Colored Pencil Play Date - Snow Drop Love

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Snow Drop Love - a beginner class in Colored Pencil Play Date 2015 ©CindyRippe2015
I taught this class in the online workshop "Colored Pencil Play Date".  14 teachers and 16 projects over the course of 16 weeks.  Students were able to watch the video lessons at their leisure and create new projects along with each teacher as many times as they like for 9 months.

I sketched the idea for this design around Valentine's Day.   Taking a few creative liberties, with the way the plant actually grows, I styled it like a heart.  The flowers nodding toward each other was originally sketched to create a more pleasing design but I noticed later that it looks like they are connecting with each other.  Like two flowers in love.  My class started the week that Spring began so the Snow Drop seemed like a good choice.

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12 ESV

The importance of Color Charts - What I found in my Studio Today

Working with Color Charts
Working with Color Charts ©CindyRippe2015
OK... so this post is part of my "What I Found in my Studio Today" series  EXCEPT that it should be entitled "What I couldn't find in my Studio Today!".   You see, I've been working on a video for the upcoming Colored Pencil Play Date online class about Color Charts.  It's something I've done for many years while I've worked as a Designer for the Creative Industries.   There were times that companies would provide me with samples of their products.  I would create the color charts as part of my process to research the paint/pencils/fabrics etc.

When I prepared to record the video this week I searched everywhere for those charts.  You may remember that I've downsized my studio. Well there are BOXES and BOXES of supplies and reference material that I haven't put away yet. I thought they were pretty well sorted but... apparently not enough.  

As I was looking through my digital files, for an image to use for facebook post, this picture popped up.  I can't remember why I took the picture but I'm glad that I did.  I was with my friend Kelly Hoernig as she taught a colored pencil class.  She let me come along for the ride and I worked in the back of the class on my own projects.  

So.. back to the Importance of Color Charts....most paints, colored pencils and markers look very different in their packaging.  If you take the time to make samples you'll see what they look like on the surface you normally use.  It's so much easier to choose colors this way. 

Art is the triumph over chaos. John Cheever


Holding Hands - Staying Strong in the Journey

Mom, Caregivers, Family, Dementia, Hospice, Cindy Rippe
Bev, Mom and I holding hands ©CindyRippe2014
Haven't been blogging much lately.  Mom is on hospice.  Each day is a new adventure.  It's been a very long journey.  Not often easy.  We don't have much help but we are lucky we don't have to struggle alone.  The help we DO have is good and very much appreciated for sure.  On those days that we wonder just how much longer we can stand it somehow we pull it together and make it through another day.  She has declined so rapidly the last few weeks that we aren't sure how much longer she'll be with us.  We've talked about her faith and I'm sure I'll see her again some day.  But I will miss her.

She's been very loving and appreciates all the help we give her now.  It wasn't like that most of her illness. She now holds our hands, gives us a kiss and says "I love you" or "Thank You". I think of it as a gift from God.  He knows we are tired and need to have loving memories to carry in our heart after the struggle ends.  We are all ready.  Dad is waiting for her too.

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. - Psalms 16






Nature's Peace for the Human Spirit

Creek at Pilcher Park. Joliet, IL ©CindyRippe2014 
Instead of sitting in the waiting room at the Auto Repair center today I took advantage of the free car rental option in my warranty and headed to the woods.  I've posted pictures from the greenhouse at Pilcher Park before but this one is from the Nature Trail.

I was in search of Virginia Bluebells and there were millions of them.  Waves of the bell shaped blue flowers covered the landscape.  I will be posting pictures of them soon, along with an assortment of other spring flowers, but wanted to share this picture first.  The creek winds through the woods along the trail and was incredibly peaceful today.  If you look closely in the upper left you can see some of the bluebells growing under the trees.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. Author Unknown

A reminder to get creative - Flora's Art Adventures

Flora enjoys the Hyacinths at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show - ©CindyRippe2014
Quote by - Rainer Maria Rilke
Flora sits on the shelf above my painting desk in the studio.  She has been watching me walk by the room without coming inside.  She sees me in the kitchen through the open door of the studio as I'm busy making meals and when I pass by on my way out the back door.  I have been working but it's mostly marketing and accounting lately.

