“I Spy” Mirrors

Today’s reveal is something that I have been working on for some time. It doesn’t hurt that while preparing, it allowed me a lot of trips to thrift stores, something that The Kid and I enjoy immensely. I was collecting toys and trinkets for these mirrors:

dscn4854The vertical mirror was first (above) and then the horizontal one (below) was next.dscn4844The photos may be a little confusing as I set the mirrors up to reflect the other… but the first is in portrait and the other in landscape mode.

I started working on the ‘portrait’ mode first… and didn’t expect to do more than just this one. I had picked up a framed mirror in my travels and thought it would be fun to do this. I looked for small, fun objects and toys and used hot glue gun to attach the items. It was just a hit or miss as to what fit and looked good.

I won’t spend too much time talking about them, they are both pretty straightforward. I will mention that The Kid built the frame for the second mirror. I had so many toys that I needed to do a second one. I am keeping eyes open for more ‘stuff‘ that would allow me to complete a third.

Hope you enjoyed seeing them half as much as I loved making them!

julie

A Miniature Miniature

Hopefully that title grabbed your attention!

I am finishing up a lot of bigger projects as my garage has now been turned into some kind of storage place for cars! Go figure!

I am planning on working on the dollhouse that my Dad built for me many, many years ago. I had always begged and pleaded for a dollhouse and when my Dad became ‘sorta retired’ and started to work a lot more in his workshop, he finally built one. And it was huge! And, I found out later, it went to my oldest sister. Sigh.

I had heard something about it as I was living in California and my parents were in Iowa. My sister lived in the same town. Made sense.

Later, my sister wanted to return the dollhouse to my Dad but I jumped in and claimed it. My Dad would later drive his van with the dollhouse out to California. It was the only way he felt comfortable delivering it. And then when moved from California to Missouri, I had a shipping company build a professional crate to hold the dollhouse when we used a moving company to move us.

But I digress. It has been sitting in a special place in the basement for about ten years now. The most I have done is paint the house white and buy tons of materials for it. Now I want to spend this winter completing it. I am getting The Kid and his buddy to carry it up from the basement to a space here in the living room.

So, on to today’s activity. I’ve built a dollhouse for the dollhouse. 🙂

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Going through all of the ‘stuff’ that I had purchased over the years was miniature furniture, scale 1:24, whereas the big dollhouse was 1:12. So, while watching television, I worked on the little dollhouse.

I started with a little cabinet that I had bought. It was a piece that had two levels and an “attic”. I removed the doors and the front facing piece that was in place of the attic’.

I used scrapbooking paper for the walls, floors and ceilings. I was fun to try different patterns together and it was simply a matter of gluing the paper with white glue.

Most of the furniture was brown and I did little to alter it. I did paint the stove and the old fashioned telephone black and I cut down the toilet from one that had an overhead tank to something more modern and to get the sink it there, I had to shorten the base. All of the little pieces such as the lamps and the pitchers, were glued down. Well, the pieces are glued down, since it isn’t for active playing.

I also added “siding” to the house, using Popsicle sticks and painted. The back roof was done with the larger rounded edge of ice cream sticks and stained.

img_3902It is to go into the little girls’ room in the larger dollhouse. This one? Stands about five inches, which in 1:12 scale, it would be about five feet tall.

Happy to answer questions, if I can. I will leave you with more photos:

img_3898Many of the pieces had to be placed into the house using long tweezers and some of the smallest pieces didn’t have much space for glue… the little towel rack kept falling out of place and even… I think it came out okay.img_3900There are more pieces available and I may be looking to create another mini-miniature dollhouse.img_3904The bedroom has a blue blanket (included in the set) but I added pillows – just a couple of very small pieces of white felt. There is a mirror setting on top of the dresser.img_3900The kitchen boasts a water pump and a sink vessel. A lamp sits on the dining room table.img_3898The little dining room table was actually two round tables. I removed the tops and cut a very small oval table from the end (the thinest part) of a wood wedge and just glued the two sets of legs to it.dscn4864Some of the wonderful touches are the roll of TP in the bathroom, as well as a towel rack.dscn4863I wish I could tell you the brand or where to buy these sets, they must have been in my storage for some time. I really don’t recall at all. My son thought that I had picked them up an estate sale… over the years, I have always been on the look out for pieces, materials and supplies to complete the dollhouse.

