Friday, 30 September 2011


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Anyone else getting this error message when they try and comment on other blogs?  Over the last couple of days if I comment on a blog many of the comments just disappear without being posted.  Tonight I managed to get this error message.  I've tried logging in and out of blogger and tried on two different computers. Now it's just making me all grrrr at blogger.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Missing Mojo

I really don't know what's been up with me these past few days. I've been all Meh. about virtually everything. I've felt unsociable, stressed for no apparent reason and just generally lacking my mojo. I've committed to a tonne of swaps and some of those are requiring my urgent attention. Like I need to finish this mug rug for the scrappy mug rug swap.

Progress so far

I've done all the hand embroidery now - which means the bolt through Frankies neck and the features for both him and ghost. I just need to baste it together and do the sketching quilting to hold Frankie, the ghost and the mug to the mug rug and then bind it.  Next week  posting starts so I should be good to go.  It has been a challenge making a Halloween inspired mug rug when I have next to no fabric which can pass as Halloween fabric.  So I'm hoping my partner is going to like this. She's pretty talented at this sort of work so I hope it measures up!

This week I have managed to cut out two more 241 totes both destined for presents. One early on next month. I hope to be able to show you that finished very soon. The other one is for a Christmas present so that'll have to remain under wraps for now! 

It is still my intention to make a fair few of my Christmas presents this year so I've been planning and making already. 

I just hope I can snap out of this funk soon. Feeling low is not my default position so the sooner I can start channelling Tigger rather than Eyore the better.

Hope you're enjoying this glorious summer like weather!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Another Pushoin

Pushoin? When my niece was a toddler she, like many small children, had her only words for certain things. A Ladybird for example she would call a Ladybaby.  The Moon, thanks to a tv programme that I've forgotten the name of was called, Luna. Cushion got hybridised into a cross between a Pillow and a cushion and ended up as a pushion.

My latest pushion has been very much influenced by Autumn and a tree shedding it's leaves.  It's not been easy going by any means. Now why is it the easy stuff I find difficult?


I used some of the lovely Aviary 2 wood grain fabric I bought the other day to make a tree trunk and along with a selection of fabric scraps I fused them onto a panel of cream coloured solid. I wanted it to look like the leaves were coming off of the tree.  I did think about using a zigzag stitch on all the applique bits; only I thought it might look nicer if the edges started to fray over time giving some slight texture, so I used sketchy embroidery quilting to attach these.  I then used some 2.5" scrap squares in colours that reminded me of Autumn to create a border.  Once that was done I decided to tackle free motion quilting for the first time.

Disaster struck before I even got started. I don't use my trusty Janome for anything that requires a darning foot because I don't have one. A friend generously gave me their sewing machine when they were downsizing. It was almost new as they'd not used it that much. They had also bought a darning/embroidery foot with the express intention of using the machine for more arty rather than practical sewing. So for a variety of reasons (including having no manual so not knowing how to do things like wind bobbins on this machine - although thanks to Kat I can do that now!) I've been using this machine for embroidery/free motion type work.   Last night when I was getting the Brother out of it's bag the case/tray bit you detach when you want to get into the bobbin area or sew an arm or tube fell off and hit the laminate floor in my dining room. It only fell about 3 inches, but it broke both the plastic bits that attach it to the machine. It is a really cheap/poor design which means every time I've ever moved the machine it's tended to come off and it's a surprise disaster hasn't happened before. Given that Brother has aimed this at the budget home sewer I'm surprised they haven't made a machine with a more robust casing. I'm not a clumsy person. I've bought superglue I'll attempt a repair, but the two broken bits of plastic are smaller than little finger nails, so I'm not optimistic of success. What it did mean is my first attempt at free motion quilting involved wedging a coaster under the tray in the hope it would sit attached to the machine - as I was sewing some areas I could feel it shifting apart so I had to keep odds-ing that! However, I'm really pleased with the result. I did about 20 stitches practice. Then thought no just get on with it!

No laughing too hard this is a first ever attempt!

It was a bit fiddly going round the tree leaves and I have quilted it far more densely that you would a quilt. I am not sure I'd have the stamina (or thread) to do a whole quilt because it is quite demanding and you do have to concentrate. Once I got a rhythm going I quite enjoyed the process and definitely want to use it in other projects.

