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Glenn and I love sushi.  We started going out for it when I was in college, and every time Glenn came to visit me he had to go out for sushi!  And we always try to find some when we go out of town.  No fun when I was pregnant, but going out for sushi is still fun even if you can’t eat any!!  Well…no sushi bars in Likely, or anywhere for 100 miles.  Before we moved here, we actually bought a book on making sushi, as well as a nice set, and we haven’t gotten to use any until now!!  We saw they had fresh sushi grade tuna at our local grocery store, so we tracked down all the ingredients (we had to go to 2 different stores for all of the pieces!) and decided to have a sushi lunch the other day!  It was fun…a lot more prep work than we anticipated, but we weren’t in a hurry and we enjoyed the whole process!  Especially eating it!

The mini cookbook that we have is simply called “Sushi” and it’s by Ryuichi Toshii, Brigid Treloar, and Hideo Dekura (find it here).  We bought our sushi set at Cost Plus World Market, and our rice cooker was a wedding gift!  I really won’t go into details on how to make it, we’re not pros (yet, hee hee!) but I had to share the pictures of our yummy lunch!!

1st attempt -- not too shabby!!

We made some Classic Thin Tuna Rolls (Tekkamaki), but we added some avocado. Mmmm…
Sushi chef

Along with some pink lemonade…that’s Japanese, right?? 🙂
Our homemade sushi lunch

Mmm...I wish it was in focus

We’re definitely going to have to do this again soon! Maybe we’ll make a night of it with some friends!!

Birthday princess!

I can’t believe I’m posting about this, time flies so quickly, but I threw my baby girl’s 1st birthday party last Saturday!! It was so fun, and although she won’t remember the party, I had a great time planning and crafting to put it all together. The theme was based on a party package (a PDF printable that they e-mail to you and you use how you want!) that I bought from happypapers on etsy. It’s the “Cupcake Birthday Set” and I picked it because I loved the colors; pink, green, orange and blue! The set included an invitation, 2 patterns, center box, gift bag, gift tags, a party hat and goodie cone — all for $5 and e-mailed right to you! Although it included invitations, you had to write on theirs, I used their patterns to create one on the computer, which I just printed and mailed!

Harper's Party Invitation

Another theme from the invites was cupcakes, so I jumped at the chance to make our own cupcake toppers, as well as a big cupcake (or mini-cake) for the birthday girl!

The Birthday Girl's Special Cupcake

Cupcakes

I made 3 different types of cupcake toppers — “H” toppers, “Harper” toppers, and “1” toppers! And we had chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and yellow cupcakes with white frosting. We made Harper’s with yellow and white, to avoid the chocolate stains!

Cupcakes with toppers

I filled the Happy Papers center cone with pink and green Jelly Bellies!

Jelly Bellies

I also used the patterns to create a lot of other decorations, including a month-by-month photo decorations to hang from the dining room chandelier, and a “Happy 1st Birthday Harper!” banner!

Decorated chandelier

Month-by-month photos of Harper

Happy 1st Birthday Harper! Banner

And how cute does the birthday girl look in her tutu?? These are from Fairy Wonderful! I bought 2 and stacked them. They also have an etsy shop.

Just chillin'

The outdoor decorations are my new favorite things — they are the Martha Stewart Pom-Pom kit and you can buy them at a Michael’s craft store or find them online! And yes, they are now hanging in Harper’s room!

Outside on the deck

Isn’t the location gorgeous? It’s my in-law’s guest ranch — Mahogany Ridge Guest Ranch. And yes, you can come vacation here. 🙂

Outside on the deck

On the menu was “Paella” — the quick version from last month’s Cookie magazine. Unfortunately I can’t find the recipe on their website, but it was sure yummy! We also served Tater Tot Casserole, lots of hors d’oeuvres (guacamole, cheese ball, shrimp/cream cheese/salsa, deviled eggs, cantaloupe, baked brie — all thanks to Glenn’s sisters, and both of our moms!), along with Hansen’s sodas and pineapple orange punch! There was a lot of food!!

