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Creating a Jane Austen Themed Christmas with Terri Heinz, Part 2

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Last month, the lovely and talented Terri Heinz, of Artful Affirmations gave us a glimpse into creating her Jane Austen themed Christmas tree ornaments. This month, she returns with ideas and inspirations for even more Austen ornaments as well as her fantastic ideas for wrapping your Jane inspired gifts!

Terri demonstrates how to create your own Austen inspired Christmas.
Terri demonstrates how to create your own Austen inspired Christmas.

This month, we’ll look at an adorable teacup ornament made from a photograph of one on display at Chawton cottage. Here, Terri tells how she created it.

When I was visiting Jane Austen’s home in Chawton, England, I was lucky enough to get a picture of one of the tea cups from their family’s dining room.

I used the image to create this cup ornament.

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I created this page to cut out, the dark edges helps to see where to cut. Click on the picture to be taken to a large format version which you can save and print as a photograph.

 

 I used some Stickles to glitter it up. It is lovely and glittery!
I used some Stickles to glitter it up. It is lovely and glittery!
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I backed the paper cup with some writing from a letter of Jane’s and then just added a little ribbon.
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You can click on this image to be taken to a full size image that I used to print off some paper for the backing.

 

I did think of adorning it with some holly, or a Christmas rose and some lace, but I really did not want to obscure what the Austen’s china looked like.
I did think of adorning it with some holly,
or a Christmas rose and some lace,
but I really did not want to obscure what the Austen’s china looked like.
My newest ornament is this lacy “Jane Austen”, made with bits and scraps of lace and ribbon, a tiny bottle brush tree and a printed copy of a Regency portrait. The artist is the English portrait painter William Beechey, and the woman he painted is Marcia Fox. I believe this image was one of the first portrait art used on a Austen book cover.
She looks very Jane like to me.
My dear friend Suzy creates beautiful angel ornaments in this style, and I crafted this with Suzy's angels in mind. Thank you for inspiring me Suzy!
My dear friend Suzy creates beautiful angel ornaments in this style, and I crafted this with Suzy’s angels in mind.
Thank you for inspiring me Suzy!
"Be Merry in the Moment" is written on one of her ribbons. It seemed like something Jane might say. The artist is the English portrait painter William Beechey, and the woman he painted is Marcia Fox. I believe this image was one of the first portrait art used on a Austen book cover. She looks very Jane like to me : ) Do you think she looks like Jane?
“Be Merry in the Moment” is written on one of her ribbons. It seemed like something Jane might say.

Next up was wrapping paper!

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I decided to copy out some of Jane’s writings in the “Jane Austen” font (which I downloaded from a free font site online) and printed it out on paper to wrap gifts with.

I used the Jane Austen cameo stamp to make the tags. You can see beneath the gifts the ruffled tree skirt I made out of batten. I do love the soft look of it.
If you can not find this stamp anymore, you can use a cameo image of Jane from online images, search “Jane Austen cameo images”.

There is also a Jane Austen stamp set that includes a cameo stamp at Oxford Impressions.

 

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I tucked a small white quill under the ribbon on this gift. Since Jane wrote with a quill, I thought it might be a nice touch.

 

Here I am in Jane's dining room, and there in front of me is the table she wrote at and a quill. I get goosebumps just seeing this image again!
Here I am in Jane’s dining room, and there in front of me is the table she wrote at and a quill. I get goosebumps just seeing this image again!

Remember, the most important part of Christmas is not crafting, decorating or shopping… (those these are joyful too…not the shopping though…lol) The priceless part of celebrating Christmas is the magic of HOPE and being with loved ones!

 


treewithterri2-150x150I began making things with paper since I could hold a pair of scissors in my little hands. Since then I have added all kinds of creative processes including writing, sewing, mixed media art, jewelry art, and have had more joyful moments  than I could have ever imagined. Reading has been a favorite pastime since I was a young teen. Jane has drawn me into her wonderful worlds many afternoons and evenings. She inspired me to visit England and I am lucky to have returned many times. Tea is also a favorite of mine, and I have shared many online tea times with other tea loving bloggers around the world. Creative Workshops hosts two artful classes I teach, and there are many free video tutorials on my blog, Artful Affirmations. Creating art, sharing art, and meeting artful others all over the world has enriched my life.

