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Three more festivals for this Saturday

Cleveland Strawberry Festival, Hug Me Slugs and Hug Me Sock Kittens, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingMy toys were at the Cleveland Strawberry Festival in Clayton, NC this past Saturday. Here are some pictures of the Alley Cats and Angels booth. Thanks, Ashley and Laura, for spending their whole day there, and for organizing the event, and to everyone involved.

It was very crowded and busy when we came by. I got lost, and it took me a couple of hours to get there, being unfamiliar with the area, and getting the wrong street from my Internet map. NC is fond of naming two streets in the same area, the same thing, even when they are not connected. There are two Technology Drives in Clayton. I was way off! My parents came along, and my dad patiently asked about five people for directions before we happened across a lady who had just been there. Then we walked the whole length of the festival before finding the booth on our fourth pass through. I got lucky and found a security guard who had been by the booth earlier and remembered seeing it. I was glad when I finally found it and was able to get some pictures. It would have been terrible to go home without finding it!

Cleveland Strawberry Festival, Hug Me Slugs and Hug Me Sock Kittens, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThe rescue is going to take my toys along to this coming Saturday’s events too. They’ll have booths at three festivals, Peak Fest in Apex, Meet in the Street in Wake Forest, and Out Raleigh in Raleigh. Please come if you are in the area. They’ll all be on May 5, 2012.

Cleveland Strawberry Festival, catnip cigarsIn truth, I am nervous having the toys away from the house! I’m used to doing everything from home, and I fret that something will happen to them. This takes some adjusting.

Kitty playing with catnip cigarsAside from finding the booth, I was glad to get some more catnip cigars. The kitties love them, as you can see. Proceeds go to help the rescue.

Kitty playing with catnip cigarsHere’s Phoebe enjoying her nap in the sunshine after an active morning of playing.

Tabby cat taking a nap in the sun by Elizabeth RuffingToday I finished some more 7-inch Hug Me Slugs. I will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys inour Ruffing’s shop.

Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI am still sewing through a pile of toys I have stuffed, but not yet detailed. I’d like to try something different soon, for variety. Doing the same task for hours can be productive, because I get used to what I’m doing, but it can get boring.

Light pink Hug Me Slug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI feel encouraged when my workroom gets emptier. It feels good to get the toys finished and put away. For months, I’ve had a large number of toys all around me in there.

Red Hug Me Slug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThere is slightly more breathing room now, but still plenty more to go.

Medium pink Hug Me Slug, original art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Lots of soft and fuzzy

Stack of fleece colors for Hug Me! SlugsI cut out a gargantuan pile of fleece over the past two days. I’m not sure how long it will take me to turn this into toys, maybe a couple of years! And that isn’t all of it.

Stacks of fleece colors for Hug Me! SlugsI cut out fleece in two sizes. I think I have plenty now.

Daisy the Dachshund, Original One-of-a-kind Dog Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyI also got Daisy the Dachshund’s web page up today. Daisy is one of Max Bailey’s original, one-of-a-kind art doll figurines. To me, her eyes look very soulful, just like a real Dachshund’s eyes. There is a little Dachshund who lives near us who likes me to rub her belly. She looks just like Daisy, only she doesn’t wear dresses, which is good because she would look very undignified rolling on her back with her paws up in the air, while wearing a dress.

Sunny, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsI got to pet some kittens last weekend too. Marie’s camera has a broken part, and so I went over with mine. It’s easier for me to get a clear photo, the more light I have, and so we tried stepping out the back door for some. These are indoor-only rescue kittens. Sunny didn’t care for the great outdoors at all. We couldn’t blame her, since she had had a bad head wound from an animal bite. It has healed up amazingly well with all the care she has gotten through the rescue group. She is one lucky girl.

Sunny, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsOnce we went back inside, she was happy again, and got right back to playing.

Frosty, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsThis is Frosty (Update: Frosty is now our very own Josephine!), Sunny’s little sister, from another litter with the same Shoeshoe father. She’d only had human contact for a few days, but you’d never know it. She was very cuddly and sweet. I sat and held her for a long time. Her blue eyes are so sad and beautiful.

Frosty, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsWindy, Sunny’s sister, below, was the only one of our subjects who actually enjoyed the sun on her face. She turned into a purring puddle o’ Windy. Frosty started to doze off a bit too. Maybe it was the fuzzy blanket.

Windy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsWe got them back in the house as soon as we could, and they all got Trader Joe’s Bench & Field Holistic Feline Treats. I’d never seen these before, and they all went cuckoo for them, chasing them across the floor, and hunting them down. I picked some up later, and our kitties went crazy for them too. Windy and her other sister, Cloudy, stopped to play with a stray litter pellet while hunting for cat treats. Marie says those are their favorite toys, even though they have bunches of cat toys.

Windy and Cloudy, kittens from Alley Cats and AngelsThey must have thought I was a giant cat toy. They all checked out my sneakers, very thoroughly. Sunny also inspected my camera. I kept getting “camera shake” only to discover her swinging from my lens cap. She is definitely going to be a helper cat.

