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Himalayan Cat Art Doll with a Pocket Kitten, part two, three, and four

Ruby the calico cat sniffs my mom’s Himalayan cat art doll in progress

My mom is painting again! She is making progress on her mama Himalayan cat art doll. I have been taking video of her painting, while trying not to get in the way. Our calico cats, Ruby and Emily, like to help.

First my mom painted her cat doll’s lace cuffs and collar. Then she painted her blouse a deep blue. She added some pale pink kitty “knickers” and then striped socks, in two shades of blue.

Himalayan cat art doll with pink bloomers and blue striped socks

Here is the video of her painting the lace cuffs:

This the video of my mom painting her blouse:

And the video of her painting her blue striped socks:

It takes a steady hand to paint those stripes with one hand, while holding her doll in the other hand.

I mailed off these two custom fleece Hug Me Slug stuffed animal art toys. They were made to celebrate an eleventh birthday and their recipient picked out the colors he wanted, including the colors for the eyes, which were custom printed on fleece. I hand stitched them on with a blanket stitch.

Light green and dark purple Hug Me Slug stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing

I’ve also been puttering around with vintage dolls and their clothing. My favorites are my Ideal Toni dolls, American Character Sweet Sue dolls, and Effanbee Honey dolls, from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Vintage P-91 Ideal Toni doll in a pink cotton pinafore with cotton voile top

I’ve been washing their clothing and working on making sewing patterns for them. I’ve also been cleaning the dolls and need to restring some of them.

Vintage Toni doll clothing, air drying after hand washing

My goal is to make some handmade doll clothing to sell, along with sewing patterns for doll clothes.

My handmade bodice pattern from an original Toni doll dress

I added a doll from this century to my doll clothing models. I think she is my first doll from the 2000’s! She is a Ruby Red Fashion Friends doll named Sara, and she is very sweet. I even made an “unboxing video” because I always see those and thought it might be fun to record my reaction. Here is my unboxing video:

Ruby Red Fashion Friends Doll, Sara, Dianna Effner Sculpt, Unboxing and Review

I think she is quite charming and she has already made friends with Lila Lovebunny and Chelsea the Maine Coon cat.

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Custom fabric, with a special side order of Amoxicillin

Custom fabric printed eyeballs and emblems
I got some more custom fabric printed with my eyeballs and emblems.

Custom fabric printed on fleece eyeballs and superhero emblems by Elizabeth RuffingSince I last wrote about getting eyeballs for my toys printed on custom fabric from Fabric on Demand, which came out great, I went a bit berserko and decided I needed about eight billion varieties.

Oliver Bunny white rabbit sitting on Poly-Fil stuffing by Elizabeth RuffingI contacted Oliver Bunny’s veterinarian and asked what shaped pupils he thought various animals would have, round or oval, and if the oval pupils would be vertical or horizontal. I am lucky he and his colleagues enjoy questions.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs and emblems by Elizabeth RuffingThen I went about designing an exhausting array of colored eyeballs, most of which don’t exist in nature, with both round and oval pupils, along with emblems for my superhero stuffed animals, my Super Slugs and Wonder Bunnies.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingIt took a while to get my custom fabric back from the printer, but my eyeballs and emblems look pretty awesome.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingThey came out of the washer and dryer a little softer looking, which is no surprise with fleece, since it has a fuzzy texture. I am trying to decide if I want to pre-wash my fleece custom fabric. If I do, I will do it by hand, by gently dunking it in the sink, and hang it to dry next time, to preserve the sharpness. The blacks came out nice and black too.

Update: I decided not to pre-wash the eyes and emblems, because I needed to coat them with some Liquitex fabric medium, to make sure the edges didn’t fray when I cut them out, which sealed the surface and made pre-washing unnecessary.

Custom fabric color map printed on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingI downloaded a color map with the hex code numbers for a rainbow of colors, from the popular custom fabric printing business, Spoonflower. I moved the row of blacks and grays to the bottom so I could make the color map a little wider, since fleece fabric is wider than cotton. It still fit on a yard, and I printed that as well.

If you would like to use this wider color map file for custom fabric, I saved it here. It is 42 inches wide and 36 inches long. So, it will fit on one yard of fabric. It was printed at 150dpi, which is what Fabric on Demand recommended. It is good to have, so you can see what the colors you are picking in Photoshop will look like when printed on fabric.

