Our Christmas Nonsense


Buddy the elf quotes

Well we are two days from Christmas and as usual, I’m not ready.  I’m not sure if I’m laughing to myself about it or slightly panicking.  I think it’s a little of both.  This is nothing new.  Everyone that knows me is not the least bit phased by my last minute endeavors and general chaos swirling around me.   But what has me laughing is my mom who keeps walking in my house and exclaiming in sincere surprise, “oh my goodness, it looks like you’re not ready!  You do know Christmas eve is tomorrow?!”   Inside I giggle while simultaneously holding back all the sarcastically peppy replies that are begging to be set free.   It’s my Mom and she is good to me so I try to just grin.  However, it is humorous because she still acts surprised after knowing me for 44 years!  And not to mention Mom, you were at my house just yesterday.  Yep.

So what I have to do today is wrap gifts.  I have been gathering my supplies and I found all the Elf gift tags that I made and have used the last couple of years on my kids’ presents.

Elf quotes gift tags

They are really silly but hey, I have boys and they love that sort of thing.  And I can’t help myself, I’m kind of ridiculous too.  So for all the Elf movie lovers like us who obnoxiously quote Elf all season long, I hope this will make you smile.  I would share them officially with you but since these are likely licensed images I probably should just show you what we do for ourselves and share some great movie quotes so you make your own.

Merry Christmas and don’t be “a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.”


Buddy the Elf….

“First, we’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle!”

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.”

“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

“You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It’s great to be here.

“I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.”

“I am sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”

“It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.”

“Francisco! That’s fun to say! Francisco. Frannncisco. Franciscooo.”

“Buddy the Elf! What’s your favorite color?”

“I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up.”

“You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.”

“Have you seen these toilets? They’re GINORMOUS!”

“Watch out, the yellow ones don’t stop!”

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

“It’s just like Santa’s workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms… and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me…”
“What about Santa’s cookies? I suppose parents eat those too?”

“You sit on a throne of lies!”

‘SON of a NUTcracker!”


“What’s a Christmas-gram? I WANT ONE!”

“He must be a South Pole elf!   He’s an angry elf”

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

DIY Christmas Window Wreaths


Hi Friends!
I received a couple of questions on how I made the lighted wreaths for my windows this year.  So I thought I would attempt to go through what I did and pray it makes sense.

DIY Christmas wreaths

To start with, making window wreaths for all my windows wasn’t part of the Christmas plan.  I’ve thought about it a few times but I always nix the idea because I wasn’t sure how I would hang them.   The problem is, I don’t have double hung windows.  My windows open from the bottom and our top window is stationary.  This means the normal way of hanging the wreath by attaching a ribbon around the wreath, opening up the top window and then closing the window on the ribbon to hold it all won’t work for me.  I love the look or wreaths hanging from a long ribbon and thought about getting up on a ladder and finagling some way to hang them from the trim. That could work but  I don’t own a two story ladder.  Even if I did , I don’t own that many wreaths!   I would need EIGHT.  So you can see there were just a few issues here.  But then a few weeks ago I was in the craft store with my mom and I saw all the plain wreaths out and I just couldn’t help myself.  Next thing I know I am loading 8 of those puppies in the cart and declaring I’m making wreaths this year people!  Who cares if I can’t hang them 😉

So let’s make some wreaths…

The short version

Get some wreaths the right size for your windows
Wire in ball ornaments in a pretty sliver, red and white pattern
Add a bow & lights
Hang and enjoy the beauty.
Have a nice day.



