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Hug Me Bunny stuffed animals and a helpful orange kitten

Juno orange kitten playing with superhero Wonder Bunnies fleece stuffed animals

Juno the orange kitten, in my box of Wonder Bunny stuffed animals by Elizabeth RuffingAt least one of my Wonder Bunny superhero bunny stuffed animals, which I am working on finishing next, grew an unusual tail, as you can see here.

I needed more assistance sewing stuffed animals than I realized!

Juno the orange kitten, in my box of Wonder Bunny stuffed animals, chewing cording by Elizabeth RuffingJuno, orange kitten helper extraordinaire, has been using her super powers to help me in any way she sees fit. Here she is helping cut a piece of cording with her sharp little teeth.

I use that to cord center my details on my toys. I didn’t really need it to be trimmed, or at least I didn’t know I needed it to be trimmed. Juno is insightful and has many creative recommendations for me.

Juno the orange kitten, napping with her elephant rattle, by Elizabeth RuffingI traded Juno’s elephant rattle for the toys I was sewing. It is a good thing she takes naps.

Juno the orange kitten waking up from her nap, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is growing up, and was 4 pounds at her vet visit today. She was only 14 ounces when Cheryl first found her. She is doing very well, and has started to have more frequent bursts of sweetness. She purrs, and gives head bumps and kisses. She still ends up biting us, but thank goodness she is calming down and learning to be nice.

Juno the orange kitten curling up for her nap in my toy box, by Elizabeth RuffingNow, if she can learn to behave around the bunny, I will be even happier. She doesn’t yet understand why throwing up her paws and pouncing on everyone isn’t always taken in the spirit of fun in which it was intended.

Hug Me Bunnies plush art toys, mauve, pink, and soft orange, by Elizabeth RuffingI have been finishing up fleece bunny stuffed animal art toys. I will post these in our Ruffing’s shop.

Hug Me Bunny plush art toy, pink fleece plushie, by Elizabeth RuffingThis pink Hug Me Bunny found a home already, but her mauve and soft light orange bunny friends are, at the moment, still available.

Hug Me Bunny plush art toy, mauve-pink fleece plushie, by Elizabeth RuffingThey have my new custom-printed two-tone eyes. I attached their eyes and hearts with embroidery floss, using a blanket stitch.

Hug Me Bunny plush art toy, soft orange fleece plushie, by Elizabeth RuffingI hand embroidered their smiles and noses too.

Hug Me Bunny hang tag with pen-and-ink art by Elizabeth RuffingEach one comes with a hang tag that can be personalized with a name and a message.

Hug Me Slug plush art toy, pink fleece plushie, by Elizabeth RuffingI finished my first Hug Me Slug with the new eyes as well. She is a very soft light pink fleece.

Hug Me Slug hang tag with pen-and-ink art by Elizabeth RuffingJust like the bunnies, she comes with a tag that can be personalized.

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Juno, Junonimo! An unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth Ruffing, abandoned kittens care

I got an unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

The day after my last post, our friend Cheryl found this four-week old baby screaming by the side of the highway outside her house, at 1am.

Cheryl has been finding kittens in need of rescue almost every other day lately. She had to go to work in the morning, after staying up much of the night, trying to get the very upset kitten to eat, and put out a call for help.

I had no experience bottle feeding kittens, but I knew they have to be fed frequently and kept warm. I was home, and met her at the plaza to take the little one, who was still screaming, home with me.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingCheryl had given her a bath, but couldn’t get her to eat on her own. Cheryl gave me some KMR, kitten milk replacer/formula, which is available at pet supply stores, along with a bottle for feeding kittens. Walmart had a version of kitten formula as well. Cheryl had some because, as I said, she keeps finding kittens.

Kitten formula needs to be mixed and then warmed first, before feeding it to kittens. Best Friends has more detailed information abandoned kitten care about what and how much to feed rescued kittens, how often to feed them depending on their age, and how to care for them. At four weeks, they are ready for gruel, kitten food mixed with formula.

I couldn’t get the kitten to eat on her own either. I tried putting a little mashed-up gruel of KMR and kitten food in her mouth with a syringe, but that didn’t work so well. I was concerned about potentially choking her, by trying to feed her with the syringe. She needed to take it in at her own pace, and it is hard to release food gradually with a syringe. She had to eat every few hours or so.

