Stash Enhancement Saturday – on a Sunday: Cosmo by Lecien Floss Bobbins

I have been in a very cross stitch mood as of late and my supplies are kind of strewn all over the table.  I knew I needed to buy some bobbins and wind the floss, but it kind of annoys me that the only real option to organize floss is the bobbin/plastic box option. I was contemplating going with the laundry pin or tongue depresser route that is all over Pinterest (look, I’m very basic), but that required me to find those, and so procrastination set in.  Then I randomly came across the Cosmo by Lecien large floss bobbins, and the Francophile in me was suddenly very motivated to find a solution.

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The mere fact they weren’t plain white was enough to intrigue me.  The fact there was space for three was also interesting.   But mostly, if I am being completely honest, the fact they were French inspired made me buy them.  (PS – for actual French haberdashery supplies, check out Maison Sajou!)

The bobbins are hard and relatively thick cardboard.  They are not flimsy like some other cardboard bobbins on the market, and since I am a little rough on my supplies, I appreciate the sturdy construction.  The print is only on the front, the back is plain white.  I didn’t mind this, as that left room for me to identify the colors of floss in some way.

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The bobbins come in packs of 2 and are a bit on the pricey side.  I have seen them listed for anywhere between $2.39 and $4 for the pack.  I think part of the reason the price point is so high is that they are hard to find.  Every brick and mortar store website I found them on were sold out, so I ended up having to get mine on Etsy.  I had to have them anyway!  I mean, look how pretty they are.

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While cute, they aren’t without issue.  For those of us that organize by color family, it’s probably a bit easier to pick three colors to house together on one bobbin.  But if you organize by floss number, you will need to come to terms with mixed color families on each bobbin.  I mostly blame DMC for this – why can’t they number their colors in a more reasonable fashion?!  Also, since I don’t own all the colors,  what happens when I buy a color that is numbered between two already on a bobbin?  I see rewinding in my future.  To identify the colors, I used the pack of stickers you can buy from DMC.  Be forewarned,  the stickers are super tiny.

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They are also too large to fit in the Darice bobbin storage case, so be prepared to find a new option there, too, should you pick some up.  The Creative Options Deep Utility Box is a suitable replacement,  as it’s tall enough, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for something a bit cuter.

Overall thoughts: Cute for the Francophile looking for a new way to store floss, but a bit pricey and perhaps a little impractical.

 

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FO Friday: Bubble Up Messy Bun Hat

I know what you’re thinking.   Who took over this blog and what did she do with Christine? There is no way that Christine is posting her third finished object in less than two months. But yet, it’s true and I totally am.  I present the Bubble Up Messy Bun Hat!

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I seem to have found my knitting mojo again.  I don’t know if it was prompted by responsiblity avoidance or the start of the Down Cellar Studio’s annual Pigskin Party,  but I took a weekend to do absolutely nothing of importance and just knit all day.  (If you don’t know what the DCS Pigskin Party is, check out the link here.  It’s my favorite KAL of the year! Mostly because I get to knit whatever I want and I can take months to finish it without being judged.)

A friend had asked for a messy bun hat awhile ago, I just needed to find a cute pattern.  I am pretty sure I looked at every pattern on Ravelry until I found the right one.  The Bubble Up Messy Bun Hat by Nicole Tsou comes in a set with three patterns – a regular beanie, a slouchy beanie, and the messy bun.  It retails for $2.50, which is pretty darn cheap considering you get three patterns.

Pattern in hand,  I wanted to match it with the perfect squishy yarn, so I used Hazel Knits Cadence, which is a superwash merino in a worsted weight.  My friend chose the Chocoberry colorway to match her coat.  US8 and US9 needles were called for in thd pattern.

Here is another view modeled by the infamous Pier 1 glass head.  (Remember when knitters decided this head was the perfect hat blocker and sold Pier 1 out across the country? I bet their buyers were so confused about why the strange head became so popular. It is such a weird little head. Crafters are funny. And resourceful.)

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I enjoyed this pattern so much, I think I am going to make another one.

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Erin Lane Project Bags

Every fiber artist needs a project bag or ten.  I probably have more than ten.  Okay, I actually probably have around 50, but I have a lot of WIPs!  I said that a little defensively,  I guess – can you feel personally attacked by your own words?  I also like how I used “a lot of WIPs” as an excuse there in that sentence instead of being ashamed that I start multiple projects without finishing the ones that came before. No matter, the point of this post is not my knitting habits, it is about the project bags made by Erin Lane Bags.

