Tuesday, 30 July 2013

On blogging

In my last class at retreat John talked with us about blogging which really got me thinking. You may have noticed the decline in blogposts from me this year and I have been wanting to do a post about it but I just wasn't able to find my voice. I think I've got it now though :)
John had a list for us of blogging do's and dont's and covered some of the pitfalls in blogging, some of which I think I fell into head first!

When I started this blog it was so I could share my passion for all things fabric and patchwork and to reach out to like minded people. Somewhere along the line however I found myself stuck with deadlines I didn't want, worrying about living up to expectations that may have only existed in my mind, working on projects that could not be revealed yet and grasping at straws what to blog about, thinking 'I must sew so I can blog!' This is completely backwards of course. 

Prepping to make the first cut. This fabric is so slippery! Wish me luck


And then there's the matter of keeping up with the Joneses. The virtual world makes it seem like the grass is always greener on the other side. They all have the perfect homes, perfect lives, perfect fabrics, finishing up one quilt a week etc. I am well aware that things aren't always what they seem but it still makes me feel bad sometimes when I'm sitting here knee deep in toys and laundry in a house in desperate need of a spruce (at the least), attempting to 'have a life' or whatever that means, and most of all trying my stinkin' best to do the single mum thing which is messy and downright sucks some days. 
Blogging through the lows can be an amazing outlet for some people, for me however it's not. I go silent. I suppose it's because I'm an introvert by nature. But it's also a matter of wanting to keep this a positive space and not airing out my dirty laundry on this big anonymous world wide web.

Vogue dress in progress


So for a while there I lost my desire to sew - like completely gone. This would not be a first for me. I have been passionate about many things in the past that I now have no desire to pursue. This time round though I found a slight change in direction from patchwork to dressmaking did the trick. Tracing back to where my love for sewing first began now fuelled by a desire to one day be able to sew a wardrobe of clothes that are just perfect for me. 


ignoring the vacuum cleaner




This is where I'm at now; sewing a dress and ignoring the vacuum cleaner I placed in the middle of the room so I would use it! Enjoying our summer holiday while it lasts. Allowing that little man to drive me up the wall and instantly forgetting it all when he smiles at me.  

How are you doing with this blogging thing? Do you feel the pressure, do you sew to blog sometimes, do you hop from one craft to the next, ideas, thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!


x Leila

43 comments:

  1. Sometimes I find blogging to be a huge time-consuming burden and i get tired of it. but it works better for me if i think about it as a way to document my projects and a handful of other people just happen to read it. i took a break from blogging several years ago and now i think of that time period as a "hole" in which there is no record of what i did, not that it matters to anyone but me.

    for craft-skipping, i do it all the time. i work on whatever i feel like at any given moment for the most part. this usually means i go through phases--a lot of quilting, or knitting, or spinning. eventually i'll pace through my creative impulses and move onto something else.

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  2. Blogging can feel like a huge pressure. Some people having something amazing to share every single day I don't know how they do it. It can be intimidating when people only blog about perfection not the other side to life. It gives this false impression that it's only the rest of us that lose our mojo or have messy homes and lives. I think a lot of people have stopped or scaled down blogging because they prefer the instant fix of instagram. Now you mention it I've definitely sewn to blog or felt under pressure to do so for fear my readers will all desert me. I'm glad you've found your passion for sewing something again x

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  3. Could not have phrased it better myself Leila. I feel EXACTLY the same. I haven't blogged for ages and now I have spare time to sew, I'm finding I'm actually doing other things. The pressure to blog and take the perfect photo's for your posts all gets a bit much sometimes. Hopefully will be finding my way back to it soon. Hopefully. xxx

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  4. I keep finding myself with vague ideas to blog and then having no idea how to word them. I seem to struggle to type in a coloquial way, I have to proof read everything and make sure all my sentences make complete sense. I think that probably puts people off reading my blog and a lot of the time puts me off writing it. So yes, I'm having problems with blogging too. Glad you seem to be on the up though :)

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  5. Indeed, a few months I decided to onl blog when I felt like it and having that break really helped me to put in perspective why I blogged.

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  6. I'm feeling the same too. I've decided that I'll blog if I have something worth blogging about, and time to write a post, but if weeks go by and I've nothing to say that's just fine. There's enough pressure in life without self-imposed pressure to be interesting on my blog.

