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Hug Me, Sock Kitten!

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI was trying to get my act together this morning, intending to head out for a while, but nothing came together properly. So, I stayed home and sewed up this sock kitten! I took some tips from the two sock doll books I have by Daniel, which are great books for anyone wanting to experiment with free-form toy creation. It’s fun, like making balloon animals. I say that not remembering if I’ve ever made balloon animals, but what they have in common is the idea of taking a tube shape and seeing where you can go with it.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI was debating over adding the fleece heart, but once I’d thought of it, I felt I needed to give him one. You can’t go back on giving someone a heart.

I took him outside to photograph him, and of course, he ran right up a tree.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingOnce I got him back inside, he stretched out for a nap, taunting all the slugs a little first, by waving his paws around. They haven’t got any appendages, and so, he was doing some showing off.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI think I will make some more kittens, and call them “Hug Me! Kittens”. This sock kitten is in my Etsy shop.

My own, much larger kitten helped me with another project, removing the overly-scratched carpet from the legs of our cat gym. The plan is to cover the legs with new carpeting and sisal rope. The legs were looking very disreputable. This is only a human opinion.

Kitty investigates cat gym reupholstering projectThe feline consensus of opinion was that they looked perfect, as they were. Here is one of the mournful looks I was given after removing the beloved carpeting. She got over it quickly and found something else to do. She’ll be happy when she sees the new carpeting and the sisal rope. I was joking with my mom, saying the cats would be just as happy if I threw the rope and a piece of carpet on the floor. But that wouldn’t look nice. Again, just a human opinion.

Kitty investigates cat gym reupholstering projectOne sorry note for the week…my Viking sewing machine made a return trip from California, where it went for repair, having never been claimed at the Post Office. I have no idea why the seller had his repair technician call me to go over the repairs, and then sent me the address to which he wanted me to ship my machine, and then never picked it up. I’ve received no reply, so far, if indeed I ever will. I’ve had issues before, as you may have already read on my blog, and I’ve had him not answer for a long time, because he’s been in and out of the country. But you would think someone would be there to claim packages at least. Not looking good. Not that it has been looking good, at all, ever, but that is the current status on my Viking sewing machine nightmare. I’ve heard from people who have had similar problems. I don’t know what to say other than I’ll never be getting a Viking sewing machine again.

Using my Kenmore sewing machineI’m still using my Kenmore, pictured above, that I got as a spare. It’s been behaving very well. Once I have some extra money, I’ll ask around some more, to see if I can find someone honest who might be able to replace the faulty and broken parts on my Viking. A friend has suggested a Viking Funeral for the machine, but I’ll wait to see what develops.

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So many things to be inspired by today

I came out on the porch this morning, and realized I’ve been taking these pretty morning glories for granted. I went back in an grabbed my camera.

The morning glories have been blooming here since we moved in, and we’ve never planted any new ones.

I love to see what flowers look like from behind. You never see those views in the garden books. The sun is shining through this one.

I had another custom “Name your own slug” order, and I noticed I didn’t have all that many pinks or purples in my fabric stash. Well, now I do! Hehe. I just ironed all of these.

I had some trouble finding pinks I liked. The last place we stopped was at my favorite Raleigh quilt shop, Carolina Sew-n-Vac, and they had plenty of pinks. Yay! When we got to the counter, the couple who owns the shop started joking about how he tells her she buys too much pink. She was happy to hear she’d filled a need. She told us to tell everyone she has pink!

I added some pink, purple, and blue to my embroidery floss collection too. I’ve been trying to sort my fabric and my floss by color so I can keep better track of what I have. Before I did that, I kept thinking I was short on yellow fabric, and then I’d buy more yellow fabric. After a while, I wasn’t short on yellow fabric, but I had no idea. Having everything organized by color makes coordinating fabrics for projects much easier too.

I picked up some more yarn and socks as well. I must be ready for anything now. I get excited just looking at all these supplies.

