Friday, 28 December 2012

DIY Royal Tenembaums Portrait Gallery Pt.1

On Christmas I watched The Royal Tenembaums (one of my favourite movies) and was really inspired by the artwork that they have up in the house. Kind of like children's portraits of the all the family members. I especially love how they're in fancy frames too. The combo is so cool!







So I've decided to make my own family portrait gallery! I'm currently working on drawing my whole family and have been slowly collecting cool frames from thrift stores to paint. I'm planning on using watercolors to paint them as well. I'm definelty no artist, but I love the idea of having a family portrait "gallery" in our home that I drew and painted! Wanna take a peak at one of the rough drawings I've done so far?

IMG_1282

I'll update you once I've painted a few!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas! (Yes, I say Happy Christmas because it's what Harry Potter says!) Here's a snippet from my ALL TIME FAVOURITE Christmas movie based off a Raymond Briggs book, The Snowman.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ubeVUnGQOIk]

Enjoy your day! Here's hoping you get lots of presents spend lots of time with your family and friends! ;)

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

IMG_1230Have you ever had a REAL marshmallow? OH MAN. They pretty much have the same texture as the store bought ones but taste way more vanilla-y. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty skeptical about how these would turn out seeing as it's just corn syrup, sugar, and gelatin, but they're awesome! And relatively easy to make too as long as you have a candy thermometer. My mom dug out my Opa's old one (he was a baker and cake decorator back in the day) and it's the OG of candy thermometers.

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Taken from Miette's Cookbook

Makes about 48 1 1/2-inch square marshmallows
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder (4 packets or one ounce)
1/3 cup water, plus 1/2 cup
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 vanilla bean (I omitted)
3 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Have ready a 9×13 inch pan lightly coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and powdered sugar. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with the mixture. Tap off the excess and reserve.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the 1/3 cup water. Set aside to soften.

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar. (Save the pod for another use.) Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Over medium-low heat, cook the mixture to 246 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. When the syrup reaches 230 degrees F, start to whisk the egg whites on low speed. When it reaches 246 degrees F, immediately remove the syrup from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until no lumps remain. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into another pan or a heatproof bowl.

With the mixer still on low speed, pour in a small amount of the syrup, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn't splash. Continue to add the syrup in a thin stream; when all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high. Continue to whisk until the meringue has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form.

Scrape it out into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Dust the top with some of the remaining cornstarch mixture. Cover the pan and allow the marshmallows to set for approximately 6 hours. To cut, slip an offset spatula between the marshmallow and the sides of the pan. Invert the slab onto a cutting board dusted with the cornstarch mixture. Using a lightly oiled knife, cut the marshmallows into 1 1/2 inch squares. Dust the cut edges with the cornstarch mixture and store in an airtight container or bag for up to 5 days.

IMG_1207IMG_1209My advice if you're planning on testing these babies out is to read the entire recipe over multiple times before you begin. I am terrible at this and almost always forget to do something because of it (one time, no joke, I baked a cake and forgot to add the sugar. Amateur right?). I'm looking forward to trying out new flavours next time. I'm thinking coconut with toasted coconut on top.

Oh yeah.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

DIY Blanket

IMG_1223

I had been wanting to make one of these for Dave for awhile now and finally was able to get to it last week. It was one of the easiest and most difficult things to make ever. It was easy because you pretty much just sew two pieces of fabric together. BUT it was hard because the fabric was SO HEAVY I ended up having to move my sewing machine to the coffee table (which was larger than my desk) and sew from a super awkward angle.

This blanket took me about 2 hours including cutting and sewing time. Not too bad! And boy, is Dave in LOVE. He carries it around the apartment like (a cool, manly) Linus. Here's how to make one:

I should really point out that this is the 3rd thing I have ever sewn on my sewing machine, so...heed my directions with caution 

Materials

  • 2 meters of each; faux fur and flannel (you can really use any soft material you like though)

  • sewing machine (I would not recommend hand sewing this baby)


Directions

1) Wash your fabric. I almost forgot to do this.

2) Lay your two fabrics on top of each other and cut them down to the size you want your blanket to be. My two fabrics were both 2 meters long, but were different widths, so I had to trim them so they were the same.

3) Lay the fabrics so that both of the fuzzy sides are together, (this is where I am starting to realize I am not qualified to write sewing tutorials) and pin around the edge of the fabric.

4) Now sew that baby all around but leave about an 8 inches "hole" unsewn

5) Turn the blanket inside out through the hole you left

6) Hand sew the hole and PRESTO you have a blanket!

