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Eyeballs, fingers, and delays

Toy eyeballs made of fleece by Elizabeth RuffingI was on the verge of getting a group of Hug Me Slugs done and ready to photograph. I made eyeballs of fleece in four sizes. I stuffed bodies. I sewed smiles. It was coming together. Then this happened…

Cat bites on my finger, Elizabeth RuffingMultiple deep puncture wounds. Swelling hand. Pain. A trip to the doctor. Antibiotic capsules and ointment.

As I’ve mentioned before, cats from different neighbors’ homes like to come visit here, and I like to see them. Usually, they coexist fairly peacefully. Unfortunately, one thinks it is funny to sneak up on another, who doesn’t like that. He likes to be left alone and nap on the porch or in the flowers. They got into a fight, which I broke up. The cats all seem to be fine, but I got bitten up quite badly.

I was told to keep a careful watch on it, keep it clean, ice it, and go for an X-ray if it looks suspicious at all, as cat bites can be serious and the infection can get in the bone. I can bend the knuckle on the back of my hand today, which is when I took this photo, but the chomped-on middle knuckle is still stiff. Between the goo on my hand and the swelling, working is not working out.

Oliver Bunny relaxing by Elizabeth RuffingSo, I am making like Oliver Bunny and trying to relax. The antibiotics are making me feel weird, or I hope it is the antibiotics!

Oh, I did manage to join Pinterest before this, if anyone would like to follow Hug Me Slugs and Friends by Elizabeth Ruffing there. I saw a lot of people had pinned my toys and I thought I would join, and thank people, as I like to do.


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Seven, eight, nine…stuffed animal slugs

My title has my brain playing Feist’s 1,2,3,4 now, even though the song is missing both a seven and an eight. The connection makes sense in my head.

There is also a Sesame Street version that only goes up to four.

Speaking of counting, for some time, I’ve been donating portions of my toy sales to help animals. I was curious to see what it amounted to. I added it up, and I’ve reached $597.60 so far. Some has gone to The House Rabbit Society, Alley Cats and Angels, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats, The Whiskars’ Syndicate, Protective Animal Welfare Society (P.A.W.S.) in Kansas, Care For Bear, and our friend Cheryl’s feral cat fund to care for community cats here in our area of NC. It doesn’t seem like a lot each time, and so it was nice to see that it adds up.

Fleece Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, 7, 8, 9 inchesI’m adding back a size in my Hug Me Slug plush toys, for anyone who likes to make slug families, with little, middle, and big kids. Those are the 7, 8, and 9 inch Hug Me Slugs above. I have 12 inch ones too, or I usually do. I am making more. I’ve had people get those as parent slugs to the smaller ones. You can find my stuffed animal slugs over in my Etsy toy shop. Some of these have been adopted already, but I still have some available there at the moment.

Yellow Fleece Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, 7 inchThese two 7 inch yellow Hug Me Slugs went out as gifts. They were named after their Girl Scout counterparts. One was called “Candy Corn” and needed a candy corn heart. I painted the heart with fabric dye. Since she was for a big kid, it was okay. Babies put my slugs in their mouths, and so I wouldn’t do that for a baby, to be safe.

Fuchsia Red Fleece Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI had these up as Valentine’s Day slugs, but they happen to still be around for now, waiting to be adopted. They are 9 inches tall.

Fleece Hug Me Slugs,plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, purple, light blue, pear greenThese three above are the 7 inch size, and you can see I am adjusting the sizes of my patterns. Oddly, the purple and the light blue are the new size, from the same version of my pattern. The light blue guy got a little chubby instead of tall. That happens. He’s already gone out as a new baby gift. Apologies for the redundancy in my photos between my blog and Facebook page. I’m behind with my blogging, as usual.

I just got through sewing 50!! of the new 7 inch slug bodies. Next up, they get stuffed, and then detailed. I’m trying so hard to get restocked, but it takes so long. I machine sew the first seam, and then it is all hand sewing from there. That seems crazy sometimes, but I prefer the way it looks. I’ve never been happy with machine-sewn details. I think the hand sewing gives them more character, makes them seem friendlier, and is more personal.

Fleece Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingIt gets overwhelming at times, trying to get toys finished in any number. We’ve also been running to doctors’ appointments and more eye surgeries here, and doing rounds of eye drops, which I kept having to get up early to do for my dad. We’ll be starting more for my mom. We have appointments and another surgery this week.

Elizabeth Ruffing napping with catsAs you can see, I curled up in the middle of the kitty pile the other day. The weather has been cold and miserable, but I know, nothing compared to up north. I am relieved when the sun comes out. The drear is getting me down. I feel so sad sometimes. Today was at least warmer, but it went back to gray later.

Orange kitty cat in a wooden houseSantana, our neighbor-cat, finally accepted my invitation to nap in Mr Bear’s house. It has been unused for a year almost. Mr Bear would have wanted his friends to have it. I told Santana this, and he seemed to understand. I put a catnip pouch in there for him, and recycled a few more for the porch.

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Slugs, zip ties, and baby gates

Hug Me Slugs in progress, stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThose have been my projects today. First the slugs. I have three at this moment, in my Etsy toy shop. The light blue one in this picture has already left the building, and is on his way to greet someone on Christmas morning.

I forgot to mention that my mom had her first cataract surgery done, and can already see better. Her vision is still blurry, but she’ll have the other eye done soon. My dad has to have both of his eyes done as well. He saw the photo of my Hug Me Slugs, above, and asked me who that was. He thought it looked like a married couple. Not a married slug couple, but a married human couple.

The slugs do look like they could be getting married, with the light blue one officiating the ceremony. That reminds me I was going to make bride and groom slugs. I even bought lace.

Hug Me Slug, dark purple stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis dark purple little slug is one of my 7-inch tall Hug Me Slugs. He has an orchid heart.