I then used some of the perle I got last week to do a few lines of stitching around the border. I decided the tree trunk was looking a bit bare so I fussy cut an owl from one of the scraps from Kaelins destash the other day and had him sat looking out of a hollow in the tree.

Assembling the pushion was when it all went wrong.  I decided to make a simple envelope closure on the back and harvest an old cushion cover for fabric like I did with the last cushion. However, by the time I'd sorted the ends for fraying and then folded over for seams I had such bulk it ended up looking like a right dogs breakfast. So having wasted a lot of time and effort I grabbed my trusty unpicker and decided to start over.  I had some Joel Dewberry fabric in my stash (as it was a whole yard I had wanted to save it for a larger project. But what's the point of waiting and buying fabric when I have something suitable with no project in mind!) so I used some of that and put a zipper in the back.

It was only when it was all finished I realised it was too small for any of my pillow forms. See another simple part of the making I messed up! I had a very floppy old cushion that I stole the insert from and squeezed it into the back.  I still seem to get this problem with the flap to conceal the zip bulging open. I must remember to stitch it down for the next cushion. The zipper went in easily enough. It seems wrong that the zipper was easier and tidier than the envelope closure but there you go!


So now I have another new pillow for my living room make over!


I'm linking this up with celebrate colour this month as it was very much designed with Autumn in mind.

Celebrate Color

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Great Finale to a Week of Lovelies!

As you didn't read a blog post yesterday about some great fabric goodness by mail you could be forgiven for thinking my run of fabric fantasticness had come to an end. In actual fact I had a bit of a headache so I commented on photos on flickr and blog posts, but didn't share with you that I had a whole stack of fabric goodness in the mail yesterday due to a private swap between Fiona and I.  I didn't take any pictures. However, just one word speaks volumes: Mendocino. 

Today posting officially started in the Goodie Swap.  This morning I spied my postie coming up the path with a parcel and one of those 'signed for' cards in his hand.   With an instruction like this on the envelope and the clue on the back of the return address, there was no way I was waiting to open this!!!!

Instructions on the envelope!

I will not confirm or deny whether I ran around the living room like a nutter, clasping the parcel to my chest before I ripped off the envelope.  Inside the parcel was this:

All nicely wrapped up!

Inside which were these two lovely mug rugs:
My two yummy mug rugs

I get a mug rug for every day use and an arty one with organza ribbon seaweed, sequin bubbles and a seed bead fish eye.  Aren't all the embroidery details cool!
That wasn't all, there was this lovely pouch!
I think I threatened to cry if Lynz wasn't my partner

I have to say I went nuts for this when I saw it in the group pool. It had elephants - which I have a little collection of, texty fabric which I love, my favourite Hope Valley print, a birdie, and a cute fairy toadstool zip pull...all combined with linen.  If I'd seen the flip side I'd have really wondered who else could like all these things and ladybirds?
SIde of pouch Lynz didn't show in group

That's not all though! Because inside the pouch was this:

Goodie item number 2

The treat is Scottish Tablet which is a traditional sweetie tablet. Tastes a bit like fudge, although it has a different texture. Hadn't had that before, so that was new to me. There was also a pile of yummy scraps. I do like my scraps and a lovely little toadstool pin topper. I was completely over the moon. I'd been joking in the swap with Lynz how I wanted to be her partner. I have to say I was just really hoping;I wasn't sure because you never can be in a swap can you? I mean a lot of us like similar things. So there was a bit of me this morning that was incredulous that after all the banter I was her partner! A big Thank You Lynz!

Now it seemed silly to not open my other goodie parcel. The one that had arrived while I was at work and my Mum was waiting in for another parcel for me. The one I told her to hide because with all the lovely goodies being shown in the group pool it would be too tempting to not open earlier. And once I had opened it, I'd want to share the news with everyone wouldn't I?

Mum confessed at this point she was going to get one of the jiffy envelopes I re-use to send off stuff and put in some old socks and some Granny pants. She wanted to see my face when I opened that goodie and watch while I went back into the group discussion and explain to everyone that no I hadn't got my goodie parcel after all. As it was I think she was a bit overwhelmed by how people that have never met put together such well made and thoughtful packages to send off not knowing how well they'd be received. So by the time I got to this parcel she was quite excited herself.