Newborn kittens have to eat more frequently. They should stay with their mothers at least until they are weaned, and should only be taken to be hand fed if you are certain they are orphaned or have no mother cat to nurse them. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has more detailed information about abandoned newborn kittens, what to do, and what not to do, if you find them.

My mom and I tried wet kitten food, dry kitten food, dry kitten food softened with water and KMR, but she wouldn’t take it on her own.

Finally, I got her to eat by putting the gruel in the palm of my hand. I cupped my hand, and put a small amount of dry food softened with water mixed with KMR formula, warmed, in the palm of my hand. I sat in a chair, with her on my lap, and held my cupped hand right near her muzzle. She stuck her nose in there, and kneaded me, while she ate.

She wanted to travel around my chest and neck. So, I kept moving my cupped hand with the gruel, offering it to her wherever she felt like kneading. Her face got messy, and so did I, but she was eating! Whew. We offered her food this way every three hours or so.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingAny found animals should be kept separated from your other pets, at least for a couple of weeks, until they have the okay from the vet that they are in good health. Everyone needs to be up to date on their vaccines too. An extra room is best, but we didn’t have an extra room available right away.

I set her up in our extra bunny bin, which is smaller than Oliver’s. She yelled for a while, but then calmed down. I’m sure she was terrified, being left the way she was. She was only 14 ounces. She was extremely lucky that Cheryl found her and rescued her.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingMy mom and I took turns feeding her and cleaning her up. Best Friends has more detailed information about cleaning kittens, as young ones need to be gently cleaned with a warm damp cotton ball, to help them go to the bathroom after they eat too.

We took her to the vet for a checkup, and got some other dry kitten food. We found that she liked to eat the softened dry kitten food out of the palms of our hands, so she could “nurse.”

The vet explained to us we would have to show her how to eat out of a bowl. We put a bowl right next to her, with the food, while she ate food from our palms. She was still kneading, like she was nursing from our palms. We tried to guide her over to the bowl, while she ate, adding food from the bowl, to our palms. Eventually, she tried taking it from the bowl, but not consistently.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingEven now, we are still supplementing her diet with KMR, which she laps from her bowl, and she is, at long last, eating dry kitten food on her own.

She is very fussy about food, and we have to change varieties to keep her interested. She likes big cat dry food. That is probably because she likes to play hockey with the larger nuggets. She won’t touch canned food. She has strong preferences.

Juno, orange kitten, climbing a chair by Elizabeth RuffingShe has a feisty personality. She takes on everyone and everything in the house.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking the lettering on a box, by Elizabeth RuffingShe was showing the lettering on our cardboard boxes who the boss was too.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingOur vet said we can expect another couple of months of that, while she tries to prove to everyone that she is the alpha cat, which is odd because of her tiny size. He said once she establishes her position, she will stop trying to make her point. We’ll see.

I named her Juno, after the powerful Roman goddess, and after the independent Juno of the film by the same name. My mom dubbed her “Junonimo,” after Geronimo.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingShe loves to bite. I use a baby rattle to distract her so I can pry my hands loose, when I need to use them for something other than kitten chew toys.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe can be relentless.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking her reflection, by Elizabeth RuffingHer own reflection is not excused either. She is a fierce warrior.

Juno, orange kitten, napping, by Elizabeth RuffingLuckily, she takes long naps.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe has become an avid fan of our household game, “Ropey.” I had to get an extra cord because she tries to take it for herself and won’t always give it back.

Juno, orange kitten, with Ropey, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is getting leggy, but is still a pipsqueak.

Juno, orange kitten, approaching the big world outdoors, by Elizabeth RuffingOliver Bunny was prepared to like her, but has found her to be completely without manners.

Oliver Bunny finds the kitten to be rude, by Elizabeth RuffingI have to keep her away from him, until she calms down.

Juno, orange kitten, jumping on Jude, by Elizabeth RuffingRight now, most of what she knows of social interaction is smacking and biting and wrestling. The adult cats are supposed to teach her how to behave, by scolding her, if she gets too nervy. Jude is playing papa to her. The vet said if he hisses at her, he is just doing his job, teaching her what is okay and what isn’t.

