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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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Custom fabric, with a special side order of Amoxicillin

Custom fabric printed eyeballs and emblems
I got some more custom fabric printed with my eyeballs and emblems.

Custom fabric printed on fleece eyeballs and superhero emblems by Elizabeth RuffingSince I last wrote about getting eyeballs for my toys printed on custom fabric from Fabric on Demand, which came out great, I went a bit berserko and decided I needed about eight billion varieties.

Oliver Bunny white rabbit sitting on Poly-Fil stuffing by Elizabeth RuffingI contacted Oliver Bunny’s veterinarian and asked what shaped pupils he thought various animals would have, round or oval, and if the oval pupils would be vertical or horizontal. I am lucky he and his colleagues enjoy questions.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs and emblems by Elizabeth RuffingThen I went about designing an exhausting array of colored eyeballs, most of which don’t exist in nature, with both round and oval pupils, along with emblems for my superhero stuffed animals, my Super Slugs and Wonder Bunnies.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingIt took a while to get my custom fabric back from the printer, but my eyeballs and emblems look pretty awesome.

Custom fabric printed eyeballs on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingThey came out of the washer and dryer a little softer looking, which is no surprise with fleece, since it has a fuzzy texture. I am trying to decide if I want to pre-wash my fleece custom fabric. If I do, I will do it by hand, by gently dunking it in the sink, and hang it to dry next time, to preserve the sharpness. The blacks came out nice and black too.

Update: I decided not to pre-wash the eyes and emblems, because I needed to coat them with some Liquitex fabric medium, to make sure the edges didn’t fray when I cut them out, which sealed the surface and made pre-washing unnecessary.

Custom fabric color map printed on fleece from Fabric on Demand by Elizabeth RuffingI downloaded a color map with the hex code numbers for a rainbow of colors, from the popular custom fabric printing business, Spoonflower. I moved the row of blacks and grays to the bottom so I could make the color map a little wider, since fleece fabric is wider than cotton. It still fit on a yard, and I printed that as well.

If you would like to use this wider color map file for custom fabric, I saved it here. It is 42 inches wide and 36 inches long. So, it will fit on one yard of fabric. It was printed at 150dpi, which is what Fabric on Demand recommended. It is good to have, so you can see what the colors you are picking in Photoshop will look like when printed on fabric.

Super Slug stuffed animal superhero in progress by Elizabeth Ruffing and cape fabricsI am working on revising my Super Slug stuffed animal superhero pattern. I ordered some special cape fabrics. I’m going to make a Wonder Bunny plush rabbit superhero cohort for him.

Custom fabric printed superhero emblems, eyeballs, and animal faces on fleece by Elizabeth RuffingI’m also going to make some Hug Me Lambs stuffed animals, and I think, some lop-earred bunnies similar to the lambs, with fleece faces and ears, and either cotton print or fleece bodies.

Cotton planet and stars quilting fabrics from Brooklyn Fabric CompanyI just received a group of really pretty planet and star fabrics, to use for capes for my superhero plush toys, from Brooklyn Fabric Company in Iowa. They have a sale until tomorrow, and they shipped them very quickly.

Granuloma annulare rash on my arm, Elizabeth RuffingIn other news…I’ve been feeling so tired! I know it seems like I’ve been doing a lot, but I have had so much fatigue.

The other night, I was saying to my mom that I thought something had to be wrong with me. At first, I thought it was sleep deprivation, and it may be, but I have also had this strange circular rash under my arm for at least a couple of months, maybe even four months, after my lymph nodes under my arm were swollen, assuming I would have seen it then.

I was concerned it was Lyme disease. My mom was sure that kind of rash always had a red center. I got worried and looked online. Looking online is a good way to get more worried! I found that, with a Lyme disease rash, sometimes the red center disappears, because your immune system attacks the bite area first.

After a lot of rigamarole sorting out my insurance in regard to where I was allowed to go, I ended up at an Urgent Care. Since the tests they have for Lyme are unreliable, and they don’t do them at Urgent Care anyway, if you present for Lyme, they usually go ahead and treat you for it. The doctor didn’t think it was Lyme, but we treated me for it just in case. I picked up my giant horse pills, three weeks of Amoxicillin, three times a day. Whoopee. I started taking them last night. My mom cheerfully said, “Only 59 to go!” Ick.

Update: After testing and biopsies, we found out my circular rash was granuloma annulare, which is harmless, with no clear cause. My white blood cell count however keeps coming back high. We’re still trying to figure that out along with the cause of my fatigue.

Oliver Bunny, white rabbit chewing on a cardboard box by Elizabeth RuffingI have bushes and trees to plant and a certain little furry man to take for his checkup. I’ll see how I do. I’ve been warned to expect some side effects from the Amoxicillin.

Psychologically, I felt better last night, since I was blaming myself for feeling so tired. I’ve had a couple of inquiries about custom toys, and one night this past week, I felt so overwhelmed, I thought I would have to say I couldn’t do them. I felt like I couldn’t make any toys at all. I’ve had trouble even thinking straight lately, although I am feeling better and more rested now. I felt like I needed to go to the rest home and take a long, long nap.

I have been feeling guilty too, that I haven’t gotten my toys done. I’ve had the same nine monsters in progress since the beginning of January. I am hoping the antibiotic and some sleep will turn me around.

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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! 🙂