julie

Antique Thread Box

Okay, so I want to clear this up from the get-go… its the thread that is antique, not the box. 🙂

A while back I was the lucky recipient of a massive CraigsList haul of fabric. Pieces that ranged from scraps to full bolts of cotton and upholstery fabrics. Stuff that clearly ranged as far back as the seventies – lots of gold/orange/avocado green/brown combinations and newer. Such great stuff! I’ve already put some of it to use after spending nearly a week to sort through it all.

Well, in that load, there was also some other accessories. Thread, zippers, bias tape and ribbons. The thread is what I wanted to talk about.

These few spools of thread came from an era where the spools themselves were made of wood. To be perfectly honest – and I had a mother who sewed – I don’t recall the last time I saw a wooden spool. I’ve not really researched it, but I think there is some history there. And they are cool looking.

So, I wanted to be able to display them in my sewing room. I searched eBay for an antique or vintage thread holder, and one not too large, as I didn’t want this to be another one of those collections that I went out and bought a few hundred spools! (Trust me, I have been known to do dumb stuff like that!)

Well, I never did find one that I really liked, but seeing all of those on eBay and other Google searches, I had an idea of what I wanted.

Out came my trusty paint stir sticks. It is a simple enough design and I think I had everything measured and cut and the clamped to allow the glue to dry in less than an hour. I added the back, gave it a good sanding and then painted it.

DSCN4254Cute, huh? I love the simplicity of the design and there is some room to add a few spools. Down the road. 🙂

Now to find some wall space left in the sewing/quilting room!

From Rough Vanity to Sweet Nightstands

I have had many projects planned and with my recent push to get the garage cleared out, I’ve finally gotten some long overdue furniture projects completed. And took the time to take the necessary photos as well.

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This piece I picked up a while back at a thrift store. I had gotten the two sections separated and that’s where it stayed for quite a few months. I actually was able to get a special boost from completing the outdoor bench from school desk chairs, as it provided me with the two additional legs that I needed for each cabinet.

Once I attached the legs, I got a whole new energy to complete the project. Taking a queue from the existing appliques, I glued appliques to the drawer fronts – initially to hide the previous hardware holes – and found the perfect glass knobs.

I then did a quick sanding of both cabinets and legs and launched into the priming and painting. I used a beautiful shade of off-white, more like a creamy vanilla color. With a couple of coats, the cabinets had a beautiful finish, but something was missing.

I had this unique spray paint leftover from working on the carousel horse (soon to be showcased) that had a glimmer of pearl glitter and using that over-sprayed both cabinets. It was just the trick. I attached the knobs and the piece was set.

I am thinking that this would be a perfect compliment to any little girl’s room, couldn’t you just imagine these flanking a big canopy bed?

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One more project down and only a few hundred to go! JK!

julie

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An End to a Frustration

For some time I have been lamenting, investigating and wishing for a new heavy duty sewing machine that would handle all of the denim and leather that I threw at it. I love my  Singer machines, some I have had for lots of years, but they aren’t intended to be used with heavy duty fabrics. I have a couple of basic Singers and two more advanced Singers. Those machines are made for more lightweight sewing… quilting pieces and clothing. My experience sewing with denim – and especially the seams and waistbands – has been notably difficult. One project ended up with over fifty needles and I’ve broken a couple of throat plates and even broke one sewing machine!

So, after listening to his mother swear and bang my sewing table, The Kid took it upon himself to do a little investigation into my blog, Pinterest and Facebook page to figure out what I was looking for in a heavy duty machine. And this is what he went out to purchase:

img_3882I pretty much had decided that a Jonome was going to be my next purchase. It was wonderful for him to have understood what I was looking for and more specifically, what I wasn’t looking for.

