4.29.2013

Quick Fence Facelift

As we dream about the changes we'll make to our new house, we also have to get our current home ready to be an income property. The husband has a list of projects and fixes he wants to make before our tenants move in, so we're going to tackle those over the neck couple of weeks. First up on the list? Giving the fence a facelift so it looks fresh for the new occupants!

Scott built this fence all by himself right after we bought this house, and it was A LOT of work. When you invest so much time and energy into something, you want to take care of it so you can make sure it lasts. One of the ways to take care of a cedar fence is to regularly apply a "wood protector" product called a waterproofer that protects the fence from water, UV rays and other elements. It's an annoying job, but you have to do it if you want your fence to hold up. Replacing fences is very expensive, so we should all be motivated to properly maintain them!

Our fence has been through some crazy weather (remember these raquetball sized hail stones?), so it needed to be freshened up. We chose a tinted waterproofer, Thompson's WaterSeal Natural Cedar Wood Protector, since our fence was starting to turn gray, but you can also apply a clear version if you prefer the color of your wood as-is.We bought two five-gallon buckets for the fence and had about two gallons left over.



The last time Scott sealed the fence, he did it by himself. The process was tedious and frustrating because some of the color came out unevenly. This time we decided to try a two-person method to avoid those problems. We also added an ounce of linseed oil per gallon of sealant because we heard that would make the stain hold up longer and be more durable. Time will tell on that one!

We put the waterproofer in a pump sprayer and used that to apply the sealant. (We had a one-gallon sprayer but would recommend a 2-gallon one to make it more efficient.) Scott sprayed it onto the fence while I followed behind with a large paintbrush, evening out the application and making sure we didn't miss any spots. It didn't take long for my right arm to become dead weight, let me tell you! With both of us working at a fast pace, the fence was completely waterproofed in about three hours. It would have been less if we had a bigger sprayer and didn't have to stop so often to refill the paint. Next time we'll invest in a bigger pump sprayer to save ourselves some time.

All in all, the project cost us about $175 in materials (10 gallons of Thompson's water protector, a pump sprayer, some linseed oil and a big paintbrush), but we feel like we got a lot of bang for our buck. It looks like a brand new fence!
The new color is really rich and makes the fence look much more expensive, in my opinion. I'd compare the process to dyeing your hair. It's a little shocking when you see the different color for the first time, but then you realize how much better it looks than what you had before. In the end, it was totally worth the time and effort. Hopefully going through this process once every two years helps us keep this fence in great shape for a long, long time!

We should find out today about the appraisal on the new house, so we're hoping that goes well. Obviously we need the house to appraise to get our loan! Once we have the appraisal and permission to move forward, we're going to start packing up the house. Our goal is to make this transition into a new house (and the process to turn this one into a rental home) as smooth as possible and reduce extra stress, so we'll see how that goes. Sounds like famous last words to me, but I'm trying to stay positive! :)

* One task down, a million more to go. *

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4.24.2013

Spotted.

You'll have to forgive me for my sparse blog posts these days. Moving = survival mode! Whose brilliant idea was it to move into a new house, turn our home into an income property and balance my busiest time of year at work all at the same time? Oy vey.

We have negotiated to receive some closing costs from the seller of our new house (yay!) and they agreed to repair some "squirrel damage" in one of the eaves of the roof. We are thrilled that they were so cooperative and willing to work with us. We're one step closer to moving in!

Next up, the appraisal. We should find out the results on Monday and see if the home is worth what we're paying. Let's hope so because I really don't want this deal to fall through!

So... I've got furniture on the brain now that I have a lot of new rooms to fill. I've been scouring Craigslist for great deals (none so far) and stopping at some of my favorite thrift stores. Today on my lunch break I wandered into a random antique mall down the street from my job. These are some of my favorite things I spotted at the little antique mall.

How cool are these mid century stools? They were amazing; the price, however, was not. I can't pay $1,500 for some stools! I do love the fact that they are so unique and in such great shape.