And with perfect timing, just after I amassed my new pile of socks, Stray Sock Sewing Too: More Super-cute Softies to Make and Love by Daniel, arrived in the mail. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard it was coming out, because I love his first Stray Sock Sewing: Making One-of-a-kind Creatures from Socks book. I got mine on sale from Crafter’s Choice book club.

Both books are adorable. The dolls, the photography by Liao Chia Wei, and the narratives in each are clever, sweet, and charming. Even if you don’t sew, it’s just so much fun to look at them. I can imagine children would enjoy them also. But if you do sew…there are great tips in each one. This new book has instructions for fourteen new sock creatures, and I can see any one of them as such a nice handmade gift. The instructions don’t require the use of a sewing machine either.

Most of all, for me, they are full of wonderful stepping off points to create my own creatures. I find once I try one technique, before I am even finished with a doll, I have tried something else that came to mind. There is so much room for being creative with these.

In other creature news, this is a meeting of Ducks Against Pills. Some time around Labor Day weekend, Mr Duck decided he’d about had enough of antibiotics. What a challenge! I had a terrible time trying to catch him, falling gracelessly to the ground, nearly hitting my head on the fence, very humiliating! Ha! I did my best and we did manage to get that last pill in him. For his part, he did plenty of wiggling and spitting his pill out. I noticed someone came over to the blog looking for directions on how to give a duck a pill. An avian vet is the best at showing you how to do it, and of course, you wouldn’t want to give medication to any animal without consulting a vet first anyway. It’s a lot like giving a pill to a cat, only you really need to wrap the duck’s body carefully in a towel first. Their beaks open just like your cat’s mouth opens, when you reach over the top of the head, pressing gently behind the corners of the mouth/beak, while tilting the head gently back. And, just like your cat, they can push their pills out with their tongues, and they learn to wiggle too. It takes some patience!

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Emily and Edwin make their first appearance

Meet Emily, Max Bailey‘s and my latest one-of-a-kind, original, folk art ginger tabby cat doll.

Emily’s elephant friend is named Edwin. Emily is hand sculpted from paperclay on 100% cotton cloth, and is button jointed at her shoulders. Edwin is made of wood. Both are hand painted in acrylic paints and varnished with matte varnish.

As the story seems to go of late, Emily is still waiting for the rest of her outfit to be sewn. Edwin is just waiting for his wheels to start rolling. He’s very patient, which is good, because they don’t actually roll. Fortunately, he has a string to help pull him along.

We managed to re-photograph Max’s three new kitty figurines this afternoon. After some photo editing, color-correcting, cropping, etc, we’ll get to work on their web pages over on the Ruffing’s site. The figurines will eventually appear on the art doll figurines page, and Emily and Edwin will find their way over to the jointed cloth and paperclay dolls page of our online doll gallery…after Emily gets some clothes on.

I got this fun book in the mail, Stray Sock Sewing by an artist named Daniel. I’m crazy about it. It’s full of the cutest original sock creatures I think I’ve seen. There are plenty of sewing tips, and even instructions for making a few of your own. I’m getting so many ideas. I drew out some sketches when I got up this morning. I had a bunch of designs I had drawn, while waiting for my mom at the dentist’s, a few months ago, but I wasn’t entirely sure how best to construct them. So, this is great. Definitely enough information for me to spring off in my own directions. The eight creatures he shows you how to make would make super gifts too. So adorable. Love it.

The book is published by North Light Books, which has put out very nice art instruction books for years. I have quite a few painting and drawing books from them as well. I just read that the book club they’ve had for as long as I can remember is closing, but it sounds like they will still be offering their books through some special offers, in addition to still offering them through retailers. I got my copy of Stray Sock Sewing through Crafter’s Choice Book Club. They have some good deals sometimes, but I have trouble remembering to tell them not to send that monthly selection, even with an email reminder. I’m happy with the books I’ve gotten from them though, and I was glad to find they had this one.