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Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way.

Hug Me Bunnies in an Easter Basket with flowers, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingHappy spring and happy Easter! To celebrate, I have a whole colony, or fluffle, of stuffed bunny rabbits over in my toy shop! I have Hug Me Bunnies and Wonder Bunnies in lots of colors. You can hop on over to my toy shop to adopt one or two. Please don’t give real bunnies as gifts for Easter! Rabbits are a big commitment and a lot of work. They are definitely not “starter pets”. They need lots of love and attention, like Oliver Bunny does. Hug Me Bunnies, however, are very easy to take care of, and they are cuddly.

Hug Me Bunnies in spring colors, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingI brought some Hug Me Bunnies to Rabbit Day this year, and two of them were adopted by Louise and Arthur, two real bunnies.

Hug Me Bunnies with their bunny friends Louise and Arthur, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingThey come in all colors, even apple green.

Apple Green Hug Me Bunny, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingI started an Instagram page, if anyone would like to follow me there. I’m on Pinterest too. I am in the process of trying to figure out how to start a mailing list/club as well. I will post the details as soon as I figure it out!

Hug Me Bunnies in spring colors, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingIf anyone would like to make an Easter or a spring basket, like mine at the top of this post, here are some instructions. I got some floral foam. I got “wet foam”, but that isn’t necessary because I used pretend flowers. It’s called wet foam, because it is used for fresh flower arrangements, to keep them hydrated, but I didn’t wet it! The block just happened to work for the size of my basket. I set my basket on top of it, and carved away the excess with a knife. It was very easy to cut. Then I put the block into a plastic bag so the bits wouldn’t get everywhere, and I sealed the bag.

Wet foam, floral foam, for flower arrangingI cut my flowers away from their central stem. They are wired, and so you will need a tool that cuts wire, like a pair of side-cutting pliers or wire cutters. I tried to cut them at an angle, to make it easier to insert them into the foam.

Pretend flowers, snipped away from their central stemI put my bag of floral foam into my basket, and poked my flowers right into the foam through the bag. If you need to pull them out to reposition them, just poke a new hole.

Flowers stuck into floral foam which is inside a plastic bagI left some space in front of the flowers for my bunnies. The bow is made from wired ribbon that was made into big even-sized loops and then pinched together in the center with a big pipe cleaner. The ribbon could be wrapped around a big tube or jar to get the loops even, with the tails hanging free. The loops are pulled into shape and arranged as desired. I added a bunny ribbon around the rim of the basket. I set two Hug Me Bunnies in the basket, and I was all ready for Easter.

Aqua Hug Me Bunny, plush toys by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Hug Me Slugs Featured

Medium green and yellow Hug Me Slugs, plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingGuess who was featured in the Brown Alumni Magazine Holiday Gift Guide for 2017? My Hug Me Slugs! I submitted them to Brown Alumni Magazine for their annual holiday gift guide on almost the last day for submissions, and was surprised when Kerry Lachmann, who is in charge of the magazine’s annual holiday guide, wrote back in little more than an hour, accepting them and asking me to send them along to Providence, RI. She said, “The slugs are absolutely adorable! Can’t wait to see (‘meet’) them.” ūüôā Thank you, Kerry! I was very excited, and I think the slugs were too.

Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, That Holiday GlowI mailed them to off to Brown University, and when they arrived, I got another message from Kerry, saying, “They have arrived and they are adorable!!! I took them around the office and introduced them to the staff (-: So sweet. Thanks!” The slugs must have been eating up all that attention. They have to compete with the cats and the bunny around here.

Brown Alumni Magazine, The BAM Holiday Gift Guide 2017, That Holiday Glow, Hug Me SlugsThis week, the print issue of the 2017 December/November Brown Alumni Magazine arrived, and there they were, peeking out from the page. They are back home now, and in my toy shop, waiting to be adopted.

Brown College Gates, Main Campus, photo by laaaaandyyyyyHere are some wintry photos of the Brown University campus. I walked through these gates every day my first year there, on my way across campus to go get my mail, or head to class.