So much food, that Glenn’s sister’s dog (it was her birthday, too!) partook in the cupcakes!

Happy Birthday, Mischa

Daddy helped Harper blow out her candle…

Daddy helping her blow out the candle

And mommy helped her open her presents!

Opening presents

It was so fun, and Harper got a lot of great gifts! Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen and who was able to share her special day!

Be on the lookout for a tutorial on how I made some of her birthday crafts!

Banner close up

I want to send a shout-out to the ultimate kid’s party stylist, Kim at her super inspirational blog The TomKat Studio! Her ideas and crafts are sooo adorable and were a big inspiration for me for Harper’s party — and she is so sweet to boot!!  Thanks, Kim!!

In my recent post “Busy, busy…LOTS of stuff coming!” I just realized that in my hurry to post it I forgot the most important part!! The video of me spray painting Harper’s changing table and side table! Oops!!

So here it is…me spray painting Harper’s furniture in less than 2 minutes! Because it’s in fast forward. I like how Glenn and Harper go run some errands while I’m working. 🙂

And here is what the finished pieces look like!!

Harper's Room

Harper's Room

Update: I’ve also added the video back to it’s original and intended home here.

I wanted to title this post “Harper’s Nursery,” but I really don’t feel like she is a baby with a nursery anymore.  It is turning into a little girl’s room.  She just turned 1 last Friday, and I can’t believe how fast she’s growing.  I guess it’s technically a nursery — she still needs her crib and changing table, but she is rapidly turning into a little girl right before our eyes.  She plays in her room, with her toys.  It is her very own room.  She is getting more and more independent every day, plus she’s mobile and has a hilarious little personality starting to shine through.  I think her birthday gave me the little motivation I needed to finish her room like I wanted it, and I finally got it all set up and photographed today.  Enjoy!!

If you’ve been reading, you’d know that I’ve been busy painting things for her room – including her changing table, a side/magazine table, a wall shelf, and her dresser. Here are some “before” photos, and you can see the finished product in her room photos!!

Changing table with cloth diapers

Shelf for painting

Old dresser

Here is the entire room from the doorway:

Harper's Room Panorama

So as a refresher, here is what it looked like when we first moved in:

Harper's Room

And here’s a shot of it that I took today (at almost the same angle):

Harper's Room

Lots of new details!
Harper's Room

Harper's Room

Harper's Room

New mobile

New shelf

Little shoes -- and a John Deere tractor

Harper's Room

So here’s the breakdown on Harper’s room:
Crib: IKEA
Crib bedding: Olivia by Dwell Studio for Target
Recliner: La-Z-Boy
Blinds: Home Depot
Rug: Target
Bookshelf: Way Basics
Dandelion Wall Decal: Etsy
Pom-poms: Michael’s by Martha Stewart
Changing table: Hand-me-down
Baskets: Wal-Mart
Dresser: Thrift Store
Side table: Hand-me-down
“H-A-R-P-E-R” Wallpaper Letters: Land of Nod
Lamp Set: Fred Meyer
Wall Shelf: Hand-me-down
LOVE Print: Oh Brooke

This is my new favorite room in the house! What do you think of Harper’s room??

Okay…I know I’ve been MIA lately, but it has been a crazy, crazy week!!  My daughter is 1 today, I can’t believe it!!  So I’ve been very busy planning her party, and I haven’t been online a lot (which is amazing for me!) so I’m sorry!!  But don’t worry — please keep coming back because there will be a lot to publish very soon, and I’m very excited about all of it! Now to just find time to blog it all!

Here is a picture of my sweet little girl, 1 year ago today…practically to the minute!  She was born at 11:11 PM PST.  🙂  If she was born 49 minutes later her birthday would have been 8-8-08.

