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Thursday, January 29, 2009

DIY Halloween Wedding for $200

I just stumbled across this Squidoo page from Webspinstress, who details how she and he fiance planned a Halloween Wedding for 20 guests in their apartment with a budget of only $200! She's got some lovely costumes - diamond painted pumpkins, and other decorating ideas for you DIY couples on a budget.

Webspinstress' home Halloween Wedding

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gothic Wedding Theme Ideas

With the pace of a geriatric snail I am working on updating my website. While I'm generally happy with it for now, it needs a bit of tweaking. I'm focusing on adding loads of free articles about wedding planning for all you lovely brides and grooms.

The first two new articles are up now. I hope y'all find them useful:

Halloween Wedding Theme Ideas

Gothic Wedding Theme Ideas

Over the next weeks and months, more free content will go up, both on Weddings and on Writing (if you're interested). And, if you like what you read, don't forget there's HEAPS more in the Halloween Wedding ebook!

On a personal note, it's been a wonderful week for me, as my sweet baby sister has given birth to her first child! I'm an Auntie! I'm Kreig Aunty Steff! Momma and Baby are healthy and relaxing at home at present. My mom sent through photos today - the little lad looks just like a smushed-up parsnip. Kids, aye?

Seriously, that's awesome!

Also, don't forget that all next month will be Favour February. Every day I'll be talking about wedding favours - one of my favourite details of weddings even though we did none ourselves - and all their manifestations; DIY, budget store-brough favours, customised favours and tips, tricks and advice from favour experts. I know it sounds a little kitsch but, trust me, it will be fun.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Skull Jewellery from Voodoo King Designs

Voodoo King Designs incorporate skulls, hearts and gemstones into their sweet, dainty pieces. Designed by Scott Mitchell and Patrick Irla, some pieces are one-of-a-kind and some are limited editons, but all be skully and fabulous.

Delicate Skull Ring with Gemstone, $99, by Voodoo King Designs

Scott and Patrick hand carve the master moulds than use the hot wax method to cast their pieces, before hand-finishing the wonderful details.

Bone Ring, $75 from Voodoo King designs.

What I love about their skull rings (like the Skull with Gemstone and Bone Ring, above) is their petite bands and tiny skulls and bones, perfect for a woman's dainty finger. Most of the skull rings I've found are quite chunky - more suited to men than woman. But I could wear one of these rings to the office and not feel like I'm carrying a cemetary around on my hand.

And, on the other hand, hardcore heavy metal chicks like me LOVE this skull guitar pick pendant. Or how about this delicate peace symbol made of bones?

AND, they do custom work - whichever stones, sizes, metal choice or designs your wicked heart desires! Voodoo King Designs are certianly jewellers to watch out for. Check out their etsy shop.

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DIY Halloween Wedding Cake Supplies

Black Skull cupcake cases, £1.50, from Make a Wish Cake Shop.

If your DIYing your gothic or Halloween wedding cake, take a look at the supplies available from Make a Wish Cake Shop in the UK. Even with the exchange rate the prices are pretty reasonable, and they've got a whole section on Halloween-themed cake decorating goodies.

Apart from the gorgeous skull cupcake cases above, they've got black, orange, purple, red, and metallic patty cases; pumpkin, ghost and cat sprinkles, red, orange, purple and hologramic edible glitters; and - my favourite - skeleton cupcake pricks to pop out of your cupcakes!

Cupcake towers are totally 'in' at weddings, and CDH fell in love with the idea the first time he saw one. These cute skully additions don't cost any more than normal cake decorating supplies, and they'll look so awesome all made up at your spooky reception. I kninda wish we'd seen the skully cupcake cases. *sadface*

And while we're on the topic of cupcake decoration, don't forget to pop over to Creepy Cupcakes awesome blog for heaps of culinary inspiration. She's planning her own Halloween Wedding this year, so she's full of dark and fun inspiration.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Interview: Art of Adornment Gothic Jewellery

As part of my ongoing efforts to make Wedding Skulls a well-rounded counter-culture blog, I'm searching for Skully businesses/wacky individuals to interview about weddings, subculture, and life. These interviews will be catelogued under 'Skully Chat'. I can't say how often I'll be doing them, as it all depends on who I stumble across who wants to be interviewed...any volunteers, contact me!
Our first victim...oops, I mean, interviewee, is Valerian, artisan extraordinaire of Art of Adornment. I've been positively dying to feature their exquisite accessories on the blog, so without further ado, I present Valerian!

