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I’m moving my online journal to ruffings.com

Hug Me Slug handade stuffed animal plush toys, assorted colors, by Elizabeth Ruffing

Pink and lavender Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth RuffingHello, everyone. Just a note to let you know that I am moving my online journal/blog over to ruffings.com. You will find it in the main navigation on that site.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsMy blog posts are already there, the same ones that are here. I will eventually redirect the link for elizabethruffing.com over to ruffings.com as well, which just means, when you come to elizabethruffing.com, you will be sent to ruffings.com automatically.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsI am trying to streamline everything, so people won’t have to go hopping from one place to another, to find our toys and dolls, and anything else we are working on. I am going to post the toys and dolls we have for adoption there too, instead of on Etsy or EBay or Amazon.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsWe will still be on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I will try to merge our two Facebook pages into the one we have for Ruffing’s as well.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsI think it will be a lot simpler to have everything in one place. I hope to add needlework and quilting items to our site at some point. Right now, I am busily trying to post our toys and dolls there.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsI will let the SSL certificate expire for elizabethruffing.com, while I continue to move photos, which sounds very technical, but it is something Google requires to let people view your site without a security warning. You may see that pop up. Please don’t be alarmed. Nothing has changed. The content is the same. Just head on over to ruffings.com to see the same content. I have a search box there so you can find things. Or just ask me. My contact page is there too.

Hug Me Slug handmade plush stuffed toy animals by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colorsI will make new posts at ruffings.com. They will just be interspersed with little stories about dolls and other posts about our artwork. I may merge my blog subscriptions too. So, if you see a blog update from Ruffing’s, it is me! Thank you for reading my blog.

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Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Hug Me Slugs Featured

Medium green and yellow Hug Me Slugs, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingGuess who was featured in the Brown Alumni Magazine Holiday Gift Guide for 2017? My Hug Me Slugs! I submitted them to Brown Alumni Magazine for their annual holiday gift guide on almost the last day for submissions, and was surprised when Kerry Lachmann, who is in charge of the magazine’s annual holiday guide, wrote back in little more than an hour, accepting them and asking me to send them along to Providence, RI. She said, “The slugs are absolutely adorable! Can’t wait to see (‘meet’) them.” ūüôā Thank you, Kerry! I was very excited, and I think the slugs were too.

Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, That Holiday GlowI mailed them to off to Brown University, and when they arrived, I got another message from Kerry, saying, “They have arrived and they are adorable!!! I took them around the office and introduced them to the staff (-: So sweet. Thanks!” The slugs must have been eating up all that attention. They have to compete with the cats and the bunny around here.

Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, That Holiday Glow, Hug Me SlugsThis week, the print issue of the 2017 December/November Brown Alumni Magazine arrived, and there they were, peeking out from the page. They are back home now, and in my toy shop, waiting to be adopted.

Brown College Gates, Main Campus, photo by laaaaandyyyyyHere are some wintry photos of the Brown University campus. I walked through these gates every day my first year there, on my way across campus to go get my mail, or head to class.

Brown Main Campus, photo by danlo1996This is the main campus. In the warmer weather, it is covered in students.

Brown CVan Wickle GatesThese are the Van Wickle Gates. It is customary for first-year students to walk through them when starting at Brown, and then again when graduating. I participated in neither march through the gates, I have to say. I was a transfer student from Yale, and I went home before graduation!

Elizabeth home for Christmas break from collegeHere I am home on Christmas break from Brown. I think I had just turned twenty-one here. I was wearing a headband that only just fell apart a few weeks ago, and is lying on the chair next to me as I write this. My mom was always trying to get me to take that thing off. Ha. It does look silly.

Elizabeth came home from college with a catI came home with a cat from Brown. Her name was Tishi. She accompanied me home on Thanksgiving break, my first year there. Someone had dropped her inside the gate around my dorm, and she was yelling at the basement window. I fed her turkey strips from the salad bar, which I sneaked out of the dining hall, until I was able to get some cat food. She stayed at home with my very tolerant parents who cared for her while I was away at school. I missed her, but she was safer there. Brown doesn’t allow pets in dorms. You aren’t supposed to steal turkey from the salad bar either, no matter how much your cat you aren’t supposed to have in your room likes it.

Assorted Hug Me Slugs, stuffed slug toys and figurines by Elizabeth RuffingFortunately, they do allow Hug Me Slugs there. I have a bunch more I have been working on and posting in my shop. Please go have a look around.

