Posted on

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max Bailey

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyBe careful about what you ask Eloise. She has a reputation for always being honest. She never fails to tell you exactly what she thinks.

Lillie, Edith, Eloise, and Cleo, Original One-of-a-kind  Cat Art Dolls by Max Bailey“Do you like my dress?” her friend asks. Eloise responds that she might like the dress, if it weren’t pink. That’s as diplomatic as she can be. She doesn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Edith and Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Cat Art Dolls by Max Bailey“Don’t you think I’m the prettiest girl in the class?” another friend asks.

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max Bailey“No,” answers Eloise. “Suzie is the prettiest girl in the class, but you might be the next prettiest.”

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max Bailey“I wish my friends would stop asking me questions,” Eloise sighs. “They never like the answers.”

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyEloise is wearing a pretty green gingham pinafore, with a wide ruffle around the bib. It looks very nice over her pale green blouse with the white collar and cuffs, and with her darker green tights. Golden brown high-button shoes cover her little kitty feet. Under her pinafore she wears white pantaloons, from which her orange striped tail emerges.

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyEloise is an original one-of-a-kind work of art, created from my own design and pattern. She is made from 100% cotton fabric which has been sewn , stuffed, and completely hand painted with acrylic paints. Her whiskers are made from stiffened cotton thread.

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyEloise’s paws are needle-sculpted, and her arms are button-jointed so that she can pose. Her face was sculpted from paperclay smoothed into her fabric head.

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyEloise has a curled tail which enables her to sit by herself on a shelf or a table, or in a cabinet. She can also sit on a chair or stand with a doll stand. (Chair and doll stand not included.)

Eloise and Edith, Original One-of-a-kind Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyEloise is signed and sealed with matte varnish for protection and preservation. She is 8 and 1/2 inches tall.

Eloise, Original One-of-a-kind Ginger Tabby Cat Art Doll by Max BaileyUpdate: Eloise has been adopted. Thank you!

Eloise’s friends are Lillie the white cat, Edith the tabby-and-white cat (coming soon), and Cleo the Siamese cat.

Posted on

Happy Slugs Return to Capistrano Day!

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingAccording to legend, on Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19th of every year, large flocks of cliff swallows, gathered together on the last leg of their long annual migratory flight from Argentina, would arrive at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California, nesting in the crossbeams, under the eaves, in the corners, everywhere they could attach their gourd shaped nests, all around the old mission that was founded back in 1776.

Visitors from all parts of the world would visit to witness the return of swallows.

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingWhat no one knew, until more recently, when Thomas and Ruth Roy submitted their official holiday entry form to Chase’s Calendar of Events, was that, when the swallows return to Capistrano, all the slugs leave. It can only be imagined that the slugs fear for their lives, given the huge increase in the bird population.

This day, observed on May 28th, is known as “Slugs Return from Capistrano Day”.

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingThe famous swallows’ yearly farewell to Capistrano is celebrated on October 23rd, when they are said to circle the mission before heading back to Argentina. This day must be celebrated by the slugs as well, as they can then safely go back to vacationing in Capistrano, which is understood to be lovely.

They get to stay there all winter, swallow free.

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingOver the past 15 years, or so, Tom and Ruth Roy have added other humorous holidays to our calendar, including “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night”, celebrated August 8th, “Stay Home Because You’re Well Day”, celebrated on November 30th, which happens to be Tom Roy’s birthday, and “International Moment of Frustration Scream Day”, celebrated on October 12th. Chase’s has made them all official, and has placed them in their book, along with Labor Day, and other more serious occasions.

An editor at Chase’s once said that the Roys are probably America’s biggest holiday makers, after the president and Congress.

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingSo, since their return is officially recognized, be sure to wish the slugs a fond welcome back to your gardens and patios on May 28th. And Happy Slugs Return from Capistrano Day to you!

Posted on

Tens or twenties

Hug Me Art Toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, in progressI kept forgetting what day it was, and getting lost in the all things I have to do, and want to do. So, I decided I needed to break my toy making down into manageable chunks. I’m not very good with making schedules, because I can’t really tell how long it will take me to make a toy or a doll. They take as long as they take. Rushing only causes me to make mistakes. Instead of trying to make a time schedule, I thought it would be better to give myself sets of toys to work on, in numbers I can hold easily in my mind. Missing a self-imposed deadline only makes me feel bad, but striving to complete ten or twenty toys is an attainable goal that makes me feel more in control. Above is part of my first group, fleece Hug Me Kittens and Bunnies. There is also a yellow Alley Cat Angel sock kitten on the way.

Hug Me Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, cotton print fabricsThese are the first two art toys, in my first set of ten. I haven’t made any cotton print Hug Me Slugs for a long time. I had started these before, and left them unfinished. The appliquéd cotton toys tend to be challenging, especially in regard to stuffing them. Whenever I make any, I vow to never make any more. My first Hug Me Slugs were all of this variety, and I made quite a few of them. I’m not sure where I found the patience. I have other dolls of this type, still waiting to be finished, like my Lucy Dolls. Eventually, I will get myself to finish them. I was proud of myself when I finished these today. The green Hug Me Slug can be found here in my Etsy toy shop, and the pink polka dot Hug Me Slug can be found here.

Batik fabricsFeeling encouraged, after completing these cotton Hug Me Slugs, I picked up a few batik fabrics this afternoon. I’m going to hand sew fleece features onto them. I really like batiks, and have others in my stash I’d like to try too. I’ll see how my first experiments look.

