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Hug Me Monsters, sock monsters

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, red, orange pink striped, by Elizabeth RuffingHi there. I’m catching up with my toys and catching up with my life too, I guess. I have to break down my post into three parts, to catch up with the toys I have made.

Hug Me Monsters, sock doll art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI finally have Hug Me Monsters! These are chenille, soft and fuzzy, sock dolls, and I have had them in progress, in my workroom, since January! It feels good to be pushing through to the other side, finishing toys and showing them to you.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, pink, by Elizabeth RuffingThis pink one with turquoise horns was my mom’s favorite. This Hug Me Monster got adopted by the time I woke up the next morning, after putting her in my shop.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, pink and tan striped made and held by Elizabeth RuffingMy mom was so kind and patient to photograph me with a monster, so I could show their size in relation to a person. We have been having such awful heat, as I am sure most of you have, and it wasn’t too much fun being outside, melting while trying to look pleasant. It was so humid, my hair began to frizz and stick up in the air. Photoshop Elements is handy for neatening one’s self up after the fact!

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, royal blue and turquoise by Elizabeth RuffingThis royal blue and turquoise Hug Me Monster also found a home already.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, teal by Elizabeth RuffingThese have the first incarnation of my custom-printed fleece eyes, which I designed and then had printed by Fabric on Demand. I sealed all the colored parts with non-toxic Liquitex fabric medium to make sure the color was secure. Then I hand embroidered around each color of the eyes with floss, using a blanket stitch. The monsters are almost entirely stitched by hand, with a needle and thread or floss. There is only one machine-sewn seam in each horn, which I attach by hand after I stuff them. The monsters took me a while, hours each, as do all my toys.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, hang tag by Elizabeth RuffingMy Hug Me Monsters come with hang tags, that can be personalized. I can print a name or “For + a name” on the front of the tag, and I can print a message on the back of the tag. I then insert the tag into a clear vinyl sleeve, run a satin ribbon through it, and tie it to the monster.

Hug Me Monsters, sock doll art toys, pink and tan striped, by Elizabeth RuffingMy dad especially liked the pink-and-tan striped monster with the gold horns. When my mom and I were taking photos, he started laughing. I didn’t understand why. Then I realized he was laughing at the monster. He got a big kick out of it, which made me feel good. If they make someone laugh or smile, then I am doing my job right.

Hug Me Monsters, sock doll art toys, by Elizabeth RuffingI really like these cuddly chenille socks I used for the monsters. I have a couple pair I put on my own feet in the winter, socks not monsters. I reserved most of the chenille socks I collected for Hug Me Monsters.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, green and blue-purple polka dotted, by Elizabeth RuffingTheir horns, along with their eyes and hearts, are made from fleece. I used pearl cotton floss to chain stitch a smile on each one.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, pink and tan striped made and held by Elizabeth RuffingI have been feeling better, still tired a lot of the time, but better. I’ve been having my blood retested every six weeks at the hematologist’s, and although my white blood cell count is still high, it is going down. It remains a mystery. I was a bit alarmed when I realized I had been referred to a cancer center, and they sent a sample to the Mayo Clinic for testing, but they don’t seem to think it is anything like that, since normally it would go up in that case. I feel sad and a little scared when I go there, because I know the other people there are sick and trying to make the best of it. I was drawn to all the pillows in the lobby that people make and donate. I instinctively grab one while I wait and it is comforting. That is a kind use of a craft. One had kitties on it, and you know I love kitties. I took the measurements down from the pillows, about 9 x 18 inches of fabric, a convenient size to cut from a yard or fat quarter of cotton, two pieces, sewn together with about 1/4 inch seams. They are a good size for hugging.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, lavender by Elizabeth RuffingMy next blog installment will be…Hug Me Kittens. I have more of those finally too. I had hoped to be well stocked by now, as I wanted to make the August submission deadline for the Brown Alumni Magazine holiday gift guide, but I don’t want to apply and then run out of toys by the holidays. I have a feeling I cannot sew that many in time. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am getting things done, and trying not to dwell on how much time it takes me.

Hug Me Monster, sock doll art toy, royal blue and turquoise striped by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Projects between interruptions

Oliver Bunny investigating my workroom by Elizabeth RuffingIn between the interruptions from our household repairs, I’ve been working at getting my eyeball project resolved. I went down the rabbit hole on this one, and I finally sent my files off to the printer last night, after weeks of fussing and agonizing. Erin, who works at Fabric on Demand kindly answered my questions yesterday, until late last night.

I was watching a rerun of “The Big Bang Theory” recently, where Sheldon has a meltdown while trying to decide between Playstation 4 and Xbox One. I have no interest in gaming systems, but his behavior is so like mine, I keep laughing over it. In spite of collecting every available piece of information to help make a decision, he still fell apart at the store. This is me, trying to buy something that is important to me. I had a dream once that Sheldon was my brother for a reason.

Hug Me Monsters stuffed toy plush by Elizabeth Ruffing, in progressThese are the first eyeball samples I got from Fabric on Demand, and they came out really nice. I, however, made the pupils a bit large, which was causing some of the black to get caught by my needle, while adding my embroidery stitching.

Hug Me Monster and Hug Me Slug stuffed toys in progress by Elizabeth RuffingI then made a gazillion versions on the computer, which I printed on paper, measured, cut out, and pinned onto toys. I made round pupils, then oval pupils, pupils off to the right, centered pupils, vertical pupils, horizontal pupils, small highlights, bigger highlights, highlights to the right, highlights to the left, solid-colored irises, and graded-colored iris.

I had debates over whether slugs would have oval or round pupils, since the “eyes” of real slugs are very hard to see. I looked up gastropods, and I still couldn’t tell for sure, oval or round. I looked up their mollusk relatives, cuttlefish and octopuses, and found they had oddly-shaped horizontal pupils. But what about bunnies? I found bunnies with horizontal oval and vertical oval and round pupils. I went on like this for weeks.

Hug Me Monster and Hug Me Slug stuffed toys in progress by Elizabeth RuffingAbove are the styles I chose. I hope they will be awesome. I have no doubt I will continue to think up changes.

I also sent samples for my lamb face, and emblems for my Super Slug a companion/co-hort Wonder Bunny. I got bogged down again over whether Wonder Bunny should have a “W” or a “B” for bunny on her chest. I asked friends on Facebook to help me solve this dilemma, and “B” won. I think that is best, since tags get separated from toys, and kids will probably make the association between “B” and bunny more easily.

Blog screenshot with Hug Me Bunny, Toad, Monster, Slug, Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingJust before I redesigned my eyes, I redesigned our blog headers, my Facebook page header, and my Etsy toy shop header. I guess if my eyeballs work out, I will have to update those later, along with my business cards.

Ruffing's Blog screenshot with Pixie Kitten fairy cat art dolls by Max Bailey and Elizabeth RuffingThis one is the Ruffing’s blog header, where we have our art dolls and prints.

Orange Fleece Hug Me Kitten stuffed toy by Elizabeth RuffingI also made one of my older-style fleece kittens who was needed as a baby gift. I have a few of these left. I wonder if they should get the new eyes or the old ones! 🙂