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A little stuffed slug toy shop update, and some gardens

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slugs, red, watermelon pink, bright yellow, and banana yellow by Elizabeth RuffingI have four new Hug Me Slugs over in my toy shop at the moment. They are red, watermelon pink, bright yellow, and banana yellow fleece, in my 9-inch size. I will continue to add more. Even though it is July, I know the Christmas season will be upon me before I know it, and I hope to have more toys ready this time around.

I have also been trying to make a dent in the yard work I have to do here, more tree planting and cleaning up of gardens that have become overrun with blackberries and weeds and, in some cases, flowers that multiplied profusely.

Raleigh City Garden, Vimeo screenshotI met a horticulture student, who showed me around Raleigh City Farm, pictured above and in the two photos below. I didn’t have a camera and so I took these from the Internet.

Raleigh City Garden, Twitter screenshotHe has been out planting tomatoes in all the heat we have been having, and the people at Raleigh City Farm have been keeping it doing well in spite of this weather too.

Raleigh City GardenThe plants all looked healthy. I felt I should be able to do something more myself. So, I worked on cleaning out one of my garden beds, and cutting out some saplings that had sprouted up.

Oliver Bunny, looking serious by Elizabeth RuffingI don’t have vegetables like they do, which is too bad, because Oliver Bunny would enjoy some of the ones they had there, I am sure. They sell their produce to local restaurants.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, pale blue irisesI was also introduced to BBC’s show, Gardeners’ World, which is on YouTube. They have my favorite kinds of gardens, the old English cottage style gardens. The photo above, and the two below are screenshots from the show.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, soft pink foxglovesI think they look like watercolor paintings. Very beautiful and inspiring. I used to have our yard, where I grew up, planted with such pretty flowers, in big beds and borders, under trees and flowering bushes. I miss it.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, pale lavender blue irisesI brought some of my plants with me when we moved. I want to clear out those beds before everything gets choked out. My irises have been getting smaller each year, because the blackberries have joined them and are doing much too well.

Jubilee by Elizabeth Ruffing, Iris and blue flax watercolor with a decorative borderThese are paintings of mine, of flowers I had growing in my yard, irises, blue flax, and foxgloves, some of my favorites. This is “Jubilee” above, and “Iris and Foxgloves” below. I have seen this orange and mauve one bloom by our back door in recent years, but this year I don’t think it did. I see it hiding in there with some other plants. I intend to dig it up and plant it in a new bed. I am sorry I wilt in the heat. Summers are my winters now, the time when I stay inside more. But, I am going to try to go out when I can take the temperature and get more done.

Iris and Foxgloves by Elizabeth Ruffing, watercolor with a decorative border

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Cornflowers and cats

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI’m on the mend, and no X-rays of my cat bites were needed. No toys to show for myself yet. So, I thought I would share my pretty cornflowers instead.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI can bend my finger but I’m still making slug eyeballs before finishing any toys. My finger still hurts if I bump it into anything, and fleece eyeballs are so small, bumping into them isn’t an issue.

Petting Santana the Peeping Tom Cat by Elizabeth RuffingSantana has forgiven me for breaking up his argument with Trouble, and for scolding him.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat looking mischievous by Elizabeth RuffingOr I think he has, for the most part. I am watching out for those paws. He is an unpredictable guy.

Trouble (the cat) following me by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble has come back without fail. That is him next to my catalpa tree. I wish I had had my camera just before I took that picture, because he came over with his brothers, Scooter and Fish, in a pack, and they all took a walk with Jude and me. They find his harness and leash fascinating.

Trouble (the cat) following me by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble likes to do things with me, plant trees, trim kudzu, mow the lawn. He and Santana watched me a few feet apart since their spat, with no more than some dirty looks.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI managed to get some mowing done, but not the push mowing, since that has definite bumping potential. Trouble watched me ride back and forth on the rider mower, at least twenty times. Then he decided to run out and leap in front of me. I think he wanted me to chase him on the mower. I’ve discovered he likes to be chased sometimes, which may be what got him into trouble with Santana, who chases him all the way back into his garage, when Trouble sneaks up on him.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI think they get lonely when no one is home, and then they come to see me. No one seemed to be around for a while, when they all came over. I asked if there was an emergency, and offered to look after them if there were. I didn’t hear back. Hopefully everything is okay.

Tabby cat playing with a catnip lobster by Elizabeth RuffingI found a catnip lobster online for Miss Henrietta, who was very appreciative. The lobster came in a group of toys, all made of corduroy. She makes a nest out of them and sleeps in them. They are from HuggleKats. I found them on the Foster and Smith site.