Now my Singers – The XL-150, two XL-1000’s and an XL6000, are machine intended to do embroider work (as well as being sewing machines). I have invested a small fortune in the specialized embroider card disks, so I continued to purchase the same make, albeit newer models, of Singers. Its hard to make the change once you’ve invested that much in a system, but what I am finding now is that it is hard to find servicing – let alone parts – for these machines. But, oh how I love them!

There are a few things I might have changed – things that I have gotten accustomed to using the other machines – namely the option of not using a foot pedal. Was pretty used to touching the “go” button on all of my other machines, and now I have to change that behavior.

But as an aside, I have already spent the better part of twelve hours sewing together denim seams. If you are a regular reader, you know that I love to dissemble well worn blue jeans and turning the parts into new projects. And one thing I love to utilize is the leg seams on jeans.

olff-ffHere is what sewing together a lot of seams looks like:

img_3884I have to line up the edges and then have it quilted. I figure that a soft flannel backing would suffice without any batting.img_3883This thing weighs a ton, so I am hesitant to add any more weight to it. But additional quilting on it will help hold it together and hopefully be a nice finishing touch. I am thinking about using the ‘blue jean gold’ thread and then finish the edges with waistbands (which were also harvested from more than 200 pairs of jeans).

I am also working on a quilt (or two) made from more waistbands. And the bottom seams of each pant leg. I’ve got lots in the process!

But it is the new Janome machine that has allowed me to make actual progress for the first time in a long time. Thanks to my wonderful kiddo!

We don’t celebrate holidays like most other folks… it was my intention to treat everyone every day as if each day was unique and special. Can hamper this blog, as I don’t make Christmas decorations or other religious trinkets (although I have made holiday themed quilts for friends). I love that others celebrate in their own styles and traditions, and I don’t begrudge it for those who do. But I don’t wish people Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever. But I do wish everyone a wonderful day to celebrate (or not) however you wish.

julie

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Puppy Pillows

So, I have to start off by clarifying the term puppies. I call all dogs puppies regardless of its age, whether it is 3 months or 3 years or 13 years. When we delivered these to Wayside Waifs, the kennel section of the place was closed, but I asked if there was any way to sneak in and see the “puppies” and the woman we chatted with said that they didn’t have any puppies. I had to explain to her the same thing I just wrote; ‘puppies’ just mean dogs, young and old.

So you know that I have been on an active quest to get my garage to a point where I can actually store a vehicle in it. Novel concept, I must admit. Well, after much work and quite a few projects completed, I am successful!

img_3866This is the larger side of the garage and you can see my little SUV is safely snuggled in. There are still a couple of projects that still need attention, but this is relatively clear for me!img_3865This is the smaller side of the garage and my little sports car tucked in for the winter. You can see the wonderfully organized shelves that The Kid put up to replace all those mismatched shelving units. So neat and organized!

img_3880The next step was to clear out the attic closet space so that I could clear more of the space in the guest room and I figured out a way for The Kid to store most of his collection of military uniforms.

Now that his closet is cleared, we’re going to frame the floor of the attic space behind his closet. I’ve been referring to it as the ‘Cave’, and we should get about ten feet by fourteen feet of room (at least 6 feet high). It’ll be perfect for whatever he wants to do with it, I think storage but who knows.

In clearing out the attic closet, I had to do something with the bed pillows that I “collected”. Whenever I replace bed pillows in my household, I can never bring myself to throw out the old pillows, so I don’t! Actually completing a project using them is the step back from edge of being a hoarder!

So instead of throwing them away, I create covers for them and donate them as dog beds. This time, I was able to use some of the upholstery samples that I picked up a while back from CraigsList. Its a simple design and I use Velcro to close it.