If you want clearer instructions (with pictures) go here

IMG_1225

Enjoy!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Holiday Library Haul

LibraryDec21



1. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (I highly recommend him)


2.John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk


3. The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith


4. The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobson


5. Garde Manger by Chuck Hughes (!!!)


6. Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (the first recipe I opened to suggested drizzling olive oil over ice cream. Hmmm)


Holidays! I am officially off for just over two weeks. That's pretty much half a month. I plan on staying in my pajamas most days, baking lots, reading and play Ocarina of Time (if Dave will ever let me have a turn).


Ah, I love the holidays.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

(Candy Cane) Peppermint Patty Brownies

IMG_1174I know what you're thinking. Brownies? With Peppermint? AND ganache? Damn Girl! These look pretty legit right? Thursday is the last day of work before the holidays (2 weeks!) so I thought I'd spread some holiday cheer throughout the workplace by whipping up a batch of these.

(Candy Cane) Peppermint Patty Brownies

Makes about 30 or 6. Depending on how bad your PMS is

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Brownie Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips


Peppermint Layer

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 tablespoons evaporated milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

  • 5 tablespoons crushed candy cane (or more if you like it really pepperminty)


Ganache Layer

  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

  • 2.5 tablespoons heavy cream


Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.

Mix butter, vanilla and sugar together, whisk it up. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Then add flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Make sure not to over mix it though (it's the death of brownies!). Stir in chocolate chips. Spread it into the pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes until it's set. Then pull it out and let it cool completely.

Next, make the peppermint...icing? Mix (using a mixer) all the ingredients together until you get an icing like consistency  When the brownies are cooled, pour this over top and put in the fridge (or outside if it's cold) for 30 minutes to set.

Then heat up your cream (I just microwaved mine for a few seconds) and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir it up until it's nice and smooth. Then pour this over the set and cooled brownie and peppermint layer. Pop it in the fridge again for about 15 minutes until the ganache has set and then you can finally dig in.

Warning: these definitely require a rather large glass of milk to go with them. 

 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Be My Friend: Poppy

poppy


This is Poppy. Unfortunately she is not a real person. *sigh*


Have you ever seen Happy Go Lucky? One of my favourite favourite movies! It's about this girl who is extremely outgoing and optimistic. That's pretty much it. Well, she does learn to drive from a crazy person, but really the focus is about how awesome she is. I feel like if she were an actual person, we could be great friends :)


Things I love about Poppy:




  • She is extremely friendly to everyone she meets, even those who are obviously annoyed with her

  • She wears the same old boots everyday, with every outfit

  • When her beloved bike gets stolen she laughs and says "right then" (or something to that effect) and walks home instead

  • She wears bright quirky clothes

  • She acts out what people are saying to her in conversation

  • She randomly tries new things, like salsa dancing classes

  • When she gets drunk, she pulls the "chicken fillets" out of her bra and throws them at people


Yes, I think we would be great friends indeed! Do you ever watch movies and know that a certain character and yourself would be AWESOME friends?


Music Monday

So as I was perusing YouTube the other night I came across this music channel SubPop. Ever heard of it? Anyway they have A LOT of really good artists over there. Here's one that I found. Apparently two of the band members are in Fleet Foxes as well, score!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6QoXyp11xeM]

Poor Moon- "Holiday"

P.S the video is pretty awesome too

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Toms Restyle

Like many others out there, I adore my Toms. No matter how AWFUL they make my feet smell. Which is really bad. My love is that deep. The down side of Toms though (other than the smell) is that they tend to wear out in the toe, so you end up walking around with a cartoonish hobo shoe thing  going on. Hmmm. I'm really not doing them justice here...

Anyway, tonight I was looking on Pinterest for ways I could perhaps extend the life of my current Toms until I can afford a new pair. I came across this and searched through my fabric bag and found some skull fabric and went to town.

IMG_1140The end result


Unfortunately the fabric I used was pretty thin so the glue still showed through after it dried. Definitely not ideal but hey, I never claimed to be no craft prodigy! Besides, if you squint a little or show people them while moving your feet back and forth, they look slammin! And that works for me!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Crafting To Do List

So I'm making a lot of my Christmas presents this year. Which a) is AWESOME but b) a lot more work. Here are some (I can't tell you all of them until after Christmas though for obvious reasons)  of the things I'm working on at the moment:





Chalkboard Frame for Manny


(she requested this so she knows that she's getting it!) I got a pretty cool frame and she picked out a paint colour too. She also requested I add 3 (she was very specific) key hooks to the bottom of it as well.

