Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Colors!

...and as part of the Etsy Cloth Diaper team's December theme,

anything at LilBees with red or green will be 15% off
through Christmas Day!
Diapers, baby blankets, you name it...I won't be marking items down, but I will be moving them all into the "Theme of the Month" section so they are easy to find, and will send you a revised invoice (or a refund) if you purchase applicable items.

Happy Holidays!!

Materials Information for sewing your own cloth diapers or pads

The technology of cloth pads is the same as that of cloth diapers—what works for one will probably work for the other, so the information is applicable to both.

Material options:

Each diaper/pad needs three fabric types (plus a closure, and elastic in the case of diapers): something soft next to the skin, something to serve as a leak barrier on the outside, and something absorbent in the middle.

Here is a list of the fabric options for each part.

  • Outside Barrier (PUL or heavyweight fleece—many diapers use wool covers but I don’t recommend it for an AIO design--see pros/cons list for details)
  • Soft fabric next to skin (stay-dry microfleece or suedecloth, flannel, velour, minkee, or silk)
  • Absorbent Core fabric (microfiber, hemp, cotton, bamboo, etc—natural fibers always absorb, synthetic ones generally do not.) Sometimes this can be the same fabric that is next to the skin, but not always (see pros/cons list for details).
  • Closure (velcro or snap)
  • Elastic (diapers only) (I recommend stretchrite brand, I use ¼” for the legs on all sizes, as well as the waist on smalls. I prefer 5/8” for the waistband on larger sizes, but ¼” works ok too.)

Some things to think about when choosing materials:

What will this diaper/pad be used for? How long will the item be worn between changes (how absorbent does it need to be?) Are sensitive skin/reactions an issue? (Some people react to synthetic fabrics, others react to staying wet). What materials can I afford? (organic bamboo velour retails at $19/yd, whereas cotton flannel is $2/yd)

Here is a brief synopsis of the pros and cons of various fabrics:




1ml PUL*

Slightly more flexible/stretchy/soft than 2ml, cheaper than 2ml; absolutely will not leak.

Potentially not as strong as 2ml. Synthetic fabric doesn’t breathe. Only available online. **Can be sticky in sewing machine.

2ml PUL*

Stronger than 1ml (holds up to abuse such as chlorinated pools or frequent washing). Makes great wetbags. Not so stretchy (easier to sew with). Absolutely will not leak.

Slightly more expensive and potentially stiffer than 1ml. Synthetic fabric doesn’t breathe. Only available online. **Can be sticky in sewing machine.

Heavy Polyester Fleece

Readily available; inexpensive; breathes

Stretchy (can be difficult to sew with); synthetic fabric may cause irritation; may leak under heavy use; may get pilly with washing.


Thirsty; natural fabric breathes; waterproof when properly lanolized; can double as outerwear with diapers; secondhand sweaters are an affordable source.

Wool has to be handwashed, so cannot be used as part of an all-in-one design. Many wools are scratchy, so should be chosen carefully.


Soft. Keeps the skin dry by wicking moisture through. Moderate price

Not usually available in stores; gets a little pilly with repeated washing; stretchy—can be difficult to sew


Keeps the skin dry by wicking moisture through. Usually readily available. Not stretchy. Available in a variety of prints and colors.

Synthetic—some people don’t like the feel (not as soft as microfleece)


Readily available; inexpensive; fun colors and prints; can be used for both top and inner layers

Some flannel has polyester content—be sure to check labels. Some flannel is softer than others, and some is very thin—feel it!

Velour (available in cotton, hemp, and bamboo)

Very soft and stays soft through washings; fuzz gives a ‘feel-dry’ feeling although it doesn’t actually wick moisture away

Somewhat expensive, very stretchy (NOT for beginner sewers), may shed fuzz during cutting and sewing

Terry (available in cotton, hemp, and bamboo)

Very absorbent; readily available; cheap; does not stretch.

