Sunday, 27 May 2012

Making friends with something that used to gross me out


I used to shudder when I saw crocheted dresses, vests, blankets, bags - anything crocheted. It was just one of those things, like having a fear of spiders. It may in fact have been the web-like patterning of crocheting that triggered the cringe.

But look at my new favourite dress! A crocheted masterpiece! I saw it and my skin prickled - with delight, and, I must confess, a little bit of eeew which made it just right. Add to the dress a wondrous new red felt beret that I recently thrifted and I felt like an impish princess. Striding down the sidewalk in this Wonder Outfit of dress, hat, fence-climbers (shoes), and bright red lipstick, I was transported to Paris. Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour my dress said silently to passersby. Some of them actually answered back.


Details of the outfit:
  • thrifted red beret, $10
  • thrifted crocheted dress, $24
  • fence-climbers (aka pickle-stabbers), new a few years ago
  • black tights
  • shortish black knit dress under the crocheted dress, new about 20 years ago, Tokyo
  • fierce jewel necklace, thrifted, $2 (?)

Below I am hailing a cab: "Take me to the Louvre! IT'S AN EMERGENCY!!!"


And here's a shot without the bag and camera. The dress is pinched in slightly at the waist. I thought it was me(!) but it's the yarn.


I'm including this outfit in Patti's Visible Monday. Good to be back!


Revealing the Red Beret

If all my blogger friends were six-year-old girls, here's how I would introduce my new red beret:

I see my friends ahead in the park, giggling in their chumsy huddle. I'm running so hard towards them that I can't even stop to hike my skirt to pull up my tights that have puddled around my ankles - I can't wait to tell them. Breathlessly I break into the group. My flushed cheeks and sweaty hair are just right to create the saucer-eyed expection I was hoping for among them.

"Look!" I say, and with both hands I reverentially present my new red beret into the center of the circle. Everyone is silent in awe. "I know," I say, still gulping to catch my breath.
"Where did you get it?" Curtise whispers.
"I dunno," I shrug. "It was magic... You can touch it if you want." Hesitantly one girl after another feels the soft red felt. 

"Aren't you going to wear it?" Ariane asks.
"No way," I say, "this is for sure going in my special treasure box.
"That's frigging crazy," say Helga, Desiree, and Vix at the same time, as they snatch the beret and run off giggling wildly. Everyone follows, laughing, in chase.


FINALLY, what I wore to my gallery opening

Ariane suggested that I wear a red beret. Of course such an item was not to be found when I needed it most, and this is what I ended up with. It's hard to see here but those are my mustard tights and I'm wearing my bright red Dorothy shoes too.This is the outfit that appears in the header of Culture Serf, my street style blog. I carried around my camera all day and didn't take one shot, so friend sent me the one below. The piece in this photo sold already.


That's all. Hopefully soon I will be able to post more regularly.



75 comments:

  1. Melanie, what a rich post! Your knew crochet dress is Uber Cool! I bet it would be even cooler wearing it naked...and I meant that as temperature cool of course. ;)

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    1. I wouldn't want to scare young children by wearing it nekkid. Imagine the awesome suntan you'd get!

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  2. Melanie, so good to see you back! I love your crocheted dress so much! It's pinched at the waist because that's the "start" point for the top (crocheting upwards to the neckline) as well as the bottom, crocheting down to the hem). I've made enough Barbie doll crocheted dresses to recognize that, ha!

    Congratulations on your wild gallery success! You looked fantastic!

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    1. Thanks for that bit of crochet expertise. I thought maybe a drawstring was caught in there somewhere... You must have been some girl's favourite person crocheting custom clothing.

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  3. The dress is lovely - it looks wonderful with the black. I particularly liked "Revealing the Red Beret".

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Penny-Rose!

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  4. Well, as aa lifelong crochet-aholic, I welcome you to the fold! That crocheted frock is absolutely gorgeous and suits you splendidly. And as a fellow red beret owner/wearer/lover, I see a long, beautiful friendship ahead for us. Your gallery outfit is lovely too - would love to see the mustard tights/red shoes too! Sarah xxx

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    1. The act of crocheting has always delighted even if the product never did - until now. That's so great that you can make your own stuff! I should have linked to my mustard tights and red shoes - they're floating around my blog somewhere...

