Category Archives: Uncategorized

Upstairs Bedroom + Stairway News

So.  What’s happening with the Dutch colonial,

are you even asking anymore?

I just checked, + my last blog post about it

was written on March 8, 2018!

Our upstairs kitchen was just getting underway:

kitchen upstairs during

Thankfully, that room’s been completed,

+ it’s beautiful!

Unless you follow RedBird on Facebook (please do!),

where I’ve shared many Dutch colonial photos,

you’ll have to believe me.

Okay, here’s one more peek of the “during”:

upstairs kitchen cabs in place

I promise to write an entire kitchen blog post soon!

First, though, let’s view some recent progress

in the upstairs bedroom.

I failed to take any “before” photos (AGAIN),

but trust me, it was bad.

Now it’s almost completed,

with this photo taken from one corner

looking toward the closet + hall doorways:

stair -- bedroom from se corner

Fun fact: the closet was painted pink when we bought the house.

See the boards inside the closet?

That pink.

Since then, its walls + those of the bedroom

have been repaired + painted white,

+ all the beautiful, original woodwork

was painted Pittsburgh Paint’s Ghost Writer gray:

 ghost writer

Man, do I love white walls with gray woodwork!

There’s a pair of huge, south-facing windows,

so it’s going to be nice + bright!

stair upstairs bedroom window

From another corner of the room,

a view toward the closet + hall doorways:

stair -- bedroom from sw corner

A new sub floor has been laid

in both the bedroom + hallway —

seen here, looking toward the kitchen,

with the stairwell about midway to the right:

stair -- hallway looking north from bedroom

All we need to do to complete those areas

is to install a closet organizer + carpet.

But first.

Perhaps, we’ve saved the worst for last,

+ this time, I got some juicy “before” photos!

Behold the staircase,

as seen from the upstairs hallway:

stair shot of landing taken from hallway

Here’s a close up of the stair landing:

stair landing

Just as they were throughout the rest of the upstairs,

the original plaster walls were a wreck.

This corner, at the stair landing, was badly cracked,

but earlier today G.O. began patching it.

stair landing corner

This is the view from the landing down to the foyer + front door:

stair looking down from landing east side

Here’s G.O. now, scraping yet more plaster boo-boo’s

from the walls at the bottom of the stairs:

stairwell with G.O. scraping looking east

This is what one sees, entering from the front door:

stair view taken from front door

Even though things look pretty hiddy right now,

you can tell that the original staircase was quite beautiful.

We’re both so glad that this project’s finally been started!

I think we’re just NOW seeing the end approaching,

+ it’s been YEARS.

Meanwhile, I owe you a post or two.

Stay tuned for some belated kitchen updates!

 

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Vacation Apartment In Rheim, France

So.  Today we’re headed to France,

where I recently traveled vicariously

via this Netflix show:

french gardens take two

Monty Don — our somewhat disheveled yet delightful host —

zips around the countryside

in a cute, little Frenchie car,

monty don's car

showing us all sorts of beautiful French gardens,

IN-cluding  Claude Monet’s famous property in Giverny . . .

monet take two

. . . which he immortalized

in hundreds of Impressionistic paintings, like this one:

monet painting

Even G.O. experienced wanderlust while watching,

so who knows?

Grab that passport + cross those fingers!

Anyway, today we’re headed back to France,

courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Remodelista .

We will be staying in one of two boutique apartments

in Rheimes,

which is in the Champagne region

northwest of Paris.

french lessons -- reims map

Let’s have a look-see at those boutique apartments,

where we’ll be staying while in Rheims.

They each contain plenty of French antiques,

including this peg rack:

french lessons -- mirror on french peg rack

Isn’t the hanging mirror charming?

Coincidentally, I had seriously considered

getting a similar French peg rack

for our canned ham RV, like this one, at $40.88:

peg rack french etsy

Anyway, speaking of mirrors,

there were seemingly dozens in the apartments —

the most beautiful of which

is this stunning 100 year-old barber’s mirror:

french lessons -- twin pedestal sinks + barber shop mirror

Omigosh — what a dream,

to design an entire bathroom around that mirror!

Bravo for the twin pedestal sinks

+ the tile excellence!

