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Hiding from the heat

Elizabeth RuffingI have some toys, dolls, and figurines to show you, but honestly, I am just too hot to go out there and photograph anything today. I think it is about 97 degrees today, and humid. I’ve been moving slowly, even with the air conditioning. I’ve been inside, for the most part, sewing, but when I can’t see so well, I go out on the porch to hand sew, while I melt.

Elizabeth RuffingI’m still studying Aperture, in Apple class. I’m learning adjustments right now. I come back and experiment on myself, or rather photos of myself, like these. I rather liked this one, for it’s dramatic look. It reminds me a bit of an old-time vampire movie.

Elizabeth RuffingAny time we take photos of me, I seem to go through the same repertoire of expressions. Some of them are funny. I usually pick out the friendly ones to use, but I also have cranky, aloof, and goofy expressions, which appear just as often. I played around with some of those photos too, but for here, I’ll stick with the friendly ones, so as not to spook anyone.

Elizabeth RuffingOur kitty’s anole friend still comes to visit, but in the heat, Mr Kitty has taken to taking naps. He’ll say hello, and then go pass out on the bed. The poor anole climbs all over the window, looking in, trying to get his attention.

Anole looking in the windowOur vegetables are continuing to grow and ripen. I had to do something with this great big zucchini (those are a regular-sized steak knife and a large red flour canister for scale) before it grew to be Woody-Allen-Sleeper sized. That’s some giant parsley I picked too, next to the zucchini.

Fresh-picked zucchini and parsleyFortunately, I grabbed them just in time.

I picked more parsley than I really needed, and added a can of diced tomatoes (the ones in the garden weren’t ready yet), and some sliced onion.

Zucchini, parsley, onion, tomatoesI fried them all in some extra virgin olive oil, and put them over fettuccine.

Zucchini, parsley, onion, tomatoes, and fettuccineI think next time, I will cut back on the parsley and chop it up more finely. I’d also scoop out the seeds from the zucchini. This one had rather large seeds, due to its size. I’ve made fried zucchini slices before and not even noticed the seeds. So, I guess it depends on how long you wait to pick yours. Those Sleeper-sized ones though…I’d definitely scoop those out!

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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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Taking it easy

I made some comfort food today, homemade potato salad, and I’m just taking things slow around here. The potato salad is improvised, using my mom’s directions. Boil about six red potatoes for about forty-five minutes, or until a fork goes into them easily, but before they get mushy. Then stab each one with a fork, and while holding it under cool running water, take a knife and peel away the skins, being careful not to burn yourself. Slice them into a bowl, and mix them with some oil and vinegar. I used extra virgin olive oil. Put them in the fridge to cool.

In another bowl, mix up some diced celery, chopped up green olives and dill pickles, two chopped up hard boiled eggs, and a little salt and pepper. Mix some mayonnaise with a little of the dill pickle juice, until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Pour this over the celery, olives, pickles, and eggs, and mix them together.

Once the potatoes are cool, pour the celery/mayo mixture over the potatoes, and mix everything together. Leave the potato salad in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the potatoes to absorb the other flavors. Season with salt to taste.

My mom seems to be a little better today, but still tired. Doctor’s orders are for me to stick around, just in case. So, I’m home bound for now. I’ve been reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, which is very nicely written and interesting to read. I admit, I’ve also been napping a bit, as I’m tired from this past week. I need some rest and relaxation, and then I’ll be photographing dolls and getting them up on our website as soon as I can. I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.

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Hug Me! Kitty

Meet Darla, my new black and white, tuxedo “Hug Me! Kitty”. I took a little sewing detour to play around with my pattern designs and came up with a kitty. That doesn’t seem too surprising, huh? Lots of cats.

I like her curly appliquéd tail.

She’ll be ready to give someone a hug over in my Etsy shop soon.

I’m still sewing doll clothes. I stopped to make some blueberry apple muffins though. They were about to be blueberry muffins until I discovered I didn’t have a whole cup of blueberries. A happy short-coming though. The combination worked out nicely. I made them from the same buttermilk muffin recipe I usually use, and added a teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest. I also substituted some plain yogurt plus some milk for buttermilk, since I was also out of buttermilk, trying to get it to about the same consistency. That worked out fine too, but it must be time to go food shopping again!

I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!