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Christmas Angel

Christmas Angel Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingMerry Christmas, everyone! I was thinking about angels this morning and I remembered a quilt block that I had never finished. I think I began it on my birthday, a few years ago. All I remember was that I had it in my mind, at the time, that I would only work on it on a holiday. So here it is, several holidays later! I just finished the central part of the design.

Christmas Tree Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingI also found a Christmas tree quilt block, which may have been from one of the quilt classes I used to go to. It was in with a pile of other quilt blocks, which I should probably photograph as well. They never seemed to fit together in any logical way. I could see the angel placing her star on the tree though.

Christmas Angel Quilt Block Sketch by Elizabeth RuffingThe angel was meant to be part of a larger design, judging from my sketch that I stored with it. At first, I couldn’t remember if it was my own original design or one from a magazine. It didn’t look entirely like my work.

Fons & PorterI found a copy of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, from September/October 2005, on my book shelf, and sure enough, my reinterpretation of a design by Lori Smith was inside. The original design was a witch, and I drew an alternate head, added wings, and and extra arm and leg.

Fons & PorterI prefer angels to witches, and you may have already guessed from my paintings, such as the one below, which is a detail of Angels’ Kiss.

AngelsI hope you are all enjoying your holiday. I am still debating over whether or not to make cookies. In spite of all the sewing I’ve been doing for the holiday rush, that’s what I most felt like doing as soon as I decided to relax. I suppose I should take that as a sign that I am working at something I really like to do. I hope you are spending time on things that you like to do too. Don’t let anyone intimidate you out of doing that. I know I’ve had my share of nay-sayers come along. Don’t listen to them. Surround yourself with supportive people who appreciate you for who you are and what you do. I think I’ve had one of the best years I’ve had in a long time, and I believe a lot of that has to do with taking that advice.

I am thinking about those cookies now, and the snow we might get. Snow would be lovely, in moderation, of course! Have a happy Christmas, one and all.

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Took a break and made some appliqué designs

Hug Me! Bunny and Hug Me! Kitty by Elizabeth RuffingI got one of those long-running headaches last week, and decided to let up on my push to get our web site relaunched this week or next. I’ve gotten a lot done, but I was working too hard. My eyes needed a break from the computer too. While surfing the web (I know…I never really leave the computer for good), I was inspired by some fun throw pillows by Robin’s Egg Blue and so I wanted to give that idea a try with my own designs. I found my own favorite throw pillow, and used its 13 x 14 inch size for my drawings.

Hug Me! Puppy and Hug Me! Slug by Elizabeth RuffingThese are the first four designs I’m working on, “Hug Me! Bunny”, “Hug Me! Kitty”, “Hug Me! Puppy”, and “Hug Me! Slug”. I think throw pillows are good for hugging too. These have been modified from previous designs I’ve made of the same characters. I may modify them some more, depending on how they look once they are done up in fabric. I’m starting by picking out quilting cottons for the appliquéd parts, and I’ve got a few yards of a natural cotton I’m using for the background. I’ve been debating over whether to make the pillows with an insert so the covers can be washed, or making them spot clean only, without the insert. Personally, I really like things to be washable, but I know I’d have to charge a little more for the time and supplies involved. Given my own inclination, I will most likely start with covers with pillow inserts.

I can imagine these as quilted wall hangings also, or maybe even painted designs with a name incorporated somewhere.

Pear pieMy dad was given seventeen pounds of pears recently, and I tried my best to do something with them. My first challenge was a pear pie. The recipe was very much like one for an apple pie, only my pears needed extra cooking time. They were very crunchy to start with, the homegrown kind you see in lots of back yards in our neighborhood. A friend suggested poaching them first, which would probably have been a good idea. I put apricot preserves in the bottom of the crust, before layering in the pears, to waterproof it a bit. I got my recipe from The Perfect Pie by Susan G. Purdy.

Pear pieMy second challenge was going to be pear jam, but that’s when my headache got me. I’m feeling better now, but the pears are passing their prime. I think I may just eat some, and share the rest with the wildlife.

I will continue to work on our web site, but I’m going to alternate doing that and sewing. I will be happier that way. As much as I’ve been excited about having a newly designed site, mixing things up works a lot better for me.