So, I will just cut to the end project photos:img_3867I was going to try and make a few bed quilts using the upholstery sample books, but many of them (and of course, the ones I seem to like the most) are not machine-washable… which is a neccesity. img_3873The shades of black and white is my favorite (this is four regular sized pillows). img_3872I saw this pattern in the latest copy of one of my quilting magazines and did spend some time creating the patterns using denim. Here I thought I’d make one and then reverse the colors. Kind of interesting though and it made for almost the perfect size for the pillows. They’re stuffed in there pretty tight. But I am hoping some little dog can beat down the perfect little spot to snuggle.img_3871My plan was to use this as a backing material for one pillow, but I had more than enough and it was just happy and cheerful, so I went for it.img_3870Leftover upholstery fabric in black complimented this set of fabrics.img_3869Tried to do as many different colors as I could. And use up more of the samples.img_3868I had all of these oranges sewn into a nice little patchwork, and with a little rework, was able to make two orange beds. I keep stumbling over fabric that I had tucked away that was perfect for the backings on these two. I tell myself that this is why I hang onto ‘stuff’, because someday I will have a use for it! (I did throw out a bit and gave away quite a bit more in this recent spate of organizing, however.)

The Kid and I drove out and delivered them yesterday. Hoping to see the ‘puppies’ but the place was closed to the public and apparently ‘quiet hour’ for the dogs as well. Oh well, it will just give us an excuse to go again another day.

julie

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A Different Twist on Monopoly

You all know I have a love of Monopoly, right? I have collected dozens of sets of tokens from different games, used Monopoly money to cover a dresser and a star and have differing and various odds and ends that are Monopoly related.

I wanted to try something different. Previously, I have opted to “go large” with some creative work – large versions of quilt patterns, very large birthday cards, etc., but have never really gone “small”. One more thing I could try and it would be easier (I thought) than going big.

I did some clay work a while back, working on the doll house… miniature versions of food and household items, and I had a large selection of clay left. I created my own ‘tokens’ and die while watching television. And then I had an idea!

So, here is the Monopoly game I created:

dscn4791So, you may be wondering: what’s so special? Here is the game in its showcase:

dscn4804I recreated the entire game to fit within an 8″ square frame. The three tokens (an iron, a thimble and a dog) as well as the houses and hotels and the die were made from bake able clay. I created the rest simply by scanning the items or locating the images online. Many took a little maneuvering to get the right scale and lots of cutting.

There really isn’t a lot to tell, but will instead just show photos. I am including the printables at the bottom of the post.

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Working in such a small scale was not easy! I think the hardest item was to create the token pieces (and up close I don’t think they don’t even look exactly right!).

But it was a fun little project to do and I can say I did it!

julie

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School Desk Chairs to Outdoor Bench

First, I have to start this post with an apology. I normally think of myself as a very organized person, but when I sat down to write this about two hours ago, I found that my photos are anything but organized! To compound things, I have two cameras as well as the camera on my iPhone and I use three different computers based on where in the house I am and what I am doing. Those two hours were spent trying to locate the photos to go along with this post. (I guess I know what I am going to work on next!)

I cannot even locate the ‘before’ photos. And I know I have them. Somewhere. Sigh.

I found one!:

So, while this is not the actual item, it does represent what I started with. Or rather with four of them:

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I picked these up a year ago this past summer and have been moving them around in the garage waiting for both inspiration to strike and some free time.

The middle of November found me done with my professional contract and now having time. The ultimate goal was to clear out the small garage stall in order to bed my sports car down for the winter and these chairs were currently taking up a lot of space. I had moved them to the larger side of the garage and I had lined them up, hoping for some inspiration. What happened was they were bumped around until them ended up out of line and that is exactly when I got my idea. A curved bench.

Since there were four, I figured I could use one as ‘parts’ to fill in the gaps between the chairs. (I swear I have some really good photos of this process!) I disassembled the most damaged and least attractive, but they were all really in good condition. Using just my eye and a band saw and sander, I started to fill in the space between the chairs. Once I had the pieces cut and sanded, The Kid drilled holes and we used wood dowels and glue to attach the dowels to the chairs and then attach the chairs to each other. (Dang, I wish I could find those photos!)

