Archive for the ‘Cutting board’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Jackalope Summer Nights 2018   2 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

We’ve never done an event in Pasadena, and that seems like a mistake.

Time to fix that.

Jackalope is a promoter that does events in Denver, Phoenix & Pasadena. It’s a partnership between 3 friends in those cities, and their efforts have been on our radar for a while. The calendar hasn’t worked before … but this time, it did, so I’m going to Pasadena.

Mrs M is staying at home – well, not really. She’s not going a-vendoring because of her “job.” And the summer heat. Or something.

I am breaking a rule or 3 to do this event: it’s a first-time event, and those are always a risk. Doing an event in the summer heat is always a gamble, of course: no telling what the weather might do to attendance.

Just like life. Time to roll the dice.

New Ideas

  • This is my first outdoor event under the lights in a very long time. We use the lights at Santa’s Art Shop every year, but we don’t do nighttime events at this point.
  • The Jackalope team is very social media savvy. They shared multiple graphics with their 200 vendors to use on social media, which was much appreciated. And used. Given the attendance on a Friday night, I believe their efforts were successful.

Observations

  • The event is in Pasadena’s Central Park, and there is artist loading zone parking on 3 sides. I drove right up and got to unloading.
  • There are a large number of rental tents here, it seems. I’m next door to one … that is a shared booth. Two strangers are sharing; one makes dog collars and the other makes greeting cards. Much of the vendor community at this event seems to be young, relatively inexperienced with outdoor events and etsy-driven. I’m none of those things. Hmmmm.
  • I only recognized 2 vendors at this event, and only 1 of those is known to me to be successful. Lots of newbees here, I believe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a recommendation, either.
  • An afternoon set-up in 90 degree heat is not for the faint of heart. It was hot, hot, hot. The cart had to be drug uphill. No fun was had.
  • First event I’ve ever been to where the promoter zip tied the canopies together. Every front leg was zip tied to its neighbor. This is an order from the Fire Marshall of Pasadena, I’m told.
  • Part of a nighttime event is that I’ll have lights … and electricity. Why wasn’t I smart enough to bring a fan?
  • Live entertainment is part of the event … and I was located in the nexus between 2 competing vocalists. Nothing good happens when I must hear 2 vocalists from 2 directions at the same volume.
  • Back to the shared booth: 5 people are in the booth, plus a dog who is post-surgery and can’t use its hind legs. Too many things going on in a 10’x10′ space, and that’s before you realize that 2 different vendors are competing for that limited space to try and sell something.
  • I met a Backer from Kickstarter! Brian sought me out at this event so he can choose design of the “Best End Grain Cutting Board” that he wants me to make. Great chatting with him, and a total surprise to have a person come into my booth and lead with “I’m one of your Backers.” Wow!
  • Friday sales were underwhelming, for sure. Traffic was good for a 1st time event, I thought. Sales, though, not so much.
  • Our lights are the best (compare the booth shot below showing my booth as well as parts of the neighbors on each side. See what’s brighter!). I was complimented on the booth lighting by other vendors and customers. Lighting is important: people will only buy what they can see. When electricity is provided, there’s really no reason for a vendor to have bad lighting.
  • Saturday, I brought the fan. Life was better.
  • Given the heat, I thought I probably wouldn’t sell anything until after 6pm.
  • I was right. Too right.
  • Unfortunately.
  • My neighbor with the paraplegic dog created dog clogs all weekend. She put a dog watering bowl in the aisle, well out in front of her booth … resulting in dog/dog owner/dog petter assemblies in front of my booth, as well as her 5′ half booth, all weekend. The inter-species gathering didn’t completely cut off traffic, nor access to my booth, but it was not an asset for me. For her dog collar sales, perhaps.
  • Dog enthusiasts rarely buy cutting boards, in my experience. They walk their dogs, talk about their dogs, and generally enjoy the canine community. And, they do so in the public space in front of my booth, often for extended periods.
  • Load out was just as bad as load in, because I had to drag the cart uphill again! You’d think I would catch a break, but nope. I was sweating at 11:30pm, loading the Jeep.
  • Vending is a glamorous thing.
  • Requests were for chess sets (which I left at home due to space limitations in the Jeep), a chess table, wooden tool holders from a leather craftsman as well as a potter, platters for a restaurant & a wall art display.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nothing good happened this weekend.
  • Worst Meal: Yup, had those.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 86
  • Booth cost: $326
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $45
  • Total sales: $377
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $6
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • # transactions: 7
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Oh, so many. I saw more of them than I did jewelry vendors, which is just unheard of. I’m glad Mrs M wasn’t here!
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner, and a hobbyist who had a couple of cutting boards mixed into the display with his wife’s ceramics.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 7:0
  • Returning next year? Nope.

Boards sold: 7

Cutting Boards: 3

CNC Signs: 2

Bread Saw: 1

Coaster: 1

New: Bread Saws   3 comments

Sometimes it just takes too long for me to complete a good idea.

I made a bread saw prototype in 2016, and promptly sold it as part of a wedding gift. You would think I would use that success and motivate myself to make more … but no.

I did buy the necessary hardware, which has sat in my cabinet for more than a year. You would think that would motivate … but no.

But, when a Lady walked into the booth last month and asked me to make her not one, but two Bread Saws, I couldn’t say no. She told me she had been searching for them for years.

Just like me & my motivation.

These Bread Saws are made from various hardwoods. The handle helps you cut each slice to the same thickness. Each handle is cut from a single piece of wood with an ergonomic shape that feels very good in your hand. The saw blades are stainless steel, and are so sharp that each saw comes with a protective shield.

Each piece is about 16″ x 2″. The saw blade is 8″ long.

Bread Saws in production. They are curvy.

I took all of the Bread Saws with me to my weekend event, Jackalope Summer Nights in Pasadena. Sold one almost immediately. The buyer had also “been looking for one for years.”

And then she found me. That’s good, right?

 

The Board Chronicles: Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair 2018   4 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

Once upon a time, a friend told me this was a good event.

Not sure I still believe her.

Last year, I didn’t pass $1,000 in sales with my solo effort. On my birthday. That’s not a good thing, truly.

This seems like a good community event, though. Free music. Beer gardens. Carnival rides. Vendors. 30,000 in attendance projected. What’s not to like?

It’s not like there are many better events in July that I’ve found, after all.

So, I’m in for another year. I want to see if I can do better with some legacy working for me. It’ll be just me and a couple of hundred buy & sell vendors offering imported goods….

New Ideas

  • This event was marginal last year, really. It was barely OK. So what did I do? I doubled down with a double booth. I have room for everything this way. Still no Mrs M, though. She might melt in the heat. Oh, wait, I mean her lotions & balms & such might melt. That’s it.

Observations

  • I left home at 5:08a on my way to the Golden State Freeway … and my ramp was closed. No problem; the GPS will get me there on the 126. I’m told. I arrived at my booths at 6:18a, and was unloaded 30 minutes later. Same location as last year, so it’s easy.
  • This event does not send out formal confirmations, maps, booth #s or anything to help you find your booth or your customers to find you. Things may change up until the last minute, they say. At check in, they don’t give you a map, they just show you about where your booth is on a spreadsheet that has business landmarks on it that are years out of date.
  • No clue why they think that’s OK. It’s annoying, in my not-so-humble opinion as a well-seasoned veteran.
  • Canopies were up at 7:30a, and the booth & products were set up at about 9:30a. I was still putting pricing up at the official opening, 10a.
  • I looked across the street at 10 booths, most of which were community businesses (bath remodel, new windows, insurance agent, etc). Of the 10 booths, 8 had canopies that were totally unweighted. 1 had 20 pounds of weight, total. One had sandbags of undeterminate weight. I hope there’s no wind this weekend.
  • 11:40a: first sale of the day. I try to not every make duplicates of the same cheese board blanks, and I did make 4 of the same pattern in the last go round. Finally, finally, I sold one of them in this sale.
  • 1:03p: second sale of the day … and it’s another copy of that same cheese board. Huh?
  • I’m a monkey in a cage. Seems like it, anyway. Since I’ve added the signs on the mesh walls … people stop in front of the booth, look, point & laugh. And I just sit there looking at them.
  • Me. Monkey. Cage.
  • I did not expect that to happen.
  • Saturday ended barely ahead of last year … but I doubled my booth size. Did sales double? Nope, they were basically unchanged.
  • The drive home was an adventure. I followed the GPS, and it sent me through farmland. I drove a canyon to get to Fillmore. Why has the GPS forsaken me?
  • Sunday opens at 12n for some reason. I arrived a bit after 10a, and was open by 11a. I had walkers immediately.
  • No buyers though. First sale was at 12:45a.
  • But something did happen early: the insurance agent across the way brought a sound system. They turned it up so they were broadcasting to a 100′ radius above speaking volume, and proceeded to chat to everyone about their raffle.
  • I was that guy. I called the organizer to complain. She showed up 15 minutes later and had them turn down, thankfully. For some reason, they shut down the sound system & it left at 2p. No problem from my perspective.
  • A lady walked into the booth.
    • She said, “I have a cutting board. I got it from your competition. I love it. It’s my favorite thing. I got it from your competition.”
    • I said, “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s good to have a favorite thing.”
    • She said, “I got it from your competition.” And then she left.
    • Before I was unkind to her.
  • At the end of Sunday, sales were barely ahead of prior year, and far, far below my expectations for a 2-day event and my double booth. Very disappointing.
  • The drive home was another adventure, but I at least drove a different canyon. Why is Camarillo so hard to get home from?
  • This is my last July event before the end of my Kickstarter campaign, and I did mention it to several customers in the hopes of garnering a bit of support. The campaign is currently at 93% and just $329 away from goal! I know that I’ll bring it home, but it is oh so close. Here’s the link: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.
  • Requests were for bigger chess pieces (nope), a cheese slicer (on the list!), a cookbook stand, a horse tack shadow box, a coffee table top, knife cases and the 10 Commandments on a plaque. Bilingual, too. Oh, and a chicken shaped cutting board. That’s a trend. And I still haven’t made it.

The Food

  • Best Meal: I tried to order take out ahead of arriving back in Santa Clarita … and a lousy cell connection resulted in a bad order. Oh well, I guess we will eat 5 side Caesars. Eventually.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 220
  • Booth cost: $500
  • Food cost: none
  • Travel cost: $114
  • Total sales: $1,092
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $478
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 4:20a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: far too few
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 23:0
  • Returning next year? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Boards sold: 23

Word Blocks: 5

Cheese Boards: 3

Magic Bottle Openers: 3

Cutting Boards: 3

CNC Signs: 3

Trivets: 2

Heart Board: 1

Coaster Set: 1

Wine Bottle Coaster: 1

Sous Chef Board: 1

Cutting Boards, Coasters & Small Boards   Leave a comment

Ah, the finish line.

I tend to make boards in batches. That makes it easier to cut lumber to size, and that makes me a bit more efficient.

Which would be a good thing.

After our successful Spring Fling, I was out of 12″ x 16″ cutting boards – my most popular size! That’s just not OK, so I made a few to get ready for this weekend’s event in Camarillo.

In the process of making the Cutting Boards, I made a few Small Boards, as I call them (usually about 8″ x 12″ x 1-1/4″). One cheese board got finished (9″ x 11″ x 5/8″). And then I finished a couple of sets of coasters, as well as a quartet of 3D-carved Wine Bottle Coasters. A little variety makes the whole working in batches thing a little more fun, in my estimation. I can’t make too many of one thing, or I go crazy.

As you can see here, every cutting board is unique. That’s a goal!

And speaking of goals (again, a very smooth transition!)….

My Kickstarter campaign is now 87% funded. I’m $611 from my goal of $5,000. Please consider becoming a Backer – and getting a cool reward from me in time for holiday giving. Note the clock is ticking: the goal must be reached by July 31. Check out the options here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards   8 comments

If you are a meat eater, or know a meat eater, then these boards might tickle your fancy.

I designed these boards for 2-sided use, which is unusual for me. I believe cutting boards benefit from having non-skid rubber feet, so most boards I make have one good side … unless there’s a compelling reason to do it another way.

Which brings us to the Carnivore Board.

The side everyone comments on is the one with the oval ridges forming a dish in the middle of the board. Those ridges are designed to hold the carcass of the chicken or turkey in place while it’s being carved. Surrounding those ovals is a giant juice groove that will hold 2 cups of juice.

I have some experience carving turkey. I know what you’re up against.

Flip the board over, and you’ve got a nice cutting board, again with a nice juice groove, for beef or pork carving. You can take a tri tip off the bar-b-que, put it on your Carnivore Board, and serve it on the board.

All of your meat carving can be done on this one board.

The Carnivore Board, in action.

All of these Carnivore Boards are made from Hard Maple, which is the gold standard for cutting boards. Dimensions are 14″ x 19″ x 1-1/8″. Finish, as with all of my food ready boards, is mineral oil, with a top coat of my own Board Butter, which is a mix of mineral oil with locally-harvested beeswax.

Here I show you 4 Carnivore boards that just got finished. They are all the same … except for the grain of the Hard Maple boards. Every piece of lumber is different, so every one of these Carnivore boards is slightly different.

Carnivore Boards are one of the rewards offered in my current Kickstarter campaign, which will end on July 31. If you would like to become a Backer of my campaign, then receiving a Carnivore Board for your reward is an option. All of the reward options are explained here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces. Note that the campaign is 82% funded as I write this, with a goal of $5,000. If I don’t make the goal, then nothing happens. Help me make the goal, though, and I’ll deliver your reward to you in time for holiday giving. Thanks for your consideration!

 

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My Kickstarter Campaign

The Woods In The Woodshop

Kickstarter: Coasters

Kickstarter: Trivets

Kickstarter: Cheese Boards

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards

Kickstarter: Large Serving Pieces

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards

Kickstarter: Best Cutting Boards

New: Charcuterie Board   2 comments

You pick up ideas everywhere.

When you’re looking.

And me, I’m always on the lookout for a good cutting board. When a client told me they wanted me to refinish their favorite cutting board, I was all in.

This, then, is my homage to their favorite cutting board. It’s 9″ x 20″ x 3/4″. It’s curvy. It has softly rounded edges. It’s made from Birds Eye Maple – which is highly figured Hard Maple – and this board feels elegant in your hand.

I call it a Charcuterie Board, but it’s really a cutting board, or whatever you want it to be.

Mrs M saw the prototypes and loved them. She decided that one of them would be perfect to hold my birthday dinner’s appetizer, and I, of course, had to get some photographs during the “golden hour” on the patio. I call this board a Charcuterie Board, but it’s an Appetizer Board, too.

What, I’m going to tell the Lady what board she has to use to serve the most excellent food she makes? That’s not going to happen. And the recipe is linked at the bottom, just in case you’re in the mood for a wonderful treat.

So, I call this a Charcuterie Board. Yes, it’s a Cutting Board. Yes, it’s an Appetizer Board. Yes, it’s a Cheese Board. Yes, it’s a Bread Board.

You get to choose!

Finally, I am running a Kickstarter campaign RIGHT NOW to help me expand the workshop’s capabilities. If you are interested in backing my campaign – and getting some cool stuff as a reward – then, please, click here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.

Here’s the latest to make it to the finish line from the Woodshop!

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Velda’s Bruschetta

The Rest Of The Litter   Leave a comment

I’m committed to the Pig Business.

It took me several decades to get there … but I believe in the power of the Pig.

Last weekend, I heard yet another story from a lady that had received her Pig cutting board from a relative, who gave them to everyone in the family.

She loved her Pig.

Though I can’t share in the love, I do understand. These are fun cutting boards, charcuterie boards, whatever … and there are family traditions of support for them.

I’ve met one lady who will only cut on Pig cutting boards, and she just ordered her second one from me. That one will be in a new, smaller size. I resisted that idea, at first … but pigs do come in many sizes.

And I’m in the pig business. This current batch came in a litter of 12, but only 6 were finished at a time. The first batch is linked below. Also linked below is the story of how I first got into the pig business, 50+ years ago. Enjoy!

Oh … and if you haven’t heard, I am running a Kickstarter campaign RIGHT NOW to help me expand the workshop’s capabilities. If you are interested in backing my campaign – and getting some cool stuff as a reward – then, please, click here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.

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Half Of The Litter

A Litter Of Pigs

The Board Chronicles: 4th of July Street Fair 2018   Leave a comment

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

It’s become our tradition.

This is our 4th year celebrating our nation’s independence through vendoring on Main Street in Ventura, CA. Read about the first 3 events here: 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Ventura’s a beach community, about an hour due west of our home in Santa Clarita. History has taught us that it’s definitely a great place for us to go a-vendoring.

We don’t do fireworks on the 4th, but we do watch the parade of Red, White & Blue go by our booth. It’s a wonderful thing.

New Ideas

  • I’m embracing my inner foodie. I’ve made a new batch of signs that are all food themed, and I’m going to put up all of my mesh walls so I can hang them. That means my traditional open corner that allows 2-sided viewing of cutting boards will go away … now, I’m using the open corner for sign display on the outside of the booth. That’s how a traditional 2D artist displays their work. Just sayin’.
  • The new worry: will curbing the cutting board display hurt those sales? Is trading sign display for cutting board visibility a bad thing?

Observations

  • Why do events always start at 4 in the morning?
  • On the road shortly after 5a. We can do this. We have done this.
  • We’ve got the routine pretty much down at this point. We arrived at the event at 6:10a, and both of our neighbors were already well into their set-ups. We were able to load in with a minimum of trouble. From there, it was a rush to set-up, because we know this is an early crowd. The 10am official start means nothing.
  • The signs are an immediate hit. 3 are sold before set-up is done.
  • I have no inventory to replace signs when they sell (sigh).
  • My neighbor, across the aisle, is a direct competitor for Mrs M with bath bombs, lotions, and such. Direct competitor. Apparently the promoter (the city of Ventura) does not care.
  • At all.
  • Such is the case at many city-sponsored events. They may know how to stage a vendor event, but that doesn’t mean they know/care about the subtleties of managing vendor relationships.
  • I had a manly encounter with a woodworker:
    • He walks into the booth.
    • He fondles a board.
    • He fondles another board.
    • He looks at me, smiles, nods.
    • I reciprocate with a smile and a nod.
    • He leaves.
    • We communicated everything we needed to communicate, right?
  • The stream of humanity by the booth was impressive. People are definitely here … but here to shop? Vendors always try to count shopping bags as they walk by the booth … and there are never enough, it seems. We were busy throughout the day, thank goodness.
  • Lady holding a plaque: “Can you cut on this?”
  • AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
  • For reference, Mrs M’s all-time favorite question, from a customer holding a boar of soap: “How do you use this?”
  • When appropriate, I did mention my Kickstarter campaign to anyone that might care. Former customers, walk-in prospects … I did talk about supporting my Kickstarter campaign. Wasn’t this a good transition for my naked pitch? If you’re interested, see the video & read all about it, here.
  • We never had time to go walkabout, which is a good thing, I guess. Therefore, we have no idea who else is at this event beyond our small circuit for lunch & such around the neighborhood. We did hear that there are a lot of soapmakers.
  • Woodworkers? No clue.
  • We began tearing down at 4:45p. Banners. Price tags. A “soft close,” which is totally against our nature. Sales, though, had largely stopped before 4pm. We had no late surge on this day.
  • Sales were down a bit from last year, but far beyond the 2 years prior. Not a record setter, but definitely worthwhile.
  • Requests were for a rooster board (sigh), smaller Lazy Susans (sigh) and a dachshund board (NO. Why do people want to cut on dogs?).

The Food

  • Best Meal: Velda bought sushi for herself & teriyaki chicken for me from a nearby Japanese restaurant. Very well done: not fair food.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 115
  • Booth cost: $385
  • Food cost: $41
  • Travel cost: $60
  • Total sales: $2,099
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,613
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: none
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several by the anonymous “block captain”
  • Wednesday alarm: 4a
  • # transactions: 71
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Many, we were told
  • # woodworking vendors: No clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 33:0
  • Returning next year? Yup

Boards sold: 33

CNC Signs: 9

Coasters: 5

Trivets: 4

Hearts: 3

Magic Bottle Openers: 3

Cutting Boards: 3

Custom Orders: 2

Cheese Board: 1

Sous Chef Board: 1

Clipboard: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Kickstarter: Trivets   11 comments

Have you become a backer of my Kickstarter campaign yet? Need more details?

All of the information is on my Kickstarter page, here.

Backers that pledge $35 or more can receive a pair of Trivets to protect their table or counters.

If you know people with hot stuff, then they need Trivets.

The Kickstarter campaign is running through the end of July … and my goal of $5,000 must be reached or exceeded by that date. If I don’t make the goal, then nothing happens. If the goal is met however, then all of the backers that have selected Trivets to be their reward will get to choose from these color & wood combinations:

1. Light Colors

2. Dark Colors

3. Red Tones

4. Brown Tones

5. Colorful, Stripey

All boards have unique coloring and grain patterns. Therefore, every piece I create is unique. I will do my best to match your requests for wood and color to the pieces that I create.

More

My Kickstarter Campaign

The Woods In The Woodshop

Kickstarter: Coasters

Kickstarter: Trivets

Kickstarter: Cheese Boards

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards

Kickstarter: Large Serving Pieces

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards

Kickstarter: Best Cutting Boards

 

 

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards   8 comments

These Handled Cutting Boards are available to backers of my Kickstarter campaign that pledge $75 or more.

All of the details are on my Kickstarter page, here.

These boards are made to be mobile in your kitchen. They can hang from the hole in their handle, so they’re easy to grab when you need to chop an onion or prep some vegetables. Do your knife work, and then carry the board directly to the stove to deliver your work for cooking.

Backers that select these Handled Cutting Boards – AKA Sous Chef Boards – as their reward will get to choose the colors/woods that I use to create the boards. Here are the options:

1. Light Colors

2. Dark Colors

3. Red Tones

4. Brown Tones

5. Colorful, Stripey

Please note that the color and grain patterns in wood vary with every board. I’ll do my best to match your requests for color and wood with the piece that I make for you.

More

My Kickstarter Campaign

The Woods In The Woodshop

Kickstarter: Coasters

Kickstarter: Trivets

Kickstarter: Cheese Boards

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards

Kickstarter: Large Serving Pieces

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards

Kickstarter: Best Cutting Boards

 

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