Ooooh nice wrapping what's inside?

More lovely wrapping this time from Judith of Rags to Bags. Inside was this cool mug rug.
Mug Rug No1: Reflecting my love of handbags

I am in awe of the free motion writing. Earlier today I tried free motion quilting for the first time. I'd done sketchy outlining before, but not proper free motion quilting and it's not easy. So how on earth you ever do proper writing and not have it come out as gobbledygook is beyond me.  The sentiment is one I live by. I definitely can never have too many bags. In fact one day I may do a blog post on hand bags alone. It would be very picture heavy. Some of you may recognise the centre bag as it's my 241 tote!

As well as the mug rug was this:

Mug Rug and Goodies including some green tea with lemon

Judith had picked up that I like to try different flavoured teas and infusions. I've not tried this one before so I'm looking forward to that. There was also this cute tissue holder with some Cath Kidson tissues inside. I suspect as Autumn is underway it won't be too long before I'm needing tissues to hand to deal with the seasonal lurgy. When I opened up the holder I let out a squeal because inside was a cute cupcake pin topper.  (In fact mum who was watching thought I must have mortally wounded myself to squeal like that!) It is just so cute and the card Judith sent with everything informs me that her daughter made it. Looks like there is a lot of talent in that household!

Very Yummy Tissue Holder and CK tissues, plus a lovely cup cake pin topper!

The tissue holder is actually the perfect size for my phone too so it makes it dual purpose as well as being so pretty.

Thanks again Judith I love everything!!!
All the goodies together - it feels like my birthday

When you see everything laid out like this you can see why I've had a big grin on my face all day and why it's felt like today was my birthday! I think this has been a great finale to what's been a great week of fabric and sewing treasures!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Is this getting boring yet?

I kid you not there was more fabric loveliness by mail today. First off the prize I won on Sarah - Fairy Face Designs blog for 5 half yards of Kona from River Fabrics arrived today. Yes, today - less than 24 hours after I'd confirmed my address with Janette of River Fabrics.

I chose my favourite all purpose Kona: Medium Grey. I can always use this when I'm not sure what Kona to go with.  The other colours from the top down are:  sage, sea foam, periwinkle and teal (it's not quite so obvious from the photograph which is which. The photo doesn't do these lovelies justice.)


I already have a plan for the teal. Which involves lining a 241 tote - can't say too much more about that as it's destined for a Christmas present. ;-)

If you're looking for Kona in the UK I have to say River Fabrics certainly give you plenty of choice. Over 100 colours in stock (by my shoddy maths reckoning!) But lots!  There are some other things that are really tempting me: like England Swings and Modern Meadow, and of course Aviary 2

But my fabric chest of drawers is nearly full to capacity. So I've got to get on and make before I can go buy more stuff. (Either that or clear out the final available drawer in the chest. But as I need to do more decluttering before I can contemplate that we'll say it's full.) So no rushing off to River Fabrics and buying absolutely everything I love...well ok if you must. Just leave me something ok?

Also in the post today was the last of the fabric orders I'm waiting on. I'd been mooching around Etsy looking for something highly important at the time - which of course I've completely forgotten about now, when I saw a shop was having a closing down sale (it's now closed or I'd put a link in) with some silly prices on fabric. I restrained myself to this:


Three, one yard cuts of Pips. I think the blue puppies maybe my favourite in the range. Also, a charm pack of Circa 1934 by Cosmo Cricket, which looks even better in person. I'm developing a bit of a precut addiction. A whole range in a neat little bundle. Oh the possibilities.

And just so you don't think I've been shirking on the making front I've started on an Autumn inspired pillow top. So far I've fused the trunk and a selection of leaves (need to add a few more) to look like a breezy Autumn day is helping the tree shed its leaves.  I then plan a border of scrappy squares and some embroidered details. 

So best get back to it!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Oh My Giddy (Goody) Aunt

Well the goodness just keeps coming in the mail.  Look what arrived today! 


