Medieval Gown colored in Yellow and Red

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The last time I got my mitts on this poor dress, I really made a hash of it, so, time to try again. I like it better when someone tells me what colors to use, though — it feels like a surprise I can enjoy, too. Sadly, I can’t ask Brian, or you would be seeing a muted turquoise/salmon pink medieval ensemble.

I’m curious about you all, and I don’t believe I’ve done this poll before. Mom and I call my readers “the paperdoll girls,” and I wonder if it’s about right. (Certainly I do have a couple of male readers — a minority to be sure, but I do!)

January Birthday Dress with Red Arabeque Patterned Tunic and Long-Sleeved Underdress with Snowdrops

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And, for my last post of June, we have… the January birthday dress. Did I ever mention how lucky I am anyone still bothers reading this site? I’m sorry, January birthday people, although you do technically have one January dress for Sylvia. I never liked that one, though. You see the big white band on the red overskirt? There was supposed to be a snowdrop pattern there. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it for some reason. I don’t know if I like this one either, but that’s because the original is so much better than the scan… Oh well. Anyways, all I have to do is April now, and then I can catch up on the rest of the months as they come.

Prismacolors used: French Grey family (dress), Cool Grey family (snowdrops), Black, Kelly Green, Poppy Red, Crimson Red, Crimson Lake, Tuscan Red, Colorless Blender.

Mermaid Monday #18: Red Tattered Mermaid Wedding Dress for a Land Wedding

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For obvious reasons, mermaids prefer thin, delicate fabrics for their undersea fashion statements. These are usually just in single layers, possibly two or three extremely light layers for special occasions or if your situation in life is such that you don’t have to move around too much; anything beyond that registers less as sumptuous and more as vulgar and ridiculous, if not simply dangerous. There is a mermaid fable, in the Aesop vein, about a particularly vain young thing with a pearly pink tail and a fondness for adornment. Despite the warnings of her more practical sisters, she kept adding layer after layer of richly embroidered skirts and tops and sleeves, as well as bangles and necklaces and hair ornaments; in the end her outfit becomes just too heavy and billowy to swim properly in, and she gets eaten by a shark. But then, there is also a mermaid fairy tale about a vain young thing with a pearly blue tail, who starts out with too many layers and sheds them, one by one, to give to others in need; in proper fairy tale fashion, the recipients repay her kindness later on. (From the mermaid point of view, neither story is a caution against vanity per se: the latter is about generosity, the former merely about self-preservation.)

This sleek, light aesthetic often carries over to what mermaids might wear on land. As a matter of fact, most mermaids mentally class humans with other mammals such as dolphins, so it’s only natural to them to consider themselves superior in every way. Because of this perspective, mermaids tend to consider their own style to be obviously better than the fuller, often gaudier fashions popular among human women. Still, sometimes even for a mermaid it’s fun to pile on the fabric. This bride wanted most elements of mermaid wedding gown design for her own dress: the traditional red, the romantic tatters, the bare midriff that would shock most human brides. Indeed the top is such a common design for mermaid wedding outfits that it’s rather cliché. But now that she doesn’t have to worry about sharks, she wanted a skirt with something like ten layers of fabric. The resulting creation looks odd to both human and mermaid eyes alike: the mermaids criticize the mismatch of tatters and heavy skirt, while the humans scorn just about every other part of it. But the bride and her partner adore it, and they’ve never quite been known for paying undue attention to the opinions of others.

The tatters are a long-standing symbol of enduring, patient love among mermaids (and someday, remind me, I’ll tell you the story that most mermaids know a version of that started the trend). Of course, to humans, it just looks ragged and ridiculous. The tailor of this particular outfit took one last look at her beautifully balanced layers of fabric, then actually curled up in a corner of a different room and cried while her apprentice “distressed” the edges.

Mermaid Monday #7: Crimson Tailed Mermaid with White Ruffly Top and Ruby Jewelry

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This mermaid was born with red hair and a red tail, and although red has positive connotations in mermaid culture, associated with weddings as it is, she thought it was just too unfair for words to be naturally confined to one color and longed for shining black hair, or maybe a lovely gold tail instead. (Most mermaids have different color hair and tails, so we might consider her something of a mermaid albino, in a way.) She was quite self-conscious about it for some time, because she was teased about being destined to marry early by her mom and sisters and the less kind mermaids nicknamed her “Sockeye.” Then she figured out that humans found red an intriguing and sexy color, and they didn’t know that her peers thought that she was some kind of freak. So, far from being ashamed of her natural coloration, she embraced it and started spending more time on land than sea, dancing all night in outrageous crimson gowns and demanding presents of ruby jewelry from her admirers. She ended up forsaking the sea entirely and became a famous actress among humans, never marrying but constantly throwing spectacular parties in her indoor grotto for her favorite actors, artists, aristocrats and sometimes even a reformed pirate or two. Sometimes she would send invitations to those who had called her “Sockeye,” but the invitations were meant as a slap in the face and all concerned knew it.

Putting our scarlet girl aside for now, I am quite happy today because I ordered sixty-one new colored pencils this morning. Ten of them are colorless blenders, since those are like water running through my hands, soon sharpened into nothingness (well, actually into little stubs I can’t use until I find some decent pencil extender). Maybe 40% of them are replacements of colors that are getting low, and then the rest are colors that have come out in the ten years I’ve had my set. I’m ecstatic just thinking about their names! Pale sage! Ginger root! Kelp green! Come to me quickly, little pencils, and we will have some fun together.

This poll has a clear winner so far, but it’s not time for it to go away yet…