This week’s theme for Aussie Curves is ‘Then and Now’ and is mean to look back at your style and reflect how it has changed. When I first saw the theme I desperately wanted to do movie fashion from Now and Then, but, honestly, I’m too busy.
Yesterday at the market selling PHO sizzle threads I was reflecting on this blog and thinking about how long I’ve had it for, and what its purpose is… In terms of remembering outfits I’ve done in the past, Fashion & Pho has always done birthday and anniversary posts, in fact it just past it’s third birthday recently and I blogged about that with lots of ‘flashback outfits’ so, I don’t want to repeat that, but you can check out that post if you like here. But, I guess I was wondering if I should continue my blog, especially since I have so little time with my part time ESL work and my full time PHO sizzling. This blog has been my creative outlet and what I do for fun, and,since coming back from Vietnam, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to have an income out of it through affiliate advertising and, in a lot of ways, it did push me to create PHO sizzle, but I was musing all of this when suddenly I met a nice woman at the market who bought some PHO sizzle stock for her daughter. She said she read my blog and that she really liked it and that I shouldn’t stop blogging, and, I swear she was reading all of those thoughts! Hahaha! I was so flattered and excited to meet someone who reads this, and even happier that she believed in my enough to buy some clothes for her daughter. It made me realize that while this is only my hobby, it does actually really make me happy doing it, and I love hearing that other people love it too.
So, how is this outfit ‘then and now’ you ask? Well, I’m wearing high high heels with an itty bitty heel, a fear I conquered quite recently and a kaftan that I received as my first blog ‘freebie’. I blogged wearing it here.
So, the ‘then and now’ component of my post today is remembering the things I could get easily in Hanoi which were namely – knits and insane cool embellished things like this kaftan. Remember, all my clothes (and shoes) were tailor made, which is awesomely awesome! Seriously, it is perfect for learning what suits your body type, but, it meant I couldn’t find sweaters or anything that couldn’t be easily made. So, for this ‘then and now’ theme I’d like to celebrate being able to wear knits and kaftans, AND be able to internet shop! Vietnamese postal services weren’t so good at delivering parcels…did I tell you about the Easter package I received in October? But, that was good cos at least it turned up!
Kaftan: Kashkha Heels: thrifted a Roses in Hair: shop that closed down on Brunswick Street Earrings: borrowed from my sister
So, that is all I have to say about reflecting on my style, in fact it hasn’t changed much but blogging for 3+ years has made me more confident, experimental and made me realize I need this blog, and thanks to the kind woman who said the right thing at just the right time
Don’t forget to check out the other Aussie Curves ‘then and now’ posts.
So, hooray for the first ALTERNATIVE CURVES blog hop! I was so happy when I saw this months theme of Alternative Fairytale too! Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I’m into mythology and fairy tales just a teeny bit. I’ve dressed up as a fairy, rusalka, qarinah, lost mermaid and white witch. So, for this I felt the pressure to do something new, but also something that people didn’t know much about.
I remembered living in Perm, Russia in 2009 teaching ESL and reading Pavel Bazhov‘s book called Malachite Casket: Tales from The Urals. It was based on folktales from around that region, and I pretty much fell in love with many of the stories. A key character in many of the tales is The Lizard Queen/The Malachite Maid/The Mistress of Copper Mountain. So, I thought I’d try to take pictures being the Lizard Queen in the first mention of her in the first story: The Mistress of Copper Mountain. I apologize in advance for how freaking LONG this post is but I am retelling a fairy tale and I felt it needed the embellishment and quaintness that is in the original for it to come across well. Anyway, enjoy:
THE MISTRESS OF THE COPPER MOUNTAIN.
One day two men from the village went to take a look at the hay on the other side of Severushka. It was a Sunday and real hot. Both of them worked in the mines, on Mount Gumeshky. They got malachite, and the kind of stones you call Lapiz Lazuli, and sometimes nuggets of copper and anything else they could find.
One was quite a young fellow, not married yet, but all the same he was pale and tired, with that green look about him from working in mining. The other was older and quite worn out, his eyes and cheeks were sunk into his head and he never stopped coughing.
It was sweet in the woods and walking in the sun felt nice upon their backs. They got as far as Krasnogorsk Mine and lay down on the grass under a rowan for a nap. Both of them slept far past sundown from exhaustion and perhaps the comfort of being away from the mines.
