This post has been in our drafts for just over a YEAR. I took these photos and planned to complete this DIY project last February, but the photos, the plans and the project were put on hold for a thousand different reasons. My dad is the veteran DIY-er that will be helping this Rookie DIY-er tackle this project, so we needed both of our weekends free and the stars just haven’t aligned to make it happen! (Weddings, vacations, snow days, other weekend DIY projects… you name it, it’s delayed the process)
I don’t want to jinx us, BUTTTTT I’m pretty sure the stars are about to align. I couldn’t be more excited to report that we are about to tackle a mini hallway makeover after over a year of planning!
Our hallway isn’t bad, I just feel like it could use “a little something” in order to brighten the space and add some character. Plus, I have always loved the look of board and batten, so it seemed like the perfect place to bring this look into our home. That’s exactly what I plan on doing– adding board & batten down both sides of the hallway.
I was initially inspired by this post from Young House Love. Their hallway is very similar to ours and ever since I read their gorgeous, informative post/tutorial, I knew that’s exactly the look I wanted. Plus, they tackled their entire hallway of board and batten for under $100! What’s not to love about that plan?! Here’s a peek at the inspiration:
I anticipate that the board and batten will brighten the space, while also adding a “custom” look on the cheap. At this point, just checking this project off the to-do list will be worth it! A year in the making… it’s gotta be good, right?!
So that’s the latest project we have up our sleeve around here. If all goes as planned, look for an update on the progress of our board and batten hallway here on DIY Playbook next week! In the meantime, have a great weekend! We hope you get the chance to check off something looming on your DIY to-do list too.
(We know we told you yesterday that today we’d share all of the details about our Vine video, but that post wasn’t quite ready to go live today. Next week…we promise! Okay now onto the real post for today.)
We’ve officially lived in our Chicago apartment for about a year now, and boy oh boy the time has really flew. I remember moving in and being so darn excited to decorate every square inch of this place. I got to work quickly, ready to make this space much more cozy with lots of personal touches. One of the first tasks on my to-do list was to create a mini gallery wall, and I did just that in this post from last year.
That gallery wall has essentially stayed the exact same for about a year. I don’t know why I never tweaked it, or traded out any of the art…but it just kinda stayed the way it was (which is very unlike me and my “tweaking tendencies”) That all changed this week when I added a new piece of REAL ART to our gallery wall. Of course I love gallery walls that are just all picture frames, but the ones that really pop (to me at least) are ones that incorporate a canvas, a piece of art, or even some hooks and 3-dimensional pieces. Bridget is amazing at this, as evidenced by her fabulous office gallery wall.
After receiving this small piece of Chicago art as a wedding gift, I knew that it would make a great addition to our hallway gallery. I simply swapped out a few frames and added this colorful beauty to the mix.
I love how it breaks up all of the white and adds more purple, blue, and green color to the gray wall.
The piece is from Rodwan Gallery and it looks like they sell a wide variety of unique Chicago paintings. From what I can tell, it looks like this piece is of a Downtown Chicago scene, complete with some buildings, balconies, and a large street light. I love it!
I’m a sucker for framing art prints, but I’ve never actually owned “real art.” Of course I love the canvas over our couch, but that is a mass produced piece. It’s pretty neat to actually have something hand-painted and unique for our Chicago pad. So for now, my real art is staying in our gallery wall. But I’m sure I’ll start tweaking again soon, and swap out even more of these frames and pictures. Gotta keep things interesting around here, right?!
Some of my favorite projects here on The DIY Playbook, are the ones that just about anyone can whip up in an afternoon without spending a lot of time or money.
If you like easy, quick, and inexpensive projects…then keep reading. I created this personalized monogram art in about 30 minutes, for less than $10. Yep, this project definitely fits right into the “favorite project” category. In fact, this project even goes above and beyond because it doesn’t call for any crazy supplies (okay, maybe thumb tacks are a little weird for a craft project). But if you’re like me, then you probably have most of these items on hand already.
So let me show you how I DIY’ed this oh-so-easy piece of personalized art for our home.
Design/Stencil to trace, or go for it and freehand something!
Not knowing how many tacks I would really need, I purchased 600 of these silver bad boys on Amazon. Total cost….about $6.
