I was trying to decide whether I should add this photo to my last post about this special Hug Me Slug Angel, but since it made me so happy, I decided to share it on its own post. Here he is, united with his companion Hug Me Slug, and their mom, or my customer’s mom. They were both gifts for her. She wrote to tell me her mom loves her Hug Me Slug Angel, who was made in memory of her dad, who passed away last Christmas. Their 57th wedding anniversary would have been this month. She says her mom is enjoying her new independent living apartment. She told me her mom has her slug angel in her living room there, but will likely be taking him out to share with other residents in the community. I hope he makes everyone smile. I enjoy thinking about the conversations with this adorable lady about her slug and the story behind him.
This is what toy making is all about, spreading some joy and some comfort, making someone feel good. That makes my day.
This is how my day begins, with these characters. Oliver Bunny waits for me to get up so he can have his veggies and his banana slice. Sometimes he gets super excited about this. Here he is, with his lips around the bar of his pen, letting me know he needs immediate attention. He was really taking a break from chewing on his litter pan, which is does to make a point. He turns to look at me, to make sure his efforts are effective. He gets what he wants, and then he comes out for the day to hop around.
And this lady below is usually asleep when I wake up, even though she has been yelling during the night lately. I am pretty sure she has hyperthyroidism, since our cats keep coming down with it as they age. I need to make an appointment to take her in for a blood test. I got an iodine test that people use on aquariums, but I don’t know if there is anything to be done if I find iodine in anything, or what the safe levels are. It isn’t regulated in water and no one I’ve asked has had much information. And it isn’t necessarily the cause. The vet and the person I talked to at the local public health department both said there seemed to be a lot of cases of hyperthyroidism in cats in this area. It’s more of a mystery.
Cats have continued to show up here, popping out of the woods behind my next door neighbor’s house in the evening, and then running back. He doesn’t want us to trap there, and Santana, our other neighbors’ cat chases them away from our house. I am hoping his owner can lure them over to her yard, since that seems to be our only option for catching them, to get them fixed. I count four adults so far, and surely one is a female, probably the mom of the kitten that showed up. If this goes on any longer, there will be more kittens and my neighbors will have a colony behind their houses. I don’t have the funds to take care of that situation. They are going to have to come together. If the cats get fixed and vaccinated, it will be okay, but that has to happen.
I’m sewing through stacks of fleece, trying to get more colors of Hug Me Slugs together. I get sleepy when I sit at the sewing machine. Watching the needle go up and down is hypnotic. It is so much easier to stay awake with a movie to watch. I will be able to do that when I move on to stuffing and hand sewing. I also need to take my sewing machine in to be cleaned. I thought I was a year behind, doing that, but Facebook showed me one of those “4 years ago today” posts, and there was my machine, just back from servicing. Oops. There must be a lot of fuzz inside from sewing all that fleece!
Last month, I received a special request from an especially nice, long-time Hug Me Slug adopter. She sent me a photo of her collection of slugs and told me, “Their wiggley smiles always remind me that no matter what is going on, good or bad, there’s always something to be thankful for and smile about.”
She had even gotten a pale lavender slug for her mom.
She shared the sad news that her father had recently passed away, and asked if I could make a Hug Me Slug Angel as a companion for her mom’s Hug Me Slug. She asked if I might use part of one of her dad’s shirts for the heart and the bottom. Her parents’ anniversary was just coming up. I said sure.
She sent me a family photo of her parents and herself, together, and told me what a wonderful man her dad was, and how the world is a little better a place because of him. I could see he was a kind man, just like she is. She struck a chord when she shared, “If you make people’s lives that you came in contact with through the years a little easier, a little more joyful, more peaceful, more loving, maybe that’s living a full life. Maybe that’s the true ‘success in life’.”
She sent me his shirt in the mail, and when I unfolded it, I remembered another photo someone sent me, of his Hug Me Slug wearing his shirt. I wrote to her and told her I had a semi-crazy idea. I knew it would take some fiddling, but I was certain I could fit the shirt to the slug. I used to make my own clothes, after all.
I had to remove the collar to fit the side seams and get rid of the shoulders, and I needed to move the collar buttons. I also added a new buttonhole in the front. I think he came out looking sharp. I added a heart on the outside of the shirt.
I made a personalized tag for him, with “Birth” and the date, and “Received Wings” and the date, on the back, at her request, which I thought was just right.
I sewed his puffy white wings to the back of the shirt, so the top could still be opened and pulled down, to make caring for him easier. I weighted his bottom with a pouch filled with Poly-Pellets, to keep him from tipping. I hope she and her mom will love him, and that he will provide some comfort and some smiles.
Update: Please visit my next post to see this angel in his new home with his adorable owner!