But, all of a sudden, the young one – it was as if someone had nudged him- he woke up. And there in front of him he saw a woman sitting on a pile of rocks. She had her back to him but you could see she was a fair maid. Her hair was a fascinating colour and she was constantly fidgeting – couldn’t sit still a minute! Like a bit of quicksilver, she was, and all the time she kept on talking and talking but in what language it was you couldn’t say. All the time she had a laugh in her voice and seemed real merry.
The lad wanted to say something, then all of a sudden it hit him like a blow over the head. Mercy on us, why, that’s the Mistress herself! That’s her robe- why didn’t I see it at once? Her malachite robe, it looks like silk and changes colour from green to red, but is really stone! Oh, it was that hair of hers that I kept looking at…
Here’s bad luck, thought the lad. Can I get off before she sees me?… He’d heard, you see, from old folks that the Mistress, the Malachite Maid, like to beguile folks and fool them. But, he had barely given that a thought when she turned around.
She gave him a look that could set a man to stone, but then laughed merrily and said jestingly: “How’s this Stepan Petrovich, will ye stare at a maid’s beauty and give naught for the looking? For a peep ye must pay! Come here, closer. Let’s talk for a bit.”
The lad was frightened all right, but he didn’t show it. He took hold of his courage. She might be a demon, but all the same she was a maid. Well, and he was a lad, and a lad must think shame to let a maid see him faint-hearted.
He went up to where she was standing and saw a lot of lizards. More than you could count. Some were green, some were light blue, some very dark, every shade and colour, and some were like clay or sand with golden specks. And some shone like glass or mica, some like withered grass and some had all sorts of patterns. The maid just sat and laughed. “Don’t tread on my soldiers, Stepan Petrovich,” she said. “Look how big and heavy you are, and they’re but tiny.” She clapped her hands and all the lizards cleared a path for him, running this way and that. He walked right up to her and looked her in the face, she smiled and clapped her hands again. The lizards rushed back filling every empty piece of ground, like a patterned rug on the floor around him, moving all the time over his shoes. He looked again and he even saw a cooper lizard dart past. “Now there’s nowhere ye can tread,” she said laughing, “for if ye crush my babies it will be bad.”
“So, do ye know who I am Stepanushko?” asked the Malachite Maid. “Don’t be afraid, I’ll do ye no harm.” Stepan bristled back at her, angered that a maid would accuse him of being afraid. He shouted at her that he worked in a mine and was afraid of naught! The Lizard Queen smiled and told him she needed a man like him.
“When you go down to the mine tomorrow the bailiff will be there. Tell him that the Mistress of the Copper Mountain has ordered ye, ye stinking goat, to get out of Krasnogorsk mine! If you break my cap of iron there, I shall sink all the copper in Gumeshky so deep ye’ll never find it again!”
She looked at him hard.
“D’ye understand? You work in the mine and fear naught ye said. Then tell the bailiff what I bid ye.”
She jumped up and ran on all fours towards the cliffs of the mountain side, turning back once, with her robe of ever changing malachite on, to look hard at Stepan Petrovich again.
“Don’t forget Stepanushko, what you’re to say. The Mistress oders you, ye stinking goat, to get our of Krasnogorka…Tell him that and I’ll marry you.”
She ran further along and Stepan saw a tail flip into the mountain side.
“Ugh – a reptile!” The lad spat in disgust. ” Me – marry a lizard!?”
The mountain cackled around him and he heard her voice while he couldn’t see her.
“Be it so, we’ll talk about it afterwards and maybe ya’ll think different of it.”
Stepan wakened his companion and they set off back towards their village. All the while walking Stepan was thinking about his encounter and what he was going to say the bailiff. What she has asked was no small thing, and it was true, the bailiff did stink, as if there was something rotten inside him, but he was fearsome too. But, she was the Mistress! Did he dare not do what she requested? He took courage and decided to do what she had ordered.
The next day at work, the miners silently lined up with their caps off as the bailiff walked past. Stepan repeated what the Lizard Queen has told him. The silence was deafening. The bailiff’s goat whiskers shook with rage.
“What’s this?” He shouted. “Are ye drunk or daft? What Mistress? Who d’ye think you’re talking to? You – I’ll make you rot in the pit!”