I can imagine her tapping her foot, crossing her arms and thinking, "What the heck are you doing? You should be in here creating something new!" I think I have a mix of Spring Fever, as I get a glimpse of flowers and new growth on a warm day, and then get totally bummed out and depressed because it's still cold here most days.

OK, Flora.... next week I'll come back to the studio and we'll get creative.  Until then I get to spend time with the family on this glorious Easter weekend.  Looks like we're FINALLY going to have nice weather again.

The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. Robert Flatt 

Easter and a Cross to Paint on.


Blessings Cross by Cindy Wollenzien 

My friend, Cindy, has been making these crosses.  They are so perfect for Easter as well as for every day wall decor. We've been collaborating a bit on the project and I've decided that I'd like to paint a white rose on the bowl.Another friend, Mary Jo Leisure, paints beautiful roses on many different surfaces.  I think one of her designs would be lovely.

 Mary Jo Leisure's Art Play Date Project
Design by Mary Jo Leisure


Isn't this a perfect gift for the dining room or kitchen wall?  Contact me in the comment section if you'd like to purchase one to paint on too!

Come Lord Jesus be our Guest; 
And let these gifts to us be blessed.

Cooking up a little Spring in the Kitchen

My kitchen island this week - ©CindyRippe2014
My love of flowers and plants expands beyond the art that I create.  I've been forcing spring bulbs each year under the skylights in my studio for about 15 years now.  This is the first year that I'm officially working more from my home studio so the bulbs needed to go somewhere else.  They ended up lined up along my antique oak cabinet in the middle of the kitchen. There's more light coming in the windows this time of year so the plants are doing well.  I have to turn them often as they reach back toward the light but it's become a bit of a morning ritual.

Once the plants finish blooming they'll be moved to the basement under grow lights until I can plant them in the yard for the summer.  Just thought you might like a peek into another part of my life.

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.  Ruth Stout

Tiffany Stained Glass Poppies - Flora's Art Adventures


 Pair of Poppies by Louis Comfort Tiffany on display at Navy Pier Chicago - Photo ©CindyRippe2014

For one of our art adventures, Flora and I went to Navy Pier in Chicago to see the stained glass exhibit. Our favorite was this poppy design by L.C. Tiffany. Don't you love all the patterns in the handmade glass?

 Flora's Art Adventure with Tiffany glass Poppies

Flora was so happy that she wanted to dance among the flowers!  For more information about stained glass like this click HERE.

Sketching Orchids - Flora's Art Adventures


Orchid Show 2014, Chicago Botanic Gardens, Flora's Friday Art Adventures, Cindy Rippe, Drawing, Art Mannequin
Flora gets up close to check out the details of the orchids.©CindyRippe2014
Today I took Flora with me to the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  It's the last weekend of their Orchid Show and I didn't want to miss it.  There were thousands and thousands of flowers and even though the March winds were chilly today,it was nice and warm inside the greenhouses.  Flora and I want to thank Amy Litner for helping us get up close to the flowers and take this picture.

Chicago Botanic Garden, Orchid Show 2014, Flora's Art Adventures on Fridays, CindyRippe.blogspot.com, ┬ęCindyRippe
Relaxing by  the greenhouse where it was nice and warm. ©CindyRippe2014
Actually this is just one of my 15 minute sketches.  When you sketch a flower it makes you look closer at the details and you learn more about the plant. Why don't you try making a few sketches?  They aren't meant to be a perfect, finished, drawing.   Just a way to "see" the shapes that make up an object.  No pressure, just fun!

Great art picks up where nature ends. Marc Chagall


Spring Fever?

