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Slugs, zip ties, and baby gates

Hug Me Slugs in progress, stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThose have been my projects today. First the slugs. I have three at this moment, in my Etsy toy shop. The light blue one in this picture has already left the building, and is on his way to greet someone on Christmas morning.

I forgot to mention that my mom had her first cataract surgery done, and can already see better. Her vision is still blurry, but she’ll have the other eye done soon. My dad has to have both of his eyes done as well. He saw the photo of my Hug Me Slugs, above, and asked me who that was. He thought it looked like a married couple. Not a married slug couple, but a married human couple.

The slugs do look like they could be getting married, with the light blue one officiating the ceremony. That reminds me I was going to make bride and groom slugs. I even bought lace.

Hug Me Slug, dark purple stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis dark purple little slug is one of my 7-inch tall Hug Me Slugs. He has an orchid heart.

Hug Me Slug, honeydew green stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis honeydew green slug is 9 inches tall. I have changed my pattern sizes so many times. The newest 9 inch slugs are a little bigger than the last generation. I’m going to price them accordingly, and so if I have different prices on the “same” sizes, that is why. It will eventually even out, and the difference is only a dollar on some.

Hug Me Slugs at the computer, stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingHere are the same Hug Me Slugs at the computer desk. I color correct my photos before posting them. Note the cat comb and nail scissors in this picture. I need those at my desk for kitty assistants who show up. One in particular gets very insistent about being combed, and others always come running if I pick up the comb. The kitty nail scissors are self explanatory.

Oliver Bunny sees his baby gate covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingMy bunny assistant has been so naughty, chewing through his baby gates, that my other project for today was to zip tie pieces of cardboard shipping boxes over the holes he made in the baby gates. He was shocked when he saw what I had done. In time, he will find a way around my latest move.

Oliver Bunny sees his baby gate covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingIf he doesn’t find a way through, one of the cats is sure to find a way to push the gate so he can escape. He had a blast yesterday, after tearing a hole in one of the gates, running around my bedroom, scooting under my bed when I came in to get him. I had to unplug everything for his safety.

Baby gates covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingHe has chewed though three gates, and so I attached cardboard pieces to all of them. He hasn’t tried to bite a hole today. He’ll get to it.

This is his dandelion salad. I spend a lot of time catering to my bunny. I gather these out on the lawn. Today, we had freezing rain while I was doing this. I was laughing because he won’t eat the ribs on the leaves and spits them out. He won’t eat ribs on lettuce either. If he were a kid, he would want me to trim the crusts off his sandwich bread. And I would, because that is the way I am.

Oliver Bunny's dandelion salad, Elizabeth RuffingI had a crazy idea today. I thought I should ask everyone I know, or people I kind of know, or people I don’t know who know me, if they would like a Christmas or holiday card, make the cards, and send them out. I have been feeling sad lately, and I know a lot of people feel sad around the holidays. I don’t have any Christmas cards, and it is possible I don’t have stamps or enough envelopes either, but this sounded like a good idea to me. I thought I could ask for addresses through Facebook or my blog. My mom pointed out that the mail probably wouldn’t reach most people by Christmas at this point. I did this in high school a couple of times, made Christmas cards for everyone I could. I’d run out of time and not get to everyone, but I tried.

By the way, I set up a new friend page on Facebook with my toys on it. I’m not sure how useful that is. I tried to wish someone I knew, who had a shared birthday with me, a happy birthday, and my message got shuffled to her “other” folder, where she will probably never see it, since I am not connected to too many people on that page. I think it is probably easier to send me messages on the Hug Me Slugs and Friends Facebook page, if anyone goes through Facebook. I will remember to check my own “other” folder now. If you need to, you can also contact me on my website or on Etsy.

Thanks to all the visitors who came over from Facebook to read my birthday blog post, and thanks for the nice comments. I was surprised. I guess people like to see me doing what I do. I’ll try to get some more photos another time of me doing things, but I need help with that!

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Happy birthday to me

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesIt’s my birthday, and I made a Hug Me Slug, or worked on one. I also received some nice presents, like new sneakers in pretty colors, chocolates, and cookies.

Cheesecake slice with cherriesMy mom made me eggplant Parmesan and a cheesecake. I got some nice cards and lots of happy birthday wishes. Thanks to everyone.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesThese photos are from the past week and a half. I’m sewing slug eyes, which can try my patience. Luckily, I have a kitty helper.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyes with kitty helperShe really wants to steal my chair, and does, whenever she can.

Oliver Bunny tries to bite through the baby gate to my workroom, Elizabeth RuffingShe hops over the baby gate I use to keep Oliver Bunny in the hallway, while he tries to chew through the gate from the other side. He wants to help me too. They are in cahoots. She knocks the gates over and he hops through. He escaped three times yesterday. I have to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t chew any electrical wires. As you can see, he is very good at chewing. He made a hole in one, big enough for him to fit very neatly through.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesHere I am attaching the eyes to my toys. This all takes so much longer than you would expect. The eyes seem to take me the most time.

Elizabeth Ruffing, photographing Hug Me SlugsThen we go outside to photograph the toys before I put them in the toy shop.

Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI post them over on my Hug Me Slugs and Friends Facebook page too.

Yellow Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI think there is just one yellow slug left in the shop right now. I keep getting down to one.

Elizabeth Ruffing packing and shipping Hug Me SlugsHere I am packing slugs getting them ready to go to the Post Office. I’m wearing my “casual wear” here, my pajamas. I change out of them before I go to the Post Office. Someday, I may skip this step.

