The most wonderful time of the year…Christmas at The Crochet Sanctuary

When I was asked if I might like to do another workshop at The Crochet Sanctuary, and this time the Christmas one, I may have squealed a little bit in my head! Christmas is my MOSTEST favourite time of the year and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to come up with a fun festive design.

If you’ve not heard about The Crochet Sanctuary before it’s a crochet retreat set in the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe. The hosts of the sanctuary, Lisa and Lynda-Rose, always plan an amazing weekend for their guests and it’s usually extra special at Christmas – and this time it was no different!

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 20 weekenders (to be joined by roughly 5 more day guests on the Saturday). The room we were in, as always, was arranged with a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions to make ourselves at home.

Excitingly this weekend myself, with my Dear Ewe hat on, and fellow small business owner Mrs G Makes had a pop up shop in the room, and Amanda from Craftopia had a pop up shop in her van!

It was really nice for me to let people see the Dear Ewe products up close as I think it’s a totally different experience from seeing them just on your computer screen. And it gave me a chance to try out my new stall display format as Dear Ewe is hopefully going on the road in 2020 to some yarn shows near you….

We started off the afternoon with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other with us having to confess a time when we’d been naughty. Santa presided over us and checked his list to see if he agreed that we’d been naughty or nice! Apparently I was naughty – I’m sure that can’t be right!? And then we were all given a present…if you are Instagram you need to check out this video to see our reactions!

Inside the parcel was our very own Scheepjes Whirligig which was just unbelievable! I’ve been drooling (like so many others I’m sure) over these since they were released earlier this year. These decadent gigantic yarn cakes (1000m / 450g) are a super soft blend of alpaca and virgin wool and have gorgeous long repeats. Mine is the pink to plum version which is a pale pink that transitions to rich plums and deep purples. It was definitely love at first sight!

We were given two patterns to choose from, either the Scheepjes Valyria Shawl by Johanna Lindahl or the new Nolkag Wrap pattern designed especially for the weekend. I chose the Nolkag Wrap which is just a deliciously mindful pattern with a pretty cabled texture. I enjoyed working on the pattern, and with the yarn which just glides through your fingers, so much that I found it really hard to put it down the whole weekend!

But a gal’s got to eat so we hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting.

I was a bit more sensible this time and was in bed for 11pm (not the usual wee hours of the morning) and before I knew it it was time for a buffet style breakfast then back up to the room for our next project which was completely awesome! We were given everything we needed to make giant baubles! I still need to finish mine so I’ll have to share a photo when I’m finished.

Next it was Christmas dinner for lunch and with all of us feeling full and maybe a tad sleepy it was time for me to do my workshop! Lisa and Lynda had let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, and when I’d suggested a stocking design they thought that was great – I think everyone was thinking it was going to be another amigurumi!

I came up with the Starlight Stocking design which I think would make a great addition to those handmade decorations you bring out year after year.

My chosen yarn for the stocking was the new Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn, which is becoming a fast new favourite of mine, so soft, combined with Scheepjes Catona and Scheepjes Lizzy (for a bit of bling). You can just see them hanging in situ below on one of the gorgeous Cranage Estate fireplaces!

As always it was great fun watching everyone get stuck into making the stockings (I don’t usually get to see that part!), we had a break for the evening meal until 7pm-ish (when the day people left us) for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant, then it was back up to the room again to continue with the stockings.

As always much belly laughter was had (you pinocchio nose people know who you are!)…then it was time for bed again, the weekend really does seem to just fly by so quickly!

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) is normally when we have time to finished off our projects but Lynda and Lisa had another fun project in store! We got to have a go at making our own custom shawl kilt pin and I got to use a glue gun for the first time. I now kind of want to glue aallll the things because I REALLY enjoyed using the gun. I chose some festive felt balls and bells to adorn my kilt pin to match my Nolkag Wrap.

After that it was wonderful to see that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their stockings…and some did get them finished or nearly finished over the weekend. Everyone did such an amazing job with them!

And some more stockings modelled with the gorgeously decorated fireplace!