I really loved this 70s rattan screen. How great would this look spray painted a bright glossy color? The pattern is super fun, and it would make a great headboard. I found the exact same one for sale on One Kings Lane but I can't tell how much it was going for. This one was $175.


I came very close to buying this $50 wrought iron fireplace screen, but I wasn't sure if the dimensions were right for the new fireplace. That circle pattern is very elegant though, and I may go back if I measure the fireplace and find out that it will work.


And now for the weirdest thing I saw at the antique mall, this wacky lamp. I don't even know how to describe it! Not our style, but I love seeing weird things I haven't seen before.


Have you found any cool furniture pieces lately? I'm looking for a chunky pedestal table for our new kitchen. I want a bargain though, so nothing has been cheap enough yet!

* Craigslist Addict *

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4.19.2013

Randoms & Happy Weekend

Another lovely Friday is upon us! It's such a good feeling to be on the cusp of a restful weekend (although I'm coaching a volleyball tournament all weekend, so I'm not sure how restful it will be).

We had our home inspection yesterday, but we're still trying to figure out what fixes to ask for. Everything looks pretty good and the inspector didn't see any major problems. He wanted us to send a roofing expert to examine the roof because it was raining during the inspection (which makes it hard to judge the roof), so we're doing that today. Once we have that info, we'll decide what repairs to request from the sellers and hopefully work that out shortly thereafter!

I snapped a few Instagram (@jordang106) photos while I was at the house during the inspection. The backyard view is so peaceful– I can't wait to set up my home office in this room!


And here's a sneak peek of our new kitchen, complete with the inspector's stylish tool bag!


I've decided I won't start packing our current house until we are out of the option period and have worked out the contract completely, including repairs after the inspection. I don't want to jinx anything. It would be pretty heartbreaking to have it fall through at this point, I'll admit. Let's hope we can come to an agreement that's fair for everyone!

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Emily Henderson, former HGTV Design Star and one of my favorite bloggers, hosted an Instragram contest where we posted pictures of the piece of furniture we would save if our house was on fire. It was an interesting exercise because I love so many pieces of my furniture, but in the end I decided to save the Wisteria shelf in our dining room. I paid $300 for the giant bookcase at one of their flea market sales not too long ago and it's been a love affair ever since. What piece of furniture would you save if your house caught on fire? (God forbid... I'm so glad this is just a hypothetical situation.)


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Jenny Komenda over at the Little Green Notebook is always impressing me with her innovative solutions for imitating expensive items on a budget. Take, for example, her idea to paint inexpensive white lampshades from Target with black screen printing paint to get that sleek high end look. Brilliant!

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 Sale alert! I have had my eye on the Foiled Dot Napkin Set from Anthropologie for quite some time now.  Hot pink and gold polka dots, what's not to like? When the priced got marked down from $25 to $4.95, I pounced. They arrived yesterday and are oh-so-adorable. They have more, including a blue set, online.

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Do you have fun plans this weekend? I'll be spending most of my time at the Dallas Convention Center, coaching up a team of 11-year old volleyball stars. Should be fun! (And tiring, of course.) I hope to be back on Monday to show you what we did with that awesome arabesque tile I scored at the flea market a long time ago! We just have to actually finish the project first...

* Have a great weekend! *

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4.17.2013

Daydreams for the New House

There's nothing like buying a new home to send your decorating imagination into overdrive. It's a whole new blank canvas to work with! Seeing how much money you are spending to buy the house makes you feel like you should never buy anything ever again, but walking through all the empty rooms makes you want to buy so many things. Such a weird tug-of-war going on in my brain right now!

I've had this Home Inspiration board on Pinterest for a long time now, but I've been looking through it these last couple of days with renewed interest as I think about translating some of my favorite rooms into our new home.