The Long version
 What I used…

  • Wire
  • Hot glue
  • Twine
  • 8 plain inexpensive fake evergreen wreaths.
    •   I acquired 8 wreaths, one for each window.  I have two sizes of windows.  The windows in the center of my house are 34” wide and the side windows on my house are only 20’’ wide.  Because there was so much of a size difference in the windows along the front of my house, I decided to use two different sized wreaths.  I chose 24-inch wreaths for the big windows and 12-inch wreaths for the side windows.  Make sense?
  •   Shiny and matte ball ornaments in red, silver and white .  I used a combination of sizes. From large to small just like I used for the garland project (I explain more about the ornaments needed post and wiring them in my garland  here
  • White pine cones–  each wreath gets three (I just take plain pine cones into the garage and give them a shot of white spray paint.  I ad some left over from last year that I had already glittered but that is not needed.  Plain white is just as good)
  • Lights.  I used a 60 bulb strand of red and white lights.  The same ones I used on the garland project
  • Outdoor ribbon.  You can use regular wired ribbon but it will fade in the sun.  I used it anyway because I don’t mind making bows and I will likely change them from year to year anyway.Christmas Porch


So to start with…

how to make a bow

–          Make your bows. Tutorial here

wired ornaments

Gather your ornaments and wire them.  I basically just wrap wire around the tops and secure with hot glue.

–          Next I lay down my wreaths, fluff and reshape.  I made my kids help me do it.  I believe in free labor! Ha. Yeah they complain but I pretend I don’t hear them and keep going.  Chop chop kids, we got wreaths to build!  #momzsweatshop.  Anyway, the wreaths get smashed in the store and all you have to do is pull and reshape the branches.  It’s not hard, make your kids do it.

quick tipMake sure you ask your husband to help too.  This will very successfully clear the room of teenagers and husbands because they migrate upstairs to avoid helping.  You now can make a nice hot cup of coffee, enjoy the peace and quiet and have total control over the TV while you work. 🙂


Christmas Wreath building

–          I divided up my ornaments evenly among the wreaths –  that way I wouldn’t get carried away putting too many on the first 5 and then have to decorate the last ones sparingly because I was running out of materials.

–          Before I wire anything down, I lay out all the wreaths on my family room floor.  I flop down my bow so I can see how much space it will take up.  There is no sense in adding decorations that will just be covered up by the bow.

building a wreath

–          Now I lay out a pattern. I place 3 pine cones around the wreath, distributed in a triangular shape.

Christmas wreath

–          After that I lay down the ornaments.  I try to make little groups like one big red shiny ball, a medium silver and a small matte red.   Next I may do a large silver and large matte red and small red shiny.  Get the picture?  I try to balance out the use of matte and shiny and color.  The color is predominately red with just accents of silver and white.  It is not an exact pattern; you just want it to be balanced.  With some of mine, I felt like I just dropped the balls on and it looked great right away while others I felt I have to rework like a puzzle because I just couldn’t seem to get it.

dit window wreaths

quick tip  It’s not hard but occasionally if I felt I was getting stuck or over- thinking it, I would just set it aside and focus on something else for a brief period.  A little break always helps me come back with a fresh eye and the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place once again.

–          Now I go back and wire the ornaments down to the form by pulling the wire through and then twisting it.

quick tip When I think I am about done, I hang the wreath from a wreath hanger on a door in my kitchen.  It’s near where I am working.   This helps me to step back and see how the wreath is going to look hanging up and find any problem areas.   I fix any holes or move things around that I may not like.

diy Christmas wreath

–          After I am done attaching all the pine cones and balls, I wire in the bow.

–       The final step is to add the lights.  I take my red and white string of lights that we made and tuck them around the balls and pine cones throughout the wreath.  I used the same size light string on both.  With the smaller sized wreaths, I tucked the excess lights in the back.

quick tipI like to add the lights last so they do not get buried by the ornaments. I also have the lights plugged in when I do this so I can see how the bulbs are being distributed.  It basically just makes it easier to see.   Make sure the  plug comes out the back.

Now they are ready to hang.  My solution for my hanging issue was to tie a string on each side of the wreath from the wire frame on the back.

single hung window

On my windows, I removed my bottom screen and tilted open the bottom window.

I set my wreath out and while holding the strings I tried to get the wreath center on the window.  You will need an extra set of hands.  I had Aaron, my nephew-extraordinaire, come over to help since my family was in hiding.  Just kidding Honey.  He was actually out putting the lights in the bushes for me.  Anyway, I made sure my plug was coming back into the house and then shut the window.

hanging the wreaths

I tied the string around the lock and used white duct tape to secure it.  I attached an extension cord to the plug, added a timer and we were good to go.  So far they have withheld some serious wind here in Cleveland and the haven’t slipped yet.  Thank goodness!