Windy and Cloudy, kittens from Alley Cats and AngelsStormy, from the same litter as Sunny, Windy, and Cloudy, was very timid, but she still came out for treats and toys. She wanted to select one of her own from the toy bag. All the girls were really sweet, and I had a lot of fun visiting. Marie is really nice too. I put more kittens photos up on my Flickr page.

Stormy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsAfter playing, and petting, and cuddling with kittens, it’s a wonder I didn’t take them all home with me, but we do have a full house here too. My kitties wanted to know where I’d been. My sneakers were probably thoroughly sniffed on my return too.

Windy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsThese kittens will be adopted out when they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Please consider adopting a pet, and please spay and neuter your pets.

Stormy, Cloudy, and Sunny, kittens from Alley Cats and Angels

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Halloween musings

Renaissance gown, McCallHappy Halloween! A few weeks ago, I decided I really wanted to make a Regency Era gown, and ordered a beautiful Sense and Sensibility pattern. I think I will make one for springtime. As Halloween got closer, a week away actually, I suddenly decided I was going to make a similar gown for a costume. I ran into town and got McCall’s pattern 6141, which is really a Renaissance costume, but rather similar in style to the Regency gowns.

Renaissance gown, McCallI had recently gathered up a bunch of sheets to use for fabric for other projects, and I grabbed a blue twin sheet set out of the pile, along with a teal sheet for contrast. I spread the sheets, one at a time, out on my carpet and cut out my pattern pieces. I added some trims I got at Hancock Fabrics, to the sleeves and the neckline, and managed to get the whole gown sewn and hemmed by Saturday night, just in time for Jill’s party, which was a lot of fun. I got to talk to some great people, and made good friends with Jill’s corgi too, who followed me all over the house for in exchange for pets.

Renaissance gown, McCallJill, and a lot of the people who were there volunteer a local cat rescue, fostering cats and kittens. Just a really nice group of good-hearted people. I enjoyed myself very much.

Renaissance gown, McCallIt also did me some good to make something just because. It’s hard to give myself permission to make something just for fun, but I think I will have to do that some more. I even did a hand-picked zipper for the first time.

It’s funny what makes other things come into perspective. You make a dress, and you realize that you need to give yourself permission to paint a painting too, or take up photography, or make something only you might like, that might never sell or be of interest to anyone else, because those are the projects that come out the best and make you feel good about your abilities.

Renaissance gown, McCallAnd you meet some nice people, and you realize that when you like someone, you just like a person. There’s no trying to like them, or trying to be fair, or trying to look past their bad points. You just like them. Since we moved here, I’ve been thinking that people are just different here, harder for me to relate to, but that isn’t true. I just met the wrong people, dated the wrong people, and didn’t like their friends, all for the same reason…they weren’t my kind of people. I had a date once, with a psychiatrist, who tried to tell me this, that people are either nice or they aren’t. I had been saying that people here seemed harder to get to know, more evasive, more secretive, and he said no. People are either open, or not, honest or not. He told me if I had trouble sorting them out, just call him and ask, because he could tell me right away. I’m realizing more and more, that I do know right away too. I just thought I was in a strange land, when I was really just trying to relate to the wrong people. I’m feeling a lot better about these things lately, where I live, what I do, and who I am.

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Still organizing the past, hoping to catch up soon

Crybaby, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Kitten Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyI’ve been very busy trying to get our Ruffing’s site organized for a relaunch. I still have a whole lot of work to do. I think it took me six months to build the site in the first place, and it’s grown since then. I’m going through and sprucing up what I can for now. Once I make the switch to using WordPress for the site, the navigation will be a bit “mixed” for a while, with some pages leading to older pages, until I can get all the links updated. I hope to start that transition in early September. Crybaby, above, by Max Bailey, is one of our already adopted dolls who got her photos spruced up and resized today.

Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth Ruffing and a Kitty HelperI have some sock kittens I was working on, but I’ve put them aside for the past week or so to concentrate on the web site. I turned my back just for a minute, before taking this photo, and a very real-looking sock kitten showed up to snuggle with this pink-striped one. My kittens must be very convincing. I hope to get back to more sewing soon!

Apple Store One-to-one SessionI’ve also put my Apple One to One sessions on hold this week, so I can hurry my web site extravaganza along. The photo above was from my last class. I brought my camera along so they could give me some photography tips. I have homework! Needless to say, I haven’t had time to do it yet. Once I have a little more time to take some photos, I’ll explore my camera’s manual settings some more. That is something I never learned, and really need to.

CatI picked up Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye at the library, weeks ago, hoping to get a chance to read more of it than I have. I was inspired to pick it up after taking one of those Facebook quizzes where I was told my writing style was more like hers than Stephen King’s, but only by a little.

Well, I admit I need a computer break right now. Have a great weekend!