Hug Me Slug, honeydew green stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis honeydew green slug is 9 inches tall. I have changed my pattern sizes so many times. The newest 9 inch slugs are a little bigger than the last generation. I’m going to price them accordingly, and so if I have different prices on the “same” sizes, that is why. It will eventually even out, and the difference is only a dollar on some.

Hug Me Slugs at the computer, stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingHere are the same Hug Me Slugs at the computer desk. I color correct my photos before posting them. Note the cat comb and nail scissors in this picture. I need those at my desk for kitty assistants who show up. One in particular gets very insistent about being combed, and others always come running if I pick up the comb. The kitty nail scissors are self explanatory.

Oliver Bunny sees his baby gate covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingMy bunny assistant has been so naughty, chewing through his baby gates, that my other project for today was to zip tie pieces of cardboard shipping boxes over the holes he made in the baby gates. He was shocked when he saw what I had done. In time, he will find a way around my latest move.

Oliver Bunny sees his baby gate covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingIf he doesn’t find a way through, one of the cats is sure to find a way to push the gate so he can escape. He had a blast yesterday, after tearing a hole in one of the gates, running around my bedroom, scooting under my bed when I came in to get him. I had to unplug everything for his safety.

Baby gates covered in cardboard, Elizabeth RuffingHe has chewed though three gates, and so I attached cardboard pieces to all of them. He hasn’t tried to bite a hole today. He’ll get to it.

This is his dandelion salad. I spend a lot of time catering to my bunny. I gather these out on the lawn. Today, we had freezing rain while I was doing this. I was laughing because he won’t eat the ribs on the leaves and spits them out. He won’t eat ribs on lettuce either. If he were a kid, he would want me to trim the crusts off his sandwich bread. And I would, because that is the way I am.

Oliver Bunny's dandelion salad, Elizabeth RuffingI had a crazy idea today. I thought I should ask everyone I know, or people I kind of know, or people I don’t know who know me, if they would like a Christmas or holiday card, make the cards, and send them out. I have been feeling sad lately, and I know a lot of people feel sad around the holidays. I don’t have any Christmas cards, and it is possible I don’t have stamps or enough envelopes either, but this sounded like a good idea to me. I thought I could ask for addresses through Facebook or my blog. My mom pointed out that the mail probably wouldn’t reach most people by Christmas at this point. I did this in high school a couple of times, made Christmas cards for everyone I could. I’d run out of time and not get to everyone, but I tried.

By the way, I set up a new friend page on Facebook with my toys on it. I’m not sure how useful that is. I tried to wish someone I knew, who had a shared birthday with me, a happy birthday, and my message got shuffled to her “other” folder, where she will probably never see it, since I am not connected to too many people on that page. I think it is probably easier to send me messages on the Hug Me Slugs and Friends Facebook page, if anyone goes through Facebook. I will remember to check my own “other” folder now. If you need to, you can also contact me on my website or on Etsy.

Thanks to all the visitors who came over from Facebook to read my birthday blog post, and thanks for the nice comments. I was surprised. I guess people like to see me doing what I do. I’ll try to get some more photos another time of me doing things, but I need help with that!

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Happy birthday to me

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesIt’s my birthday, and I made a Hug Me Slug, or worked on one. I also received some nice presents, like new sneakers in pretty colors, chocolates, and cookies.

Cheesecake slice with cherriesMy mom made me eggplant Parmesan and a cheesecake. I got some nice cards and lots of happy birthday wishes. Thanks to everyone.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesThese photos are from the past week and a half. I’m sewing slug eyes, which can try my patience. Luckily, I have a kitty helper.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyes with kitty helperShe really wants to steal my chair, and does, whenever she can.

Oliver Bunny tries to bite through the baby gate to my workroom, Elizabeth RuffingShe hops over the baby gate I use to keep Oliver Bunny in the hallway, while he tries to chew through the gate from the other side. He wants to help me too. They are in cahoots. She knocks the gates over and he hops through. He escaped three times yesterday. I have to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t chew any electrical wires. As you can see, he is very good at chewing. He made a hole in one, big enough for him to fit very neatly through.

Elizabeth Ruffing sewing Hug Me Slug eyesHere I am attaching the eyes to my toys. This all takes so much longer than you would expect. The eyes seem to take me the most time.

Elizabeth Ruffing, photographing Hug Me SlugsThen we go outside to photograph the toys before I put them in the toy shop.

Hug Me Slugs, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI post them over on my Hug Me Slugs and Friends Facebook page too.

Yellow Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI think there is just one yellow slug left in the shop right now. I keep getting down to one.

Elizabeth Ruffing packing and shipping Hug Me SlugsHere I am packing slugs getting them ready to go to the Post Office. I’m wearing my “casual wear” here, my pajamas. I change out of them before I go to the Post Office. Someday, I may skip this step.

Bright blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been taking some custom orders. This little blue slug was a special order. He was a birthday present for someone who ordered a Hug Me Slug for her boyfriend’s birthday before. He was returning the favor, and wanted one she could carry around in her backpack.

Bright blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingI made him a “Slug Sack” so the sluggie would stay safe on backpack journeys.

Blue 7 inch Hug Me Slug Sack, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth RuffingThis is the Hug Me Slug he received for his birthday, dressed and ready for Christmas.

Orange and teal 12 inch Hug Me Slug, plush stuffed animal toys by Elizabeth Ruffing, with Christmas treeI haven’t done much for Christmas so far. I put some lights up. I did get an evergreen forest of my own to plant. That seems Christmas-y. I planted some in the front yard, and these are for the back yard. There was a big sale on arborvitae, and I got ambitious about the number I would plant!

Arborvitae forest on the back porch, waiting to be planted