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Sunday 14 April 2013

Am I just a reflection?

Do I exist?
I see my reflection.
I feel the wind on my cheek.
I hear my heels clack on the sidewalk.
But how do I know it's real?
How do I know any of this is real?

I caught this image in the mirrored window of a local business. It's Sunday so I hope they were closed.
The white letters in the photo are a poem that someone has stuck to the window - and someone else has unstuck. My sweater has the word "Wi" (why) on it.

Sometimes when I come out of my coffee shop after journaling, my mind stays behind at my little table, still ruminating over those pages which are now safely stowed at my side in my toolbox handbag.

This dress has headed to the donation pile more than once, but this morning I found a rescue and it's now one of my favourite pieces. I put mitten clips on the sides to shorten it which created this interesting pear shape. The knit sweater was also destined for redonation until I chopped it off, hemmed it, and embroidered that kitty head with the sticking-out-tongue on it yesterday. I didn't use a pattern, I just started, and I'm glad I left everything to chance because being raw it feels alive. I started to stitch "Why?" but decided it would be too long and stopped abruptly before I had finished the "H," only to realize that the H arm could transform conveniently into an "i" with the addition of a dot - same word, different spelling. "Wi."

The mitten clips were only 50 cents a pair at my favourite local fabric shop, Dressew. From them I also bought yarn, a bag of 3 balls of odd eyelash black yarn with metallic silver threads, for $3.99, and a pair of metal darning needles for 25 cents.

Those are my cool stripey socks over my cool plaid leggings in dark brown with blue and rust-coloured lines. I had to play with the photo contrast and colour to get that pattern to show even faintly. I brought along my brown wool shawl but didn't need it; my knit top was perfect for this cool sunny day.

  • dark brown dress with squiggles, rescued, sample sale
  • mitten clips, Dressew, 50 cents, new old stock I presume
  • plaid leggings and stripey socks, retail
  • black knit skirt worn under dress for warmth and dress-flying-up protection, sample sale
  • buttery-soft brown leather ankle boots, thrifted, Value Village, $7 I think (1/2 price day)
  • knit top, thrifted, Value Village, upcycled with scissors and yarn

I'd never embroidered with yarn before but the idea of stitching big yarn into loose knits appealed to the slacker sewist in me - you can accomplish a lot in a very short period of time. I'm on a roll now...

My hair has finally taken root in the sense that the white colour feels Right now. Since I had my hair done, the transformation was not sitting well on my head. I think I feel better because I've been experimenting with cosmetics, which has been very exciting. I'll post some photos soon. If only these products would come off my face with as much fun as they go on.

I'm heading to Patti's Visible Monday to see all of you in pixelated reflections. How odd is that? How interesting and great that we can slip into this netherworld of hardware and dots of light.

PS. VOGOFF magazine has put out a call for submissions. Check my previous post for details if you're interested.


  1. I love how this outfit turned out, with all the alterations, and customizations. So fun! Cat sweater = awesome.

    The poetry on the window is really cool.

  2. I don't know if you're interested in us old girls or if you're looking for new blood but I'm over here frantically waving my hand if you're interested!

    I LOVE the amendments to the jumper and the skirt is now a work of art.

    I mistyped my google search and instead I looked up 'mutton clips'. I don't recommend it.

    I love the first image so much. It reminds me of the Fight Club quote about insomnia making us a copy of a copy of a copy of ourselves.

    Let me in, Vogoff needs Dr Hattie.

    Sarah xxx

  3. Still snorting over Sarah's "mutton clips" non-recommendation!!!! Sometimes bits and bobs from the donation bag come a-crawling at night too and land on my face to wake me up. It's really quite scary but you've clearly handled the potentially terrifying situation by chopping, clipping and embroidering! And oh how happy those wee darlings look now! xoxoxoxox

  4. I love it all. The jumper, and those sock over tights are fabulous.

  5. Why is "IW" in the mirrored world of the wonderful creative it "I will" or "I won't" or just WI on reflection?????hmmmmm I quite often feel unreal, its like the meaning of a day is reversed to fall back on you .
    Best thing to do cut up sweaters and ask them the hard questions.
    Sorry I think this comment maybe a little crazy.....WHY????
    love V

  6. That jumper is just genius. I love the Wi reflected in the plate glass.
    I haven't set foot in a wool shop since I was dragged in as a child, to me they're as intimidating as mobile phone stores.
    The mitten clips looks suspiciously like suspender clips. That would get the randy pensioners in the pub all of a fluster.

  7. that sewing job you did on your jumper is just Art & Fun!!, that lovely little suspenders attached to your skirt are really a great idea!
    and love your socks over leggings combo!
    besos & fun

  8. Yes, you saved the dress and sweater for this marvelous new life. I love the cat with tongue out, a very fitting "IDGAF" cat philosophy. Thanks for sharing all the great look with Visible Monday!

  9. Your sweater turned out adorable! I love it. I am going to try this idea for sure.


  10. That sweater is def a keeper now, love it, and the way you accessorized is perfect, thanks for the post!

  11. Hello Kitty! Fabulous refashions Ms Melanie. There's no end to what you can do / where you may go. Just let us watch and learn.

