Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Crafty Helper: How To Make A Seamless Color Change When In Knitting In The Round

Hello all!

'Tis my return to the ol' blog and I come to you with crafty assistance. I tend to think of myself as only moderately crafty (I ain't no Martha Stewart) but realized that every once in a while, I actually know useful tidbits I could share with others!

Today's lesson is how to make a (relatively) seamless color transition when knitting in the round. I learned this technique years ago and wish I could remember where/who from so I could give credit where credit is due. It's really pretty simple but can be a little confusing to understand at the beginning. (Note: this tutorial assumes 1) you already know how to knit in the round and 2) you already know how to add in a new color to a knitted project.)

Here we go!:

Ignore the messy nails - these hands have been too busy crafting to wait for fresh nail polish to dry!
For this technique to work, you need to knit at least two rows with the new color. Apply this technique any time you change color and, of course, don't forget to twist your yarn in the back to avoid gaping holes in your work.

When you're done, your work will look a little something like this:

Apologies for the lighting change - the day got away from me!

Not completely  invisible but way better than it would look like otherwise. If you look closely, you'll see that what this trick does is elongate the first stitch in the color change while hiding the stitch below it in the previous color. In my example, there are four rows of the khaki color, but the first column of the change actually only shows three stitches. Clever, right?

I hope this helps and I hope I was able to explain it in a way you could easily understand. Let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Made A Bag!

For those of you making fun of my oilcloth and/or sewing skills - suck it! I made a bag and, though it may be less than modest to say, I love it!

Things I learned:
- Wouldn't hurt to add interfacing for a little more structure
- Need to come up with a border solution I'm happy with to make the edge look tidy but not make the bag look lunch-baggy/juvenile
- Need to man-up and commit when pressing the sewing machine pedal so my stitches are neater (don't look too close - it ain't pretty)
- Don't forget velcro closure (doh!)
- I need to get more oilcloth!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clearly, I Am Just TOO Talented

I sewed a rectangle!

Here's why this is an accomplishment:
A few months ago, I bought several yards of oilcloth with lofty ideas and ambitions about the kind of fabulous items I would soon be happily making out of them. I don't know what made me think sewing oilcloth would be easy but I discovered it wasn't. The plastic side kept getting stuck when trying to run it along my sewing foot, which caused big ol' holes from where the needle repeatedly came down in the same place. Such a waste of my pretty fabric!

So I did what I'm always happy to do when I get frustrated - I gave up.

But then!

I was googling something totally unrelated to sewing oilcloth when I came across a tip. Simply sew with a bit of tissue paper directly on your material to help glide it along and rip away when done. Easy-peesy! I wish I could remember where I read that tip (so I could give credit where credit is due) but I don't. If it was yours, thanks so much!

Unfortunately, I didn't really plan this item out - just sat down and started sewing away - so I'm not sure what to do with this somewhat awkwardly-sized bag. I'm thinking I'll fold it, attach a button, and make a pseudo-envelope clutch. That I'll never use cause when have I ever carried a clutch?

Regardless, yay for learning something new and putting it to use!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011


Working on a new idea (by request), The Doomed suggested it'd be best I try it out mini-scale first. Constantly finding new uses for the Ken doll.

Sexy beast.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1st Impressions: Olympus Pen E-PL2 (A Layman's Review)

I finally bought the Olympus Pen E-PL2 I've been coveting for months now. (Choir of angels sing "AHHHHHHhhhhhhh.")
Taken with the iPhone 4.

When I was researching what camera to buy, I read many reviews for this Olympus Pen that, I'm gonna be honest, were way over my head. I've yet to learn how to use all its functions and can't tell you diddly about aperture or shutter speeds so I thought I'd write a review from the novice point of view, based on the two weeks I've had it.
Taken with the automatic setting
- It really is as easy to use as a point-and-shoot right out of the box but it takes noticeably better pictures, even without any special photo-taking skills or settings. You know those photos where the subject is in focus and the background is not? THIS CAMERA AUTOMATICALLY DOES THAT. Just like a professional's!