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  7. Hi Leila! I met you at John's blogging class - I'm the one who said 'oh, YOU'RE where the orchids grow' : ) It was lovely to meet you, if briefly! I don't blog (yet), but I do follow quite a few. It seems to me that what you blog & how often depends entirely on who you're blogging for. If you're wrtiting so people will read it more or less word for word, tnen I'd say, as a blog reader, generally less is more, as in a few photos, which don't have to be perfect, just illustrate what you're saying, with a few sentences/captions, maybe up to a shortish paragraph. As to frequency, again, from a completely selfish reader's perspective, I like posts between twice a week max to once a month min. And as to life's downs, I know exactly what you mean about dirty laundry and being an introvert, but I think people like to be supportive and seeing a little bit of the whole person isn't a bad thing, though again I think brevity is a good thing! However, if you're writing purely for yourself, as a creative thing or a document of life then write what and when you damn well please! Being a single mum is tough but I'm sure you're a great one! Don't expect prefection of yourself - noone can achieve that, even if they try to pretend they can on their blogs ; ) And I really know what you mean about flitting between things - I do it all the time. And that's exactly what I'd like to achieve with dressmaking, too, though I'm just beginning. That dress is gorgeous!! Wow! Jen

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  8. Really well expressed Leila. I think if you stay true to your beginnings (wanting to share your hobby with like-minded individuals) you can't go wrong. I know I for one am engaged by honest, thoughtful or inspiring posts and that is what I hope to read when I click on someone's latest blog post. If the blog starts to evolve in to a business or with padded posts referencing 'secret projects' I'm afraid I switch off. We're all busy leading 'non-virtual' lives and I don't think anyone is thinking you must do X quality posts X amount of times. Making a new post is inviting people to spend some of their precious time with you and I would rather that was quality time.
    You have a lovely blog, make gorgeous things and I would rather see them as and when you have the time.
    I hear what you're saying but if you readers are worth it they'll hang around long enough in your little corner of cypher space to appreciate what you enjoy doing.
    X

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  9. I have been totally feeling this pressure. I actually stopped sewing for about a month because I was feeling so discouraged. It seems like everyone around me is going to fabulous meet ups or getting patterns published or finishing quilts that get Explored every week and I'm still puttering away at a quilt I started 3 years ago. I just remind myself that blogging isn't my job, I don't have grandparents nearby or childcare of any kind for the summer, so I shouldn't compare myself to people with more help / older kids / less kids / more type A personalities than me. My family is happy, and that is good.

    I realized during my pause, though, that I'm not happy unless I'm making something. But I like to make simple things and figure them out myself. I feel like there's so many people making super complicated things and so many people selling classes and patterns that I start to feel like I must use their patterns or make super complicated bags and clothes, instead of just making the simple things I need that make me happy to sew and use around our house.

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  10. Hi Leila! I'm sure every blogger agrees with your thoughts. On purpose I haven't joined any swap or other things I should finish something in exact time. For many of us blogging is a way to get out and forgot the daily difficulties as the sewing is also. Unfortunately sometimes I feel small press to to do something but mostly I feel that blogging also gives me reason to sew many unnecessary things. I used to se only things I needed or were useful - now I sew mostly because I just love it! When blogging after a small brake, I find immidately energy and inspiration to do something (sometimes even cleaning even I often ignore that). Most important is to do what makes us feel good (especially when you start to have hot flashes every half an hour and it's hot summer).
    I hope you find your way mixing the time with your little man, blogging, sewing and other things you enjoy.
    Sunny wishes from Greece! x Teje

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  11. I guess I don't feel quite as much pressure because I don't have that many people that follow me. Most of the ones I know comment, so it feels more like keeping in touch with long distance friends. That said, I have had sew-itis when I've been blocked by deadlines. Right now, for example, I'm letting go of most of my FAL list and just sewing to get rid of scraps. It's kind of liberating.

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  12. Leila this is a beautifully written post. It's so full if truth. I think we who are not blogging as a business have all felt these same sentiments. I think you have a very strong voice just by speaking the truth.
    I'll be here to read whenever you want to share.

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  13. Thank you so much for this post. I really appreciate it and can very much relate to everything you had to say (except the single mother part - props to you!), am also an introvert who retreats when feeling low, definitely fall in and out of love w/sewing (usually guilt from too many WIPs plays a part). I do truly love your blog, was so excited when I first found it, went through and looked at everything. I think you have great taste and make lovely things that I, for one, love seeing. So please post when and how you like and keep ignoring the vacuum!