I’m a bit addicted to attending The Crochet Sanctuary days / weekends they have throughout the year. It’s always such fun and I get to just talk crochet till I’m fit to burst which is especially refreshing because no one’s eyes start to glaze over – they are just as enthused as me!

It was a thoroughly wonderful weekend, which I knew it would be, that I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people! Just a lovely occasion to catch up with old friends and make some new ones!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament the weekend dates for 2020 have already completely sold out – but you can still book the remaining few day dates that are left here.

I’m going back for a day visit again in February as a guest which I’m already looking forward to! How many more sleeps is that….

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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New for Ewe! Yarny Stationery Range

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a complete yarn addict but what you may not know about me is that I also love stationery. Like a brand new ball of yarn I find there is something quite special about a new notebook that makes me feel that almost anything can be achieved.

So when I was thinking about what products to develop next for Dear Ewe I knew I needed to combine my two loves together to create some fun stationery that everyone could enjoy.

I do enjoy thinking of things that could come next for Dear Ewe that I think people will like and of course I make sure that I like them too! I knew without doubt that there had to be a notebook in the new products.

When I’m designing patterns I write everything I do, in pencil, in a notebook, and I personally like notebooks that have a fastening or elastic around them as I sometimes stick in bits of paper or other notes that I don’t want to lose.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Each Yarn Whisperer notebook is made from soft touch PVC covered recycled cardboard and has a ribbon page marker and elastic closure. It’s A7 size means it fits easily into a handbag (for yarn shopping notes) or your project bag.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Keeping with the yarny theme there’s also a range of Yarn Lovers Die Cut Vinyl stickers which will allow you to add your own personal woolly touch to almost anything! As a kid I loved stickers and I realised I never grew out of that love!

Yarn Lovers Sticker Pack

Give people a little idea of who you are and what you love by sticking these yarny vinyl stickers to your notebooks, your laptop, your luggage or anything that you like! Available as a pack of four stickers or individually – I’m going to be sticking them everywhere!!

Individual Yarn Addict Sticker

And finally the perfect stationery addition to help organise all of your yarny projects! The Work in Progress (WIP) Crochet / Knit Project Cards are here to help you organise your WIP projects, because I’m assuming like me that you might find something like this a handy tool?!

Invented partly because I have a personal issue with so many WIPs scattered in various places in the house, (15 or so – that’s not bad right?), and I thought I can’t be the only one that would find the postcard size memo’s a handy thing to have around.

Each pack contains eight (8) individual WIP cards for your different projects and they will mean no more forgetting what that project was all about or what yarn you were using! You just write down the necessary details on the card, pop it in your project bag, (you can even add a yarn sample in the holes provided), then when you next go to that project (in few days, weeks, months or years) you’ll have everything you need, to know what to do next.

It’s getting to that time of year now when folks are starting to think about Christmas and all the stationery range are priced to make excellent stocking fillers for yarn lovers, crochet addicts, knitting fanatics and fiber artists. So if you’re thinking of presents for a crafty friend or as a treat for yourself I hope you’ll take a look at the new range of Dear Ewe stationery.

So what do you think? Like them? Love em? Already bought some? I’d love to know.

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Another fabulous weekend at The Crochet Sanctuary…

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What an amazing weekend I’ve just had at The Crochet Sanctuary!! It’s going to be hard to try and explain what a refreshing, relaxing and just downright fun time I had, but I’ll give it a go! 

You may remember that in February Mr. KCACO-UK bought me a day pass to The Crochet Sanctuary at the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe (which you can read about here). It was whilst I was there that the lovely Lisa and Lynda-Rose did me the very great honour of asking me if I’d like to host a workshop. I was delighted to be asked and of course I said YES please!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really have many crocheting friends that live close to me – or they are more dabblers in crochet rather than a self proclaimed addict like me. The majority of my crochet buddies I’ve only met virtually via social media so the opportunity to meet up with other creative folks that share my passion for crochet – and love to talk about it as much as I do is absolutely wonderful!