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Yes, that is a little scary looking, but even with the tubes she was still a cutie — just look at those lips!!  🙂  She was born 6 weeks prematurely and she had to be in the hospital for 2 and 1/2 weeks before we could come home!  It was the longest 17 days of my life.  But she did great — no one can tell us why she made an early appearance, she just had it in her mind to come into the world her way!!  And she was perfectly healthy in the hospital (a lot better than most of the babies in the NICU!), she just had to get a little stronger to feed herself, etc. Textbook perfect pregnancy, I have no health problems, so it is a mystery, but she is in perfect health as well and always has been!

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And here she is as she is today — as you can see from that smile, she is such a happy girl.  I can’t imagine our life without her now.  🙂  She is crawling, almost walking, babbling, pointing, comprehending, and constantly smiling.  She is so fun! More and more so every day!

Anyway — as her birthday party is in 13 hours, I’ve been very busy planning and crafting it all together. I think you all will be so excited to see what I’ve put together!! If I can pull it off, that is — KIDDING!! So be sure to check back here for lots of pictures, and a re-cap of my sources. If you follow my updates on Twitter, I’ve showed a few sneak peeks of what I’ve been up to!!

I’ve also been working very hard on her bedroom, and I am so close to having it finished, so after the party buzz is over, I’ll photograph her cute little room and post it here soon! For now, here is a little glimpse of what has kept me so busy:

See you next week!!

As my daughter’s first birthday is coming up, I’m in a hurry to try to finally finish her room!  She was born 6 weeks early, so I feel like I didn’t get a chance to properly put it all together like most nesting moms-to-be would.  It is a very cute room, but with a newborn I didn’t get to finish all of the projects that I had in mind!  The paint on the upper half of the room was all that was done when I left for the hospital, so it has been a slow project, but I finally got a few projects done this week so here I am to share what I’ve been up to!!

Harper's shelf

First of all, I am no way being compensated to promote this product.  I just found something that interested me and I wanted to share!  I discovered the company “Way Basics” a couple months ago, and have been going back to their site all the time ever since, but I haven’t bought anything until now.  They sell modular storage furniture, which is made of recycled paper in the form of “Z Boards” that you can put together how they intend, or you can be creative and have fun with them!  They are having an awesome Summer Sale, and I saw their Rectangle Plus 3 in pink on sale for 50% off (for $33!! As of today…), so I decided that it was such a bargain I would try it for Harper’s room.  I would love the white, or even the “Kraft” series for my office, but I wanted to try it before I make a bigger commitment.  The cool thing about Way Basics furniture, is that it is held together with peel-and-stick industrial strength tape!  No screws or nails, just peel the strip off and stick it together — sooo simple!!  And it is super strong, plus the way it is put together keeps it strong; it rests on the horizontal boards, and there is a backing board to keep it all together.  Anyway, I love Harper’s new shelf.

I taped a little video of me putting the shelf together so you can see how easy or difficult it would be, which took less than 10 minutes.  The video, though, is only 43 seconds long because I used Gawker, which is in timelapse.  🙂  Enjoy!!

And here is the shelf, put together and filled with some of Harper’s stuff, except when she decides to play with the toys I carefully placed on it. That is why the books and breakables are on the top 2 shelves!!

New shelf in Harper's room

Taking her toys!

And there she goes…

Little crawler

By the way, Way Basics is holding a “Messy Room Contest” on Facebook, and I submitted a photo of my office/craft room — a room that I haven’t gotten to organizing yet — and guess what?!?!?! They picked me as one of the contestants!!!!!! Come to think of it, I don’t know if that is good or bad, ha! But anyway, I need lots more votes to win so I need your help! You have to become a fan of Way Basics, but as you can see from the video, they make some pretty cool products, and they don’t post a lot so come on, help a girl out!! The prize is $250, which I could put to really good use for shelving in my office…and by shopping at Way Basics, I could buy a ton of organizing products!!

I hope you enjoyed my video — have a good week!!!