Super Slugs, Hug Me Slugs, stuffed slug toys by Elizabeth RuffingI have Super Slugs,

Wonder Bunnies, Hug Me Bunnies, stuffed bunny rabbit toys by Elizabeth Ruffingand Wonder Bunnies,

Hug Me Bunnies, stuffed bunny rabbit toys by Elizabeth RuffingHug Me Bunnies,

Hug Me Kittens, stuffed kitty cat toys by Elizabeth Ruffingand Hug Me Kittens.

Sage green Hug Me Kitten, stuffed kitty cat toy by Elizabeth RuffingPeople have asked for little slugs, smaller than I can sew, and now I have slug figurines,

Hug Me Slug figurines by Elizabeth Ruffingand bunny rabbit figurines,

Hug Me Bunny Rabbit figurines by Elizabeth Ruffingand kitty cat figurines too.

Hug Me Kitten figurines by Elizabeth Ruffing

I will try to post more photos of my toys in more posts. Sorry to have been missing all year. We lost my dad last Christmas Eve. Last year, we were busy caring for him, and this year, adjusting to his not being with us.

Sending love your way and wishing you all a lovely holiday season.

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Heart repairs

Mom and Dad out walking in the yard, by Elizabeth RuffingDad got his triple bypass heart surgery done toward the end of August, and is doing pretty well. He is still in bed most of the time, but he has been able to walk a little more each week. He gets tired easily. We were surprised to find out that¬†two of the blockages in his heart were almost 100% blocked, and the other was almost 70% blocked. The surgeon said that was “the good one”. It is amazing he was still going to work eight hours a day, walking around. We are all so glad we found out about this and that the surgery went well. Unfortunately, he has to go back in for a biopsy on his lung. I’m sorry he has more to go through. Hopefully that will turn out okay too.

It is rare to catch my parents on camera, since they both hide¬†from me when I try to photograph them, but here they are, on one of Dad’s walks in the yard. I’m sure there were neighbors’ cats just out of the picture frame. They like to accompany them.

Mom and Dad out walking in the yard, by Elizabeth RuffingJust to add to the excitement of the surgery, I got so worn out that I managed to drop a metal cable TV box on my head, from about four feet above. I don’t do well without sleep, and we had to be at the hospital mighty early, not that I was sleeping much anyway. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to drive back and forth to the hospital. I set off a chain of headaches and numbness and pins and needles that has finally calmed down.

Mom has been getting up with Dad in the morning. I am grateful for that. I was doing it at first, but that, combined with Dad being mixed up about time, was leaving me wiped out. He was getting up when I was going to bed. One time he aimed a flashlight in my face at 3:33am, because he thought I might be outside. The nurse said that is a very common side effect of being in the hospital. I know my parents went through that with me, when I came home from the hospital, when I had encephalitis in my twenties. Back then, they took turns sleeping on the floor next to me, because I would wake up calling out or I would go try to climb the ladder to the attic in the middle of the night. I also remember the long recovery being a big downer. So, even though Dad is doing well, I know it is hard and it takes a lot of patience.

Stacks of fleece and toy bodies in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI am doing my best to get my work underway. I feel I need to apologize all the time, for not being able to keep up, but I know that is ridiculous. I am doing one thing at a time, or, more accurately for me, twenty of one thing at a time. That is the closest I do to one thing at a time. I have a list of toys people have asked for, and I am cutting out those colors. I sew them by the stack. In my mind, that is practical. That way, I will be better prepared the next time someone wants one of those colors.

Hug Me Bunny gray fleece plush art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis gray Hug Me Bunny is one of the toys that made it all the way to finished. I am making an apple green bunny for the same person. Someone else asked for a gray slug. That is why I have a stack of gray and apple green above. I didn’t realized I had so much apple green fleece. I have been tripping over the bag of it for months, but had no idea there was twice¬†as much as I have in that photo. I hope everyone likes apple green.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingI had to take my real-life bunny, Oliver, to the vet yesterday. I kept meaning to take him for a nail trim, but had no time. The night before, one of his nails was bent out to the side. It must have gotten caught on something. I felt like such a bad mommy. They were booked up until Tuesday, but one of the techs fit us in. Oliver did not enjoy his nail trim one bit, but I hope he feels better now.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingHe seems to have forgiven me. He is camping out next to the air conditioning vent in the floor of my workroom. That is one of his favorite spots. Forehead pets make him feel better too.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingScooter, one of the cats from next door, has decided that he is running away from home. He wants to know if I can provide refreshments. Scooter shows up at the back door every day he can, every time he hears dishes in the kitchen. He shows up for breakfast. He shows up for dinner. He waits by the back door in the dark.