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  14. Good for you for finding the truth within yourself and doing what is best for you. I completely agree with the need to keep up with "The Joneses" and was feeling pressure from having said YES to some opportunities; which while they were appreciated, didn't exactly give me any creative inspiration. I was blocked for a very long time and so I did something completely ridiculous and completely me and you know what, it paid off. Not only did it give me a big rush of adrenaline; but it got me more interested in other aspects of social media...now the down-side was that it was also a double-ended sword and I crashed hard once again afterwards.

    It's taken me a couple of months; but I think I'm back and smarter then before. We will all hit that wall once in a while and it's okay...especially when you know that there are others out there in the same boat.

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  15. As a blog reader, I do not stop following a blog because of waning post frequency. If the posts, however occasional, are still interesting to me I will keep following! Though, if someone completely stops posting then I might remove them from my reader just to keep things tidy. I think that for-fun bloggers should feel total freedom to post as often as they like. Their attitude when they post/about what they're posting is really what matters to the reader. Enjoyed reading these comments. Thanks for bringing this up, Leila!

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  16. Hi Leila - I am new to your blog and relatively new to the blogging world. I started out with the grand ambition of posting six days a week, with each day having a theme. I thought this would keep me disciplined, but it drove me nuts. I learned a lot about myself: I have too many other restrictions on my time otherwise, so why was I imposing such ridiculous deadlines? I am definitely into the process part of quilting and writing and I like to share that with others who enjoy it as well. I will also say this: I am older. The benefit of aging is that you learn to feel comfortable to do what you want to, when you want to do it, and that is a beautiful thing. About 'keeping up with the Joneses' . . . maybe the Joneses are trying to keep up with you! Take care, Byrd

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  17. I have to admit to being really bad at tracking people's post frequency - if you pop up in my feed I read, but then I have a lot of blogs in my list o.O I blog myself to connect to people and chat with them, but I don't sew to blog it, and have a few other options that aren't sewing related that I can trot out, like Random Thursday :o)

    Glad you found the fun again in dressmaking, and I have a similar allergy to the hoover ;o)

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  18. Love the honesty in this post. I feel the same way a lot of the time and have become a very lazy blogger to avoid the 'pressure', though gradually finding my way back to it. I'm learning to just blog when I feel like, not because everyone else is churnng out posts. I love your blog and am happy to see what you are up to as and when you feel like sharing.

    The fabric for your new dress is beautiful, where is it from? C x

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  19. Well said Leila.
    I used to think that I should only blog about sewing, and the good stuff, the perfect stuff, but gave that up! I used to worry if I had nothing to say, but now I am happy to just post a random picture and a sentence, even if just to act as a record for myself so I don't have any gaps.
    There have been hard, horrible times when I thought blogging would be the last thing I needed or wanted to do but I definitely found comfort and strength from my online friends, (who, to be honest, are many of my real-life friends now), and selfishly maybe, having that connection is priceless.
    I go on the theory that if people don't like my erratic style, they won't come back. I blog for me at th end of the day, no-one pays me!
    On the other hand, if the people I like take a break, I will still follow and read when they reappear.
    I only have an issue with blogs that are just constant sponsored promos and giveaways and no actual content any more! Some are sponsored for doing what exactly!?
    Oh that's another topic :) x

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  20. I can totally relate, Leila--to the single mom thing, though my kids are in high school, but I've been a single mom since they were 6 and 8 years old. I don't blog, mainly because of the same fears and angsts you have. I want to be able to sew for pleasure, without pressure. I post photos to Flickr and Instagram, and am duly rewarded with praise and without pressure. I say do what makes you happy. You want to make clothes? Great! But please continue to create. As for flitting about from one craft to another, I did that as a child and then didn't have any hobbies for a very long time. Once my 15-year-old was born, I found quilting ... and the rest, as they say, is history :) Oh and I also have a hard time crafting through pain. If all's not right in my world, I want to do a whole lot of nothing. And I have a really hard time dealing with my envy over these bloggers who do, as you say, finish a quilt every week. I mean, really?

