Ah, the heat wave is over and we’ve had a welcome bit of fall weather. Grabbed the Halloween decorations from the garage (hint, if you live on a dusty, dirt road – place even your bins into plastic garbage bags, sealed tightly with a twisty). So, what shall I start sharing first?
My current thing is black cats. Guess why? Meet my home mates. (yes, her blankie has some machine embroidery on it, Embroidery Library Kashmir elephant and she loves her thermal cat bed). Previous kitty was a beautiful white long hair (from kids with a box in front of the supermarket). My current delights are pound kitties. I went there thinking light colored single cat, but couldn’t bear the thought that someone might separate these little babies who were curled up with one another. Thus, I arrived home with two black terrors who could climb the drapes and shred anything not nailed down (and be ever so cute while doing it). Like me, they’ve mellowed a bit, but that youthful exuberance is not yet spent.
The kitchen towels are Embroidery Library Black Cat Filigree and bats with moon from Embroidery Designs.com. With embroidery machines, you need to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for how to edit or load your image and the nuances of how your hoops work. General instructions to cover every topic with full picture tutorials are available on Embroidery Library’s project website. These stitched out very well.
The reversible napkins have Wrights Rick Rack trim. For a good tutorial on making your own, check out the Film in the Fridge tutorial. Fabric is from JoAnn. Mine started 18 inches square (hers are smaller) and I don’t stitch down the rick rack where she does it the first time. I just layer and sew, although my way you have to pay close attention to what you’re doing.
I’d made easy plaster black cat pins and napkin ties with the same rick rack.
If you don’t know how to mix plaster of Paris, check out eHow’s instructions. You can use the inexpensive stuff from the hardware store; I haven’t found craft stores smaller packages to yield a better product. When I’m using the candy molds for shapes (the cats were chocolate lollipop molds from Wilton), I just mix the plaster in a disposable coffee cup. I always have a few of those stashed in the garage. Remember to stir without bringing extra air into the mix – bubbles mean little pockmarks in your finished items (so do not try to beat like eggs). I’ve seen instructions that say approximately 2 parts plaster to one part water. In truth, I use the water first, tap in powder until you have it peaking a few inches above the water then stir method. You can also tap your mold a bit hoping to get the air bubbles to rise. Before you start, have everything ready.
More than once, I didn’t have my hooks handy. You can glue them on later, but the glued ones periodically pop off. Christmas ornament hooks work, paper clips you’ve snipped down with wire clippers or craft wire (on bendable on the spool at a crafts store). You want to let them set up a bit before you put the hooks in, otherwise they’ll sink and you’ll have the metal bits visible on the face of your piece. With larger pieces, it’s easy to rig a “hook holder”, for instance you can lay a dowel across the back of the mold and put your hook on that so it doesn’t sink. With these small ones, watching for the plaster to get thick enough doesn’t take long. If you forget to place them, I’ve used wood glue with mixed results. Above you can see one hook on, one off and one that’s been reglued (and I didn’t bother to retouch the paint). Most stay stuck, but about ¼ pop off and have to be reglued. Do a few up with pinbacks to have some fun Halloween pins – everyone who know me has a nice little cheerful collection.
You do want to paint both front and back, or later seal the back with your favorite acrylic sealer, to prevent a constant brush of plaster dust on anything your items touch.
Once fully dry, I paint with acrylic paints and Liquitex Iridescent tinting medium. You can mix the medium with paint or use it as a glaze. Here it’s the light glaze final coat.