White Ruffled Party Dress with Rainbow Trim

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It’s not a new drawing, I’m afraid, but all day today while I was working I had the original of this dress sitting on top of my scanner next to my computer, and so all day I thought “I bet I would have such fun coloring that one.” By the time I was off work, I didn’t want to do anything else! And indeed it was fun, although this version is quite simple.

Green Dress, Khaki Jumper, White Cap and Gown and Michigan Shirt from Liana’s Paper Doll Boutique

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I drew a handful of my own clothes for the Boutique, too. There are a couple of forgettable shirts that I won’t bore you with… Most notable, to me, is my rendition of my favorite green dress from the time, which was a beautiful light olive green which complimented my skin and hair perfectly. I wore it to death, and if I saw another dress like it, I’d jump on it even today. I don’t know what I was doing wearing that khaki jumper, though. Although I spend my free time doing a page like this, I have zero fashion sense. (Actually, perhaps that’s not so surprising, considering my penchant for eccentric, entirely unrealistic dresses.)

There’s a story behind the graduation cap and gown. I was born in Missouri, but my family moved to Kansas, then to Alabama, then to Ohio when I was in fourth grade. In my junior year of high school, my dad was transferred again, this time to Michigan. As it happened, though, I had been a particularly diligent student: I had taken summer classes and hadn’t taken homeroom classes or lunch periods all through high school, so by the end of my junior year, I was actually only three courses away from graduating. I took those three courses that summer at the local community college, and by the end of the summer I was set to graduate a year early. (Amusing anecdote-within-an-anecdote: my parents and I met with the principal to sign off the final paperwork one afternoon. “Where are you planning to go to college?” he asked me. “University of Michigan,” I said. “Oh,” he said sorrowfully, “I can’t let you graduate, then,” and he pointed to his Ohio State class ring. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with college football in America, University of Michigan and Ohio State have a long-standing, intense rivalry. As it happened, as I wasn’t really from the area and had not the slightest smidgen of interest in college football, I initially had no idea what he was talking about. For a frightening second, I took him completely seriously. Then, I considered the context, remembered there was some irrelevant connection between the two universities and laughed dutifully. My memory may or may not be reliable, but I seem to recall that my parents had a similar reaction.)

Now, at the time I was a geeky, sarcastic little thing well ready to be done with high school life, and I was hardly broken up about the prospect of missing prom, senioritis, a large picture in the yearbook and all the other useless things I hadn’t looked forwards to in the first place. I didn’t even much care about missing graduation; as a member of the school choir, I had attended the previous class’ graduation, and it wasn’t like the substance would be different just because my name would be in the program.

Ah, but that cool facade didn’t mean there wasn’t just a touch of wistfulness, though. Not much – not nearly enough to shade into anything approaching regret. (Saying I was well ready to be done with that stage of my life is technically a massive understatement.) But just enough to draw the cap and gown I wouldn’t ever wear for my paperdolls.

It all ended well, though, as I did get into the University of Michigan… Although, from the safe vantage point of having successfully graduated a decade ago, I can say that only applying for that single school may have been the dumbest, most overconfident thing I ever did in my life – I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten in! My mom bought me this celebratory Michigan shirt, and I did have it for a very long time, but it wasn’t so shiny in reality. I drew everything shiny at the time, even blue jeans. These days I compensate by just simply not drawing blue jeans. Life is too short for such dullness, pass the ribbons.

1910 Pink Evening Gown with Black Lace and Cream Sash and Gloves based on The Intrusion of Jimmy by P.G. Wodehouse

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I just finished listening to The Intrusion of Jimmy by P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I love listening to Wodehouse, because his stories are light and simple enough that I can miss parts if I get distracted by housework or chatter, but engaging enough that they keep my mind from dwelling on the dullness of dishwashing. Anyways, I’m always up for a story where boy meets girl, everything that can possibly cause boy maximum humiliation and trouble happens, but all comes right in the end.

The thing I liked best about this book was Jimmy’s character, because although a lot of Wodehouse’s heroes are rather more like Jimmy’s friend, Lord Dreever – the kind of laid-back fellow who pre-empts criticism by describing himself as “a bit of an ass” – Jimmy himself was curious, capable and generous. Now, the first two of those are rare enough, but he also seemed to have a darker side than any of the other Wodehouse heroes I can recall. At the beginning of the book, Jimmy makes a bet that he can break into someone’s house, and later that night a burglar happens to break into his own apartment; Jimmy disarms him, convinces him that he’s an infamous European jewel thief and gets the man to take him along on a burglary, all without turning a hair. It’s not like he views it as a lark; rather, he takes the whole thing quite seriously, breaking into someone else’s house almost as much out of curiosity as he did from the desire to win the bet. I guess his background as a reporter made his ability to keep so calm plausible, but still, that’s all pretty cold-blooded. Things like that made me feel that, as much as I liked him for his curiosity and wit, there was something about him that wasn’t quite right, and even though he never expressed the desire to steal so much as a rhinestone brooch, there was something about him that gave me the feeling that he very well could go in for a life of crime if it was interesting enough. It turns out that in the original story that the book was based on, Jimmy really had been a jewel thief! I somehow feel like he makes more sense to me now, although I can’t really hold his past incarnation against him.

Jimmy falls for a lovely girl named Molly, and taking the standard meet-cute love-at-first-sight Wodehouse pattern to new heights, he doesn’t ever actually talk to her during this process, but just admires her over the course of a five-day trans-Atlantic trip. I always figure that the Wodehouse heroines have the most marvelous, flattering, feminine clothes possibly available to humans, because eligible young men are always falling instantly in love with them, so it’s a disappointment for me that Wodehouse seldom describes dresses in detail. The book is from 1910, so here we have a 1910-style gown, with black lace over a pink dress. I do like the dresses I’ve seen from this year – the shape seems like a nice balance between the Edwardian shape and the straight-up-and-down lines that are coming.

By the way, I’ve never thought to look up what P.G. stood for; it turns out to be “Pelham Grenville.” Might have to swipe that one for our firstborn.

Prismacolors used: Kelp Green, Pale Sage, White, French Grey 10%, 20%, 50%, 70%, Light Umber, Dark Umber, Tuscan Red, Black, Cream, Pink Rose, Clay Rose

Light Green Tea Length 1950s Prom Dress with Green Tulle and White Lace Sash

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Today I started drawing so late that you are all lucky not to be getting the paperdoll equivalent of coal in your stocking! Even though I was tired I think this came out fairly cute, though. I don’t quite know why I thought a 1950s prom dress was just what I needed tonight, but they certainly are adorable. This one may even be a little understated, but did I mention I’m tired?