I love a good project bag, particularly in a cute fabric.  I am not typically drawn to traditional knitting bag patterns that contain frolicking sheep or balls of yarn on them, but if you can take sheep and put a twist on them with hand drawn characters in familiar situations, I can be intrigued.  Throw in some foul language, and my interest is piqued more.  And that is how I found myself buying multiple bags with Erin Lane’s signature sheep, Larry, on them.

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Poor Larry.  Things just don’t go his way.  I feel like he might be a little depressed.  I kind of want to give him a big hug and knit him a hat. In the picture above I have the large and sock sized drawstring project bags.  (Boy do they look wrinkled in that picture! I refuse to iron project bags, though.  I don’t even iron my clothes if I can help it!)

Larry isn’t the only unique sheep at Erin Lane. The brand has a wide range of exclusive fabrics containing what they call Sheeple, often placed in your favorite fandom, such as Harry Potter, Outlander and Star Wars.  I picked up a California themed Sheeple print in a sock bag and crafting Sheeple in a dice bag.

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If the sheeps aren’t your jam, don’t worry, Erin Lane does make project bags in other fabrics that you’ll see in some more of these pictures. I actually think Lindsey, the owner, has quite the knack for finding cute fabric.

Let’s start with the things I like.  All of the bags are fully lined with light colored fabric to keep needles from poking through and keeping the inside of the bag from being too dark to find your errant needles. The drawstring bags are self-locking, so you don’t need to worry about them coming open in your tote and small items falling out.  The fabric is also incredibly lightweight. A lot of other projects bags can feel thick and heavy, adding weight to toting your projects around, but I find Erin Lane bags to feel as light as a favorite worn t-shirt.

Large drawstring bags measure 15″ x 15″.  In this picture, I loaded it up with three balls of DK weight cotton yarn for reference.

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As you can see, there is still plenty of room for more yarn and your project in there.  I am currently carrying around a project that has 1000 yards of fingering weight yarn in it, and it all fits fine.  One of the drawbacks of this bag is that there is no box bottom, so if you like to knit right out of your bag, keep that in mind.

The sock project bag is my personal favorite size in the line up, and it DOES have a 5″ box bottom and stands about 7″ tall.  It also comes with a looped snap should you decide to hang it from a bag, chair, or your jeans.  For reference, this one is holding 2 of those same DK weight cotton balls.

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I am currently carrying around a sock bag that contains a ball of worsted merino, a hat, and two sizes of circular needles and it has so much room I am considering throwing another ball of worsted in there just in case I finish the hat and want to start another while I am away from home.

Erin Lane also has zippered bags.  They aren’t my favorite, but I do have a couple in my collection. This is the Z-Pro, which is 12″ x 9″ x 4″.  For reference, those DK cotton balls are back for another appearance.

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Also in the Erin Lane lineup, but which I don’t own any to show, are tote bags, bucket bags, and vinyl see through bags.  There are also needle and notions packs.  This is the KnitPack Notions bag.  The magnet closure actually slides and accommodates the bag when you add so many notions it gets a little chunky.

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As you can probably tell from the number of bags I own, I am a fan.  There are a couple of things that you should be aware of, though. None of these things will keep me from buying again, but I wanted to be fair in this review.

The website does not adequately show the bags available. The best way to see the selection is to find the Erin Lane booth at a fiber event or catch one of their Facebook live sales.  During the Facebook live, Lindsey will hold up a bag with the price,  and then if you are fast enough, you can claim and purchase the bag.  I find the live sales fun, but some items do immediately sell out, so if you are easily frustrated be prepared.

I wish the bags had a pocket inside.  I like to bring small notions with me like a tape measure, stitch markers,  or scissors, and without a pocket these items roll around the bottom of the bag with the yarn and project. Not a dealbreaker for me, but I wouldn’t mind paying a couple extra bucks for one.

And lastly, take a close look at your item before you use it.  I have had three kind of annoying things happen that have taught me a few lessons. First, sometimes the strings on the bag come without a knot.  It’s easy to knot yourself, but the first time I tried to close a bag that didn’t have a knot I was taken by surprise.

The other two annoyances came up with mail packaging. One bag came to me with the string closed up in the adhesive of the envelope, so I had to get the “goo” off of it.  The second instance was more disappointing.   I purchased a Larry mug from Pawley Studios during a live sale, and there was so little protective wrapping around the mug, it arrived in pieces. I’d recommend buying your mug directly from the Pawley Studios website.  (Pick up a Knitmore Girls mug there, too!)

