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Miss Foxy Loxie

Fox, out nibbling my patch of long grass, before ducking back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingMy beautiful fox friend I mentioned in my last post, made another appearance and I was able to get some photographs. I took these from a distance.

Fox, out nibbling my patch of long grass, before ducking back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingShe came in the early evening to nibble on the long grass I left in the back yard. The grassy patch has become popular with crickets. I am sure mice, bunnies, deer and snakes like it too. It got too long to mow, because there is a wet patch underneath it, and it grows too quickly to maintain. So, I let it grow. I am not brave enough to try to walk through it any more.

Fox, out nibbling my patch of long grass, before ducking back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingWhen she was done pulling seeds off the grass, she trotted back to the woods, as she usually does, after looking around a little.

Fox, on her way back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is so pretty. Our vet said to stay away from her, and don’t leave any food, like cat food, out or encourage her in any way. I leave water out for the animals, which he said is fine. He also told me to watch for any unusual behavior, like not running away when she should, but she seems to be healthy and normal. One of our neighbors clapped his hands at her and she did run. The vet said that is a good sign, but to be careful because foxes can be carriers of rabies, even if they are not symptomatic.

Fox, on her way back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingI get worried that people will get worried about her being around. I want her to be able to go peacefully on her way. I am hoping she will have the sense to avoid coming out in front of everyone, but she seems used to being near people. She hasn’t shown any interest in chasing cats, but I worry about that too. I have told my immediate neighbors who have cats outside that I have seen her out in the evenings, to be cautious. I have also told them she seems normal and healthy.

Fox, ducking back into the woods, by Elizabeth RuffingI am wondering if she has fox pups in the woods. She always comes and goes at the same spot. I used to see eggshells on the lawn and in the woods, but I hadn’t seen a fox in years. People in the neighborhood have chickens and ducks. I hear a rooster on the other side of the trees. Maybe she set up her home to be near them, or maybe she just makes the rounds.

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Slugs, disembodied dandelions, and flying fur

Hug Me Slugs, assorted colors, 12 inche plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingI am now stuffing and detailing the Hug Me Slugs I have started. It has been too gray to photograph these, but we should get a sunny day soon. These are the larger, 12 inch tall ones. I hope to post them in my toy shop soon, and keep finishing and posting more.

Green Giant Arborvitae, by Elizabeth RuffingIt is finally slightly cooler and it even rained a little, making it possible for me to get another tree in the ground. I am putting in a row of Green Giant Arborvitae, to block the sound from the road, and to enclose the yard. I will be so happy when fall arrives. I am going to keep planting.

Beetle on ageratum, by Elizabeth RuffingI wandered around, taking some photos this morning. The flowers are losing their blooms, but I still find them pretty, like these ageratum. Our friend Linda, back in our old neighborhood, gave some to me, from her yard, and they have continued to reproduce every year.

Purple ageratum and white morning glories, by Elizabeth RuffingIt is nice to have flowers and trees and bushes from our old home. I hope to add more here to make it feel more comfortable and familiar to me.

Purple ageratum and pink morning glory, by Elizabeth RuffingThe morning glories came with this house, and have continued replanting themselves for the past fourteen years we have been here.

Purple morning glory, by Elizabeth RuffingI love this dark purple one.

Purple morning glory, by Elizabeth RuffingIt is pretty even with its leaves all chewed.

Redstar red morning glory, by Elizabeth RuffingI have no idea where this tiny red morning glory came from. It was suddenly blooming at the end of the porch this morning, having made its way up a bush.

Dandelion, by Elizabeth RuffingWhile prowling around the yard, I found one of the few remaining dandelion flowers. The wind was blowing while I tried to get it into focus. It looks like it is floating through green space.

Abandoned mockingbird nest, by Elizabeth RuffingI also came across the abandoned mockingbird nest in my beauty bush. I kind of wish I could climb in there. It looks like a good place to hide out, if you are tiny.

Moss on tree bark, by Elizabeth RuffingEven decaying things look beautiful. I keep passing this moss on tree bark.

Big white tree mushroom, by Elizabeth RuffingI found a giant mushroom too. I wish I knew what kind this was. If anyone knows, please tell me. I loved to collect them when I was little. Bird nests and mushrooms make me think of homes for magical woodland creatures.

Big white tree mushroom, by Elizabeth Ruffing

Speaking of woodland creatures, a second little black kitten was spotted, twice now, running up to our front door in the dark, to quickly grab some snacks out from under Santana, when they are put out. As I mentioned before, we have been having strays showing up at our neighbors’ houses, then a kitten, and now a second kitten. I have been trying to trap here, hoping to get the kitten some veterinary help, since I can’t get to where the cats are coming out of the woods behind my next door neighbor’s garage, but it isn’t working.

Santana, orange cat, guarding cat trap by Elizabeth Ruffing

I turned our porch light on to see this happening, Santana guarding the trap door. So far, I have trapped him twice, and an opossum once. Santana thought that was funny. He was lying next to the trap when I came out to escort the opossum off the porch, and gave me a nod and a meow to let me know he wasn’t the one who fell for it that time.

Santana, orange cat, scratched nose by Elizabeth RuffingSantana, who comes from across the cul-de-sac from us, firmly believes our house is his house, and our yard is his yard. He has also been fighting with the cats who cross the lawn, chasing them away. He has bites and scratches every few days lately. He recovers from one set of injuries only to get new ones.