We're inheriting a kitchen with warm white cabinets, white-ish Corian counter tops and beige tiled backsplash that looks something like this. I think it's very pretty, but I'd love to make some small tweaks to make it my own. I've been pouring over my inspiration images and seen these beautiful white kitchens that give me some great ideas!

via NateBerkus.com
via Lonny
via Southern Charm
via My Design Dump
I have noticed that most of my favorite inspiration images have brushed or satin nickel knobs like this one from Martha Stewart, so that might be a very easy way to change the feel of the room. Right now the knobs are sort of a dark bronze color, but they almost look copper. I don't hate them, but I don't love them either.

Then I started looking for inspiration for our built-in cabinets in the den. Here's the picture from the MLS listing:


Here are some of my favorite images for styled bookshelves. Looks like I need more thrifted nick knacks to fill up my shelves! (Just what the husband wanted to hear...)
via Decor8



via Full House



via Designsponge.com



via One Good Thing




This is what I have in mind for the fireplace, instead of the brick. I'm thinking a stacked stone would be really pretty and tie in nicely with the white kitchen and stone backsplash.

via A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
via Fresh Home




We are so excited! We're having the home inspection tomorrow morning, so we're hoping and praying that everything goes well and that the home doesn't need major repairs. I'm going to go over with my good camera and take some pictures and measurements so we can really start making plans!

* Daydream Believer *
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4.15.2013

Offer Accepted!

Well folks, it looks like we bought a house!

When I left off on Friday morning, we knew we were the first offer on the home. There were 10 showings that day (the first day on the market), so we had a feeling more offers might come in. By mid-Friday, we knew that we were now one of four offers on the property. Ugh, another bidding war! We knew we'd have to raise our original offer since we were now facing stiff competition, so we went back and forth trying to figure out what to do. We really wanted this home, but it was toward the top of our budget and we didn't want to go crazy and overpay. In the end, we offered full asking price and asked to keep the refrigerator.

The realtor met with his sellers at 5 pm on Friday night to pick the winning bid. When our realtor called to give us the news, we were shocked that we actually got the house! I was speaking to her on the phone, so I gave the husband a big grin and a thumbs up. I hung up the phone and said, "I totally feel like we are on House Hunters right now." I always thought it was funny how the couples just sit in a restaurant and wait for news from the realtor, but that was exactly what we were doing! We already had a date night planned for Friday long before this house came on the market, so we happened to be sitting outside on the patio at this trendy restaurant when the call came through. It was so scripted- haha!

Now we're in the option period, so we'll be having the inspection this week and going through that process. I don't want to share too much until it's all finalized, but I will share with you the part that really sold us on the house– the backyard!

Here's a picture from the MLS listing. The lot isn't that huge, but we were completely smitten with the fact that it backs to a creek. It feels like we are off in the woods, even though we are right in the middle of a busy suburb in Dallas/Fort Worth. The back of the house is filled with windows that look out to the peaceful surroundings. It creates a very relaxing feeling that we couldn't resist!


This city where we bought the home is relatively new, and most neighborhoods were built between 1993-2000. The only problem with that is the lack of "mature" neighborhoods with big trees and nice landscaping, which is what we really wanted. We stumbled upon this tiny hidden neighborhood and were drawn in by the gorgeous trees and greenbelt area. It's just what we hoped to find! There hasn't been a home sold in this neighborhood in two years, so I guess people like it there and tend to stay. That's always a good sign!

I'll share one more photo with you because I think it will be one of our first projects in the new home and I'd love to hear your thoughts. This is the den, which is located right off the kitchen. I love the built in cabinets around the fireplace, but I definitely want to paint them to brighten up the room. That oak just doesn't do it for me. (Don't kill me, natural wood lovers!)


What color should we paint them? The kitchen cabinets are a warm white, so I was leaning toward using that color in this room so they can tie in together. But I also think a warm grey/beige could be nice. Or we could do white cabinetry with dark backgrounds like Young House Love. What do you think? I already have plans to resurface the fireplace, too. I think this room can be a "wow" when we're done with it!