Quite bulky; may be harder to sew with

Just think about a wet towel…


Trim (not bulky); very thirsty; dries quickly; does not stretch; very cheap if purchased as ‘auto care cloths’

Synthetic, feels weird (wouldn’t want it touching skin)


Cheap, readily available,

Heavy when wet and slow to dry (think of a wet tee-shirt or towel)

Bamboo (available as fleece, terry, velour, and flannel)

Eco-friendly, VERY soft (truly the softest thing I've ever felt)

Expensive, stretchy (more difficult to sew with)

Hemp (available as fleece, terry, and velour)

Eco-friendly, natural anti-microbial properties, very trim

Expensive, can get stiff with washing,

*PUL (poly-urithane laminate) is a knit fabric with a laminate coating on the back. From one side it looks like regular fabric but because of the coating it is completely waterproof. It was originally developed for use in the medical field but has now become popular for cloth diapering and is available in a rainbow of solid colors. There is “Fabrite PUL” which is the original stuff, and there is also off-brand PUL, which is exactly the same only cheaper and in slightly different colors.

A special note about PUL—many people do “DIY PUL” which is when the PUL backing is applied to fabrics which the customer sends in. These PULs are easily recognized because the PUL company only makes solid colors, so any kind of print is a DIY. I have had mixed results with DIY PULs, and will say this: I will never again use a woven DIY fabric. I might use a knit one if it was really really cute, but in general I have found them in every way inferior to the standard PUL.

**The coated side of the PUL can be sticky, and many sewers are intimidated by it—but you do not need special sewing tools or experience to use it. Visit the resources listed below, or contact other sewers for tips (I put the sticky side down, or if I must have it up, I lay tissue paper between the foot and the fabric as I sew; it allows it to move smoothly, then just tears away afterward). I'm working on a tutorial about sewing with PUL, and will link it here when it's done.

Where to get fabrics:

Some fabrics, such as flannel or cotton terry, can be purchased at the average fabric store. Unless you will be needing more than a few yards, I recommend getting those fabrics there—even without a coupon the savings in shipping will be worth it.

There are two ways to get specialty fabrics such as PUL and microfleece: online retailers and co-ops. Go see this post for information and links.

For lots more info, visit the EtsyClothDiapers Team's "cloth diapering information" series. Additional information and help can be found in the forums at or or by joining the yahoo group “sew your own cloth diapers.” Remember that the technology of pads is the same as that of diapers—what works for one will probably work for the other, so the information is applicable to both.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment here (I'll respond in the comments), or via

Friday, November 28, 2008

Crazy Diaper Stories WINNER!!

Well, we had some great entries (you can read them all here), but the poll has closed now and the results are final...

Which crazy diaper story should win the free diaper?
1-Melissa (hubby threw it away)
2 (15%)
2--Jenna (blowout at church)
1 (7%)
3--Saskia (fresh diaper)
0 (0%)
4--momofwildones4 (christmas poo)
2 (15%)
4--Rachel (saved the disposable)
0 (0%)
6--Jennifer (toddling twins)
4 (30%)
7--TopHat (no longies)
3 (23%)
8--Melinda (loin cloth)
1 (7%)
9--seansmommy (no insert)
0 (0%)

Congratulations Jennifer, you win the free diaper!

Here, for your reading enjoyment, is a copy of the winning story:
Toddling Twins!! That about sums it up.

We decided to try out one of those "fancy Shmancy diapers" from a shop which shall not be named.

I ordered one fitted, in case we didnt like them, so I wouldnt be out too much money. With twins - every penny counts!

Well, pretty diaper came in the post. Maynard (the older by a minute twin) was the first to try it on. I secured it and off he went.

Maynard HATED the diaper. So, he decided that Atreyu needed to wear it instead. Maynard removed the fancy shmancy diaper and proceeded to try to diaper Atreyu.

Atreyu was none too happy. HE snatched the Fancy Shmancy Diaper from Maynard and RAN FULL FORCE to the bathroom.

"SWOOOSH" goes the toilet. Atreyu is trying to dispose of the way uber expensive fitted in the toilet. Luckily, I made it just in time to save myself a 150$ call to the plumber!!
Thank you Jennifer! (My little sister once almost flushed a diaper because she had seen mommy dunk and swish...thankfully a plumber was avoided that time too, but it was a close call!) Please email me via and we can work out details on your free diaper (with twins I'm sure you need one!)

