Black Velvet and Chartreuse Gown with Spiderweb Lace

A black ballgown with a flared, full skirt and long sleeves. The skirt is made of black velvet, with triangular cutouts that start near the waist which reveal a underskirt made of swirled green and chartreuse fabric and covered with lace that looks like spiderwebs. There are two flies trapped in the webs. There's a wide V-shaped copper belt at the waist, set with orange, green and yellow jewels. The bodice is made of black velvet and has a feathery pattern near the top. There are more copper accents near the shoulders, and the green sleeves are straight, fall to the wrist, and are overlaid with more spiderweb lace.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

It’s almost Halloween, the paperdoll-friendly holiday, and I’ve been thinking about what would make a dress scary. The things that scare me don’t generally translate well to dresses, though, since they are too intangible. But there’s a couple of fears that aren’t…

My pride causes me to say I’m not scared of spiders, I just don’t like looking at them. If I put it that way, it’s perfectly reasonable to do things like cover up a picture of a spider when I’m reading a book, or avoid the tarantula exhibit at the zoo.

But it’s never reasonable, really, to wake up my husband at 4 AM when there’s a spider in the bathroom. It’s not reasonable that I have to use paper or my phone to cover up a spider picture in a book, and not my hand. And it’s not really reasonable to move as quickly as I do when there’s one close to me. Before I know it I’m halfway across the room, denying that anything’s wrong at all, I’m just fine, it’s not like I’m scared of such a little spider, because that would be ridiculous. (It’s gone now, right?)

When I was a little kid, I was scared of black holes, and I feel like I’ve gone down in the world since I stopped fearing the random indifference of the universe and picked up such a pathetically obvious, stupid, gendered weakness. I know perfectly well they’re more afraid of me than I am of them. I know they eat lots of annoying bugs and that they’ve only got two more legs than ants (which I don’t mind at all). I know I can kill them perfectly well myself, and I do, if there’s no other option. I put on my heaviest shoes and make a lot of noise, cursing each stupid spider leg and shouting warnings to all the other spiders that they’d better stay well out of my sight, or they’re gonna get it too. I calm myself down by calling up my husband and telling him “I killed a spider!” just like a normal person might say “I got a promotion!” or “I won a new car!” Kind man that he is, he indulges me.

If you were to stalk me over my various online activities, you’d notice I almost never mention this fear, because I’m just paranoid enough to consider how people could use it against me. There’s no real reason to share with the world how to yank this particular chain. But oh well — it’s Halloween, and while I amuse myself with ghosts, vampires and sorceresses, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I’m mostly just frightened of the quirks and instability of the human mind… and spiders.

What do spiders have to do with this gown, do you wonder? Well, there’s the spiderweb lace, and a couple of twitchy, fat flies caught in it. There must be a spider around somewhere, don’t you think? Ah, yes. A gigantic one, four feet long, with spindly long legs and a full set of eyes.

It’s on the petticoat.

Does that make the whole dress different for you? It does for me. I’ve drawn nothing, but all the same it’s still there, just like those spiders that disappear behind furniture while I’m still dithering about looking for my shoes. Now, is it merely embroidered or painted on? Or does it cling to the thin lace on the petticoat, waiting for its host to lure some prey away from the party and into the shadows? Dance with the lady in black and green at the Halloween ball this year, if you like, but I hope you will have the sense to leave that particular mystery well alone.

I’m never going to talk about spiders on this blog again, so let’s have a poll…

Black Lace and Red Satin Ballgown with Gold Bats, Plus An Announcement!

A dramatic ballgown with a fitted bodice and overskirt made of rose-patterned black lace over white fabric. It has one shoulder strap decorated with a gold bat with red eyes, and there's four more bats evenly spaced around the scalloped edge of the overskirt. The underskirt is shiny red satin and flares out from underneath the underskirt. The skirt is bell-shaped and reaches the floor.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

How sad, it is almost the end of October and I have hardly thought about Halloween costumes… To tell you the truth, I’ve had quite a lot to think about, recently, because I’m pregnant! I’m in the second trimester, and if all goes well the baby will be arriving late April. Things are going well, I’m healthy and doing much better than I was in the first trimester, when I was exhausted and had pretty crazy morning sickness — all within the range of normal, but crazy nonetheless. (If you’re interested, I wrote about it for a new baby-centric tumblelog Brian set up: First Trimester Recap: “Hm, what does this button do?” But it is mostly a bunch of complaining about eating nothing but cereal bars and saltines, plus one of the ultrasound pictures.)

Baby news aside, it is almost Halloween, and that’s important around here, no matter how pregnant I am. It’s always the best time for paperdolling, and as it so happens I feel energetic enough that this October may not be a total waste… So check back again before the 31st!

I guess the only thing Halloween-ish about this ballgown is the “bat bling,” as Brian termed it. (They started life as albino bats, but there was too little contrast, so now they’re gold.) I don’t really know where the roses came from. But no matter, it is dramatic enough that one could acquit oneself honorably at a vampires’ ball.

Blue Ballgown with Light Blue Underskirt

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Today I just felt like playing with some of my blue Prismacolors. The result is not very well executed, I fear, because I’m too excited to concentrate on anything too well! Tomorrow, I’m going to be going back to Michigan for a week to visit some friends, and I have been looking forward to it for quite some time. (Although I hear that I’m bringing an ice storm with me. Here in Washington, we’re well into daffodil season, and my friend who I’m staying with is warning me to bring boots and my winter coat…)

Because I’ll be on vacation, I decided to put together a couple of posts from my old Boutique outfits that will update automatically while I’m gone. The next new drawing will be on the 31st, possibly the 1st if I don’t have time the day after I get back.

March Birthday Gown with Blue Tunic and Daffodils

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Today, we have a March birthday gown; the birthstone is aquamarine and the birth flower is the daffodil. I always like doing these, but I have an uncomfortable feeling that in all these months I’ve been drawing them, I’ve skipped a couple of months entirely… I had better make a chart sometime.

“What do you think you’ll do today?” my husband asked me.
“Oh, a March paperdoll.”
“Like the Ides of March?”
“Well, not that kind of March.”
Please do refrain from getting backstabbed in this dress, the blue is far too nice to spoil!

I think I have pretty much recovered from being so horribly sick, so I’ll do my best to get back on the paperdoll schedule! (True, today’s is a little late, but where I am, it’s 10:30. That’s not even approaching midnight! Plenty of time.)