I'll be honest, my feelings are all over the place right now. I'm thrilled that we got the house, and it's super fun to visualize what we can do with it. It's a wonderful house, and I think it's the perfect long-term home for us. I get warm fuzzies when I think about living there for many years and raising a family inside those walls. On the other hand, it's quite hard to think about letting go of so much cash that we've worked so hard to save. Then I remind myself that this was the whole reason we were saving up in the first place, but it's still a little scary. It's such a BIG purchase!

As I mentally process through the excitement and nerves, I move on to feeling overwhelmed with the to-do list. We've got to get through the inspection process, appraisal and all that other fun home-buying stuff. Then we need to start packing our current house up to make the moving process as smooth as possible. We also need to ready this house for our first tenants, which means some small paint touch-ups, some changes to the locks, little jobs like that. We need to work out the rental contract, figure out a moving date... The list goes on and on.

No one ever said moving was easy, but I know it's worth it. Can I snap my fingers and have all the heavy lifting be over already? If only it were that easy...

* Time to find some boxes *


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4.12.2013

Randoms & Happy Weekend

Good morning! What's new in your world?

We've had a roller coaster week with the house hunting. (What else is new?) On Tuesday night, our realtors advised us to take a break from searching since the prices just keep going up and the market shows no signs of slowing down. They thought it might be best if we waited for the frenzy to slow down after a couple of months since we don't have to move right now. We had a long discussion about it and decided we were fine with waiting.

The next morning, the husband went to the men's Bible study at our church before work and mentioned the house hunting process. A guy we don't know mentioned that he was selling his home, which turns out to be a house that we had offered on before (mentioned here as the home that's price was raised $15k after we offered). Perhaps it was meant to be after all? Scott and the seller talked about the home and the fact that we had offered on it at its original price, and he said the price was negotiable. Then his realtor called and said it was NOT negotiable. "My client won't consider a penny less than asking" were his exact words. We were getting conflicting stories all around. Anyway, the whole ordeal was very confusing and we didn't know what to think. Last night we showed up at the scheduled time to take another look at the house, but he wasn't ready to show us. He asked us to come back later. We kind of threw our hands up in the air and decided to give up on that home once and for all– not worth the mental energy to figure out what's going on there!

However, right before we went over there I had checked on Realtor.com to see if anything new popped up. There was a new listing slightly outside the neighborhood we were considering, but still in the great school district. I looked at all the pictures online and got really excited about it, so our realtor took us to see it last night. The home ended up having everything we wanted, and we both loved it. (The husband especially loved that it was only one mile from where he works– nice commute!) We made an offer last night and are waiting to hear back. We heard the home had 10 showings yesterday in its first day on the market, but we were the first offer. We'll see what happens!

We know by now that the odds are against us in this market, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up. At the very least, it was a nice reminder that the perfect home for us is out there and we should hold out until we find one that makes us VERY excited (like the one we saw last night).

***

Can we talk about how terrible this lamp is? I spotted it at our local thrift store. The hat has a hole in the top so the light can come through. Where does one find a straw top hat? It's like Abe Lincoln meets Blossom!


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When we were at Ikea, I bought a glass cabinet door for $4 in the as-is section. I knew I could do something with it! It's basically a wood frame with glass inside. I thought I could use it as a dry erase board or use it to frame artwork. Do you have any other ideas? It looks like this:

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 Speaking of frames, check out this gallery wall I spotted at Wisteria. I would never think to stack so many frames right on top of one another like that, but it does create a really interesting look. What do you think– too busy or just right?


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What do you have planned this weekend? The husband and I are going to a NASCAR race of all things! One of his students gifted him with free tickets, so we though we'd go check it out. Bring on the smell of gasoline and burnt rubber! Texas Motor Speedway is a really impressive facility that can hold almost 200,000 spectators, so I'm looking forward to the adventure.