Snow in the Garden, Chicago Area Snowstorm, CindyRippe.blogspot.com,
Illinois Snow - March 12 - ©CindyRippe2014
I'm warm and cozy in the studio today working on new designs but thought I'd share a few pictures of one of our snow storms.  I am SO grateful for our neighbor, Adolph, On days like this he clears our sidewalks with the snow plow.  This is one of those really wet and heavy snows.  It's pretty but not easy to clean up!  Also thankful for all the times that Lee cuts Adolph's grass in the summer.  Lee likes the heat and Adolph doesn't mind the cold so it works out for all of us.  Speaking of work.  It's back to work for me as I long for some beautiful Spring weather for the garden.

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  Mark Twain

Creative Dreams - Flora's Art Adventures

Art Mannequin, Dreaming is another form of thinking - CindyRippe.blogspot.com
Not much Art being made around here lately - Flora's Friday Art Adventures
I've spent most of my time here lately.  On the couch, catching up on all the episodes of Doc Martin, sleeping and getting over whatever flu bug went around this year.  On the days I felt a little better I spent the time at my sister's house with Mom and rested on her couch.  This sounds so depressing, I know, but the truth is that I did a lot of dreaming about my future art projects. My creative mind was in overdrive. I have a cuckoo clock project to finish but in my dream it became an entire story about how time was created in a garden.  There were also Angels, flowers made of clock gears (which is the project I started before getting sick) and bees instead of a bird coming out of the clock. Each dream was different but with the same theme. I also planned a trip to Port Isaac in Cornwall, England (the village where they film Doc Martin).  So overall I'm not as depressed as I could be about missing the creative side of my design business.  I accomplished more than I thought I would!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Flora's Art Adventures - Helping with a Lily Study for Art Play Date

Flora's Art Adventures, Stargazer Lily, Art Mannequin, Art Play Date Project, CindyRippe.blogspot.com
Flora helps out with the Lily Drawings today - ©CindyRippe2014
I'm working on my project for Art Play Date and Flora was a big help.  I was able to move the flowers around to study each angle. Her bendable arms really helped!  Most of the time I use a scientific clip to hold the stem of flowers, while sketching, but this was a lot more fun.


To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.  Beverly Nichols




Flora loves Pink - Valentine's Day

Pink, Hearts, Vintage Rose print, Flora Art Mannequin, Caregivers, 1 John  4:19, Cindy Rippe, Family, Caregivers
Flora loves Pink - ©CindyRippe2015
Happy Valentine's Day!  Lee and I don't have any fancy dinner plans and we don't buy expensive gifts for each other but we do take the time to recognize how lucky we are.  We know that our relationship is special and realize that it is a blessing.

This post is supposed to be about Flora's Art Adventures today but I've been pretty busy as a caregiver and helping family members and there hasn't been enough time for art.  But I guess that's what love is all about and I'm lucky to be here on earth to celebrate that love and those relationships.

So I'm spending my Valentine's Day today taking care of Mom and loving all the pink that I see in the holiday decorations around me.

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 

Fabric Painting Fun - Flora's Art Adventures

Bella, Flora and Sage have a painting party ©CindyRippe2015
Bella and her doll, Sage, came to visit for a few days. As usual, we worked on projects and she has a great time in my "craft room" sampling things like washi tapes, paints, colored pencils and more.  Today we decided to make a blanket for Sage.  One of the easiest ways to personalize a fabric design is to use Pentel Fabric Fun Dye sticks on pre-printed cotton fabric.  The line work and shading is already on this fabric panel.  I just taped it to a foam core board and Bella used the dye sticks like crayons to fill in the design.  Of course, Flora was on hand with suggestions for colors and technique.

Close up of the fabric print - I'm sorry that I don't remember the manufacturer.