House Lights

I did something different for the big window on the Porch.  I’ll try to show you tomorrow.  Right now I’m off to curl up next to my  Hubby and watch a movie.

How to decorate a christmas wreath

Decorated Porch

Merry Christmas,


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Home Tour-DIY Magnolia Garland

Christmas Home Tour

Hi friends!  As promised, I am going to post on how I made the new outdoor Christmas decorations.  Of the projects this year, my favorite was making the magnolia garland.  So lets start with that one.

Porch Garland

My inspiration came from an old Pottery Barn photo of a house draped with an ornament filled garland.  If you have been on Pinterest you’ve probably seen it.  It’s been pinned like a gazillion times.  It’s a beautiful photo.  I liked the bright silver and red colors, a classic and gorgeous look.

photo potterybarn

At the same time, what I really wanted was a magnolia garland.  I wasn’t sure what direction to go in so I decided the best of both worlds was the way to go!   And I am so glad I threw it all in because I love the final look.  After all, you know what they say, “more is more”.  Oh wait nobody says that.  But “they” should say that because who really wants less when you can have more? Ha.  Anyway, putting together this garland is fairly straight forward.  Here is what I used….



  • Artificial Garland
  • Lights
  • Magnolia Leaves
  • Some red berry stuff that I found in my basement and wanted to get rid of.  (You don’t need this though.  I would skip it if I didn’t already own buckets of it.)
  • Craft/Floral Wire   22 or 30 gauge works well.  (sold in the floral section)
  • Floral Picks (optional)
  • Floral Tape (optional)
  • Hot Glue
  • Green Zip Ties
  • Red & White Lights or Just White
  • A boat load of shiny and matte ball ornaments in Red, silver and white.  I used a combination of sizes. From large to small.  I tried to count when it was all up but that wasn’t so easy.  Here is my approximate.  for 30 feet it was about
    • 16 Large Shiny Red
    • 12 Small-Med. Shiny Red
    • 8 Large Matte Red
    • 8 Small-Med. Matte Red
    • 6 Large Silver
    • 5 Small Silver
    • 8 Large White
    • 5 Small White
PLASIC IS BEST.  The paint on glass ornaments does not hold up in the weather. I had to add some glass in simply because I couldn’t always find the right color or size I was looking for. I am seeing the paint come off already.  I plan on replacing these next season.



-I ordered a box of magnolia leaves off Amazon.

Magnolia Leaves

It was 30 some dollars but I ordered a large box because I planned on getting a big supply for future projects. Sure enough there were enough leaves in the box to do garlands for my whole street.   You’ve got to love Amazon. After this project was all said and done I still had a full box.

-I purchased some great garland on sale at my local craft store.  (4) 9 foot pieces for 7 dollars each.  SCORE!

DIY Christmas garland

-I gathered up all the red, silver and white ornaments I had in my hoarder basement and then bought several more boxes on sale.  I think I spent another 40 dollars, but I got a lot.  You are going to need a lot.  If you plan on making this, start collecting sale ornaments now.  For me, I already started with quite a bit because I have bought up extra ornaments after Christmas when they start to get clearanced out.  (Seriously, be on the lookout for glass and plastic balls in the after-Christmas clearances.   They can be used in so many projects and decorations. Those and pine cones)


I started by wiring my magnolia leaves.  I used the floral tape and wrapped the pick and stem together.  There is a wire pre-attached to the pick.  You want to make sure that wire in not wrapped with the floral tape because you will use that wire to secure your magnolia leaves to your garland.

Christmas Garland

(Thanks Mom for helping me and letting me photo you)

If you want to skip the pick you could just attach a wire directly to the stem.   Depending on the weather in your area, you may be able to just tuck your leaves in without any wiring.  I live near Lake Erie and it gets very windy.  I have to secure my ornaments and leaves with wire, otherwise pieces of my garland would be blowing into my neighbor’s yard.  You could try to just hot glue your pieces, but again pieces could come loose.  I personally feel that if I am going to take time to make it, I am going to do it the best I can so it lasts.