Who are Art of Adornment and what do you do?

Art of Adornment is a Canadian-based online accessories store (although we ship world wide) which features professionally hand crafted costume jewelry, hats, wood box purses and other accessories for men and women. Our styles range from vintage Victorian, romantic Renaissance and dark 1920's to modern Gothic and steampunk.

Currently we sell work by 5 different artists: Valerian (me! - women's hats, jewelry, handbags, wood boxes, hair clips, watch chains), Atratus (men's hats), Binary Soul (chainmail bracelets and wallet chains), Kitsune (wooden hair sticks) and Lady V (beaded necklaces).

A large portion of our stock is one-of-a-kind or limited edition, often with vintage beads, stones and cameos incorporated into the designs. In addition to handmade goods we also sell a selection of costume accessories such as gloves, hosiery and pocket watches - ideal for completing a decadent look.

What is goth to you? What drew you to the culture/style initially?

Goth is much more than just a style of clothing or type of music - it's a lifestyle. Goths tend to fear the unknown less than our mainstream counterparts: looking inward and confronting our own quirks, dreams and dark places, and experimenting with eclectic ideas and tastes. In summary, the Goth scene to me is simply the most recent incarnation of avant-garde bohemians; dark-clad eccentrics always on the cutting edge of art, music and fashion.

I discovered alternative fashion at age 14 back in 1983. Technically speaking, Goth hadn't been invented yet, but what drew me to this subculture was the strange New Romantic and dark post-punk mixture of period fashions with fetish attire, all done in a bleak and moody vein. It seemed a kind of romantic tragedy, like a Victorian garden party all gone horribly wrong - edgy, beautiful and melancholy all at the same time. My biggest influences were Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen, Danielle Dax and Siouxsie.
How would you/did you incorporate gothic features into weddings?

Accessories really can “make” an outfit whether you’re on a budget or not – don’t assume they’re just an afterthought. Take even the simplest gown, add the right accessories, and the look can be completely transformed from conservative chic to romantic elegance without spending a lot of money.

I think what many families are afraid of is that your Gothic wedding will look like Dracula's circus (although come to think of it, that might actually be quite cool!). They often fear that in years to come you will look back at your wedding with regret and wish you had done something more traditional.

But the best answer to this concern of theirs is elegance, and since Goths have a natural knack for it, use it! The kind of jewelry and accessories we sell are rather ornate, but not too "over the top" - a great way to make anything from traditional formalwear to outright costumes look totally in their place.

My fiancé and I will be getting married in October of this year and we spent a lot of time discussing what the best way would be for us to express our Gothness without being too "Halloweeny". So we decided to push the decadent side of Goth, rather than the spooky side.

Our venue is an Edwardian mansion converted to a restaurant/banquet facility (ceremony at dusk with full reception to follow). We're making our own decorations and using more candles than flowers to keep the cost down and the mood intimate. No pirates, no grim reapers, no vampires - but we’ll have lots of top hats and bustle gowns, plenty of shimmery black satin and velvet, rich red brocade, warm candlelight and hints of crisp white and silver for contrast. If you can picture it, a cross between “the Addams Family” and “Moulin Rouge”.

Gothic weddings don't have to be all creepy pipe organs and Elvira gowns, folks - open yourselves to the idea of playing with a vintage theme (whether it be 1920's, Victorian, Renaissance, Viking or Medieval), even if it's just touches here and there. Just remember to talk to us at least a couple of months in advance if you want several matching pieces for bridesmaids, etc. We can't always do full-on custom designs, but much of what we already have can be customized to your tastes and sizes.