Bella really enjoys this easy project. ©CindyRippe2014
Just fill the design with color and iron to set the dyes.
I love the fact that this product is permanent when heat set (follow product instructions) but will wash out before ironed. This eliminates the worry about kids ruining their clothes with dye.  The hardest part of teaching a project like this is that it's so smooth to apply that the kids can get carried away with their scribbles. By the time it's ironed it will soften a little and become a little more translucent so the scribbles won't matter as much.

Painting on the Go - Flora's Art Adventures

Mom was feeling a little better so I set her up with watercolors at the hospital ©CindyRippe2014
I was thinking that the title of this post "Painting on the Go" should probably be "Painting when you're stuck in Bed" but it works for both I guess. I've spent so much time away from the studio lately that I started figuring out ways to bring a few creative tools with me.  I had my book of Peerless Water Color Sheets, a brush and one sheet of watercolor paper with me while visiting Mom at the hospital yesterday.  She started feeling better so I drew a quick vine on the paper, set her up with a paper cup, water, brush and the design.
She really enjoyed painting for a while.  Flora helped by hold the water color book and Mom thought that was pretty funny. She has "busy hands" syndrome now with her Dementia and this will help.  There are a few other things that she can do but both Flora and I are partial to this one!  I bought her a set of Crayola watercolors today (washable) that she can use at home. I wish I would have thought about bringing one of my Aquash™ Water Brushes with.  That would have been even easier for her to use.   No worries about knocking over the cup of water.

I have another kit set up for painting acrylic washes with pen and ink.  I'll show you that one later.  

Flora wants to know what is in YOUR travel art kit?

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Starting the Countdown to Spring -

Record cold temperatures and snow this year ©CindyRippe2014
I just checked the Spring Countdown widget.  I'm ready for this stuff to ease up a little!  At the same time I have to admit that it's made me extremely grateful for my cozy little house, warm coat, a car that works and has heated seats and that the snow has been (most of the time) easier to shovel.

All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within.  Horace Friess

Art Treasures - Time to share with others! Flora's Art Adventures

Flora tries to help out with my book sale - Flora's Art Adventures - ©CindyRippe2014

This week I've been moving more art supplies from the big studio to my home studio. Part of the process is downsizing.  Sorting through what I have left. I've donated the basic supplies to schools, churches and decorative painting books in the past.  Found that I was not wanting to part with anything... these are treasures to me!

After realizing that I haven't done anything with the books for a ling time I decided to start selling them.  Flora agrees with me on both counts.  They are wonderful tools to learn by and I don't have the room for them now!

Please help us out and visit my ongoing sales on facebook.  I'll be posting them in "destashing" groups and will let you know when each group is listed on my Cindy Rippe - Artist facebook page.  To make sure you don't miss any of the the bargains (there will be much more than just books eventually) CLICK LIKE on my page

To make sure you see my posts CLICK the little arrow which will give you a drop down menu. Then CHECK the Show in News Feed link.    THANKS!  I'll see you there!




Decorating my Datebook - Mixed Media - Flora's Art Adventures

The Documented Life Project, Artistic Calendar, Daily Planner with Mixed Media Techniques, Pen & Ink with Colored Pencil, Washi Tape page edges, Decoupage, Acrylic Color Wash, ©Cindy Rippe2014
Flora's been helping me with my 2014 Daily Planner - Mixed Media Techniques - ©CindyRippe2014
For the last few years I've been using a planner that has a full page for each day. (more room to write the lists that I love to make)  The DayMinder that I bought this year doesn't have monthly calendar pages or dividers.  I decided to get creative and make it fun. Flora inspired me to paint flowers, but then again, that's the first thing I think of when designing a new project anyway.

The Documented Life Project, Watercolor paper dividers for the months, layering Acrylic Wash, Colored Pencil, Pen & Ink, Washi Tape, Narcissus Flower and Bulb, ©CindyRippe2014
Before and after - Mixed Media Daily Planner for 2014 - ©CindyRippe
I cut page dividers and tip-outs (pages that fold out) from watercolor paper. If I do this project again I would use bristol board, the watercolor is a little thicker than I like but it worked.