(Full disclosure:

we have the very same tile floor

in our main bathroom of the Dutch colonial!)

bathroom-main.jpg

I’ve always wanted a “floral tile” floor like that,

+ after my semi-exhausting search,

we finally found ours on Amazon.

The Frenchies used leftover tiles in the second bathroom,

which is equally as charming:

french lessons -- cute black and white zink

I’m in love with plain, Jane square subways,

+ we’re seeing sinks like that all over the internet.

Extra points given for the wall-mounted faucet

+ the chippy, white door!

french-lessons-cute-black-and-white-zink-1.jpeg

One of the bedrooms has another French peg rack,

a beautiful floor, more mirrors, navy comforters,

french lessons -- game board in bedroom

+ a game board** that I MUST HAVE!!

french-lessons-game-board-in-bedroom-1.jpeg

** (Another full disclosure: G.O. loathes leaning artwork,

while I find it extremely stylish.)

What say ye?

While we ponder that,

+ I make a mental note to lean something, later,

let’s check out one of the kitchens:

french lessons -- kitchen with shelf and light switch

How do I love thee?

Let’s break it down, left to right:

a. hanging soap dish,  b. pretty cutting boards,

c. antique brass faucet,  d. penny tiles,

e. attractive accessories, +  f. another mirror!

french-lessons-kitchen-with-shelf-and-light-switch-1.jpeg

That’s a stellar range hood, too,

+ I’m all on board with the wall-hung, accordion light fixture:

french-lessons-kitchen-with-shelf-and-light-switch-2.jpeg

Would you check out this unique Frenchie electrical outlet!?

french lessons -- kitchen with shelf and light switch

There were several throughout the apartments,

+ I think they’re a dream!

Other views of the kitchen showcase yet more dreaminess,

including the highly-coveted (by me) SMEG refrigerator:

french lessons -- smeg

WHEN WILL I FINALLY GET MY SMEG????

Anyway, I’m also quite fond of the interior window,

used here to separate the kitchen work space

from the dining area:

french lessons -- old cab island and interior window

Last, but certainly not least,

check out their reclaimed cabinet kitchen island:

french-lessons-old-cab-island-and-interior-window-1.jpeg

Beautiful, no?

Sadly, our current island is not of the vintage persuasion,

but I did have one in my long-ago apartment

in which my boys + I lived during the nineties.

I built it above my late, great retail store,

Heart-in-Hand:

apartment kitchen island

Omigosh!  Look at that horrible photograph!

Look at all my “stuff”!

If you’d like to see more of it,

then please, check out this blog post,

+ have fun going down memory lane with me!


Susan Branch, Author + Watercolor Artist

So.

My recent search for a botanical print led to my discovery

of a favorite new watercolor artist . . .

. . . Lucile Prache, about whom I blogged yesterday:

botanical lucileskitchen food

. . .  + whose work reminded me

of another favorite watercolor artist + author,

Susan Branch . . .

susan branch photo better

. . . whose books I used to sell in my old shop, Heart-in-Hand.

susan branch heart of the home

I just love her sweet illustrations

+ charming, hand-painted fonts:

susan branch sea illustration

How adorable is the plaid border she’s painted on this page!

susan branch gift baskets

susan branch summer days

She’s written all sorts of books + publishes an annual calendar,

available on her blog.

susan branch calendar

She’s also written a series of 3 memoirs,

2 of which I’ve read + highly recommend.

The middle book, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle Of Dreams,

which I read first,

is about her moving from California to Nantucket island:

susan branch nantucket try 2

Since I’ve always wished to visit Nantucket,

it was wonderful to read her description of her life there

+ her renovation of a charming cottage for herself.

Look at her darling diagram of said cottage:

susan branch book page with house diagram

As you can see, each page is just a visual treat:

susan branch book page with font

As this book comes to an end,

Susan had met, fallen in love with + married Joe Hall:

susan branch and husband in book page

Okay, everybody: awwwww!

Isn’t that sweet?  Relationship goals!

 Joe is the proprietor of Nantucket’s famous Black Dog Tavern,

from which one can purchase all sorts of home goods + apparel

with the Black Dog logo:

susan branch dog mat

Her third book,

A Fine Romance / Falling In Love With The English Countryside,

is a diary of the couple’s car trip in England:

susan branch english book

Once again, she’s in a place I’ve longed to visit,

+ her vivid descriptions allowed me

to travel vicariously with her.