At first I had no idea what object or shape I would actually create on the canvas. An ampersand? A heart? Letters? Numbers? Hmmmm…so many possibilities. Ultimately I decided to go with the first letter of my soon-to-be last name. “F” as in Finn. I could say that I chose to go with a big ol’ “F” because I’m just so darn excited to be Casey Finn and I wanted to show off my new last name pride. But in reality, I chose it because I was way too lazy to actually print something off of the computer to trace. Instead I took this F that usually sits on our bookcase…
…and I traced that!
Thumbtack Art – Project Steps
Yep, lazy in every sense of the word, but at least I had a perfectly drawn letter to show for myself. Once you have your object traced onto your canvas, it’s time to get tacking. I was a little worried going into this step, but it was super easy. I just started by outlining the letter in tacks. It did take some time to line them up perfectly to minimize any space between the tacks. But once you get the hang of it…you can power through. If you mess up, simply pop the tack off and re-insert it into the canvas. It took me about 25 minutes to get all of the silver thumb tacks in and secure. Sure it was a tad monotonous, but I chatted with Finn as I popped the hundreds of tacks through the canvas in to the other side. He was probably half-listening to me chat about how this project might actually turn out okay, and half-listening to Sunday football as I completed my little piece of art.
I’m pretty darn impressed with it, if I do say so myself. I love the silver metals against the white canvas. It pops and goes with the rest of the grays and silvers in our master bedroom. I also love the shiny, smooth texture on the canvas. It’s a lot more exciting than anything I could ever paint on the canvas.
As for the other side of the canvas? Well, it’s probably a tad dangerous with all of the sharp tacks sticking through. If I had a pet or a child, I would probably take some foam core and insert it on the backing. But I’m not too worried about it with the Mr. & I, so my lazy self will just keep it as is.
I have about 200 silver thumb tacks left over, and something tells me I won’t have 200 items to tack up on the wall any time soon. I’m thinking perhaps a piece of metallic art might be nice for Christmas. Something silvery, gold, and full of glam for the holiday season? I’m open to any and all suggestions…
Want to see this project in super-speed? Check out this video.
If you guys follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen this R rated picture grace your feed in February.
Yep…that’s my mom, sister-in-law, and I all holding portraits of a naked man. I added the nice big red “X” to keep things PG around here. 😉
The three of us had an amazing girls night out at a painting and wine class called Bottles & Bottega. They offer all kinds of painting classes and it’s a fun way to bond, drink wine, and get a little creative. I’ve done it a few times with friends (and even for B’s bachelorette party!), but I’ve never ever ever done it with a nude model. Let’s just say it was quite the experience and I’m pretty sure I blushed the entire night. The nude painting class definitely forced me to channel my inner artist, as I tried my best to be mature and view our male model as art…and not as some naked man standing on a platform.
Heck, I tried. But I still ended up with a pretty crappy painting.
But let’s be real…even if I created a masterpiece, I probably wouldn’t be hanging any naked men in our apartment. Something tells me Finn wouldn’t be very keen on the new art addition. But I certainly didn’t want to waste a perfectly good canvas, so I decided to give the canvas a new life!
I’m sure you guys have all seen the crayon art craze all over Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about….the crayons glued onto a canvas with the color dripping down the piece of art. I know you’ve seen it before! That look isn’t exactly my style (maybe if I had a kids room or playroom to decorate!), but I still wanted to do something fun using crayons.
So, I ordered a box of 120 crayons off of Amazon and started to plan my new masterpiece…
First step, cover the naked man! 3 coats of white acrylic paint did the trick for me. I soon had a blank canvas that was ready for some color.
Then it was time to peel the crayons. I decided to go with a color palette of blues, grays, greens, and purples…mostly cool tones. So I took out all of the crayons that I wanted to use and put the rest of the colors away.
Time to get peeling…
I asked Finn to help me peel the paper off of the crayons and after attempting crayon #1, he instantly headed to Google to try to find an easier method. Turns out there is a very easy way to peel crayons…just throw them in cold water! The paper magically peeled right off. Who knew?!
When all of my crayons were peeled, I got out my trusty hair dryer and got ready to “paint” my canvas.
I wasn’t in love with the idea of having melted crayon wax all over your countertop. So I put down a tarp and put the canvas inside a cardboard box while working. You could definitely do this outside if you don’t want to make a mess inside your home.