Craft ornaments


Once the leaves were all pre-wired, I started on preparing my ornaments.


I added a wire and reinforced the ornament tops with hot glue.  You could skip the hot glue if you are feeling adventurous and your ornaments are shatter proof.  My good friend and neighbor Abby from twistmepretty.com made one and she didn’t do the hot glue. But I glued away because I am the queen of over kill.



I had ornaments everywhere!  Poor Big Chewy, he couldn’t find a clear spot to lay

Big Chewy

quick tipBefore you wire & glue your ornaments, lay your garland out on the floor and temporarily place your ornaments down on the garland. This will give you an idea of your design and how many ornaments to wire and reinforce with hot glue.




I laid my garland on the floor and began by simply placing the leaves down where I thought I would like.  I groups two leaves together and left a space then grouped three leaves together.  I alternated  groups of two and three.

Once I liked the pattern, I started at one end and went down the row securing each item with the pre-attached wire.  I did the Same thing with the ornaments.  I made little groups and made sure that the red was the dominating color and used the white and silver sparingly.

DIY Garland

Paint Yourself A Smile Christmas Garland

(Please ignore the grimy carpet.  I laid that down so I didn’t destroy the family room carpet while I worked)

It is pretty simple; it just takes a little time when you are doing 30 feet.  So go get some hot chocolate and put on a Christmas movie.  It makes the process more fun.

Now that the leaves and ornaments were all secure, I began to place my light string in the garland. and secured it with green zip ties. I cut the extra off of the zip ties as I go.  I chose to do the lights last because I didn’t want the bulbs to get buried by all the decorations and leaves.  I wanted my garland nice and bright at night

quick tipWe make our own red and white lights.  We get 3 boxes of Philips warm white sphere lights and one box of red.  Target carries them.  Them we pull out the bulbs in the red string.  We plug in the white string and pull every 4th white light and replace it with a red bulb. So the pattern is one red, three white, one red and so forth.  YOU NEED TO KEEP THE STRING PLUGED IN AND DO IT ONE BULB AT A TIME.  Sometimes the bubs don’t connect right and you don’t want to get it all done and then have to go back and find the short.

John Kavangh

This is my Hubby watching hockey and making me light strings of my desired color combination.  I love that man!


Now you are all done and it is ready to hang.

DIY Magnolia Garland


quick tip  Because of all the stuff in this garland it was slightly heavy.  The weight of all the goodies caused it to hang and look a little different than it did on the floor.  If yours is going to swag open like mine, there is no way around it.  I would save some magnolia leaves and after it is up add them back in where it looks like it could use them.  That is what I did.  It was fairly quick to make the adjustments after it was up and I saw the effect gravity had on it in some spots.


There you have it – one very expensive looking garland for a fraction of what you would pay for it if you bought the same thing pre-made.  Seriously, Abby and I looked and the prices were CRAZY!

Chritmas lights


Come back tomorrow and I will show you how to do make and hang all those lighted wreaths! (here)

Paint your self a smile wreath

Happy Creating and Merry Christmas!


Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Christmas Garland

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http://www.tipjunkie.com/  – The Pin Junkie  –  savvy southern style  –  Cozy Little House  –  A Stroll Thru Life  –  Diy By Design  –  Wear Flowers In Your Hair


Christmas Home Tour


Christmas Tour

   This year I decided to torture myself by making all new Christmas decorations for the outside of our home.   I should show you a picture of our home last year but really all you have to do is imagine all the Christmas stuff in the photo gone and that would be your picture.

Christmas Porch


It all started with me telling my husband that I really don’t plan on decorating much this year.  I really meant it when I said it.  But of course at that time I had just finished some insane last minute Halloween costumes for my boys.  After that blur of last minute activity, I didn’t even want to think about another project.  But then a few weeks passed from the Halloween costume insanity and I found myself browsing through this year’s Christmas Pottery Barn Catalog.    I was drawn to all the plaid and classic rustic décor and then the wheels in my head started to turn. 

