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Took a break and made some appliqué designs

Hug Me! Bunny and Hug Me! Kitty by Elizabeth RuffingI got one of those long-running headaches last week, and decided to let up on my push to get our web site relaunched this week or next. I’ve gotten a lot done, but I was working too hard. My eyes needed a break from the computer too. While surfing the web (I know…I never really leave the computer for good), I was inspired by some fun throw pillows by Robin’s Egg Blue and so I wanted to give that idea a try with my own designs. I found my own favorite throw pillow, and used its 13 x 14 inch size for my drawings.

Hug Me! Puppy and Hug Me! Slug by Elizabeth RuffingThese are the first four designs I’m working on, “Hug Me! Bunny”, “Hug Me! Kitty”, “Hug Me! Puppy”, and “Hug Me! Slug”. I think throw pillows are good for hugging too. These have been modified from previous designs I’ve made of the same characters. I may modify them some more, depending on how they look once they are done up in fabric. I’m starting by picking out quilting cottons for the appliquéd parts, and I’ve got a few yards of a natural cotton I’m using for the background. I’ve been debating over whether to make the pillows with an insert so the covers can be washed, or making them spot clean only, without the insert. Personally, I really like things to be washable, but I know I’d have to charge a little more for the time and supplies involved. Given my own inclination, I will most likely start with covers with pillow inserts.

I can imagine these as quilted wall hangings also, or maybe even painted designs with a name incorporated somewhere.

Pear pieMy dad was given seventeen pounds of pears recently, and I tried my best to do something with them. My first challenge was a pear pie. The recipe was very much like one for an apple pie, only my pears needed extra cooking time. They were very crunchy to start with, the homegrown kind you see in lots of back yards in our neighborhood. A friend suggested poaching them first, which would probably have been a good idea. I put apricot preserves in the bottom of the crust, before layering in the pears, to waterproof it a bit. I got my recipe from The Perfect Pie by Susan G. Purdy.

Pear pieMy second challenge was going to be pear jam, but that’s when my headache got me. I’m feeling better now, but the pears are passing their prime. I think I may just eat some, and share the rest with the wildlife.

I will continue to work on our web site, but I’m going to alternate doing that and sewing. I will be happier that way. As much as I’ve been excited about having a newly designed site, mixing things up works a lot better for me.

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Tulip the Dutch Bunny, Original One-of-a-kind Black-and-white Rabbit Art Doll Figurine by Max Bailey

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, Original One-of-a-kind Black-and-white Rabbit Art Doll Figurine by artist Max Bailey

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileyTulip is a handmade original, one-of-a-kind black-and-white Dutch bunny rabbit art doll, hand painted and hand sculpted in paperclay by artist Max Bailey.

I am pleased to introduce Tulip, a hard working Dutch bunny with a very serious nature.

Tulip was named after her very great great grandmother Tulip, the illustrious founder and President of Tulip’s Tulip Farm, where the most spectacularly beautiful tulips in all the world are grown.

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileySomeday, Tulip will be President of the farm. For now, she loves to go out into the fields in the fall, and dig perfect little holes with her front paws. Her brothers and sisters follow along behind her, rolling tulip bulbs carefully into the holes. Cousins and second cousins follow along behind them, filling in the holes with dirt to cover the bulbs.

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileyIn the spring, when the tulips burst into bloom, all the Dutch bunnies dance through the fields in celebration of the beauty they have helped to create. Tulip loves the lavender tulips the most. You can tell from the lavender tulip pockets she has sewn on her sky blue dress.

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileyTulip is an original one-of-a-kind work of art, and she is meant for display only. No molds are ever used in my work. She is hand-sculpted from paperclay, and entirely hand painted with acrylic paints. Her whiskers are made from stiffened cotton thread.

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileyTulip is signed and dated, and sealed with matte varnish for protection and preservation. She rests firmly on a turned wooden base that is stained and sealed in golden oak.

Tulip is an itty bitty bunny. She stands only 4 1/4 inches tall. She comes with a hang tag, a certificate of authenticity, and a copy of her story.

Tulip the Dutch Bunny, original black-and-white rabbit figurine by Max BaileyTulip is available for $149.99, plus shipping. Please inquire to ruffings@ruffings.com

Her friend, Matilda the Tuxedo Kitten, on the right, has already been adopted.

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Happy Easter to you!

Happy Easter! I woke up very early this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Rather than flop hopelessly from one side and then to the other for another hour, I decided, since I’d never gone to the Sunrise Easter Service at the North Carolina State Capitol before, that it would be a good time to go.

