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I accidentally made some Edwardian Drawers.

18 Nov

Yanno, as you do!

Inspiration: I was perusing Wearing History’s patterns when I came across this one


I thought to myself ‘Oh I think that’s a circular trouser draft, like the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern‘ (which also happens to be a Wearing History pattern). Then I thought to myself ‘Oh, but wait! I have a LOT of white broadcloth and voile, I could make one of these using the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern!’ Then I thought ‘And I could use up all that white lace I keep collecting from op shops. Stashbusting!’

Next thing I knew I’d whipped out the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern and my copious amounts of white fabric, and had cut out my own rendition of the Edwardian Drawers.


I removed the gathers on the Sweetheart shorts draft (very easy to do) and cut them out in the broadcloth with the curve to the side and extra fabric in the back so I didn’t need closures. The lower part I simply used the curve of the hem on the top part, and cut-and-spread to create a circular ruffle to fit on it.

It was a tiny step from it being cut to having it sewing up. They’re basically elastic-waisted shorts with a fancy ruffle. Too easy! Sewing on the lace took twice as long as it took to make the drawers up. Oh, and unlike in the original pattern description, which has the drawers open in the crotch, I sewed mine together because, like, modern living, like. And I wanted to wear it as outerwear, not underwear!

I put elastic in the front to get it to hug my figure, and a draw-string white ribbon in the back, which ties at the side coz I was silly and put the openings for the drawstring accidentally on the side. Oops!

Around the curve of the upper leg.

Around the lower hem. I need to cut out the fabric from behind the lace. Taking the photo on a darker background might have made it clearer…

I then wore them styled with a white top and a pretty blue sash. The only real FAIL was getting a photo without a silly expression!

You can have me squinting against the glare…

Or me laughing with my eyes closed!

Or a nice expression except my face is turned away from the camera to show off the back.

Back home again, this is to show what it looks like without the top over it. I think they really do look like vintage drawers! *smug*

I love this view. They really do look like so many pictures of Edwardian ladies in their drawers I’ve seen on pinterest. No butt-hugging happening here!


They’re cool, they’re very comfy, they’re very pretty, they’re easy to get on and off. I love them ūüôā


No day without a line

9 Nov

‘Remember the painter’s advice to his pupils: Nulla dies sin linea – No day without a line. Nothing is of greater importance than practise.’

From¬†‘The Manual and theory of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)’ by Cyril W¬†Beaumont and Stanislas Idzikowske.

I’m studying for my Ballet teaching qualifications in the Cecchetti school of classical ballet, hence reading ‘The Manual’ as it is affectionately known. The quote got me thinking about all the lines in my life – lines of singing; a line of violin music, the line of the strings and the lines of the bow; a line of written music. Lines of the body in dancing. Lines of dancing interwoven with lines of music. Thousands and thousands of lines of writing and reading.

Oh wait, this is a sewing blog! A line of stitching, a line of pattern, a line of cutting and of course, the inescapable – lines of unpicking ;-P

But the quote is also about practise, and practise is a habit as much as anything else. I’m so out of the habit of blogging about my sewing. I’ve been concentrating so hard on my dance teaching and study this year that the sewing blogging’s fallen by the wayside, especially with the grief of losing Hattie and the strong association she had with my sewing blogging. You know, it’s been over a year, and finally in the past month or so I’ve been able to look at a photo of her without curling up in hurt. So I’m going to celebrate this with a picture of her! Look at her dear little face! And her skull and crossbones name tag, which suited her personality so well!


Ok, that’s all I can tolerate for the moment. Moving on hastily … I also started a ballet blog. It¬†was supposed to be the ‘landing page’ for my dance teaching, but in reality the facebook page does that job.

It’s a lot of work to upkeep 2 blogs and one facebook page. I’ve been contemplating closing down the sewing blog and concentrating on the ballet blog. Or vice versa? Lots of lines of thought about my different options!

But all those lines of thought brought me back to the reason I started this blog. I loved reading about other people’s experience of sewing – why they sew what they sew, what challenges they have, how they solved them. And my favourite, the piccies of the outcomes. I wanted to give something back to the online sewing community that I’d gotten so much from. I think these reasons still stand. I might, however, focus more on the whys than the whats though. Just change my focus a tad, see if that is more to my liking.