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First harvest

I have a zucchiniThis is my very first harvest from our little vegetable garden…a big zucchini. I watched it grow, debating over whether or not it would amount to two cups of shredded zucchini for zucchini bread.

Zucchini breadIt did indeed, with a third left to spare. A friend suggested that someday, they will develop vegetables with a variety of easy-to-read measurements on them, or vegetables that grow to a programable size. Until then, I will have to hone my eye-balling-it skills.

Viking Platinum 775 off for repair againAs much as I didn’t even want to face doing this again, I packed up my Viking Platinum 775, and we hauled all twenty-two plus pounds of it to the Post Office. All week, I’ve been going through my usual, but completely pointless, “Why can’t people just be decent? Why can’t people just be honest?” ruminations, while looking back on the whole ordeal, along with any and all related ordeals that seem to bring up the same questions. I wish I could just accept one short answer and be done with this, and all related conflicts, forever: “Because that’s who they are.”

Kitty makes friends with an anoleIn contrast, here is a continuing display of devotion. Mr Anole has come to visit Mr Kitty almost every sunny day we’ve had. The two continue to stare at each other, while the anole does his tricks. He ‘s quite amusing.

Kitty makes friends with an anoleAt one point, our kitty got so excited, he tried to paw his way through the windowpane. He purrs when I look over his shoulder at the anole. The anole is no where near as excited to see me though. His show is intended for an audience of one.

Kitty relaxingSome of us have been taking the weekends to relax. This is my model for relaxation. He’s mastered the subject. I have much to learn from him. I’m still heading to Apple class too, and learning a lot there too, only about computers and programs.

Material ObsessionI picked up some non-software-non-computer-related reading material, for fun and inspiration too. Material Obsession, Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Feilke seemed like the perfect book for me. I read the whole book when I got it home, over last weekend. I loved the combinations of fabrics and the quilt patterns. The authors own a fabric shop, and, as the title implies, they’ve used traditional quilts to inspire some modern designs. I really enjoyed it. It gave me ideas for combining fabrics for my toys too.

Fiber Arts MagazineI picked up a couple of magazines too, Fiber Arts and Quilting Arts. I was taken with these hand-stitched animals like the “Fennec Fox” on the cover of Fiber Arts, and Quilting Arts had a good article on stabilizing art quilts and another on branding, I wanted to reread. As usual, I have more I want to learn, and more I want to do than I probably will be able to get to.

Quilting Arts MagazineI’ve been wanting to explore art quilting much more, combining painting and fabric and sewing. I have so many ideas for projects. Of course, right now, my biggest project is redoing our Ruffing’s site. I think that will be an all-summer project. I’m still excited about it, even though I don’t want to relaunch it until it is organized enough to navigate. I’d also like to start adding more original art to the site, paintings and art quilts.

Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been fiddling with my hair again too. Even though this photo was taken just the other day, it has turned out to be a “before” photo, because I’ve just cut my hair again, in more of a Jean Seberg style, even shorter. It’s been in the 90’s this week, which is always good inspiration for a new haircut.

Elizabeth RuffingI’ve got to get some toys finished up and mailed off. I might even add a couple to my Etsy shop this week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook, where I’ll post the available art dolls and figurines as I continue to get their photos edited.

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Linking mania, stuffing, and pondering Valentine’s ideas

So, you may have noticed my linking binge on the sidebar of my blog. I think I need to be stopped. It’s getting out of control! I’m not sure how many pages or social networking sites a person needs these days. Feel free to say hi anywhere you find me, but this site, or our main Ruffing’s site, is still the best place to find me. I apologize if I’m slow, or worse, on MySpace. I can never seem to navigate that site, or I just don’t have the patience for it, or all the flashing, glittering things associated with it. I should be stepping away from the computer more often anyway, before it somehow reformats my brain!

Today I’ve been stuffing little cat doll parts, little paws, little tails. I poked my finger with the needle a bunch of times, before remembering to tape my fingertip with a double layer of sports tape. That really helps, much more stable than a thimble, at least for me.

I picked up the latest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, and a spare journal. I never know when I’m going to need an extra journal to absorb my overflow of ideas. I hate running through one and not having a spare.

This issue of Quilting Arts Magazine has a cute heart art quilt tutorial, which I think would make a nice Valentine’s Day gift. I was thinking of a mini quilt, maybe mounted on a greeting card, or enclosed in a frame would be sweet.