31.12.14

2014 SNAPS



Favourite pics from 2014.

Happy New Year!

Emma x

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#APHOTOADAY CHALLENGE

Hi everyone,

So I thought for 2015 I'd join in on the #aphotoaday challenge. Now I do this over on Instagram pretty much already so that's not really a challenge. So I'm only going to post pics that I've taken on my DSLR. I'm starting already with a picture of Chatsworth in Derbyshire, hope you like it.

     

Happy new year everyone.

Emma x
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30.12.14

LIFE THROUGH A VIEW FINDER.

                    

Hello everyone,

 Did you all have a good Christmas? Did Santa bring anyone a new DSLR?.... Lucky you! Want to learn how to use it? Of course you do. Over the new year I am going to write some tips for beginners wanting to take their cameras off of auto mode, in a very easy to understand way, but first let me tell you how I learnt to use a DSLR...

I learnt the hard way by using a Nikon F 801 wet film, yes, wet film! And let me tell you there is no forgiveness. None of this, oh that's not quite right I'll delete that one lol. It was a very expensive way to learn and I got through a lot of film but my was it great fun! Now I cheated a little bit as this camera was given to me by my dad who was a qualified wet film photographer specialising in architecture so I had on tap tuition, but it didn't start there...

      
                        

It starts with a desire to capture beauty, be it a flower, an interior, travel, fashion... It can be anything that your passionate about. Then it's the desire to take the best possible photo of your subject. 
This is when you decide what kind of photographs you really love. There is no right or wrong way (although my dad would say otherwise). For example, I don't use flash photography or use light guns as I don't like the effects they give, it doesn't mean it's wrong, it's just preference. And as we learn we improve. I love bright shots with a blurry background as I find this works lovely when photographing flowers and interesting objects which is mainly what I do. We will talk about these kind of shots in one of the tutorials. But this is my first tip, learn to work with what inspires you the most, don't take pictures of any random thing. Use your camera in auto to start with, there is nothing wrong with getting comfortable with it first. Once your used to it then work on your skills to capture your subject the way you want.

                      

Once I'd figured out my subject matter and the kind of shots I liked there came a lot of trial and error, and this is how I really learned how to use my DSLR. Now as I said, I was taught by my dad who was and still is my toughest critic ever. He taught me about F numbers, shutter speed, ISO and cameras from a wet film photographers eye. So when I eventually got my big digital camera 4 years ago and started experimenting with the kind of shots I'd never of dreamed of using film on, it really was my eureka  moment. Taking any camera off of auto is a daunting thought for any amature, but don't worry, you will not break it! (Unless you drop it). It took a good year of daily snapping and adjusting to really find my mojo. I have to say by learning this way I rarely edit my photos that I have taken on my big camera, and when I do so it's just the odd tweak in iPhoto. I've experimented with Lightroom and Photoshop and would recommend learning them if your wanting to photograph weddings, or you want to change a lot of things in your pics. 
Having learnt wet film I am a strange mix of a purist with a digital camera, in that I still like the camera to do the work for me, I just feel like it's cheating to shove everything through Photoshop, and when you've worked so hard at working it all out why would you want to manipulate it.... Think that may be my father speaking lol. However I do not have the same opinion when I've snapped on my iPhone or iPad... Hey I'm only human... I go edit crazy! I will do some posts on iphoneography and photo apps later on.

     

It was a good couple of years of getting my pics out there before I took my first commissions. 
I had been styling weddings for a few years so decided to offer photography styling for small craft business. My photos attract the kind of businesses that I also love to work with, and I've styled and snapped for bakers, dress designers, paper designers and small handmade crafts. I get real pleasure through capturing creativity. I don't work as a photographer full time, and only take a couple of commissions a year as I never want to fall out of love with photography. 

                                      

I hope you have enjoyed my little insight into my world of photography, and if your a beginner that wishes to learn and practice the basics then please follow my blog for the upcoming tutorials.