Taken with the iPhone 4.

- It comes with a removable M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm lens and I bought the additional macro adaptor to use for photographing my shop items (note: the camera comes with two traditional macro setting plus a macro option specifically for use with the macro adaptor). It works really well but, except for being able to specify exactly where I want it to focus, I honestly can't tell the difference between my old Canon Powershot SD 550's macro and this Pen's. I'm sure it's because I haven't yet learned how to best use it. I'm also curious about getting the wide-angle adaptor.

Taken with macro adaptor
- Because my Canon came with a small SD card, I held off on purchasing one for the Pen because I wanted to see what size it came with. Turns out, it isn't included at all so make sure to get an SD, SDHC, or SDXC card at the same time as your camera (I got this one).

- It has six art filter options which are pretty cool and can even be used when recording in HD.

Taken with Grainy Film filter and macro lens

Taken with Dramatic Tone filter.

Taken with Pop Art filter.
- Like with anything else, white gets dirty right quick. That was dumb of my OCD-self not to expect. The smooth, main body is fine but the grittier surface on top where the on/off, shutter, and flash button are is really susceptible to dirty smudges. Luckily, it cleans easily with an all-purpose cleaner (carefully applied, of course). Consider the black, red, or silver camera if you're as anal about this as I am. (Personally, I love the way the white looks and have no regrets.)

- It does not come with a viewfinder which, coming from the world of point-and-shoot, is not a big deal to me. I hear it's useful, though, so I am considering getting one that conveniently clips right in at the top of the camera.

- Riddle me this, Olympus: what's the point of the Olympus Pen Pal when it doesn't work with what is arguably the most popular smart phone on the market today? I was so excited to add this little gadget to my paraphernalia only to get it home and discover it doesn't work with my iPhone. The concept of it is pretty awesome: it allows you to zing your camera photos over to your smart phone via Bluetooth. No need to connect to your computer, upload, and then download or email to your phone. A really clever idea, I thought, since I do a lot of editing and photosharing on the go. Turns out, it's completely useless when it's not compatible with your phone. It's probably more of an iPhone issue than a Olympus one, but it dissapointed me so I choose to vent about it here.

- A new Olympus Pen has already been announced so I suppose that makes this one outdated but from what I read, the updates aren't enough to make me feel like I'm missing out on anything (plus that means I was able to get this one at a slightly discounted price - bonus!)

- I want to take a photography class to really learn how to use my camera but, meanwhile, I came across this free online tutorial from Alexandre Buisse. It seems pretty in-depth and I'm excited to start it.

I've tried to address all the questions I had when looking into this camera, but I'm sure I've overlooked some you fellow amateur photographers may have. I'll keep updating this post as I learn more about it's features and really get a handle on this camera but I will say this: I wanted a camera that was an upgrade from a basic point-and-shoot yet didn't require me to be professionally trained to use a DSLR. That is exactly what I received with this Olympus Pen. Excellent photo quality and I can manipulate light, shutter speed, focus, etc. if I wish or click to the automatic function and have the camera do it all for me if I don't. Absolutely perfect for my needs and I highly recommend it if those are your needs, too.

Note: all items were purchased from Amazon with my own hard-earned loot. No money nor incentives were received for this (extremely simple) review.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not An Adrenaline Junky

Recently, The Doomed made me start watching 101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow. What he considers the "best time ever!" is my absolute worst nightmare. Have you seen this show? The premise is it's a basic gameshow where contestants answer random questions correctly for the chance to win $50,000. The catch is if they get an answer wrong, they leave the show by some extreme Jackass-style means. Like standing on top of a small plane and having it take off. WITH YOU STILL STANDING ON IT.

I do not enjoy.

