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Batik Hug Me Slugs handmade stuffed animals and an original art quilt

Stargazer Moon and Stars art quilt from batik fabrics by Elizabeth RuffingYears ago, we collected a box of beautiful batik fabrics for me to use in my art quilt projects, such as “Stargazer” above.

Red and Green Batik Hug Me Slug Art Toys by Elizabeth RuffingI decided recently that I’d try them out on my Hug Me Slugs too. These are my first batik slugs. I had to alter my pattern a few times, to get them the size and shape I wanted them to be, as the cotton fabric handles differently from the fleece I use. I had to make my pattern shorter and wider to get them to be the same size as my fleece slugs.

Green Batik Hug Me Slug Art Toy by Elizabeth RuffingI have three 9-inch batik slugs, and three 7-inch batiks slugs to start. I will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Orchid and Bright Light Green Fleece Hug Me Slug Art Toys by Elizabeth RuffingOne of the slugs above was named by her adopter in honor of our Josephine! Josephine is such a devoted office assistant. She has been helping me with our orders. As you can see, she keeps tabs on me too, to make sure I do everything right.

Josephine the kitty office assistant at workWhen we are not at the computer, I sit and sew and watch movies. It has been sweltering here. The ducks have been staying mostly on the pond, but we were lucky to have a visit from them last week, along with their new ducklings.

Mother duck with ducklingsWe were amazed these tiny babies made it all the way up the hill. We were delighted that we had the opportunity to see them. We had only seen them for the first time, from across the pond, a day or two before.

Ducklings

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New Fleece Hug Me Kitten

Cream-colored Fleece Hug Me Kitten by Elizabeth Ruffing in dark pink azaleasI finished a new fleece Hug Me Kitten handmade stuffed animal cat. She (or he) is cream-colored with a magenta heart and cornflower blue eyes.

Josephine kittenShe bears a bit of resemblance to Josephine, and even had her funny smile.

Fleece Hug Me Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingShe has a tail that sticks straight out in back.

Fleece Hug Me Kitten by Elizabeth Ruffing, back viewI love the back view.

Fleece Hug Me Kitten Hang Tag by Elizabeth RuffingShe comes with a hang tag that can be personalized with a name or “For + a recipient’s name”. I plan to make more, in different colors. I will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Mama duck and ducklingsWe had a surprise yesterday. Mama duck left her nest and came to visit us in the pouring rain, with eleven ducklings! She greeted me with a big quack when I came outside. She is taking such good care of them.

Mama duck watches over ducklings while they restThey were tired from their long walk up the hill from the pond, and all piled together for nap while she watched over them.

Ducklings resting in a little pileBabies get tired. They stayed like this for a long time, foraged some more, and then made their way back to the pond.

Kitten sleeping on windowsillThis baby gets tired too. She’s discovered windowsills and loves napping in them when she is not busy helping me or running around with her friends. She came from a local cat rescue, and tomorrow, for Easter, I’m going to have a special Alley Cat Angel sock doll. The proceeds of this first angel will go to that rescue, and then I will made some more, with a portion of each sale going to a local cat rescue. So, I hope you’ll come back to see tomorrow.

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Camo Bunny! Camouflage Hug Me Bunny stuffed animal rabbit toy

Hug Me Camo Bunny, Original Art Toy by Elizabeth Ruffing, in camouflage fleeceFriends have been encouraging me to make camouflage Hug Me Slugs. My friend Marie suggested they would make great gifts for people in the military and their families, who could use an extra hug, and everyone who was chatting about the Camo Slug idea agreed. I was working on them today. Suddenly, I had to take a detour. It may be Saint Patrick’s Day today, but that only made me think of Easter, my favorite holiday. And Easter made think of bunnies. I stopped sewing, drew a little picture, and then drafted a pattern. Within an hour or two, Camo Bunny was born!

Hug Me Camo Bunny, Original Art Toy by Elizabeth Ruffing, in camouflage fleeceCamo Slug will join Camo Bunny. I am making some custom Hug Me Bunny stuffed toy animals too. I can make them in any other fleece color that I have on hand as well. I’ll be adding more ready-made toys. I have a pile of them that I am working on. I will be adding my new handmade stuffed animal toys to our Ruffing’s shop.

cat sitting on my camouflage fleeceCamouflage fleece makes a great cat bed, apparently. My assistant settled right in while my back was turned for a few minutes. Perhaps he was hoping I wouldn’t see him, surrounded by camouflage. He was cooperative about getting back into his own bed, but the fleece won the cuddly contest.

duck sitting on eggs in her nestOne of the ducks was missing this weekend, and I was very worried until my mom found her…sitting on about twelve eggs! She built her nest, hidden behind a group of trees. I’m so glad she is okay. I was certain she was a he, and so that was an extra surprise. The other boy ducks tried to chase her off last year, when she was less than a year old. The one that is the dad used to snap at her when they came for corn snacks. He’s the big duck we brought to the vet, to have a fish hook removed. They are both survivors, and so we all hope their ducklings will be too.