Alley Cats and Angels of NC TNR projectI uploaded my TNR photos from Mother’s Day to the Alley Cats and Angels Facebook page. You can view the Spring Hope album here. My Mother’s Day photos start a few photos into the album. I added play-by-play captions too, like the last time. The fast food cat-trapping photos are in this album. The photo above is what my mom calls Marie’s jungle combat photo. There is a tabby cat on the roof, taunting Marie with her indifference.

Alley Cats and Angels of NC TNR projectThe tabby eventually came down, and she was spayed and vaccinated the next day.

Alley Cats and Angels of NC TNR projectThe kittens all saw the vet, got medications to take, and are doing well. The little hissing one stopped hissing too.

Empress Josephine, loungingOur own Josephine, who also came from a hoarding-type situation, seems to have left her past behind completely. She is getting spoiled, and enjoying it very much. Tia suggested she needs someone to fan her with palm fronds now. I’m sure if Josephine ever learns of this, she will demand someone perform this task immediately.

Posted on

Blue-spotted sock toads and Mother’s Day kittens

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots The mom of a girl named Emily, who has a collection of my Hug Me Toads, wrote to tell me that Emily’s grandma let her pick her own birthday gift this year, and a Hug Me Toad was her first choice. I thought that was so great. I felt very touched hearing that. Emily picked out her own colors, from the socks I had, green with blue polka dots, with an orange fleece heart. It turned out to be a super combination. I liked it so much, I made a toad sibling with a tomato-red-orange heart too.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots The first toad is already on his way to Emily and the one with the tomato-red-orange heart is in my Etsy toy shop.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots Another of my Hug Me Slugs left for France today. He stopped to pose with the toads before they got ready to go. One of my Super Slugs went to Paris just last week. My slugs are becoming well traveled.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots I am still working on getting more sock dolls and fleece animals together. I will add them as I get them ready.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots My workroom is full of fleece and socks right now!

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots This is my redone hang tag for my Hug Me Toads. I’ve been going through all my tags, sprucing up the designs a little.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, hang tag I also scanned and resized our art doll body pattern for Max Bailey, and Max got right to work. I expected to see one or two bodies when I went in to look, but there are five! Max is always puzzled by my tendency to make things in groups, and I always say it is easier for me that way. So, I was extra surprised to see a group sitting on the desk.

Doll bodies by Max BaileyOn Mother’s Day, I went along with local rescue volunteers to see a huge group of real kitties. They have been working hard to TNR, trap-neuter/spay-return, a colony of feral cats. I went along to take photos, and took a tremendous number of them. They “debriefed me” on the way there, because the size of the colony was a shock to them when they first arrived. I had already seen photos, and so I was prepared for that part. I wasn’t quite prepared for the surroundings. There were also lots of goats and dogs on the property, which is owned by an older man, who appears to have a disability which gives him limited mobility. He has been trying to take care of all these animals himself, and more and more strays kept arriving. The rescue responded to his call for help, even though it is an hour trip each way, because there were no similar resources available to him where he lives. They’ve been working very hard for weeks, to trap all the cats and get them spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Several litters of kittens were newly born when they first arrived, and many of them disappeared.

Spring Hope rescue kittensWhile they were busy trapping cats, something they needed to do for hours, trying to get the few remaining unfixed cats, I wandered around the property, which had many, many old, abandoned pens and coops, looking for kittens. They found this first one, under the front porch, and I managed to reach in and grab him or her. He was in pretty good shape.

Then I went back to looking through the pens. Sadly, I saw a dead kitten, apparently killed by some predator, in one of the pens, and went in to look for others. It appeared that no one had been in the pen in a long time, probably years, and there were no open doors. The mama cat had to have carried the kittens in, over the roof. I squeezed inside, whacking at the tall weeds with a flashlight, not sure what might be in there, and wanting to scare off anything dangerous. On my first pass through, I didn’t see any more kittens. I went back and got everyone to come along. The owner told me there were poisonous snakes in there, but I knew I’d worry that there were kittens still in there, if I didn’t look, and I’d already been inside. Marie squeezed in the pen with me, while I poked at things, peeking around with the flashlight.

I was about to give up, when I was surprised by two little faces looking up at me! Two tiny kittens were wedged between a board and some rusted old chicken wire and corrugated metal, just a couple of feet from the one who had been killed. I tried to pull the board off, but couldn’t get it by hand. I tried to reach in, but the little tabby was scared and hissing. I asked Tia for a towel, and Marie helped “herd” the little ones out with a stick from the other side of the wire.

Spring Hope rescue kittensThe little hissy one seemed to be trying to protect himself and the gray kitten behind him, but he finally emerged. I waited for the hissy end to get past me, and grabbed him around the tummy. I passed him over the chicken wire to Tia, who kept him wrapped in the bottom of her T-shirt. The gray one came out next, and I passed him over to Tia too. She put all the kittens in a carrier and got them some food. The hissy one kept on hissing, and his one eye looked very bad. The gray baby had some eye infection too. Tia and Marie got them to the vet the next morning, and happily, they are all doing well. The vet even thinks she can save the bad eye. And…the hissy kitten stopped hissing. He just needed some love. The gray kitten is eating up affection too. They are staying with the rescue now, and when they are old enough, well enough, and fixed and vaccinated themselves, they will be available for adoption.

Spring Hope rescue kittensWe were at this location a long time, and I took a great number of photographs. I am working on getting the photos adjusted and resized in batches, and then I’ll put them together, like I did last time. A couple of my photos from that last trip are in Heart2Home Magazine this month, in a great article written by Tia all about TNR and how you can help feral cats in our community. The article starts on page 23 here. Please go have a look!

Update: I’ve uploaded my trapping photos to Facebook, along with captions. You can find the Spring Hope album here (my Mother’s Day photos start a few photos into the album), and the fast food cat-trapping photos here.