When my working area was ready, I got down to business. I simply put my hair dryer on the lowest & hottest settings and held a crayon on the canvas as I went. I found that if I went to a higher setting, the crayon wax would fly out everywhere and it got a bit messy, so low is the way to go. As the crayon melted and became drippy, I tilted the canvas all around so the color would spread. Then I grabbed another crayon and did it again, working my way around the canvas. Really there is no right or wrong way to do this. Just be adventurous and layer colors on top of one another. I also recommend stepping back every few minutes to see how it looks from afar.
Rookie Tip #1: Don’t burn your fingers! The hair dryer can get really hot on your hand when you’re holding the crayon. Try to just hold the crayon on the end, or you could even spear it with a skewer to keep your fingers away from the heat. As your crayons get smaller, you’re more likely to get burned, so just be careful!
Rookie Tip #2: If I wasn’t loving a color, I would often lighten it up with a white or light gray crayon on top of it. It gave the color a cool diluted, ombre effect.
For now, I’m enjoying the end result…I mean it’s a heck of a lot better than my naked man. It’s definitely different, and very abstract. I love the pop of color it brings to our space, and it has a cool drippy watercolor effect to it. Art is totally subjective, so if this isn’t your style I totally get it. It was just kinda fun to step outside of my comfort zone to channel my inner artist.
So there you have it…the story of the naked man. He has come a long way from standing heroically on the beach…to being covered in melted crayon. I think I’d take the new colorful crayon art any day (sorry dude!)
So what do you think of the melted crayon craze? Have you jumped on board?
How many of you are totally TV in the bedroom people? I’m talking that bad boy is on your dresser, you watch your favorite shows in bed, and you fall asleep to it on every night. (I’m guessing maybe a majority??)
Now, how many of you say “no way” to a television in the boudoir? Perhaps you’re more of a TV in the family room type group?
Well..we’ve recently switched over to the “no TV in the bedroom” camp. Yep. It happened, and we haven’t looked back.
See we were barely ever watching our television in the bedroom. The only time it was ever really used was when I would watch the news in the morning as I got ready for work. Seemed kinda silly to have a huuuge black box on our dresser, to be used only 30 minutes a day. So we sold that sucker and we were then left with a very bare, very sad looking bedroom dresser area.
I did my best to accessorize and stage the area, but it still needed a little somethin’ somethin’.
No matter what I put on the dresser, everything just looked puny on the big gray wall. I knew that I was in need of some serious height to draw the eye up and away from that large, dark, piece of furniture.
I didn’t want to create another gallery wall, because we have one we love in our hallway. Instead, I decided that I should use the same picture ledge frames that I used for my brother’s record wall. That way I could still incorporate some of our favorite pictures and “art” into our master bedroom, and I could easily change out each frame whenever I wanted.
Our New Picture Ledges
One quick trip to Ikea, (okay who am I kidding, it’s never quick. There’s just so much pretty stuff to gaze at…) and I was all set to tackle this project.
I picked up 2 white picture ledges and a wide variety of black and white frames. I hemmed and hawed over going all black, or going all white, but ultimately I decided to do the two-tone look. It worked out great and I was able to pull from a wide variety of frames that we already owned.
Just as I did for my brother’s record wall, I used wall anchors and screws to get these up and secure. It didn’t take me more than 30 minutes with my power drill. Honestly, the hardest part was figuring out how to arrange the frames, and then what to put inside each one!
I ended up filling each frame with an assortment of meaningful items. Above I have some cool vintage keys, a Chicago greeting card, and I also framed one of our save the dates (you can read more about those right here).
Here’s some scrabble wall art that I made a few years ago. It’s traveled along with us from place to place, and it somehow always finds a place in our home. We’re big gamers and this shows off our competitive spirit.
Now this is by far my favorite piece on the wall. It is actually an old letter written by my great-grandmother. This year for Christmas, my grandma made each of the grandchildren a book of letters from her mom. It’s over 50 pages long and it is all handwritten. In it, she outlines her entire life…from her childhood in the 1890’s, up until she wrote these letters in 1981. I read it cover to cover right away. I laughed, I cried, I loved every single minute of it. It is a gift I will treasure forever and I wanted to display one small piece of it in our home. So, I chose my favorite page and framed it for this wall.