IMG_1135


Texty Paint by Number Art Thing


I'm making about 3 of these for Christmas. The one above is one that I made Dave for his birthday this year. I used a quote from a song he really likes by the Avett Brothers.


IMG_1125


Throw Blanket


(this is the fabric Dave picked out)


Dave and I were at Chapters yesterday and saw this grey fuzzy blanket . It didn't look like much but OH MAN did it feel amazing! So soft and heavy! It was pretty small though and costed $79. Ouch! So we drove down to Fabric Land and picked up some fabric so I can make one for us for Christmas. I pretty much had to drag Dave into the store but once he saw this Nordic Sweater pattern material he got right into it! I have never seen a man get so excited about fabric. Or a blanket for that matter. He was having so much fun I just let him pick out both fabrics, one for the top and one for the bottom. I got the idea from this post.

Well I'm afraid that's all I can really tell you about. I'm dying to share pictures of everything else I'm making/made, but it'll have to wait! Happy Tuesday!



Monday, 10 December 2012

Music Monday

Oh man. I really really love this song. When I heard it for the first time I had a total eargasm (it's a real thing guys).  The guy's voice gives me goosebumps, especially at the very beginning. Have a listen.

http://youtu.be/FpJuUNGsnMU

Husky- "Tidal Wave"

Sunday, 9 December 2012

(mini) Library Haul

So I've been pretty busy lately (I did first aid allllllll weekend) so I just grabbed a few books from the library this week. Here's what I got:


This book is lovely. It's a kind of artsy road trip journal of France. It's filled with pages that look like this...



and this...



Neat huh? I only wish I was this artistic, I'd make all my journals look this pretty!


I also got:



I have very high expectations for this one (which is never good), since everyone raves about it. So far, it's pretty good, but I wouldn't say amazing or anything.


And lastly, I found this Raymond Briggs book/comic in the kids section!



Have you ever read anything by Raymond Briggs? He is BY FAR my favourite children's author/illustrator. And he makes wonderful comics too. The Snowman is my favourite movie to watch every Christmas. It always reminds me of my Mum's friend Becky. I used to go to her big old cozy house a lot when I was growing up. This one time around Christmas I vividly remember how she had a giant real Christmas tree decorated all in white and gold, a fire going, she made me some hot chocolate and put on The Snowman. Perfection! To this day I still watch it every year and decorate my Christmas tree just like hers.


It's funny how little things can make you so nostalgic, huh?



Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas Dinner

So this year I am tackling Christmas dinner with my Mum. Usually my Mum heads up all the cooking, while simultaneously cleaning the bathrooms, making drinks, making sure  my dad gets his chores done before the relatives show up, and generally being a (stressed out!) superwoman! Well this year will be different! First of all, the family is coming over on actual Christmas, which never happens (usually we stay in our pajamas at my parents house all day and watch movies). Secondly my Mum and I are planning everything  out in advance so we won't feel so overwhelmed on the actual day. We definitely don't want to spend all of Christmas morning getting everything together for when the relatives show up!

On a side note, when did the holidays get so crazy? I miss the days of spending all of Christmas day at home, and visiting the grandparents on Christmas eve. *Sigh* Simpler times. Now in my old age I have up to 5 different family Christmas's to go to every year, yikes! I guess that's what happens when you marry into a large family! Thank goodness I have 2 weeks off during the holidays! 

Anyway back to Christmas Dinner. Here's what I've decided to make. I'm sure my mum will agree. (I haven't exactly let her know about my plans yet. Hi Mum!)

Appetizer: baked jam and brie bites



Hot Corn Dip.


I know this screams Super Bowl and not Christmas but it's super easy and sounds amazing. 



Mains: A turkey and root veggies. Nothing fancy, we have one in the freezer we just want to use.


Garlic Knots



 Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon 



Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese, Red Onion and homemade vinaigrette


Desserts: Peppermint Pattie Brownies



Pear, Goat Cheese and Honey Tart



Oh yeah. You know you wanna come to my Christmas Dinner.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

(Late) Music Monday

I forgot yesterday was Monday, oops!

Here's a song by an artist I've been listening to a lot lately.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/T_0gEC2OBDs]

James Vincent McMorrow- Sparrow and the Wolf

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Amen

http://media-cache-lt0.pinterest.com/upload/181410691210169574_IfHaREQ2_c.jpg

I feel this very often, especially on weekends. You?

