Monday, June 30, 2014

New Blog!

I'm excited to introduce my new blog Lilac Enchantment. You can find the new blog here. No dear readers, I am not abandoning this blog. The new blog is for metaphysical subjects and my tarot reading business. I felt I needed a separate one, as the NeoVictorian Parlour is more of a historical/fashion/personal type blog. I will continue to post on a weekly basis here.

If you are interested in the new blog, please feel free to follow of course! Also any feedback or suggestions are more than welcome.

The first post to the new blog is below.

Introducing My New Blog

I am and artist and tarot reader. I have been reading tarot cards for 20 years, along with other kinds of oracle cards such as runes, animal cards, goddess and faerie cards. I also make and interpret astrological birth charts, and read tea leaves.  I believe that all these various oracles can help us connect with Spirit and find new perspectives on our life path.

I'm also a practicing artist, who makes spiritual art - icons of gods, goddess, angels and saints.  I believe that art can be used also to help us connect with the divine. Whether you are the maker of the art, or enjoying and appreciating the piece, art can be used to lift your spirit and inspire.

So why the name Lilac Enchantment? I love the colour purple, and lilacs are one of my favorite scents and flowers. For me it evokes images of spring, the long evenings of early summer, and faeries. I felt "enchantment" also evoked a sense of wonder and connection to the spiritual that I hope to convey in my posts.

In this blog I will cover not only the tarot and how to read this mystical oracle, but also such metaphysical subjects as astrology and the lunar phases, crystals, Wicca , runes, meditation and other spiritual subjects. I hope you will find my little blog interesting and informative! My first full post will be tomorrow. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Victorian Fairy Fascination

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Wether you're enjoying Midsummer celebrations in Sweden (so jealous), celebrating Litha as a pagan, or just enjoying it as the first day of summer (or winter if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) I hope you are having a lovely day.

This time of year always makes me think about fairies. After all my mother did warn me that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden. Pagan lore says that this is the best day if the year to spot them, particularly in the evening. Wether or not you believe in the wee folk, there does seem to be a fair number of people who enjoy them in art and literature, and the Victorians were no different. In fact, many of them had an outright fascination with them!

Fairies were a favourite subject in literature, plays and art during this time. Shakespearean plays like "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and The Tempest" were very popular and there was a new interest in fairy stories especially for children. With it's roots in the Romantic era, interest in the mystical was a reaction to the industrial revolution, scientific break throughs, and strict religious and social constraints. Many people sought to escape and to seek out a more spiritual and natural side to life, and fairies were an expression of this.

A whole genre of art called Fairy Art became very popular in the mid 1800s. The above painting is by John Anster Fitzgerald and was shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1845. "Fairy Fitzgerald" was typical of this style of artist, using lots of detail, fantastic and often dark imagery. Some think his work was opium influenced, but either way the work is lovely. This genre influenced the Pre-Raphaelites with their medieval and Arthurian inspired paintings.

As the Victorian era waned, so did the fascination with fairies. There was a revitalization in 1917 when the Cottingley fairies were photographed. If you don't know about this, it was a series of five photographs of two young girls with fairies. Of course it was a hoax, as they used cardboard cutouts of the fairies in the photos.

Fairy art has seen a revitalization with the explosion of the fantasy genre. Brian Froud is probably the most popular artist with his many fairy art books and cards. I actually own two sets of the cards myself and love their playful images.
What are your thoughts on fairies and fairy art?
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Arsenic Ball Gowns and Other Dangers

Fashion in the 19th century could be a perilous endeavour. Not just for the wearers, but also for those employed in making the desired objects. Below are just some of the dangerous items that could cause discomfort, injury or even death for the wearers.

Arsenic Dye
In the 1770s a Swedish chemist by the name of Carl Wilhelm Scheele created a brilliant green dye made from copper, hydrogen, oxygen and arsenic. The vivid hue became quite popular in the Victorian era. It was used in everything from clothes, to soap, children's toys and even candy. It may be surprising, but arsenic was a very common substance to get a hold of. There was even a case of a candy maker in 1858, accidentally putting arsenic instead of sugar into lozenges causing the death of 20 people in England.