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  5. Oh Melanie look at your amazing work, congratulations that you sold this piece. I am sure the owners are thrilled.
    I am six years old, 4&2 added together gives my age, perfect!!!! I loved your little red beret story.
    Now the crochet dress is just beautiful, and Paris is calling!!!!!!
    Love v

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    1. Yes, you were in the circle too! The buyer of my piece is an amazing woman - I'm so happy it will be in her home.

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  6. How good to have you back, Melanie, I've missed your posts.
    I knew Sarah would approve of your crocheted frock! It does look amazing on you, tres chic as you hail your taxi en Paris. I rather fancied you were off to a poetry reading in some bohemian bar on the left bank, but if you say you're going to the Louvre, I'll believe you. (But you know, acording to Desiree, you aren't allowed to fart in there. Just saying...)
    And the other thing I recall from the great wisdom shared by fellow bloggers (Sarah) is never hang your crochet dress on a hanger, or it will grow into a maxi. Keep it folded in a drawer, if you want to preserve the current length!
    Thank you for featuring me in your red beret fairy tale, that made me chuckle.
    And your lace frock at your gallery show is gorgeous. Wonderful painting too, lucky new owner... xxxxx

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    1. Ha, ha, ha! I think you were saying you're not allowed to fart in the Louvre but I don't think you're allowed to fart in that dress either! You are so right - I would definitely have more fun frolicking around the left bank.
      And funny about hanging the dress - instinctively I folded it instead of hanging it. It's true love.
      So good to be back!

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  7. J'aime beaucoup the crochet dress! Love the way you make it chic and wearable with black underneath. I'd love to see that necklace up close. :)

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    1. I should have done a necklace photo... I'm so happy you dropped by!

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  8. I'm imagining Helga in pigtails now! Love the beret, it will be worshiped and worn continuously. The crochet dress est tres jolie - j'adore! Just perfect for wandering round an art gallery. Did you sell a painting too? Well done!! xxx

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    1. Yes, everyone was there, you too, in pigtails and ponytails. Very fun.

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  9. You're back, yay!
    that cab hailing photo made me chuckle. I'm sat at my desk at work, hence making my friend think I am crazy for chuckling on my own. (well, that's not really the only reason they think I'm crazy I'm sure)

    You looked very elegant on your gallery opening, glad to see everything went well :)

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    1. I'm glad this tiny post made you chuckle at work!! My mission is complete! So glad to be back!

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  10. Gorgeous! Love the crochet dress so hard. You shouldn't have any trouble getting the attention of a cabbie or 10.

    Congratulations on your art show and on selling that beautiful painting. Someone is very lucky to have an original by Melanie Beret!

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    1. I love that expression "so hard"! No taxi would pick me up so I had to ride on the back of a Vespa driven by a young man poet/guitarist who plays in a retro-beat generation jazz bar. Oh well.

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  11. What a great painting - no wonder it's already sold! You looked very lovely in the black lace dress! Your new red beret suits you very well, and I love the crochet dress, isn't the bag crochet too? Wearing it with black really enhances the pattern of the dress. You're a work of art yourself!

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    1. Yes! You're right! The bag is crocheted too. How could I not have seen that? Good eye!! Now I know I'm hooked on crochet.

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  12. What a glorious and unique dress. Like you I would never have thought that this could look this good but it does! Love your baret with it. Wish I could wear those more often, but need to find ones in light cotton as Singapore is just too hot for them!

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    1. Thanks, Sylvia, for visiting me! I don't know how you do it but you always look so cool and put together over there in Singapore!

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  13. Ooolala Melanie, so much is happening it is dazzling. The crochet outfit and poses are perfection. The story of the Red Beret a delight. But the gallery opening painting with artist in outfit is most divine. I would very much like to see images of your paintings.
    Congratulations on your show!

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    1. Your positive energy is so bright. Thank you so much! You can link to my paintings, a very few of them, at the link on top of the page. But they don't look so great in photos as in real life...

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    2. oh yes now I see it!

      Ahhhhh, what a show of paintings. So glad you had details too, only then can you get a bit of a sense of the energy and excitement. Their scale alone must make quite an impact. Very cool Ms. Melanie, very cool indeed.