I hate adrenaline rushes. I don't have a fear of heights, so long as I'm not on some rickety platform, but I do have an intense fear of falling. Which means I hate rollercoasters, driving fast on hills, bungee jumping, sky diving - anything that gives you that stomach-in-your-throat feeling. HATE IT. Can not emphasize that enough. I don't scream in glee like you crazy rollercoaster lovers - I am mute and petrified. And I stomp my feet like some sort of petulant child in an attempt to make the stomach lurching stop. Yes, yes I am relentlessly mocked for that by all my friends, how did you know?

Last week, I came across this video (warning: while the video is totally G rated, the site itself is NSFW. I tried to embed but it wouldn't let me). Do you see that man's head gear camera work? FREAKS ME OUT. That is insanely high! And talk about rickety, there isn't even a proper platform! If I have to hook myself to anything to make sure I don't die, I am OUT.

I can't help it. I like to keep it simple.  :)

My version of a rockin' good ride.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I got my first wholesale inquiry last weekend and even if nothing comes of it, I'm glad someone was interested enough to ask. It did also get me thinking that I really should get my portfolio ready for that sort of thing. My big goal for this year was to do craft shows and I've been trying (haven't been accepted to as many as I'd like, but oh well). My big goal for next year is to try the wholesaling side of things, but it didn't occur to me that I'd be unprepared if someone contacted me THIS YEAR. Guess I better get on that.

I spent the weekend making large hair clips with the paper flowers I showed last week and I really like them - so much so that I've already been "test driving" them myself. They got quite a positive reaction - even from the fellas! Totally unprompted!

That's always a good sign. :)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Petty Little Wishes

I wish the perpetual heat and humidity didn't keep me trapped in my home, reluctant to venture out and enjoy my neighborhood.

I wish I didn't have 11 itchy mosquito bites right now, courtesy of a single, stealthy mosquito who enjoyed dive-bombing me yesterday morning.

I wish I had better photography skills.

I wish I looked good in bangs.

I wish I didn't get so discouraged when crafting projects go wrong.

I wish they had Yoshinoya in Miami (shut up, I love it.)

I wish teleportation existed.

I wish tidying up could be done à la Mary Poppins.

I wish this Vespa sweater was available in my size.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

There IS Crafting on this Craft Blog

I've been working pretty diligently on a new knitted item I had an idea for a while ago, but as I waited for the finished items to block this weekend, I moved onto another idea I'd been meaning to tackle.

I purchased these paper flowers without having any clear idea what to do with them. (You know how it is, you see something pretty and you just gotta have it!) In my head, I saw what could be the foundation for a sort of statement-piece necklace.

Embroidered and bedazzled

Now that I've got it all glued and embroidered together, I'm not sure if I'm completely sold on my original necklace idea but I am really happy with the way the detailing turned out. The Doomed mentioned something I hadn't thought of for the chain part of the necklace and suggested I should also try making brooches with the flowers. Look at him getting craftily-inclined with my girly items.

Awaiting assembly

I'm also liking the look for hair clips. Now I just have to see how it holds up to varnishing and, of course, get more supplies!

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure

As part of the new style file feature, I think there's something it's time I confess.

I love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

Dudes (or dudettes, as the case may be), I can watch these videos for HOURS. Eyeshadow techniques, product reviews, hairstyling tips, I'm into it all. The only thing I stay away from are haul videos (where folks just show you their latest purchases) because unless they're reviewing the quality/performance of the items, it doesn't really matter to me how folks spend their moola.

There're a few people I subscribe to but my very favorite are the Pixiwoo sisters, Samantha and Nicola Chapman. These girls KNOW their craft. They are British professional makeup artists who happen to be gorgeous and excellent at what they do. And I love the quality and variety of their videos.

