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Hug Me Slug Angel, at home

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slug Angel and Hug Me Slug by Elizabeth Ruffing, with their owner I was trying to decide whether I should add this photo to my last post about this special Hug Me Slug Angel, but since it made me so happy, I decided to share it on its own post. Here he is, united with his companion Hug Me Slug, and their mom, or my customer’s mom. They were both gifts for her. She wrote to tell me her mom loves her Hug Me Slug Angel, who was made in memory of her dad, who passed away last Christmas. Their 57th wedding anniversary would have been this month. She says her mom is enjoying her new independent living apartment. She told me her mom has her slug angel in her living room there, but will likely be taking him out to share with other residents in the community. I hope he makes everyone smile. I enjoy thinking about the conversations with this adorable lady about her slug and the story behind him.

This is what toy making is all about, spreading some joy and some comfort, making someone feel good. That makes my day.

Oliver Bunny with his lips on his cage bar, asking for bananas, Elizabeth Ruffing This is how my day begins, with these characters. Oliver Bunny waits for me to get up so he can have his veggies and his banana slice. Sometimes he gets super excited about this. Here he is, with his lips around the bar of his pen, letting me know he needs immediate attention. He was really taking a break from chewing on his litter pan, which is does to make a point. He turns to look at me, to make sure his efforts are effective. He gets what he wants, and then he comes out for the day to hop around.

Oliver Bunny with his lips on his cage bar, asking for a banana slice, Elizabeth Ruffing And this lady below is usually asleep when I wake up, even though she has been yelling during the night lately. I am pretty sure she has hyperthyroidism, since our cats keep coming down with it as they age. I need to make an appointment to take her in for a blood test. I got an iodine test that people use on aquariums, but I don’t know if there is anything to be done if I find iodine in anything, or what the safe levels are. It isn’t regulated in water and no one I’ve asked has had much information. And it isn’t necessarily the cause. The vet and the person I talked to at the local public health department both said there seemed to be a lot of cases of hyperthyroidism in cats in this area. It’s more of a mystery.

Tabby cat, with tummy in air, lying in sun on bed, Elizabeth Ruffing Cats have continued to show up here, popping out of the woods behind my next door neighbor’s house in the evening, and then running back. He doesn’t want us to trap there, and Santana, our other neighbors’ cat chases them away from our house. I am hoping his owner can lure them over to her yard, since that seems to be our only option for catching them, to get them fixed. I count four adults so far, and surely one is a female, probably the mom of the kitten that showed up. If this goes on any longer, there will be more kittens and my neighbors will have a colony behind their houses. I don’t have the funds to take care of that situation. They are going to have to come together. If the cats get fixed and vaccinated, it will be okay, but that has to happen.

I’m sewing through stacks of fleece, trying to get more colors of Hug Me Slugs together. I get sleepy when I sit at the sewing machine. Watching the needle go up and down is hypnotic. It is so much easier to stay awake with a movie to watch. I will be able to do that when I move on to stuffing and hand sewing. I also need to take my sewing machine in to be cleaned. I thought I was a year behind, doing that, but Facebook showed me one of those “4 years ago today” posts, and there was my machine, just back from servicing. Oops. There must be a lot of fuzz inside from sewing all that fleece!

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Hug Me Sock Cats, dressed!

Sewing cat dolls skirts, Elizabeth RuffingI am still fighting insomnia, and woke up at 3am again. I woke up at 1:30am a day or two ago. All week, I have been up too early. But, I am working my way through it.

Sewing cat dolls skirts, fabrics before elastic waists, Elizabeth RuffingAt long last, I finished those sock cat doll skirts I said I would finish a year ago! Wow, I had someone who was going to write an article about them then. I will have to contact her and see if she remembers me! As I said in my last post, I have fallen behind this past year. I am taking steps to rectify that!

Assorted Hug Me Sock Cats stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing Elizabeth RuffingThese Hug Me Sock Cats, dressed in coordinating skirts, are all currently over in my Etsy toy shop, hugmeslug.com. They each come with a personalized hang tag, with room for a personal message on the back of the tags. I am happy to send a gift note along too, if anyone would like to send one as a gift.

Red and Pink Striped Hug Me Sock Cat stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing Elizabeth RuffingI had such a nice thing happen this week. A repeat customer ordered a Hug Me Slug as a gift for a baby, but had the address wrong. The person who received the package took the time to look me up online, wrote to me, and offered to drop the package at the right house, if it were nearby! I thought that was so kind. I emailed her and my customer, and we arranged for my customer’s husband to pick the box up. I was touched that they all made the effort to do that. It worked out great.

Magenta Striped Hug Me Sock Cat stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing Elizabeth RuffingI edited the first of a series of anthropomorphic cat prints by Max Bailey today. We are very pleased with how it came out. I will be posting it over on our Ruffing’s blog and in our Ruffing’s Etsy shop soon. I will probably be working on getting those edited, printed, and posted this coming week and a half or so.

Magenta Polka Dotted Hug Me Sock Cat stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing Elizabeth RuffingI also ordered and have already received another bunny cage for my workroom. This one is on wheels, and will allow me to remove a big table I have in there right now, making way for my shelves and a new worktable, which will come together eventually, I hope! I have a lot of packing to do, and then building, and painting furniture and walls and trim. None of those appeal to me terribly! I never finished redoing my bathroom due to my lack of enthusiasm for these kinds of  projects. I’m going to do the best I can, and tackle it all a little at a time. I have gardening and tree-planting projects on my list that never ends as well.