And getting back to the lines in my life, and the habit of practise, keeping a blog is as much a habit as anything else. I’m going to work to get back into the habit of posting. I’ll aim for once a fortnight. If that’s a bit much I’ll try for every 3 weeks.

As for my ballet blog, while I’m working through what to do with this blog, I also want to work out what I’m doing with my ballet blog. The next few paragraphs aren’t about sewing ok? You’ve been warned ūüėõ But if anyone has any input about blogs, or online business presence – or even dance writing(!) – I’d love to hear ūüôā

Since the blog isn’t doing the job I started it for, do I continue with it? I don’t really know what I want to say through it. I don’t want to write ‘how to do ballet’ stuff. The internet is stuffed with social media covering that. *pfft* No need for me to re-invent the wheel.
I had intended to explore ballet photography, but it hasn’t worked. My phone camera is extremely limiting and I don’t have enough $$ to buy a decent camera. My students aren’t keen on having their pictures taken. I can take pictures of me but … There’s a limit to what I want to put online. Me in clothes I’ve sewn doesn’t seem to worry me. But the dance stuff…? There’s … well, what’s out there is so ‘perfect’, with almost no normal everyday imperfect photos Sewing blogs quite a strong culture of being straightforward and honest about your sewing experiences and your body.
With ballet, I fear that anything I post that’s not ‘perfect’ will open myself up to the vitriol that is out there on the internet, especially against women. It feels like the equivalent of putting online photos of the lingerie you’ve made yourself, ON yourself, with your face clearly showing. In spite of the culture of honesty, most sewing bloggers aren’t prepared to do that. I suspect that’s also why my students aren’t keen on having their photos taken and put on my blog. Essentially, we don’t feel safe enough to put such incredibly personal images of ourselves and our bodies online.

What use then for my ballet blog? Every so often I find something I want to explore. Like the concept of lines. And the concept of the different lines of writing-style between the authors of the different textbooks, which would be my next post if I continue the blog. Then there are just more fun things out there. The more light-hearted side of dance.

There’s also fair bit of crossover between the two blogs. I’m doing a lot of sewing of dance gear. For eg, I chopped up a too-small leotard and added a skirt and cute sleevy-things out of ‘dry knit’ from Spotlight, to create an as-yet unblogged-about ballet-teaching dress. When mum my Reluctant Photographer took photos for this blog she snapped this shot which I think of as my Degas photo. That slight rounding of the shoulders and upper back of a dancer ‘off-duty’, expressive of the fatigue from working so hard is a … well, a line (!) of body I see often in ballet classes. I love how Degas captures the realities of dance. I love how mum captured that in my own stance. Definitely a crossover of concepts between dance and sewing there!

The Ballet Rehearsal on Stage - Edgar Degas -


So maybe I do have things to say on a ballet blog. Just not a huge amount. With my sewing blog there has been plenty of times where I’ve averaged one post a month. I figure that would be just fine for my ballet blog too. Having a goal is always helpful.

We’ll see, I guess.

My new sewing companion

1 Oct

Almost a year ago I lost my sewing companion and bestest friend of 15 1/2 yrs.

It killed my blogging mojo, not least because so many of my sewing photos starred Madame Hat. Or simply just reminded me of her. It’s been a painful year where my heart is concerned. I’ve missed her terribly. I will for a long long time to come. Her pawprint on my heart and my life was huge.

Within a few weeks of losing Hattie another feline took over my life. The vet said this was normal – people who lose a loved pet usually get another one within 3 weeks. Seriously? Yes, apparently.

‘Im takin over ur chairz and ur hartz!’

I went to the RSPCA animal shelter about 2 weeks after Hattie died, to simply pat the cats there, to remind myself there were other cats in the world even if my heart was far too sore to contemplate a new feline companion.

But you see, we have a rowdy dog who believed cats are Things To Chase (Hattie loved this. An excuse to bash up something!) Any cat that can handle such a dog has to have a certain aplomb¬†… And at the shelter a tiny grey and apricot kitten unceremoniously pushed her bigger brothers away from the food bowl and devoured it all herself.¬†Then she then curled up on my foot and fell asleep.