They toured many beautiful English gardens,

including the one surrounding Beatrix Potter’s** cottage.

peter rabbit

** Yes, that Beatrix Potter,

of Peter Rabbit fame,

yet another author/illustrator whose watercolors

I’ve always admired.

Soon enough I found myself watching

the Renee Zellweger biopic,

Miss Potter,

which was just as charming as all get-out

+ for which I give an enthusiastic THUMBS UP!

susan branch miss potter movie

Here’s Renee now, on location:

beatrix potter movie location with renee

I don’t know if that’s the actual Beatrix Potter cottage,

but isn’t it swoon-worthy?

beatrix potter renee painting

Anyway, in conclusion,

while there are 3 volumes in Susan Branch’s memoirs,

+ I have read only the 2nd + 3rd books.

In fact, I just discovered the existence of her first

while I was writing this blog post

 it’s called The Fairy Tale Girl —

+ is about her early life in California.

susan branch fairy tale girl

The above photo is from Jama’s Alphabet Soup (cute name!)

 blog post —

which is a very interesting read (trust me — check it out!)

In conclusion, I shall request The Fairy Tale Girl

from our inter-library loan system, TODAY.

You can buy signed copies of all 3 books on her blog,

so if anyone’s wishing to send me an early birthday gift . . .

. . . hint!

 


Botanical Watercolors From Paris

So.

In yesterday’s blog post, I shared my hopes + dreams

of finding a botanical poster for my kitchen.

botanical chart sunflower

Seems everybody was fond of this vintage sunflower chart,

but not so much its steep price tag of $272.45.

But wait.

Look at what I spied

amongst** my search for the vintage botanicals!

(**I know amongst is not a word, but I like it.)

botanical farmers market

Beautiful watercolor posters painted by Parisian artist,

Lucile Prache, available on Etsy in Lucile’s Kitchen shop.

botanical watercolor artist lucile in frenchie stripe shirt

Please.

How perfect is it that an artist in Paris should wear

the highly Frenchie blue + white striped top that I love*!

(* + have owned + worn many times!)

 

botanical lucileskitchen food

 

botanical carrot cake recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe 13 x 17 – $110

botanical medicinal plant print - lucile

Medicinal Plants 8×10 – $30.50

botanical lucile 4 season prints

Wouldn’t this poster be terrific in a coffee shop?

botanical coffee

Coffee Watercolor 11 x 14 – $80

 

 I think owning a print of an original piece of art

would be great,

+ I’m such a fan of hers!

I’m still shopping, though, so stay tuned!


Vintage Botanical Artwork Love

I spend a lot of quality time on the couch,

as one does in winter.

When (+ if) I look away from my TV, phone or bozoputer,

I see this:

kitchen art 2

Disclaimer:

G.O. is preparing his signature Calico Beans dish to pass

for a Super Bowl party later today,

which explains the slight mess

+ the reason my utensils are askew.

kitchen utensils

Omigosh!  Those plastic ones don’t go there!  BAD Kay!

This explains why I’ll never be one of the popular kids

on Instagram (@redbirdkay52 – please follow me),

but I digress.

He is also throwing away all our non-stick pots + pans

after watching this documentary

on the horrors of DuPont + Teflon,

The Devil We Know.

the devil we know

Yikes!  Sorry I missed it.

Back to the pressing issue at hand,

which is the artwork in our kitchen.

kitchen art 1

We recently hung those bowl prints,

which I ordered from a forgotten catalog, years ago.

They’re great, but me being me,

I already wish to hang them elsewhere**

+ to replace them with my dream artwork,

the botanical print.

**Which, need I say it, drives G.O. crazy.

Oops.

  Since that’s not as important as my happiness is,

off I dashed to shop for said botanical prints on etsy,

where I was immediately attracted to these vintage pull-down charts

from the shop, Mighty Vintage in Berlin.

Violets – $414.59

botanical chart -- violet

How much do we love the way the vibrant colors

POP against the black backgrounds?

Sunflowers – $272.45

botanical chart sunflower

Cherries – $355.37

botanical cherries

Since we live in Illinois,

something corn-related might be kind of fun,

like this chart from the shop Wild Strawberry Retro from the UK.