I made it there just before the sun came up over the horizon. The weirdest thing happened just as I was approaching the Capitol. When I’m driving in low light, I always fret that animals will cross my path. So, I jumped when I saw a low-flying dove come flying out right in front of my car. I just missed it, but it was grazed, at least, by the car next to me. I went back, and couldn’t find it. It must have just been stunned, and then recovered. I hope it was okay, but I thought, that is the strangest thing to happen on an Easter morning, and to a dove of all birds.

I parked in the church lot, which was mostly empty, and walked to the Capitol. I just listened for a while, and then I took out my camera. Cameras are funny. People change when they see them. One man waved at me, and another just kept smiling and smiling. I guess he wanted to make sure he was smiling in case I took a photo? A young couple stopped me and asked me if I could take their picture with their camera too. I tried to get a couple of good shots for them.

The news teams were there, and some press photographers. One man was sitting in the grass, with his dog. Church where you can sit on the grass with your dog sounds appealing to me. I don’t have a dog, but I bet I could easily find one or two who would enjoy such a thing.

After the service, I walked around for a while. One of the cool things about going out when other people are “in”, is that you can stand right in the middle of the street. You can’t do that in Raleigh most of the time. And, of course, the other cool thing is watching the sun come up.

When I got back to the church parking lot, there were some homeless people just getting up. One was still asleep on the steps, and another asked me if I had enough money for a bagel. I hope he got himself one. And then, there was this lady, sitting barefoot, on a bench out front, with two kids, a teenaged girl next to her, and a young boy who was exploring. She’d taken off her silver or golden shoes, and was playing a flute of some kind. She was facing the sun, as it was coming up, and seemed to be playing directly to the sun, like she was paying a tribute. She was very absorbed in her song, and didn’t seem to mind, or maybe even notice, me taking photos of her. Then, I got in my car and headed back home, glad to have a nice, comfortable one to go to. When I returned, everyone was just getting up. Had I not left a note, no one might have known I’d even been gone. I went back to work, at our beautiful new computer, and felt stupid for all the things I was chewing on earlier, while I was tossing and turning. We’re doing just fine.

I did some photo editing. We’ve got a new little bunny that I just put up on her own web page. Her name is Tulip. You can read Tulip the Dutch Bunny’s cute story here. I think I’m going to take the plunge and switch to WordPress very soon. So, our blogs may be on our home pages, at ruffings.com and elizabethruffing.com the next time you visit. If that doesn’t work, there will be a note there instead! Check our Ruffing’s Facebook page too. I’ve been updating that with any new items. Enjoy your Easter and your weekend! I’m hungry from getting up so early! Got to go get some lunch…
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So much to do, so little time to blog…

Last weekend, my cousin, Steve, his wife, Erin, and their kids, Benjamin and Sophia, were in town for Erin’s brother’s wedding. I got to visit with them, which was great fun.

Their new cousin, Eliana, Ben, and Sophia are so amazingly energetic. You can’t help but enjoy yourself around them.

I even got ambushed…

I was too large to be carried however.

Sophia tied my legs together when I said I was going to be on my way. After securing me, she decided to let me go.

I also made it to the web design group I hadn’t been to for about two years. The nice WordPress theme developer, who was giving the presentation, gave me lots of tips for our web site migration. I was very happy because he was able to answer some questions I’d been trying to find the answers to for two weeks.

Right now, I think I am mostly trying to get up my nerve to make the change. I know that the navigation will not work just right until I’ve got the whole site moved over, and I’m nervous about that. Plus, I keep debating over whether or not I want to put the blogs on the home pages of our sites, or on their own sub-page. At some point, I will just jump in.

In the meantime, the Ruffing’s blog is not active, although it is still up. So, here is our latest offering, “Matilda the Tuxedo Kitten”, an original, one-of-a-kind art doll figurine by Max Bailey. You can read more about Matilda by clicking here to go to her web page.

We are also debating over computers right now. We need a new one, and we’re trying to decide which Mac to get and when. We also need to learn to use a Mac, which adds a little extra excitement. We need a desktop to edit photos, but I’d also like a laptop, to make myself more mobile. I know you can hook the laptop to a monitor, but I’d like the option to take trips or work elsewhere for some variety. The desktop we are looking at is kind of intimidating. It seems like a TV set to me. So, another plunge to take.

Oh, and “Beatrice and Beulah” the lop rabbit folk art dolls by Max Bailey and myself, are up for adoption on eBay this week. The auction ends tomorrow night. You can check out Beatrice and Beulah’s eBay page by clicking here. Once again, I’m putting announcements on our Ruffing’s Facebook page. Please join us there.

I’m also finishing up a small pile of Hug Me! Slugs and a Hug Me! Toad or three. I’ll be putting them up in my Etsy shop as soon as I can.