Tell us a little about your design process - how do you choose materials/motifs/inspiration for your pieces?

Much of what I design is influenced by what I've seen in books, documentary films and art (ancient Egypt and Rome, and from the 16th century up to about 1935). Even so, very little of what I make actually resembles any of it. I see an antique design and think to myself, "that's lovely, but that should really have black stones instead of green, and a larger filigree, and velvet ribbon instead of satin..." and before you know it my imagination has completely run off with me. In fact I don't think I've ever actually finished something exactly the way I originally planned.

This is one of the reasons I won't do requests where a customer asks me to duplicate someone else's work. First, I’d feel like I'm stealing - second, I’d feel like I'm not really creating anything. Any kind of art or craft is still art to me, and copying is simply that, copying. It's not rewarding in any way.

This is also why I make a lot of limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces. Even designs I've been making regularly for a couple of years I will deliberately retire after a while because I prefer to make newer and better things. I guess that's what I get for having a fine arts background (4 year program at the Emily Carr College of Art & Design, Vancouver Canada). Few painters want to paint the exact same image over and over again. So when I've finished making a piece I'm really happy with, I'll sign it (much like I would with a painting), engraving my signature on a metal necklace tag for example.

Why do you think Art of Adornment appeals to so many people?

We don't limit ourselves to just one specific type of product or one strict style genre. We have mothers buying chokers for their daughters' proms, brides shopping for cufflinks for their grooms, lawyers needing necklaces for their office Christmas parties, and burlesque performers buying chandelier earrings to match their sparkly new pasties – a really mixed clientele.

Also, our inventory is always changing. There's more than one artist represented so our individual styles are different enough, but not so different they couldn't be worn well together. And although our work is handmade (each artist makes each piece themselves, there is no "production line") we don't charge ridiculously high prices just to be pretentious - despite the fact I am extremely picky and insist on luxurious but durable materials and clean finishing. We feel that fashion is art (hence "Art of Adornment"), and that art should be accessible to ALL those who appreciate it.

Name a couple of bands/songs that are on your stereo at the moment?

Haha! Oh dear, I think my stone-tablet Goth Card is showing. "The Carny" (Nick Cave), "Swamp Thing" (Chameleons UK), "Monitor" (Siouxsie), "The Vampire Club" (Voltaire)

What's coming up for Art of Adornment?

We have a photo shoot coming up within the next month so we'll have lots of new images to share in the store's photo gallery, plus LOTS of new designs for spring: feather wrist cuffs, steampunk-influenced hair sticks, and antiqued silver skeleton hair clips just to name a few.

Any advice you could offer to Wedding Skulls?

Wear the things you like because you like them and because they flatter you, not because they're "cool" or "in" or just because they looked good on someone else. Everyone looks beautiful when they wear something that honestly reflects their own individual brand of style and grace, and your wedding is your chance to really shine some light on it (yes, even if it's black light!).

Thank you so much Valerian! Her wedding sounds awesome - I love elegant gothic affairs. What she says about loved ones worried about gothic weddings is spot on and what I talked about in this post; the people we love aren't trying to misunderstand us, they just don't want us to look back on our weddings and cringe (how anyone could cringe about Art of Adornment's accessories, I'll never know). I'll be keeping an eye out for those skeleton hair-clips, that's for sure :)

Nick Cave and Siouxie, FTW!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Silhouette Jewellery by Untamed Menagerie

If you brides are looking for jewellery to be the centrepiece of your ensemble, look no further than Untamed Menagerie! Created by mother-daughter team Penny and Nikki, these whimsical accessories are inspired by vintage patterns, nature and anatomy. Their jewellery is made of wood, metal, perspex and acrylic - the hard plastic used in by the automotive and aircraft industries. Don't let that put you off - this stuff is stunning!
I normally only put one or two photos up, but these pieces are just too awesome.