Friday Favorites @ BrightBlack

I figure I should switch it up and use the 'favorites' mini from BrightBlack this time, since I used the one from LilBees last time!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Since today is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share a few items I found when I searched "gratitude." (click on any photo to see the actual listing)

This ring reminded me of the gratitude symbol...alpha combined with omega, the spiral of time, the circle of eternity...all things coming together.

Gratitude strings for meditation


a journal for recording things you're thankful for

and of course, thank you cards

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tip: Feature Others

A lot of etsians offer great products, yet their shops go unnoticed. This week is the second entry in a several-week series of tuesday tips about ways to improve your etsy karma... These are ways I have found to get people into my shop. And the more people go through my shop, the more likely I am to make a sale!

Today's tip is simple: Post other people's stuff on your blog--but get their permission to do so!
I started off by featuring occasional items or specific sellers that I had purchased from, or who were my friends. Recently though I have come across shops and items where I didn't know the seller, but still wanted to feature I just sent a little note to each of them saying that I wanted to feature their item/shop, and was it ok to use a photo or two from their listings. I have had overwhelmingly positive responses! Everyone has said yes, most have said thank you, and one even offered me a discount if I wanted to buy the item, and another sent me a small free gift in thanks!
I am currently working on a treasury in the theme "Northern Lights," and I found one artist who has painted some lovely pictures of the lights. I figured that he would not want me to copy his listing photos, since it's his actual artwork, but I went ahead and sent him a note anyway, and told him that I'd at least like to link to him, but that I understood if he wasn't comfortable with my using his photos. He said he was flattered and to feel free to use one or more of his photos! (That treasury will appear here next week.)
Anyway, the point is, feature other drawing attention to others, you draw their attention back to yourself. ☺

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm in on this one!

☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:* ¨¨*:★:
The EtsyBloggers HOLIDAY S*A*L*E* is going on from Black Friday thru Cyber Monday!!
That's Friday 11/28 thru Monday 12/1!!
See a list of the 50+ shops having a SALE at
☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:* ¨¨*:★:

What am I doing?!

free gift with any purchase over $20
(also there is an ongoing "theme of the month special" for a discount with certain purchases)

all purchases entered in a drawing for a free set of giftbags

☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:* ¨¨*:★:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Make Yourself a Merry Little Beanbag!

Beanbags are so easy to make they almost don't even warrent a tutorial...but hey, not everyone has been sewing for 20 years, so here are step-by-step instructions for making a very simple, very affordable, and VERY FUN gift for the kids in your life!

1--cut your fabric into rectangles--I do them about 4x8inches.

2--fold the rectangle in half with right-sides together, and sew two sides (I usually serge them because it's fast and easy, but a regular straight seam is great, there's no need to finish the edges.)

3--turn the bag right-side-out

4--fill it about halfway with beans, lentils, split peas, rice, or wheat. (I prefer to use lentils or split peas because they are cheap and make for softer beanbags than the bigger beans to. Softness is key since I have boys throwing the beanbags at everything including me!)

5--fold the open edges under, and pin in place.

6--sew it shut
(This is why you don't want to fill it more than 1/2-2/3 full, otherwise you will not be able to keep the beans in while you sew!)

Have fun!

We gotcha mom!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Silver Wolf

Each member of my family has an animal that we associate with started because my one son's middle name is Bjorn, which translates literally as 'bear' other son then wanted an animal nickname and it grew from there. Because we each have different ones, I enjoy finding gifts for each family member based on their animal. Today I'm sharing some of the things I found when searching for wolves...
(click on any photo to go to the listing

this is a tee-shirt!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tip: give your ♥ away

A lot of etsians offer great products, yet their shops go unnoticed. This week I'm starting a several-week series of tuesday tips about ways to improve your etsy karma... These are ways I have found to get people into my shop. And the more people go through my shop, the more likely I am to make a sale!