Maize – $162.27

botanical chart -- maize

Okay.  Ouch.

Hundreds of dollars is a tad more than I wished to spend,

so I continued to shop – this time for reproductions.

I think I found it!

What’s not to love!? – via OlgaBegakArt from Austria.

Tomatoes – 13″ x 19″ $56.86

botanical print tomato

The illustration style is deliciously vintage,

+ the colors are fantastic!

What do you think?

Stay tuned!


Navy Blue Walls, The Sequel?

I think it’s been 5 years since we painted our living room

Pittsburgh Paint Flagstone gray:

paint flagstone

living room empty with gray walls and my rug

In my little world,

having any room be the same color for 5 years

is just NOT acceptable!!

Yes, it’s time for a change!

(Plus, I never really wanted gray.)

My heart was set on my favorite color — navy blue!

paint -- sailor

Sadly, as so often happens,

I was too timid to choose something so bold

+ instead, settled on the neutral gray.

(Don’t get me wrong — I do love Flagstone!)

So much for going big or going home, though.

Anyway, speaking of gray, our living room’s focal point,

this vintage sorter, is also gray:

sorter

And what a sad, sad coincidence . . .

. . . we also have a gray couch + not 1 but 2 gray chairs!

living room with gray everything

I think we can all safely say:

TOO MUCH GRAY!

So it’s not only time (5 years!?), already,

to change that gray wall color,

but I need to get rid of a gray chair or 2.

First, the walls.

Yes, my heart still belongs to navy blue,

+ who knows?

Maybe I’ll actually love this one!

sailor's coat

Navy blue paint is really hard to get right!

Sometimes it’s COBALT!  Or PURPLE!

 

But, if it was a true dark navy,

wouldn’t it look fantastic with my beloved ikat rug, though?

Here it is in our most recent past house, the brick bungalow,

where it also looks great with that dark blue furniture:

ikat-rug.jpg

This now brings us to the gray chair portion of our living room change.

I’m pretty sure we’re switching out that arm chair

+ getting this pretty mid-century arm chair + ottoman, instead:

chair -- dark blue with ottoman

Here it is, sans ottoman but in a tad larger photo op:

chair of blue without ottoman

It doesn’t really look that dark blue,

but I think it will work.

Fingers crossed it won’t blend into the navy blue walls behind it, God forbid.

Uh oh.  Do you see what’s happening?

There’s that pesky color doubt of mine rearing its head again.

So, just in case, I’ve got “PLAN B”, + here ’tis:

paint -- wayward wind

It reminds me of a color, Beeswax,

that we used in our riverfront farmhouse

that we built at the turn of the century.

It’s just so darn cheerful,

+ wouldn’t it complement the pretty butter yellow in my rug???

ikat rug

Oh, here we go again.

Stay tuned!


Cabins In The Snow

Today’s post is a result of my daily “look-see”

at Remodelista’s inspirational blog,

this one devoted to cabins in the snow:

love snow + think every house looks more beautiful in said-same.

For proof, here’s our Dutch colonial last Christmas season.

Charming, if I do say so!

dutch colonial pretty at christmas

Disclaimer: we’ve not had much snow this year,

+ I am not amused.

So.  Let’s cheer ourselves me up

by looking at some houses in real snow,

beginning with this Belgian stunner

that’s been one of my online favorites for years:

cabins in winter belgian stone exterior

I’ve always wanted to live in an old stone house!

The juxtaposition of the rustic stone + that glass room addition is so exquisite.

Inside, they’ve continued mixing the modern with the rustic.

I’m smitten with those red kitchen stools,

but I fear I would tumble out of the bed during the night!

cabins in winter -- belgian stone

This Aspen, Colorado ski chalet was recently renovated

to yet more glass + stone perfection:

cabins in winter -- colorado exterior

I’m a fan of the interior’s rough-sawn wood planks

combined with the smooth, white walls + dark gray beams:

cabins in winter -- colorado interior

I shan’t lie — I am obsessing about living in a mid-Century modern house

(again),

so I love this one in New York state:

cabins in winter -- new york state exterior

By again, I mean that while I was in college in the 70’s,

I lived in a genuine mid-Century house

in a 50’s neighborhood in my southern Illinois hometown.