                                                               Thank you

                                                                 Emma x










                                                       
 
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26.12.14

BERRY AND BRIGHT



Hello everyone,

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas day. I just wanted to share some of my boxing day snaps with you all. 
There were plenty of beautiful berries hanging like jewels in the hedgerows and I do love snapping a berry!
HELLO




   I just loved these very fluffy and surprisingly friendly sheep who were very photogenic and did not mind me getting close and snapping away.

Tomorrow We're  off to Chatsworth to see the house done up for Christmas, hopefully I can get some good snaps to share with you.

I hope your enjoying the Christmas holidays.

Travel safely.

Emma x  




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19.12.14

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS TO MAKE THIS WEEK END.

         Hi everyone, 

  It's the last week end before Christmas, so I thought I'd share a few last minute crafts that can be made over the next few days.
                       

 Hanging pine cones. Difficulty: easy. Time: 2 minutes per cone. You will need pine cones, brass eye screws and ribbon. Simply screw the brass eyes into the base of the cone and thread with ribbon.

                      

 Stockings. Difficulty: experience with a sewing machine helpfull. Time: 15 to 30 minutes.
You will need to make a template using a large sheet of paper/card. You will also need material, pins, scissors and a sewing machine. Draw a stocking shape on a piece of card, make sure it is a little larger than the size stocking you would like as you need to allow for the seam. Double over your fabric then tack your stencil on with pins, keeping it flat cut around the template so you have two matching pieces. Run a one centimetre hem at the top of each. Sew together with the hems facing outward, following the shape with a 1cm allowance. Turn the right way. You now have a basic stocking that can be customised with lace/pretty fabric, buttons and brooches.

                      

Dry wreath. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need a willow wreath, ivy, dried flowers, needle and thread and floristry wire. Thread dried flowers together using a needle and cotton. Simply wrap ivy around tucking in stems and securing with wire. Attach dried blooms with wire and add a ribbon for hanging.



                     

Fresh wreath. Difficulty: medium. Time 30 mins (plus 1hr soaking). You will need an oasis ring (soaked in water for an hour), ribbon for hanging, good foliage such as holly or eucalyptus. Blooms, secateurs, florist wire and any pretty decorations. The full tutorial is on the blog in the Creative Corner (right of page).

                                   

Gift tags. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need luggage tags, glue, fabric scraps, dried petals and glitter. Simply glue and stick fabric shapes and petals. So pretty, so simple.

       

Burlap bows. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need burlap, scissors, lace, floristry wire and glitter. Cut a long strip of burlap and then bring the ends into the middle, pinch in the middle and adjust the ends by pulling into a bow shape. Secure around the middle with wire then wrap ribbon or lace around to hide the wire. Sprinkle with glitter.

                            

Fabric decorations. Difficulty: basic sewing skills needed. Time 15 mins per decoration. You will need templates of different shapes, pretty fabric, scissors, sewing machine (you can hand sew also) and pretty buttons, filling. Double the fabric and secure the template with pins, cut around. Place the pieces  together right way round. Carefully sew together leaving a 1cm gap to fill with stuffing. Sew up gap and attach ribbon for hanging, finish with pretty buttons. 

                            

Glittery wooden hearts. Difficulty: easy. Time: 1 minute. You will need wooden hearts (from craft supplies), glue, glitter, ribbon or wire. Apply glue to the rim of the heart and sprinkle with glitter, add a ribbon and pop on the tree.

                                                      Have a lovely week end everyone.
                                                                          Emma x






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15.12.14

CREATIVE BUSINESS, SARAH WANTS, WEDDING STATIONERY

Hi everyone.

The creative business section of my humble little blog is currently brimming with fabulously talented people! (I promise I will get through everyone and share the creative love). 

This week I am delighted to share a wonderful creative business that I had the pleasure of styling and photographing last month. May I introduce the lovely Sarah Wants. Sarah designs gorgeous rustic and romantic wedding stationery, read all about her creative life and get inspired!

Emma x






What made you start your business?
From a young age I always wanted to have my own creative business. I tried a few different things before stationery, I had a little jewellery business, then sold lampshades and even thought about being a wedding planner and opening a shop! You could say they were failures, but I like to think that was all part of the journey to get to where I am today. I started stationery because I just love colour, pattern and texture. It’s a way to combine all of the things I love in a creative way to share with others.