After drawing a blank calendar template on the monthly pages I taped the edges with washi tape (butterflies by Tim Holtz) and then taped the divider directly onto the first page of each month with matte transparent tape.  While sketching a flower for each month I laid a piece of tracing paper on the top of the template.  My original intention was to only paint/sketch over the blank squares but as you can see I got carried away. I just reinforced the inked dates and lines after I finished painting.  Freehand sketching gave me the freedom to make the plant grow in any direction that I like.

Each page has a different color scheme that I carried out to the border with a wash of acrylic paint.  I painted right over the transparent and washi tapes.  I chose one butterfly on the washi tape to paint and detail (SEE ARROW above)  To add more color to overall look of the planner the tip-out pages and loose "TODAY" divider are decoupaged with scrapbook papers. (not shown here)  I used matte medium for that.


Intro to Watercolors - Flora's Art Adventure

Flora's Friday Art Adventures - Jan 10, 2014, What Color is Love?, CindyRippe.blogspot.com, Intro to Watercolors, Cindy Rippe, Family Art Projects
Samantha and Flora learn to mix watercolors ©CindyRippe2014
We celebrated Samantha's birthday last night.  She's a budding artist and wants to use "real" art supplies now.  I don't get to see this part of our family very often so last night was a special treat for me.  Flora came along for the fun too!  We gave Samantha a set of watercolors for her birthday present and I brought the rest of the supplies for the kids to play with.

Flora's Friday Art Adventures - Jan 10, 2014, CindyRippe.blogspot.com, Intro to Watercolors, Cindy Rippe, Family Art Projects
Nolan, Samantha, Cash and Flora mix watercolors and we have a great time! ©CindyRippe2014
During our Art Time I told them all about Flora, how to use watercolors; along with the reason for the special palette, brushes, papers and mixing the colors to make new ones.  They are all so smart!  They shared their own insights and things they've already learned with me.  We had several discussions about pigments and how crayons have pigment in a wax base, oil pastels are pigment in an oil base, watercolors are water based, etc.  They already have a basic understanding of the color wheel but were eager to learn more.  I can't wait to have more mini art lessons with them and hope to continue with the rest of my nieces and nephews, and of course my granddaughter, Bella, very soon through the magic of the internet.  We have been crafting together since they were babies but now that they are growing up we're ready to move on to "real" art!

I've been playing with watercolors again in my sketchbook and Drawing Devotions project and this was a way for me to share my inspiration with them.  I had a wonderful time and we imagined that Flora did too!

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

Winter Snow - Blessings and Exhaustion

Garden in Winter, Garden Shed, Birdhouse with snow, Aristotle quote about Nature, Cindy Rippe, Florals-Family-Faith
Snow on the Garden Shed - photo ©CindyRippe2014 - quote by Aristotle
Last night I was in awe as I watched the snow fall in the back yard at midnight.  I knew it would lead to work today, and boy oh boy, was I right!  After 3 hours of shoveling out cars and clearing paths for two houses we decided to shop for groceries too!  You know how it goes, "while we are out we might as well do it"....

As we pulled up to the front of the house we realized that we needed to start all over again because the snow just hasn't stopped yet.  We did the work, then I dealt with all the wet clothes while Lee put groceries away and both grumbled about being exhausted.

By the time I made it from the front of the house to the back door with the clothes my mood changed in an instant.  There I was again ... marveling at the beauty just outside my own back door!  I love how the snow is piled high on the bird feeder and twig wreath.  It's even hanging on to the edge of the little trowels that we used to make the door handles.  So.. right now I'm feeling blessed with this pretty view of my garden shed, and lucky to be inside our cozy little house drying out those boots and coats.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.  Aristotle

Snow Falling Soundlessly in the Middle of the Night

Snow Falling Tonight - ©CindyRippe 2014  Quote from Missin' by ― Novala Takemoto
It's been snowing .... again... since this afternoon.  Sounds like it will continue for several more days but that's not unusual for January in Northern Illinois.  Now that my kids have made it safely home after a long day of travel I can enjoy the beauty.  I probably won't enjoy shoveling, or driving in it, so much tomorrow though!