Brown Main Campus, photo by danlo1996This is the main campus. In the warmer weather, it is covered in students.

Brown CVan Wickle GatesThese are the Van Wickle Gates. It is customary for first-year students to walk through them when starting at Brown, and then again when graduating. I participated in neither march through the gates, I have to say. I was a transfer student from Yale, and I went home before graduation!

Elizabeth home for Christmas break from collegeHere I am home on Christmas break from Brown. I think I had just turned twenty-one here. I was wearing a headband that only just fell apart a few weeks ago, and is lying on the chair next to me as I write this. My mom was always trying to get me to take that thing off. Ha. It does look silly.

Elizabeth came home from college with a catI came home with a cat from Brown. Her name was Tishi. She accompanied me home on Thanksgiving break, my first year there. Someone had dropped her inside the gate around my dorm, and she was yelling at the basement window. I fed her turkey strips from the salad bar, which I sneaked out of the dining hall, until I was able to get some cat food. She stayed at home with my very tolerant parents who cared for her while I was away at school. I missed her, but she was safer there. Brown doesn’t allow pets in dorms. You aren’t supposed to steal turkey from the salad bar either, no matter how much your cat you aren’t supposed to have in your room likes it.

Assorted Hug Me Slugs, stuffed slug toys and figurines by Elizabeth RuffingFortunately, they do allow Hug Me Slugs there. I have a bunch more I have been working on and posting in my shop. Please go have a look around.

Super Slugs, Hug Me Slugs, stuffed slug toys by Elizabeth RuffingI have Super Slugs,

Wonder Bunnies, Hug Me Bunnies, stuffed bunny rabbit toys by Elizabeth Ruffingand Wonder Bunnies,

Hug Me Bunnies, stuffed bunny rabbit toys by Elizabeth RuffingHug Me Bunnies,

Hug Me Kittens, stuffed kitty cat toys by Elizabeth Ruffingand Hug Me Kittens.

Sage green Hug Me Kitten, stuffed kitty cat toy by Elizabeth RuffingPeople have asked for little slugs, smaller than I can sew, and now I have slug figurines,

Hug Me Slug figurines by Elizabeth Ruffingand bunny rabbit figurines,

Hug Me Bunny Rabbit figurines by Elizabeth Ruffingand kitty cat figurines too.

Hug Me Kitten figurines by Elizabeth Ruffing

I will try to post more photos of my toys in more posts. Sorry to have been missing all year. We lost my dad last Christmas Eve. Last year, we were busy caring for him, and this year, adjusting to his not being with us.

Sending love your way and wishing you all a lovely holiday season.

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Busy days and a green bunny

Yellow and gray Hug Me Slugs, apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve mostly been finishing toys people have asked for, when I’ve had a chance to finish any toys, but I do have these gray and lemon yellow Hug Me Slugs over in my toy shop right now. The apple green Hug Me Bunny was a custom order and is already adopted. They each have my new colored eyes.

Apple green Hug Me Bunny plush toy by Elizabeth RuffingWe’ve had a lot going on lately, and I haven’t been able to sew as much as I would like. I’ve been doing my dad’s physical therapy with him. He’s been very good about doing his exercises and walking, but his balance is sometimes off. He wakes up a lot at night, and I think he may have taken up sleep walking. I hear him wandering the hall at night. He makes coffee and feeds the cats, and doesn’t remember doing it. I’ve had to strike a balance between checking on him and sleeping because I can’t get up every hour and hope to function.

Lemon yellow Hug Me Slug plush toy by Elizabeth RuffingDad’s scan results were not what any of us hoped they would be, but we still need to have more tests to confirm what is going on. I am hoping he can resume physical therapy with a trained physical therapist to help him with his balance, but first we need to get more appointments out of the way. I’ll keep doing his exercises with him either way.