Etsy has a feature where you can mark an item or seller as a 'favorite.' Doing so is referred to as 'hearting' because the icon for marking favorites is a little heart. ♥
The seller can see everyone who 'hearts' them, and most sellers will 'heart' you in return. Additionally, you can see anyone who 'hearts' you.
When you visit a shop, you can see everyone who has marked that shop as a favorite--so if you like the shop, perhaps you'll like some of the other shops of folks who like it too, you know?
When you mark an item as a favorite, it appears in your etsy-mini of favorites (mine are posted on the right sidebar a ways down) so if you post your mini on your blog, you're helping other etsians get a little more exposure...
So be liberal with your ♥s, mark things you like, even if you aren't interested in buying them yourself. Soon your favorites list will reflect your own personal style, and when someone with similar taste finds your list (or anyone on it), they will also find you!

Friday, November 14, 2008


The stone Rhodochrosite:
Imparts dynamic, positive attitude. Helps assimilate painful feelings without shutting down, removes denial. Gently brings painful, repressed feelings to surface, for acknowledgment, emotional release. Helps identify ongoing patterns, face the truth, without excuses or reservations, but with loving awareness. Urges confrontation of irrational fears, paranoia. Improves self-worth, soothes emotional stress. Encourages creativity. Helps integrate new information. Lifts depression, brings lightness into life.
(thanks to StonesOfHealing for the description)

Rhodochrosite is a pretty pinkish stone that comes in many forms, from veiny and rough to highly polished. It is said to be a stone of selfless love and compassion, as well as an irritant filter and healer. Here are a few awesome rhodochrosite items I found on etsy. (click the picture to see the listing)

(you can't have this one, I got it!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Babywearing Favorites

This week is International Babywearing Week, so I thought I'd take the chance to share a few of my favorite babywearing listings from my fellow team members on the Etsy team.
(click on the photo to go to the listing)

BabyPockets slings offers exquisite silk ring slings (she's also a fellow Alaskan!) Each sling has a unique and fun stitch pattern by the ring.

Here is a wrap from BooBearBuns (wraps are my favorite way to wear my baby for extended periods, because it distributes the weight better across my shoulders and back)

Don't you just love this Mei Tei from MilkColorCarriers? (Mei Teis are nice for older/larger/heavier kids. Their structure can make them a little more user-friendly than wraps, and since they use less fabric they also are cooler to wear. MCC Mei Teis even have a hood which tucks down into a hidden pocket when not needed.)

CashmereCuddles offers a variation on the mei tei called an "X-Sling" (It has the benefits of a two-shoulder design for support, yet slips over the head and spares you the trouble of any tying or long tails. The differently-shaped support under baby's bum facilitates facing baby in or out (many mei teis are in-only).)

and for your little future babywearers...BabysBreathSlings offers a darling child's sling.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fabric Gift Bags

A few years ago I started making fabric gift bags for our family, and I'm proud to now offer them at BrightBlack. Unlike paper or paper gift bags, they can be used repeatedly, and look good for many years! I have had fun picking out holiday fabrics and coordinating ribbons, and making bags in a variety of sizes. With so many fun fabrics to choose from, the gifts under the tree will never look drab!

My husband likes them because they are so easy to use--no complicated wrapping, even for oddly shaped items!
My kids love them because they can wrap things by themselves, even when they are very young. Plus it's fast and easy to UNwrap things too!
I love them because they are eco-friendly, washable, beautiful, and leave me with no mess on Christmas morning! In the off-season we use our bags to store our christmas decorations, especially our twinkle lights. No more tangled strings of lights, and no more broken bulbs!

Most of my current selection is Christmas-oriented, but over the coming year I plan to add bags for birthdays, weddings, and babies too.

My bags do not come with tags on them at this time, however any type of tag or sticker could easily be applied. I am pleased to recommend the following etsians as folks who have great tags that would work well with my bags:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pie will really gum up a sewing machine...

This month's blog carnival topic: What is your favorite tradition for the Thanksgiving holiday?
It's Pie Night, without question. ☺ It's an annual tradition which my husband and I have been doing every November since we were married.