Jet Lustre earrings, $18, from Untamed Menagerie

Melancholy Lashes necklace, $25, from Untamed Menagerie. Currently Out Of Stock
Surmonter la Crise earrings, $20 by Untamed Menagerie
For you Skully Brides I present...Thoracic pendant, $18, from Untamed Menagerie. Love!
I don't know WHAT you're waiting for, get on over to their etsy page and support these wonderful crafty ladies.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gothic Wedding Favours

Just a heads up, for the entire month of february I'm going to feature fabulous favour ideas for all you Skully brides - gothic, halloween, steampunk, heavy metal, rockabilly, punk, alternative and generally skully.

So artists and vendors, if you sell small, inexpensive do-dads that you think would be perfect for Skully Weddings, please drop me a line at steff_green AT hotmail DOT com and tell me about your products. I want to run features with text links and lots of lovely photographs. Please - I want to hear from you!

Skully brides and grooms - if you have pics of your DIY favours or craft projects that would make awesome favours - send me an email at steff_green AT hotmail DOT com and tell me all about them! If anyone has any tips for where they sourced fabulous favours or any favour questions you want answered, please email! I really want to hear from you all.

Public Service announcement over. We now resume ordinary programming.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gothic and Steampunk Clothing from Black Orchid Designs

Black Orchid Designs was established in 2004 by Kerri L. Mercer to be create high quality gothic garments and accessories to cater for ALL body types. five years on, the company still features a beautiful collection of gothic and steampunk inspired clothing and accessories. They also do custom work - dreads, wigs, hats, and couture clothing, but their pre-made items are just as stunning!

For all you masquerade brides and grooms, she's got some amazing leather Freakshow masks for you to oogle - well priced for their high quality.

Psycho Stripe Torture Mask, $20 from Black Orchid Design.

I also saw some cute skull magnets for $3 each that would make adorable wedding favours.

Check out their catelog or order through etsy.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

update on Halloween Wedding Planner

Hi Skully brides and grooms! This is a note especially for any of you who purchused my ebook Halloween Wedding Planner through

Booklocker doesn't have a setup function that allows you to add free extra ebooks. Somehow, in my gleeful excitement, I added the Halloween Wedding ebook for sale without adding any other means for readers to get their hands on the FREE Halloween Wedding Directory.


I'm so very sorry! We've sorted it now - when you buy the Halloween Wedding Planner, you will recieve ONE book which has both planner and directory inside. So if you'd prefer to buy my ebook through booklocker, you won't be missing out on the free goodies.

As for you beautiful people who've already brought the ebook through booklocker, PLEASE feel free to email me on steff_green AT hotmail DOT com if you'd like your free directory - I'll happily send it out to you, no worries.

I blame this beautiful summer weather we're having down here - it's frying my brain.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why I love wedding stuff

I must profess to being something of a Scrouge. I learned it off my dad - he would scoff at the idea of buying something himself, but he's the most generous gift giver in the world. I'm the same - I can't bear the idea of splashing out for a $2 chocolate bar for myself, but I'll shell out for presents, for nice food to bring to other people's parties, for anything CDH could possibly desire.

It didn't help that two years ago I achieved a rather impressive feat; after four years of university I graduated...with more money than I came in with. Several scholarships and some very sensible financial decisions gave me my degree and an awesome start to my adult life - financial security.

So when I hear brides worrying about their wedding budgets and trying to navigate their way through the plethora of wedding purchuses, I feel your pain. I see the shiny things, I imagine what it would all look like coming together, I look at the price tag, I change my mind.

Weddings are a consumer driven investment, and they shouldn't have to be. I say this, and I run what could only be described as a glorified shopping blog (I'll get to that in a second). Part of my reason for writing the Halloween Wedding Planner ebook was to challenge what people believe makes up a wedding, to strip the event right back to it's core.