I have a few other fun things up there and it is still constantly changing. I love that I can just change out a picture, a print, or an art piece, anytime inspiration strikes.
Even though our television is gone, this wall is still plenty entertaining. It’s filled with our favorite memories and some of the best times from our lives…and to us, it doesn’t get any better than that.
It’s not even February, but the mushy-gushy-lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day blog posts have already begun. And yes, we’ve hopped aboard the love train (yup, that love train.). As we said in this post, we’re not head over heels in love with this holiday, instead we are pretty smitten with “love” all year round. Today’s project is something that is definitely fitting for that upcoming holiday, but it’s also pretty awesome for any ol’ day of the year.
We’ve created 2 FREE PRINTABLES for you guys to enjoy, each featuring “our song” with our handsome +1’s.
First up, Casey & Finn’s printable showcases the song “Everything” by Michael Buble. It’s been a favorite of theirs since high school and (spoiler alert!) they’ll be dancing to it at their October wedding. Like these two aren’t cute enough?! Now they get to share a first dance to a song they’ve probably been practicing since high school.
Our song is “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli. Ironically, it was the first dance we ever danced to when we were dating, so it just seemed like the perfect choice to share our official first dance to. Plus, Matt and I like to think we’re pretty old fashioned, which seems accurately reflected in this classic.
We suggest printing out your favorite printable onto cardstock, framing it, and giving it to that special someone. Or keep it for yourself and add it to your gallery wall! Either way we know every time you look at this bad boy you’ll have one of these songs stuck in your head #sorrywe’renotsorry
I know it is just a bunch of frames randomly grouped together and then hung on a wall. I get it, it’s not that revolutionary. But I just love them, and I personally think they’re a must for every home. Gallery walls work out great because you don’t have to commit to a big piece of pricey art, and you can constantly change out the prints in the frames for a new look.
When we moved in, I immediately scoured our place for a great gallery wall spot. There were limited areas, but I decided to go with a narrow wall in the front hallway. Front hallway = maximum exposure to all of our guests.
It wasn’t a heck of a lotta space, but I knew I could squeeze in at least a dozen frames on there. I would just have to be picky with what would make the cut.
I first gathered all of my frames, as well as the necessary hanging supplies.
In the past, I’ve always hung my frames with a good ol’ hammer and nails. But I’ve recently been introduced to these awesome velcro command strips. They are very easy to apply and don’t ruin your walls. (hello security deposit, I’m getting you back!)
Whenever I’m hanging something on the wall, I always use the “wrapping paper trick.” I measure each of my frames, and then cut out corresponding pieces of wrapping paper for every one. Then I just use some tape and move them around the wall until I come up with a pattern that I like.
After plenty of readjusting, this is the pattern I came up with on our wall.
I then laid out the matching frames directly on the floor in front of the wall.
Once I got it the way I liked it, I just followed the instructions on the strips and got to hanging! It was tedious, but my gallery wall was up and hanging in no time at all.
Then it was time for the fun part…filling those frames!
I tried to keep the same color scheme throughout all of the white frames (blues & grays), and went with both pictures and prints.
I made this above piece of “art.” I simply took some of our old love letters, found some of my favorite lines, and cut them out in the shape of a heart. A little glue and paper finished off my romantic masterpiece.
I found this free printable from the fabulous Sarah Dorsey Designs right here. She has 6 colors you can choose from to download and print right at home. Let’s be honest, I’m a sucker for anything with a map.
With lots of intimidation and quite a bit of hesitation, I decided to create a pallet sign to add to his patio. (Enter some serious muscle).
I enlisted my better half to carry this way-heavier-than-I-expected pallet home from a dumpster nearby. (I say “nearby” loosely… more like 1/2 mile of trucking this thing home). Poor Matt, such a team player.
After we he got this bad boy home, we got to work tearing the wood apart.
Tearing the Pallet Apart
Needless to say, the muscle part of this duo took care of most of this demolition as well.
Thanks to Matt, we were left with some weathered pallet wood that would eventually make up the Pallet Sign.
We laid out a rough draft of the sign and decided that the tiny pallet leftovers just weren’t sturdy enough to back this heavy sign. We headed to Home Depot to buy some new wood.