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This was way into the process – almost done, in fact, but you can see what I mean about filling in the gaps between the chairs. The front of the chairs actually touch, so I used a couple of metal straps to attach them.

At that point, the whole assembly was sanded, primed and painted. I used the deep red/burgundy color as it was intended to be placed on my front entry and my door is this color. (Or at least it was when we bought the house… it too, needs a paint job.)

Then came the process of creating the seat. I started with two 12″ wide boards which were glued and joined together. I placed the original seats into their original location and then laid a scrap piece of wood across them and screwed them into place. Then I placed that assembly onto the wood prepared for the new seat.

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I then traced around the seats so I would know where to cut. It did take a little finagling to get the new board into place but it eventually got there. Then I made a line on the front and sides, allowing for about an inch overhang. I kind of do this with guesswork and experience from other projects. I also like a little extra to allow for sanding and possible re-cuts.

The Kid then gave it a nice rounded edge using the router, and then it was a matter of sanding all the edges smooth as well as the seat top. I didn’t worry too much about the underside, since it wouldn’t be seen. It was given three coats of a medium/medium dark stain.

To help protect it from the elements, it was given not just two or three coats of polyurethane, but five! This included the actual chairs as well. While there is some protection from the elements on my “porch”, it is outside and I’d like to last for a while.

Then it was just a matter of placing the seat back onto the chairs assembly and using the original screw holes, attach it nice and firmly.

Viola! It was moved into place and we were done!

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, I am more like my Dad who just tried things and learned what works and what doesn’t. I am not a stickler for the details, so don’t look too closely! 🙂 There are places where just a little more level or a little less sanding might have added to the overall project, but I like how it turns out and that is what matters!

dscn4822You can see that the door has faded… come next spring, that is on the list!dscn4821You can see the slight curve of the seat… I wanted something different from what everyone else does and I like how this worked.dscn4820For the seat, pine was chosen for the 1″x12″ boards. You can kind of see where the saturation of the stain soaked dark on the edges and where I missed cleaning off all the glue on the seat. But that is what makes it unique and special.

The front entry has a tiled ‘floor’, which i did when I first moved in. It gets slick in the winter from water, ice and snow, so we put down nice mats to prevent falls.

By the way, I still have the four original seats and desk writing arms which are from a very nice solid hardwood. If you have ideas on what I could do with these, I am all ears!

julie

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Puppies in Tutus for Halloween

Puppies in tutus! There is no other way than the title to describe this post. A few days before Halloween, I had been talking to my friend Amy – who is a Husky rescuer and who owns three Husky (or Husky mix) dogs – about the upcoming Halloween. While we were not allowed to dress in costume for work, we did talk about what we all were going to do on the home front.

For about six or seven years, The Kid has been too old to allow me to create a costume for him. Previously, I had put in months of preparation and work in creating his costumes, beginning with his first Halloween at the age of about 5 months (a lion) until his 13th or Halloween when he was a ‘Knight in Shining Armour’. (You can read all about his costumes here.)

Now my friend Amy is one of those awesome pet-parents of these three beloved Huskies. And she mentioned that she would love to costume the dogs, but just didn’t have the time. She did mention that dressing the dogs in tutus would be awesome, but with everything going on at work and in her life, time was just not on her side.

One evening while I was home, looking for something to do (have you ever known me to not be looking for something to do?) I hit on a quick and easy idea for making those tutus. I had a general idea of how big these dogs were, having seen many photos on her desk and on her phone! They were big, huggable, wonderful puppies!

A quick trip to Joann’s and about $6.00 later, I had the necessary materials for the tutus. I simply took about two yards of tulle in each color – two shades of pink and one of blue – and three matching pieces of ribbon and one quick seam. I wished I had taken more photos of construction but hope you can follow my directions.

I started with a yard piece of tulle and folded it in half and then in half again. I cut across to create four pieces measuring about 13″ wide by the length. Assuming the dogs were about 18-ish inches around their ‘waists’, I took a 36″ piece of 3″ wide ribbon and laid the tulle on the ribbon creating some gathers and then folded the ribbon over the tulle and pinned; then I made one long stitch to catch the edges.