* Have a great weekend! *

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4.11.2013

Window Shopping: Ikea

I haven't been to the land of Swedish meatballs in several months, so when we found ourselves in the neighborhood on a weeknight (the least crowded time), I convinced the husband to brave the blue and yellow retail maze with me.

I took pictures of my favorite things, a little "window shopping" for my blog friends who perhaps don't have an Ikea nearby or avoid the Ikea shopping crowds like the plague. They had several new or new-to-me items that I really liked! Did you know Ikea has the option to shop online now?

Window Shopping: Ikea



Clockwise from the top left (click on the smaller pictures above to link to the product):

Olunda- This butterfly art is super affordable and right on trend. I love the splatter paint!
PS 2012- This chest is begging for an awesome paint treatment. Rubix cube, perhaps?
Socker- I was smitten with these white greenhouses, perfect for an herb garden.
Satta-These acrylic handles would really add a unique touch to a standard dresser. I'd even love to see the clear acrylic ones in a bathroom or even a kitchen!
Frode- If you need folding chairs for extra seating, they might as well be cute. I'm just saying.
Kastanjenot- I really wanted to buy these woven planters for our fig trees, but the husband didn't like them. I think the natural texture mixed with the modern white handles is very cool.
Frasera- Chic whiskey glasses, a must have for people like me who don't drink whiskey but enjoy displaying pretty whiskey glasses in their china cabinets.
Ovraby- This campaign-style photo frame was decidedly un-Ikea looking. Love it.
Kasset- Office storage is always better when it looks nice. I bought some of these for my studio to store my art supplies and crafting tools.
Sanela- They have these heavy velvet curtains in several colors, and they're a nice change from the lightweight cotton varieties Ikea already carries.
Sommarkul- Nothing brightens up a kitchen for spring like a punchy dishtowel.
Raskog- I was really tempted to buy this turquoise rolling cabinet for my office. I would put my paints in it and wheel it around into the living room so I could paint in front of the TV!

Apparently every second Wednesday of the month, Ikea gives an additional 50% off the merchandise in its as-is section. I never knew about it! We bought a couple things from that sale, including a striped tablecloth ($2), a glass cabinet door ($4, for a DIY project) and two stuffed animals (50 cents) that made our two spoiled nuggets very happy campers:


Which of the items above is your favorite? I'm a sucker for that turquoise color, so I loved the rolling cart and folding chairs.

* Why is it suddenly cold again? Come on, Spring! *


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4.09.2013

The Blue Period

I was jogging after work yesterday, trying to relieve some stress and clear my head. (My runner friends say that running relieves stress. I'm not fully convinced, but I figured it was worth a shot!)

Then came a little mental sequence that made me shake my head. My train of thought can be a little strange sometimes...

"I'm feeling blue," I thought to myself. Thinking about the color blue made me think about Picasso's Blue Period. "I like painting– that might cheer me up," I thought. "I should go home and paint a picture of myself in my blue period. A blue 'selfie,' like Picasso would do."

So I jogged myself right back to my art studio and pulled out my blue acrylic paints. I was done with my Picasso-inspired self portrait an hour later. And yes, it did help clear my head. Painting is therapeutic– unless you don't like what you're painting and it's not coming together how you envisioned, in which case it becomes highly frustrating!


My husband said it was "a little creepy," so I added some pink cheeks. Pink is a hopeful color, don't you think? The late Lily Pulitzer said so: "Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink." That's a fabulous quote that I wished I owned in poster form. My next artwork, perhaps?



I like how she looks up on the mantel, layered with my pear painting. I used a lot of the same blue craft paints in each piece, so they tie together nicely.

I want to know, what do you do to cheer yourself up when you're feeling blue?


 * Blue Moon *
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4.05.2013

Randoms & Happy Weekend

Another week just went by at lightning speed! Slow down!!

Here's my latest house hunting update: We still haven't found "the one." We visited a mega fixer upper this week, but we felt that it was slightly overpriced for the amount of work it needed. It's new on the market, so we're going to see if it sells right away. If not, maybe they'd be willing to negotiate.