Heather gray Hug Me Slug plush toy by Elizabeth RuffingHurricane Junonimo had her spay surgery done. She went into heat early, which was a surprise. She didn’t agree with the idea that she needed to rest afterward, and kept racing around. There was no where to confine her where she would not jump on things. The area got irritated and she pulled out one of her stitches.

Juno, orange kitten lounging on pillow, by Elizabeth RuffingThe vet tech fit her with a cone, but she had it off by the time we got home. I tried two different cones and made her an embarrassing dress to wear. She would have none of it.

Juno wearing a badly designed dress, by Elizabeth RuffingMy badly-designed Project Runway reject of a dress stayed on a little longer than the cones, but she got another stitch out. So, we took her to the vet, every other day, to make sure she was okay, until she had the remaining two stitches removed. She is fine now and has moved on to other mischief, like trying to march out the door whenever she gets a chance, and giving me back talk when I tell her to get off the kitchen counter.

Juno wearing a badly designed dress, while attacking her cone, by Elizabeth RuffingI took some friends’ suggestions to try Small Pet Select timothy hay for Oliver Bunny, since he is especially picky about hay. He chose it over his salad the first time I gave it to him.

Oliver Bunny eating his timothy hay, by Elizabeth RuffingI see him munching on it, which is good. He has disagreed that bunnies are supposed to have timothy hay as the bulk of their diet. My pets all seem to have rebellious ideas.

Oliver Bunny eating his timothy hay, by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble from next door also has rebellious ideas. He likes to see how close he can get to Santana without Santana noticing.

Trouble hiding in the garden, by Elizabeth RuffingSantana likes to sleep in the garden, and Trouble tucks himself in as inconspicuously as he can, a couple of feet away. The other day, he managed to hide, unnoticed for hours off the edge of the deck, before Santana spotted him. One time I found them lying next to each other under my car.

Santana sleeping in the garden, by Elizabeth RuffingOne night, Trouble¬†was locked out of his house, and slept in Mr Bear’s house on the porch. Eventually, there was an argument. He likes to see how much he can get away with before Santana yells. He even sneaks food out of Santana’s bowl. I suspect he wants to be friends with Santana, but it doesn’t always work out well.

Trouble hiding next to the cat house, by Elizabeth RuffingHis brother Scooter doesn’t bother being stealthy. He lounges in plain view.

Scooter napping in sun rays, by Elizabeth RuffingHe and Trouble were coming over together for a while, when Dad’s physical therapist was making home visits, to watch Dad do his exercises. They both took a seat at the back door.

Scooter looking in our back door, by Elizabeth RuffingThey found it entertaining, most of the time.

Scooter looking in our back door, yawning, by Elizabeth RuffingI have to get those capes on my Wonder Bunnies. I made more Wonder Bunnies, and now I need to make more capes.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush toy in progress by Elizabeth Ruffing

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Heart repairs

Mom and Dad out walking in the yard, by Elizabeth RuffingDad got his triple bypass heart surgery done toward the end of August, and is doing pretty well. He is still in bed most of the time, but he has been able to walk a little more each week. He gets tired easily. We were surprised to find out that¬†two of the blockages in his heart were almost 100% blocked, and the other was almost 70% blocked. The surgeon said that was “the good one”. It is amazing he was still going to work eight hours a day, walking around. We are all so glad we found out about this and that the surgery went well. Unfortunately, he has to go back in for a biopsy on his lung. I’m sorry he has more to go through. Hopefully that will turn out okay too.

It is rare to catch my parents on camera, since they both hide¬†from me when I try to photograph them, but here they are, on one of Dad’s walks in the yard. I’m sure there were neighbors’ cats just out of the picture frame. They like to accompany them.

Mom and Dad out walking in the yard, by Elizabeth RuffingJust to add to the excitement of the surgery, I got so worn out that I managed to drop a metal cable TV box on my head, from about four feet above. I don’t do well without sleep, and we had to be at the hospital mighty early, not that I was sleeping much anyway. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to drive back and forth to the hospital. I set off a chain of headaches and numbness and pins and needles that has finally calmed down.

