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Fabric Storage Boxes (per your request)

Okay, the fabric storage box tutorial is here. 

(Sorry for the little tease last friday and no actual tutorial.  We were trying to get on the road for our trip to ID…..so things got crazy last week.  But we’re here.  And safe.  And enjoying Idaho.  “Hi Idahoans!!”)

I’m guessing there are probably 100 different ways to make fabric boxes though.  Square, rectangle, angled edges, stackable, etc.  And then the thickness can be super stiff, thin and foldable, thick and soft with batting, flexible, etc.  I mean, my word, once I started looking at storage boxes at the store……I was shocked at all of the variety.

(And last year, I even made storage boxes out of cardboard here, if interested.)

So for today’s fabric boxes, I kept things moderately simple……and not too costly.  Because then what’s the purpose in making them myself?  (Other than the fact that you can make them the exact color and print you want.  And that is usually enough of a reason for me!  But you know what I mean…)

Anyway, maybe some of you have made fabric storage boxes before……..but here’s my version.

(And yeah, I’ll be making a few more.  But I ran out of time before our little trip and was excited to show you them anyway.)

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The boxes have side handles…….and a front window to slide in a content label.

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So what kind of stuff do you need organized?  Toys?  Sewing supplies?  Cords and chargers?  Diapers and wipes?  Toilet paper?  Whatever it is……you can always switch it up with the little window that you can slide labels in and out.

fabricstorage

But what’s keeping those bins nice and upright?  Nope, not cardboard (though I did consider that).  I slid in pieces of plastic canvas between the layers.  I was actually thinking of using thick sheets of heavy duty plastic but couldn’t find anything that worked as I walked through the craft store.  Until I came upon these.  Worked like a charm.

canvas sheets

So make some for the kids room, for your craft room, for the storage shelves in your den, up in that one empty spot on the book shelf……..or even to throw in the car between the bucket seats.  Who doesn’t need an extra storage box or two.

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Anyway, would you like to make some for yourself?

Okay, first off……I bought all of my supplies at Joann Fabric.  But you could purchase these items anywhere.  The canvas could even be purchased online, I’m sure.

But this is the type of canvas I bought.  (It’s that stuff that you can sew through with a needle and yarn and create designs and book covers and such.)  And if you click on it to enlarge it, it says that it’s ultra stiff plastic canvas.  The sturdier the better because you want your boxes to have good shape.

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The fabric I chose was some home decor fabric.  So like a thick fabric that they sell for like outdoor fabrics, or to recover wooden chairs or stools with.  But not that super thick couch-like upholstery fabric.  That would be hard to work with….and too heavy.

**Each box measures ( in inches) 9.5 tall x 11 wide x 8.5 deep.**

 To begin, cut out an outer piece and a lining piece of fabric that are both 40 x 14 1/4 inches.  Then cut two pieces of fusible interfacing that same size.

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Then iron the interfacing to the “wrong” side of the fabrics.

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Then sew both fabric pieces into tubes, sewing the two shorter ends together with right sides together.

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Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and you can either zig-zag (and trim) the raw edges or serge them.

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Do the same thing with the lining piece and set aside.

Now, turn the outer fabric tube to the right side and iron the seam flat open.  Then fold this fabric tube flat, with the side seam exactly along one side.  Then place a pin along the other side, right at the top, just to mark the exact other side of the tube.  The side seam will be the exact back of the box and the pin you just placed will be the exact front of the box.

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Then open up the tube just a bit and fold the tube together again, matching up the side seam with the pin (the blue pin below) that marks the “front” of the box (that you placed in the last step), right in the center.  Press the tube flat again, giving you new side edges.  Place pins at each end at the top (see the yellow pins?).  These are going to be the exact center of the sides of your box.  Essentially you just divided the tube into 4 quarters.

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Next, you’ll be attaching handles on the sides.  Cut out 2 strips of fabric that are 8.5 x 3 inches.  Fold each strip together lengthwise and sew the long edges together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then turn each tube right side out.  (Need help turning a tube right side out?  Click here)

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Iron them both flat with the seam going along the back side.

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Then fold each end towards the back about 3/4 of an inch.  Pin in place.