Scooter, gray and white cat at the back door, asking for food, by Elizabeth RuffingWhen I try to feed Santana, he jumps in front of him and sticks his head in the bowl. Santana has decided Scooter is crazy and he is not going to mess with him. Sometimes, Scooter’s brother, Trouble, is out on the back deck too, but he usually heads to the front porch, to see if he can get past Santana for some dry food. Scooter prefers wet food and has figured out that you ask for that at the back door.

Scooter, gray and white cat napping on the back deck, by Elizabeth RuffingWhen he gets tired, sometimes he takes a nap outside the back door, just in case a can of food happens to come rolling by.

Scooter, gray and white cat napping on the back deck, by Elizabeth RuffingI emailed my neighbor to suggest getting Scooter tested for hyperthyroidism. We have had cats with it, and I have been told it seems to be common in our area. The desperation for food, combined with his weight loss makes it a possibility. He also howls occasionally, for no apparent reason, which can be another sign.

Scooter, gray and white cat at the back door, asking for food, by Elizabeth RuffingThe cats inside the house are used to cats showing up at the door. They watch each other as they go about their daily activities. Juno makes sure she puts on a good show, demolishing whatever she can find in the living room and kitchen. This is the cardboard insert for her Star Chaser toy, the circular track with a light-up ball. Good thing we ordered extra inserts.

Juno, orange kitten, playing with her Star Chaser cardboard insert, by Elizabeth RuffingI had better go amass another stack of fleece rectangles, or take a nap, or combine both a stack of fleece and a nap.

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Juno, Junonimo! An unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth Ruffing, abandoned kittens care

I got an unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

The day after my last post, our friend Cheryl found this four-week old baby screaming by the side of the highway outside her house, at 1am.

Cheryl has been finding kittens in need of rescue almost every other day lately. She had to go to work in the morning, after staying up much of the night, trying to get the very upset kitten to eat, and put out a call for help.

I had no experience bottle feeding kittens, but I knew they have to be fed frequently and kept warm. I was home, and met her at the plaza to take the little one, who was still screaming, home with me.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingCheryl had given her a bath, but couldn’t get her to eat on her own. Cheryl gave me some KMR, kitten milk replacer/formula, which is available at pet supply stores, along with a bottle for feeding kittens. Walmart had a version of kitten formula as well. Cheryl had some because, as I said, she keeps finding kittens.

Kitten formula needs to be mixed and then warmed first, before feeding it to kittens. Best Friends has more detailed information abandoned kitten care about what and how much to feed rescued kittens, how often to feed them depending on their age, and how to care for them. At four weeks, they are ready for gruel, kitten food mixed with formula.

I couldn’t get the kitten to eat on her own either. I tried putting a little mashed-up gruel of KMR and kitten food in her mouth with a syringe, but that didn’t work so well. I was concerned about potentially choking her, by trying to feed her with the syringe. She needed to take it in at her own pace, and it is hard to release food gradually with a syringe. She had to eat every few hours or so.

Newborn kittens have to eat more frequently. They should stay with their mothers at least until they are weaned, and should only be taken to be hand fed if you are certain they are orphaned or have no mother cat to nurse them. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has more detailed information about abandoned newborn kittens, what to do, and what not to do, if you find them.

My mom and I tried wet kitten food, dry kitten food, dry kitten food softened with water and KMR, but she wouldn’t take it on her own.

Finally, I got her to eat by putting the gruel in the palm of my hand. I cupped my hand, and put a small amount of dry food softened with water mixed with KMR formula, warmed, in the palm of my hand. I sat in a chair, with her on my lap, and held my cupped hand right near her muzzle. She stuck her nose in there, and kneaded me, while she ate.

She wanted to travel around my chest and neck. So, I kept moving my cupped hand with the gruel, offering it to her wherever she felt like kneading. Her face got messy, and so did I, but she was eating! Whew. We offered her food this way every three hours or so.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingAny found animals should be kept separated from your other pets, at least for a couple of weeks, until they have the okay from the vet that they are in good health. Everyone needs to be up to date on their vaccines too. An extra room is best, but we didn’t have an extra room available right away.