Mom has been getting up with Dad in the morning. I am grateful for that. I was doing it at first, but that, combined with Dad being mixed up about time, was leaving me wiped out. He was getting up when I was going to bed. One time he aimed a flashlight in my face at 3:33am, because he thought I might be outside. The nurse said that is a very common side effect of being in the hospital. I know my parents went through that with me, when I came home from the hospital, when I had encephalitis in my twenties. Back then, they took turns sleeping on the floor next to me, because I would wake up calling out or I would go try to climb the ladder to the attic in the middle of the night. I also remember the long recovery being a big downer. So, even though Dad is doing well, I know it is hard and it takes a lot of patience.

Stacks of fleece and toy bodies in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI am doing my best to get my work underway. I feel I need to apologize all the time, for not being able to keep up, but I know that is ridiculous. I am doing one thing at a time, or, more accurately for me, twenty of one thing at a time. That is the closest I do to one thing at a time. I have a list of toys people have asked for, and I am cutting out those colors. I sew them by the stack. In my mind, that is practical. That way, I will be better prepared the next time someone wants one of those colors.

Hug Me Bunny gray fleece plush art toy by Elizabeth RuffingThis gray Hug Me Bunny is one of the toys that made it all the way to finished. I am making an apple green bunny for the same person. Someone else asked for a gray slug. That is why I have a stack of gray and apple green above. I didn’t realized I had so much apple green fleece. I have been tripping over the bag of it for months, but had no idea there was twice¬†as much as I have in that photo. I hope everyone likes apple green.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingI had to take my real-life bunny, Oliver, to the vet yesterday. I kept meaning to take him for a nail trim, but had no time. The night before, one of his nails was bent out to the side. It must have gotten caught on something. I felt like such a bad mommy. They were booked up until Tuesday, but one of the techs fit us in. Oliver did not enjoy his nail trim one bit, but I hope he feels better now.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingHe seems to have forgiven me. He is camping out next to the air conditioning vent in the floor of my workroom. That is one of his favorite spots. Forehead pets make him feel better too.

Oliver Bunny, by Elizabeth RuffingScooter, one of the cats from next door, has decided that he is running away from home. He wants to know if I can provide refreshments. Scooter shows up at the back door every day he can, every time he hears dishes in the kitchen. He shows up for breakfast. He shows up for dinner. He waits by the back door in the dark.

Scooter, gray and white cat at the back door, asking for food, by Elizabeth RuffingWhen I try to feed Santana, he jumps in front of him and sticks his head in the bowl. Santana has decided Scooter is crazy and he is not going to mess with him. Sometimes, Scooter’s brother, Trouble, is out on the back deck too, but he usually heads to the front porch, to see if he can get past Santana for some dry food. Scooter prefers wet food and has figured out that you ask for that at the back door.

Scooter, gray and white cat napping on the back deck, by Elizabeth RuffingWhen he gets tired, sometimes he takes a nap outside the back door, just in case a can of food happens to come rolling by.

Scooter, gray and white cat napping on the back deck, by Elizabeth RuffingI emailed my neighbor to suggest getting Scooter tested for hyperthyroidism. We have had cats with it, and I have been told it seems to be common in our area. The desperation for food, combined with his weight loss makes it a possibility. He also howls occasionally, for no apparent reason, which can be another sign.

Scooter, gray and white cat at the back door, asking for food, by Elizabeth RuffingThe cats inside the house are used to cats showing up at the door. They watch each other as they go about their daily activities. Juno makes sure she puts on a good show, demolishing whatever she can find in the living room and kitchen. This is the cardboard insert for her Star Chaser toy, the circular track with a light-up ball. Good thing we ordered extra inserts.

Juno, orange kitten, playing with her Star Chaser cardboard insert, by Elizabeth RuffingI had better go amass another stack of fleece rectangles, or take a nap, or combine both a stack of fleece and a nap.