Stepan was flogged and sent down the pit. The bailiff ordered to feed him dog oats to keep life in him but give him full talk, with no easement. He was made to work on the worst job they could find. It was a wet and damp tunnel with no good ore, it should have been abandoned a long time ago. They fastened him to a long chain, so he wouldn’t run away. But you know what it was like in those days – serfdom, they abused folks all they wanted. The overseer jeered at him “Ye cool down here a bit. Your task is to find pure malachite!” The amount he named was out of all sense or reason, but naught to be done. So, as soon as the overseer had gone, Stepan started swinging his pick, as he was an able young fellow.
He was real pleased with what he saw from the wall. The malachite came tumbling down as if some one was throwing it, and the all the water and dampness drained away. “Well,” he thought, “that ain’t bad – seems like the Mistress hasn’t forgot me after all.”
And then with a flash of light, suddenly the Mistress herself was standing in front of him in the dark tunnel.
“Well, you’re a lad of mettle, Stepan Petrovich. Ye can be proud of yourself. Ye weren’t feared by that stinking goat. Ye spoke well. Come and see my dowry. I too stand by my word.”
She ordered the lizards to unchain Stepan and to continue mining the malachite for him while they walked along the tunnel to a wall. She was frowning and had an air of sadness about her. “Come, my betrothed, and see my wealth.”
Wherever she turned the wall opened in front of her, and they walked deep into the mountain. The chambers were huge, with precious gems and stones embedded into the walls. All glowing different colours, much like her robe. Some were rich deep orange, some coppery red, some deep green like the finest malachite. After walking some time, they finally stopped in a huge malachite chamber, far more beautiful than the rest, the green stone glowed throughout the room and the copper tables and chairs shown brightly. They sat down and the maid looked sadly at him. “Now ye have seen my dowry.”
“Aye, I’ve seen it.” He replied.
“And what do you think about marrying me?”
Stepan didn’t know what to say. You see, he had a betrothed maid already. A good maid, an orphan. Of course, if you put her beside the Mistress she was nowhere for the looks. Just an ordinary maid like you see everyday. Stepan stuttered and stumbled, and said, “Your dowry is enough for Tsar, but, I’m just an ordinary plain fellow, a worker.”
She frowned until her brows met.
“My friend,” she said, “Stop hedging and speak out. Will ye marry me or not?”
So then Stepan just said plain and straight: “I can’t. I’m promised.”
He waited. Now she’ll be really angry, he thought.
But she seemed sort of pleased, even.
“True heart, Stepanushko,” she said. “I praised ye for the bailiff, but I have double praise for this. You didn’t snatch at my wealth, you didn’t give up your Nastasya for a maid of stone.” It was quite right, Nastasya was his sweetheart’s name. “And now, here is a gift for your lucky maid.” She gave him a casket of malachite, inside jewels, ornaments, a tiara, earrings, rings and beautiful stones of every sort that not even the richest maid would have. She shrunk the box to make it very small, reassuring him it would come back to real size once he was out of sight of the overseer and bailiff. She fed him a delicious lunch, the way the Russian custom is at feasts.
When he’d finished she said, “Now, fare ye well, Stepan Petrovich and see you try to forget me.” And there she was in tears! She held out her hand as the tears fell and upon hitting her palm they turned into precious gems. “Ye’ll live in plenty riches with your young wife, only beware – see ye don’t get thinking and remembering me after. That’ll be my third test.” She reached out and gave him her tears, turned into the richest stones. “Much money is given for these, you will be rich.”
He took them and bowed as she sent him back through the chambers to where the lizards still worked mining malachite. The overseer returned and was shocked and amazed by what Stepan had mined. He moved him to an even worse place but the same thing happened. Stepan could always find the best places to mine. After a few weeks Stepan made an agreement with the bailiff that if he mined a huge slab of Malachite, large enough for the church at St Petersburg, then he and his sweetheart could be free people and no longer serfs. The bailiff, thinking it was impossible, easily signed the contract.
After his freedom, all the riches of Gumeshky vanished. Never another sign of copper nuggest or malachite. Worse still, the water started coming in until the whole mine flooded. Folks say the Mistress was angry that her malachite had been used for a church, for churches she had no use for at all.
Stepan was never really happy though. He married, and there were children. He built himself a house, everything was right and fine. You’d have said he’d all to make a man glad, but he went about moping and pined away. His health and strength went with him.
Sick as he was, he took it in his head that he wanted to hunt and would spend long days out in the mountains, naught coming home with a thing. Then, one day in autumn, he didn’t return.