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Then turn over and place the handle about 2 inches from the top upper edge, making sure to center the middle the handle right where the pin is at the top edge.  And to make the handle bubble out, place the two edges only 6 inches apart.

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Then sew each end down……making a box with an “X” through it to make it nice and sturdy.

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Next cut out a piece of clear vinyl (this stuff comes on big rolls at the fabric store) that is 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 iches (or whatever size you want.

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Then attach some 1/4 inch double folded bias tape to the edges.  (More on bias tape here.)

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Then center it on the front side of the tube, right below the pin that you put to mark the center.  Place it about 3 1/2 inches below the top top edge.

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Then sew around the outer 3 edges of the window, attaching it to the main fabric.

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Now, slide the lining inside  of the outer fabric, with “wrong” sides together.  Match up the raw edges.

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Line up the back seam of the outer fabric with the side seam of the lining fabric.

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Now pin the edges of the outer fabric and the lining together along the top and bottom.  Now place the back of the fabric box towards you, with that seam running right down the center.  The front and back of the box will be 11 inches wide.  So place a ruler right on top of that seam and line up the 5 1/2 mark (which is half of 11) with the seam and then place a pin at each side, 11 inches apart.  (So, at the “0” mark and the “11” mark.)  Place several pins down the front of the box, marking this back section.

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Then connect those pin marks with a chalk line, which is where you will be sewing a line later on.

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Draw the 2 chalk lines down the back, that are 11 inches apart.  Then do the same to the front as well, making sure to center the 11 inch distance below the center pin that you placed on the front of the tube.  So now you have 4 vertical chalk lines running down the tube.  They are 11 inches apart in the front, which makes them 8 1/2 inches apart on the sides.  Now, sew down those chalk lines, only sewing through one layer of the outer fabric and one layer of the lining fabric with each seam.

Here’s a view from the side.   The orange arrows are pointing to the seams that are 8 1/2 inches apart on the side.

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And see what you’ve created?  4 little sections that can open up.

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Now measure up 4 3/4 inches from the bottom and mark with pins.  Draw another chalk line (if you want) all the way around the bottom, connecting those pins that are all 4 3/4 inches up from the bottom edge.

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Sew along that chalk line, all the way around, only sewing through the one layer of outer fabric and the one layer of lining fabric.  So, you are sewing one big circle and the tube should still be open.  This line just creates little compartments to slide your canvas in later.

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Now, turn the tube inside out with the upper edge at the top and the exact sides right at the sides and the front and back directly in the exact center.  (The front and back vertical lines should match up at the top and bottom.)  Then sew along the bottom of the tube, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Finish off the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch (and trim) or serger.

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Now, look at the bottom corners.  Place a pin right at the side where that seam (that is 4 3/4 inch from the bottom) hits the side.

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Now grab the bottom corner and pull the front side away from the back side.

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Then flatten this corner down so that the finished seam is now centered along the top. Make the tip nice and pointy while lining up the seam that’s now running along the top,

Then turn the fabric over on it’s side and make the tip nice and pointy while lining up the seam that’s now running along the top, even with the pin that you placed on the back side.  Just feel it with your fingers and line them up.

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See?  Here’s the pin centered on the other side.

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As you’re folding and adjusting, you will see a horizontal line and a vertical line that cross one another along each side of this triangle shape.  They should intersect right along this new fold that you have made.

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Then sew right along that horizontal line that is already there (which should be about 8 1/2 inches across).  If it’s not exact, don’t sweat it.  Then cut off the excess fabric and zig-zag or serge the raw edge.

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Do the same with the other corner.  Now you should have a nice square looking bottom.

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Now, if you found the same 12 x 18 ultra stiff canvas sheets that I did, you will need 3 sheets of it to use for one box.  But if you want to double up the thickness of each side of your box, you will need twice this amount.  (Doubling it up may work better for you, depending on what you’re using the box for.)

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Now, trim your canvas down to the appropriate size, and slide down into each section.

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Make sure to really slide it down into each side.  You want the canvas pieces snug so that the walls of the box have good shape and aren’t floppy.  Make sure that the canvas piece is 1/2 inch shorter than the fabric (so that you can add your bias tape).