I started off the house hunting process thinking it would be fun, but so far it's been more stressful than fun. The stress comes from the super-competitive market and the fact that we have to rush out to see new houses right away in case they sell on the first day (which means either paying full price or even above asking price). We rearrange our schedules to see these houses and are joined by 4-5 other couples walking around the same small house. It's awkward. And for super frugal people like us, it's hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we will not find a bargain in this real estate climate. "But I only buy off the sale rack!"

Anyway, I'm not trying to be overly dramatic about it. Obviously we are blessed to be in a position to buy another house and are fortunate to already have a roof over our heads, so we aren't under the stress of some other families who need a place to move immediately. That being said, I would love to find something soon so that I can free up some brain space to think about other things!

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My parents came up for Easter last weekend, so I decided to make a simple Easter tablescape for our holiday dinner using items I already had around the house. I ended up hunting around my closet, where I found this bright blue floral scarf that actually worked really well on the table. 


I paired it with a blue mason jar full of Alstromeria (had them three weeks now and they're still going strong) and some of my favorite pears. Then I used my thrifted china to polish it off. I liked it so much that my table still looks exactly like this even though Easter has come and gone.

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I made some cupcakes this week and topped them off the new Cool Whip Frosting. Have you tried it yet? I really liked it! Some people are all-about-the-icing people, but I prefer the lighter whipped frosting that isn't quite as overwhelmingly sweet as some from the grocery store bakeries. Plus I love regular Cool Whip, so this is right up my alley. They have it in chocolate, vanilla and cream cheese, and you can find it in the freezer section right next to the regular Cool Whip.
 


Cool Whip has a Pinterest board filled with recipes using the frosting, so the possibilities are endless.  I had some left over after icing my cupcakes, so I have been adding a little spoonful to my plain greek yogurt to sweeten it up. Very tasty (and less calories than my other favorite thing to put in greek yogurt, peanut butter)!

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You know how sometimes you get into a "funk" and don't even know why? Is that just me? Sometimes everything in my life is going just fine but I just don't feel enthused about anything. My mood becomes what I like to call "blah." I've never really known how to properly describe it, but this blogger struck the nail on the head when she described the "doldrums" and how to bring yourself out of it. I thought it was a really good read. 

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Did you watch The Bible on the History Channel? I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to others. Sometimes I have a hard time remember Bible stories, and I feel like seeing them acted out really helps cement them in your mind. I'm not saying it's perfectly accurate because they did have to develop some characters and add some extra interest to some parts, but I think it was a completely non-cheesy, well-produced show about the most famous book in the world. I kept thinking how expensive it must have been to produce. You can buy the full series, The Bible: The Epic Miniseries, on Amazon. I think they're selling it at Walmart, too– I saw a sign for it at the front of the store.

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What do you have planned this weekend? The husband is having some of his college friends come over for a bromantic golfing weekend, so I think I'll have some free time to hang with my best friend and look for treasures at the thrift store. Overall it should be pretty relaxing, which is always great!

* Have a great weekend! *

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4.02.2013

Cool Book Page Wall

I'm sorry about the lack of blog posts lately! Things have been so hectic between our jobs and the house hunting (no luck so far, unfortunately), so I haven't been able to work on the blog as much as I'd like.

I thought I'd pop in to show you this really great book page wall I saw at the Wisteria store. Wisteria is one of my favorite places for inspiration. It's located near my work, so sometimes I drop by the store on my lunch break to check out the latest products and admire the beautiful vignettes.




This wall treatment would be so easy to accomplish, and it creates this great texture that is super cozy and inviting. I'd love to have a wall like this in my office, studio, craft room, etc. Perhaps wallpapering your library with book pages in your library is too literal, but hey, why not?

Have you spotted any inspiration lately? What are your favorite stores for getting ideas? I'd count Anthropologie, Wisteria and West Elm as my top three.

* Book worm *


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