    That dress is beautiful, by the way! :)

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  21. Well said Leila.....I think it's important to stop and evaluate every now and again. I do ask myself if I'm still enjoying the blog. For me the conclusion I've come to is; I just enjoy sharing my quilting journey and I love the interaction it brings. Thanks for this heartfelt post......I don't check up on fellow bloggers to see how often they post but I'm just happy when they do. Thanks for a wonderful discussion.

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  22. Hi Leila,
    Thank you for sharing so much.
    I was never able to get the whole blog writing, picture taking, tutorials etc. done myself and really appreciate it when others share so much of themselves.
    I do love to follow blogs but have so many I'm interested in that I have had to trim back my list and not read every single entry if the person blogs daily!
    Sometimes I find that I spend more time looking at what others get accomplished than doing things myself and I then take days off from my computer.
    Life is all about balance and I totally understand if you are not blogging all the time...sometimes less is more.
    Your paper piecing is amazing and your dress looks beautiful!

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  23. I find blogging tricky too, you really aren't alone. I used to have a food blog and a craft blog and between the two it was like a full time job! (And I already have one of those!!) It IS hard not to compare yourself to the other awesome bloggers out there! I totally love what you wrote about a quilt a week! So true!! The thing I've found best is to imagine I'm writing just for a couple of people. I live far away from my family and old friends, so when I write I really just think about keeping in touch with them. If others read and enjoy, that's so great, but I find it easier mentally, to just think of communicating with my sisters, best childhood friend etc. That way I know I'm just being the real me, sharing things I find interesting.
    Keep up the great work - I've always enjoyed your blog.

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  24. I will be here to read when you feel like sharing, with no expectations or judgments when you take time to do other things. I really enjoy your garments, they are beautiful.

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  25. Wow, lots of fascinating comments on the pressures of blogging, as well as your really honest post. I don't have a massive readership, but I do go through phases where I feel obliged to 'produce' so I can blog something. I really made an effort to give myself permission to be quiet on my blog every now and again earlier this year - my life is so busy, between two children and two businesses, that sometimes something has to slip, and unfortunately it is often the blogging. I don't give myself a hard time (well I try not to!), I don't apologise for disappearing, I just pick up again when I feel like it. Fortunately the same faces are still commenting when I pick it up again, so they can't be too bothered by my absences!

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  26. Glad you came back to blogging and sewing because I love reading your posts. But you are right to focus on using the blog as a record for yourself and if others pass by and enjoy it, so much the better. So many blogs these days are about selling and self promotion. Yours is not so it is good that you are still there.

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  27. As a fellow introvert, it's hard to pu t yourself out there and be positive all the time especially when you yave a job and kids. I always come back to the reason I started my blog -as a way to document my quilts/sewing projects and hopefully make a few like-minded friends along the way.

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  28. Thanks for sharing this Leila, xo

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  29. What a thoughtful post, and obviously it rings true for many of us. I've had most of those same feelings for sure, though overall, blogging is a really therapeutic thing for me. Just the process of writing is a calming force in a hectic life. But the comparisons to others; the 'am I ok?' feelings - totally there most of the time. And when blogging time casts a shadow on sewing time, sometimes I have to stop and think. Just what feeds me most? Thanks for sharing...

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  30. Hi!!. I have read your today's post from the first letter until the last and some of the comments and I feel the same. I'm a recent blogger, since last April and sometimes I feel the same. When I check the blogs I'm subscribed (most of them American) I find the most incredible woman, families, houses, lives, etc.. and that can't be real a 100%. It's impossible. No one has a perfect life with a perfect husband and perfect kids who all live in a perfect house and life is 24h/day perfect, that's not real!. I sometimes find I have nothing to say in the blog and feel empty in a way. Then one feels if she lives for blogging or blog what she lives. When that kind of questions are inside your mind I think it's the best moment to stop and stay away from the blog for some days to relax and think is she wants to go on blogging. It's really curious no matter the nationality (I'm Spanish) and different cultures we woman bloggers think the same about this particular matter. Curious isn't it?. Love!!

