Check out my Finished Items on the second page

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Well earned break (if I do say so myself)

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but like everything in my life it has gotten sidetracked.  That's kind of why i needed the holiday in the first place. I needed time for me!
It was a late booking and I went to trip advisor to get some ideas.  I had a checklist!  I wanted a sea view, and a bathtub! Possibly an odd combination, but after a year and half of living at Mum n Dad's with only showers, I wanted to wallow in hot water for as long as I chose. And as for the sea view, well I find it calming and grounding. Looking out to sea is something I often yearn for in times of stress (and yes to be fair I was stressed)
It didn't really matter where in the UK, although at then end of the week we were going to the Dove Holes Jazz festival so the far north of Scotland would have been sightly inconvenient but other than that I had no agenda.  

Eventually after a bit of searching and comparing and fussing around I found this property:Parth-y-Gwyddwch, and it ticked all my boxes.  Secluded, a sea view and a bath!!! The cottage is beautiful.  We were met at the gatepost by a buzzard, who continued to entertain us all week. And there was a red kite now and again too.  We travelled to Barmouth, Tywyn and Aberdovey in the days to have lunch (boy did we eat some amazing lunches) and settled back in our cottage in the late afternoon armed with our binoculars to watch the evening wildlife.  We tried out our new Cobb oven one night and made a good effort of roast chicken, veg and potatoes.  And ate more ice cream in a week than we normally would in a year.  We walked, talked, stayed quiet. Sat on beaches, sat in woods, sat by rivers. Met sheep! MrNoo went fishing once or twice in the evening, and left me to the peace and quiet of the cottage, and I knitted and breathed and didn't have anyone calling my name. The week was everything I needed it to be. 

Full of good food, peace and no demands. I would go back in a heartbeat.

So here, in no particular order is a brief photographical synopsis of our week.
Our home for a week.

Parth-y-Gwyddwch

Another perfect sunset

A little stroll

8am view. Fantastic


Roast dinner on the patio?

Early evening view from the cottage


Aberystwyth

Barmouth view from the welsh coastal path

Took a photo to identify this little one, beautiful song. 

Best kind of neighbour

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Hoodie (Craftsy Sewing with Knits Class first pattern)

*All Craftsy Links in this post are affiliated, and I may receive compensation if you click or buy from these links*

(Phew what a week we've had! - luckily as I am so far behind on the blog I don't need to tell you about it, but in summary, 2 days in A&E, 2 hospitals, 3 wards, and ITU. Mum's fine though, mostly precautionary and she's now home and resting well)

So to backtrack a little. I recently noticed that Craftsy had some sewing classes on sale. (They often have sales, they are worth hanging out for).

I signed up for the Sewing with Knits class (*ahem among others but we'll come back to them)

The reason I liked the look of this class was that it seemed quite "complete" in that I would receive a number of patterns for different weight knits and be talked through sewing each of them. Now I should add at this point that I've only got through the first garment, because mother seems to have other ideas! (See above!) but here is my review of the first few lessons.

The introduction and summary of knit fabrics is quite interesting and worth watching one evening when there is nothing better on the TV, or while you are cutting out your pattern pieces, but personally I dived straight into the hoodie lesson ;) (impatient? Moi?) The lesson was super easy to follow and I had managed to cut out all the pattern pieces before settling down. The idea of patterns in PDF form for you to print and re-print is genius! (I know many people do this now) To be able to print off another size next year or make a pattern for someone else without re-buying it is such an amazing idea.  It did take me an hour or so to print it out and tape it together but in some ways it was good as I learnt a bit more about the construction of the pattern because I needed more concentration that to just hack my way through a tissue pattern.