What kind of training/experience did you do?
I studied interior design at university, due to my love of colour & pattern I thought it was the best course to take. Turns out it was more like interior architecture and more the technical side of design with CAD drawings and design of commercial spaces rather than the softer side of things. I saw it through, but with hindsight I should’ve taken textiles or illustration! Not a waste though as in a way interior design was the composition and layout of different elements of a space and colours to look harmonious in a 3D form; I do the same thing now but just on paper in a 2D form. I learnt all of the digital programmes that I use today so as I said; all part of the journey! On graduating I took a course in surface pattern design and that was it, I was hooked. I learnt how to take inspiration from things that I see in everyday life and recreate it in my own way and add to it to make something new. This is what I do with my stationery, the finished design is always inspired by something I’ve seen in everyday life.

Describe a typical working day?
I’ll wake up around 7am and eat breakfast with my husband before he goes off to work. Do a few house chores and then I’ll get to my desk around 8.30am. The first thing I have in front of me is a list for the day which I would’ve made at the end of the previous day. I like to schedule my tasks into time slots, it gives you a deadline and makes it super productive to get things done as I always try and race the clock! So I won’t open my inbox and put my phone in aeroplane mode so there are no distractions and I’ll start the day with the most stimulating tasks such as designing or creating new things, when my brain is most fresh. Then there may be some orders to pack and a post office run with a little 10 minute walk by the sea at lunchtime. I will always have emails to reply to and tend to do these later in the afternoon. Then I get a little second wind at around 4pm and turn the music up louder to keep me going for that last bit until 5.30 when my husband comes back through the door. I then promise myself to call it a day (but not before writing tomorrows to do list!) and have the evening off or else I could just work all night. Sounds a bit silly, as most people start their own business to get away from the 9-5 structure but it seems to work for me!  Sometimes I’ll do a bit of work on Saturday mornings or into the evening-it just depends what I have on. My busy season in January – July so will demand more of my time in those months. 

How do you manage the family-work balance?
Well I don’t have children yet so that is one less thing to consider. Plan to start a family in the next few years-we’ll see how I cope with that! I know I can’t have 9 months maternity leave like a normal mummy or else I won’t have a business to come back to. I will need extra help to balance work and children and my typical working day will most probably drastically change. I’ll get a nanny to come to the house and also an assistant to help me with the business. So my time is shared between the two. As it’s just me and the hubby for now, it is easy to have the 9-5 structure to match his work so we can spend the evenings and weekends together. 

What has been the biggest challenge?
Probably learning to call it a day and switch off! When you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. When I’m working at 10pm at night or on a Saturday, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I honestly lie in bed at night, thinking about tomorrow and get excited to wake up and start the day! However I have learnt that burning the candle at both ends is not good for your emotional health which therefore will affect your business and performance; a break is good for the soul. You need to take time out to grow and I come up with my best ideas when I’m away from my desk. You need to give yourself and your brain space to think, imagine and be inspired. Sometimes it is hard to walk away so you just have to be strict with yourself and go for a walk and see some people and other surroundings-that is important too! You can then come back with fresh eyes, recharged and ready. Work hard and play hard. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
From my world! Sounds strange but I just go through life with my eyes and ears open to the world around me. I constantly take photos of things when I’m out and about, it might be a flower growing in a garden, the peeling paint pattern on an old door I walk past or just a pretty combination of colours in a shop window. My Cornflower meadow design was inspired by the beautiful painted wooden shutters I saw on holiday in France earlier in the year. I just couldn’t stop taking photos of them everywhere I went. I knew I had to just bring that colour and texture into one of my designs! My lovebirds design was inspired by the little birds that flit about in my garden. The love is in the air design was inspired by scattered confetti on the floor outside the church and the romantic notion that ‘love is in the air’ at a wedding. So a design will start off with a spark of an idea like that and then just grows and evolves. I love adding flowers, floral patterns and bunting and just little rustic details to build up the layers of texture and colour. This is where the real me shines! 