Juno, orange kitten, napping next to me, by Elizabeth Ruffing Yesterday, she gave me a head bump, purred, and licked my nose, which was a nice change. Then she bit me, but progress is progress.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is super fast. I have to confine her while I clean up Oliver’s litter in the morning, or she dives right into his bunny bin.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingHe doesn’t like that at all. He grunts at her and gets upset. She likes to run inside his Twigloo house. I’m hoping they will be friends when she calms down.

The three of us, bunny, kitten, and I, did manage to watch a movie together, “Fright Night,” which I thought was fitting for a vampire kitten. She was afraid when the characters were fighting, of all things. I kept the baby rattle on hand, for the moments when she got her own ideas.

Liquitex Fabric Medium and custom-printed eyeballs, by Elizabeth RuffingIn between feeding, cleaning, and kitten monitoring, I painted bunches of eyeballs and worked on a box of toys. I sealed a lot of my custom-printed eyeballs and emblems with my Liquitex Fabric Medium.

Hug Me Bunnies and Hug Me Kittens, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI cut them out and pinned them to toys, and I’ve been hand embroidering them onto fleece bunnies, kittens, slugs, and sock monsters.

Hug Me Monsters, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingThese are photos of the toys in progress. I will post finished toys on our Ruffing’s shop. I’ll make blog posts for them separately, since my kitten photo album on this post is big!

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Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth Ruffing

Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs!

This is my first Wonder Bunny plush rabbit, the superhero version of my Hug Me Bunnies. He (or she) has my pretty new custom-printed eyeballs and a “B” for bunny emblem.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingHe also has a fancy cape, yellow with polka dots on one side, and red with planets on the other. I found some nice planet and star fabrics for capes for my Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI made a couple of versions of this cape before I decided I liked this size the best on him.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI made a special hang tag for my Wonder Bunnies.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny hang tag by Elizabeth RuffingNow he’s ready to fly. I need to make some Wonder Bunnies in different colors. I will post them in our Ruffing’s shop.

Super Slugs, Hug Me Slugs plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI made these twin Super Slugs as a custom order. This was one version of the cape I tried. It was round on the sides and fuller.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingMid-Wonder-Bunny, I ran into an issue which made me panic. My new emblems and eyeballs were shedding at their edges when I cut them out. Luckily, my mom suggested I coat them with Liquitex Fabric Medium, to seal the surface. It worked very well, thank goodness. The fabric medium is nontoxic and keeps everything in place. I didn’t encounter this with my monster eyeballs, because they had white around the colors. Any edge shedding wasn’t noticeable. Now I just need to paint my eight gazillion eyeballs and emblems with fabric medium. No problem. Ha.

Spoonflower fleece sample, eyeballs and emblems by Elizabeth RuffingI ordered all my fleece eyeballs, and emblems for my Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs, from Fabric on Demand. They did a great job. Since then, Spoonflower came out with fleece as well. I had a problem with their black not being black enough on their faux suede fabric. I ordered a sample of their fleece (shown above), and was happy to find the black did print as black this time. The colors aren’t exactly the same from both companies, and so I would still recommend printing a color map if you need to match color.

Rainbow fleece, Elizabeth RuffingI was inspired to go out and get some rainbow fleece yesterday after seeing a rainbow display online at Target. Walmart (above left) and Jo-Ann’s (above right) both had some. I thought I might need some equality slugs or bunnies or kitties, or some of each, because the news and comments here in NC, and now across the country, are driving me right up the wall.

Pile of cotton print fabrics, Elizabeth RuffingI’ve collected some cotton prints from both stores too. Walmart now has Waverly prints, and they have a lot of pretty ones. I’m sure I have too many. I’ve been saying I’ll have to give up toy making because I can’t fit myself into the workroom.

Gumdrop Baby art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been redrafting all my templates for my toy characters. I experimented with my Gumdrop Baby, but I have a feeling I will end up going back to the original pattern. I can’t decide on a face, and whether I should go with a cartoonish more modern face, like the prototype above, or a more detailed antique dolly face. The original Gumdrop Babies are here on my blog. An example of a more detailed antique dolly face is here on Leah.

Oliver Bunny, and kitties Bertie and Jojo, hanging out, relaxing, by Elizabeth RuffingMost of the crew here outside my workroom door doesn’t seem to have an opinion. They like anything they can play with, cuddle with, or in Oliver Bunny’s case, lick.