The Hoodie is a very simple construction, only 5 pieces. Front, back, 2 x sleeves and the hood.  The video walks you through the order of construction and you are given an idea of what stitch and setting to use (given that you would likely be making the hoodie out of a fleece type material)

My only criticism of the course is that a little more could be explained about zig zag stitches and how they should look and what might encourage you to change stitch width or length. As it happens the stitches suggested seemed to work fine with my fleece, but I'm not sure I really had a handle on how to adjust them if I hadn't had enough stretch or if it puckered or some such.  Maybe by the time I have finished the other lessons I will have grasped the fundamentals a little better, or maybe they anticipate someone having a little more sewing experience than I do (Which would be practically none)

Anyway, in only two hours I had transformed a pile of fleece into this:


I'm thrilled with it.  In fact I was so thrilled I made another ;)

The next pattern is a round neck and then v-neck tee shirt. I'm really looking forward to making them, although I'm not quite sure when that's going to fit into the schedule. I have some knit fabric which i originally bought for a pair of trousers for mum but isn't really suitable.  It'll work well as a tee shirt or two though ;)


Craftsy's BIG Summer Sale: Save Up to 50% On All Online Classes!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sewing with Mother

Well OK not exactly "with her" more being told that I was doing it mostly wrongly.  (For someone who is cognitively challenged, Mum is still apparently very able to correct mistakes that other people make LOL)

Firstly we have made a few pairs of pull on trousers.  I got so fed up of seeing Mum in tracksuit trousers. And to be fair, she was always a very elegant dresser and moping about in trackies (whilst there is a good time for them lazing around the home) wasn't doing her self esteem any favours. So we chose a viscose and a reclaimed sari and made two pairs of wide legged, elasticated waist trousers.






The top photo is on my birthday last week when Mum wore the green pair, which are the ones made out of the sari.  The paisley style above are a viscose from an Ebay seller.  We have two more saris, although one may not be suitable as it seems to crease a lot. And we also have a viscose jersey, but in hindsight that may be better suited to a cowl top or tee shirt or tunic top or some such. Watch this space for what they become.










I should add that I had a little help with the cutting out of the Sari pair:


They didn't have this kind of problem on the Sewing Bee.

Next post I'll tell you about the Craftsy course "Sewing with Knits" and show you my hoodie.

T'il Soon ♥︎





Monday, May 12, 2014

Unravel 2014 (A little late!)

It's been so long since I posted there's little point trying to summarise the last 4 or 5 months. There's been good and bad, ups and downs, giggles and tears. But rather than dwell on that I want to tell you about Unravel 2014 (Which was in *ahem* Febuary!) at the Farnham Maltings.

I go every year to this wonderful wool and fibre festival. And this year it was a bit special as I decided (with a couple of friends) to make a weekend of it and stay in the Travelodge at Aldershot and take a weekend away from caring for Mum.

Unravel is my favourite festival. It's pretty local to me when i'm at my house, and even from Mum n Dad's it's not too far (although it's very very close to the Aldershot Travelodge! just saying')  It's full of indie dyers and shops.

I was fairly restrained:

 I failed completely on Saturday - it was very crowded and I just couldn't settle to look at anything (yes the small hangover may have contributed slightly to that)  So the only things I got on the Saturday were are the spindle bag (far right in the picture above and from Hill Top Cloud to protect the spindle I bought from there last year) and the T pins which I needed more of. 

However we went back on the Sunday, and altho some stock was quite depleted, it was so much easier to look and concentrate and I saw loads that I just hadn't seen the day before, consequently: 
BFL from Jilly bean to try to understand the concept of dividing colours and making spun yarn that doesn't look like a muddy puddle - well that's the idea - but luckily i like muddy puddles anyway so either way it's a win.: 


 

Sparkly fluff in a batt just because it's pretty: 

 

Fyberspates faery wings - which is more expensive than i would normally treat myself to - but it's to knit the infinity scarf song of the sea that I think we all bought (?) and i love the colours: 
 

And altogether with Rachel's book and the spindle bag and t pins from yesterday: 

 


It was a fabulous weekend. I laughed so much I hurt and my friends made sure that I enjoyed every minute of our time away.  

I am still here

Life as a carer has taken over just a little. But I am hoping to get back on track with blogging really soon.  I have a lot of craft to show you, and a few little product reviews.  Stick with me, I'm still here ;)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Car Safety & Security

As regular readers of my blog are now aware, my life and that of my family has changed somewhat radically in the past 9 months. I am now a full time carer for my Mum after her brain haemorrhage and to some extent for my Dad too who has Parkinson’s.

In a day to day sense I've sorted most things out – we have routine and our days are filled with as much exercise as we can manage without tiring and games to play so Mum can relearn some skills. And while I am at home that is all fine and dandy.