I was done with all three in a matter of 30 minutes. The leftover pieces of tulle from trimming the edges even were rolled into little ‘flowers’ and with a quick stitch to a leftover piece of ribbon, creating little hair decorations.

Maybe its better if I just show you the photos!

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Are those not the most adorable bunch of puppies that you have ever seen!? I love how they seem to pose – well the girls anyway! For some reason, the one boy seems a bit embarrassed!

They greeted the children who were trick-or-treating at Amy’s house that night! How could you not love those faces!!

julie

Playing Catch Up: Garage Cleanup!

Oh my heavens! It has been weeks and weeks since I last posted, but trust me folks, I’ve not been lazy! I have so much to write about! I will try to catch up in the next few weeks, trying harder to be attentive to the blog!

Like I said, lots of things have been completed. Not working (again) has helped a little. I managed to finish up on the contract that I had a few months early – I was never good about pacing myself! I just jump in with both feet and work away!

Some big things and some small projects have been completed. Even more have been started! I’ve been trying to finish up anything that needs to be worked on in the garage and/or outside, since the temperatures have been falling steadily.

I’ll start first with the garage. I’ve been wanting to re-arrange the west wall of the garage since I don’t think I am using that space to its full potential. And once this side is done, I am going to do something similar to the other side so that I can park my little sports car in the garage for the winter.

Here is the before picture:

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That little red contraption is a high powered washer. We bought it when we lived in California for the hundreds of feet in wood fencing we had around our lot. We don’t have a fence now that we’re here in Missouri and I love it! Just makes the yard look larger and more friendly somehow. We hung the washer on the garage wall back in 2004 and never used it once since! It has been donated to our favorite thrift store. We took down the random hanging tools and sorted through the odd wood and metal pieces stacked in the corner.dscn4751

We then configured the upper space for shelves to essentially mimic the space behind the upper cabinets to the left. I searched for months to actually purchase the same cabinets, but could not come up with matching size/depth. I was kind of surprised and figured that they were like standard sized cabinets meant for garages and mudrooms.

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I replaced our old and broken recycle bins with new, sturdier ones and mounted the top two using cleats. The new cabinet is being used for The Kid’s latest hobby, welding and this cabinet is intended to keep all the necessary gear and tools for it together. It is on wheels, so he can move it to wherever he needs to work. I got the cabinet on sale at Home Depot for 25% off and an additional 20% off since it was the floor model. Perfect!dscn4824

The shelves are perfect size for the ‘paper boxes’… and I have a standing order at our local print shop for when they have spares. Just phone them and ask! Something they don’t have to recycle!

Next up – and already in progress – is the other side of the garage. This is where my sports car lives in the winter, but still a valuable space during the warmer months. I keep all of my furniture pieces stored there, as well as using part of the space as a ‘paint booth’.

The large cardboard piece helps control most of the errant spray paint. The other side holds furniture, like I mentioned, as well as other materials. I’ve collected a variety of old – and unfortunately – ugly shelving units and now am planning to replace those with a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves. I’ve begun the job of painting the boards and this weekend, we’re planning to install them.

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I gave away quite a few ‘project’ pieces, as well as a lot of fabric upholstery sample books. I try to glean my project pieces each year as I move to ‘indoor’ projects… hoping that since I didn’t get to them within the span of many months, that perhaps someone else may. No problem seeing all of this valuable material disappear!

Another small project completed was transforming this small wooden box into a small stool for my sewing room. I covered the box with vintage clothing patterns, added the small feet and then added a fabric covered seat.

So, that’s it for today’s update. We’re considering allowing my son’s best friend move into the spare bedroom which means the spillover from my sewing room will have to be dealt with. I think I am going to up stairs and stand in the doorway for a while to see if I have any flashes of genius as to where this might go (or if it too needs to be donated!). When we moved into this house and our square footage literally doubled, I never dreamed that I would ever run out of space!

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

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