And you may think your wedding is different because it's counter culture - punk or gothic or indie or steampunk - but it's not. Whether you spend hours searching for that perfect white meringue dress or drooling over FairyGothMother corsets, the result is the same - consumerism, adherence to cultural ideals, advertising, marketing ploys, mass-consumption. Shame on us all.

Or is it?

See, while I DO believe in the planning stages of your wedding you should strip the process back to it's barest parts - which I discuss at length in my book - and I DO believe you should disengage yourself from the 'wedding industry' and all its associated products, I also believe you shouldn't worry too much about your consumption habits. Hell, that's why I started this blog. Here's why:
  • Buying a few things here and there, things you'll love, things that will make you smile when you think of your wedding day, things that you'll use again or decorate your home with, things which will bring you joy for many more years, aren't so much purchuses as they are investments.

  • When you buy wedding things from craftspeople like the ones I feature on this blog, you support the people that keep counter-cultures alive. How would goth as a culture exist without corsetmakers? How would heavy metal survive without leather studded gauntlets and band patches? It's simple - they wouldn't. Goth and heavy metal and whichever subculture you subscribe to represents a state of mind, sure, but they're also about the stuff. You can deny it all you like, but it's true. And the more beautiful handmade goods exist in the world, the less mass-produced garbage there is, and the happier we all are.

  • Stuff brings pleasure. So do lots of things: eating, travelling, some things I probably shouldn't talk about in graphic detail (ahem...) but owning and appreciating stuff is right up there. In the Grand Designs Handbook, Kevin McLeod admonishes people building new homes: 'Don't throw away your old furniture and buy everything new. Our possessions are our autobiographies'.
  • We have to consume. We have to clothes ourselves, we have to eat, we have to entertain ourselves and celebrate. For these things we need stuff - often not as much or as expensive or as mass-produced stuff as we buy - but stuff is essential for our survival.
See, stuff isn't bad, stuff is good, in many instances. And here at Wedding Skulls - even though I do say weddings are so not about the 'stuff' - we do love us some awesome stuff. But more importantly I think, we love the craftspeople who make us these things - we love the new friends we make, the lessons we learn. We love our subcultures and the people that work behind the scenes, making our scenes brighter, vibrant and fun. These are people whose stuff we love gracing our weddings.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rachel and Sean's Southern Gothic Wedding

Sean and Rachel

WHO BE YOU? Sean and Rachel of Augusta, Georgia. Sean works as an architectural software sales and support specialist and I have a degree in communications (journalism) and work as a newspaper columnist.

Rachel with her bridesmaids

WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY A 'SKULLY' WEDDING? Sean and I wanted to have a wedding that combined tradition (read: happy families) with a hefty dose of our own personalities. Sean, however, let me take the reigns for the most part and with that I conceived something of a Southern Gothic wedding with heavy nods to some of my favorite historical eras (at least in terms of aesthetics).

The venue was an old medical college built in 1806 in the Greek Revival style, which was pretty awesome by itself but even more so because it looked a lot like the place Sean proposed to me -- the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

We chose to hold the wedding at night because it's easy to get away with something a bit dark and extravagant, and the building is especially beautiful lit up after sunset. Best of all, though, it was elegant and elegance was the mood we wanted. A lot of "goth" themed weddings can sometimes come off as cheesy or faddish, but we wanted something that everyone, young or old, could come away from having been impressed.

The bagpiper heralds our entrance

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE WEDDING DETAILS: The invites were great previews for our wedding. I don't know how we managed to find them, but we found these layered invitations made of black, satin paper embossed with vining patterns and tied through with a pale pink ribbon. It was finding those that really cemented the color scheme for us -- they were at once dark and romantic.

The gown, however, was the centerpiece of everything. It was my own design made real by Starkers Corsetry, I wanted something that was very feminine and Silver Screen inspired yet obviously quite Gothic. Pink is my favorite color, so I chose pale pink Peau de Soie for the main material and heavy black eyelash lace for the insets and train. Fortunately, since pale pink and white are so close, my mother wasn't TOO horrified. Incidentally, I spent 36 hours hand sewing more than 5,000 glass beads to the lace and to the front of the corset. It's kind of amazing that none of them broke off and scattered during the wedding.