Do you use social media to reach your clients, and which ones work well for you?
I use Instagram, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest. I find twitter is good for connecting with the wedding industry and find Facebook and Pinterest is best for getting out there in front of your actual clients. Instagram I just love-it makes me so happy! 

Is there any advice you could give to others wanting to start their own kitchen table business?
If you’re going to start a business you need to be prepared for serious hard work! It depends if you just want it to be a bit of a hobby to make a bit of extra on the side or whether you want it to be a full time breadwinning business I guess. Don’t underestimate the amount of time, money and effort you need to put into it. Mine started off at the kitchen table in late 2012 as just a little test really, and it just grew from there. I worked hard on it in my spare time whilst working full time whilst the business was still young and then went part time and then eventually gave up my day job to work full time on the business from home. That was a scary but fabulous feeling all in one! We are building our forever home in the country in January and going to build a garden studio to work from. I can’t wait-it will have an outlook of rolling green hills and distant sea glimpses and I can watch the sunset every day from my desk-bliss! I also won the ‘Best wedding stationery 2014’ award from Wedding Ideas magazine earlier this year. Definitely one of the best moments of my life and was so proud of my little business. I think my business has taken off because I literally put my heart and soul into it. I am my business and my business is me. My advice to anyone wanting to start a business is to not put too much pressure on yourself at the beginning, there has to be a certain amount of time to pass to let things grow and develop. These things take time; it just doesn’t happen overnight! Be open to change, listen to your customers and let the idea organically evolve. Also you need to do something that you are passionate about. So many people make the mistake of seeing someone else doing it and just think I could do that, but in reality when it comes to it, it’s not really them and they fizzle out. You need to have that fire in your belly for what you do, to keep you going through the tough times and for years to come. 

What is the best thing about having your own creative business?

Probably that I am constantly learning and developing; I love that I am never stood still. Every day I’m working on something, towards a goal and constantly growing as a person and a business. I look back to where I was this time a year ago and there has been such a massive change and I love that. I wonder where I’ll be in a years’ time; that feeling excites me so much! 

www.sarahwants.com





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13.12.14

SHABBY CHIC ROSES.

       

                                      

                                      
                                           

Hello,

I bought these fabulous roses the other week to adorn my door wreath, I had quite a few left over and now they are just starting to fade. They are still sooo beautiful even in their tatty state, even more romantic don't you think?

                                       I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

                                                             Emma x


    

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9.12.14

HANDMADE CHRISTMAS

Hello lovelies,

 I've been busy Christmas crafting this week. I love this time of year when I can sit at the coffee table with the log burner going full roar, a hot cup of tea and my own weight in glitter! What's not to love?!
So I thought I'd share a few pics of my Christmas makes...

                                  

                                 


                                 

 I make different variations of my Christmas tags every year, although dried hydrangea petals always feature heavily. This year I had some pretty lace and some Kate Forman fabric left over so decided to do some fabric ones too. My family love getting these tags on their pressies, and often use them as bookmarks, they are just too pretty to throw away! My tags are very simple to make yourself, but if your stuck for time they are available from my online shop. (Link on page).

                    

As well as a fresh wreath, I also made this natural one from our wisteria stems and decorated it with Rose buds that I had dried out and threaded onto cotton, and some fresh ivy from the woods. I love it's rustic charm. Perfect for any season, and looks good inside as well as outdoors.
 My wisteria wreaths will be available to buy online in the spring. I hope you're all having a good week, and that you are enjoying all of the festivities that Christmas brings.

                                                                     Emma x


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8.12.14

#STYLINGTHESEASONS DECEMBER

Hello lovelies,



Welcome to my Decembers Styling The Seasons which is hosted by Katy of Apartment Apothecary  and Lotts from Lotts and lots.

December is always going to be a fun month to style the home, I don't think I really stop faffing till Christmas eve...

Today I thought I would play around and style the mantle pieces. Normally I fill them to the brim, but I'm holding back for something simple yet sophisticated this year.... So I'm trying to do less is more! (so bad at doing this... love to hoard)!


