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Rainbow bugs and slugs

Rainbow Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThe rainbow bugs and slugs I was working on in my last post are all up and ready.

Rainbow Hug Me Bug and Hug Me Slug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Rainbow Hug Me Bug, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’m still sewing together Hug Me Toad bodies.

Cobalt blue, Light Turquoise, and Bright Light Green Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI finished some solid color slugs too.

Bike trainer standWe are starting to get some hot days. I ordered a bike trainer so I could ride my bike in the living room, where I can enjoy air conditioning.

Kitty investigating bike trainer standI thought the “kittens” would be afraid, but they were both curious, especially Phoebe, who is the nosier of the two. They may be getting big to call kittens, especially Bertie, but they still look like kittens to us.

Bike trainer stand climbing blockI have a climbing block on the front tire to keep the bike level.

Elizabeth RuffingMy mom took some photos of me and I stitched these two together, clones of myself.

Miniature dollhouse-sized art doll kittens by Max BaileyI have more photos to edit of Max Bailey’s cat and kitten dolls. I’m in the process of getting these posted over on our Ruffing’s blog. The kittens above are, from left to right, Ingrid, Francine, Mitzi, Stephanie, and Lola.

Gomez, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI’m also going through my rescue cat and kitten photos of the past couple years, seeing what might work for the Alley Cats and Angels’ fundraiser calendar.

Edmund, Ginger Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingIt’s going to be black and white. I have to go back to the original files to get the right size for each, since they have to fit the calendar format.

Pugsley, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI have photos of lots of sweet kitties who have been in the rescue.

Wednesday, Tabby kitten by Elizabeth RuffingHope everyone had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend.

Waldo, Gray kitten by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Giggle Moon Photography, Design Revolution Online, Janean Bagley Lindner

Bright light green and bright yellow Hug Me Slugs, original art toys by Elizabeth RuffingThese are two Hug Me Slugs I made for Giggle Moon Photography, in exchange for professional photographs of my toys with kids, something I was looking forward to having. The exchange was also supposed to include a feature in a children’s counting book, and free advertising in the book, on the web, on Facebook, and on the Giggle Moon Photography site. I sent these off to Janean Bagley Lindner, the owner, back in June of 2011, but, unfortunately, none of these things ever happened.

I had a hard time getting any response from Giggle Moon, but was told in two emails over the past seven months that there were reasons the work couldn’t be done, even though I continued to see photo sessions posted, throughout the same time period, on the Giggle Moon Facebook page. I’ve reported the incident to Etsy, and asked Giggle Moon to reimburse me for the toys. She promised me she would send payment for the toys, but she did not.

Update as of June 2012: Janean Lindner at Giggle Moon Photography never did pay for the toys she kept. Not one single payment. This is just stealing and it is fraud. I would beware of dealing with her. She has also since started a business under the name of Design Revolution Online, which is also on Facebook here, selling accessories and props for photographers. I have seen at least one contest on this Facebook page, making similar promises as the promises she made to me. Although she told me she could not work, she has continued to publicly post new work, and although she told me she did not have the funds to pay me, she has continued to publicly post about other things she has both bought and sold which cost more than she owes me. She does not respond when I contact her.

Update as of July 2012: I finally received payment for the toys, after emphasizing to her that what she was going was illegal, and pointing out I’d written about my experiences with her and her business online, as a warning to others. It has been over one full year since she received the toys. Although all of us, including me, go through hard times, I don’t feel that is an excuse for reneging on promises or taking things without paying for them. Everyone has a story, including me, but I don’t use hardship to try to take advantage of other people. I am relieved she settled her debt. It would have been better had she approached me on her own, at any point, to work something out with me. She should be thanking me for being as understanding and as patient as I have been. I waited over a year. She could have sent me six dollars a month and have been done with it in that time. She could have sent the toys right back, unopened and new, if she realized she couldn’t follow through. She has never asked me about my life, or my situation, and I don’t appreciate receiving emails from her trying to make me feel guilty for asking to be paid for my work, when I have done nothing wrong. No one should be subjected to emotional blackmail for trying to get paid. I will never send anything out again to anyone without payment up front.

I’d like to warn anyone on Etsy about participating in trades. I know I won’t be doing any more trades. Everything looked legitimate, and I’d had a good experience with sending my toys to be photographed for a TV show, with another Etsy member, who returned them in perfect condition, in short order. So, I thought this would be a similar experience, and am very displeased over the situation. This is my business. Even though it is pleasant to make toys, most of the time, I don’t do it for entertainment. I do it to make a living. I would never expect to walk into a store, take something, and not pay for it. I don’t expect anyone to do that with my shop either. If anyone else has had a similar experience, please report it to [email protected]. Etsy doesn’t mediate in trades, but they do investigate suspected scammers.