Sadly (very), this was prior to my devotion to MCM style,

+ I would definitely love a courtesy “do-over”.

Please.

Inside, the homeowners obviously left the natural wood ceiling + beams

but have brightened everything up by painting the wall paneling white:

cabins in winter -- new york state interior

Next up, I love all things Swedish, in-cluding this dark green beauty!

How wrong would it be

for us to paint our white vinyl siding a crazy dark color??!!

cabins in winter -- swedish exterior

Okay, that’s not gonna happen,

but please.

The whitewashed wood interior + Scandi-style furnishings!

Obviously, the view’s not bad, either.

cabins in winter -- swedish interior

Our maternal ancestors are from Switzerland, as is this mountainside cabin.

Wow.  It’s as flat as a pancake here in Illinois, where we live.

I can’t imagine mountains like this!

(Love the fence, too.)

cabins in winter -- switzerland exterior

Once again with the dark exterior + ultra-light interiors,

+ once again with my loving the bare, minimalist decor

when we have anything but!

That view!

Could we at least plop one chaise lounge in that space, though?

cabins in winter -- switzerland interior

This concludes our fun tour of cabins in the snow via the Remodelista blog.

Maybe I can whip up some energy to remove all things Christmas

from our household + pare things down just a tad!

Doubt it.

Hope you had a merry Christmas!


Dreamy Vacation Rental on Cape Cod

The best thing on this morning’s trip through Facebook —

discovering this vacation rental house on the wharf in Provincetown, MA:

wharf house

Loving the exterior New England-y gray shingles

+ black window sash, amIright?

Provincetown is a hipster community

located on the very tip of Cape Cod, MA:

cape cod in red

cape cod cartoon map

Having only seen Cape Cod from the air

as I once flew through Boston,

I didn’t realize that its tip was such a pronounced hook.

provincetown on the map

One day, of course, I hope to visit, but for now,

let’s get back to dreaming about that waterside house.

Just look at the view one gets from the living room.

wharf house living room looking out toward water

Oh, yeah — the sea + all those gorgeous sailboats are divine,

but let’s get real.

Didn’t we first notice that nautical chic deck decor,

starting with that epic blue + white striped rug?

Or is it just me?

wharf house living room looking out toward water

It’s not just me.

But wait, there’s more:

wharf house living room three quarter view

The living room, how do I love thee?

Exposed ceiling, groovy rattan sofa with blue + white stripe upholstery . . .

. . . wicker chair + sawbuck table + industrial lights . . .

. . . pair of distressed, brown leather chairs AND that FLOOR!!

wharf-house-living-room-three-quarter-view3.jpg

WANT!!

Anyway, it looks like there are 2 sleeping spaces . . .

wharf hoiuse living room looking into kitchen

. . . including this cozy upstairs loft:

wharf house loft

More stripes!  And isn’t that the perfect old, blue paint color!!??

Extra points for the “leaner” photographs, too.

wharf-house-loft1.jpg

Downstairs, just beyond the kitchen, we find a larger bedroom:

wharf house bedroom with flag

Full disclosure:

I totally hung a giant flag on the wall behind our bed once,

but tragically, it didn’t look as cool as this one does.

Maybe I should re-think + re-visit that idea, though.

Stay tuned!

Anyway, back to the living spaces:

wharf house window seat

That window seat, with the all the “Kay fabrics” is swoon-worthy, for sure!

Point me to the striped fabric + get out of my way!

wharf house kitchen

I love the kitchen’s pendant lighting, open shelving + cabinet cubbies,

the nautical clock, + check out all the artwork!

I love how some is hung up high + some is resting atop the counters.

wharf-house-kitchen2-e1542033052653.jpg

Speaking of hanging artwork “up high”,

did we notice this pair of framed art

flanking the living room window gable?

wharf-house-living-room-looking-out-toward-water-e1542032480329.jpg

Unexpected + genius!

This concludes our fantasy stay in Provincetown, MA,

which has inspired me to do the following:

sewing something striped, stat!,

+ hanging some artwork, maybe later today!


Traditional Charmer In The Berkshires

Today I’m headed back to realtor.com for more house hunting

in the Berkshires,

where I have deliberately turned away from my minimalist choices of days’ past

+ fallen for something a lot more traditional — this charmer:

berk cabin wide view

It looks like an original log home with a tasteful addition.