So, what is Pie Night you may ask? Good question! Go ahead and take notes now, because as soon as you finish reading this you're probably going to run off and start a pie night tradition of your own.
1--invite lots of friends, and ask everyone to bring a pie (and server). (As hosts, we provide plates, forks, and whipped cream along with a pie or two.)
2--there are many many kinds of pie
3--everybody pigs out on lots and lots and lots of pie!

This year I brought a "Chocolate Barbarian Pie"
(yup, I've posted the recipe...I'm going to be posting pies there all month, so check back in!!)

The first year we did it it was a small affair, with only 5 pies (two made by me). The next year it grew, and our third year had 36 people crammed in our little house. Then we moved to Pelican, and had to start over...however this is a friendly little town, and we had over a dozen attendees last that the locals have had enough time to get to know us, this year was a little bigger. Last night we had 22 people and 17 pies! (It was the year of pumpkin pie--there were 6 pumpkin pies!) I think this years winner as fanciest pie was DS's Pear-Almond Creme Tart with Cranberry Flakes... although I personally also really love the Upside-down Pumpkin Pie that CS makes (she said she hates making crust, so she makes the pumpkin pie filling, then puts it in a casserole dish and does a nut-crumb topping on it!)

A couple of little notes if you want to host a Pie Night of your own:
  • Put out a couple of pitchers of ice water! With all the rich pie, people tend to need a drink!
  • Be sure to remind people to bring a server with their pie, otherwise you might have 8 pies and 1 server...that's awkward!
  • Use index cards or something to put labels in front of each pie, so that people can tell what each one is when they go to choose their slices...for example, last night we had a plain chocolate and a chocolate-mocha which looked almost identical, but some people like mocha and some don't, so it's good to have labels!

Friday, November 7, 2008

November's Featured EtsyBlogger

This month's featured Etsyblogger is Deb the Storybeader (click here to visit her blog, or here to visit her shop).

Here are two of my favorite things in her shop (click on the photo to see the listing):

This suncatcher

This necklace of bears "making their way along the green path" I love bears, and I love how these beads really do tell a story!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What am I working on?

The current EtsyBloggers Carnival is "What am I working on right now?"
I'm working on several things right now, although unfortunately I don't have pictures of all of them yet.

1) I'm running a contest here to win a free diaper (now through Nov 15).

2) I've just finished stocking a whole bunch of cloth diapers in pretty autumn colors. The EtsyClothDiaper Team does monthly themes and this is the one for November...I've separated the themed items into their own section in the shop, and if you buy anything from the theme section you can get another item (from anywhere in the shop) for 25% off!!

3) Rolled knitted washable tampons (I'm in beta testing right now--in other words, I tried them, now I made some for my friends to try, and next month I plan to start posting them at LilBees, as well as making the pattern available for free here on the blog.)

4) I've been sewing a lot of nursing pads this week. They seem to sell as fast as I can make and stock them, so I'm trying to build up my stock!

5) I'm in the designing stage on a waterproof bicycle seat cover. I just got my fabric, and hope to be sewing a prototype next week. We live in a rainy area, we bike everywhere (it's a small town), and we sure hate having wet booties! So seat covers it is! I'll post about them as soon as I am ready to list them!

So how's that for keeping busy?!
Whew, listing them all out makes me feel tired! I think I'm going to go have a cup of cocoa and then have a nap with the little one! ☺

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday Tip: Setting Prices

One of the hardest things to do is set prices. Sometimes it seems like a good idea to lower your prices as much as possible so that everyone will come to you, but that can backfire as many customers equate low prices with low quality. You want to make sales, so you don't want to charge to much; but you don't want to undersell yourself either. You want to charge a fair, competitive price.

So let's evaluate those two things separately: fair and competitive.

Competitive Pricing
This is actually the easier part. Do a search on etsy for items similar to the one you are pricing, and see what others are charging. There will usually be a few outliers--people who charge much more or much less--but look at the middle of the crowd. Consider their materials and yours--if you make a ring sling out of silk, it stands to reason that you should charge more than for a cotton one.