Of course I had to take her home!

I picked her up off my foot, snuggled her close and asked if she’d like to come home with me and be my new Sewing Companion. She purred.

Was this a yes or no?

The shelter worker assured me the kitten’s ambivalence was simply because she didn’t know what a Sewing Companion was, but was confident she’d soon figure it out.

I named my new little overlord Ma’at, in the family tradition of giving cats Egyptian names.

Ma’at’s baby photo (Don’t mind the butterfly decal on the mirror!)

Her first forays into sewing companionedness was batting bobbins around. Then thread reels. Then unpickers. Then more thread.

Then it evolved into playing with all my sewing things – after tossing them all onto the floor.

She soon discovered the joy of pulling the pins out of my pin-cushion with her teeth and tossing them on the floor too. So the pins now live safely locked away in a tin container…

Eventually she got the right idea. Here she is practising being a pattern weight on the thick paper I draft patterns on. She has since successfully graduated to  ripping weighing down delicate pattern tissue paper over 40 yrs old.

Here she has mastered the art of adorning fabric to enhance it’s beauty.

Here her head has fallen off the board while she’s fast asleep, bringing a new twist to the Essential Sewing Companion Skill of sleeping on the ironing board.

And the most important sewing companion duty of all, photo-bombing my sewing pictures. Most photos show her blurred because unless fast asleep she’s perpetually in motion – invariably up to some mischief. (Another nightie, from Micheal Miller flower fairies, using Simplicity 1898)

Miss Ma’at’s chosen chair is the sewing chair. When I want to use it she refuses to relinquish it.

She’s also become a rather good ballet dancer, having been taking lessons with me for almost a year now.

After Madame Hat’s iron paw, ¬†you might think life with such a little cutie is easier. No. She’s a real handful. As my mum put it ‘A little cat with a huge personality’. (She’s never grown very big). She’s a larrikin – a HUGE larrikin in an itty bitty cat-shaped body. She’s so inquisitive and interactive that, combined with the larrikin attitude, she’s always in some misadventure or other. She’s almost a year and a half old¬†now,¬†yet the misadventures still come as thick and fast as they did the day I brought her 3 month old self home.

So much so I’ve come to realise that Ma’at is not named after the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. It is, in fact a contraction of the name ‘Mad Cat’ ūüėÄ

Sunkissed sweethearts shorts

2 Aug

My first make from Wearing History patterns and definitely not my last! I’m going to use the questions used for the Vintage Pattern Pledge as a template for the post, coz I liked them ūüôā

Pattern details

Wearing History 1940’s Sunkissed Sweetheart separates

A top, sarong-skirt and shorts. Here’s what the website says about them:

This pattern is for playful 1940s tropical separates including tie top, shorts, and a sarong skirt.  This pattern was inspired by an original 1940s pattern and has been built on a vintage block but has been updated for an improved fit, easy to read pattern pieces, and brand new step-by-step illustrated instructions.

The blouse has short sleeves with gathering along a curved seam forming a faux yoke. It ties at center front right below the bust.
The shorts hit at the natural waist and have the same accent gathering along the curved seam at each hip. The extra gathered fabric creates a graceful and playful line, perfect for warm summer days!
The sarong skirt is a wrap skirt, and at the front, tying at the inside hip, then wraps and ties at the left hip. The gathers create graceful draping. This can be made in a short for daytime or long for evening.

And it’s pretty much what it says on the packet. I bought the e-version of this and printed and taped it together. I made up the shorts, but I had a good look at the sarong-skirt and top too. I plan on using the top as a base for a button-up shirt one day.

The shorts are made using a semi-circle draft, which makes them much more swishy than the piccies make them look.

The pattern was well-drafted, well thought through, with easy to follow instructions. And the design so cute!

What attracted you to this pattern?

Well funny enough it was the top, not the shorts. As mentioned before, I want to make it into a button-up top, but keeping the gathered-yoke effect on the shoulders. So pretty! But in my life, shorts tend to be in high demand. So this image from the Wearing History site ended up being the one that really caught my eye.

And then I realised I had the perfect fabric for it, someone sent it to me as a stash-buster which was so lovely of them. It is a lilacy-pink rayon/linen blend with pretty same-coloured embroidery on it, with a lovely soft drape. It was a bit pinker than I thought it was based on photos of the stashbusting offer, which kind of put me off the fabric for quite a while.