Red and Pink Striped Hug Me Sock Cat with hearts stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing Elizabeth RuffingEverything sure would be easier with a few nights of sleep. I hope I can get back on track with that. I have to accept that I have to stay away from people who upset me, or who treat me in an uncaring way. I always want to understand people I let into my life, and I tend to want to help them, even when I can’t. If people I care about are distressed, I absorb it, and I’ve been trying to understand someone I dated, who I can see is depressed and doesn’t seem to want to seek help. I talked to him, and it sounds like depression is something he has been struggling with for a few years, at least, and I can see obvious causes for it that he doesn’t seem to want to see. Instead, he wants to be left alone, and I’m not sure he even recognizes that he is depressed. I know it is just my perception, but nothing adds up any other way. For my part, I have to stop trying to figure it out, and focus on the things I need to do.

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I made some slug plushies, a toad softie, and I feel like talking, maybe

Assorted Hug Me Slugs stuffed animal plush art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been missing from my blog for a long time, or disappearing in increments. November seemed like a good time to get going again, as a lot of people blog each day of this month for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month.

Up until about five years ago, I was writing here about my daily life and my creative projects, where I went and how I felt. Then I became self-conscious. There were people I felt looking over my shoulder, specific people with whom I didn’t want to share the details of my life. So, I began just posting toys as I finished them, and some stories about my pets, and I faded into the background. I didn’t even want to paint anymore.

As the years passed, I realized those people got bored with me and left, which was a relief.

Blue and Green Hug Me Slugs stuffed animal plush art toys by Elizabeth RuffingMy toys were doing really well, and then I ran out of them before Christmas 2013. I kept taking on custom orders, which got in the way of my restocking my shop, and because I hate to disappoint anyone, I kept accepting more custom orders. My toy shop started to fade into the background too.

At the beginning of 2014, I found out my beloved kitty assistant, Mr Bear, had cancer, and I stopped most everything to try to keep him going for as long as he seemed he wanted to go. He wasn’t able to eat enough on his own, and there was constant cleanup to do because he had poor mobility from being weak. Some days, he would rally, and take himself for a journey outdoors. I wanted to be with him while I could. He deserves his own post, and so I will save a tribute to him for when I feel I can do it.

Not long after he was gone, I found a little white bunny in the backyard, shortly after Easter. I felt Mr Bear had sent me a bunny, a pet he would surely have wanted more than any other, although not for the right reasons. He had a sense of humor. I named the bunny Oliver, and he has been a great comfort to me. I set him up in my workroom, where Mr Bear used to help me, and that helped make it okay for me to be in there again.

Hug Me Slug and Toad stuffed animal plush softie art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI had great plans to redo my workroom, had lumber cut for shelves and a table, but those have been harder to make than I thought. I’m trying. My workroom is still in shambles. Once it was done, I was going to work on learning to paint digitally, write, and possibly try another children’s book. My other book projects are unpublished. I was thinking of printing up a simple one myself. I have updated my shop as I could, and the toys pictured above are my most recent additions. They are over in my Etsy toy shop, hugmeslug.com. I will add more as soon as I can.

Most recently, I have had three nights in a row where I have slept most of the night, after a week and a half of sporadic sleep, not enough, and sometimes none, each night.

Five years ago, I felt so shaken over the way I was treated by someone I dated, that I didn’t want to try that again, and have been saying since then that I didn’t know if I would ever like anyone. Then I did, which surprised me. Unfortunately, in a matter of days, he went from wanting me around as much as he could, to saying he couldn’t commit to anything further, than friendship I think, or talking to me again. I’m not sure what he meant. And I don’t really know why. I’ve been trying to process that in the middle of my sleep deprivation. I will be much better with some rest.

Black kitty cat at the door, trick or treat, photo by Elizabeth RuffingYesterday was Halloween. We had two kids, one baby too young to eat candy, and a cat show up at the door. The cat didn’t want candy either. That is the cat above. He, and others, come to the door for snacks. I have been eating the candy myself. I have to be careful about that because, during those past few years, my weight went up and now, at long last, has settled back to where it was before.

Queen kitty cat, wearing a crown, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI tried to do something festive for the holiday, but none of my pets wanted to dress up. Henrietta tried to be cooperative and let my place this crown on her head. She is the queen cat of the house, and I thought that would be fitting. I didn’t have a cape for her.

White bunny rabbit, snuggling with my hand, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI tried to get Oliver to wear the crown first, but he would have none of it. He lets me balance empty toilet paper rolls on his head (he likes to play with those), but a crown made no sense to him. He prefers to have his head petted. He will sit for a long time, with his chin resting on my chest or on the floor, while I stroke his forehead. If I stop, he nudges my hand to get me to do it some more, which is what he is doing in this photo.

I can’t decide if I should backdate my blog posts, to cover things that have happened, that I never talked about on my blog. I have been on Facebook, sharing things, and was considering taking posts from there and putting them here, or at least the photos with descriptions. I kind of like the idea, for now, that no one is reading what I write, because they left when I stopped saying much of anything. But I am also sad I don’t have a record here.

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Fuchsia hot pink Hug Me Kitten, stuffed animal plush art toy cat

Fuchsia hot pink Hug Me Kitten stuffed cat animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI just finished a Hug Me Kitten in a brand new shape. She has perked up ears and a curved tail in back.

Fuchsia hot pink Hug Me Kitten stuffed cat animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingShe is fuchsia hot pink, with a purple heart, all fleece, soft and cuddly.

Fuchsia hot pink Hug Me Kitten stuffed cat animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingShe is about 9 inches tall.

Please come visit my Etsy toy shop at hugmeslug.com where you can find my currently available soft dolls and art toys!