It's almost midnight and for this moment, this quiet and peaceful moment looking out of my back door, I can enjoy this "Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night".

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields...  It covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.  Lewis Carroll



Flora - The Adventurous Art Mannequin

Flora's Art Adventures, Flora on Fridays, Cindy Rippe, Florals-Family-Faith, cindyrippe.blogspot.com
Introducing - Flora - ©CindyRippe2014
Introducing Flora!  The Adventurous Art Mannequin.  Congratulations, Marge Kelly Coughlin, for suggesting the winning name. Your prize package will be sent out right away. THANK YOU to all of you that participated with so many wonderful suggestions in the comment section below and through several facebook groups and my Cindy Rippe - Artist page.  We thought carefully about each one, were inspired by your creativity, and enjoyed a few laughs along the way!

Watch for Flora's Art Adventures right here; on the Florals, Family and Faith blog.

Lighting our Way to a Happy New Year - 2014

Illuminations display at Morton Arboretum, A positive destination in 2014, Jeremiah 29:11, New Year quote unknown author, Cindy Rippe, Florals, Family and Faith
Illuminations Display at Morton Arboretum - The perfect backdrop for a bright new year!  ©CindyRippe2013
We're having a quiet evening at home as we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014.  It's snowing and really cold outside tonight so we are feeling blessed inside our warm little house, thinking of our loving family and grateful for our health and faith.  Lee is building a Lego kit and I'm gathering the names for the Name the Mannequin contest while we watch old movies on Netflix.

I took this photo at the Morton Arboretum Illuminations display this month. I hope you were able to enjoy some beauty and spend happy times with your friends and family this holiday season.  Best Wishes to you and yours for a wonderful and blessed 2014!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Snowmen and Noah's Ark - Memories and Life Lessons

Snowa's Ark, Acrylic painting on wood, Noah's Ark, Winter painting projects, Cindy Rippe
Snowa's Art ©CindyRippe'97-2013
This little snowman couple decorates my kitchen from Christmas to Valentine's Day.  Actually there are snowmen and snowflakes throughout the entire house.  I used to go crazy with Christmas decorations each year. (emptying the china cabinet to make room for the Santa collection, several trees, garlands over every door and window....you get the picture!)  Once I packed up the Christmas decor the house seemed so plain so that's when the snowmen/snowflakes theme started.  I don't put out as many decorations as I did before but they can be found tucked here and there in each room.

The Snowa's Ark design came about one year when my Creative mind was in overdrive.  I might have even been at Mary Jo Leisure's Design Seminar... not sure.  I was wondering if there was a market for Bible story themed projects.  I painted them in 1997 and have the exact inspiration saved in my original design file but I'm sure you can see the connection.  Noah - Snowa.  Just a little something to make you smile today.

Everything I Need To Know About Life, I Learned From Noah's Ark...
One: Don't miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six: Build your future on high ground.
Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.
Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting!

David Gonzalez





Vintage Blue Santa Board


Victorian Santa with Blue Coat, Pipka painting pattern, Decorative Painted Santa, Cindy Rippe, Florals, Family, Faith
Victorian Style Santa painted in early 1990s by Cindy Rippe
This Santa has been a part of our Christmas decor for over 20 years now. It was one of the early decorative painting projects that I painted from a design by Pipka Ulvilden (I think).  As a member of Illinois Prairie Painters and the Society of Decorative Painters I had the opportunity to take many classes and meet artists from around the world.  This was one of my favorite classes.  It stands almost 3 feet tall and I love his blue coat.  The memories of when he was painted, and having him as part of our Christmas decor each year, warms my heart.

Do you have a favorite Christmas project that has become a treasured part of the decorating traditions at your house?

Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree.  Charlotte Carpenter


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