*I lengthened the bodice by 2"
*I did a rolled hem on the organza overlay.
*I did a narrow hem on the satin underlay.
*I omitted the skirt lining  (2 layers of a full skirt was enought)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Great pattern! Made for a cute dress:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Custom Dressform....Part I

Guess "who" arrived on Monday???? My custom dressform finally made it to her new home. I was so nervous when I saw the huge box delivered by UPS on my porch. I've been anticipating this since my trip to NYC in February. If you recall I took a trip to Andy's Dressforms in NYC to get measured and pick out my form.  At first glance she looked great. I began to check my measurements and most were perfect. I was SO excited to see that my narrow and short back were adequately copied. The quality of the form is similar to the PGM size 10 form that I own. It has an durable cover you can pin into and all of the style lines one would need for draping fabric and drafting patterns. It also has collapsible shoulders and can be raised or lowered.  I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality:)

But upon further investigation I noticed 2 things were a bit off: the bust placement & butt fullness. The bust is drafted a bit low so it hangs alot lower than my own.  Actually only 2" but from this picture since it's shaped to point down instead of up it's very noticeable. Plus I'm a "C" cup so the bust isn't as full as it should be. And because it's so low it makes my bust to wait area look alot shorter than it really is.  The back was specially drafted to replicate my short waist. The back is drafted  perfectly, but the butt of the form isn't as full as it should be to mimic my high rear. Actually I knew that would be a tricky maneuver. My "high butt" is the reason why it's a bit of a challenge for me to make pants that fit.

(See how the bust hangs a bit low compared to my own.)

(I have a slightly fuller upper rear. That translates into a "high butt"---my Daddy's fault (got it from him) so the form just needs a bit more stuffing at the upper derriere.)

(She may not be exact but she's the closest I've come to having a clone:)

Despite the 2 errors this was a good place to start. The wonderful folks at Andy's dressform are working on making me a NEW form to correct the bust placement and to fill out my rear a bit. In the meantime I can use this one for some current projects and can just use one of my bras with a little filling to adjust my bust placement. In all reality I don't expect a perfect form--just one as close to it as possible:)  As we all know, making a 3D object from flat pattern measurements is quite the undertaking. For those of us who sew, we are met with that challenge with every project:)

It is my hope to not only use my custom dressform to fit muslins and garments I'm working on but I'd also like to get into drafting some of my own patterns and doing some draping. I've had some pattern drafting/ draping books & all of the drafting rulers I've been wanting to put to use for the last few years. I've used them for some things but not fully like I want to. I've been doing a little playing around with designing so I'm interested in bringing some of my own ideas to life:)

Hopefully the next dressform will be perfect---that was almost the case with this one. Please keep your fingers crossed. be continued...................


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