Hmmmmmmmm, I don’t have anything like this but I do like it.  Hmmmmmmmm, I think this would look nice outside.  Hmmmmmmmm, Maybe I can just make it all.  I mean I know I can’t order all new decorations but if I made them I cLighted Wreathould do it for a fraction of the cost.  Hmmmmmm, Maybe I will just make it ALL this year.  And that was that.  I purchased one ticket aboard the crazy crafter train and got to work.  Now a few weeks later I am almost finished.  I just have a few things to wrap up but for the most part I am done. I started by creating wreaths for all my windows.  My Kitchen was full of Ornaments and ribbon for a week. 

Diy Wreath

Then I moved on to the Magnolia garland. 

Magnolia Galand



Porch Garland

Paint Yourself A Smile Christmas Garland

Sled and copper tubI borrowed a copper tub from my mom.  Add to that a sled, logs, lights and some greens we cut, and it made for a lovely display.  It fits perfectly in the spot and covers the outlet and Christmas light cords. 

Christmas Coca Cola Boxes

  I also borrowed these boxes that had been left in my sister’s barn by it’s previous owners.  They had been painted a pastel blue so I used stripper to remove most of the paint.   I was pleased to find the Coca-Cola was still intact after I removed the blue paint.   Add some pine cones and fabric Styrofoam balls and it becomes a lovely porch decoration.   

Christmas porch decorations

I did buy the Fox  from Target.  I couldn’t help myself, he was too cute.  For our bench on the porch, I covered cushions with the plaid fabric.  I found some old pillows in my basement and covered them as well.   Add a throw and its a whole new bench. 

I made a tomato cage tree for in front of the pillar.  I covered my lighted boxes with plaid and burlap and made new bows. Then lit everything with red and green lights.  

Tomato cage Christmas tree

There you have it.  I am not sure if it screams beautiful or crazy girl with a glue gun lives here.  My hubby said it is both!  Doesn’t matter I love it and he likes it too.  Now I need a nap!  I hope you like it.  Come back this week and I will break down in more detail how I built the wreaths, garland and other items.  Please leave me a comment if you like it.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

lighted fox and packagesChristmas lights


Deer Antler wreath

Christmas porch

How to decorate a christmas wreath

Decorated Porch



diy porch

Chritmas lights

Garland Tutorial
Wreath Tutorial
Bow Tutorial

And much more coming, Love and Merry Christmas,


Here is the Garland Tutorial 🙂

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Red Chest Before & After and Mud Room Solutions

furnature before and after

A few years ago, I found this big buffet. At first, I thought I could refinish it and it would be wonderful. But, when I closely looked at this piece I found it almost beyond repair. The veneer had peeled away and was missing in several spots.   And as an added bonus, the mirror and the drawers were broken. Off to a great start huh?

Buffet befpre

Well, I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle its issues or where I would even put it if I did fix it up. So it sat in the garage for about two years, where frequently my sweetie lobbied to carry it to the curb for me. I would politely thank him for his offer and with sincere understanding he would agree we should ABSOLUTELY keep it and that one day it would greatly enhance our lives. Ok so maybe that last part isn’t true.   The real story is, I would ignore him and he would roll his eyes.   And maybe under his breath he used the words “crazy lady” and “running out of space” and some other things that I didn’t really hear because I had already tuned him out. Oh sure like that never happens in your house.

Anyway fast forward to moving into this new house. This home has a sweet little mud room off the garage.