Here’s a closer look-see at the log portion.

berk cabin front porch back up

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!

Red window sashes + door, twiggy porch details,

full + lush (“busy”) front landscaping, stone pathway, etc. etc.

berk cabin front porch close up

The stone pathway continues along the front of the addition at left,

where there are more twigs, in the form of this beautiful pergola!

berk cabin pergola

My first thoughts are, “How can I persuade G.O. to build something twiggy for our yard?”,

but then I ask myself,  a. “Isn’t that unnecessarily difficult?”

+ b. “Wouldn’t twig structures be too rustic for a Dutch colonial house?”

berk cabin twigs

Oh, well — let’s move on to yet more exterior snapshots.

My gosh, there’s even a screened-in room, my favorite thing, ever!

berk cabin front porch from bottom of hill

Of course, a pond:

berk cabin pond

And, in conclusion, the detached garage has an apartment upstairs,

the interior of which is fine but not so share-worthy:

berk cabin detached garage

Inside the house, the living room + stair case

look about as I’ve come to expect when I spy a log home online:

berk cabin stair

Sometimes log home interiors can skew a tad too WOODSY for my tastes ,

but I s’poze one could solve that issue by painting a few things

+ adding some contrasting wood tones.

berk cabin fireplace

I honestly don’t know what I ‘d do in here (yet!),

but I’d mull things over for a few months + decide, as is my way.

I would probably play off that beautiful stone fireplace

+ introduce some complementary blacks, grays + charcoal paint colors.

berk cabin fireplace

Since the fireplace backs up to the adjacent kitchen (love the red stove!) . . .

berk cabin red stove

. . . + I think I’d paint the lower cabinets black or charcoal gray,

replace the butcher block counter tops (too much wood!)

+ figure out something more “now” to do with the uppers:

berk cabin kitchen

Upstairs in the addition, one can see evidence that it’s probably post + beam:

berk cabin upstairs inside dormer

Isn’t this bathroom fantastic?

berk cabin bathroom

The homeowners added some gray tones with the marble,

the reclaimed wood back splash + vanity.

I love the shower in this room,

+ kudos to them for adding a darker wood tone medicine cabinet + vanity:

berk cabin bathroom shower

So that’s that!

Yes, I toyed with the idea of our traveling to the Berkshires for some fall leaf peeping,

but I fear we’ve waited too long this year.

We’re actually thinking of heading south, like maybe Tennessee,

so it’s time to see what’s for sale in Franklin!

Stay tuned!

canned ham at arbys


I Love This Minimalist House!

I’m back, house hunting in the Berkshires on realtor.com.

berkshires map

berk white house front

This house is so plain Jane, but it couldn’t appeal to me more!

I do love a white house, yes,

but it’s the details of this one that drew me in,

especially this modern trellis hung over a wall of windows:

berk white house outside

Love it!  Look at the wire cables!  How “NOW”!

And please.

A standing seam metal roof outside has to mean more awesomeness inside.

berk white house w detached garage

Let’s check it out to see if my theory is true

re: the exterior + interiors being equally groovy.

There’s that beautiful wall of windows we saw earlier:

berk white house sun room

My gosh.  What a beautiful space.

I would never leave!

berk white house sunroom view 2

While all-white’s not for me, it really works great in this house, don’t you think?

In the kitchen + dining area, they’ve exposed the original, rustic rafters + beams.

The texture they add, even after being painted white,

keeps things from being too sterile . . .

berk white house kitchen

. . . as do the natural wood dining table + brown leather chairs . . .

berk white house dining room

. . . + all those books!

I love the black floors + black cabinet handles + light fixture hardware.

berk white house dining room view 2

Okay.  Now we’re headed to sterile town (below), but still.

I’m a huge fan of the small exposed rafter, that day bed + the rolling table.

If it was my house, I’d add a colorful rug + artwork,

some pillows + window treatments.

berk white house day bed + rolling table

I am digging more nautical-style wire cables on the exterior staircase,

+ the deck is well-designed + very beautiful.

berk white house back deck

But wait. Here’s a question.

Why am I drawn to such minimalist houses

when ours is anything but?

This might prompt me to ask myself “is less more?” once again.

 


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