But first, these dangerously scary nails needed to go. With the back of a hammer and some more muscle, we got those last nails out in no time.
To identify how big our strips of wood needed to from Home Depot, the project manager did some measuring.
Since the whole sign was 21 inches long, we picked out one long strip of wood and had it cut down (for free) to 20 inches. The total at Home Depot for the wood, a whopping 97 cents.
Reconstruction of the pallet sign
After we did some more measuring and re-adjusting, we were ready to nail. One pallet board at a time, we leveled, and used these nails to secure the boards.
Now, the fun part– adding a “little” finish to the already weathered pallet strips. I didn’t want to add a fresh coat of pure paint onto this sign because I figured that would eliminate the vintage charm this wood already offers. However, without a little color I knew the wood was just too unfinished for my dad’s style. The compromise: watering down paint to give it a vintage washed look.
I used a small jar of an old paint sample for my paint base. #hugemoneysaver. Instead of buying an entire gallon, Home Depot will create a sample of any paint color you choose for around $3. How could you beat that?
Before I took my (paint + water) concoction to the pallet sign, I sampled it on a piece of leftover wood. If you want the darker look, use less paint. I wanted my finish to be a little lighter, so I added more water to the paint. There’s no rhyme or reason to my mixture, I just kept adding a little bit of water until the consistency was exactly what I was looking for. It’s sort of like creating the perfect pancake mix… kinda?
Some of the pallet wood absorbed more of the paint than others; giving those strips a darker look. Clearly each strip looks a little different, which was A-ok with me! The more weathered charm, the better.
The next step: adding some words! I traced some letters that I printed off the of computer with a pencil.
I filled in the lines with a few itty-bitty artsy paintbrushes and some white paint.
About an hour and a half later, I was so excited to present this treasure to my pops.
Pallet Wood……… Free
Backing Wood…. $0.97
Paint………………. already had it
paint brushes……. already had them
Total Cost: $2.27
A personalized gift….. Priceless
P.S. Come check out this DIY pallet sign and the amazing patio we added it to!
Happy Memorial Day! I took some extra time this weekend to finish up my DIY project for Challenge Loop’s #RookieDIY Challenge. Finally, I motivated myself to finish a DIY project that has been on the to-do list for quite a while now. So with no further ado, let me take you on the journey that led to my new obsession: Nautical GALLERY WALL #RookieDIY
The master bedroom at the Longview Lodge used to look like this…
The wood wall, stripes, hints of coral and port-hole-like mirror create a nautical feel that is perfect for this east-coast wanna be. I love that this room has a relaxing, stress-free, laid back feel… almost like the beach, without all of the annoying sand.
From the time we moved into this house, I was loving the progress of the master bedroom, but I always felt like it was missing a little something.
This wall, the wall that you look at as you enter the room, was just too plain. For the past few months, I’ve been pouring over the shelves of every department store, specialty store, discount store, thrift shop, and garage sale for the perfect piece to add some flavor to this boring beige. I just couldn’t find a piece that screamed… “Buy me, buy me!” Sooo… after some serious pinspiration, I decided to create a nautical inspired Gallery Wall centered around a DIY wood sign that I have created. (more details about the DIY sign later).
My mission: To find “stuff” to center around my rustic sign.
I patiently started adding pieces to a pile that I referred to as the gallery wall’s “pile of potential.” I knew I wanted my DIY wood sign to be the center of attention, but I kept my eyes out for additional nautical inspired stuff to the “Gallery”.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer is: be patient. I seriously wish we were able to hang the gallery wall months ago, but I didn’t want to rush the process and hang something that I wasn’t head-over-heels in L.O.V.E. with.
Literally, after months and months of adding to the pile of potential, I was confident that I was finally ready to hang.
I laid out the pile of potential, rearranged the grouping several times, ditched some of the pieces and finally came up with a lay-out that I was happy with. There was no rhyme or reason for this lay-out, I just ended up liking it the best, so I ran with it… or in this case, “swam” with it. (Sorry, I had to)
Each piece has its own meaning, and all together, create a look that I was so, so excited to finally add to the boring beige. And that’s exactly what we did!
Ta-da! Unfortunately, I don’t really have a play-by-play of our hanging process because there was no logical method. With a hammer, some nails, a pencil and a level, we hung each piece until they were all up. Our philosophy: Eyeball, hang, repeat.