I set her up in our extra bunny bin, which is smaller than Oliver’s. She yelled for a while, but then calmed down. I’m sure she was terrified, being left the way she was. She was only 14 ounces. She was extremely lucky that Cheryl found her and rescued her.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingMy mom and I took turns feeding her and cleaning her up. Best Friends has more detailed information about cleaning kittens, as young ones need to be gently cleaned with a warm damp cotton ball, to help them go to the bathroom after they eat too.

We took her to the vet for a checkup, and got some other dry kitten food. We found that she liked to eat the softened dry kitten food out of the palms of our hands, so she could “nurse.”

The vet explained to us we would have to show her how to eat out of a bowl. We put a bowl right next to her, with the food, while she ate food from our palms. She was still kneading, like she was nursing from our palms. We tried to guide her over to the bowl, while she ate, adding food from the bowl, to our palms. Eventually, she tried taking it from the bowl, but not consistently.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingEven now, we are still supplementing her diet with KMR, which she laps from her bowl, and she is, at long last, eating dry kitten food on her own.

She is very fussy about food, and we have to change varieties to keep her interested. She likes big cat dry food. That is probably because she likes to play hockey with the larger nuggets. She won’t touch canned food. She has strong preferences.

Juno, orange kitten, climbing a chair by Elizabeth RuffingShe has a feisty personality. She takes on everyone and everything in the house.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking the lettering on a box, by Elizabeth RuffingShe was showing the lettering on our cardboard boxes who the boss was too.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingOur vet said we can expect another couple of months of that, while she tries to prove to everyone that she is the alpha cat, which is odd because of her tiny size. He said once she establishes her position, she will stop trying to make her point. We’ll see.

I named her Juno, after the powerful Roman goddess, and after the independent Juno of the film by the same name. My mom dubbed her “Junonimo,” after Geronimo.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingShe loves to bite. I use a baby rattle to distract her so I can pry my hands loose, when I need to use them for something other than kitten chew toys.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe can be relentless.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking her reflection, by Elizabeth RuffingHer own reflection is not excused either. She is a fierce warrior.

Juno, orange kitten, napping, by Elizabeth RuffingLuckily, she takes long naps.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe has become an avid fan of our household game, “Ropey.” I had to get an extra cord because she tries to take it for herself and won’t always give it back.

Juno, orange kitten, with Ropey, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is getting leggy, but is still a pipsqueak.

Juno, orange kitten, approaching the big world outdoors, by Elizabeth RuffingOliver Bunny was prepared to like her, but has found her to be completely without manners.

Oliver Bunny finds the kitten to be rude, by Elizabeth RuffingI have to keep her away from him, until she calms down.

Juno, orange kitten, jumping on Jude, by Elizabeth RuffingRight now, most of what she knows of social interaction is smacking and biting and wrestling. The adult cats are supposed to teach her how to behave, by scolding her, if she gets too nervy. Jude is playing papa to her. The vet said if he hisses at her, he is just doing his job, teaching her what is okay and what isn’t.

Juno, orange kitten, napping next to me, by Elizabeth Ruffing Yesterday, she gave me a head bump, purred, and licked my nose, which was a nice change. Then she bit me, but progress is progress.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is super fast. I have to confine her while I clean up Oliver’s litter in the morning, or she dives right into his bunny bin.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingHe doesn’t like that at all. He grunts at her and gets upset. She likes to run inside his Twigloo house. I’m hoping they will be friends when she calms down.

The three of us, bunny, kitten, and I, did manage to watch a movie together, “Fright Night,” which I thought was fitting for a vampire kitten. She was afraid when the characters were fighting, of all things. I kept the baby rattle on hand, for the moments when she got her own ideas.

Liquitex Fabric Medium and custom-printed eyeballs, by Elizabeth RuffingIn between feeding, cleaning, and kitten monitoring, I painted bunches of eyeballs and worked on a box of toys. I sealed a lot of my custom-printed eyeballs and emblems with my Liquitex Fabric Medium.

Hug Me Bunnies and Hug Me Kittens, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI cut them out and pinned them to toys, and I’ve been hand embroidering them onto fleece bunnies, kittens, slugs, and sock monsters.

Hug Me Monsters, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingThese are photos of the toys in progress. I will post finished toys on our Ruffing’s shop. I’ll make blog posts for them separately, since my kitten photo album on this post is big!