I'd wanted to get some Perle threads for ages as I only had a couple of variegated balls and some I use for lace making (which I wanted to keep for lace making). The trouble was I'd seen some good deals on Ebay, but was concerned as to whether they really were colourfast.  I didn't really want to buy 20+ balls and quilt something only to find first time it's washed I've got thread dye everywhere.  I asked Fiona as I knew she'd bought some and she kindly did this experiment. So a couple of days ago I bought this little lot from a supplier on Ebay also recommended by Fiona.

I had told my Mum I was expecting a parcel today as I'd also been tipped off by Catherine about Dunelm for pillow forms. Now I'm no where near a Dunelm, so I went online and ordered some feather pillows from there.


I'm determined to have a little home make over.  (I briefly toyed with the idea of sending Chief to Dunelm as there is one close to him. However, I have no idea when I'll see him and I'm kind of impatient once I decide I need something.)  When the Postie bought my thread order plus another padded envelope, Mum decided to ring me at work and let me know it had arrived.  Only from the description it sounded like one was my threads and one idea. 'Foot square jiffy bag, light, soft and UK stamp', was her description. I asked about return address but she hadn't got her glasses. I have an inkling it maybe one of my parcels in the Goodie Swap. Posting doesn't start until 24 September; it's quite possible that one of my partners has posted a little early. We've been asked that if we get our parcels early we don't blog about what's inside because it will rule out certain goodies for people before posting starts proper. There is so much goodness in this swap that I'll never be able to keep quiet about it if I open it now, so I phoned Mum back and told her to hide the parcel. Put it somewhere I'd never find it and further more if I started asking for it before the 24th then under no circumstances let me have it. :-)

As Lynz pointed out it maybe nothing to do with the swap at all and wouldn't that be funny?!   Oh, yes if it turns out to be something completely mundane you'll hear my manic hysterical laughter for miles... In the mean time I went back through some of the pics on flickr to see if there were any obvious clues. And I tell you I could have 20 or more partners making just for me. I'm seeing clues in every other picture. Goldfish on a mug rug? must be mine as I have goldfish mentioned on my profile. Elephant fabric scrap? Must be mine I have a small collection of elephants. Hmmm anything in a colour I like (which is pretty much 90% of the colours being used...) I tell you I'm losing it. I even thought I saw my blue 241 tote miniaturised on a mug rug. 

Talking of the Goodie Swap - do you like the look of this little pinnie partner?  Are you green with envy?


Some of you might be envious to find out I won the giveaway on Sarah - FairyFace Designs blog for a bundle of Kona half yard cuts from River Fabrics. Yes, Mr Random Number Generator has put me back in favour and decided to let me win something for a change. And mighty grateful I am too! I feel like I'm having a very lucky week! (And yes I went and bought a lottery ticket for tonights draw!)

Oh and only one person has signed up for the pay it forward so I need two more people to play. Details here!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Marvellous Mail & Pay It Forward

You'd think with yesterday's vintage find, I'd done with my quota of fabric related goodies for this week. Not so!  As today when I got home from work the postman had left two parcels on my doorstep. In parcel number one was some pay if it forward goodness: this lovely mini cushion from Reene of Nellies Niceties. Isn't it fab?


The fabric is Wonderland by Momo for Moda. This escaped my radar until it was hard to find. As Momo didn't really come to my attention until I was given a Freebird Charm pack for my birthday.

Lush isn't it? It's not blurry in real life that's my dodgey photography!

There was also a bag of scraps. 
If you'd read this post you'd know I love Heather Ross although I hadn't been that taken with Far Far Away, I had wondered if this was down to never having seen or handled any in real life!  Well, I have to say now I've got some I am greedy for more because they really are lovely! I'd particularly wanted some Princess and the Pea fabric because of the special memories I have of reading this ladybird book. In fact I still have my ladybird book - it was one of a few favourites I kept from my large childhood collection.

So THANK YOU! again Reene for all the thought and love you put into this P-I-F parcel!

Now I have to fulfill my side of the pay it forward deal.

Here's  how it works:
1. I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and it will arrive when you least expect it.

2. I will have 365 days to do it in. What's the catch? To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't have to be quilty - just handmade.