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  14. Where do I start? Firstly I'm not surprised that beautiful piece sold so quickly, it's a stunner!
    I absolutely love your crochet dress, I can't believe you had crochet-phobia, you were born to rock that dress and hang around Paris.
    Your beret tale made me laugh, I can just see us now as precious kiddies with grubby knee high socks and scuffed Clarks' shoes squabbling over your treasure.
    Great to have you back, I've missed you. xxx

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    1. You have some gorgeous crocheted works and I think you were in my mind when I spotted this confection. I'm still trying to put into words how stunning your plastic flower bikini top is... The good thing about not having been to Paris is that it is far more perfect in my dreams.

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  15. Congratulations on your show - wish I could have been there. And you have overcome your fear of crochet - hooray! because this dress is perfection. Emergency at the Louvre, I am still laughing. : >

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    1. Oh Patti, I'm happy to be back at your Monday party. Your forum is so fantastic, but it's not just that - I also love all your other thoughtful posts in between as well.

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  16. So nice to have you back in the bloggerverse! Crochet can be a bit panic-inducing, but you have found the perfect piece to ease you into what could be a lifelong friendship. Your red beret story made me laugh; I can picture all of you as 6 year olds, eyes as big as saucers!
    This is a Paris perfect outfit--you would be the envy of the other women on the street.

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    1. Of course you were in the circle too!! How could you not be?

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  17. I am absolutely going to hail a cab to the Louvre and proclaim that it is an art emergency when I am in Paris.

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    1. Ha! I went into a shoe repair store last summer, breathless, frazzled, and gasped/shouted "I have a shoe emergency!" as I took off my shoe and waved it around. (The tap had come off my spiky heel.) He laughed and fixed it while I waited.

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  18. You are priceless and so damm cute!
    I love the story about the red beret!
    Love your crochet dress - i am not crazy about them - i did not find one yet that pleased me, maybe one day -
    The red beret is sublime on you ma chère - I was right!

    Your painting is unreal girl, so, so so fantastique!

    I almost finished mine, Gee! i will never be doing an exhibition, takes me ages to finish one! I am pleased with the results, i just need some lime green acrylic to terminate le chef d'oeuvre!

    I am happy you are back -

    Ariane xxxx

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    1. Yes, you were definitely right about the red beret, and there it was, in the front window of the thrift shop, laughing at me. Lime green paint? I can't wait to see your finished piece!

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  19. I love your style so much. The crochet dress is fantastic and looks quite versatile, but is stunning against black. The red beret is so cool. I never had a beret, but once had a red velvet hat that I thought was tres cool.
    Congratulations on your gallery opening. I have always admired art like yours. How one puts it together to get something so beautiful is amazing to me.

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    1. I am so delighted to know that you like abstract art! So many people don't, I'm sad to say. I would love to see you in hats!

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  20. I'm not big fan of crochet (although I adore lace!) but I LOVE how you styled this dress- not a hint of hippie circa the Haight-Ashbury in 1969 and instead it is post-modern edgey and modest. Yes modest. See through and yet class-ay!

    As for you art-gallery frock- amazing. You look beautiful!

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    1. What is it with crochet that can be offputting? (but not any more for me) Maybe you have yet to find your "cure" like I found this one. Perhaps a burgundy crocheted maxi skirt with something glittery or lacy underneath? Thanks for this incredible comment.

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  21. Oh, oh, oh, the new crocheted dress is one that will make heads turn and you could pair it with so many different contrasting colors. And I could just see that huddle you describe of girls ooohing and ahhing over the beret. Congrats on the sale of the painting.

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    1. Yes, I am curious to see how this dress would look with other pairings. Thanks for your congrats!

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  22. Melanie, that's really cute. I can see that dress several ways: 1) the way you're wearing it with something underneath. 2) Over a bikini or bathing suit and 3) with nothing under at all (for when you want to be a little risque!)

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    1. Actually, over a bathing suit would be interesting - as long as I wear lots of sunscreen!

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  23. The outfit to your opening...simply perfection for the occasion!

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    1. Thanks for this compliment, Tamera.

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  24. "Take me to the Louvre, it's an emergency!" I LOVE it. Your outfit for the art opening--- Well, what can one say? Tres chic. You are the star of your very own show. So nice to see you back blogging. And I rushed over to the chummy circle to gorp (that's British gawk) at the red beret.