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  31. Thanks for this post. Makes me wish I could have heard the talk. I only blog for me but also want to blog in a way others find interesting. Luckily, I don't blog for profit or for a 'fan' base, so that pressure is off. The trap I found myself falling into is joining too many QAL's which are great for motivating me to finish a project. But I found myself 'copying' and I've made myself move more towards projects I'm not seeing on the blogosphere. All in all, whichever side you're on, it's all about finding the balance and remembering the joy that started it all. Enjoy your little man!
    Ramona
    Threadtime.wordpress.com

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  32. Lovely post Leila. When I began blogging several years ago it was so exciting. Documenting my work really encouraged a surge of creativity in me with swaps and exposure to new designers, ideas and fabric. Eventually I got involved in committed sewing, tutorial writing, pattern writing, blog hops...etc. Sometimes it all becomes a bit too much and in the last 8 months or so I have definitely made a conscious effort to be more relaxed about it all. Large breaks during family holidays are getting harder and harder to come back from. Sometimes I don't even feel like sharing (as in, sometimes I just don't want to take 40 photographs of a purse to edit!) and I think that is totally okay. One thing I am very strict with myself about: I never apologize on my blog. I never say "sorry I've been away so long" or "sorry I've got nothing to share", because I started the blog for me and ultimately it remains mine. I have made such wonderful friends with many of my readers and I know they understand I'm only human and have a life away from my laptop. I prefer to blog when I've got something specific to share or a story to tell, in lieu of just posting any old thing for the sake of posting. Quality over frequency! I love visiting your space to see what beautiful things you've created and I completely understand that making takes time, blogging takes time and family takes even more time. Share when you want to and we'll be here! Like you, I found it intimidating at FQR sometimes. I wish we'd had more time to sit and chat together.

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  33. Lovely post Leila and so honest. I can totally relate. Sometimes I feel it is hard to keep up and blogging takes time. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings.
    I really love your new dress.

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  34. I blog when I have something to talk about. Sometimes that fits in with WIP Wednesday, or the UK Thursday Linky Party, or sometimes not. Sometimes I have a week off and sometimes I blog the next day. I only do it when I want to and I tend to sew with magazine and quilt along deadlines in mind not my blog. I am the boss when it comes to that!

    I actually started blogging 5 years ago and it was all jewellery making, now it's patchwork and other bits like fabric design and stuff, and it stilll works. I think of it as more of a diary really, and I enjoy doing it :)

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  35. What a great post Leila! I totally agree with so much that you said. I know I do feel like that sometimes and I hate the edge of competitiveness that you can feel when you read other people's blogs, as I really don't like that in myself. I just really try and keep thinking about the 'sharing' side of blogging which is why I started in the first place. I just want to communicate with like minded people and share what I have made, and as long as I am still loving the stuff I am making then that's easy. But you really put your finger on a number of different points here that I have felt myself - thanks for your honesty! I hope you keep going and keep enjoying your sewing now!

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  36. I feel guilty for sewing or blogging, both of which I love, because there are so many other things that need my attention. But I have to sew, for my happiness, for my future. The damn hoovering can wait.

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  37. Love this post...I enjoyed much!!
    you are so talented and pretty
    From Canberra Deck

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  38. Great post, Leila! I feel sometimes a pressure to blog. But it's just my fault, because I sign up for to many blog hops and other challenges. This discourage me sometimes and I don't sew... I try not to push myself in deadlines, but I'm not very successful in it:(

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  39. Hi Leila - I feel blogging takes a lot of work. And this is an excellent post! Well said. :)

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  40. great post, Leila, i just discovered it now and am very happy that you shared your thoughts so beautifully.. So true! It is so easy to feel all that pressure - and so unnecessary!!

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  41. I've just found this post through Quilt Dad and I've discovered that lots of people have been slowing down on their blogging this year including me - maybe its just the year of the slow post :) just remember to do what makes YOU happy !

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  42. Hi - I'm here thanks to Quilt Dad who mentioned this. What a thought provoking post and what a relief to read the comments too! It seems that there are very many of us who feel the same way. Like you I blog to share my ideas and my passion for creativity - not to compete with others. A while ago I did start to feel that I wasn't achieving enough as other bloggers seemed to be producing a quilt a week! Now I tell myself that if they can afford to buy all the fabric necessary they can probably afford a squadron of cleaners, cooks, nannies etc as well - who knows what is behind the perfect images? It has been sad to find that some formerly good blogs have become so "cliquey" and now seem to exist only for posts along the lines of "this is what I'm selling today, this is what my mate is selling today, this is what my sponsor is selling today" and so on ... I take comfort from the fact that I seem to be sewing more than they are these days! At the moment I'm making curtains - so yes I flit from craft to craft! I hope you continue to enjoy using your dressmaking skill! Lynne.

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