Fair Pricing
This takes a little more work.
1--determine your materials cost. If you buy materials by the yard, for example, then figure out how many items per yard, and divide the per yard cost... Figure these numbers as exactly as possible.
2--determine your time cost. How long does it take you to make/market your item. This includes the time it takes you to select and purchase your materials, design your product, create your product, photograph the item, and create the listing. Of course some of these things (such as materials or item descriptions) can be used for more than one item, so in those cases you should pro-rate the time. Once you have determined how much time you put into the item, then pay yourself a living wage--most etsians I know (including myself) pay themselves about $10/hour.
3--don't forget fees. Etsy has listing fees and sales fees, paypal has fees, and if you have to relist an item then you have fees again. Your prices should be enough to cover all the fees and still pay you fairly. This etsy fee calculator can help you figure out how to adjust your prices to account for the fees.

What about shipping?
When figuring out what to charge for shipping, remember to include your supplies (boxes, envelopes, tape), as well as the time/gas money you spend to send the item, in addition to the actual shipping cost. Some shipping methods cost more than others, and some packaging supplies cost more than others...Evaluate your options and choose something that works well for you, then charge accordingly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Seven Secrets

I was tagged by LovaRevolutionary (of the EtsyBloggers team) to tell seven secrets about myself, and then tag seven more team members to do the same...

1) My favorite color is hot pink, and has been since junior high at least.

2) I'm scared of oncoming traffic and oven doors.

3) I don't mind blood or ugly injuries if it's on me (ie, if I get a cut), and I can handle it with my kids if I need to, but I don't handle it well at all if it's someone else. I can't watch it on shows, and I would be terrible in the medical profession.

4) In a college play, I wore a cloak that was originally made for Brendan Frasier. (It had been a few years, and other people had used it in between...and we had to hem it for me ☺ but yes, that Brendan Frasier.)

5) I knit inside out and backwards. Or, at least, I like purling (the backward stitch) better than knitting (the standard stitch). I usually reverse my patterns and knit things inside out so that I can purl them instead of knit.

6) I pronounce 'both' as 'bolth.' I have no idea why.

7) If I were not a stay at home wife and mother (which was always my first choice) then I would probably be either a high school teacher or a school counselor/psychologist. (I got a BA in education and was looking into pursuing a masters in psychology when I got engaged and moved back to Plan A.)

I tag these 7 fellow EtsyBloggers:
CandyStickLane / TheJumpOff
DownTheStreet / ElleQuilts
Ametista / TheClayShoppe

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Tell me your best crazy (cloth) diaper story!
On Nov 15, I'll post them in a poll for one week--the story that gets the most votes, wins a free diaper from LilBees!
The winner will receive their choice of one diaper, in any size or style (AIO, pocket, or fitted). Anyone is eligible to enter (yes, including family, friends, and people that I know could make their own diapers if they wanted to). I have a variety of fabrics to choose from, so I'll contact the winner about their preferences.

C'mon, you might win a free diaper (or you might not) but for sure you'll get some chuckles!!

I'll kick things off with my own crazy diaper story (no, I don't get to be in the contest, but I figure you can have some laughs at my expense, since I know I'm going to have some at yours!)

I often take off Little Bear's diaper and let him hang out naked for a few minutes before putting on the new diaper. I should know better I suppose, but I do it anyway. Air is good for bottoms. One day a week or so ago he came up to me patting his diaper to indicate that he was wet and wanted to be changed. I was in the middle of something so I reached over and just unsnapped his diaper, figuring to let him run...uh-oh, he wasn't just wet... Of course I couldn't let him run around with poo on his bum, so I scooped him up in one arm, grabbed the two ends of the diaper in the other hand, and hurried to the bathroom to wipe him up. I was trying to set the diaper on the toilet so I could get a cloth into the sink when PLOP! I lost my hold on one side of the diaper, and neat little pile of poo hit the floor with a thud (leaving the diaper, ironically, almost perfectly clean). Sometimes it's not the kids who make the messes...sometimes it's the mommy. ☺
Thank heaven for clorox for the's the only place I use it, but I would hate to give it up because, well, this isn't the only time that something like this has happened. ☺

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