But you know how it goes, the pattern and/or fabric can sit in your stash for ages and ages and suddenly, the moment you know exactly what you want to use it for, it practically sews itself up while you’re still going ‘Heeeeyy!!! Great idea!’

And this was the case with the shorts. I don’t have just the right fabric for the top yet. I presume when I do, it will be sewn up almost before I finish thinking how great that fabric will look in the top pattern ;-P

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts.


Me stretching in the shorts. Showing the entirety of the front of the shorts. The subtle fullness created by the gathers is so pretty.

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts


As you can see, there’s a bit of pleating and excess fabric at the sides. Since it’s a circular draft, where the fullness of the circle falls is dependent on the shape of the waist seam. In other words, next time I’ll make the curve of the waistband over the front and back legs a bit deeper and the sides a bit shallower, which will help drape some of that fabric more evenly around the body. I am not sure if they’re drafted to get the excess at the sides, or in not putting on a proper waistband the waist of the shorts don’t sit on my body the way they were designed too. Don’t get me wrong though. These shorts are really lovely just as they are and on high rotation in my wardrobe. So is the (unblogged) shirt I’m wearing in these pictures actually. I’m so behind in my blogging!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

Sewing it up

I simply bound the waist in bias binding rather than do a proper waistband like the pattern has. It’s cooler that way.
Ok, so I was Nervous about the faux yoke, but it was well-drafted and the pattern instructions perfectly clear. It turned out to be ridiculously easy to sew. A note though: you can’t do much fitting of the side seams without mucking up the pretty yoke effect.¬†Luckily the measuring I did of the flat pattern and comparing to my own measurements had worked well so I didn’t need to fit the sides seams, but I thought it would help to know that if you’re sewing the shorts yourself.

Also, see the pretty embroidery on the fabric? Nice!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts


I used a pair of well-fitting trousers to fit the crotch seam. The original pattern’s crotch seam is low, and fairly shapeless, really, in keeping with the kind of crotch shapes used at the time. I prefer the modern sort!

I did another pair in a knit, and they just didn’t work, and weren’t going to work. I had changed the style from semi-circular to more straight-legged and that, and the combination of the fabric, made them look like dowdy little old lady shorts. *shudders*

Of course, in this photo the shorts look just fine, *rolls eyes* but I felt so dowdy in them there was no point finishing them. They’re now re-cut and half-made up into a pair of capri-length leggings!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

I have to laugh at my pose. Look at the outstretched arm. Yes, I do dance ballet!


I love this pattern! I’m sure I’ll end up sewing all three items eventually. And probably more than one pair of shorts from it as they are, like the pattern description says, ‘perfect for warm summer days’ and thus perfect for the tropics! The yoke is very feminine while still maintaining practicality in the best of 1940s style. And I’m very impressed with Wearing History patterns. Which is good coz they have heaps I want to buy and make up one day!

Flamenco dress dreaming

12 Jul

A few birthdays ago a dear friend gave me 6m of red cotton with 1cm white polkadots. It’s such a classic pattern I can only see it as a flamenco-inspired dress.¬†I have another dear friend who lives in Seville, and have been looking through flamenco dress photos with her while I work out exactly what kind of dress I will make.

I am posting some pictures here, so I can assess each dress for what I like and don’t like to help me refine my ideas. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

I’m informed by my friend that flamenco fashions change through the years (makes sense really!) and that this is Today’s look. For my own dress I really don’t like that extreme mermaid silhouette, the way the ruffles go¬†remind me of toilet brushes.

This beautiful 1940s flamenco dress Vixen Vintage found in an antique store. Vintage Vixen put heaps of petticoats underneath to get the full ruffle effect.


Ok so I won’t be making a skirt like this bata de cola. I’m after a party dress, not a performance dress. But imagine wearing one like it on stage, dancing flamenco *happy sigh*.


Then there’s all the white wedding Flamenco dresses. Fascinating stuff. ¬†I rather like the sleeves on this. I could see a good-quality lace ruffle on my dress perhaps.