Super Slug stuffed animal superhero in progress by Elizabeth Ruffing and cape fabricsI am working on revising my Super Slug stuffed animal superhero pattern. I ordered some special cape fabrics. I’m going to make a Wonder Bunny plush rabbit superhero cohort for him.

Custom fabric printed superhero emblems, eyeballs, and animal faces on fleece by Elizabeth RuffingI’m also going to make some Hug Me Lambs stuffed animals, and I think, some lop-earred bunnies similar to the lambs, with fleece faces and ears, and either cotton print or fleece bodies.

Cotton planet and stars quilting fabrics from Brooklyn Fabric CompanyI just received a group of really pretty planet and star fabrics, to use for capes for my superhero plush toys, from Brooklyn Fabric Company in Iowa. They have a sale until tomorrow, and they shipped them very quickly.

Granuloma annulare rash on my arm, Elizabeth RuffingIn other news…I’ve been feeling so tired! I know it seems like I’ve been doing a lot, but I have had so much fatigue.

The other night, I was saying to my mom that I thought something had to be wrong with me. At first, I thought it was sleep deprivation, and it may be, but I have also had this strange circular rash under my arm for at least a couple of months, maybe even four months, after my lymph nodes under my arm were swollen, assuming I would have seen it then.

I was concerned it was Lyme disease. My mom was sure that kind of rash always had a red center. I got worried and looked online. Looking online is a good way to get more worried! I found that, with a Lyme disease rash, sometimes the red center disappears, because your immune system attacks the bite area first.

After a lot of rigamarole sorting out my insurance in regard to where I was allowed to go, I ended up at an Urgent Care. Since the tests they have for Lyme are unreliable, and they don’t do them at Urgent Care anyway, if you present for Lyme, they usually go ahead and treat you for it. The doctor didn’t think it was Lyme, but we treated me for it just in case. I picked up my giant horse pills, three weeks of Amoxicillin, three times a day. Whoopee. I started taking them last night. My mom cheerfully said, “Only 59 to go!” Ick.

Update: After testing and biopsies, we found out my circular rash was granuloma annulare, which is harmless, with no clear cause. My white blood cell count however keeps coming back high. We’re still trying to figure that out along with the cause of my fatigue.

Oliver Bunny, white rabbit chewing on a cardboard box by Elizabeth RuffingI have bushes and trees to plant and a certain little furry man to take for his checkup. I’ll see how I do. I’ve been warned to expect some side effects from the Amoxicillin.

Psychologically, I felt better last night, since I was blaming myself for feeling so tired. I’ve had a couple of inquiries about custom toys, and one night this past week, I felt so overwhelmed, I thought I would have to say I couldn’t do them. I felt like I couldn’t make any toys at all. I’ve had trouble even thinking straight lately, although I am feeling better and more rested now. I felt like I needed to go to the rest home and take a long, long nap.

I have been feeling guilty too, that I haven’t gotten my toys done. I’ve had the same nine monsters in progress since the beginning of January. I am hoping the antibiotic and some sleep will turn me around.

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A teal slug and my Spoonflower eyeball experiment results

Teal fleece Hug Me Slug stuffed animal art toy with a polka-dotted heart by Elizabeth RuffingI have a new teal fleece Hug Me Slug joining my other stuffed animal plushies over our shop. I forgot to mention before that I now have the domains and pointing to put website, so it will be easier to find us.

Jojo, tuxedo cat, lying in a pile of cat toys on the bed, Elizabeth RuffingWe’ve been hanging around home, avoiding the shoppers. Jojo did her own shopping and got all the cat toys, while Henrietta was occupied.

I hurried in to the vet to get Oliver Bunny his checkup and nail trim, before the traffic at the shopping centers started. He met a girl bunny named Daphne in the adoption room there.

Daphne, little white bunny, Elizabeth RuffingDaphne

She liked him and nibbled on her cage to try to touch noses with him. He was hesitant. The vet asked if they made googly eyes at each other, and I told him she did, but he was nervous. He said, “Poor Daphne. She came on too strong.” Oliver finally settled back in by TV time. I told him I was sorry. He had the same reaction to the other two girl bunnies there, who were there the last time too. He doesn’t mind if big fat Santana jumps in my lap with him, or if Henrietta props her leg on his back while she gives herself a bath, but he isn’t sure about bunnies.