Friday, 30 November 2012

23 before 24


Have you ever done a 23 before 24 type of list? It's kind of like a new years resolution that you do on your birthday to accomplish before your next.  Or rather a big list of things you want to do before next year. I was looking through my journal the other day and came across my list, want to have a look?

1) Start a blog (done!)

2) Try a martini (done! and ew! I'm not as classy as I'd hoped I'd be)

3) Make a souffle

4) Read more kid's books (done!)

5) Buy more kid's books

6) Knit something (almost done!)

7) See a symphony (done!)

8) Go to a show in town

9) Try a new local restaurant

10) Finish a journal and start a new one (almost there!)

11) Throw a party (new years, perhaps?)

12) Get a new haircut, with bangs (done!)

13) Go rock climbing

14) Master a yoga pose (does child's pose count?)

15) Actually attempt skating

16) Spend more time outside, especially in the winter

17) Go to London, France, and Italy (more on this later)

18) Not eat any kind of diet food (this was rather easy)

19) Take more pictures (ongoing)

20) Start a craft club/night (done!)

21) Go to the library on a regular basis (done!)

22) Disconnect the cable and TV (done-ish)

23) Sew something that I can wear, in public (done!)

24) Go for a walk with Dave and Gus everyday

So as you can see, there are definitely a lot more I hope to cross off before the year is up. Can you imagine what this will look like when I'm 40? Or 80? Would you ever make a list like this? And actually stick to it?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Trade Secret: Cake Pops


Ah, the elusive cake pop. Many have attempted these tiny treats, but little have prevailed. Well, my mum and I happen to be the (modest) QUEENS of cake pops and are here today to share with you our process! Now I should warn you, these babies take A LOT of time and patience, so I would carve out at least 3 hours to make and assemble them all. Tonight we made Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops for my work's annual bazaar and bake sale. To begin, gather ye materials...




Cake mix, can of frosting, styrofoam block, chocolate wafers, candy sticks, candy bags, and stuff to decorate your pops with! We chose crushed candy cane and holiday sprinkles. You can find pretty much everything at Bulk Barn .



First, bake yer cake. We added some peppermint flavouring to the mix before baking. Now I forgot to take a picture of the next part, but just close your eyes and visualize it for me. After your cake has cooled, crumble it into fine crumbs into a big mixing bowl. Then add about 3/4 of the can of frosting into the bowl and mix it up until it turns into a chocolaty play doh.  If you're new to making cake pops, it's best to add the frosting in in small batches, because you don't want to add too much (read on).




My mum is the BOSS at rolling them into perfect little balls 


Now take your "dough" and roll it into small balls. If your dough cracks and falls apart, then add a bit more frosting to the mix. If it's too squishy and doesn't hold it's shape very well...well...you've messed up. And now you have a large bowl of chocolate cake dough to eat. (There are worst things)



Now you have a crazy amount of cake balls. (1 box of cake mix usually makes at least 50 pops) Take your chocolate wafers, put them in a plastic bowl (glass bowls heat up too much and burn the chocolate)  and microwave them in 30 second increments until its all melted. Then take your candy sticks, dunk them in the chocolate, and stick them in the cake balls. This will ensure that the cake ball does not slide down the stick. Just make sure to only push them halfway into the cake ball though, or the stick will show through the top.






Now you're on to the dunking stage. I warn you, this is the most tedious stage. You really have to be patient. There are many things have gone wrong for us in the past: the cake ball has fallen off the stick, the chocolate was not melted enough so it looked clumpy or the chocolate was too hot and globbed off in large blobs. Usually what we do is dunk them in the chocolate and tap off the excess, let them dry a little bit and then sprinkle/dunk them with sprinkles. After that, you push the stick into the styrafoam block to dry completely.