The search party found him, lying beside a large rock with a smile on his face. The ones that got there first reported seeing a lizard, larger than normally seen in those parts lying beside him. It was sitting there by the dead man, with its head up and tears flowing down its face. But as soon as they came close to the rock it ran away fast.
When they brought Stepan home, they noticed his hand was gripping something tightly, and as they unfurled his fingers, they were surprised to see a fistful of copper emeralds.
“That’s a fortune he’s left you Nastasya!” Where’d he get them from?” The village folk remarked. She said he’d never told her a word about the stones. The Malachite casket he’d given her before they were married, it had many rare things, but no stones like this! They started getting the stones out of his hands, and what do you know? They crumbled and turned to dust.
After that the village people tried to dig around Krasnogorka again, but with no luck. Finally an elder in the village confirmed that those stones were the tears of the Mistress of Copper Mountain. Stepan had kept them and let none see them, and when he died he took them with him. Aye.
And that’s what she’s like, the Mistress of Copper Mountain. It’s a chancy thing to meet her, it brings woe for a bad man, and for a good one, there’s little joy comes of it.
This story is adapted from Pavel Bazhov’s Malachite Casket – Tales from The Urals. Story 1: Mistress of The Copper Mountain.
While there are many stories in the book that feature the Lizard Queen, I like the introduction story about her the most. Sorry this post was SO FREAKING LONG, but I wanted to tell the story properly. WELL DONE if you read it all!!!
Also, obviously my photos are trying to give the grainy sense of Stepan’s point of view, and we were also doing them at night, so the quality isn’t the best.
Don’t forget to check out the other lovely bloggers stories for this challenge!
Most of you will know by now that I am pretty anti the old Animal Print. Not only cos I don’t want people to think that I’ve been Beta programmed, but more so, I kind of got sick of animal print when I lived in Hanoi. There was an over reliance on leopard print body-con dresses and honestly, I found it a bit tiresome. I disliked animal print before I lived in Asia, but, now, yeah, I can’t stand it. Maybe after a couple of years I will have mellowed to it again and I actually have a scarf I bought for $5 when I was freezing a couple of weeks ago that is animal print so maybe I am already mellowing to it. I think the only other animal print you’ve seen me in is this dress I found in my closet when I came back from Hanoi to Australia last year. I guess that means at some point in my life I mustn’t have disliked animal print as much as I currently do.
So, I thought I’d take the week on a different journey and have PRINTS OF ANIMALS instead of Animal Print. Prints of animals is something I am extremely partial to – In fact, prints of any kind of object or thing in a stamp pattern and, BY JOVE, I’ll buy it! I think that my love of stamp pattern fabrics is pretty obvious with PHO sizzle‘s collections.
So, I thought I’d wear our Gold Ponyboy Crop, (yes, I bought my own stock cos I love this baby) which is sold out on the website, there are maybe 2 left at Design A Space, and pair it with denim and a lovely, wonderful furry vest I got made with ears and a fabric with cats wearing bow-ties as the lining – cos why wouldn’t you? I also got given a pair of multi-coloured snakeskin boots from my friend Nikki who got them off her friend Bec, who didn’t want them anymore, so, that counts as animal print – as, last time I checked, snakes are animals.
I usually think I look terrible in candid photos, hence all the posing, but, my friend Kristie (who recently rocked my Angler Submarine Dress) managed to get an okay one of me pulling up my skirt! Ha! Kinda looks like a weight loss ad though, which it certainly wasn’t meant to, I’m just trying to get this blasted skirt to be high-waisted like it’s supposed to be! :/ I’m also showing off my Arecibo Message Binary Code Tattoo like a champ! Hahahah – well done Kristie for getting a candid pic of me where I don’t look like a gremlin!
Fluffy Pink Animal Vest with Ears and Cats with Bow-Ties as Lining: Custom made in Hanoi by my tailor who is now my Tech Designer for my brand Gold Ponyboy Crop: PHO sizzle – sold out – similar design here Denim Skirt: custom made in Hanoi by my tailor Boots: 3rd hand (is that a thing?) Lipstick: Fixed on Drama by MAC Sunglasses: Jay Jays
So, there is my take on Animal Print, I think with the shoes I am s-l-o-w-l-y transitioning back into wearing it. Thanks to my friend Kristie for taking these, and Happy Monday everyone! Don’t forget to check out the other ladies in their outfits for this week!