Trajes de novia de inspiración flamenca con escote en


flamenco dress:


I could totally see myself making a floofy dress based on yet another Tina Givens style in my red polkadots, but my friend explained that although it would be a great dress, it wouldn’t be flamenco-y, which is a more formal style.


I was also thinking to ditch the sleeves. But again, my friend said although there are the odd flamenco dresses with no sleeves, mostly they have them. Even if it’s a ruffle around the shoulders and over the arms to give the illusion of sleeves.

flamenco inspiration:

I’ve noticed¬†a¬†lot of dresses have a scoop or wide v neckline or subtle sweetheart one. Princess seams are also extremely common. The bones of the dresses seem to be simple and classic.

The colours are usually fairly restrained, not in a pastel sense but in that they usually only have one or two elements eg red and white, or purple and black

Flamenca.PinIt : Anónimo de Piedra +34 664806309 VICTORIA Private tours and excursions in Barcelona, Costa Brava & Catalunya. Apartments in Barcelona. The best sightseeing tours in Barcelona and Catalonia. The most authentic places in Barcelona, medieval towns and castles.

And even though this has a number of different patterns, the overall effect is of blue and white

Fotografías Moda Flamenca - Simof 2014 - Mari Carmen Cruz 'Y... Sevilla' Simof 2014 - Foto 02:


You can however, find pictures of deliciously colourful dresses

+ QUE MODA FLAMENCA | Mam√° de mayor quiero ser flamenca | P√°gina 3:

And then there are the shawls! I love the shawls. I’m considering adding one as a kind of collar to my dress, like this – in fact I’m seriously considering making mine pretty much a red version of this dress, I love the style of it (well, and the colour too!) so much.

blue flamenco dress:

I like this one on the left. It isn’t too toilet-brushy, I like the shape of that skirt.

Pilar Ver√° 2016:


Well, no great conclusions but lots of ideas and eye candy.

A sort of copy…

18 Jan

So wearable though! Which was the bit I was trying to copy the most. The result:

The inspiration. Doesn’t it look just so wearable?

new ivy style linen dress:

I pleated the neckline up on my dress from memory. The results were 3 big pleats instead of many small ones. (As you can tell I’m hopeless at taking selfies – I hardly ever take them.)

I love the back.

I am¬†most pleased with my dress. It’s made with¬†beautiful, thick but very breathable heavy linen that just falls and falls and falls. Mmmm! A $5pm special from Spotlight I’ve forgotten how long ago. Looking at that inspiration picture though I suddenly have the urge to dye it charcoal. uh… Let’s move on from that thought, shall we? (thinking of the yellow polyester thread I used to stopstitch. Hey hang on! That could look awesome! Uh….)

I know I know I’m sidetracking myself. Right, so the Important Stuff.

  1. It’s very wearable.
  2. It’s made using this TNT pattern, McCalls 8108. Lost count how many times I’ve used this pattern and how many variations I’ve made from it.
  3. I put little cap sleeves on to keep the sun from burning my shoulders.
  4. Mum’s observation on the dress¬†was ‘It’s very loose…’ Which I think was her polite way of saying it’s rather sacklike. Yup mum! That’s what I was after. I made it at the beginning of the build-up (our hottest, humidest, yukkiest time of year, Oct/Nov) and have worn it and worn it and worn it.
  5. Technically it looks lovely with a belt, especially a¬†mid-blue thin belt I found in an op shop a while back. But that adds degrees of heat to the dress so I never actually do wear¬†the¬†belt. And certainly wasn’t going to stand outside in the heat getting photos taken of me wearing this dress with a hot belt on. Nope. No way!

Alterations to the pattern were simple. I cut both front and back out with an extra 20cm or so added along centre front/centre back. I did the same with the facings, then sewed it up into a very wide dress, then pleated the front and back neckline back the normal width of the dress and sewed the pleats down about an inch from the neckline edging. Then wore it and wore it and wore it. You get the idea ;-P

I really do think it would look great overdyed with charcoal…


A Plantain jumper in purple crushed velvet

2 Dec

Stretch velvet in a rich dark purple Mmmm! I bought this and a coral pink of the same fabric on special at Spotlight a while ago, intending to sew it into jumpers for my next trip down south. But it was so hot and staticky and icky under my hands here in Darwin that I couldn’t bear to touch it.

