Spring Green Top and Split Skirt Embroidered with Daisies and Yellow Ribbons over Cream Shift with Daisy Garland inspired by Prince Caspian: The Chronicles of Narnia

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I’ve had the second Narnia movie recommended to me a couple times because of the costumes, and finally Brian and I got it from the library and watched it. I sort of made Brian watch it with me, mostly because he’s so funny when his picky English major nature is all riled up.

He says “You didn’t make me watch it with you. I volunteered. It’s true that people often volunteer to make bad decisions, but I volunteered. I enjoyed it, except for those times where characters were talking, or moving, or engaging in eight-hour long bloodless swordfights. I also enjoyed watching Susan throw arrows into the hearts of warriors.”

So there you have it, the Brian review. I liked it better than he did (I like just about everything better than he does) but I too am not thrilled by the creepily sanitary fight scenes. Not that I want to see bleeding battle elks and warriors or anything, just that in the books the fights seemed to me important and unavoidable, but also not so glorified. I like the books where the fights aren’t the focus, like the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I’d add A Horse and His Boy which is my favorite, but I fear when they get around to that one about half of the time will be spent on the fight scene at the end. It reminds me of the Watchmen comics’ ambivalence about violence and the movie’s celebration of the same.

I did enjoy the costumes, of course! I’ve always envisioned the clothes of Narnia as being comfy and practical as well as beautifully made and graceful, and I can’t quote chapter and verse but I’m quite sure that there’s more than one part in the Chronicles where Lewis rails against stuffy, confining clothing, often preferring rather pagan garb. (There’s just enough costume description and scope for imagination in the books that I’ve often thought of doing a Narnia paperdoll series…) I especially liked the split skirts over flowing pants that Lucy and Susan wore, so I borrowed the idea for today, although it looks more like a plain old overskirt and underskirt combo if you didn’t know what it was supposed to be.

In other paperdoll news, I’ve figured out what colors to use so that I can take one hair style and change it in Photoshop to make a bunch of different hair colors. It’s not as easy as it sounds, unless you like really tacky yellow instead of blonde. So far I have ten realistic hair colors and eleven rainbow colors (those are, of course, easier to do!). Do me a favor and look at the hair colors and tell me what you think of them. If you have any suggestions as to what other colors I should try to do, I’d love to hear them (and if you have any reference pictures, that’d be great too). I think I’ve got more than enough blond colors and I need more shades of brunette.

Green Dress with White Tunic and Daisies for April

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So I did a birthday dress for January and then proceeded to ignore February and March — I’m very sorry, anyone with birthdays in those months who was waiting for one. (I’ll do them this month, since belated birthday presents are better than nothing, right?) This is a dress for April, since one of the birth flowers for this month is the daisy. Like January’s, it’s intended to be vaguely angelic, but not based in any particular theology — I think of the birthday dresses as like those little statues you can buy for a kid every year where the characters get older, actually.

January’s drives me crazy, because the white part on the red skirt, there were supposed to be flowers in there, and I got fed up with the dress and it was late and I never drew them in. Maybe I’ll dig it out of my box and put them in, then it won’t bug me… This one I like a lot, though, so that makes up for many failures.

Yeah, no April Fool’s joke for you this year, sorry. Maybe next year!

The Twelve Dancing Princesses (A Christmas Tale), Day Six: Holly’s White Gown with Gerbera Daisies and Pink Embroidery

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The altercation with the dwarf made Ced lose track of the princesses, and he started running again, passing the dwarves and chattering mermaids, out of the forest and right into a group of people and other creatures. There were fences on each side, helping to create a neat line that led to a boxy, multi-story building. Ced couldn’t see the princesses, but he doubted that they were anywhere but in this line with everyone else, so he shrugged and got in line himself. There was a giantess in front of him who was easily twice as tall as he was, and a thin fairy hovering behind. This ball must be amazing, thought Ced, picturing the two of them waltzing together.

“Are you here for the ball?” he asked the fairy behind him, a tall blue figure with unnerving eyes.
“Is that why everyone’s in line?” the fairy answered, tucking his knees under his chin and somersaulting in midair. “I don’t know what’s going on. One minute I’m wandering through the woods, bored as can be, I check out this strange blue flower, turns out there’s a hidden door in the tree next to it. I go through and…” He looked around and shrugged. “Did you find a flower too?”
“No, a book,” Ged answered.
The giantess in front of him turned and beamed at them. “You two must be new! What a delightful time you’re going to have.”
“Excuse me, but where are we? Is there a ball in that building?” Ced asked hopefully, tilting his head straight up to catch her eye.
“Oh, I’m not going to ruin the surprise,” she said, smiling and patting him on the shoulder. She probably felt she was patting him lightly and reassuringly — to Ced it felt like the time his master threw a pair of boots at him. He wondered if she meant that the surprise was good or bad, and if giants had quite the same notions of “good surprises” that humans did.

He couldn’t see anything over or around the giantess in front of him, and he despaired of seeing the princesses again, but as the way on all sides was blocked, there was nothing to do but shuffle along into the building along with everyone else and wait. Finally, the giantess moved along and Ced found himself at the head of the line, facing an elf with a pointy white beard and a business-like air. Ced smiled weakly.
“What do y’do?” the elf said, looking Ced up and down.
“Fine, and you?” said Ced automatically.
“Not how, what! What do you do?” repeated the elf.
“I, er…” ‘Spy’ was the first thing that came to Ced, but he didn’t want to say that. “I’m apprenticed to a cobbler. I make shoes.”
“Shoes?” the elf said, shuffling his papers and studying a checklist. “We’ve got a goodly supply of shoes this year already… Still, if you can work a needle and thread, we can find a place for you. Say! Aelinora,” he called, and a tall elf girl poked her head out from the door just behind him. “Need another pair of hands in there?”
“Yes, please!” She waved Ced over and guided him into the room she had come from, a well-lit room with a low ceiling and dozens of humans, fairies and so on. She gestured to a chair next to a huge pile of stuffed animals — teddy bears, cats, dogs, fishes, dragons, snakes, and quite a few animals Ced had never seen in his life. The elf girl took a threaded needle and a squirrel off of the pile and, kneeling besides the chair, stitched a black button eye on one side of its head. “They’re almost done, you see, they just need eyes. See how you do it?”
Ced saw quite easily how to do it, but why to do it was another question altogether. But he didn’t even have time to formulate the question before needle and squirrel were thrust into his hands and Aelinora was at the other end of the room. Shrugging, he attached the other eye and threw it into a nearby box marked “Finished Toys.”

He had hoped to see demons and ballrooms, but instead he found himself in a stuffed animal assembly line. The Minister of Sorcery, he suspected, would be nonplussed. A pair of dwarves next to him (not the same ones as before, thankfully) were stuffing the toys, and on down the line fantastic beings were cutting, stitching and putting together a whole fuzzy menagerie. He couldn’t see clearly all the way to the end of the room, but he was fairly sure that the orange slippers he saw at the end of the line were the ones he had just delivered to Princess Natalie. If at least one princess was here, that was a pretty good sign that they weren’t off waltzing with demons.

This dress belongs to twenty-one year old Holly, Pieris’ twin sister. While Pieris prefers the sword, Holly excels in hand-to-hand combat, and is more focused and intense than her happy-go-lucky, curious sister. She has more patience, too, and is often absorbed in books describing strategy and tactics used in great battles. Pieris gets along with the other princesses reasonably well, but Holly generally disdains most of them unless they have some use to her. Her favorite color is also white, but she loves daisies. She has the lowest tolerance for frills and puffs.