I'm sure you're wondering if I ever incorporate any of what I've learned. Um, I try? Really, I do! I'm an everyday makeup-wearer and have a pretty standard routine I'm happy with and rarely veer away from, but every once in a while I try to spice it up. My latest attempt was applying a pretty teal (apparently the color du jour) from a Kat von D pallette I purchased recently. The Doomed came home, took one look at me and said "so, we were having fun with our eyes today, weren't we?" I explained that I'd ended up removing some of it because I felt I'd overdone it and he said "you had MORE on?" I take that as a non-successful application.

Oh well. :)

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

While The Doomed Was Away...

...this crafter played. :) Hope your long weekends were great, too!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Style File

In an attempt to bring bigger! better! faster! content to the 'ol blog, I thought it'd be fun to start doing a weekly style feature. Because I spend so much time at home, I've pretty much become a full-time t-shirt and jeans girl. I've always wanted to be able to incorporate my love of vintage and classic girly into both my wardrobe and home, so I thought scouring the internets for cute things might help push me out of my comfort rut.

This week's selections:

Sailor's Sweetheart Tee

It's no secret I've got a yen for sailor-inspired wear and this top is the perfect combo of casual and cute.

Soda Shoppe Saddle Shoes

I know saddle shoes aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they (and penny loafers) were my favorite part of going to a catholic high school. I think the little heel updates it perfectly.

Vintage Hairstyling 2nd Edition

There's a book to teach me? You know I love to read and learn! If they ever come out with a 60s hairstyling edition, I'm getting it INSANTLY.

Airmail Pouch

Classic. Adorable. Useful. That is all.

Picture Perfect Pencil Sharpener

So cute! I tend to use mechanical pencils if I use them at all, but I'd stock up on good 'ol #2s for this sharpener.

Hope you like this new feature! I've been knitting up a storm and hope to have new stuff to show you by next week. Happy weekend, everyone!

No money nor incentives were received from anyone for mentioning the above items or shops. I just like them :)

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Over A Month Is Long Enough!

I haven't crafted in over a month. Seriously. No knitting, no sewing, no beading - I haven't even touched any material to organize it.

Well, no more! I'm making a comeback! It starts tonight! Why? I don't know, but I finally felt the itch to make, make, make. Up first, finishing a beanie. See? Here's proof:

I'm even wearing my paint-splattered crafting pants!

Yes, this is what I consider fun on a Friday night.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Because Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

As a crafter, I spend a lot of time alone at home working on my items. I don't know about you, but I can't work in silence for hours on end, just me and my thoughts, so I watch A LOT of tv to keep me entertained. As a big movie buff, I've got all the usual sources - cable, Netflix, DVDs, etc. - and one of my favorite selections from these are documentaries. In the same vain that I love to read biographies, I love to watch documentaries.

There are the well-known ones like Supersize Me, March of the Penguins, Inconvenient Truth or anything by Michael Moore, or even the classic ones like Endless Summer, but I've also seen everything from documentaries about drinking water, to surfing, to porn, and even one about a gay British mobster. I don't have an official top ten list or anything, but I thought it might be fun to list the ones I find myself watching and recommending over and over.

1) Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father

Such an amazing, unbelievable, and tragic story. I originally saw this at a free screening my local theater was having along with a q&a by the filmmaker. I cry every time I see it and if you're not moved by it, you might be literally missing a heart.

2) The Business of Being Born

I admit, this film totally feeds my west-coast hippie-dippy side. As a teen I imagined that when the time finally came for me to pop out a kid, I would want the process to be as quick and painless as possible. Knock me out, cut me up, ta-dah! This movie made me think twice and genuinely research more about what I want my "birthing experience" to be like someday. See? How hippie-dippy is that? Be ye forewarned: lots of graphic birthing scenes. It's the miracle of life, folks! Comes with the territory.

3) Crazy Love

The title says it all. This story couldn't be written, it's so unbelievable. A tribute to the power of love. Or psychosis. Special note: fantastic soundtrack.