Exactly 1 year ago today, my husband Glenn and I became first time homeowners! We were living in our camp trailer out on his parent’s ranch (hee hee!) until we got the keys to our new home on July 1st, 2008!  And the inside was so ugly and disgusting and un-livable that we still lived in the camp trailer in our driveway for a couple weeks, especially because they were tearing up ancient carpets, which is not good for a pregnant lady to be around.  Our daughter joined us in our home a month and 3 weeks after we moved in, which was an early surprise (Glenn painted half of her room the night before I went into labor – a month and a week after moving in) and while Harper and I were in the hospital for 2 weeks Glenn came home and worked his butt off to get the rest of it ready for us!

On first glance the house was a little scary, old and dusty – it had been sitting on the market for almost 2 years! – but we could see it’s potential through the smoke residue and dirt.  It’s a great first home for us, and we are enjoying being homeowners…except when you’re trying to move 7 tons of gravel one shovel-full at a time! 🙂  I kid, I kid…the main thing I’ve learned is how much time it takes to get to where you want to be.  I still don’t feel like a single room of the house is “finished” and I don’t know if I ever will, but I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the past year!  What do you think??

Our living room and kitchen before:

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And this was taken about 5 months ago…the dining room is different now and we have different living room furniture.

Living, dining rooms & kitchen

Living room:

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Another mid-work shot:

Dining room & living room from kitchen

And here are some new details behind the pool table (but I really want to get some new white (but light blocking) curtains:

New reading nook

Living room with flooring down:

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Living room

Kitchen and Laundry Room:

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Kitchen and dining room

Laundry room:

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Looks the same (no paint yet) except for my pretty new washer & dryer set:

Laundry Room 1

Main bathroom:

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And here is how it looks today…project is still in progress (new shower curtain, towels, mirror and light):

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Our bedroom:

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Like all the other rooms, a work in progress, but it is definitely a livable bedroom!

April 5th 2009

Remember, though, I have new side tables! No more baby bassinet in there!

Bedside Table 2

Baby’s room:

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A room I’d really love to “finish.” But it’s low on the list and has to wait…

April 5th 2009

April 5th 2009

Harper's Room

1/2 Bath in baby’s room:

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It pretty much looks the same, except for new flooring.

April 5th 2009

I’m always looking at magazines and websites, wishing I had a bazillion dollars to spend so I could finish the house exactly how I’d like it, but after reminiscing over these photos today I’m pretty proud of how far we’ve come in a year, and I’m actually very thankful that we even have a roof over our head at all.  I’m actually very, very blessed in so many ways. 

So happy anniversary to us, and feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you’re thankful for and celebrating today!  That reminds me…I’m celebrating my high school reunion this weekend, too!  Happy Independence Day, everyone!!

Okay, a little dramatic, but it was ridiculously hard work shoveling 7 tons of gravel around in our backyard last weekend!  I’m just now getting the use of my forearms back.  🙂  It’s a start to our ugly, ugly backyard, but now all we need to do is 1) get the rest of the gravel out of here (they sent way, way, way too much…grr…) – we’re being creative with what to do with it.  2) plant grass in the dirt areas.  3) build a new fence all around. 4) paint the ugly metal shop/shed and the trim on the house.  5) build a flat deck off the back door.  It will all probably happen in that order.  If we ever get it done this summer!  Now before I cramp up again, here is the backyard transformation…in progress…

This is back in March when Glenn cut the tree down…

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

And this is recently when a jungle of weeds sprouted out of nowhere!

Weed jungle!

See – no tree!  But the backyard was very scary for awhile…

Scary...

Our new best friend, the roto-tiller.  It took 2 entire days to till up the backyard and get all of the rocks/weeds/old grass out of the soil.

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Almost done with that step!

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Final pile of rocks we pulled out of the yard – not counting the ones we threw over the fence.  🙂  That was my job…picking up rocks.  I kept them, because you never know where you could use them!  They’re nice rocks…right?