My very full workroom, by Elizabeth RuffingI am continuing to make my toys, and trying not to be angry. This is what my workroom looks like right now, filled with fabric and projects, with hardly any room for me. As you can see, I am not some big toy company, but one person, working from home, making toys by hand. I don’t wholesale, and I don’t send out free samples. I send toys directly to their new homes, where I hope they will be appreciated and loved.

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Photographing art dolls

Photographing art dolls, organizing cat doll dresses, photo by Elizabeth RuffingYesterday, in addition to photographing fleece bunnies and my sock kitten, we also photographed nine new original, one-of-a-kind cat art dolls by Max Bailey. I was in charge of ironing their outfits, and putting the right outfits with the right dolls.

Photographing art dolls, organizing cat doll overalls, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI thought I had it all right, but I switched one dress with another. I thought the one dress looked especially pretty on the doll I accidentally dressed in it, and so we went with the dress exchange.

Photographing art dolls, dolls organized with their outfits, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI then ironed our backdrop, which is quilting cotton, a blend of pink, blue, and yellow.

Photographing art dolls, ironing the backdrop, photo by Elizabeth RuffingWe set up foam core, on a box, on a table, to get the dolls the right height compared to the camera and tripod.

Photographing art dolls, tripod and backdrop, photo by Elizabeth RuffingWe take our photos outside on our porch, to get natural light. We always have to wait for the direct sunlight to pass over the house, so we don’t get harsh shadows. I’m trying out my new micro lens for these. The photos look good so far, but it will take me a while to get them all edited and posted. We’ll be posting our new original one-of-a-kind cat art dolls, and stuffed animal toys, in our Ruffing’s shop.

Tabby kittens at play, Josephine chasing Bertie, photo by Elizabeth RuffingThe kittens have been loose in the house during the day. We round them up at night, for bedtime in the laundry room. In the morning, they are raring to go, and start meowing to let us know it is time for them to come play.

Tabby kittens at play, Phoebe playing with Bertie, photo by Elizabeth RuffingJosephine has been very happy to have the girls to play with her. They are closer to her own age than her other friends.

Tabby kittens at play, Phoebe playing with Bertie, photo by Elizabeth RuffingPhoebe doesn’t want any people touching her, but she is the more adventurous of the two kittens. I find her watching me, and hanging out around me too, even though she will still hiss or scoot if I try to pet her. I can tell she likes me, in spite of that. She just wants to set her own rules about people.

Tabby kittens at play, Phoebe trying out the cat gym, photo by Elizabeth RuffingPhoebe was the first to try out the cat gym. Josephine is showing her around. Bertie joined them later, but Bertie likes to relax in the bedrooms more, trying out the fuzzy blankets.

Tabby kittens at play, Phoebe exploring the mantle, with Josephine on the cat gym, photo by Elizabeth RuffingThey are both settling in very well. They’ll have their spay day soon, and get their microchips, which is good, because they probably will start refusing to go to bed in the laundry room. Already, bedtime keeps getting bumped up until later because they want to keep playing and running around.

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Purple Hug Me Slug Wednesday and more kittens, including one named Wednesday

Purple fleece Hug Me Slug by Elizabeth RuffingI finished two new purple Hug Me Slugs this afternoon. One is purple with a soft yellow heart,

Dark purple fleece Hug Me Slug by Elizabeth Ruffing, with purple ageratumand the other is dark purple with a light turquoise heart. Both are made of fleece. I am continuing on my mission to keep adding art toys to our shop. I will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Gomez by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueI took a field trip to Marie’s house this weekend to take some photos of her foster kittens. Marie trapped and rescued these babies. These are the Addams Family kittens, Gomez,

Pugsley by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescuePugsley,

Wednesday by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueWednesday,

Morticia by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueand Morticia.

Gomez by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueGomez is looking particularly angelic here. All four are super friendly and playful, and obviously, very cute.

Neteri by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueThe rescue, Alley Cats and Angels of NC, also took in this beautiful tabby kitten. She was found in a feral colony, as were all of the kittens in this blog post, but she had a congenital deformity in her back leg, which needed to be amputated. This hasn’t seemed to phase her. She is happy and sweet. You would never know she came from a feral colony.

Siren by Elizabeth Ruffing, adoptable kitten, Alley Cats and Angels of NC rescueSiren is a special-needs kitten, in that she has Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which also happened before birth. She is healthy and loving and adorable. She just has some tremors which make her unsteady. She is still able to climb in your lap though, which she loves to do. She needs a home that doesn’t have any big cat trees like we have here, or anything too high to climb on, to make sure she doesn’t fall. Otherwise, she should have a normal life like any other cat, with the same life expectancy. I have photos of her brother, Sasquatch to edit. He is amazingly cute too.