After they've dried, you can put them into individual candy bags and tie them with ribbon. And if you're feeling really festive, you put a few extra in a brown paper bag for your mister and friend ;)




Well that's it folks! I hope this helped explain the process of making cake pops. If you ever have a free afternoon and lots of ambition, whip some up yourself! They are big crowd pleasers :)

Christmas Wishlist

Is it too early for a Christmas wish list?I was going to wait until December to post this, it almost (almost) feels wrong to post this in November but oh well. I don't really expect to get all of these things for Christmas,it is called a wish list after all, but these are just a few things I've liked whilst perusing the internet (shopping for others of course!).

wishlist




1) Sheepskin 2) The Royal Tenenbaums DVD 3) A large supply of birthday cake tea 4) A rather nice ($$$) camera 5) Subscription to Gourmet Magazine 6) A necklace from Tiffany's

Monday, 26 November 2012

Music Monday

Ok, so I know I've posted a Father John Misty video before, but he's just soooooo good! Have a listen :)

[youtube=http://youtu.be/KtOToiIDNRA]

Father John Misty

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

Sunday, 25 November 2012

This Week for Dinner


So Dave and I have been on a real cooking kick lately. Every week we plan out what we're going to cook for dinner every night, print off the recipes, make up a grocery list, write it on our weekly menu planner and go shopping. You'd be amazed how much money we've saved by only buying the ingredients we need rather than perusing the store picking out this and that (which we used to do).  Alright, so I totally sound like a middle aged mother of three here. Next thing you know I'll be clipping coupons and organizing them into neat binders (don't tempt me!).

Anyway, here's what's for dinner this week...

Monday



Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon


Tuesday



Roasted Tomato Soup


Wednesday



Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin


Thursday



Puff Pastry Pizza


Friday



Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken


Usually for the weekends we go to my parents or go out on a date. Or eat leftovers. But leftovers here rock! (not to brag of course) I can't wait until we can move out of our little apartment into a house and actually cook for other people! I always used to hate the people on house hunting shows who would say "oh we do a lot of entertaining so this dining room/kitchen is too small" but now I get it! Is this what growing up feels like? Oh dear.

Homemade Bath Salts

So for craft night this week we decided to do...Bath Salts! Perhaps I should say Epsom Salts instead? Who knows, maybe this will be my most popular post yet! Anyway this one was very very easy and I had pretty much all of the supplies on hand already. Here's what you would need:


Epsom salts, a few jars, essential oils, food colouring, and some glitter if you're feeling a little gaudy (as I often do).


Add some essential oils (we added sweet almond and cinnamon oil),some food colouring, and some glitter.



Put the lid on and shake that baby up! Who knew bath salts could make a person so happy and not crazy?!


Well that's pretty much it. I should mention that it's a little easier to put the salts and mixers in a plastic ziploc bag to mix them up. Just make sure not to get too happy with the bag or you'll end up with it all over the floor. In about an hour we concocted 5 different varieties and had glitter and bath salts everywhere.



The flavours we made were birthday cake (blue), mint (green), pink grapefruit (pink), sweet almond (yellow), and cinnamon (red). I used some of the cinnamon last night and it turned by bath water a lovely shade a pink but the glitter floated around in rather large, unappealing clumps. And stuck to the tub after I drained it. Oh dear. Well that's the price you pay sometimes for being a bit fancy.


Speaking of craft night, I'm excited because in the new year our crafty duo will be expanding into a...thrio? ...triforce? Oh man, I'm totally blanking on what the 3 one is. Anyway my friend Katherine is going to be joining us and is going to let us get our craft on at her new house!  She's a big sewer so hopefully we can expand to some fabric type crafts in the future? Can't wait!


TRIO!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Adventures in Soup

So tonight I made tomato soup (from scratch!) while waiting for Manny to come over for craft night. My friend Laura got me into making soups last year when literally, every time she came to visit we made some sort of soup and watched Pride and Prejudice. We have a deep dark love for Coin Firth as Mr.Darcy. Especially when he is in a bathtub.


(case in point: see above)


Anyway back to soup. It tastes pretty awesome. Except not as tomato-y as I'd hoped. But a good soup never the less! Here's the recipe I used. Adapted from this one.

Tomato-ish Soup

Ingredients:
1 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

salt & ground pepper to taste

2 stalks celery, diced

2 small carrots, diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 cups chicken broth or whatever kind of broth you have

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup cream or milk

1/4 cup red wine

1 tbsp siraccha

(Here's a picture of what it's supposed to look like...)



1) Drain your tomatoes but keep the juice in a bowl and set aside. Place tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes in a 450 oven.

2) Add olive oil to a big pot with your celery, onions, garlic and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft.

3) Add roasted tomatoes, reserved juice, chicken broth, siraccha and red wine. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.

4) Add basil and cream, puree with an immersion blender.

Here's what mine actually looked like...



I added a glass of orange juice to up the ante. 


I like to simmer my soup for a little longer to develop the flavours a bit more, but feel free to eat it right away. Next time I think I'd add another can of tomatoes to make it a legit tomato soup.

Now go eat some soup!
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