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I would describe myself as a bit of an introverted extrovert if there is such a thing. There are times where I feel a little awkward in social situations, but I also really love to chat once I get to know people. I love how the crochet sanctuary always makes me feel so welcome and straight away they seem to put everyone at there ease. 

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 15 people and our room was a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions where we could make ourselves at home. There was also a spinning wheel of sweets (yes really!), prosecco, water, tea/coffee or locally produced cordial to drink, snacks galore and of course lots and lots of lovely yarn!

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We started off with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other which included being sorted by a talking Harry Potteresque sorting hat (I was Ravenclaw!).  And waiting for us on our seats was a giant goodie bag full of our first project.

We were given a complete Mabel the giant amigurumi Bunny by Wool Couture which I was very excited about. This was my first time making an mega large ami and the pure merino yarn was just soooooo squishy! The colour chosen for us was ‘mink’ which is what the original Mabel was made of and away we started hooking…

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We hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal down in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting…and I may have just stayed up until 1am!! Time seriously just flew by! But everyone could have a lie in the next day until 9am (which when you think I usually get up at 6am – or earlier with my two early-bird girls was heavenly).

After a scrummy buffet style breakfast it was back up to the room for our next project and we were joined by some more people that had a day pass. This time our Lisa and Lynda had designed hot-water bottle covers for us to make. There were two different applique designs to choose from, either butterflies or stars, and we were also given a hot-water bottle and all the yarn we would need. I was pleased to see the Scheepjes Softfun Denim (which you may remember I used for the Stitch Story CAL) and some Scheepjes Catona (which is some of my favourite yarn to use) and by lunchtime I’d hooked up one completed panel of my hot-water bottle. Then it was off for another delicious two course lunch (we were so well fed the whole weekend!)

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Then it was time to get ready for my workshop…squeak!!! I was rather nervous but I’d taken along some of my favourite designs to talk about including the Leafy Boughs Shawl (on top) some crochet blankets I’d made for Simply Crochet magazine, the Stitch Story CAL blankets and various amigurumi…

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I also chatted a bit about Dear Ewe and our products which had it’s up close and personal debut that weekend with folks attending the sanctuary…

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And then I introduced the design we were going to be working on for the rest of the afternoon. Lisa and Lynda let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, though they did suggest they’d maybe like to see an amigurumi. I thought long and hard about what I was going to do when I happened upon this photo…it was a serendipitous moment where the photo  just seemed to encapsulate perfectly what I wanted for The Crochet Sanctuary. Something fun and something to convey how the sanctuary made me feel – just completely relaxed!

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From that inspiration I came up with the design for Relaxing Ralph (pattern release coming soon), complete with optional hammock (and stand made by my lovely Dad).

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My chosen yarn for Ralph was Scheepjes Stonewashed XL combined with normal Stonewashed DK and some trusty Catona. It was super fun to watch everyone begin their cats – and a relatively new experience for me to be present when someone actually makes one of my patterns.

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The rest of the afternoon until 6pm-ish (when the day people left us_ was taken up with making our kitties, then we all had a little rest before meeting for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant at 7pm.

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Then for those that wanted to we all went back up to the room to do some more crocheting, and there was wine and gin (and soft drinks) shared around and oh my word just such belly laughter! Such a fabulous evening where something will just never be referred to in the same way ever again! Then before I knew it, it was 11.30pm and I really needed to sleep! 

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) was given over for time to finished off our projects (and of course another delicious breakfast and lunch). It was wonderful that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their cats and before I knew it Ralph was joined by Regina Phalangi, Hilda, Jasper, Cinnamon, Heather, Reba, Gary, Julian and Gordon! We couldn’t resist a little photo shoot with all the cats…

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Everyone did such an AMAZING job with their cats! And before I knew it the cats were getting up to all sorts of mischief! Sliding down banisters…

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and checking out the cat local population!

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And then there was just time for a fabulous group photo on the steps before packing up our belongs to go home (with some many goodies in our bags!).

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All in all a thoroughly wonderful weekend which I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament to that the dates for 2018 are all now sold out and the dates for 2019 are selling out fast – but you can book on the remaining dates here.