I’m so glad I waited until I was completely happy with the layout before hanging the gallery. Rushing the process would have forced me to hang a piece that I wasn’t completely in love with, and I know I would have regretted that every single time I looked at this masterpiece.
As far as I am concerned, this gallery wall is the perfect addition to our relaxing, nautical inspired bedroom. I feel like I have stepped into a beach cottage every time I cuddle up, and quickly realize it’s not a summer getaway every morning I hear my alarm ring at 6:00 am.
No vacation here, don’t let the lobster fool you.
Let’s check back at the dramatic before & after.
From boring beige…
… to nautical gallery wall!
Check back next week as I give you the details behind each item up there. The “Chestnut meets Mayfield” sign is a DIY project, and the rest are local steals! Costs, store breakdowns, DIY details… I’ll dish it all next week.
Now that my Challenge Loop project has been submitted, you can find me curb side enjoying the neighborhood parade with my right hand man. I hope you are also enjoying time off with your family and friends on this special holiday.
Tune in tomorrow morning for Casey’s Challenge Loop project, and don’t forget that you can still submit your challenge loop projects. All projects due Wednesday… don’t be late! #spokenlikeatrueteacher
I have a tough time living in the present. Instead of enjoying the blessings of today, I find that I’m constantly looking forward to what tomorrow may bring. I’m anxious about the future. Whether it’s me getting excited for the upcoming weekend, or me looking forward to the day I can move home to Chicago to be closer to my family. I’m always daydreaming about what is to come.
Instead of living in the moment, soaking up every minute of right now…I’m fretting about the unknown that tomorrow brings.
The thing is I know this about myself. I’m actively, consciously trying to be better at it. But I need a daily reminder to help me remember to enjoy all of the wonderfulness that my life has right here, right now.
Today’s DIY project is exactly the reminder I need.
I’ve seen this project before in the blogosphere and I always thought it was pretty darn neat. But, I never really had a great quote that I wanted to use. Until now…
Finn & I have had many long chats about “living in the moment” and he struggles with it just like I do. He is actually the one that came up with this little quote. (who knew I was marrying such a poet!? His list of skills just keeps growing…) “LIVE NOT IN FEAR OF THE FUTURE, OR IN REGRET OF THE PAST. BUT EMBRACE THE MOMENT, AND MAKE IT LAST.”
Once I had the right quote, I had to find the perfect canvas to display it on. I knew I wanted the canvas to be big enough to make an impact in our home, but I didn’t want to spend big bucks on a new large canvas.
That’s when New Uses came into play. The perimeter of the store is lined with so.much.art. Canvases, picture frames, artwork…there are literally hundreds of pieces to choose from.
After perusing the store, I scooped up this bad boy. It was exactly what I was looking for with the bulky frame, light muted paint colors, and large size. I couldn’t wait to bring it home and get to work.
My first step was to paint the frame. The muted green wasn’t bad at all, but I wanted my colored letters to pop, so I decided to go with an all white frame.
I popped out the canvas and got to work whitening the border up.
All I needed was gloves, a mask, spray primer, and white spray paint.
I prepped the surface of the frame (wipe clean of any dirt & dust) and then did a light coat of the white primer. The next day I did a light coat of the semi-gloss white spray paint.
While the frame dried, I got to work on the canvas.
For this portion of the project, all you really need is sticky letters. I found mine in the scrapbooking section of Jo-ann fabric for $1.50 a sheet. I ended up having to go back to the store for more letters, simply because I kept running out of the letter “E”. (There are 12 “E”‘s in my quote!)
I used a ruler and a pencil to make sure everything was spaced out evenly.
Next I peeled off the letters and stuck them to the canvas. At this point, Finn caught a sneak peek of the project. He said it looked like a kidnapper’s ransom note with the different fonts and colors. #thanksbuddy
The last step was to simply give it a few light coats of white spray paint.
Tip: Make sure your letters are sticking well onto the canvas. You don’t want any little areas to pop up and get paint underneath them.
Carefully peel the letters off when your paint is fully dry.
I am totally in L-O-V-E with this piece. It is currently sitting on our dresser in our master bedroom. It serves as a great reminder to us every single morning to appreciate all that today offers.
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