But I have found it very hard to go out and leave them alone, even for a few minutes. This situation will improve as Mum gets better, but at the moment I find it hard. Of course it’s totally impossible not to go out though. I need to get to the shops to buy food (lots and lots and lots of food as it happens as we are trying to build both Mum and Dad’s weight up) and also I need to get to the chemist to pick up meds quite often. And this is without even considering the need to just get out on my own for a half hour here and there to retain my own sanity, which I haven’t felt comfortable to do up until now.

So, I was thrilled when the lovely people at Tesco Compare car insurance asked me if I wanted to test and review a Tom Tom Hands Free car kit. I have never needed a car kit before as phone calls would never have been so important that they couldn't wait until I was parked or back home. But in the present circumstances I thought that it would go a long way to ease my mind to know that I could take a call immediately if needed.

The car kit itself is small and neat and comes with both dashboard mounting and windscreen mounting so you can choose exactly where you want it to go. As I already have a satnav (which I bought when we were making endless trips to hospitals all over Sussex earlier in the year), this was very useful as it meant I could pop it over on the dash well out of the way on the right hand side of my steering wheel, and without taking up half my windscreen (which is the only downside to all these gadgets). It comes with an external mic which is located on the front of the cradle and also an extension cable for that, so you can put it up on your sun visor if it’s easier or better. I haven’t found the need to extend the mic location at all, everyone has said the calls have been very clear, but I think the visor location would maybe be better if you travel on faster roads more. I was impressed that it came with the option straight out of the box. The cradle itself has two rubberised clips to hold the phone in place. They are strong and secure and there has been no wobbling around at all. I have an iphone 5 so I can’t comment on how other phones are held but they are full adjustable so I can’t see there would be any issues at all. The phone connects to the kit via Bluetooth, and located on the cradle are two buttons to answer and hang up calls. This is brilliant for short journeys when you can’t be bothered don’t’ want to rake around your handbag finding the phone. It works perfectly from somewhere in a handbag that’s thrown in the back foot well underneath three bags of shopping! There is a charger for your phone too so on longer journeys you could reach your destination with a fully charged phone (that in itself is quite something and extremely useful for the iPhone 5 which I don’t think has the best battery life in the world) I haven’t used it yet as I need to get an adapter from the micro USB which is supplied to the lightning dock that the iPhone uses. But again I am very impressed that charging facilities have been provided straight out the box.
The call quality seems very good. The speaker is great and I can hear clearly, and I've certainly had no complaints from callers at the other end so I assume the mic is good too. And really call quality is all that matters in a car kit.

There were only a few minor niggles and really they are hardly worth mentioning, but for the transparency of a review I will: Firstly if you put the phone in the cradle the two buttons for answering and hanging up a call are totally obscured. Now I assume that if you have put your phone in the cradle that you are expecting to use the phone buttons, but having the buttons accessible would be useful as touchscreens on modern smartphones are hard to use when you’re driving, a quick button press is easier. The only other little point is that within the packaging there are a plethora of little clips and tacks and adapters for attaching cables to this that and the other and extending the mic and the charger etc, but I didn't find enough detail in the user guide to understand quite what every little one is for. I've worked it out since, and as I say it’s hardly worth mentioning really.

It’s such a small gadget really, but it does make me feel so much easier knowing that I can answer a call while driving safely and never really be out of reach. It’s gone a long way to ease my mind when I need to pop out for a few minutes.

Model reviewed: Tom Tom Hands Free Car Kit for Smartphones

Friday, September 06, 2013

i Knit too!

I wonder if you all even remember that i knit?  I'm not sure that I do ;)  Well I thought i'd show you a few things i have made during these past months.  Some with a little story to tell and others just to pass the time.