Trouble black and white kitty cat sneaking up on Santana while he is sleeping, by Elizabeth RuffingThe crew outside doesn’t seem to have an interest either, unless a toy is filled with catnip. Trouble thinks Santana makes a good toy, and likes to sneak up on him while he is sleeping. Santana has no sense of humor about this. This photo was taking shortly before the yowling began. It was short lived. Trouble likes me to escort him home, where he falls over for pets.

Pets are important. Trouble comes looking for me if I don’t make an early appearance outside. Recently, he went all the way to my bedroom window, looking for me.

Trouble black and white kitty cat coming to see me, by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble comes running when he sees me come out in the morning.

Santana orange kitty cat, on the lookout, by Elizabeth RuffingSantana wants the porch and the deck to himself, and takes his guard duty seriously. They really both want me to pay attention to them and they don’t want to share. Eventually, they should get used to the idea. I hope.

Oh, I almost forgot…I keep going to doctors, and getting blood tests and biopsies. My circular rash turned out to be granuloma annulare, which is harmless, with no sure cause. My white blood cell count is consistently high, four times in a row now. We don’t know why. I don’t know if it is linked to the fatigue I have had. I have more appointments and tests, but we may only find out that I am weird. Or my blood is weird? I don’t know. It could be anything or nothing at all. I try not to think about it. I did pretty well, since I forgot to mention it through this whole blog post.

Got to go do stuff. Take care, all.

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A little stuffed slug toy shop update, and some gardens

Stuffed toy Hug Me Slugs, red, watermelon pink, bright yellow, and banana yellow by Elizabeth RuffingI have four new Hug Me Slugs over in my toy shop at the moment. They are red, watermelon pink, bright yellow, and banana yellow fleece, in my 9-inch size. I will continue to add more. Even though it is July, I know the Christmas season will be upon me before I know it, and I hope to have more toys ready this time around.

I have also been trying to make a dent in the yard work I have to do here, more tree planting and cleaning up of gardens that have become overrun with blackberries and weeds and, in some cases, flowers that multiplied profusely.

Raleigh City Garden, Vimeo screenshotI met a horticulture student, who showed me around Raleigh City Farm, pictured above and in the two photos below. I didn’t have a camera and so I took these from the Internet.

Raleigh City Garden, Twitter screenshotHe has been out planting tomatoes in all the heat we have been having, and the people at Raleigh City Farm have been keeping it doing well in spite of this weather too.

Raleigh City GardenThe plants all looked healthy. I felt I should be able to do something more myself. So, I worked on cleaning out one of my garden beds, and cutting out some saplings that had sprouted up.

Oliver Bunny, looking serious by Elizabeth RuffingI don’t have vegetables like they do, which is too bad, because Oliver Bunny would enjoy some of the ones they had there, I am sure. They sell their produce to local restaurants.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, pale blue irisesI was also introduced to BBC’s show, Gardeners’ World, which is on YouTube. They have my favorite kinds of gardens, the old English cottage style gardens. The photo above, and the two below are screenshots from the show.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, soft pink foxglovesI think they look like watercolor paintings. Very beautiful and inspiring. I used to have our yard, where I grew up, planted with such pretty flowers, in big beds and borders, under trees and flowering bushes. I miss it.

Gardeners' World BBC, screenshot, pale lavender blue irisesI brought some of my plants with me when we moved. I want to clear out those beds before everything gets choked out. My irises have been getting smaller each year, because the blackberries have joined them and are doing much too well.

Jubilee by Elizabeth Ruffing, Iris and blue flax watercolor with a decorative borderThese are paintings of mine, of flowers I had growing in my yard, irises, blue flax, and foxgloves, some of my favorites. This is “Jubilee” above, and “Iris and Foxgloves” below. I have seen this orange and mauve one bloom by our back door in recent years, but this year I don’t think it did. I see it hiding in there with some other plants. I intend to dig it up and plant it in a new bed. I am sorry I wilt in the heat. Summers are my winters now, the time when I stay inside more. But, I am going to try to go out when I can take the temperature and get more done.

Iris and Foxgloves by Elizabeth Ruffing, watercolor with a decorative border