Stash Enhancement Saturday: KAD Washi Cards

Krissyanne Designs has been a popular shop in the planner community for years, and with good reason.  Her stickers are amazing,  she collaborates with some of my favorite artists, and she frequently gives back to the community through her numerous sponsorships at events.  I definitely own my fair share of stuffed KAD sticker binders. This post isn’t about her stickers, though.  A few weeks ago she introduced perhaps my favorite KAD product to date – washi cards.

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People have long used things like embroidery floss bobbins or empty gift cards to trade washi samples or carry just a few strips in their bag rather than having to pack several rolls when crafting away from home.  KAD now gives us the opportunity to order personalized cards that are made from metal that will serve this purpose.  We can all stop stealing pretty (empty) gift cards at checkout stands now.  In honor of the start of football season, I pulled a couple rolls out to demonstrate.

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Having a metal edge means your washi card can actually double as a washi cutter.  Just lay your washi down, hold the edge of the card against where you want the cut to be, and pull up on your washi.  Voila! A crisp, clean edge.

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I used to carry around a palette knife to use as a cutter since cutting washi straight with a pair of scissors eludes me.  Palette knives work great, but they can also be a little bulky when trying to cram supplies in a pouch.  The washi card solves the space issue and works just as well.

Normally I try to be a bit balanced and offer some drawbacks to products if there are any, but I honestly can’t think of any.  I like them so much I plan to order quite a few to use as table mate gifts at meetups or to advertise with.  I highly recommend you order a few of your own just in case I love mine so much I can’t part with any.

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FO Friday: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl

Didn’t finish a project in more than a year, and now I am already back with a second FO in the span of a few weeks!  It’s a bloody miracle.  While I knew going back for a graduate degree would be time consuming,  I honestly didn’t think it would be this time consuming.   It will be over soon, though, so I just need to keep moving forward and being patient with the lack of creative time.

I started this project all the way back in 2016 during the Olympics.  It was my Ravellenics project that year and I clearly didn’t medal.   I did enjoy the project, despite the lack of medals, so I was determined to finish it.

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The pattern is the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.  I had purchased the yarn as a kit during the LA Yarn Crawl that year, so while the colors of the Lux Adorna Knits 100% Cashmere Sport Weight is beautiful, I get zero credit for matching the colors.  The colors included were Jackolope, Bikini and Spring.

I used a US 5 size needle, and if I were to make another one I would go down a needle size for the ribbing.  Here is what it looks like when flat.  You can see how loose the ribbing is in the picture.

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Joji’s patterns are a lot of fun to knit, so I highly recommend you attempt one yourself.

 

Roadside Oddities: Muffler Men

Readers of this blog will not be surprised that I am fascinated by weird shit on the side of the road.  I mean, I planned an entire vacation around it when I decided to drive Route 66 end to end.  One of the spectacles I am most in love with right now are the Muffler Men statues.

Now, you have seen a few of these pictures in previous posts because I included them in the Route 66 posts when I happened upon them while on that vacation. Once I started driving all over Los Angeles looking for more, I knew I was going to write a specific post on the concept, though, and I didn’t want to leave any of them out.  That way, should anyone ever want to point back to this post in the future there is a comprehensive set of all of the Muffler Men I have photographed to date in one place.  Think of it as the starting point for another one of my silly quests.

So, what are they?  This is my brief overview I give at parties, and is in no way to be considered accurate fact, lol.  If you want facts, maybe visit the Wikipedia site devoted to them or the magnificent reference site at Roadside America.   Back in the 60s, a Venice, CA company by the name of International Fiberglass started making these 18-25 foot tall statues and selling them for advertising.  At the time, much of the country was traveled by two lane highways and having a giant statue next to your business would attract people driving by to your place.  The molds for the statues were basically the same, and their hands are often positioned to hold something such as a muffler in their hands. (This is part of the appeal for me as I think it is hilarious to see the hands holding something they were clearly not made to hold, such as a hot dog.) Slight alterations to their heads or paint jobs were the real differentiating factor.   They are most commonly in the form of lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan, cowboys, generic “Dude” and the Uniroyal Gal.  Sometimes they are called mutants when they have been modified beyond the standard molds.  Advertising in this way has since gone out of fashion, but many of the Muffler Men can still be spotted, often on their third or fourth owners from when they were originally purchased.

