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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.

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Super Slug!

Super Slug plush art toy, yellow and purple-blue, by Elizabeth RuffingI finished a Super Slug!

Bias-cut, chevron striped lining of Super Slug's cape, by Elizabeth RuffingI got caught up bias cutting and piecing the lining for his turquoise and purple striped cape, making the stripes chevron in the center, that I made his cape twice the size I meant to make it. I didn’t realize that until I went to bed last night.

Super Slug plush art toy, yellow and purple-blue, by Elizabeth RuffingI thought it looked surprisingly voluminous! It has a purple and turquoise star print cotton fabric on the outside.

Super Slug plush art toy, yellow and purple-blue, by Elizabeth RuffingHe has my new custom-printed colored eyes. His are turquoise and green. I wish my camera would capture turquoise more accurately because the colors all set each other off so beautifully. He looks very dramatic.

Super Slug plush art toy, yellow and purple-blue, by Elizabeth RuffingI also made and pen-and-ink drawing of him for his hang tag. The tag can be personalized and comes tied to the Super Slug with a ribbon. This guy is already adopted, and was spoken for before I posted him. I just heard the “ping” of my mail from his adopter as I typed the last sentence. I plan to make more. I have a long list of toys that I am finishing for people who called dibs on the partially done ones already. I’ll make a second post to cover some of the busy-ness of the past weeks.

Super Slug hang tag by Elizabeth Ruffing

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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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Hug Me Kittens, stuffed animal fleece art toys

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, vanilla cream with a red heart, by Elizabeth RuffingI have a new batch (litter?) of Hug Me Kittens in my toy shop. They are fleece and they have my new two-tone custom-printed eyes.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, charcoal, oatmeal, and cream, by Elizabeth RuffingThe eyes have one color on the outer rims and another closer to the pupil, with one blending into the other. I made them in all kinds of combinations, many not existing in nature, like lavender fading into purple. I don’t know of anyone who has had eyes like that, except maybe Elizabeth Taylor.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, oatmeal with a lavender heart, by Elizabeth RuffingI added some neutral shades of fleece to my collection. An online Etsy course suggested that neutral colors were important, and I realized I hadn’t thought to include them before. I asked friends and they liked the idea.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, oatmeal with a lavender heart, by Elizabeth RuffingSo here are vanilla cream, oatmeal, and charcoal gray kittens. The oatmeal color reminds me of the adorable Pusheen the cat.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, oatmeal with a lavender heart, by Elizabeth RuffingLike all my toys, these are handmade, stitched mostly by hand with a needle and thread or embroidery floss. These kittens have just two machine-sewn seams. The rest is done stitch by stitch.

Hug Me Kitten hang tag by Elizabeth RuffingThey come with hang tags that can be personalized with a name and a message.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, yellow, made and held by Elizabeth RuffingThe kittens are about 9 inches tall.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, charcoal gray with a teal heart, by Elizabeth RuffingI couldn’t resist adding color to the charcoal gray, bright yellow-and green-eyes, and teal and rose-red, polka-dotted hearts.

Hug Me Kitten plush art toy, charcoal gray with a rose-red polka dot heart, by Elizabeth RuffingI have been watching movies while I stitch, staying out of the heat as much as possible, but when I have gone out, I’ve spotted some surprise wildlife. This baby robin was out learning to fly. I kept watch to make sure none of the real cats who were outside interfered.

Baby robin in the grass, by Elizabeth RuffingA beautiful fox has come to visit, three times so far, while I was outside, toward the evening. She must be used to me because she stepped out of the woods in front of me and watched me mowing the lawn. I missed her the last time she came for a visit, but my mom saw her walk behind me while I was petting cats. She walked over to our deck, looked around, and then trotted back into the woods. I was sorry I missed that. I tried getting a camera one time she was watching me out walking Jude, but she was gone by the time I came back outside. Jude missed her that time, even though she was about ten feet away from us. I picked him up and took him inside with me, and then went back to keep an eye on the other cats who had shown up for a visit. She is so quiet and graceful, I am not sure who sees her and who doesn’t. But I know she sees us.