Well, I think am good to sew, if anyone is waiting for me to put some toys in my shop. Feel free to ask me if I have a slug almost ready, if you would like one. I know I have plenty of eyeballs.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Horatio and Hannah, Original One-of-a-kind Flying Pig Folk Art Dolls by Max BaileyHappy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! I hope you enjoy your day. I have a great dad myself, and I’m thankful for that. He’s been extra helpful this past week. I’ve had a flat tire and a dead car battery, one after the other, and he took care of both for me. Yay, Dad!

Here are Horatio and Hannah, Max’s only flying pig, father-and-daughter, original, one-of-a-kind folk art dolls…so far. They were, I think, Max Bailey‘s first sculpted dolls, and two of my all-time favorites. I twisted Max’s arm into trying doll making. I’d been trying it myself, and I had a feeling Max would be good at it and might even like it. I was met with some eye-rolling at first, but that never happened again. I think we were all surprised by just how good Max was at this. It was a perfect fit. Max has been an art-doll-making enthusiast ever since. Horatio and Hannah have been adopted, and I miss them. I think we might just have to collaborate on some pigs, and maybe a cow too. I think that would be fun.

Horatio and Hannah, Original One-of-a-kind Flying Pig Folk Art Dolls by Max BaileyI’ve been redoing a lot of the old web pages and re-editing doll photos, including Horatio’s and Hannah’s, on our Ruffing’s site. I’ve been redoing our blog as I go, getting it ready for a relaunch. I’ve still got the working copy on Blogspot. Update: The Ruffing’s blog is now on the homepage of the Ruffing’s site. I think I will put almost the entire site in blog format, and add more original art. I want it to be a real showcase of our dolls and paintings. I’d like to add more art quilts too. I know I keep saying this, but I am pretty excited about it. 🙂 And, I’ll be working on it all summer.

Yellow DayliliesMy mom and I were out yesterday, Father’s Day shopping, and we came across a daylily show, at the mall. They were giving out ribbons for all the pretty varieties. When we came back, I decided to take some photos of our own daylily show, which has been beautiful this year.

Red DaylilyThis particular bunch of daylilies are ones I brought with me from New York, when we moved. I bought them as a set, through the mail, from Jackson and Perkins. I can remember admiring them in their catalog and just having to have them. Luckily, daylilies thrive here in North Carolina.

Yellow DayliliesThis summer, I’m also going to try to stock up a little on toys for the next holiday season. Last year’s was crazy. I felt like I wasn’t able to leave the house for weeks. It was wonderful that so many people wanted custom-made handmade toys, and it was great fun to hear everyone’s stories. But, boy, was I a sewing fiend. I’d like to have more of a variety of ready-made handmade toys available this time around, so people can pick them out and name them themselves. I think that would make everything easier for everybody.

Pale Orange DayliliesOf course, I also want to get going on more original, art doll collaborations with Max, and those art quilts I keep talking about…

Red DaylilyI guess I’m going to be busy! Summer here is a good time to be busy with indoor projects. Today is supposed to be between 97 and 100 degrees outside! I think we will end up going for walks inside of stores for a while. Evenings are often hot too.

Yellow DayliliesI’m catching up on the Twilight movies right now too, via Netflix. I had no idea how much I would enjoy the first movie, but I really did. We’ve got New Moon right now, and I’m working my way toward Eclipse. More fun ideas for things to do while avoiding the great outdoors. Oh, but I do miss the great outdoors! I hope we have some cool hours coming our way.

Yellow Daylily

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Blueberries and a floral display

BlueberriesThe first of our blueberries are ripening. I haven’t tasted a fully ripened one yet, I don’t think. It seems, if I want to try one, I must grab it before the birds do. They don’t last long once they begin to turn blue. I’m not sure I’ve seen a dark blue blueberry yet. I’ve grabbed my fair share of almost-ripe berries though. I think once the bushes mature, barring an attack of Alfred Hitchcock proportions, we should be able to share nicely, but I’m not accounting for whoever else might be sneaking out of the woods when I’m not looking.

Orange daylilies with blue lace-cap hydrangeasThe perennials surrounding the house, are all opening up. The day lilies are mixed in with our lace-cap hydrangeas,

Orange daylilies with blue lace-cap hydrangeaswhich have all their petals fully open now, around their lacy centers.

Blue lace-cap hydrangeasThe cornflowers have invaded every formerly bare spot along the walkway.

CornflowersThe bees, butterflies, and moths have been milling in and out and through the forest of them.

Cornflower with beeAnd everywhere there is lots of pink, pink day lilies,

Mauve dayliliesand the airy blooms that cover the Mimosa tree over the deck. They look like plumage that should be on the top of some exotic bird’s head,

Mimosa Tree bloomsor pink fireworks, going off everywhere in a big, leafy sky.

Mimosa Tree in bloom