Santana is healing up and in a great mood. He appears to be enjoying the cats being closed up next door. Their new cat sitter showed up, which was a relief. I was afraid the same kid who didn’t take care of them before might be not taking care of them again. This one seems to be doing a good job of showing up daily.

Spoonflower Minky color mapSo…I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I ordered a color map of Minky fabric from Spoonflower and then a fat quarter with my toy eyeballs printed on their Minky as well.

Spoonflower Minky eyeballs printed on a fat quarterI’ll repeat those two photos here, above, to be more organized. As I said before, the fabric itself was nice and soft, and the colors were pretty. But I was a little worried about white showing through since the black didn’t cover the fibers all the way down to the base. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for my eyeballs, as you can see below. The white showed through as I sewed, and the black edges of my circles got mixed with white. Everything was wobbling and mixing. (I used Photoshop to paste my eyeballs photos onto a clearer backgrounds, and so the edges shown are actually cleaner and neater than they were in reality.)

Spoonflower Minky eyeball sewn with no stabilizerAt first, I tried sewing the eyeball with no Wonder-Under paper-backed fusible stabilizer on the Minky, which made a bigger mess, since the outside edges were moving. I thought maybe if I were to stabilize the fabric, I might have better results.

Spoonflower Minky white circle sewn with Wonder-UnderIt looked a lot better, sewing with the Wonder-Under, as you can see above, or at least it did with just the white.

Spoonflower Minky eyeball with Wonder-Under fused to backgroundI fused a printed eyeball onto fabric with Wonder-Under, and you can see above that the black fibers were not making an even line and the white ones weren’t either. That is just the nature of the pile being too long for my project.

Oddly, the eyeballs that were printed along the edge of the fat quarter were ovals instead of circles. The Minky is a knit and it must have stretched along the edges while going through the printer.

Spoonflower Minky eyeball with Wonder-Under fused to background and sewnWhen I tried sewing the fused eyeballs down, I had the same problems, with the white and black getting mixed up and everything losing its shape. The eyeball above was a slightly smaller eyeball, which came out even worse. I tried to accent the white dot in the pupil with embroidery floss, but that didn’t work.

The Minky fabric might work well for a blanket, but I think anything stuffed tightly, or with smaller seams, or with top stitching would probably have white showing through the colors.

Spoonflower Faux Suede white circle with Wonder-Under fused to background and sewnI thought I might have better luck using a lower-pile fabric and I chose Spoonflower’s Faux Suede to try. I used the stabilizer again, and it came out pretty neat. I thought I might get lucky this time.

Spoonflower Minky eyeballs compared to blackUnfortunately again, there was a problem. Above are my eyeballs printed on Minky, with a skein of black DMC floss for comparison. You can see they are close to black.

Spoonflower Faux Suede eyeballs compared to blackAbove are my same eyeballs printed on Faux Suede, and you can see they are not black, but charcoal gray. My black in my file was hex color #000000, black as black can be.

The colors on my colored eyeballs, below, came out well, but the blacks were still gray. By the way, if you are making a file to print, be sure to use the type of file in the resolution you need at the beginning, so color information doesn’t get thrown out when you make the file smaller. Spoonflower uses 150 dpi. I used 150 dpi (ppi) and a .png file. I tried a .jpeg and kept having issues with my hex color #’s changing after I uploaded my files. I did double check my colors by downloading my files from the site, after uploading them to the site, to make sure my colors were the same. They were.

Spoonflower Faux Suede colored eyeballs compared to blackI thought there might be a mistake and wrote to Spoonflower, but there was no mistake. They just can’t print black on some fabrics, and have trouble printing black in general. They said their fabrics that get blacker blacks are Basic Cotton Ultra, Satin, Performance Knit and Performance Pique, but none of those are fuzzy like my toy eyes, plus the edges would fray on them if I were to try to sew them on by hand with a blanket stitch, as I do.