At first, I was all like, ‘I laugh in the face of danger!’ when reading that this week with Aussie Curves was a challenge called Fears Exposed. Then I thought about disclosing that I am terrified of inanimate objects coming to life and trying to kill me, but couldn’t really work that into an outfit post, finally, I remember that yes, in fact, there IS something I am quite afraid of wearing and I happened to buy some of that very item on Saturday:
Hehehe, don’t you love this photo? I was swinging on a swing and managed to make myself exceedingly nauseous in the process, so, in fact, Aussie Curves also managed to help me realize I am afraid of swings, AS WELL AS HIGH HIGH HEELS WITH MEGA SKINNY HEEL!
I’ve never worn/bought a pair of stilettos in my life. Not only do I think they are ridiculous and impractical, I also always felt that that skinny heel wouldn’t be able to hold my weight and I’d end up snapping the heel, hurting myself and being super embarrassed. And then have to hobble around with bare feet somewhere formal, holding her shoes like a drunk chick with an obnoxious hat during race season.
If I wear heels I also wear ones with a sturdy and practical heel, but, I saw these at the Op Shop for $5 and I thought I’d try to conquer my fear.
Guess what? The heel didn’t snap and I didn’t break my ankle! I mean, I don’t think I’ll be wearing these babies everyday, but I’m happy I wore them and realized I can wear them… if I ever wanted to.
The rest of this outfit is pretty standard of me for a beautiful sunny day in Melbourne. I’m wearing my custom made paw print dress you’ve seen before in my Fitzroy Cacti post, and in my West Lake post in Hanoi a long time ago, a kimono top I bought at the thrift store, and some triangle sunnies that I recently added to my ever growing sunglasses collection.
Oh, guess what else!? I’m a bit excited today cos Stage 1 of PHO sizzle‘s Mix n Match Marine collection is ready to be sold online! YAYYYY! It’s so lovely to see my brand, that is less than six months old, get bigger and more successful. It makes me feel like I have made the right choice in starting it. Also, people buying stuff and complimenting the designs also makes me grin from ear to ear like a damn fool. And now I am impatiently waiting Stage 2 of this collection to be manufactured and shipped. It has tentacles, more angler fish and some 70s vibes!
Dress: custom made in Hanoi by my tailor (now the tech fit designer for PHO sizzle) Jacket: thrifted Stilettos of Doom: thrifted Necklace: bought in Cappadocia in Turkey Glasses: Wholesale Celeb Shades
So, there you have it. My fear of skinny heels exposed! Make sure you check out all the other blogs too!
As you know, I’m doing a series of posts based on the nursery rhyme Monday’s Child that describes the Children of the Week. I’ve already done Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s child and this week I thought I’d do Friday’s child – who is loving and giving. And, in my mind, I interpreted that as ‘most likely to join a cult’/Manson Family/sixties flower child with high expectations of changing the world through love. Ha! So, with that in my mind, I went with a similar vibe to my Woodstock ’69 post, but a bit more happy because Friday’s child is all about kindness and generosity, and searching for joy and happiness in life- hence, in my mind, the reason that cults that promise happiness, organized religion (yeah, I said it!) and feeling like being ‘a part of something’ would be so attractive. Also, while I have used Charles Manson as a reference to the kind of look I am going for, I want to make sure you guys know I am in no way attempting to trivialize what happened to the victims of those homicides. I’m more trying to show the general Sixties explosion around free love and the rejection of the traditional nuclear family that had been core values of their parents generation.
My sister and I often discuss what I am going to wear beforehand for these shoots, but for this post I didn’t explain my thought process to her. I came out and she said, ‘you look like a cult leader.’ Excellent! I succeeded! But, looking at these pictures, who actually IS the cult leader here? Me, Hugo or Stella?
Hehehehehe. Anyway, I’ll let you see the rest of my Friday’s Child pictures.
Dress: thrifted Vest: thrifted Flower Crown: handmade Sunnies: Jay Jays
So, there is it. My concept for: Friday’s child is loving and giving. Tune in next Saturday when I unveil my rather androgynous approach to Saturday’s child. Thanks to my sister, Hugo and Stella for being part of this shoot, and thanks to The Leader for allowing me to show the outside world how wonderful and amazing our family is. Join us! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)
Remember to check out my other Children Of the Week posts: