Hey everyone!

Today we are going to chat about a hot topic, DIY wedding flowers. This is not a blog post to tell you it’s impossible and that you have to hire a professional, but it is meant to be a realistic and informative post. My goal is to let you know what to expect if this is the route you are going, things you will need to consider and hopefully give you information that will help with the process.

I am a big lover of DIY! For my own wedding I did my own flowers, the baking for my dessert bar (with help from my Mama!) some printables and crafts. Since then I  have continued to use Pinterest to find fun projects including birthday party ideas for my boys, Halloween costumes and several projects I did for my baby’s room when I was pregnant last year,  which led me to my recent obsession – quilting! I love getting to be creative – taking an idea and turning it into my own. It makes me happy and I fully encourage other people to do it too. It’s fun and challenging and sometimes you can really surprise yourself with what you can make. That all being said, I do feel DIY wedding flowers can be sketchy.  Here is why:

1) Price vs. Worth

Everyone thinks that doing your own wedding flowers is so much cheaper than paying a professional to do them for you, and it can be! However, sometimes you only save a little, and you have to decide what that amount is worth to you. While you would be saving on paying someone for their labour – you are going to have to buy all the materials you need to do things properly (wire for boutonnieres/corsages, floral tape, ribbon, etc). Doesn’t sound like a ton, but those items add up and there is quite a mark up on them from stores like Michael’s AND chances are you will end up with left overs that ends up being wasted money. Speaking of waste, this can also happen for flowers, if you are having to buy things by the bundle you can easily end up with left over product that sometimes you can end up throwing into a vase, but sometimes there isn’t time to make up extra arrangements with the left overs or they just don’t work for a design – so it too gets wasted. So, yes, sometimes it is much cheaper, but other times you may end up spending just as much or more, plus it ends up eating much more of your time and there is also the stress of whether things will turn out nicely. The bigger project it is the more you may save, but it would also equal more stress and more work. The simpler the project the less you are going to save (or could even end up spending more), but would be a much less stressful event to take on. why-buy-it-for-7-when-you-can-make-it-yourself-with-92-of-craft-supplies-517e52) Time

This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t encourage DIY wedding flowers. The reason other DIY projects are okay is because you can do most of them far in advance. If you want to do paper flowers or make up all your wedding favours or make up a billion adorable little decorations for the reception you can do it because you can start them months in advance and so long as you have a place to store them it is no big deal. With fresh flowers, they can’t be a done a month in advance, unless you are using carnations you shouldn’t even be doing them a week in advance. Flowers need to be done up a day or two before the wedding to ensure they stay fresh – especially with wedding season being so warm! That means the day before your wedding, instead of enjoying time with your relatives or friends or relaxing with your soon to be hubby – you are farting around and stressing out about doing flowers. Sometimes they don’t take very long, but sometimes they do! Especially if you haven’t done them before it can end up taking way more time than you anticipate and you are just adding a lot more stress than you need.

3) Pinterest Fails

I am sure all of you have seen the posts of the pinterest fails, and I would be willing to bet you have had one or two yourself. I consider myself a pretty competent baker, but I have found recipes that just suck. I have also found projects that look suuuuuper easy, but end up being really fussy or taking way more time than I thought. This can very much happen with flowers too. I think lots of people can underestimate how much time flowers can take or what they need to know for things to turn out well. Or, at the end of the day, we all know life has a funny way of things not going according to plan. It isn’t unheard for a floral order from the grocery store or Costco not turnig out as expected, whether it be wrong flowers, wrong colours or getting shorted product. Or what if you didn’t order enough for what you need to make? Or what if the flowers end up really snappy and a ton of them end up breaking and you don’t have enough? Then what? The wedding is the next day and there isn’t a back up plan. I am not trying to be a negative nancy and tell you that if you do your own flowers you are guaranteed to fail, but things happen.

4) Lack of knowledge and experience

This is also for the brides who may not personally be doing it themselves, but maybe they have a creative aunt or a good friend who is very crafty and have offered to take care of doing flowers. Some of these people are very competent and it is problem free, sometimes not. There is a lot more to flowers than people think. Do you know that hydrangeas are extremely thirsty flowers that will die quickly if they aren’t taken care of properly? Or that lilies bruise really easily? Or which flowers will do well in floral foam and which ones won’t? Do you know some ways to open up flowers if they come in still in tight buds? Do you know that gerbera daisies can sometimes have very curved stems and/or have very snappy stems that can make them challenging to work with? Do you know that some flowers are better than others for corsages and boutonnieres to ensure they last all day? Or the proper way to assemble them? Can you tell if flowers are fresh or not? Do you know roughly how many stems there should be in your and your bridesmaids bouquets to have them be in proportion? Do you know what to look for when picking out flowers? Did you know that once your stems have been out of water for approximately 30 seconds they should be recut before they are put in water again otherwise they won’t actually soak up water well? There is a lot of random bits of knowledge a florist has about all the different flowers and how to put things together well to make sure that they not only look pretty, but will continue looking pretty throughout the day that the average person has no clue about. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible for the average person to put together simple bouquets, but there is a lot more to it than people often think that can result in things not going according to plan and there being added stress when they don’t.

5) Quality of flowers

Some people want to do their own flowers just because they want to take it on as a fun project, but I would say majority do it to save on the cost. You can order bulk flowers from a floral shop for DIY flowers, or you can order them from a grocery store. Typically if a person is concerned about price, they are significantly cheaper from the grocery store. It is for a reason. The quality of flowers from a grocery store is quite different from the quality you would get from ordering from an actual flower shop. I know this because I have experience working in both a grocery store AND floral shops as well as buying from both. If you are set on DIY flowers, I would strongly encourage you to get the quality flowers from a florist to reduce the risk of surprises, with the added benefit that they may also help provide supplies AND maybe even some helpful tips.

At the end of the day, as a big fan of DIY , my biggest issue with DIY wedding flowers is the risk. I can appreciate that flowers aren’t a high priority for everyone and it may be an area you would like to cut costs. However, by taking this route it is taking on the added stress, taking up precious time and running the risk that things might not go as planned and with a small window of time back up plans are very limited. If flowers aren’t a priority, then perhaps you are okay with that. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to completely shut everyone down from trying to do it, but I want people who do decide to take it on to be aware of the risks and plan for that!

So there are our negatives, now lets move on to the positives. Now that we KNOW what some of the risks are here are some things that we CAN do in order to make the process run smoother and have better results:

1) Fabric or Paper Flowers

As an alternative to fresh flowers, if you are a crafty person and are willing to commit the time to do this (because it can be a time-consuming process!) this can be a great alternative to fresh because it is something you can do IN ADVANCE. This way, if things don’t go according to plan you can move on to Plan B. The internet is a great resource for something like this with tons of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube in lots of different styles that can really step you through the process. You can do it up as far in advance as you like, definitely NOT something I would recommend leaving until the end.  While lots of them are simple, they so take time and you will need time to gradually work through things. A fun ladies night with your bridesmaids, some wine, and a few chick flicks can help make the process go a little smoother. If you know that you aren’t a crafty person, skip this option to save yourself the headache and frustration.

2) Talk to a florist

Again, I strongly encourage you to go to a real florist for your flowers vs. grocery store to ensure the best quality which is a step in the right direction! Some florists may even give a price break for a bulk order, they may be able to sell you some of the supplies if you ask nicely AND depending on the florist, they may be willing to share some tips and tricks to help the process go as smoothly as possible. Selling you flowers in bulk is a services that Calyx Floral Design can provide for you, contact Travis to make arrangements for this.

3) Do a test run

While I am a creative person, there is a big part of me that likes to go into a project and knowing how it is going to be done, because I don’t like annoying little surprises on things that I want to look good. A great way to make the process go smoother for the BIG day, is to do a test run ahead of time. It would get you more familiar with the flowers, give you a good idea of how long things may take you (depending on how you work you may finish super quick, or if you are more finicky it may take some time) and make sure that you are happy with the outcome. This doesn’t mean you have to do ALL your wedding flowers, but if you did a bouquet, a boutonniere or corsage and a centerpiece to make sure you know how to make all of them, and then budget how long it would take to make all your wedding flowers. This would be an added cost, but I really think it is worth it to save some stress.

4) Book a planning consult

This is one of our new services! It is similar to a bridal consult which we would have with a typical bride, but is geared towards the DIY bride to help through the planning process. This consultation would come at a price of $50 an hour,  but an hour is all it should take! This consultation would help map out everything for you. We would help you select flowers that would compliment the overall look & feel you are trying to achieve with your wedding, list out how many stems of what flowers you would need for your bouquets, what you would require for supplies and price out what the bulk order would cost. Again this would be an added cost, but could significantly make the planning process easier for you and reduce the stress of the job.

5) Book a Wedding Workshop

Another one of our newest services! Not only do Travis and I LOOOOVE making flowers for our wonderful brides, but we are also very passionate about sharing our love for flowers. We love helping teach people a little more about flowers, and for this DIY bride this could be such a help! A wedding workshop would involve having a learning session with Travis and/or myself where we would teach you the basics for making your bouquets, boutonnieres/corsages, centerpieces or whatever pieces you would need. This could be for just yourself, you and your mom, you and your bridesmaids. We would use product that you are wanting to use for your own wedding (provided it isn’t a super seasonal product) so you can get familiar with it, and you could extend this to learn as much or as little as you like. Prices will vary to fit your needs, so to learn more about what this would cost contact Travis 403-352-4055 or travis@calyxfloraldesign.ca. This would be a bigger price, but it would 100% be the most helpful option so that come the big day, you will have the confidence that you know how to do things properly and have your flowers turn out beautifully. Not only would this be great information, but it could also be such a fun thing to do with your girls, it could be a fun event for your bachelorette party during the day before your night out. Travis and I are so excited about this new service and really look forward to helping brides make this a fun process instead of a stressful one!

You could do as many or as little of these options, but these are some ways that you could take on DIY flowers that could reduce your stress level and increase your chances of still having a wonderful product. To celebrate us starting these new services Travis is actually GIVING AWAY a wedding workshop to a lucky bride!

For a chance to win, share our post on Facebook and tag the person/people that you would love with you if you were to do a wedding workshop! The only condition is that they winner must live in central Alberta and that they can work with Travis’ schedule.  The winner will be selected next Sunday! Hope that this information was helpful, you guys enjoy your weekend!!

Katrina

Hey everyone, how much are you all LOVING this cold streak we are having?? I am really thankful that the cold weather held off until November, but my goodness it really does have a bite! As long as we are all freezing our buns of we may as well have fun getting ready for Christmas!

One fantastic thing you can do is check out All The Pretty Things Market next weekend. Not only will you be able to get some Christmas shopping done (or possibly some presents for yourself? haha) you will be supporting local vendors and some really talented Red Deer people! There is a Soiree on the Saturday night that is SOLD OUT, but stay tuned on our facebook page as we still have FOUR tickets that we will be giving away over the next several days! You can also come Sunday from 9:30am – 3:30pm at Festival Hall. Travis and I are going to be there with tons of pretty things – wreaths, outdoor urns, Dr. Seuss trees, centrepieces as well as tickets to our class!

That’s right my friends it is time for our second annual wreath class! Travis and I both had SO much fun last year doing the wreath classes. I am slightly biased, but I really do think these classes are awesome. I personally love getting to share my passion for flowers with other people and see them getting to learn how to make something beautiful, it is a good time, especially if you bring your mom or a few gal pals and I can GUARANTEE that you will feel more in the Christmas spirit after doing this class. I can also guarantee you will be covered in glitter, which is a secret to getting in the holiday spirit along with singing loud for all to hear.

We will be hosting the class at the Morrisroe Activity Centre (which is at 5 McIntosh Ave) on Dec 6th. There are two class times available, 10am and 1pm, we do have a size limit so don’t wait too long to get your ticket! We will bringing all the necessary product/tools (if you have something special from home that you would like to include you are more than welcome to bring it!) along with coffee, snacks and some cheesy smiles! You can register HERE or contact Travis at travis@calyxfloral design.ca

If you are unable to attend the wreath class, but would like to buy a beautiful wreath made from fresh winter greens for yourself, or a neighbour or your family don’t worry! We will have plenty to purchase that we can make in any colour combination you can dream up, just email Travis or drop us a line on our facebook page. we will also be taking custom orders for centrepieces and outdoor urns! And now, for your viewing pleasure some pictures from some of our winter work last year!

Hello, all! I hope you have been enjoying the spring weather as much as I have been. I am sure that we probably have another snowfall or two in our future, BUT things are starting to turn green – and in my books that means spring is officially here! Believe it or not, Mother’s Day is fast approaching, only two weeks away. This year we thought we would do something fun and since we had so much fun with our wreath making classes, we have decided to do some Mother’s Day classes. This way not only does Mom get something beautiful to take home, they also get to spend quality time with their kids AND get to learn a new skill. What’s not to love? We have three different class options to accommodate different age range of kids, though for the most part the age ranges are just recommendations so there is some flexibility.

 

FAIRY GARDENS FOR TOTS – ages 5-10

Fairies are enchanted little creatures, known to be protectors of nature and anyone who encounters one will be blessed with good luck. Fairy gardens are becoming more and more popular, and why not, they are adorable! Whether you believe in fairies or not, fairy gardening is all about inviting a little magic into our lives with a lot of fun and creativity. There are endless options of what you can do with your fairy garden, and once you have designed it you can continue to tweek it over time – or just make more! We will have some accessories for the fairy gardens, along with materials to make some, but feel free to bring any items you have from home that you think would be a good fit! With this class mom + tot will work together to design one fairy garden to take home with them.

$60 for mom + tot together
In the event you are bringing multiple kids, or are bringing an older child and you would like to make an additional garden, it would be an extra $60 for each garden made.

TERRARIUMS FOR TEENS – ages 10-15
Terrariums are such an awesome way to keep plants in the house! They don’t make a mess (no leaking water/dirt from the bottom of a pot), they create a humid little environment that the plants love, they are easy to care for and they look great! With this class mom + teen will learn how to best care for their terrarium and because it is a relatively easy project they will each get to make their own terrarium to take home.

$50 each

TWO FOR ONE ADULT CLASS – minimum age 15
This class is really fun, full of learning! Both mom and offspring will get a bundle of flowers that they will learn how to design TWO ways. First they will learn how to design a traditional hand tied bouquet, then we will take apart the bouquet and everyone will learn how to make a centerpiece! This is great because so many people love flowers, but just don’t know what to do with them when they get home. Everyone will get a vase, and will bring home centrepiece! Because this class has a higher difficulty level we will stay firm with our minimum age.

$60 each

The classes will all take place on Saturday, May 10th. Classes will be held at Lacombe Outreach School (5346 50th Ave in Lacombe, AB). We will start off the day at 10am with the adult class, followed by the fairy garden tot class at 1pm and last but not least our teen terrarium class at 3pm. Because we will be bringing in fresh product which needs to be ordered in advance, we will require you to pay for your class to secure your spot to prevent wasting product. Cut off for registration will be Sunday, May 4th at 7pm, though we only have room for about 14 people per class so don’t wait too long! If you would like to book in your spot you can click HERE, or if you have any additional questions please email Travis at travis@calyxfloraldesign.ca or leave us a message on the Facebook page.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we look forward to designing with you!

Katrina

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The weather has finally warmed up and the snow is gradually starting to melt….could it be that spring might actually be on its way?! One of my favourite ways to make it feel like spring even when it is still a little on the chilly side is to have flowers in the house. Especially during this time of year, tulips are an awesome way to go, you can find them just about everywhere!! They usually run about $5-6ish for a bundle of 5 stems, but lots of the time you can snag them on sale for $3 per bundle, can you say steal of a deal?! I like to grab several bundles and have a full vase of them on our island. They aren’t a SUPER long lasting flower, typically only last about a week, but for less than $30 for a weeks work of happiness I think that is a great value!

Now typically I am very much about supporting local florists, but I have to confess I am guilty of just getting tulips at the grocery store while I am out and about getting groceries for the week. So – whether you are going to your local florist or getting them from your fav grocery store I thought I would share some tips on picking out the FRESHEST tulips and how best to take care of them so that you get to enjoy them for the full week and not just a couple days.

Here is a list of things that you will want to look for:
– feel the stems, they should feel nice and crisp, easy to snap. They should NOT feel limp and floppy. Sometimes they have curved stems, but so long as they are FIRM stems that is okay, once you cut hum and put them in water they typically straighten out within a day.
– this is a pretty basic one, but look for bundles with blooms that are still tightly closed and not already open. Sometimes I even pick up bundles that are so closed they are still green.
– you will want to look for bundles that have leaves that are a healthy shade of green and not yellow
– take a quick look at the bottom of the stems and make sure they are also healthy, not soft/moldy or anything.
-keep an eye out for broken petals and/or stems
– this is one of the BEST signs to look for (in my opinion). Look for the length of the stem between the bloom and the first leave from the top. Lots of people don’t realize tulips continue to grow once you have cut them and put them in water, so if there is a very short distance between the bloom and that first leaf they are fresh tulips, but even if there is a smaller/unopened bloom but there is a long distance between the bloom and that first leaf that bundle isn’t very fresh.

Side note – if there aren’t a ton of bundles out on display and maybe they aren’t looking the best don’t be scared to ask if they have more in the back! It isn’t unheard of for there to be more product in a back cooler that just hasn’t moved out yet, and it never hurts to ask! The worst they can do is say no.

With those tips you should be able to pick out beautiful, healthy bundle(s) of tulips. One of the things I love about them is that you can mix them with other flowers and greens, but they really don’t need anything else, you can go home with them and be guaranteed a pretty vase of flowers. Anyway, now that you have got them home, there are a few things you can do ensure they last longer.

The number one thing is to have CLEAN water. One of the things that prevents flowers from lasting very long is bacteria in the water. You will want to make sure that your vase is 100% clean (bleach if you have to) with no remnants of gross bits from the last time it was used. You will also want to have clean water, so I know there is that old wives tale about putting the penny in the water with your tulips, but I don’t recommend it! Coins get touched by a lot of hands and are typically not very clean, by throwing one in your water it is asking for bacteria growth. If your tulips came with a packet of flower food, make sure you follow the instructions on how much water there should be in ratio to the flower food. Flower food has sugars in it, so too much flower food in your water is also going to increase growth of bacteria. If they didn’t come with flower food, that is just fine! I typically just use plain ol’ tap water. You will want to make sure he water is free of ‘debri’ like broken leaves, petals etc as they will also increase bacteria growth. As the days go by, if the water begins to get cloudy you will want to take the flowers out, wash the vase again and put in fresh water. Since the tulips will have sat out of water they will need to get recut.

Okay, you have your clean vase, with clean water and you want to put your tulips in. You may want to rinse the stems a bit as they can have a decent amount of sand on them. Then you will cut them with a clean, sharp knife. Not a serrated knife, and not scissors because they won’t provided a clean cut or can even crush the stems which will prevent them from drinking. Lots of people talk about cutting your stems at an angle, which is beneficial as it increases the surface area that is able to drink up water, but it isn’t a HAVE to so don’t stress too much about it here.

Last, you will want to make sure you place the arrangement in a good environment. You will want to keep it away from vents, appliances that let off heat, and direct sun. By doing this it will prevent the flowers from getting too hot or drying out.

There ya go! Now you have the guide to picking out the freshest tulips along with tips on how to make them last. I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine as much as I have been and that you go pick up some flowers to bring spring inside too!

For those of you who weren’t able to make it to our classes, I wanted to share how they went. Before the day started I was feeling kind of nervous, almost like it was the first day of school! It didn’t take too long before my jitters disappeared and I got lost in the glitter and festive excitement. Travis started off each of the classes demonstrating making a wreath from start to finish so all the students could get a better idea how to select items that would all compliment each other and also to see how those individual items all come together to create a gorgeous wreath. After the demonstration all the students selected their ribbon and together we went through how to make a bow as well as some loops and tails to be tucked throughout the wreath. From there they selected their decorations to match the ribbon, Travis brought a TON for everyone to chose from. Then everyone pretty much just went to town! As they worked away Travis and I were right there to help answer questions. Everyone had really paid great attention to Travis, so there was only a little assistance needed really, a little help picking out final items to finish off their wreaths or figure out good placement but overall everyone did such a great job!!

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One of my favourite parts was getting to see what everyone chose to go with in colour and style. We had some earthy, natural wreaths with burlap, cones and twigs and other wreaths completely covered in bold, beautiful colours and bling. Some women even surprised themselves with what they chose, originally planning to use traditional red, greens and gold and walking away with a stunning wreath in fuchsia and silver!

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All in all it was a really fantastic day, it was great to see so many people come out to play with us and at the end I was 100% feeling the Christmas spirit! Just to remind people if they were sad that they weren’t able to make it out, if you get a group of 5 or more people we can host another class for you! You can just send us a message on the Facebook page or you can email Travis at travis@calyxfloraldesign.ca to find out more info. Or, if you aren’t the crafty type and you just want to simple buy a wreath already decorated in your colour scheme, we can do that for you too! We have quite a few that are already done up and ready to go or we can custom make something just for you, they are selling fast for just $45!! Some of our students left the class with not only the wreath they made, but also 2 or 3 more to take home for friends and family.

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We were both so pleased with how the classes went and consider our first try a success!! We are hoping to host more classes in the future – perhaps some more holiday classes, some simple classes on how to pick out healthy plants/flowers OR some super fun classes to help DIY brides to learn how to properly assemble the basics (bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres). We are going to spend some time in the near future mapping out some class plans, and your opinions are important to us! If there is something that you have always wanted to learn, we would love to hear from you. Until next time, check out some more wreaths from this weekend!

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Katrina

Well friends, I think it is safe to say that winter is here!! The snow, the cold, but best of all – the Christmas spirit! The malls have Christmas carols going, people are decorating and I have started my Christmas baking. You know what else is an awesome way to get in the festive mood… wreath making classes this Saturday! As you may know, Travis and I will be teaching some classes and we do still have some spaces available for this of you who are open on Saturday and game to have some holiday fun.

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We have a mother/daughter class at 10 am for $120 (each get to take a wreath home) that only has room for a couple more pairs, and then 3 other classes throughout the day for $80. I think this class is such a fun idea and wanted to share with everyone just a bit more information about it.

Everyone will get a pre-greened wreath base, and I want to clarify these won’t be the flat, limply lifeless ones you sometimes see at the grocery stores. No, these will be nice, full wreaths with an assortment of beautiful, healthy Christmas greens. One of my favourite things about fresh Christmas wreaths are the SMELL! Anyway, along with the wreath base we will have tools for everyone, and full assortment of goodies. Ribbons, pine cones, Christmas balls, twigs, artificial sprays all in a range of different colours so that everyone can mix and match to personalize their wreath to their own personal style.

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Along with the items listed above, you will be getting the instruction from Travis on how to properly assemble the wreaths. She will show you how to wire all the items securely onto your wreath with proper mechanics so that you wreath will hold up well, and at the end of winter, you could even clip off the items to reuse for the next season. I will be there as well to offer assistance and while everyone is working Travis and I will work our way around the room to lend help where needed and answer any questions. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from people “I have always wanted to be a florist, it looks like so much fun!”, and while it is definitely a lot of hard work at times it really is a very fun and rewarding job. I am really excited for this opportunity to help people learn a new (and fun!) skill and give a mini peak into the life of a florist.

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This class is perfect for the holidays, you can give the wreath as a gift or keep it for yourself, come on your own (we are really quite friendly!) or bring one of your girlfriends for a great time. We will have some warm apple cider to share along with some treats. We know this is a busy time of year and we have received some comments from you guys that while you are interested, you are busy this Saturday. Have no fear! We do have a ton of wreaths so if you have a few friends that would like to take a mini class with us, email Travis at travis@calyxfloraldesign.ca and we can look at setting that up for you. If you haven’t already registered click HERE to do so! Hope to see you there!

Katrina

TRAVIS MILLS ~ OWNER/DESIGNER

Red Deer, Alberta
403-352-4055
travis@calyxfloraldesign.ca

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