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Then, use some 1/2 inch double fold bias tape along the upper edge of the box, adjusting the canvas and really shoving down into each slot as you sew.  you will have to start and stop many times to adjust, and that’s okay.

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Finally, cut 2 rectangles that fit snugly into the very bottom of the box.  Cut a piece of fabric that is a couple inches bigger around all edges.

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Then use a glue gun to glue the edges around the 2 canvas sheets.

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Then slide the bottom right down into the box.  You can either hot glue it down or just leave it there.  It should be snug enough to stay in place though.

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And that’s it.  You are ready to make several more boxes.

(And don’t forget to print off some titles to slide into your clear window.)

Now, fill them up!

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Try your hand at these other fun DIY storage solutions:
Fabric Storage Basket with Handles Tutorial (makeit-loveit.com)

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. . . . . . . . . . . .
This post is sponsored by:

Ashley Johnston

Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

Comments

  1. Nanette says:

    This is exactly what I need for my fabric storage, I need to change the measurements for my needs, I want the 11 X 7 X 20 inches deep. I have been racking my brain to come up with how to do them and what to use to make them rigid and durable to hold that much fabric, as I store my stash wrapped on comic book boards like mini bolts, and I want to store them in the wardrobe cabinet like drawers with the baskets. Now to find the fabric on sale!

    Now who wants to come help me make them, as I have ALOT of fabric, hehe.

    1. Scary says:

      Did you end up making this because I need something bigger too.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Brilliant idea to use the plastic canvas sheets. I even have some on hand!

  3. sherry says:

    wow! how on earth did you work out how to make something so complicated and make it so professional. you are one clever lady. i don’t think i could even do it with all of your instructions :-)

  4. Jona says:

    This is so flippin’ ingenious! I cannot wait to make some for my IKEA shelves! Thank you for such great instructions!

  5. louise says:

    Thanks! I’m re-doing my son’s room and he’s going to need some of these! I’m pinning it now!

  6. kate says:

    Thank you! Oh, thank you! You took a lot of guess work out of this project for me! I can already think of 20 places in my house where I want to use these.

  7. patty says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! :-D

  8. shelley says:

    wow I love these boxes.. I must make some for my house. Thanks

  9. Janelle says:

    Great, great job on this tutorial! I will definitely have to try this! THANK YOU!

  10. Hootnz says:

    Thankyou so much for this tutorial…. this is the best one I have seen…. perfect and I have just pinned it for future reference :)

  11. Emilee says:

    Love this!!! You are amazing! Thank you!

  12. Michele N says:

    For everyone asking, cost is going to depend a lot on what fabric you pick and what canvas you find locally. From what I can calculate the fabric requirements would be:
    1/2 yard of each of the 2 fabrics
    1 yard of interfacing
    40″ of 1/2″ bias tape
    11″ of 1/4″ bias tape
    3″ of fabric for handles
    3 1/2″ of vinyl for label holder
    From one pack of 1/4″ bias tape, handle fabric strip & vinyl strip you could get enough for multiple boxes.
    As Ashley stated, the canvas needed is going to depend on what size sheet you buy and how thick you want.

    1. SewPro says:

      In order to keep from poking permanent holes in the clear vinyl (which can be picked up in the remnant bin for cheap), try using double stick tape to hold it in place as you sew. OR, place your pins so that they go through the fabric NEXT to the vinyl and hang over it but NOT go THROUGH it. You will need to pin in two places on each side to keep the piece in place.

  13. Michele N says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Ashley! These are exactly what I was wanting. And if I go dig through the garage, I think I have lots of plastic canvas that was found in my grandma’s stash when they cleaned out her house to sell it. Time for another search, I just searched the garage on Saturday for fabric, that I never did find, wish I knew to look for the canvas too.

  14. Victoria says:

    Ooh.. thank you so much for the tutorial! I can’t wait to get started on mine. I also featured this on my blog today: https://vixenmade.blogspot.com/2011/09/organizing-state-of-mind.html

  15. Deborah says:

    Excellent tutorial! Thanks for posting. I found you via pinerest.

