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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!

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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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Finally, more stuffed toy slugs

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colors and sizesI have an array of Hug Me Slugs up in my toy shop, in a variety of sizes. It made me feel better to see them smiling at me.

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, 12. 9, 8, and 7 inchThese are 12, 9, 8, and 7 inches tall.

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, assorted colors and sizesI will keep working at getting more up, along with some other creatures.

Glass-headed quilting pinsI went out and picked up some supplies. I was surprised by how much the prices went up. I got what I needed on sale, but the regular price for this many glass-headed quilting pins, two packs of the kind I like to use, would be $17.98! And my stuffing is now at $11.99 a bag. Even on sale, they are still expensive.

Gray kitty, hiding behind a tree, Elizabeth RuffingTemperatures here are running between 95 and 101 degrees, but we had appointments for two strays, who have been showing up at my neighbors’ houses, to get them fixed and vaccinated. I only have a couple of photos, from afar, this handsome guy. He looks like Sasquatch peeking out from behind that tree.

I have been leaving food out for a week, in a trapping spot, and tried to trap from before 6am until after 10pm in the heat, with no luck. His friend, a gray-and-white cat, was next to the trap at one point during the night, but it was the moment I went to check the trap. He ran away.

Gray kitty from afar, Elizabeth RuffingThe rest of the day was ridiculous, with one extremely talented girl kitty, a neighbors’ pet, who was an expert at cleaning all the food out of the trap, without stepping on the trip plate. She even carefully licked it off a piece of cardboard I put over the trip plate, to make the area more sensitive. I would come to check the trap, and it would either be open and empty, or closed because it had been jostled.

Then there was food that was left out, when I needed everyone to be hungry. It was hopeless. I got very tired, sweaty, and frustrated. Another kitty is going to take the second vet appointment, after the first had to be canceled. We will wait until the heat breaks, and try again in another spot, with the snack thief inside, I hope.

Santana and Trouble, one sneaking up on the other, Elizabeth RuffingDuring my trapping fiasco, these guys got into a fight again. This time, I went inside and got a bowl of food to break it up instead of risking getting bitten. Santana reluctantly gave in to the food.

Trouble likes to follow me around. Trouble is the black-and-white cat’s name. Santana sees him as a rival. I didn’t see Santana on the other side of my dad’s car, when I said hello to Trouble, who had followed me home. This seemed to set Santana off again. I think Santana gets extremely jealous. He jumped on Trouble and fur was flying again. Trouble seems fine. Santana was limping a little. I didn’t get bitten.

Trouble, black and white cat, hiding behind plants, Elizabeth RuffingBoth belong to neighbors. I think they will eventually sort it out. This has happened with other neighbors’ cats and they adjusted. I like them all, and so I hope they can be friends. Most of the time they seem to tolerate each other.

Oliver Bunny, stretched out in hallway, Elizabeth RuffingI was done in, and didn’t want to even go outside or talk to anyone after all that. Oliver Bunny helped calm me down. He has been relaxing in the heat, with the air conditioning on, sometimes by himself, and sometimes with friends.

Oliver Bunny, stretched out in hallway with tabby cats, Elizabeth RuffingI don’t quite trust these two tabby girls with him, but they are very insistent about having bunny time. Oliver is popular and interesting. He is also brave. If they bother him, he grunts at them and I go shoo them away.

Oliver Bunny, stretched out behind toilet, Elizabeth RuffingWhen he wants to be left alone, he stretches out next to the toilet, which is cooler.

Oliver Bunny's piles of cilantro, Elizabeth RuffingHe used to eat dandelion leaves, but he has been boycotting them. Instead, he has been eating huge amounts of cilantro. He is being picky. I got him some green leaf lettuce, and he didn’t want that either. Romaine is okay, but green leaf, not so much. He wants cilantro, carrots, and most of all, his banana slice in the morning. Banana slices make him very happy. A friend suggested he needs his own banana tree. I said he needs a tiny banana tree, that grows one slice at a time. He is little.

Oliver Bunny, sitting in his Twigloo, with his salad, Elizabeth RuffingI am going to go get some bunny time, and some toy time in, and hide for a while. Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day! We will be having cake.

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Cornflowers and cats

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI’m on the mend, and no X-rays of my cat bites were needed. No toys to show for myself yet. So, I thought I would share my pretty cornflowers instead.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI can bend my finger but I’m still making slug eyeballs before finishing any toys. My finger still hurts if I bump it into anything, and fleece eyeballs are so small, bumping into them isn’t an issue.

Petting Santana the Peeping Tom Cat by Elizabeth RuffingSantana has forgiven me for breaking up his argument with Trouble, and for scolding him.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat looking mischievous by Elizabeth RuffingOr I think he has, for the most part. I am watching out for those paws. He is an unpredictable guy.

Trouble (the cat) following me by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble has come back without fail. That is him next to my catalpa tree. I wish I had had my camera just before I took that picture, because he came over with his brothers, Scooter and Fish, in a pack, and they all took a walk with Jude and me. They find his harness and leash fascinating.

Trouble (the cat) following me by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble likes to do things with me, plant trees, trim kudzu, mow the lawn. He and Santana watched me a few feet apart since their spat, with no more than some dirty looks.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI managed to get some mowing done, but not the push mowing, since that has definite bumping potential. Trouble watched me ride back and forth on the rider mower, at least twenty times. Then he decided to run out and leap in front of me. I think he wanted me to chase him on the mower. I’ve discovered he likes to be chased sometimes, which may be what got him into trouble with Santana, who chases him all the way back into his garage, when Trouble sneaks up on him.

Cornflowers by Elizabeth RuffingI think they get lonely when no one is home, and then they come to see me. No one seemed to be around for a while, when they all came over. I asked if there was an emergency, and offered to look after them if there were. I didn’t hear back. Hopefully everything is okay.

Tabby cat playing with a catnip lobster by Elizabeth RuffingI found a catnip lobster online for Miss Henrietta, who was very appreciative. The lobster came in a group of toys, all made of corduroy. She makes a nest out of them and sleeps in them. They are from HuggleKats. I found them on the Foster and Smith site.

Well, I think am good to sew, if anyone is waiting for me to put some toys in my shop. Feel free to ask me if I have a slug almost ready, if you would like one. I know I have plenty of eyeballs.