3. You must have a blog.

4. Once you receive your "little something", you must post about your Pay it Forward on your blog to keep the fun going - be sure to use the Pay It Forward badge.

So I will make for the first three people that comment on this post and say they want to play. Ok? (Keeps fingers crossed people will want to play!)

In the other parcel the postie left today was the scraps I got when Kaelin of The Plaid Scottie had a destash. Why are other people's scraps stashes always better than your own?

Oppsy upside down photos alert! This is the green pack. Yes, you spy some FMF ;-)
This is the blue - there is an awful lot of fabric in both packs as most of it is folded over or several layers!

So there you go there a marvellous mail day if ever there was one!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday Goodies!

There is a little vintage-come-gift shop close to where I work. In fact sometimes when I'm sat at my desk I see the van come to off load furniture etc. Surprisingly I don't see so much stuff going out. Out it must go though, as if you don't buy something when you see it it's often gone a few days later. I periodically go into the shop to browse.  It leans towards shabby chic which I have to say I'm not a big fan of.  However, when I went in today I spotted this.


I had been looking for a stool to recover. I'd actually wanted something more small footstool size. They do get them in from time to time - although they've normally had them recovered in the shabby chic style and not to my taste and I'm looking for something to modernise with a patchwork revamp. Anyway, this wasn't what I was looking for, but on a whim I pulled the top to see if lifted up. It looked like it should.  Inside was this.


So I bought it as I thought this would be useful to house all those projects I work on in the living room. You know the one's that are invariably spread all over the floor or the arm of the sofa when someone pops in unexpectedly for a cuppa. 

I have no idea of the era of this. The material is remarkably clean both inside and out suggesting a more modern revamp - perhaps with vintage fabric.  It looks hand/home made.  Of course the fabric could be so clean because sewing projects have always been piled on top of it keeping it clean.  The fabric is pretty although it doesn't go with anything I own. I can't see how the seat is attached. You'd think it would just push out from underneath, but I suspect liberal amounts of glue have been used. So whilst I may revamp in the future I'll leave as is for now.


The implements inside range from vintage to modern. I suspect this has been more of a menders
sewing box than a serious dressmakers. Although maybe items have been removed or given away prior to it coming to rest in the shop.  It's a shame the pinking shears are no longer sharp enough to give a smooth cut. No idea if these could be sharpened.

There is some lovely linen thread. I'm not sure what I'd use this for and a selection of scissors that have obviously only been used for sewing as they're still nice and sharp.


Does anyone know what this is for? It has inches marked on it. My mum who doesn't sew suggested something to do with hemming.  I'm thinking something to do with cuffs or collars. I just hope it's not some crucial sewing machine part that someone is missing!

I have also completed the goody for one of my partners in the Goodie swap. I'm just not saying which one!  Hope you like it partner. Please feel free to let me know if you hope it's not for you - I still have time to make something else.  I used this tutorial.

P1100198 P1100199

I hope you all had a good weekend. I'll tell you about mine some other time!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Take Five: Playing Favourites

I've been reading on several blogs now about the linky party over on PatchworknPlay, whereby you pick 5 favourite fabrics. You know the one's you hope you'll never entirely use up because to do so would be too tragic. (Ok, so maybe that is a bit melodramatic. But I'm sure some of you know exactly what I mean.) 

My all time favourite fabric range!
Mendocino by Heather Ross
Is it cheating to select a whole range? Mendocino is my all time favourite fabric range. I loved it from the moment I saw the swim sisters. If you make me choose just one fabric from the Mendocino range it would be the swim sisters.  But this is one of the few collections where I love all the fabrics and how they play together. Not colours I'd normally go mad for. But with Mendocino it's different. I discovered this range when it was out of print. It was already becoming scarce.  Not as sort after as Flea Market Fancy. But as near as damn it.  I could have tried to collect FMF or Mendocino and Mendocino won. I will be bereft if I no longer have Mendocino to play with. However, having made one quilt with it I'm thinking it would be fun to make a pillow using a bit of it - something I can see and enjoy every day. What do you think?

