Monday, February 18, 2013

Not quite in the pink

These past few weeks have been difficult for a number of reasons. However, last week, I redecorated a thrift store mannequin in preparation for my appearance demonstrating embroidery and embellishment techniques at A Needle Pulling Thread's booth at the CreativFestival this April in Toronto.
Each designer is allowed to bring a small example of their work. I wanted to show abit of what I like to do beyond sewing and other textile frolics.
I found the mannequin at Value Village, just after I received four stamps for donating four bags of stuff. My card full, I was then eligible for a 30 per cent off discount on my next purchase. I was headed for the door when I spied this torso.
At first glance, it was a challenging bit of kitsch. However, my re-create brain was engaged at that very moment. (Sometimes that doesn't happen) I could see the whole transformation in my head. Also, I have a policy of leaving no mannequin behind. So, I picked it up and headed toward the cash. It was marked $9.99 -- which is quite a lot for a thrift store -- and Pepto Pink. However, I had the magic 30 per cent off coupon.
Now, I admit, $7 is still quite a lot for a thrift store find -- and let's not forget the challenge of the PINK! As I reached into my pocket for my car keys, I found $20 in my coat pocket. (I had not worn that coat since last spring.) I know that doesn't make my mannequin purchase free, but it sort of felt like it was because of the hidden $20.
When I got the mannequin home, I disassembled it from its stand and took stock of what I had to do. The fabric flowers had to come off with the assistance of pliers. Ditto the shiny braid. I was left with a reasonably good substrate. I gave it a quick sand to get rid of any residual glue and got to the real work of getting rid of the PINK!
The PINK! was so vibrant I decided to use a dark umber as the base coat before the crackle medium. In my mind's eye, the new colour scheme was going to be a lot more subdued. If you have ever visited Evelyn and Rose, you will understand the vibe I was going for.
Susan has a colour palette that uses white in many incarnations, along with lovely blues and greens. I love the tranquility of that -- it feels like sand, sea, home and happiness to me. Also, I get sort of lost in her blog. Be warned. It is pretty there.
My mannequin was looking much better even with its dark brown basecoat. Once it was dry, I put on the crackle medium. When the medium was dry, I did the first coat of off white paint -- white mixed with antique white. The first round of crackling was quite violent. To tone it down, I added another coat of off white. When it dried, I decided another coat of off white would make the mannequin appear old, but still in good shape. Sadly, I don't think this is the case with humans, but I am willing to suspend all disbelief...
After three coats of off white, the crackle effect was quite subdued. I let the paint dry for 24 hours before using permanent ink to stamp the images on it. This way, the images would stand up to the three coats of satin varnish I used to seal the surface. I am pleased with it so far.
The next step in the process is to create a ribbon, bead and button skirt. I am working on that later on today, but I thought I'd share the WIP.


  1. what a find! Even if it was PINK! How big is it? Pincushion size or full size?

  2. Your WIP is very pretty - I'll have to come over and check it out! Oh wait - I'll see it on Thursday - YAY!!

  3. Wow, this girl got a fabulous new look! Much better than her pepto pink. She was meant for you to find and make-over, Nancy, especially since you discovered that $20 by chance.
    I love her new vintage look and those great stamp images. Can't wait to see the end result!
    Thank you SO much for your kind words about my blog. It has been terrific to meet you via blogging, and share our love of Tilda and crafts.
    Happy crafting! - Susan
    (sorry if this is a duplicate comment - I had trouble with my connection on the 1st try)


Thank you for visiting Heaven is Handmaid! If you are having trouble making a comment, please feel free to e-mail me directly. You will find my e-mail address in my profile.
Have a handmade kind of day! :-)