I’d thought I start with showing you the statues I have photographed that are on the Ten Most Famous Muffler Men list.  Number one on the list is actually my favorite,  because when you think of weird stuff on the side of the road, you naturally think of Paul Bunyan with a chicken head.

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Chicken Boy lives on a roof in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles.  If you happen to be so lucky as to find street parking, he peers at you through the trees.

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Try not to look at that right before you fall asleep.  It’s just a tad on the creepy side.

The second Muffler Man on the list is the Gemini Giant, which is outside of Chicago in Wilmington, Illinois, a town along Route 66. The giant is often cited as being the most photographed of all the Muffler Men, which makes sense.  I mean, who doesn’t want a photo of a giant in a space suit holding a rocket?

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Isn’t he magnificent?!

I have also been lucky enough to see number three on the list, Tall Paul Bunyan.  Tall Paul once used to sling hot dogs for Bunyan’s in Cicero, IL, but has since been moved to Atlanta, IL along Route 66.  The day I visited it was raining, which just added to the allure of the big creep!

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His hands are so awkward in how he is holding the hot dog!  It is really part of his menacing charm.  There is a little bit of controversy in categorizing Tall Paul as a Paul Bunyan statue, as people that classify such things feel as if Paul Bunyan must have a beard, but I feel like an exception should be made here given he was originally at a hot dog stand named after him.

The last Muffler Man I have seen from the top ten list is Malibu’s own La Salsa Man.  La Salsa Man used to sell hamburgers, but somewhere along the way, he became a mustachioed Latino and his hamburger was split in half to form his Sombrero.  His tony, beach side real estate gives him a fabulous view of the California coastline.  On the day I visited, his shop appeated to be empty, however, which leaves me a little worried a developer will tear him down to build something else.   See the La Salsa Man while you still can.

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Although not in the top ten, I have seen several other Muffler Men, as I insist on stopping any time one comes into view.  They are all in varying stages of disrepair depending on the owner.  This one, on the campus of NAU in Arizona is in great condition.

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My other non-California stop also happens to be the only cowboy I have seen to date.  This one is known as the 2nd Amendment Cowboy near Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo,  Texas.  It annoys me they used the statue to make a political statement,  but I suppose it was inevitable.

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Another personal annoyance is when the statues are displayed in a way where I can’t see their whole body or in situations where the owners have piled on a lot of other kitsch.  This Paul Bunyan in Mentone, CA is a perfect example.  Where are his legs?!  And why does he have both a baseball bat and an inn sign?!

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While I would love to know the backstory for each and every Muffler Man, sometimes that is not possible.  I do plan to stop and see any I can find while I am on my travels, so hopefully there are more to come.   In the meantime, I end this post with the remaining statues in the LA area, of which I can only tell you one more story.  The race car driver used to be a golfer at the Dominguez Hills Golf Course. Porsche purchased the land and promptly built a track on it.  I was a little worried that the statue would be lost as a result, but Porsche changed his clothes and left him up as a beacon to all those that pass by on the freeway.  While I don’t recommend actually pulling over on the freeway to take pictures, sometimes you have no choice and a girl has to do what she has to do in an effort to catch all the Muffler Men.

 

 

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Simply Gilded Subscription Box

Like a lot of paper crafters,  I hoard washi tape. I say hoard instead of use, because let’s be honest, how many rolls have I actually completely used?  One, maybe two?  That doesn’t really stop me from accumulating more, though.

After years of consuming various brands, I have found that I have some preferences that I am no longer willing to overlook.  For one, smell is important.   I am not sure what chemical reaction occurs in some washi packaging, but if I open the tube and it reeks worse than sweaty gym socks,  I’m out.  Then there is the tape that rips and tears when you try to roll it out.  Again,  no thank you.  What I am saying here is that I am a washi connoisseur.  Or just a crafty girl that knows what she doesn’t like.  One of those two things.

At some point,  I received some Simply Gilded washi in event swag.  I had heard of the demand on the resell market for SG washi, but honestly, while the washi is nice, I do not understand the people that spend hundreds of dollars on a roll.  I could buy another pair of Tieks for a couple hundred dollars!  It also appears to be scarce given the demand, which is why I enrolled in the subscription service Simply Gilded offers. High quality washi delivered right to my door every month without the headaches and for a pretty reasonable price considering all that comes in the sub!  For $29 a month at the time of this post, the box includes 5 coordinated rolls plus extras such as TN inserts, planner stickers and other assorted goodies.

