Blood-Stained Violet Embroidered White Victorian Night Dress from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

Click for larger version bloody / clean; click for the list of dolls.

So the server held up all right, but I’m still reeling from the Metafilter aftershocks. Usually I get about 400 unique visitors every day, and I was really excited when that turned into 500, late October when everyone was searching for Halloween stuff — how long will it take me to top 2,824?

Even if nothing will ever be as good again, life must go on. I’ve been thinking about all the audiobooks I listened to this year and never did a paperdoll outfit for — just off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen that offered fertile paperdolling grounds. So I think now that the year is coming to a close, it’s a good time to stop regretting the outfits that never were and start making them happen!

This is from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic 1872 vampire novel Carmilla, which isn’t as well known as Dracula but heavily influenced it. I listened to the Librivox version read by Elizabeth Klett a couple months back. Even though it was published so long ago I feel rather like I’m spoiling it, but in any case it’s no surprise that the Carmilla of the title is the vampire, preying on the sheltered and innocent Laura as well as just about everyone else in the town. In one scene she is portrayed as standing at the foot of Laura’s bed, “in her white nightdress, bathed, from her chin to her feet, in one great stain of blood.” As you know, I aim for accuracy in all things. (Brian said he could hardly stand looking at it…)

Now undoubtedly there are those of you out there thinking not “Poor, poor Laura, so near succumbing to the vampire Carmilla!” but instead thinking “Poor, poor night dress, so beautifully made and so sadly stained with Carmilla’s dinner!” Don’t worry, I’ve learned from my experience with the Good Queen. Look, through the magic of paperdolling you can wake up with Laura and be quite sure that it was all a bad dream…

I still haven’t finished my Halloween poll series. I fear that the nightshade fairy has quite an advantage, though…

Halloween Costume Series Day 1: The Good Queen’s Ghost

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

I can’t tell you why someone who was called “The Good Queen” during her life now haunts a ruined castle of no consequence; queens don’t tell their secrets to paper doll artists. I took on the assignment in the hope of a good story to deliver to my readers, but she condescended to tell me very little about her life, although she was quick to tell me that I had the bodice quite wrong, that I was obviously phoning in the lace, and so on. The older history books paint a glorious picture of her, but I couldn’t help but think that the historians that speculate that the epithet “The Good Queen” was applied to her much like “the Kindly Ones” was applied to the three Furies very well may be on to something. My romantic mind first imagined that she plunged the dagger into her own heart for love, a pre-cursor (possibly inspiration?) to Juliet, and I still think she died by her own hand but the more I sat with her the more I sensed her desperation and anger, and despite her annoyance with my lace, I don’t think it was directed at me. Now I feel her death had nothing to do with love but rather with intrigue of some sort, a power play that went wrong enough to bind her to this world. Still, I’m dying to know what’s with the blood on her hem, but if she will not tell me, fine; in a few hundred years her power will wane further and she’ll wind up telling anybody, probably a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls staring into a bathroom mirror at midnight, just for one last chance at peace.

Urban Dead zombie couture

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

I play a game called Urban Dead, a browser-based, text-based, player-versus-player zombie apocalypse game. If you play as a survivor, you spend your days hoarding ammo, freaking out about the barricades of your safehouse coming down and often getting killed in your sleep by another player anyways. Those of us who play zombies have much lower stress in our unlives: we have fun and dine on brains. (You can enjoy the benefits, too, if you already play as a survivor! Just stand outside and one of my zombie brethren will hook you up.)

I play one character and I think that before the outbreak, she was a leasing agent. (Having felt rather like a zombie at points during my time as a leasing agent, it’s funny to me.) She used to wear pastel suits and comfortable shoes, and her smile was as non-threatening as it could be. Now she’s overcome her problem of weak, splitting nails with a set of admirable claws, and she’s quite interested in high-density housing units and commercial properties. Her favorite green suit is, alas, a little worse for the wear.

I suppose that in real life, however one chooses to apply the term to a zombie apocalypse, the outfit would be more dirty and torn and less green. What can I say? My time drawing mermaids didn’t prepare me for this. Although… it was nice, for once, to not have to worry about accidentally smudging the red into another color.