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The 7 tons of “clean rock” the trucking company delivered.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Glancing at this photo I cringe at how ugly the shop is.  But it’s sturdy and a nice workspace inside.  We’re going to paint it black.  Yes, black.  I love black buildings, and since our house is brick I need to get my black building fix in somehow!

Backyard gravel

The easy part is done…putting down the weed blocker and paver path throughout the backyard.  This breaks it up into 3 sections of grass.  Well, future grass.

Weed blocker felt paths

This would have been a catastrophe!  The wheelbarrow broke on the 3rd or 4th gravel load of the day – !!!  But Glenn was able to fix it…phew!  That’s what we get for using rusty old tools that came with the house!

Fixing the wheelbarrow

The gravel is almost completely spread, and did we even make a dent??  I can’t tell.  And notice that they piled it in front of the shop door.  I had to climb through the window on the left to get the roll of weed blocker out!  It would have been alright if they had sent THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF GRAVEL!  I trusted them.  I gave them the square footage I wanted to cover and he converted it into tons…sweet.  I’d say they sent AT LEAST 2 TONS too much!

Mountain of gravel

What the heck are we supposed to do with it all?!?!?  And where are we supposed to put it!?!?!?  And how will it get there???  I really don’t want to think about it anymore…and I have a lovely pile of rock to sift out of the dirt before we plant.  I need “Curb Appeal” or some other landscaping HGTV show to come to my house with a team.  ASAP!

Way too much gravel

You might notice in this picture that the path is wider than the original “weed-blocker and paver” shot above…yeah, we widened it to use more gravel.  Nice.  Any tips on where to use it all??  Want to come to my house and take a scoop??  Or a truckload?? Please…??

I love our striped dining room wall.  I think my favorite part about it is that it was super easy to do and it was our first attempt at painting stripes.  Plus it turned out great!  My husband had the genius idea of using the green from the kitchen (I thought we’d use the gray from the living room to tie it in) because they are two different finishes of paint and because our dining room chairs have green in them.  The ivory is a satin, and the green is a semi-gloss = instant wow factor…like wallpaper.  But without the glue.

So what is the secret to painting stripes?  The answer is math…and gravity.  I knew I wanted an odd number of stripes so that the ivory was at each end.  I measured the length of the wall and did a little figuring.  I took the length of the wall in inches, and divided it by 7.  This gave me about 16.75″ per stripe so I decided to up the width of the green stripes to an even 17″ so that they are wider than the ivory.  17″ x 4 = 68″.  I then took the width of the wall, subtracted 68″ and this gave me the total width of the ivory stripes, which I then divided by 5 and now I knew how wide each ivory stripe would be (10″ in the center, and the corner ones are a little narrower but you can’t even tell!).

I’m not sure how others lay out their stripes with tape, but this is how we did it!

First step:  Paint the entire wall the lighter color (in our case – an ivory called Acadia White by Benjamin Moore in the satin finish).

Before I show you the next step, here is the little journey from where we started to where it is today.  Here is my husband, Glenn, on the walk-through with the real estate agent.  Notice the wagon wheel light fixture and nasty carpet in the dining area!

Likelyhouse (6)

Here it is (below) with the carpet ripped out, deciding which flooring to use.  We chose the darker laminate.

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Okay, now fast forward a little more and here we are.

Step Two: find the center of the wall and make a small mark.  We did all the marks at the ceiling because we used a weighted string to make sure our tape was straight.

Step Three: measure half the width of your center stripe to the left and right of your center mark.  Our center stripe is green, which is 17 inches, so we measured 8.5″ either way.  Make your mark at the ceiling.  We then made more marks alternating 10″ and 17″.

Step four: Tap a small nail or brad into your mark, attaching a string that is as tall as the wall, weighting it (we used a heavy screw).  This will give you a perfectly vertical line to tape against. If you’re working as a team, one person can hold the string while the other tapes, or you can tap another brad into the other end to hold your string tight while you tape.

Step five: Tape along your string.  Make sure your tape is taped down in the base color (ivory) so that you’re painting in the correct stripes.  It can get a little confusing!