These socks for example:
These were knit from sock yarn that  a friend sent when they first knew mum was ill and i had no yarn with me.  I made them for Mum, and they were knit during the hours/days/weeks she was in a coma and we were waiting. One of the first times she moved her hands properly was to feel this ball of yarn.  (If I remember it was merino - it'd make me move out of a coma too :D)

The next thing I made was a colour affection. made for Mum for mother's day. I bought Holst Garn Supersoft for this as I wanted to try their yarn.  I loved knitting with it (and it had that lovely sheepy smell that all knitters love) It's washed up lovely and soft (for a pure wool, it's not merino soft!!) and generally i'm really happy.  The only thing I would change is that i think the two shades of green are too similar. (in fact in the photo you can't even really tell there are two shades of green)  i'd make the shawl again.:


Then there was a Cinnamon Toast shawl made from Sparkleduck galaxy (Which does actually have a little bit of sparkle in it *squeeeee*).  Now this is my favourite make of recent months.  The ruffly edge gives it a real swish factor (you know like the good looking blond bombshell with the hair flick - well this is the equivalent in shawls!) and some weight which made it feel good to wear (and also alerts you to when it was falling off, which  I have found to be an issue with others (maybe I fidget too much?).  My row gauge seems a bit out, I did a full extra repeat on top of the full shawl depth, and still i feel it could have been deeper.  But then i'm very long from shoulders to waist so maybe it's just me.  I really love it though, one of my favourite ever knits.



I also made a second one in ice yarns merino viscose. This was a quick make for a weekend jazz festival. I knitted it on 5mm needles and i do actually have some yarn left so may at some point undo the ruffle and add an extra body repeat:


Finally I have a commission knit on the needles now. I needed to wait until life was more settled and I could concentrate a little, and also until the evening temperatures had eased off a little...... I've only done the back and one front so far but i do love knitting an aran. No photos yet - next on the agenda!




Saturday, July 13, 2013

Doors.................

Mum n Dad's house has many doors (it's a laugh when we get new carers, we leave them to see where they go, but no one ever gets the right door first time!) it was a cottage and was extended to the side so somehow it ended up with four doors, then mum n dad added a conservatory so now there are 5.  It's all good tho', doors provide mobility exercises - steps, narrow spaces, thresh-holds, so we find ourselves using as many of them as we can to ring the changes and keep Mum challenged! It's all good fun.

This is my favourite one tho'  ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Whilst some form of normality continued

Whilst having one of our now normal strange conversations with Mum a few months ago, She expressed a desire to have veg still grown at home so that when she was hopefully back for the summer there would be the usual produce available for instant gratification when you fancy homegrown veg.  Always one to try to oblige and being a dutiful daughter I took MrNoo to the local garden club centre and we bought just a few of the more obvious veg. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, runnerbeans, and courgettes.  Nothing too much, just a few little bits to entice Mum into the garden on her visits home. (It's a big garden, it constitutes an entire physio session just walking around it - this is a good thing!)

Also when offered an opportunity to work in a greenhouse like this:
with windows that open with an old turn screw like this:



Who could honestly refuse? (Not me!)  Plus let's face it .......... sometimes, just sometimes, it's really good to have a good, honest, valid excuse to go out into the garden alone for a little while ;)

And look, we have been rewarded ;)

The first cucumber - Mum will be pleased!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Life got in the way

You know how you leave a blog post thinking the time isn't right, and the longer you leave it the worse it gets? Well that's about how it's been here.

Suffice to say that our family's world was shattered 3 days before Christmas when my beautiful Mum suffered a massive brain bleed. The short story is that she is now in a rehabilitation centre, coming to the end of her stay there before coming home. The long story is that it has been (almost exactly) 6 months of emotional roller-coaster, deep despair swiftly followed by hope and expectation (repeat thrice daily) and endless hospital meals,  absolute exhaustion in the way that you can't even feel yourself any more, and the best kind of joy for the first hand squeeze, the first smile, the first words, the first (and every subsequent) hug.  The mourning, to some degree, of a life that will never be the same again (for any of us) snatched away in a moment without any warning, but the corresponding elation that Mum is still here, and while her cognitive state is somewhat impaired, she knows who she is, and who her family are and how many yards of fabric you need to buy to make a pair of lounge trousers (!) so although the rest needs attention, she's got the important stuff nailed.

So, that's been it for the past 6 months.  Within the next month she will be home and we will begin our next journey, honing the thinking skills, keeping her motivated to try new things and not get lazy or complacent. To restore her love for crafting in a way that she can achieve it. It'll be a challenge but one that must be met to ensure that her life is what I know she would want it to be, independent and full.