Santana, orange cat, scratched nose by Elizabeth RuffingThis morning, there was fur all over the lawn, and his face has some scratches. I don’t know who the other participant was, only that he was gray and possibly white. I think Santana’s Convenia shot will probably tide him over for these cuts. I hope the other cat is okay.

Fur all over the lawn, by Elizabeth RuffingIt’s tough to control the situation, when none of the cats involved are ours, and the strays are showing up for food at neighbors’ houses. I end up asking for them to trap where the cats are so they can get fixed and vaccinated. There isn’t much hope of any adult cat getting trapped on our property, not with Santana fighting with them, even if he does seem to tolerate kittens and opossums.

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Rainbow bugs and slugs

Rainbow Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThe rainbow bugs and slugs I was working on in my last post are all up and ready.

Rainbow Hug Me Bug and Hug Me Slug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Rainbow Hug Me Bug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’m still sewing together Hug Me Toad bodies.

Cobalt blue, Light Turquoise, and Bright Light Green Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI finished some solid color slugs too.

Bike trainer standWe are starting to get some hot days. I ordered a bike trainer so I could ride my bike in the living room, where I can enjoy air conditioning.

Kitty investigating bike trainer standI thought the “kittens” would be afraid, but they were both curious, especially Phoebe, who is the nosier of the two. They may be getting big to call kittens, especially Bertie, but they still look like kittens to us.

Bike trainer stand climbing blockI have a climbing block on the front tire to keep the bike level.

Elizabeth RuffingMy mom took some photos of me and I stitched these two together, clones of myself.

Miniature dollhouse-sized art doll kittens by Max BaileyI have more photos to edit of Max Bailey’s cat and kitten dolls. I’m in the process of getting these posted over on our Ruffing’s blog. The kittens above are, from left to right, Ingrid, Francine, Mitzi, Stephanie, and Lola.

Gomez, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI’m also going through my rescue cat and kitten photos of the past couple years, seeing what might work for the Alley Cats and Angels’ fundraiser calendar.

Edmund, Ginger Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingIt’s going to be black and white. I have to go back to the original files to get the right size for each, since they have to fit the calendar format.

Pugsley, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI have photos of lots of sweet kitties who have been in the rescue.

Wednesday, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingHope everyone had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend.

Waldo, Gray kitten by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Giggle Moon Photography, Design Revolution Online, Janean Bagley Lindner

Bright light green and bright yellow Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThese are two Hug Me Slugs I made for Giggle Moon Photography, in exchange for professional photographs of my toys with kids, something I was looking forward to having. The exchange was also supposed to include a feature in a children’s counting book, and free advertising in the book, on the web, on Facebook, and on the Giggle Moon Photography site. I sent these off to Janean Bagley Lindner, the owner, back in June of 2011, but, unfortunately, none of these things ever happened.

I had a hard time getting any response from Giggle Moon, but was told in two emails over the past seven months that there were reasons the work couldn’t be done, even though I continued to see photo sessions posted, throughout the same time period, on the Giggle Moon Facebook page. I’ve reported the incident to Etsy, and asked Giggle Moon to reimburse me for the toys. She promised me she would send payment for the toys, but she did not.

Update as of June 2012: Janean Lindner at Giggle Moon Photography never did pay for the toys she kept. Not one single payment. This is just stealing and it is fraud. I would beware of dealing with her. She has also since started a business under the name of Design Revolution Online, which is also on Facebook here, selling accessories and props for photographers. I have seen at least one contest on this Facebook page, making similar promises as the promises she made to me. Although she told me she could not work, she has continued to publicly post new work, and although she told me she did not have the funds to pay me, she has continued to publicly post about other things she has both bought and sold which cost more than she owes me. She does not respond when I contact her.

Update as of July 2012: I finally received payment for the toys, after emphasizing to her that what she was going was illegal, and pointing out I’d written about my experiences with her and her business online, as a warning to others. It has been over one full year since she received the toys. Although all of us, including me, go through hard times, I don’t feel that is an excuse for reneging on promises or taking things without paying for them. Everyone has a story, including me, but I don’t use hardship to try to take advantage of other people. I am relieved she settled her debt. It would have been better had she approached me on her own, at any point, to work something out with me. She should be thanking me for being as understanding and as patient as I have been. I waited over a year. She could have sent me six dollars a month and have been done with it in that time. She could have sent the toys right back, unopened and new, if she realized she couldn’t follow through. She has never asked me about my life, or my situation, and I don’t appreciate receiving emails from her trying to make me feel guilty for asking to be paid for my work, when I have done nothing wrong. No one should be subjected to emotional blackmail for trying to get paid. I will never send anything out again to anyone without payment up front.

I’d like to warn anyone on Etsy about participating in trades. I know I won’t be doing any more trades. Everything looked legitimate, and I’d had a good experience with sending my toys to be photographed for a TV show, with another Etsy member, who returned them in perfect condition, in short order. So, I thought this would be a similar experience, and am very displeased over the situation. This is my business. Even though it is pleasant to make toys, most of the time, I don’t do it for entertainment. I do it to make a living. I would never expect to walk into a store, take something, and not pay for it. I don’t expect anyone to do that with my shop either. If anyone else has had a similar experience, please report it to [email protected]. Etsy doesn’t mediate in trades, but they do investigate suspected scammers.

My very full workroom, by Elizabeth RuffingI am continuing to make my toys, and trying not to be angry. This is what my workroom looks like right now, filled with fabric and projects, with hardly any room for me. As you can see, I am not some big toy company, but one person, working from home, making toys by hand. I don’t wholesale, and I don’t send out free samples. I send toys directly to their new homes, where I hope they will be appreciated and loved.