4) Beer Wars

I am not a beer drinker for when I imbibe, I like flavor. And sweetness. And maybe a little umbrella or cherry or both. However, this movie is so informative and engaging it gets tacked right up there with all the reasons I love to hate "The Man". As a direct result of this film, The Doomed, who is a huge beer drinker, no longer buys any beer from or distributed by any of the big three American breweries. Succesfully brainwashed!

5) Mad Hot Ballroom
Just a feel good movie. 'Cause I like watching kids dance. And I like kids with New York accents. Super enjoyable - saw it in theaters and leave it on everytime I catch it on cable.

Do you guys have any documentaries you like? I'm always on the look out for the next great thing to see!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Crafting Rut

I've a confession to make. I've barely picked up the knitting needles this week.

What?! I know! It's so unlike me but I really just haven't been motivated. I haven't picked up any other crafting utensil or material either. I had a couple ideas and started working on them, but they just weren't turning out the way I hoped. So I stopped. I gave up. Temporarily.

You ever feel completely uninspired? Like everything you make sucks, nothing's original, someone else could do a better job, you have no talent. The beauty of crafting, I think, is that you don't have to be talented, per sé. You just have to like to make things, make them to best of your ability, and hope someone else likes them, too. I certainly don't consider myself talented. Or an artist. I just like to make. Right now, though, I feel like everything I do is bleh.

I'm not a woe-is-me kind of gal. I'm perky! And peppy! Glass is always half full! But sometimes, like anyone, I have an off week. And there's nothing I'd like better than to throw a temper tantrum big enough to put a toddler's to shame. But it's not cute in kid and sure as hell isn't cute in a grown woman. Also, it wouldn't make me feel good anyway.

So, what to do? I think it's time I make something completely unassociated with the shop or me. I have a neighbor who's pregnant with her first child and I've been wanting to make a little something for the occasion. I think now's the perfect time! Who doesn't love adorable baby somethings! And maybe it'll make the muses come flying back to me.

Since I have nothing new to show you, how 'bout a picture of my always adorable pooch? He got a haircut this week. Have a great weekend, y'all!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Instant or Not to Instant

This I my Diana+ camera. It's mint green and lightweight and vintage looking and I love it. I bought it a couple years ago, along with the record player it sits upon, imagining I'd finally have time to really get into photography. However, having no steady place at which to develop the film, I don't use it as often as I'd like and I find myself relying much more on the lomographic settings of my iPhone's various camera apps.

When I learned Lomography had created an instant back that attaches to all their Diana+ cameras I was sold!....until I learned the price.

Making my camera capable of producing polaroid shots is an awesome concept and I would use it everywhere if I had it, but I just can't bring myself to plunk down nearly $80 for it quite yet. I know that, relatively speaking, it's not an exorbitant amount of money but, hey, that's more than the camera itself cost me. I think. I don't remember anymore.

Maybe I'll get it after I get the Olympus Pen I've been drooling over. Or maybe if they offered it in the same color as my camera. I never could resist a good mint/teal colored gadget. :)

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reliving My Youth with Save Ferris

When I was about 18, one of my friends introduced me to ska music. I'd always been partial to reggae, dancehall, and rocksteady - music I'd heard sporadically in my life - but didn't really know a lot about the style in general. Two of my friends were totally immersed in the punk and ska scene at the time and through them, I found my love for traditional and third-wave ska. I'm a sucker for a good horn section in any genre of music and both of these nailed it for me. As soon as I heard the first chords of my first Hepcat song (this one specifically, I just remembered) I knew I needed to start branching out from the radio crap and alternative music that was everywhere.

When I was about 21, I was coming home from work, blasting Save Ferris' It Means Everything album. I don't know if you've ever heard Monique Powell sing, but that woman can BELT. I can barely hold a note but Lies was one of my favorite songs and when it came on I, of course, sang along. I'd never been able to hit her notes fully because I just don't have her kind of lungs, but thought that I'd take advantage of being alone in my car to sing as loudly as I could. Maybe then I could hit her notes! So there I was, speeding down Los Feliz Blvd., singing at the top of my lungs and doing the song a modicum of justice. Then she got to the part I always cut off at - a long, intense wail of "LIIIIIIEEEEEESSSS" that ends the whole long, intense bridge of the song. I was DETERMINED to hit that note. I hollered so long and so loud I actually made myself dizzy and nearly passed out while driving. I had to stop singing just to catch my breath.