  16. Stephanie says:

    Love it! a little fabric and the know-how can add a bunch of style to a room!

  17. Marci says:

    I love your blog! This is the first time I have ever commented here so I guess I have been a silent stalker for awhile! I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind including about how long it takes you to do your projects. I need to know how many nap times to set aside for these babies!! Again, we are great friends…you just don’t know me!!! But thanks for the wonderful nap times we have shared!!

  18. Sunnie says:

    So cute! How much fabric, plastic, bias tape, etc. do I need to buy? You always post great instructions but there is never a supply list of how much yardage etc. to buy, unless I am totally overlooking it which is possible. When I try to figure it out I get frustrated because I either over buy or way under buy and have to make another trip to the store. I hope this doesn’t sound rude because I really love your website, you do a great job!

  19. Heather says:

    Excellent! I can’t wait to make a few! Thank you, thank you!

  20. Jodie says:

    Wow, fabulous tutorial. I wish I had the discipline to make these for myself. I can not seem to get around to me. I am always working on gifts or sewing for grand children and children.

  21. Laura@Laura's Crafty Life says:

    Your tutorials area always so well written. Even a novice sewer like me can figure it out! Thank you for taking the time to do these. :)

  22. Karie says:

    Wow! I LOVE this tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to make these! I can’t wait to make some of these for my home!

  23. Aleta says:

    Last week we bought a new giant flat screen tv and the box it came in was this really great extra thick cardboard. I cut it up into squares and hot glued them like you did in your tutorial from last year. (I used the left overs to make my girls a doll house.) And though I LOVE them I am excited to try this one because cardboard has little or no give to it. i tend to overstuff them and had to re-glue a couple sides. I can’t wait to try the new version :)

  24. Cheryl says:

    This is a well done tutorial! I have been wanting to make some boxes like this for a while but didn’t find a good tutorial for one until now. Thanks so much for putting the effort and time into sharing this.

  25. Leigh Anne says:

    AMAZING! What a great job! Thanks for all of your hard work on the tute :) I need a TON of these around my house!

  26. emii says:

    I didn’t vote for this tutorial, but WOW!! You make it seem so easy as well as a beautifully designed & well thought out fabric box. Can’t wait to try my meager sewing skills out!

  27. Shannon says:

    That’s simply amazing!! Thank you for sharing :-) I would also be interested to know roughly what your costs were – like Beth, above, I find sometimes that DIY turns out to be more expensive, though I do love the idea of being able to choose my fabric!!

  28. kelly@imperfecthomemaking says:

    I Love this! I definitely need to make a few of these. Thanks so much for the tutorial! :)

  29. dannyscotland says:

    Is there anything you can’t make? This is amazing! I have used fun foam on bags trying to get them to maintain their shape and it works pretty well, but for something like this, what a great idea to use that canvas stuff! I don’t even need any boxes right now but I want to make some now! Thank you so much.

  30. beth says:

    Would you mind sharing what the total cost was to make this? Looks simple enough, but unless I’m re-purposing materials, my projects keep turning out more expensive at Joanns (even never paying full price there) than if I had just bought a commercial product. My crafts have recently turned into customizing commercial items at home and overall spending less.
    Thanks!

    1. cara says:

      So the cost of a project? It TOTALLY depends on the fabric you use. At many walmarts you can find fabrics for as little as 1.00p/yd. or you could spend upwards of 20p/yd for home decor fabric anywhere. Depends on your flexibility on design preference. You only need about 1/2yd +- of each fabric per box that’s considering that most fabrics come in 44/45″ widths. and the plastic canvas seems to be going for about $5 for something like 7 sheets. So it seems you could keep these under $10 a box REAL easy for a much better designer look than those surgical fabric boxes with card board bases you can buy for half that. Helpful?

    2. Em says:

      Don’t forget remnants! You can save oodles of money on the fabric alone. I went to Joann’s got the canvas $1.49/each and found the fabric remnants for 75%!!! You can’t beat that with a stick. Many top end upholstery fabrics were $2.49 a yard or less. Way less than the ones even at Walmart. The key about this project is it is creative and personal to your flavor. Anyone can have a boring tote, but this way you can make it your own design :D!