Needless to say crafting has pretty much been off the agenda. I have knit some bits and pieces, while waiting aside hospital beds for something (anything) to happen. And as part of Mum's progressive discharge she was home last weekend and we made the aforementioned pair of lounge pants. Mum watched me as I cut a pattern and affirmed my choices of which seams to sew in what order. (I think secretly she just didn't want to leave me alone with her fancy pants sewing machine! and quite rightly so)


My baby, The Crafters' Barn is still growing from strength to strength. Kris has been amazing and has taken on the contact side of the site and dealt with the (very few) issues that have been experienced. And I have place a few magazine adverts and tried to keep the social media side engaged, with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a couple of Email Newsletters for sellers. We were a year old this week - that feels kinda strange but very exciting.  I have big plans for the site, but need more time and planning for them than I am able to give at the moment.

So hopefully now I've broken the ice i will be writing here again a lot more often. I have missed blogging.... but then i've missed quite a lot of things these past few months.  Onward and upward as they say.

T'il soon ♥


Thursday, February 07, 2013

It’s the time of year when it all goes pear shaped.


So, I got in my car last week, Spot-dog all tucked up in the boot. Wellies, gloves and a hat in there with her……. Turned the key, ……………and nothing. …………Nada……….. Zip.

Is it just me that always seems to have my car go wrong at this expensive time of year? A few years ago it was the exhaust that dropped off (literally) on 23rd Dec. This year apparently my battery had sparked its last spark. Spot wasn’t hugely impressed when I dragged her back out the car but luckily there is a nice river to walk along not far from me so we went there instead, and it wasn’t flooded (see some things go right!) So I’m now the proud owner of a brand new battery and a few quid lighter. I’m beginning to think I should add my car to my Christmas list as it always seems to demand some present or another sometime around the dearest winter months ;)

It’s times like this when I’m grateful that should anything hugely untoward have happened that we have car insurance. I know it doesn’t cover for breakdowns (although of course some do include cover of some sort) But at least, as I seem to be one of those people that has an issue with my car when pennies are at their leanest, should I have had an accident or anything it would be covered. It is a weight off your mind really even though sometimes those premiums do feel like torture at the time, and given the way some people seem to drive through the festive season ….. ‘nuff said!

Anyway my little motor is now fighting fit and raring to go again. And Spot is slowly forgiving me for getting her hopes up for a long walk and then dragging her alongside a freezing cold river. I wouldn’t even let her chase the ducks!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A synopsis....

Our family life has been turned upside down just now, so posting here is not happening. But I wrote this for MrNoo as he celebrated his 50th last week, and i wanted to share so I have a record here that this year needs to be remembered for all the good things and not the end that we are travelling through just now.  Take care everyone xx

2012 – Your 50th year Wink 

You told me I couldn’t celebrate your day, that 50 was hard to take, 
You told me it would stress you out, the fear on your face wasn’t fake, 
You asked me please to be kind and quiet, to ignore it as best I could 
But as it’s your special day, we remember the year as we should. 

Instead of focusing on your age, I thought we’d change the plan 
We’d think about the year we had, as we travelled it in your van 
What Twenty Twelve has given us in memories pure and strong 
And with these little gifts I hope, those memories will stay long. 

This was my dad’s decade too – Seventy was he 
And my sister too was Forty, it’s the year for serious ParTY 
My year was not so special, mine was forty four, 
But you took me and Spot away for three days that surely felt like more 

We travelled down to Bridport, and walked along the beach 
We ate beside the seaside which tends to be our niche. 
We banned all phones and internet, we wanted to be alone 
It worked well for us, we needed it, sometimes it must be done. 

We had two cousins visit, one from near and one from far. 
Devon seemed a long way til “Oz Cuz” upped the bar 
Natalie did Chelsea, and loved it every bit 
Cara went to a wedding. It seems Scots weddings are a hit! 

Our Sporting year was mighty fine, Olympics here they were 
London became the centre of the whole world’s universe. 
We watched (too much) and cheered and cried, we laughed a little too 
We filled ourselves with British pride, it was only what was due. 

We went out to the suburbs, and watched the time trial race 
We cheered for Wiggo, Frome and girls, they truly kept the pace. 
Brad got the Gold at Hampton Court, he really was the King 
The Tour de France had started it, he looked like he had wings. 

