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We’ve got snow!

Little pine tree sagging under the snowLast night, there was news that we’d be having the first Christmas snow here since 1947. There were only flurries around bedtime, and so we didn’t know what to expect when we got up this morning.

Snow-covered stepsThis is what the front steps looked like when I got up, but it kept snowing and snowing. My poor kitty did a belly flop trying to walk down those steps. He quickly turned back around and came in the house.

Snow-covered woodsAll the trees are covered and bending with heavy clumps of wet snow.

Snow-covered woodsWe can’t see the pond anymore, from here. I hope the ducks are comfortably hidden away in the brush.

SnowmanThe kids next door rang the bell this afternoon, with a request for buttons for their snowman,

Cats look out the door at the snowbut the kitties and I watched the snow fall, mostly from inside, except for a few forays, by me, to take photos.

Illustrations by Barry Moser, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty.I finished reading, and enjoying, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty today. The beautiful illustrations in this edition are made from wood engravings by Barry Moser, who also designed the book, which is lovely.

Illustrations by Barry Moser, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty.They were wonderful to look at in combination with the snowfall today, so atmospheric and full of mystery, like an enchanted forest.

Illustrations by Barry Moser, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty.Snow creates such a nice, insulating environment for hiding away. I read in front of the heater, while my cat kept stealing my comfy sitting spots.

Illustrations by Barry Moser, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty.Tomorrow, I think I will pretend Christmas is still almost here, and sew some more toys. I was reading a column by Emily Martin, where she noted that, for some people, getting ready for the holidays starts in January. That sounds like a good idea to me. By summertime, I have usually lost some oomph in that regard. So, why not start while the experience is still fresh in my mind? I have a Wacom tablet to hook up too, now that I have some time. The printer is still at the shop. I don’t know when we’ll be picking it up. Hopefully there won’t be too much of a delay on orders, between that and the snow.

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Christmas Angel

Christmas Angel Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingMerry Christmas, everyone! I was thinking about angels this morning and I remembered a quilt block that I had never finished. I think I began it on my birthday, a few years ago. All I remember was that I had it in my mind, at the time, that I would only work on it on a holiday. So here it is, several holidays later! I just finished the central part of the design.

Christmas Tree Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingI also found a Christmas tree quilt block, which may have been from one of the quilt classes I used to go to. It was in with a pile of other quilt blocks, which I should probably photograph as well. They never seemed to fit together in any logical way. I could see the angel placing her star on the tree though.

Christmas Angel Quilt Block Sketch by Elizabeth RuffingThe angel was meant to be part of a larger design, judging from my sketch that I stored with it. At first, I couldn’t remember if it was my own original design or one from a magazine. It didn’t look entirely like my work.

Fons and Porters Love of Quilting September and October 2005I found a copy of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, from September/October 2005, on my book shelf, and sure enough, my reinterpretation of a design by Lori Smith was inside. The original design was a witch, and I drew an alternate head, added wings, and and extra arm and leg.

Fons and Porters Love of Quilting September and October 2005I prefer angels to witches, and you may have already guessed from my paintings, such as the one below, which is a detail of Angels’ Kiss.

Angels Kiss watercolor painting by artist Elizabeth RuffingI hope you are all enjoying your holiday. I am still debating over whether or not to make cookies. In spite of all the sewing I’ve been doing for the holiday rush, that’s what I most felt like doing as soon as I decided to relax. I suppose I should take that as a sign that I am working at something I really like to do. I hope you are spending time on things that you like to do too. Don’t let anyone intimidate you out of doing that. I know I’ve had my share of nay-sayers come along. Don’t listen to them. Surround yourself with supportive people who appreciate you for who you are and what you do. I think I’ve had one of the best years I’ve had in a long time, and I believe a lot of that has to do with taking that advice.

I am thinking about those cookies now, and the snow we might get. Snow would be lovely, in moderation, of course! Have a happy Christmas, one and all.

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Last of the holiday slugs for this year, on their way

Fleece Hug Me Slugs by Elizabeth RuffingOr all but one are on their way. One little light blue guy is waiting for a hang tag. We thought we might get our printer back today, but I have a feeling we’ll be waiting some more. The service center hasn’t been too reliable, or the people there trustworthy. I’ve written to Epson to try to find another, and more information on doing some of these repairs myself. There was only service center listed for our area on the Epson site before, and now there is none. Hm…

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth RuffingI still haven’t adjusted to the idea that there is no reason I need to sew until eleven o’clock tonight. I might take a while to fully realize this. It’s hard to stop, once I am rolling along. I like hand sewing, and I like the idea of people giving and getting my handmade toys as gifts. The time crunch is a bit stressful, the long sewing hours somewhat painful, and I wish I had had more ready-made toys available….but, all in all, mission accomplished, once again, for this year. I’m sure I will fine tune the process as I go. I think, this year, my biggest pitfall was not fully believing there would be a holiday rush. I was preparing as the season approached, but I wasn’t sure what to prepare. Last year, certain colors were popular, and I had more of those ready. Then this year, people liked completely different colors. Maybe there is no way to predict. I’ll just make more toys.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. If tomorrow is nice and sunny, I may just venture out into The World and have a look around.

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Slugs by day, slugs by night

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth RuffingIt was a big weekend for finishing up Hug Me Slugs and getting them ready for their trips to their new homes. I’ve been sewing most of the day and into the night, adding smiles and eyes and hearts, all by hand, with my needle and embroidery floss. The slugs shown here have all left since Friday.

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth RuffingI will feel so relieved when all the slugs are on their way for the holidays. I worry each year that I won’t be able to get them all done on time. I’ve got a few more to finish up, and then I will make some different characters, which will be fun.

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth RuffingI packed today’s shipment last night so I would be ready this morning. I felt happy, even though it was late, knowing I’d get these out today. We had to bring our printer in for some servicing too, and so I’m not adding any new toys until it comes back, ready to print hang tags. I need a little rest anyway.

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, ready to shipI also had a birthday on Saturday, and received some very nice presents, which were all carefully inspected by my kitty assistants.

My kitty inspects my birthday presentMy mom and dad, in addition to helping me out by going to the Post Office for me, got me these pretty handmade bags from Janine King Designs. One is a camera bag, for the camera I don’t have yet. I’m saving up for a DSLR.  I have another bag made by Janine, and the workmanship is perfect on each of them. I also got a beautiful, and beautifully-made birthday card from my friend Jill. You can’t see very well in this photo, especially with my cat sniffing it, but the flowers and the “Happy Birthday” are raised from the surface, and the petals all turn on their centers, all done by hand. And John sent me some more yummy gingerbread cookies from Germany too. Oh and my mom made me a cheesecake, and my dad picked up Chinese food for me! Thanks everybody!

My kitty inspects my birthday presentsTomorrow I will get back to my sewing, and then I think I will stop to look around before Christmas disappears again until next year!