I carted both lengths down with me on a trip to visit a friend on the Gold Coast of Queensland. It was really cold, the middle of their winter. Suddenly I was really keen on sewing it up!

Deer and Doe Plaintain as jumper

I used the Deer and Doe free t-shirt pattern, drawn by the gently body-skimming silhouette, and a curiousity about Deer and Doe patterns, which all look rather pretty.

Plantain t-shirt


To adapt the pattern to an overtunic thingy, I used the guidelines my friend’s sister in law, a now-retired professional seamstress, gave me on how to create an outerwear pattern from an underlayer pattern. The suggestion on the Deer and Doe website was to sew a size bigger, but that doesn’t allow enough room to go over the top of another item of clothing. I’d end up with too-tight armscyes. Ugh. (Discovered this years ago when I was trying to survive a Canberra winter, rendering unwearable some yummy fluffy blue fabric *sad*). My solution back then was to forget sewing warmer clothes and come back home to Darwin :-P)

Here are the guidelines:

  • Add to the height of the shoulders 2cm or so.
  • Add to the width of the sides 2cm or so.
  • This extends the underarm out 2cm or so, so add to the edge of the underarm on the sleeve a corresponding amount.

It worked, and is very comfortable including under my arms. In the picture it looks like it’s not quite long enough in the armscye but I am pretty sure that pulling is a result of needing a bit of an FBA. The Deer and Doe website said the Plantain is sized for a C cup, but I might not be their version of a C cup. Meh.

Or I might need to add a bit more height to the shoulder seam, or cut away the underarm a bit, AND add in a bit of an FBA.

I redrew the neckline higher, and added a turtleneck for warmth. Looking at the pictures of the tunic I think I should have made the turtleneck a bit longer/looser, I think it’s pulling in the body of the tunic a bit much. It was guesswork, I’m not that experienced at working out how much neck binding I need to fit a¬†knit top.

I also added to the sleeve length to make sure they fit my apparently longer than normal arms. Yay warm wrists!

To be honest I don’t really care about the little fit/construction issues, I’ll wear it so little, only when travelling, and the fabric is just so pretty and the colour so gorgeous the issues just aren’t a big deal. However I’ll probably play around a bit with the pattern a bit more when I sew up the coral one – next time I’m visiting someone with a sewing machine somewhere cold!

I had a conversation recently about how useful pattern reviews are to other people who sew, and the consensus seemed to be that they were well worth it. I’m sure many many people have already reviewed this pattern, but here are my thoughts on it:

It’s a beautifully-styled t-shirt pattern, a real staple, and if I didn’t have too many t-shirts in my wardrobe already, I’d be sewing up some of these. It’s also well-drafted, things match up as they should etc. I think the C cup is a bit on the modest side of C. I totally ignored the patches on the elbows, I can’t see the point of them, but hey, ymmv!

I can see from a google search many other people have had the same thought of this pattern – it would make a lovely dress. One day I might give that a go, in normal t-shirt fabric¬†using the pattern’s original scoop neckline, the short sleeves, and measure myself carefully to do just the right amount of FBA, and just the right armscye height. Made thusly, it would be perfect for Darwin’s climate.

I’d definitely buy a Deer and Doe pattern based on my experience with this lovely t-shirt pattern, if $$ weren’t a factor. (Ouch!) These sweet shorts being my first choice!

Chataigne shorts

Last but not least, my friend crocheted me a gorgeous hat and scarf. The hat was a 1920’s-ish cloche, and the scarf has very cool twirly strands as a ruffle. I love it! Thanks Kathy ūüôā

All pictures taken at my friend’s local surf club overlooking the beach, but with big perspex wind-breaks to shelter me from the nasty wind. Great place! Good tea. Can’t ask for much more than that right? I am still a bit bemused by the surfers rushing out into the icky-cold ocean in barely even shorty-wetsuits. Crazy! (Looks like so much fun though. Maybe I need to go to Bali or Broome to learn to surf one day. *dreams*)

And before the subject is lost forever I took this photo to show my daughter, vastly amused. In Darwin our beach warning signs are all about box jellyfish and crocodiles. Nothing so fancy as that shown below!

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