We carried on supporting, seeing Cav come true in town, 
His arms aloft as he crossed the line, but another Brit took the crown 
The Tour of Britain winner’s name was Jonathon Tiernon-Locke 
We’d lost Wiggo earlier so it wasn’t much a shock? 

Going back a month or two we travelled a ways up north 
To visit a new jazz fest, we packed up the van and set forth 
We drank with friends the Bennett boys, and Aids and Jools and Jim 
And Norman too and Martin B, and we got a big hug off him! 

We loved the smiley music, the weather wasn’t so kind, 
We got to walk a little bit, so we really didn’t mind. 
The sleeping in the tent was hard, so was cooking on a fire 
The rain put paid to Bar-be-Que’s, Our new tent now is higher! 

So moving on, you bought a shed, and gave it the name “Roses” 
Our old shed became so many things, no problem for you it poses. 
You made our chooks a second home, and made it safe for them 
Just as well, it seems, our flock has grown, again and again and again! 

There is still so much to remind you, the Jubilee, for one 
A whole weekend of pomp and pageant, was so cleverly done 
Then there were a good few days at Hayling, for walks in rain and shine 
And gardening in our plot next door, we barely had the time. 

It’s not always been easy, but life just never is, 
The ups and downs give us a ride,  they give our life its fizz 
It makes us be each other’s strength, we take it both in turn 
We look after each other, it’s the way that we have learnt. 

I hope this will always remind you, of the year that we have lived 
The year that held that special day, a day that is a gift 
It’s fifty years since you were born, and for that I give God thanks 
You are my heart, my soul, my shooting star. I am a river, you are my banks.

_________________

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How does time pass so quickly?

I couldn't believe when i just saw the date of my last post. I can only apologise for me lack of keeping you informed how life is Cheznoo. So a quick summary

1. Christmas presents mostly bought, ordered and made. Not wrapped yet as I tend to do that late on Christmas Eve to get me in the mood ;)
2. Tree up and decorated and looking (and more importantly smelling) really rather beautiful.

3. Many winter fires have been lit, and long evenings watching bad Christmas films whilst knitting or crocheting have been had.
4. Long winter walks have been taken in some glorious winter frosty weather
5. Apparently life is passing a lot quicker than I am aware of tho'

So on that note I'm going to away and make the most of today's sun shine.

T'il soon (ish) ♥

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like .......sssssshhhhhhhhhhhh!

Ohmygoodness, I've been so busy with knitting and the Crafters' Barn and normal work and trying to keep the house clean. - Did you miss me?  The Barn has of course got quite busy as we near Christmas, and I am trying to share one product a day on our Facebook page to encourage people to move outside of their normal sellers, it's been good fun tho' perusing through the sellers directory or searching for strange things in the search box to try to find items that are a bit different.

So, just a really quick summary of how the last couple of weeks have been:

I've been playing with the knitting machine (excuse the bathroom mirror photo!) - it's a reversible hat with a contrasting brim, so you can wear it with a folded up brim, in all red stripes:

 Or inside out with an unfolded brim, in blue with red

 and of course both other options inside out and right side in, brim up or down.  The idea worked well, but the finished article is HUUUUUUUUGE, so i need to re-calculate the tension as this would have fit Shrek :D

In Spot-dog news, we went out and bought her a new bed this week. She needed one anyway but I saw this one which has a thermally reflective inside, so it's great for dogs with arthritis or other joint issues as they benefit from their own body warmth as it's reflected back to them. The bed was thin and rectangular around 3ft x 2ft with a brown fleece top and a sort of mesh/polyester bottom.



Or






It's just a screwed up pile of stuff:


Really, you have to wonder why you bother don't you?  And just look at the look on her face *rolls eyes*  
She's also had a bath this week - that was fun (not) although to be fair she didn't move a muscle whilst in the bath....... too petrified i think? LOL

Right, I'm off now to try to make the brim for a Camden Cap that i'm making in Alpaca. Although I can be very technical in my approach to crafting (i have to be as artistic skills are somewhat lacking in my repetoire, so technicality is all I have) but i'm just not envisaging this very well. So i'm just going to bite the bullet and have a go - what could possibly go wrong?!

T'il soon ♥

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