I have to say I’m totally getting addicted to these weekends and may have just booked on a few more myself for this year – I’m looking forward to my next day visit in November.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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My visit to The Crochet Sanctuary

Sooo today I want to tell you about the wonderful weekend I had at The Crochet Sanctuary  What’s this I hear you cry! What on earth is a Crochet Sanctuary? Is it a sacred place for humans to crochet all day long? Well yes – that’s EXACTLY what it is. The Crochet Sanctuary is a place for like minded people to congregate in a state of pure relaxation and enjoy crochet aplenty.

You may remember that the lovely Mr. KCACO-UK bought me a day pass last year as a treat for a weekend in February. So last weekend hooks in hand and in a wild state of anticipation I made my way to the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe.

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The Crochet Sanctuary is the brainchild of the very lovely Lisa from The Wee House of Crochet and Lynda-Rose of Lyndas Craftroom.  It runs from Friday evening at 5pm until Sunday afternoon with day passes, like mine, on a Saturday from 10am until 6pm.  All snacks, drinks and lunch are included along with unlimited yarn (!!!), and there is also workshops and guest designers. Too much awesomeness right?!?

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Anyway back to my day…I got to the sanctuary and I was shown the way into a side room (with crochet bunting adorning the door) and once inside I was initially rather taken a back to find a room  full of people all ready and eager to crochet. I don’t know why I was so surprised, that is after all what the day was about, but it was just a completely new crochet scenario I suppose as I usually crochet alone (boo hoo). 

I think there was about 25 of us in total and as the day was about to start I quickly made myself at home on a sofa that, like all the other chairs in the room, were made up with crochet blankets and comfy cushions. We were encouraged to bring slippers before hand which I thought was lovely and many people did.

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We went straight into our first workshop, which was to choose a wonderful TOFT Edwards Menagerie amigurumi kit, and then it was hooks a-go-go.  I didn’t really mind what animal I ended up with, though I thought it would be nice to make something I haven’t already made (Hippo and Parrot), and in the end I ended up with the extremely cute Simon the Sheep.

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So the rest of the morning was taken up with working on our respective amigurumi projects – or if that wasn’t something you were really interested in there was yarn and other pattern books available so you could work on something different.

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There were breaks for tea and coffee and snacks and  lemonade / pink lemonade to quench our thirst and a fabulous pick and mix cart full of sweets of which we could help ourselves too. Our hosts really had tried to think of everything to make us happy and then some! 

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We were all given a gift of an electronic row counter and the cutest gummy bear stitch marker to use on our projects. This unfortunately I promptly lost whilst I was there, it certainly didn’t make it home with me – it’s quite possibly down the sofa I was sitting on if anyone wants to check. 

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I so so enjoyed chatting with everyone around me – it’s so refreshing to speak to people who don’t glaze over when you are talking about crochet or yarn and enjoy talking about it as much as you. And then it was 1pm and lunchtime! The morning went sooooooo fast! 

We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then it was back to a new workshop with the lovely Coastal Crochet who I’d been looking forward to meet.  We went back into the room which had been transformed by a most wonderful display of pebbles and yarn as Eleanora brought a bit of the seaside with her – and she’d also created a playlist to accompany the afternoon with seaside themed songs.

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Our workshop was to crochet around pebbles which I have had ago at before and enjoyed and as I have a bit of a pebble obsession was really pleased to try again. Eleanora had created five exclusive patterns for the workshop, and much to my delight, we were working with Scheepjes Catona which is one of my favourite yarns to work with.

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I made two of the most delightful pebble cosies (is that I thing – can I claim that?) and they are now adorning my desk at home and work as paperweights.

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There was a little bit of time left after that for chatting and working on whatever project we wanted to and then before I knew it (and way before I was ready to leave even though my time was up) Mr. KCACO-UK was outside ready to take me home.

Goodbye’s were said to all and with a goodie bag from the lovely Lisa and Lynda-Rose in hand I had to bid The Crochet Sanctuary a fond farewell.  All in all a thoroughly wonderful day which I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people!