I waited a couple of months to do my review because I wanted to see how consistently I enjoyed the boxes.  The first one received was a peach themed kit.  The colors were pretty, and I thought the extras were nice, too.

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In addition to the washi, the box had some cute paperclips, a pen, a bow, a TN insert, stickers, and a journal card.  Given 5 rolls of washi can easily add up to $20 on their own, the price point seemed quite reasonable.   Pictures of washi in their rolls can never do them justice, but here is a close up of them.

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Here are some close ups of the other items, too.

This month the theme was lavender,  and I love the aesthetic.

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The extras in this box included the usual TN insert and stickers, plus another bow, a zippered pouch, a note pad, an adhesive pocket, a magnet, and a journal card.  The washi is beautiful in person, which this close up will not accurately reflect, but just trust me.

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That book washi is gorgeous.  😍

So, clearly I am a fan.  Of the 4 boxes received to date, I was delighted with three and will find some items in the fourth usable.  The less loved items will be given to my other crafty friends.  I find the months that have pens or sticky notes as extras to be my favorites.

Are there any cons to the sub?  Sure.  Like any subscription service, the contents are going to be a wildcard, so you need to be okay with not loving every single box.  For instance,  the bows are cute, but I probably will not get that much use out of them.  The other con for Simply Gilded specifically is that they have a hard time keeping up with demand.  (A lot of small businesses in the community do, they are often one woman shows, after all.)  Get on the waitlist and be prepared to click fast when your opportunity to enroll comes up.  I was on the waitlist less than a month, so I didn’t find this to be an arduous process.

You can also buy SG washi without a sub.  Join the shop’s Facebook group, and watch for announcements on new releases.  Then be prepared with very fast fingers as soon as the releases go on sale.  I mean as soon.  Like right that second.  Maybe log on a couple minutes early and hit refresh until the rolls pop up, and then checkout with your favorite immediately.   Then go back for more selections if there is time.  Some sell out in a minute. I am not even kidding. It’s kind of fun, but you have to be prepared to not get everything you want.  If the excitement of that frenzy isn’t your jam, sign up for the sub and then just enjoy the guarantee that rolls will be delivered soon without the spike in your blood pressure.

Roadside Oddities: World’s Largest Paper Cup

Several months ago I took a road trip to Palm Springs.  Like I do for all drives, I did a little search to find any interesting stops along the way that might be interesting.  Having made the drive several times in the past, I had low expectations of finding anything new to me, but little did I know that I would find thrills and excitement right in the county next to mine!  And by thrills and excitement,  I mean a roadside attraction with dubious claims.

According to Roadside America, Riverside, CA is home to the World’s Largest Paper Cup!  As you can imagine, I was bubbling with anticipation.   Do I stop on my way out, getting the highlight of my trip out of the way and risk the rest of the trip being a let down, never being able to measure up to the cup’s magnificence?  Or do I wait and stop on my way home, savoring the anticipation and hitting the pinnacle of sightseeing when my trip is almost over? Decisions, decisions!

With this kind of build up, imagine my surprise when I roll on up to this stop only to discover the cup isn’t paper at all!  What kind of false advertising is this?!  I was staring at a cup, for sure, but it was a concrete cup.  I felt violated by inaccurate descriptions.  Alas, I took a picture anyway,  but my disappointment has led me to letting this post languish for months.  Behold!  It is the World’s Largest Paper…err….Concrete Cup!

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The Landmark Project: CHL# 939

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CHL# 939 Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments (Thematic) – OLD TRAPPER’S LODGE

Old Trapper’s Lodge is one of California’s remarkable Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments. It represents the life work of John Ehn (1897-1981), a self-taught artist who wished to pass on a sense of the Old West, derived from personal experiences, myths, and tall tales. From 1951 to 1981, using his family as models, and incorporating memorabilia, the ‘Old Trapper’ followed his dreams and visions to create the Lodge and its ‘Boot Hill.’

Descriptions of each landmark are from the California Office of Historical Preservation website.

Christine’s Note: This is one of those landmarks where I wonder how they ended up on the list.  I can’t figure out what historical value or example of pioneering art this falls into.  I do find part of the story about their upkeep amusing, though.  The college where they currently sit does not provide any upkeep to the statues.  Someone just magically shows up when they need a good cleaning. 

I am going to break my one picture per landmark rule and provide a couple more of the statues, just in case someone more familiar with folk art is interested.  I am not, however, going to include the two statues that portrayed Native Americans in a negative light.  Those two statues really bothered me, and I prefer not to give those any attention.

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