The Arsenic Ball Gown
Above is an arsenic dyed gown dated from 1860, from Australia, featured in an exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. The curators still must handle the gown with gloves so as to not absorb the dye. The gown was dangerous for the wearer as sweating would cause them to absorb the arsenic. This could cause illness and even death. If you were lucky you might get away with a rash. It wasn't only a risk for the wearer. Those involved in the manufacturing process were in danger too. Everyone from the due makers to the dress makers were at risk. Even those who came into contact with the wearer during a dance could be poisoned!

Crinoline Fires and Indecency
With the invention of crinoline in the 1830s and subsequent popularity in the 1850s and 60s more clothing related problems appeared. The good thing about crinolines is that they were lighter and more flexible then wearing multiple petticoats. This allowed the wearer more comfort and a greater circumference of skirt. One of the drawbacks was that the lightness of the cage could cause gusts of wind to knock the wearer over, indecently exposing the lady. This could also occur when sitting down if you did not smooth the dress down, it could fly up in your face like an inside out umbrella.
The most dangerous side effect was crinoline fires. Ladies would sometimes forget how large their dress was and get too close to a fire. The oxygen under the skirts of the dress would add to the flames as well as the wearer often trying to run away in panic. In England alone between the late 1850s and the1860s there was an estimate 3000 deaths due to crinoline fires.
As a side note there is one case where it appears to have saved someone. In 1885 after a lover's quarrel, Sarah Ann Henley jumped off the Clifton Suspension bridge in Bristol. The fall of 246 feet was slowed when her dress acted like a parachute.

the Holocaust of Ballet Dancers
Crinoline wasn't the only fabric catching fire. Ballet dancers died during this era with horrifying frequency, causing the above phrase to be coined. The dancers would wear flammable muslin while dancing on stages lit by torches and gas lamps. The deaths were unnecessary as flame retardant was available and cages could of been put around the lamps. The flame retardant was considered unattractive, so dancers were discouraged from using it. Many dancers were burned to death unfortunately or left horribly scarred.

These are just a few of the dangers of fashion in this era. I might do a part two on this featuring Mercury in hats, corsets cutting women and painfully small shoes.
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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Red and Black Week - work Outfits

I really meant to post during red and black week daily, but somehow that didn't turn out. Between work and family and everything else going on, my best laid plans just didn't come to fruition. Enough with excuses though!
I did take pictures of a couple of my work outfits. I mostly dress in black, though I sometimes dress in purple to mix it up, and of course red or white accents with my black wear.
The first outfit is a black and white dress, that I accented with red lipstick and nail polish. It's not my most gothy look, but I thought it fit into the weekly theme.

The second outfit is one I have shown before. It is a black kimono style dress with a rd waist ribbon. It's one of my favourite summer work ensembles.

I think my expression is a bit silly in this photo. But you can at least see the dress.
I hope everyone enjoyed red and black week, and I apologize for not posting as frequently.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Red and Black Week - Makeup

I'm very excited that Sophistique Noir's Red and Black week is upon us again. I promise you an outfit post or two as the week continues, but today I'd like to talk about the red and black I wear everyday - my makeup.

The Black
Eye Liner

I am definitely a liquid eyeliner girl. I find the pencils smudge and don't stay on and I didn't really like the consistency of gels when I tried them. I also prefer liquid liners that have a brush on the end as opposed to the pen like nub. I find the brush easier to control and the pen too scratchy. My favourite brand is NYC which is very affordable and can easily be found at my local drug store.

Eye Shadow

Another great drug store staple of mine is NYX brand eyeshadow. It comes in a variety of colours, though I stick with black most days and another accent colour which varies on my mood. I find the colours to be quite pigmented, and if you use a primer with it, it will last the day.


Right now I am using Cover Girl's Flamed Out mascara. I'm not that fussy when it comes to mascara as there's not a lot of difference I find between them.

The Reds

My two favourite lipsticks are Mac's Amplified, and Maybeline long wear in Everlasting Wine. They are my go to colours for a red lip.

Eye Shadow

Sometimes on days where I'm going for a more dramatic look I go for red eye shadow to accent the black. Costal Scents red is the most vibrant red I've had.

Red and Black

My two standard colours on my nails are red and black. Wether it's flat black, sparkly red or a black with red sparkles, I love these colours!

How does red and black fit into your make up routine?
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