Bright blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been taking some custom orders. This little blue slug was a special order. He was a birthday present for someone who ordered a Hug Me Slug for her boyfriend’s birthday before. He was returning the favor, and wanted one she could carry around in her backpack.

Bright blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI made him a “Slug Sack” so the sluggie would stay safe on backpack journeys.

Blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug Sack, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingThis is the Hug Me Slug he received for his birthday, dressed and ready for Christmas.

Orange and teal 12 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, with Christmas treeI haven’t done much for Christmas so far. I put some lights up. I did get an evergreen forest of my own to plant. That seems Christmas-y. I planted some in the front yard, and these are for the back yard. There was a big sale on arborvitae, and I got ambitious about the number I would plant!

Arborvitae forest on the back porch, waiting to be planted

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Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max Bailey

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga is a handmade miniature original, one-of-a-kind cat art doll, hand painted and hand sculpted in paperclay by artist Max Bailey.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga is a tabby and white Norwegian Forest kitten. Her luminous eyes are golden yellow, and she has an air of sweetness about her.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyEveryone loves Olga. Her eager little face is hard to ignore, and gets her lots of attention.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyPerched on her flowered chair, Olga is always ready to talk, or listen, or play a game.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyIf you cannot think of a game, she will help you come up with one.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga’s forest green dress has a big off-white ruffle around the neck. The ruffle is edged in gold, as are her long sleeves.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga’s upholstered chair has pink and lavender flowers with soft green leaves. It is her favorite chair, and comes with her.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga is a one-of-a-kind work of art, and is meant for display only. She was sculpted from paperclay in multiple stages, to allow for drying and detailing.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga was painted under a magnifying light, with tiny brushes, one hair at a time.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyShe is signed and sealed with matte varnish for protection and preservation, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyOlga is 1:12 scale. (One inch equals one foot.) She is 1 and 1/2 inches tall.

Olga, miniature Norwegian Forest cat art doll, handmade original, one-of-a-kind kitten by artist Max BaileyUpdate: Olga has been adopted. Thank you!

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Happy Thanksgiving from the kitties, the bunny, and me

Oliver bunny wants his dandelions, Elizabeth RuffingOliver Bunny wishes you all a happy Thanksgiving, and he wants to know where his dandelion greens are. We have been having at least three days of rain, and I haven’t been outside to hunt for them in the yard yet. We all hope you enjoy your holiday, or partial holiday, if you have to go into work today.

While I was having breakfast this morning, I saw the huge pile of sale flyers on the table, and thought, “I am not participating in this!” I don’t usually participate in the big shopping event that follows the holiday. I often work, work, work, trying to get toys ready for Christmas. One year, my hands were all taped and Band-Aid-ed, from needle punctures, or maybe that was more than one year. I can remember hurting and my fingers and arms being all prickly.

So, I had this crazy idea…I think I will not participate. I won’t change my pace. I will keep working. I am here. I am available. But I’m going to hold steady instead. I am more a tortoise than a hare.

Jojo kitty cat on boxes of fabric, Elizabeth RuffingI am sewing and getting orders ready. If any of you would like something, I am still happy to help out. I’m just not going to try to get my toy shop stocked up any sooner than is reasonable. I have lots of Hug Me Slug bodies sewn, as you can see from this photo of Jojo sitting on top of my boxes. I have lots of fabric colors, and I am adding more all the time.

I also decided to reintroduce another size. I will have 7, 8, 9, and 12 inch Hug Me Slugs. Why? I couldn’t decide if I should, and so I thought I would try them all.

Some people get crazy when the holiday season starts, and I don’t want to be one of them. I can remember last-minute semi-frantic shoppers who wanted toys right now, and I tried really hard to do that. I will still do my best for anyone who asks.

I am hanging out here, staying out of the fray. The other day, my mom and I almost got hit by a car. A kid missed us by only four inches I believe, pulling in front of us without even turning his head. I see that every year, as soon as the holidays begin. I want to stay out of it.

Henrietta kitty cat takes over my office chair, Elizabeth RuffingIn other news, I found out yesterday that we made it to Buzzfeed! I see that site show up on Facebook all the time. I say we, but it was really Henrietta pussy cat here, above. She is number 15 on this 17 Crafty Cats That Will Make Your Heart Purr Buzzfeed post. She is famous. She steals my chair every day now. She was already stealing my chair that I have at the computer, but she has taken to marching into my workroom in the morning, to steal that chair too. Oliver Bunny doesn’t think she should be there, but she doesn’t care.

I am going to sew some slug eyes today, and I will have to fit on that chair with her. She doesn’t make that easy.

Jojo kitty cat exploring my boxes of fabric, Elizabeth RuffingThis morning, I also decided that I need to try harder to focus on the good and stop taking things other people do or say personally. I actually tell myself this a lot. I always say I am compulsively conscientious, and I try so hard to do right by everyone. I tend to think about other people all the time. That can wear me out. I do my best, and that is all I can do. Most people appreciate that, and I am glad for that. My attention needs to go in that direction. I like to help people and I like to try to help them feel better. Still, I’m not responsible for other people’s happiness, and I don’t want to be down over things I can’t change. Lately, I have been down over things I can’t change, things I know aren’t my fault, which is hard on me.

I would like the sun to come out. It is raining again, and Oliver needs those dandelions. I cater to animals too. 🙂