    Much love and salutes to your talent,
    Rosemary www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.com

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    1. Yes, I saw you in the huddle and you were the one who helped me up when I stumbled over my tights! Too bad you couldn't have been here for the opening. When is YOUR opening m'dear?! Didn't you say that once upon a time you had one lined up?...

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  25. I had so many lovely crocheted sweaters by my grandmother when I was a kid; I wish I hadn't taken them so for granted! I still have a beautiful bed spread crocheted out of string that she made during the Great Depression. Your dress looks fabulous, and brings back wonderful memories of the best grandmother ever.

    The Red Beret story demands a children's book, Melanie! With your writing and your pictures, it would be a magical treasure.

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    1. Your bedspread sounds like a true family heirloom. How wonderful that you have it. As for a children's book, it would have to feature all the women I meet here!

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  26. So happy that you've returned, and with a splash! You're glorious in the crocheted dress with red beret; this outfit makes your blue eyes pop off the screen. I'm still chuckling at your playful 'red beret reveal.' And the beautiful piece that you sold at your gallery opening made my eyes pop. Lucky new owner!

    I'm a lover of lace, so I'm admiring your 'opening' dress!

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    1. That opening dress took some courage to buy - I wasn't concerned that it was SEE-THROUGH, but that it was short! My priorities were a little odd. I had a lacy vintage one-piece black slip underneath in addition to a second black slip that came with the dress.

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  27. Love your style. Looking forward to more posts.

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    1. Hi, thanks so much for dropping by and your comment!

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  28. Gorgeous all the way around. I'm off to the playground......
    Connie*

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    1. Okay, Connie, I'll meet you by the monkey bars!

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  29. Your outfit's def. fiercely chic enough for the streets here, although you'd die in this week's heat and humidity. But then you could duck into the shade of a park, play on the merry-go-round for a while and let the little Madeleines admire your beret. . .

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    1. I thought of meeting Connie, above, at the merry-go-round instead of the monkey bars... Maybe this dress with nothing under it for the heat? Ha! I love reading about your trip, but will see you home soon.

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  30. Hi Melanie, Kitty here :) Saw your fun comment on Helgas blog about the neighbours peeping and couldn't resist replying! I have the most nosy bloody retiree neighbours *ever*, to be honest I'm dying to know if they did see or hear anything, 'coz I'm telling you the amount of squealing that went on when we met up with Desi outside my house was like nothing they've seen or heard before, LOL! Not to mention the flashing, kissing, photo-taking and general hugging and noisiness, well I'm surprised I didn't hear any glass smashing from them falling right out of their windows...BIG LOL!!!

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    1. Ha!! I figured there would be some terrific neighbour action! The telephone lines must have been burning up. What a pity they couldn't join in the fun!!

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  31. Great stories to go along with a wonderful crocheted dress. I'm glad you found your red beret and that your lovely painting has found a home.

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    1. I met the buyer at the opening and I am so happy that this piece will be in her home.

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  32. You are soooooooooo brilliant, and wonderful, ahhhhhhhhhhhh. My dearfriend I will get back on track and visit your blog when I go back to Spain.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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    1. Your trip sounds soul refreshing. Thanks for taking time to drop by here!

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  33. I love the open weave over opaque black. Super cool look. I'm glad you and crochet made friends. Your gallery opening looks really cool!

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    1. Thanks ever so much, Lydia. I think in the winter a white mohair thing underneath would be interesting...with my go-go boots.

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  34. The red beret is a very special, I like the hook reminds me of all the women of my childhood, then I have a sweater that I love to use, go to the Louvre Sofia next week, my daughter wants to see the first subway was done, we are happy, a kiss for you, anna.

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    1. I'm glad that this red beret triggered some happy memories for you. Kisses back to you, friend!

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  35. YaY for you opening!!!!
    I LOVE the dress, but like the way you styled it even better!
    You have a great eye for all kinds of art :)
    Big hugs
    Reva

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    1. Reva, you always have some kind of wonderful styling trick or photo technique... You are an artist in your own right.

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  36. The piece sold already... Fabulous!!!! Love the show!

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  37. Fabulous photo, fabulous outfit, FABULOUS piece of artwork, no wonder it sold straight away!

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  38. I love your stories, and the crochet dress is totally charming, your art is unique

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