I also finished three little Hug Me Slugs and put them up over in my toy shop. My two most recent orders were for little pink slugs, both going to the United Kingdom, to different addresses. I always check my international addresses online, because USPS doesn’t automatically verify them when I purchase my shipping. I like to be sure I have the city and province in the right order. I checked the most recent address, and found this lovely English manor house. What a lucky slug. She will have a beautiful view. My slugs get to go to the nicest places.
Pictured below is one view from my back door, not as glamorous, but with two cute members of my kitty fan club. These are two of the neighboring guys I was worried about last time I wrote. That is Scooter to the far left and Trouble to the right, sitting on my bags of garden dirt. He moved to the hood of the car shortly after. They made sure to come right over and let me know they were fine. They wait for me to come out in the evening.
Scooter wanted me to know he appreciated me and he gave me lots of rubs and head bumps.
They were closed up for a couple of days this past weekend too, and came running over as soon as they got out. It is sweet that they miss me.
Coming over to say hello has become part of their routine.
Trouble really, really wants to get some pets too, but he is shy about it. He gets close and meows and stares at me. He let me pet him in his garage, where he feels more secure, when I used to cat sit for them, and when I stepped in to do it when no one showed recently. Maybe someday he’ll get the nerve to let me pet him outdoors too.
He likes me to tell him how handsome he is. He always comes running. So, he must like that a lot.
I have a new group of Hug Me Slugs over in my toy shop. These are 7, 8 and 9 inches tall, in more pretty fleece colors.
I’ve had a couple of very touching emails along with orders from repeat customers/slug adopters recently. I’ll share one now and one next time. The mom of these three little boys is expecting another little boy. Her three sons all insisted that he needed a Hug Me Slug too, and so she ordered one before his arrival. Theirs is one of my favorite photos. She says they love their slugs. One slug looks good enough to eat.
Oliver Bunny prefers to eat carrots. He might lick a Hug Me Slug, given the chance. He loves banana slices most of all.
Carrots give him orange lips, like Popsicles, not that he eats Popsicles. He might, if I were to make one from a frozen banana.
When I am done sewing for the day, I take Jude for his evening walk. He whines incessantly, if I don’t. He also cries when our cat neighbor friends don’t come to visit. Right now, their owner is be away, and they are locked up. No one come has to look after them, either Friday or Saturday, which makes me worry. I offered to do it myself, as I used to look after them, but last time a kid from the neighborhood came eventually, for two minutes. Unfortunately, he was someone who, along with his family, were responsible for some very upsetting animal-related incidents, some that were personal to me. They don’t care about animals. I care about the cats, and took good care of them, and I did it for free. I’m trying not to think about it, but I don’t understand it.
Mr Santana, this big orange boy, another neighbor kitty, was all matted up. I was surprised he let me take a bunch of them out. He looked happy to be rid of them. I was glad I didn’t get bitten this time around. He got himself into more trouble last Monday night. This time, he got a nasty bite, from another fight I guess, which looked terrible. Thankfully, it healed up on its own.
In more neighborhood kitty stress news, another kitten showed up across the cul-de-sac, which makes me feel extra bad about being unable to trap either of those boy cats last month, in case there is an unspayed female they showed up to visit. Kitty drop-offs seem to be an annual occurrence here, and a year-round occurrence in the area. Oliver Bunny was set loose by someone and found in our back yard last year.
These are Jojo and mama Bindi, who were abandoned here three years ago this August. As you can see, they are doing fine. They are much rounder than they used to be. They are indoor kitties, as all of ours are now, aside from Jude during his evening walks.
I wish people would be more responsible about animals and more helpful about getting them fixed. The cumulative effect is so distressing for the animals and the people who try to look after them. I’ve had at least two dreams, since the latest kitten showed up, where I’ve been searching for and finding a kitten. Once one gets dropped off, you hear them everywhere.
If you can, help out the rescues, and the rescuers. Please adopt, and spay and neuter. This year has been crazy for all the cat-helping people I know.
Update: After seeing no one come to take care of my neighbor’s cats, I asked other neighbors, who also had seen no one, and then went to take care of them myself. They had no food, and the envelope with the payment for the kid who was supposed to be cat sitting was still under the clip holding the the food bag closed. So, he obviously hadn’t stopped by. The water hadn’t been changed and the litter box hadn’t been cleaned. The cats were so happy to see me. I gave them food and pets, cleaned up a little, and went back the next morning with my mom and a neighbor who lives on the other side, while I cleaned up the rest of the way, which took a while since nothing had been done. The envelope was still there, and nothing had been cleaned any more than I had left it. I left a note saying what had happened, but never heard a word back, didn’t even receive thank you, except from the cats, who were obviously grateful. The kid finally made an appearance, not long before my neighbor came back from a long weekend. I checked and he at least had the decency to leave the payment behind. All quite disturbing.