  31. Betty says:

    The boxes are wonderful and you are wonderful! Thank you for being generous with your ideas.

  32. Sarah BB @ East9thStreet says:

    Would you consider this a project for a beginner, intermediate or advanced? I’d LOVE to do this as I’ve been struggling to find fabric boxes I like but don’t want to get started and then start banging my head on my table…lol

  33. Blanca says:

    Wow!!! Great tutorial.

  34. Erin says:

    I have Expedit shelves that are about 13h x 13w x 15d. I am going to try modifying your design to make the baskets a little larger. I’m so excited to try this!

    1. michele says:

      If they work out for the expedit, could you share the measurements? I was thinking the same thing, but I am horrible at math/measurements!

    2. Geet says:

      These would give the measurements required for the fabric

      width of fabric : 2*boxwidth + 2*boxdepth + 1″ (sa)
      height of fabric : boxheight(tall) + boxdepth/2 + 0.5″ (sa) [optional +0.5″ (sa) for top if not using binding]

    3. Geet says:

      Oops, I was so into calculating box measurements, I mentioned it as height of fabric lol

    4. Jeree says:

      Thanks! I wanted to make a 12 x 12 one.

    5. Jeremy says:

      I also have the same shelves and I’m currently having trouble finding storage bins for them. Did you run into any problems enlarging the current instructions?

    6. Erin says:

      I didn’t end up making any because I found some that are the perfect size from Target. They come on several colors, including black, which was my preference. They are called Itso if I remember right.

  35. Vicki says:

    I love the idea, but what was the cost for these?

  36. Belinda says:

    This is awesome! What a great idea and tutorial!

  37. Magen says:

    Wow! Love it and I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks!

  38. suzee says:

    Wow that looks simple! I need new ones.. and with a grand daughter that stays alot with me I could use them..I have a stack of those plastic canvas things stored from years ago when I did the plastic canvas crafts.. lol now I can use them up!!
    thanks for the tutorial.

  39. Danielle Daws says:

    Awesome! Thanks so much for a fabulous tutorial!

  40. Tiffany says:

    Thank you so much for putting this together!! I really don’t like the one’s from the store b/c most of them are solid colors. How awesome it’s going to be to make my daughter a whole bedroom that coordinates…curtains, bedding, etc. and the storage boxes!!!! Thanks again! p.s. I really do LOVE your blog!!

  41. Melanie says:

    Amazing! And not hard at all. I’m thoroughly blown away!

  42. Emily says:

    Love it!! I picked up fabric for outsides and liners, now I have to decide on totes or boxes first :) By the way, I went in search of double needles Nobody within an hours drive has them (or plastic boning). Our local Joanns closed before I got into sewing.

    1. Jari Decker says:

      You can use zipties in place of Plastic boning. I use boning for nursing covers but I read online about the zipties, I went searching through the hardware store and I’ll be……..cut off the end (where they zip together) and its basically the same thing! They are cheap and come in all different widths and lengths.

    2. Emily says:

      Thanks! That’s great and sooo easy.

    3. Koboclio says:

      Hi, Jari. I’ve tried to google zipties, but all I come up with is zip ties, and I can’t figure out how they would work in place of the plastic canvas. Can you give me a description so I can go hunting in my local hardware stores. Thanks.

    4. Donna says:

      Koboclio, These are also called ‘cable ties.’ If you don’t find them in hardware, try electronics!

    5. Shirl says:

      It's not in place of plastic canvas, it's in place of plastic boning, which I'm assuming is for the trim around the top? Didn't really see where the boning is being used.

  43. Erica says:

    Can you let people know how much this would cost?

  44. Erin M{Crafty Texan} says:

    What a GREAT tutorial!! I can never find bins i like bc they just don’t make them in fabrics my style. Now i can make my own. You’re Fabulous! thank you. :)

  45. KellyS says:

    Love it! Pinned it! Genius! Can’t wait to make a ton of these!

  46. CREATIVE MIND says:

    Great tutorial as usual..Love it.
    Thanks a bunch :)

  47. Christie says:

    SO great! Thanks for all your hard work on these!

    1. Jenna says:

      I agree

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