I love pink, gold and charcoal. I picked up these cute little gold bottles last weekend from a Christmas market, and the pink glass candle sticks were from my favourite vintage shop in Southwold.


I got the ivy from our local woods, its great to work with as it dries out and still looks pretty, plus you can bend it into shape.


I just painted this little terracotta pot in chalk white eggshell and popped a hyacinth in with some moss. I love the crackle glaze tea light holders too. They are so pretty at night.


Simple yet elegant, just finished off with a couple of my favourite roses. Now to leave it alone!

Hope December treats you all well.

Emma x







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6.12.14

DOOR WREATH TIPS.

                                

 Hello lovelies,

I love this time year don't you? Making a wreath for my door is one of my favourite things to do, I love getting the house prettily dressed for Christmas. I thought I'd share with you my top tips for making a floral wreath.

You will need an oasis ring, scissors, wire, ribbon for hanging, foliage and a choice of blooms.
To help you choose a colour scheme try taking some paint charts out to your door to see what colours work well, you can then take this to the florist.

       
The evening before, soak your wreath by submerging it in water over night. Also if you want to add in ornaments such as cones, bows and brooches (whatever takes your fancy) wire these up so that you can secure them to your wreath.

      
      

Cut foliage and blooms to size, you will need to trim to a point and remove lower leaves, you will need about 2 inches to go into your oasis. Top tip... Loosely wrap the ribbon and start by adding the foliage underneath it so as to give it maximum support. Cover your wreath with foliage working all the way round till it is full.

                                    
Hold it up to check its balance and make sure there are no gaps. Now you can add your blooms. I've gone for roses and hydrangeas, and I like to work in odd numbers so I've picked 3 of each. Space them around your wreath.

     
     

Lastly add any bows or ornaments with the wire. It's that easy! Spray to keep fresh. Top tip... Roses love to be outside in a wreath at this time of year and can last up to a month, if flowers do droop simply replace with fresh ones.

                                                        
                                  

                                                                    Emma x
 




   
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#SHELFIESUNDAYCOMP

Morning lovelies,

 It's the weekend at last. I have picked last Sundays #shelfiesundaycomp favourite for its sheer beauty and clarity, and the picture belongs to Vanessa from afancifultwist. 

                              

I also really loved these by prettylittlejewels, letsdazzledarlings, kindredvintage and tamsynmorgans 

                                        
 Thank you to everyone that joins in on the shelfie Sunday fun! As it's now getting Christmassy I thought it would be fun to style and snap some Christmas themed shelfies throughout the rest of December. So pretty up your fireplaces, dress a ledge and adorn your dressers with Christmas sparkle. Have fun! 

#shelfiesundaycomp is a weekly bit of fun we play over on Instagram, where people style a shelf (dresser, fireplace, sideboard...) and get snap happy. It's a fun way to spend 10 mins on a sleepy Sunday and anyone with a public account can join in, simply upload your pic tagging @thevintagegoodlife and using the hashtag #shelfiesundaycomp to take part.

                                                                      Emma x 


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5.12.14

CREATIVE CORNER. FIZZI-JAYNE'S FIRST YEAR BEING SELF EMPLOYED.

Hello lovelies,
 The vintage good life blog is a hub for creative talent. Each month shows a guest blogger or interview with a professional crafter. This month I've handed the 'creative corner'  over to Fiona from Fizzi-jayne, who lets us in on her first year of giving up the 9-5 and going it alone in this crazy, crafty world. Pop the kettle on and get ready to feel inspired!
Emma x
fizzi~jayne’s first year of being self employed.
Thank you Emma for having me on your blog. Let me introduce myself, I’m Fiona also known as fizzi~jayne.  I am a designer, crafter, stamping addict, hooked on crochet, co-host of #CraftBlogClub and not forgetting I'm also the owner of a creative small business called fizzi~jayne makes….  





fizzi~jayne makes…. is a handmade brand selling greeting cards, home d├ęcor including seasonal decorations over on Folksy and Etsy. 