Authentic - Sweetwater for Moda
When I got back into sewing again I wanted some fabrics that were more modern and up to date. I spotted this on eBay with no idea what it was or that it was designer. I assumed that when I wanted more I could just go and buy more. I knew nothing about designer ranges, limited print runs and the concept that once certain fabrics were sold out that was it. Had I known then what I know now, I'd have bought more and I would have sought out the rest of the range. In particular the big bold writing white writing on black. I had two 2.5" squares of that print and one went in my hexie quilt the other in this fabric basket.  I tend to buy pretty much any text fabric I see. But this one holds a special place in my fabric heart because it was the one that made me fall in love with text fabric.

Top - Hope Valley by Denyse Scmidt. Bottom - Farmdale by Alexander Henry

Maybe it's because Hope Valley was far more accessible to me than it's predecessor Flea Market Fancy.  But I think I love Hope Valley More and I wish I had the collection in every colour way. Although the grey fabric top in the picture is my favourite of all the HV I own. It plays great with other fabrics as well as each other - The same can be said of all of HV. I am wondering if it's too late to stock pile?  Another range I snoozed on and pretty much missed was Farmdale by Alexander Henry. (Although I was lucky enough to win a fat quarter of the apples fabric in a giveaway and be given some more scraps in the last round of the doll quilt swap.)This blossom in grey is my favourite of what I have. Although I love this blossom on the turquoise too (I like most of the prints to be honest and wish I'd bought a bundle while it was still available.)


Rachel very kindly sent me a bundle of scrap as an extra with the lovely quilt she made me in the Brit Quilt Swap.  A lot of them I hope never to use up - so I am making each one count.  This Heather Ross print was my favourite and I love it. Heather Ross designed Mendocino above and I loved pretty much all her pre-kokka fabrics. I have to say I've not been so keen on the Far Far Away lines. But I suspect this is because I've never seen any in person. Only on the computer screen and I suspect you need to handle them for real to really appreciate them. That said I loved the Princess and the Pea fabric she did and could kick myself for not buying it because The Princess and the Pea was my favourite ladybird book as a child. I'd read it over and over again. 

So what's your favourite fabric treasures? Do share!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The long awaited Fabric Porn post!!!!


Back in August Sew Fresh Fabrics had a birthday sale which tempted me to buy a few half yards with the intention of making some bags. They came in super quick time so I felt sure the second order I'd placed with them would come the next day. (Yeah - notice how I sneaked in the bit where I went back and placed a second order for a bunch of fat quarters to make the most of the sale.) Only the order didn't. It's taken until today to hit my door mat. I am just relieved hurricane Irene didn't blast it into oblivion. If you've never bought fabric from Sew Fresh Fabrics you may have been living under a rock you maybe missing out on a real treat. They have great prices, speedy service, lots of yummy fabrics and they always refund overs on shipping costs.  On the second order I got quite a few pounds back and I didn't have to ask for it!

So now I've got enough fabric to fill a porn post, I'll show you what goodies I've been buying of late.  This was the first order from Sew Fresh Fabrics.  All half yard cuts destined to become bags - probably 241 totes as presents.

Aviary, Heirloom by Joel Dewbury, Prince Charming by Tula Pink and Loulouthi by Anna Maria Horner

The next fabric to turn up was a free swatch from the Spoonflower free swatch day.  It took me ages to decide which swatch to get. I really liked this fabric with robins on it.


Then as I was going to use up the only fat quarter I had of the echino cheater print in order to make a cushion cover, I decided to go shopping for some more. A whole half yard. A couple of other fat quarters slipped into my shopping basket when I wasn't looking. It came beautifully wrapped like this.

365-297 14 September 2011

I hadn't shopped at Celtic Fusion Fabrics before. Gwen even slipped in an extra scrap of fabric goodness.


Then I felt really bad that my fabric porn post was going unwritten after I'd promised. In fact so bad, I thought I'd have to go and buy more fabric so I didn't let any of you down that really needed to live vicariously through my fabric purchases ;-) The first of which turned up today along with the second Sew Fresh Fabrics order. 

My second second Sew Fresh Fabrics order was full of fat quarters of fabric goodness.
Precuts for smaller projects - I got tempted online! There is one missing because this is going in my Christmas Stocking. Not even allowed to see it yet!

So there you go. Fabric porn for you! Lots of scrummy yummy fabric to play with. Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

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