My friends and I spent our late teens/early twenties traveling up and down the California coast to watch our favorite bands perform. I can't even count the amount of times we saw Hepcat, Slow Gherkin, Pharmaceutical Bandits (now Rx Bandits), Dancehall Crashers, Mad Caddies, Codename:Rocky, Edna's Goldfish, Alkaline Trio (they are not now nor were they ever any form of ska, but we saw them play A LOT, too), and dozens of other small bands play. I even went to see the Mighty Mighty Bosstones all by myself once, my friends all being unavailable or away at college.

As it goes with indie music, most of the bands I listened to at the time no longer exist. Or they've evolved into a different sound altogether. One of the perks of living in LA since the end of the all-too-brief ska revival that spawned more popular groups like Sublime and No Doubt was getting to see Hepcat play their yearly reunion shows. We've gone every year - well, I did until I moved to Miami, anyway - and it's still an awesome experience getting to listen to the live version of music that defined so much of our youth. I can credit that time of my life for being the first time I realized there was a whole world of music I knew nothing about and that just because it didn't come from a major label or wasn't part of the regular MTV rotation (remember when they actually played music videos?) didn't mean it wasn't worth seeking out. In fact, it usually meant it was better.

"Lies" just came on my iTunes and prompted this little trip down memory lane. I'm happy to report I still can't hit that goddamned note.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Ain't All About Crafting

I came across a blog yesterday dedicated to pulp and vintage noir and it made me think. I've got plenty of other loves and obsessions that I rarely discuss here 'cause I figured the blog should mainly be about crafting. But, to keep things interesting, I think I'm gonna start featuring other tidbits - after all it's my blog and I can do as I wish!

So, today I thought I'd show you my office area - the place I'm usually found when not busily making items.

It's just a little desk sandwiched between two large bookshelves overflowing with books (my first and other love). My poor desk is in desperate need of refinishing since it's older than I am and is one of the few cherished possessions I nabbed away from my parents when I first left home. It's quite literally been with me forever and even though it's small and damaged and old-fashioned and totally impractical, I can't imagine parting with it.

My favorite part of my "office" is my artwork.

I have a mad fascination with pulp cover art and mid-century romance comics so I simply framed up some of my favorite postcards. They tie-in the books that surround my desk and add color to the plain wall. Cheap and easy! I often absent-mindedly stare at them as I work and I always find myself inspired by their style and bold colors.

The latest addition to my area is the little hand drawn piece that sits on my desk.

It's a piece by Mike White that The Doomed got for me at the Miami Comic Con a couple months ago. I thinks it's ADORABLE and it always makes me smile. You can check out more of Mike's great comics at

I hope you enjoyed this little departure from crafting and already have more posts planned for other topics. For now, though, time for me to get back to the crafting!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Questionable Cuff

'Round these parts there's always a new cuff being worked on. I can't get enough of them and figure I don't have to! The latest one is made out of a houndstooth-print ribbon and I thought the classic black/white/red color combination would be perfect.

Hmm. I do like the colors together and the button, but I'm not sure the blanket stitch works here. Houndstooth is already such a busy print and I think the red all around the edges clashes and is just too distracting. The Doomed wasn't entirely sold on it either so I think I gotta go back to the drawing board on this one. My best bet is probably to simplify it down and let the red button stand alone. What do you think?

In positive news, may I tell you how much I love my new buttonhole cutter?

Such a basic thing but it works so much better than my ol' x-acto knife. And I'm totally digging the mini-mat it came with! It's the simple things in life that make me happy. :)

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