  12. I love the white hair and the diy stitched sweater with the raw hem. I really weirdly like raw/unfinished hems.
    Great striped socks-- can't wait to see the fun with make-up pics,
    Becky :)

  13. I'm as captivated by the reworked poem fragment on the window as I am by your reworked knitted top with its shortened why/wi cry. Brilliantly brilliant.

  14. I'm a massive fan of striped socks, and you wear yours brilliantly Melanie.

  15. Fabulous reworked sweater too.

  16. I like the hair color, too.

  17. your sense of style is simply divine! truly divine x

  18. I think - no, I KNOW you are a genius, Mel! And look, along with your huge creativity and chopping/hemming/embroidery skills, and mutton/mitten clipping madness, and reflective photography and writing - you've joined the Women's Institute! (Do you remember that clip I posted eons ago about the members of the WI preparing for a jumble sale? "I guess I still haven't got used to the smell of men's trousers." "If you can't sort jumble, get out of the WI!" Still makes me snort.

    I agree with Vix, they look like suspender clips to me (as in the English version, for stockings - not braces, for trousers. God, this divisive language is tricky!)

    Looking forward to seeing the make-up experimentation. xxx

  19. You are the queen of rescuing misfit clothing - if I saw the cropped kitty face sweater in a store, I'd buy it ;)
    I love the way you've changed the shape of the dress just with the mitten/mutton clips. I tend to just cut stuff off and hope it doesn't fall apart as I'm too lazy to hem it.
    Very cool shot of you reflected in the window with the partial poem.

  20. How often have I walked past a window and not recognizing my own reflection declared, "Who is that crazy old lady?" Or "Who is that strange young boy?" I hardly ever know that it is I. A kitten and mitten clips? WI not????

  21. I love the shape of this very much. It's got a Mori-girl Japanese street style feel with a Melanie twist all its own.

    I also love your reflection picture. I always check myself both in a mirror and in the reflection of our door's windows before leaving the house. They give very different views I think!

    Cogito Ergo Sum, Melanie.

  22. I love your sense of plafulness- you are so cool- i wish wish that one day we meet!
    Love the cut off sweater and kitty! so cute, i think i could actually do that! i'm so useless when it comes to DIY!
    I know what to do with the vintage maxi you sent me!
    I just the Vogoff photo thing! yes i will join!!!

    hugs and love


  23. Love that sweater! What a great idea and so cute!

  24. I love how your sweater turned out. I Can Do It conference coming up this weekend. There will be a whole lot of our we really here, is this really real going on?

    Sue xo

  25. OMG - what time on Sunday did you take that reflection picture? I took pictures of my reflection when I was walking around Seattle on Sunday - probably around 3:11. Wi indeed.

    Your outfit is so cute and pure genius. I'm going to steal your idea, and I bet everyone else will too, and soon we'll all be wearing loosely embroidered sweaters with kitties!

  26. Melanie your outfit is fashion and artistic perfection... and I so enjoyed the artistic steps you took to journey to such an impressive articulation of form! your sweater... genius! have you ever thought of producing some pieces?

    Thank you my dear, once again I leave here ampted up with creative spirit!

  27. It's your self portrait ... you're always a little white cat to me!!! Mel, my Mondays (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays) would be greatly diminished if you did not come out to play.
    Determining reality is a lot of damn work, if you ask me.
    You are so lovely!

  28. i love this outfit. i'm so glad you didn't throw it away. lucy x

  29. Wow, structural and stunning. The jumper adds a bit of kawaii fun. The self portrait with the pieces of poem is wonderful. The socks and tights are rather amazing too. I'm wracking my brains thinking of how I can make my VOGOFF shoot extra amazing! xxxxx

  30. You're a refashion genie. Love that kitty sweater!

  31. Who knew that mitten clips could create such an interesting shape. Only you, Melanie, could come up with this brilliant idea and then begin to embroider spontaneously. You are a continual inspiration!

  32. I love your outfit. And I adore your skirt /dress - but it'¨s no small wonder as I just refashioned a skirt a skirt to have that shape. Who knew that clips would have done the job!


  33. I love how you re-styled your skirt, the shape looks really interesting! And i like your sweater, its so cute! xxxx

  34. so clever!!!
    you are so inspiring. thanks for being YOU!

  35. PS, you embroidered the sweater!
    LOVE it as well and the crop, perfect!!!
    I do think you are my biggest muse, as you see clothing as ways to create lovely shapes and use your imagination to create, not just wear....

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. I have just found your blog through our mutual friend Vix and I'm glad she led me here to find your inspiring fashions. Your jumper and dress are darling together and I also love your socks and fairy boots.
    I will follow and add you to my blogroll so I can visit here again!
    Best wishes,
    Jo May. x

  38. I am definitely loving it

  39. Cats and reflections make me think of this:

  40. I love the dress and how you customised the shape, very clever. Lovely squiggly print too - good thing you kept it! It is interesting how catching a glimpse of one's reflection can make you do that - reflect on your own existence - I do the same too:

  41. Don't know how I missed this! Such wonderful proportions and so creative. You are a delightful one of a kind! Love the socks and tights.

    blue hue wonderland

  42. What a great image, and outfit.

    Me likes the kitty. You look like a cool kid leapt from the pages of Strange Fruits.

  43. This looks awesome. You have such a keen eye for detail... The skirt and jumper transformations just look fabulous!

  44. Just sent it your way! Let me know if you got it :)


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