They were nice and sent me a refund on everything after I returned the fabrics to them. I only had to cover the postage to send the fabrics back. They also sent everything out right away, which was great. It was just disappointing about the blacks. I am going to try Fabric On Demand, another custom fabric printer, who carries fleece, to see how they do. They responded right away, but so far they have taken longer to send a sample. We’ll see how it looks. I hope I can find something that works for me.

Update: Both Fabric on Demand and Spoonflower have fleece now, and the black comes out nicely on both. I coated my eyeballs with some Liquitex Fabric Medium to make sure the edges didn’t fray when I cut them out. 

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My Halloween cat pumpkin and Spoonflower eyeball experiment

Halloween cat pumpkin by Elizabeth RuffingBoo! I don’t think I had carved a pumpkin for Halloween since high school, maybe college. Santana’s mom gave me one, and the day before Halloween, I decided to give it a go.

Halloween cat pumpkin by Elizabeth RuffingI sketched a quick template on paper, folded it in half, and cut it out, so I could trace the lines onto the pumpkin with a pencil. Then I used whatever I could find to carve it, a steak knife, an X-Acto knife, and a little stabby knife of undetermined categorization.

Halloween cat pumpkin by Elizabeth RuffingFirst, I “drew” the lines with the X-Acto knife. Then I chipped the surface away where I wanted yellow, with the X-Acto knife. Then I used the steak knife and the stabby knife to cut all the way through where I wanted the holes. I cut the top and scooped out the inside when I was done cutting. I made a bit of a mess, but filled in the lines and pupils with some acrylic craft paint.

I set an emergency candle in a cat food can, first dripping a little wax into the can to get the candle to stand up. Santana kept the cat pumpkin, which was made in his honor, company while we had trick-or-treaters.

Santana the cat at the door for Halloween by Elizabeth RuffingWe had the best Halloween in years here, only about fifteen kids, which is more than usual, but they had great costumes. One family came with the mom and baby as astronauts, and the dad as the universe. He was all in black, with white lights across himself, so as he held the baby, the baby appeared to be floating through the sky.

One adorably baby lion tried to crawl up the steps. I met him halfway with the bowl of candy.

My favorite was a little superhero, maybe three years old. He had seen the Corgis at the previous stop, and wanted to know if we had any animals he could see. I told him I had a bunny rabbit. He looked incredulous, and said in a surprisingly low, gruff voice, “I wanna see the bunny rabbit.” I showed him Oliver, through the safety of the door, and they were both very curious about each other. The superhero made all kinds of grimaces. I’m not sure he believed Oliver was real, until Oliver reached out his head for a better look. That got a hilarious grimace and a big bizarre pirate laugh. I was still laughing the next day.

Piles of fleece all pre-washed and folded and by Elizabeth RuffingI took apart all those pajamas I got on clearance, and fleece throws this week. They are now pre-washed and folded, waiting for me with about a gazillion other lengths of fleece. I was going to try creating a design and ordering some Spoonflower fabric for toys, but thought, since I have so much fleece, I would try having them print eyeballs instead. I made up a repeat pattern in Photoshop Elements, and uploaded it to their site. It was straightforward, once I got the dpi of my image to 150 at the size I wanted.

Spoonflower eyeballs by Elizabeth Ruffing printed on Minky, fat quarterI got my fat quarter in the mail this morning, printed on their Minky fabric. It looks pretty good. There is a small amount of stretching of my circles, near the edge. I don’t know if the black is as black as I might like, but the dye seems to have saturated the surface pretty well. That was my biggest concern, that white would show through the black. I am pre-washing the fat quarter right now, putting it through my usual steps. I will see how it comes out, once sewn on some slugs.

I think the printed eyeballs may be more consistent in shape and pupil placement than the ones I make by sewing the black onto the white. I don’t want them to lose their charm, but they will probably continue to be wonky enough for my satisfaction. 🙂 I may need to interface the backs so they don’t wiggle too much as I sew them on by hand.

Hug Me Slugs fleece plush animal stuffed toys in progress by Elizabeth RuffingThis is the current group of Hug Me Slugs I am working on. Thank you all for continuing to leave me such nice reviews. Aside from helping me out, those cheer me up. Getting appreciation back is great and helps me keep going, making things. It can be hard, working in a bubble of sorts, from home, so those mean a lot to me. I have been feeling better than I have in a while. Got to go get back to my sewing!