Just in case you were wondering what happened to Simon the Sheep – I finished him off when I got home and he turned out SUPER cute!

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So if you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness I can heartily recommend a visit to The Crochet Sanctuary. All the new dates for 2018 have now been added to the website here.

AND now I’m going to share my ultra exciting news!! If you’ve ever fancied finding out a bit more about the person behind these blog posts well now you can. The September Crochet Sanctuary 2018 will feature a workshop by ME! That’s right, I’m stepping into my presenting (crocheted?) shoes to deliver an interactive workshop with a brand new crochet design made especially for the day.  And I for one cannot wait wait to go back to  The Crochet Sanctuary. 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Hook and a Book | Product Review & Coupon Code

Disclaimer: I did receive a free sample of this product however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the product.


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You may have guessed by my blog and posts that I am completely passionate about all things crochet…but I actually have another hobby which I love just as much. If I’ve got the time and it’s not a hook in my hand then you’ll usually find a book. So when I was contacted by the owner of Hook and a Book, to see if I’d like to review her subscription boxes, from the name alone I already knew I was probably going to love it. 

Hook and a Book is the brain-child of Maddy McMurray an avid crocheter and bookworm turned craft-entrepreneur.  Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, she moved to the UK in 2011 where she worked in various operations-based roles.  But with growing job dissatisfaction and a newly diagnosed headache and migraine condition she decided that something had to change – and that’s when Hook and a Book was born.  Maddy cleverly moulded her passions into a monthly book and crochet subscriptions box creating a book club and crochet gift in one. Each box is carefully curated around a particular surprise book with yarn, a pattern and other goodies. 

Maddy was kind enough to send me the August box to have a look at and I eagerly waited for it to arrive. First off I need to say that to me the idea of combining crochet and reading is just inspired! I absolutely LOVE the concept! And it was all very exciting to have the parcel delivered without knowing what I was going to find inside…

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Underneath the tissue paper I found a lovely little letter from Hook and a Book, a copy of The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein, one ball each of Stylecraft Special Aran (in shades Empire and Emperor), an ergonomic 4mm (US size G) hook, two little Beanies coffee sachets (mint chocolate and double chocolate) and a pattern by Simply Hooked by Janet to make a cute doggy themed coffee cup cosy. There was also a special password to the Hook and a Book website to find hints and tips for the current box.

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I adored how carefully everything had been selected and styled in similar colours; the yarn matched the book cover, the book was linked with the pattern and the pattern was linked with the coffee gift. 

I also really liked the fact that the book was not one that I perhaps would have picked for myself but that’s the way that you discover treasures you never even knew existed isn’t it! And The Art of Dancing in the Rain is a little gem of a book. I’m not going to give too much away but the plot follows the protagonist dog Enzo (great name for a dog) as he takes stock of his life. You can’t help but fall in love with Enzo even if you aren’t a dog lover. Though the story is told from Enzo’s point of view the book isn’t really about dogs at all, it’s a story about family, love, loyalty, and hope. I got totally caught up with the characters (which is always the sign of a good book in my eyes) and was completely invested in finding out how it was all going to end. But to find that out you’ll have to give it a read – I will say that you might want to have some tissues ready!

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I was very pleased to see Stylecraft Aran in the box. It happens to be some of my favourite yarn as it’s always a delight to work with, and Empire and Emperor are two of my particular favoured colourways. The cup cosy, worked in tapestry crochet, turned out very cute. I chose to hook up the little paw print design, or I could have chosen a bone, and I think the end result would look grand on any dog lovers coffee cup. And as an added bonus there was still loads of yarn left over to add to my stash! 

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I very much enjoyed all the contents and my experience with my box from Hook and a Book! The perfect gift for a book or crochet lover subscriptions start at £21 per month with different options for 3, 6 or yearly subscriptions.  There is also the option for a one off box so you can try before you subscribe AND they also offer international subscriptions so no one has to miss out.

If you’d like to try Hook and a Book be sure to use the following coupon link ‘WELCOME‘ for 10% discount. Big thank you to Maddy for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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