Step six: Fill in any nail holes that you made with putty and then paint your colored stripes!  We used “Misted Fern” in a semi-gloss by Benjamin Moore.  Touch up the base color where the holes were if needed.  I used a tiny paintbrush for touch-ups near the stripes.  We also always make sure to remove the tape as soon as possible for the crispest line, and you don’t want it to dry too much so it doesn’t peel off with the tape.  We were pleasantly surprised with how crisp the lines were (taping trim can be messy sometimes – ugh!), even with a textured wall.

Step seven: Stand back and admire your faux-wallpaper wall!  We were surprised at how easy it was, and how nice it turned out.  Sorry for the lack of “during” pictures, but we did it before I even started this blog!!  If I would have only known…

This is what it used to look like, before the new pendant and sideboard (below):

Dining Room

And here is what it looks like today!  Some of you are probably sick of me talking about my dining room, but it seems like such a huge impact using leftover paint, a $50 antique store sideboard, a discounted pendant lamp, and a free table and chair set!

Dining room

Do any of you have a striped wall project (or any fancy painting project) you’d like to link us to?? I’d love to see it!  Thanks again for stopping by!

I love blog parties! I stumbled across this blog (via Hooked on Houses) called 320 Sycamore today and saw she was hosting a Paint Color Party and I just had to join!


She’s asking for some paint color photo inspiration today so here goes!

Here is the new “reading nook” in my living room. The walls are Ashley Gray by Benjamin Moore.

Reading Nook
This ivory wall is actually old wood paneling, but we just painted over it with Acadia White by Benjamin Moore.

Hearth and entertainment center
My kitchen has white cabinets (High Hiding White door, trim and cabinet paint by Ace Hardware), and the green is called Misted Fern by Benjamin Moore.

Kitchen

Someday I’d like to paint the kitchen a color called “Sulfur Yellow” by Benjamin Moore, but that has to wait until we get new countertops.  We have the fake blonde wood laminate right now and it won’t go together, but I really, really love Sulfur Yellow (#1).

Paint Color Consultation

The dining room stripes are using the Misted Fern from the kitchen and the Acadia White from the living room in two different finishes.  The green is a semi-gloss and the ivory is a satin, which gives it a wallpaper feel.

Dining room details

The bathroom is painted “Pumpernickel” by Ace Hardware paints.  If you’ve been reading lately you’ll know we’ve been very busy on that project!!  Click the link for more pictures of the surrounded-by-earthy-brown bathroom.

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The bedroom’s upper 1/3rd is painted “Pilgrimage Foliage” by Benjamin Moore, and the lower 2/3rds are in the Acadia White (like the living room and dining room.  We have a TON of it!)

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My daughter’s bedroom is painted in “Everlasting” by Benjamin Moore and the bottom is..you guessed it!  Acadia White!

Harper's Room

My very unfinished office is painted in one of my very favorite colors: Old Salem Gray by Benjamin Moore.  It depends on the light, but it can look beige, gray or green.  As you can see this picture looks very green, but if you choose this color you won’t be sorry!  It’s so pretty!  I wish I would have gotten the office painted before the kitchen because I would have picked this for the kitchen instead of the brighter green.

Our office (in progress)

And Melissa at 320 Sycamore showed a wall that she painted “Danville Tan” by Benjamin Moore…I had a client choose that color so here’s another shot of it paired with “Branchport Brown” by Benjamin Moore as well.

Ann & Gene's "After"

And there you have it – all the colors of Casa Christensen!  The next room I’d like to paint is our laundry room, which I want a very light, barely there robin’s egg blue or light sage-y green like this photo.  Mmmm…you know how I love pretty laundry rooms!  And paint!

(image linked to flickr source)

Have a good weekend, everyone and thanks for stopping by for some color inspiration!!!

If you’d like your very own paint color consultation, then feel free to contact me (lindsay @ lindsaychristensendesign.com) or click here for more information!

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