Frosty the white kittenSpeaking of survivors, and hiding, this is Frosty. Frosty came from a feral colony and is very shy. She is staying with Marie, but she has to have one of her canine teeth removed. One is growing straight out. That’s what gives her lip a slight curl in the corner of her mouth. We’re going to visit with her for a little while after her dental, while she recovers, before Marie gets back home from work. She is such a beautiful girl.

Gypsy goes for a car rideI tagged along with Marie again, on a trip back to Rochelle’s house, to pick up some more cats to be neutered/spayed and vaccinated. This time it was Gypsy’s turn. He is tame and the others are feral. He stayed with us, in a carrier, so he wouldn’t go eat all the food in the safety traps. We took him to Kentucky Fried Chicken with us, to pick up some smelly chicken. The cats went right in the traps, once the chicken arrived. Gypsy seemed to enjoy the car ride, and the chicken…of course.

Gypsy plays with a feather toyThe cats stayed in their traps at Marie’s house, the night before their surgeries, and then they went back to Rochelle’s house. Gypsy enjoyed being in the house. The feather toy was new to him. He may stay with Rochelle, or, if someone would like to adopt him, he may go to his own home. He may need a little potty training, since that may be unfamiliar to him too. So, that is a wait-and-see situation. We had a cat who was outside in his early months, who was successfully potty trained, after not knowing about litter boxes, and Gypsy seems like a smart boy. He may take right to the idea, since he’s been neutered, without any training. No one knows yet. I added the rest of my photos to a photo-documentary, if anyone would like to read the rest of the story.

woodsPlease join Ruffing’s on Facebook, if you haven’t already, and visit our Ruffing’s shop blog. We will be posting our new creations there.

And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone! As you now know, I am thinking about Easter instead. I am thinking about Christmas also, stocking up on toys, but I don’t want to miss spring either. Everything is starting to look very pretty.

forsythiaI took my camera with me on a walk recently. Here is a spectacular forsythia bush, and a yard full of little purple flowers in the grass.

purple flowers in the grassOur peach tree is full of blooms.

peach tree flowersThe trees are getting their leaves.

birch treeAnd I even saw a dandelion! I don’t care what people say about them. I’m happy to see their bright yellow heads popping up.

dandelionI have so much to do. I hope to have more to show you soon.

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Menagerie

White ducksI was happy to see the sun shining today, not just because it makes me feel more upbeat than I feel on rainy days, but because we’ve been waiting to photograph Max’s new cat art dolls. Max made some smaller cats in dresses, while I’ve been making toys. I still have some Pixie Kitten bodies in progress that I need to finish, but I keep getting orders for toys, which has left Max at the sewing machine. We will be posting our new creations in our Ruffing’s shop.

The ducks enjoy rainy days, and will come visiting no matter. We enjoyed a visit from them this afternoon. They are wandering more, now that the weather has become warmer, the grasses are growing, and there is more to forage.

Light yellow fleece Hug Me Slug by Elizabeth RuffingI finished this light yellow fleece Hug Me Slug today, while Max was busy working on the doll stories to go with the new kitties. I was on a sunshine theme, I think, or it felt like a good day for yellow.

Light yellow fleece Hug Me Slug by Elizabeth RuffingBelow is a sneak peek at Max’s new dolls, Zelda the tuxedo cat, Melody the Siamese, and Amy the white cat. They are about 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches tall. Max made their clothes. I did have a hand in resizing Amy’s pinafore, in between my making slugs. I think they are all very sweet. Once I am finished editing their photos, we’ll put them up in our Ruffing’s shop.

Zelda the Tuxedo Cat, Melody the Siamese Cat, and Amy the White Cat, original one-of-a-kind cat art dolls by Max BaileyWe had an extra assistant today, in the form of Santana the Peeping Tom Cat. Santana is well-known to my Facebook friends. He comes over to our house almost every day, to look in all our windows and doors. I’d never seen anything like that before. He has climbed up on garbage cans to get a look in the kitchen window. He lives one house away, and is apparently very curious about his cat neighbors. Today he was curious about cat dolls. He was even trying to get in the house.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat comes to help photograph new dollsSome of our cats do not enjoy his visits, but he couldn’t care less, from the look of him. He loves to taunt. He will stare in, or punch at, the doors or windows for as long as he likes. Here are a couple of videos of him taunting one of our cats.

Below is one of my favorite photos of Santana staring in the house from the back door. I love the look of determination on his face. What a character. Surprisingly, since Santana has been watching us, at least two other cats have shown up to look in the doors or windows too. All our cats, and Santana, are fixed, and so it isn’t due to anything like that. I had no idea we were so interesting. One morning recently, the ducks were on the deck looking in the back door too, in the dark of the early morning. I opened the door, and was surprised to find them there. Someday I may open the door and have a rush of animals run inside.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat stares in our back doorTomorrow, I am heading out on another cat-catching adventure. This time we are picking up little Gyspy for his big vet day. Should be fun. I hope I can get myself up and awake early, with the Daylight Savings Time change!