I blog over at fizzijaynemakes.blogspot.co.uk  to share my experiences of running a creative, small business along with demonstrating my favourite craft techniques and to show you what goes on in fizzi~jayne's world!

Recently I celebrated being fizzi~jayne full time for a year! Emma saw my celebratory post on Instagram and asked if I wanted to write a guest post on being self-employed. So here goes….
Deciding to be self-employed wasn’t easy, it felt like a huge risk to leave the security of a job with a regular salary to go it alone.  Of course I was excited but also a little scared but I’m the sort of person that would rather try and fail than always wonder, what if?  So I decided to take the plunge to follow my dream and try to make a living out of my passion.


I love running my own business and wouldn’t change my situation for anything but it’s not without its difficulties….
  • There will be quieter months which can be financially difficult without a regular income.  
  • It can feel isolated being self-employed so it is important to meet with like-minded people.  I’ve met fellow bloggers and creative business owners through the blogging community. I’ve also attended events where I have met owners of all different kinds of businesses.  I’ve met some lovely, talented people, some have become a constant source of inspiration and support and I hope I have been there for them too.
  • Like me, you may be doing everything: design, distribution, selling etc. including areas that may not be your strong point.  For me it’s accounting and I will be doing a tax return for the first time this year, wish me luck!  If you need help, there is no shame in outsourcing certain jobs that you can’t or don’t want to do on your own, if you can afford it. Or maybe you have friends or family with the skills you need? I’m hoping hubby will help me with my tax return!

Of course there are benefits of being your own boss….

  • I still get excited when I receive an order and lovely comments from customers.   I still get a buzz that people want to buy my work. It’s the best feeling!
  • I get to do what I love every day.
  • I love being my own boss and having a 10 second commute
  • I can wear what I want to work, it’s usually tracksuit bottoms and an old Bon Jovi T-Shirt
  • I work the hours that suit me. I’m not a morning person so I usually start mid-morning and work late.
  • By being able to focus my time on my business, I have been able to develop and test new products as well as different marketing tactics.
  • Most importantly I’m feeling happier, healthier and more balanced.
To me the benefits outweigh any difficulties.  I don’t do the work I do to take home a big fat pay cheque, I do it because I love it. 
The past year has been a learning curve so I thought I would share some of my wisdom….
  • You can’t compare yourself to others, they are on a different journey to you.  
  • Be realistic, success is not overnight.  It takes hard work and perseverance. 
  • Have a support network.  You need family and friends to pick you up when you are not feeling so optimistic and during the stressful times.  
  • I’ve sold my products at various craft fair venues as well as selling online and making bespoke orders.  From trying lots of different markets I have found out which products work where and which craft fairs are the ones for me.
  • There are still not enough hours in the day! That’s probably because I have so many plans and ideas.  Also with the success of my craft fairs and bespoke orders I feel my online shops have been neglected, but I now know what to focus on in 2015.
  • It’s very difficult to switch off, especially when you work from home so you need to make an effort to take time off once in a while.
  • I found it hard to find my routine after having a structured working day in an office. For me I needed to set myself a schedule and create my own structure.
  • Following on from the last point, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve everything or have a bad day. I am really good at this but I have to remember that I am one person doing everything!

The goal is obviously to grow my business so I can make a nice living, but it takes time to build and grow a business.  I could have stayed in a well paid job, working for someone else with healthcare and pension benefits but I chose to leave that security because I wasn’t happy. 

If you are thinking about starting your own business, you need to figure out what is important to you and what you are prepared to sacrifice to make your dreams come true.  Do you need to save up for a little while before leaving a full-time job? Can you take part time jobs to help supplement your income? Or can you change your lifestyle/ living arrangements? Only you can decide but by putting a plan in place will mean you will get closer to achieving your dream.

I hope you have found this interesting and if you have been thinking about becoming self employed, I hope I have inspired you, rather than scared you off the idea!  I’d love to hear your stories and you can find me across most social platforms….

Twitter: @fizzijayne
Instagram: fizzijayne

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