To top it off, I made my own fascinator cap of black satin, withered silk roses, and vintage French netting as a substitute for the traditional veil and as a period-appropriate accent to my 1940's hairstyle.

Finally, the cake was where our creepy little colors really showed. I also designed the cake (and the maker did an amazing job of making it just like the drawing), and for it we decided to have a traditional 3-tier with filigree-esque bats encircling each tier. It's no accident that the body of each bat was a heart shape. And, true to to form, we chose a devil's food interior with blood-red raspberry layers.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: There are almost too many to name. The frantic crush of my bridesmaids trying to lace me into my corset in time to walk down the aisle (with one, Tracy, threatening to flash me so I'd lighten up), the way Sean looked at me as he said the vows we'd written, the way we winged it through our first dance (no practice but it somehow looked quite choreographed on film), those all stand out, but they pale next to the moment right after we finished the recessional.

We had just been presented and had run up the stairs into the ballroom and away from everyone else, when I hugged Sean and rather unexpectedly broke down in tears. I think it was probably because I had wanted that moment so long -- we'd been together for 8.5 years at that point -- combined with the fact that it was a huge rite of passage in my life, and, something of a bittersweet one because my grandparents, who I was very close to, died before they could ever see it.

ANY ADVICE FOR WEDDING SKULLS: It's worth it to consider your families. I never looked at weddings as something that's just between two people, you are also being wed to each other's families, and that should be respected. I would never suggest sacrificing your beliefs or personalities, but when there's room to give, let it be.

For us, since my family is largely conservative Christian, we had readings about love and enduring through hardship (not religious, but something appreciated by all faiths), and instead of God or "God and Goddess" (Sean's pagan), we used words like Almighty -- as our nod to a universal higher power. In the end, everyone was happy and no one was left feeling uncomfortable or excluded, which was important to us.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Gothic Wedding feature

Check out Etsy Wedding blog for this fabulous Gothic Wedding Feature. She's picked some really classy and unique items. You can purchuse all these beautiful handcrafted gothy goods though etsy.

You can see she's added Blue Tulip design's skully invites, which we featured here last month!

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gothic Wedding Soundtrack

The Gothic Wedding Collection, $12

I stumbled on this beauty while surfing the net for something totally unrelated. From Vitamin Records comes the Gothic Wedding Collection, 15 tracks of string quartet tributes to gothic love songs. Everything from Depeche Mode (Enjoy the Silence) to The Cure (Just Like Heaven) to HIM (Join Me in Death) on one CD.

Vitamin Records was formed in 1999 to provide music lovers with string quartet versions of their their favourite rock, metal, pop and electronica. From their first album release 'The String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin' through to recent attempts at Outkast, Slayer and Tool, Vitamin has a string album for everyone amongst its 185 albums.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Butterflies Kiss Stationary

Gothic Bride invite from Butterflies Kiss.

Donna Wilson creates these AMAZING custom invitations and stationary at Butterflies Kiss. Each card is custom designed and can include your own portrait, dress-style, colour and flowers. She adds exquisite embellishments like jewels and dried flowers.

What we love about Butterflies Kiss the most is Donna's uncompromising dedication to non-traditional designs - she's done vintage, gothic, tattoo, ethnic and indie weddings and she lavishes the same love and attention on all.

She even has a range of sexy bachelorette invites and personal love notes. Check out Donnamatrix for these naughty ladies!

Her prices are very affordable - cards from $6 and up, or you can purchuse the digital file to print on your own. You can contact Donna and oogle her fabulous work over at the Butterflies Kiss website and etsy shop.

Donna's work has been featured on some other awesome blogs - Bridal Cheek and Etsy Weddings, among others - and she's recently done a series of illustrations for the ever-fabulous offbeatbride! Congrats to her - she deserves all the recognition!

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