Our Palermo

At first I thought it would be the perfect space for the popular locker like cubbies with cute coat hooks. It was a great idea but then the reality check came…I don’t have anything like that. And even if I did, my cubbies would never look like they do in the magazine. You know, all neat and tidy with one small coat hanging on a hook and one pair of shoes tucked tidily in its individual cube. My family would pile every coat and sweatshirt they own on their hook despite the fact that there is an actual coat closet in the room. Each hook would have 3-5 coats and there would be at least one laying on the floor because it fell off of the pile. The backpacks would be half in and half out of the unit and there would be one stray mitten in the mix that will never find his match. Add some keys and mail in the pile and that will pretty much be our mud room cubbies. Ok scratch the locker cubby unit idea. But I still needed something for extra storage beyond the coat closet in there. That is when I realized the big broken chest could be just the perfect fit. So while we were in our temporary apartment waiting for the house to be finished, I tackled the broken beast…

  • First I stripped it with good old fashioned furniture stripper and removed the drawers to be clamped and glued back together.
  • I also glued back all the veneer I could.  For the missing veneer patches I used Bondo All Purpose Putty.   Bondo is perfect for those big filler jobs. Its dries quick, is sandable and permanent.
redchest durring

Bondo Patch

  • Next,  I sprayed it with a red paint that I can’t tell you the color because I mixed a few different reds together that I had left over from other projects. Yeah, I’m a saver. Sorry Honey.
  • After I had it painted it, I mixed dark brown paint and clear glaze and applied it to the piece with steel wool.  I also used a dry brush to feather out the glaze to give it softer shading and depth.   I will demonstrate this technique in detail in a future post for another day


red chest painted& shaded

Chest painted and glazed

  • Lastly,  I used a wipe on poly to give it protection. It’s going in my mud room and it will need to take the abuse of boys. To solve my broken mirror problem I created a chalkboard tutorial here to fit in the frame where the mirror would have been. It is perfect for notes to the family.  I also added some hooks under the top piece to hang our keys on.
red chest makeover

It all came together and the red works perfect with the chevron wall I painted in there. I will show you how to do that too in a future post.   A buffet in the mud room is a little left of center but it works!

Palermo home

What do you think?  Do you have a space that may need some outside the box thinking? Sometimes the best solution is thinking differently about something we already have.    Good luck on your own creative adventure!





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How to make a bow


While Christmas is several weeks away, decorating for Christmas is right around the corner.  Big bows are a Christmas decorating basic and we see them everywhere.    Recently, I had several friends tell me they didn’t know how to make a big bow.  I was a little surprised because it’s such an easy thing to do.  But then, when I thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have known how to make one either if I hadn’t grown up with a mom who was a art teacher. Since we can’t all have moms that were art teachers, I thought I would share my simple way to make a great bow.

So Grab your spool of ribbon and let’s start.


  1. Start by making a small loop and hold it between your thumb and forefinger.  This is going to be your center.
  2. Next twist the tail of your ribbon and form your first loop.   You will twist the ribbon each time before forming a new loop because it helps the bow hold its shape and not slip.  Add the newly made loop to the center loop that you have pinched between your fingers.
  3. Do this till you form about 4 loops on each side.  This does not count the center start loop.
  4. Lastly, make one final extra-large loop that will be cut later to make the tails of your bow.
  5. Insert a wire through the center starting loop and wrap it around the bundled loops you have pinched between your fingers.
  6. Twist the wire ends together to secure your loops.
  7. Use your scissors to cut the ribbon from the spool.  This will form your first tail
  8. Next cut in the center of that last extra-large loop you made.  This will form another two tails.

(if you only want two tails instead of three, when you cut the ribbon away from the spool, make the cut close under your bow so it won’t be seen)

  1. Lastly your bow will likely look rumpled.  Just fix and fluff the loops till you think it looks right.
  2. Wahla you have a beautiful Bow!

Keep in mind…

  • You can use wired ribbon or non-wired ribbon.  But wired ribbon is often easier to work with.
  • Sometimes the ribbon you are gathering between your thumb and finger can get a little bulky and slip.  If that happens don’t worry just start over.  It can take a couple of tries to get the hang of it.
  • The number of loops on each side is up to you.  For a simpler bow add less loops on each side or for a fuller look add more loops.
  • I like to use a chenille stem to secure my bows because they can be easier to work with then plain thin wire.  But in reality I just use whatever I can scavenge up from my basement craft pile.   It’s all good.
I hope this helps someone.

Enjoy your bow making


check out my next project (here)

Palermo home

mud room off garage

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