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Limeys and the Cure for Scurvy

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Throughout Jane Austen’s life, she was to hold an affection for the British Royal Navy. This was due to the enlistment of two of her brothers, Francis and Charles. Readers of her novels will find a number of positive naval characters, none more so that Captain Wentworth of Persuasion. Officers like these would have been well aware of the dangers of scurvy and alert to its presence aboard ship.

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C. Scurvy often presents initially with fatigue, followed by formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person may look pale, feel depressed, and be partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open, suppurating wounds, loss of teeth, yellow skin, fever, neuropathy and finally death from bleeding.

Page from the journal of Henry Walsh Mahon showing the effects of scurvy, from his time aboard HM Convict Ship Barrosa. 1841/2.
Page from the journal of Henry Walsh Mahon showing the effects of scurvy, from his time aboard HM Convict Ship Barrosa. 1841/2.

Scurvy was at one time common among sailors, pirates and others aboard ships at sea longer than perishable fruits and vegetables could be stored (subsisting instead only on cured and salted meats and dried grains) and by soldiers similarly deprived of these foods for extended periods. It was described by Hippocrates (c. 460 BC–c. 380 BC), and herbal cures for scurvy have been known in many native cultures since prehistory. Scurvy was one of the limiting factors of marine travel, often killing large numbers of the passengers and crew on long-distance voyages. This became a significant issue in Europe from the beginning of the modern era in the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, continuing to play a significant role through World War I in the early 20th century.

Between 1500 and 1800, it has been estimated that scurvy killed at least two million sailors:

  • Jonathan Lamb wrote: “In 1499, Vasco da Gama lost 116 of his crew of 170; In 1520, Magellan lost 208 out of 230;…all mainly to scurvy.”
  • In 1593, Admiral Sir Richard Hawkins advocated drinking orange and lemon juice as a means of preventing scurvy.
  • In 1614 John Woodall, Surgeon General of the East India Company, published “The Surgion’s Mate” as a handbook for apprentice surgeons aboard the company’s ships. In it he described scurvy as resulting from a dietary deficiency. His recommendation for its cure was fresh food or, if not available, oranges, lemons, limes and tamarinds.
  • A 1707 handwritten book is by Mrs. Ebot Mitchell discovered in a house in Hasfield, Gloucestershire, contains a “Recp.t for the Scurvy” that consisted of extracts from various plants mixed with a plentiful supply of orange juice, white wine or beer.

In 1734, the Leiden-based physician Johann Bachstrom published a book on scurvy in

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Lind with the frontspiece of his findings on scurvy.

which he stated that “scurvy is solely owing to a total abstinence from fresh vegetable food, and greens; which is alone the primary cause of the disease” and urged the use of fresh fruit and vegetables as a cure. In 1740, citrus juice (usually lemon or lime juice) was added to the recipe of the traditional daily ration of watered-down rum known as grog to cut down on the water’s foulness. Although they did not know the reason at the time, Admiral Edward Vernon’s sailors were healthier than the rest of the navy because of the daily doses of vitamin C his sailors received. However, it was not until 1747 that James Lind formally demonstrated that scurvy could be treated by supplementing the diet with citrus fruit, in the first ever clinical trial. In 1753, Lind published A Treatise of the Scurvy, in which he explained the details of his clinical trial, but it occupied only a few paragraphs in a work that was long and complex and had little impact. In fact, Lind himself never actively promoted lemon juice as a single ‘cure’. He shared medical opinion at the time that scurvy had multiple causes – notable hard work, bad water and the consumption of salt meat in a damp atmosphere which inhibited healthful perspiration and normal excretion – and therefore required multiple solutions. He was also side-tracked by the possibilities of producing a concentrated ‘rob’ of lemon juice by boiling it. Unfortunately this process destroyed the vitamin C and was unsuccessful.

During the 18th century, scurvy killed more British sailors than enemy action. It was mainly by scurvy that George Anson, in his celebrated voyage of 1740–1744, lost nearly two-thirds of his crew (1300 out of 2000) within the first ten months of the voyage. The Royal Navy enlisted 184,899 sailors during the Seven Years’ War; 133,708 of these were “missing” or died by disease, and scurvy was the leading cause.

HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins c. 1794.
HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins c. 1794.

Although throughout this period sailors and naval surgeons were increasingly convinced that citrus fruits could cure scurvy, the classically trained physicians who ran the medical establishment dismissed this evidence as mere anecdote which did not conform to current theories of disease. They considered that scurvy was a disease of internal putrefaction brought on by faulty digestion caused by the naval diet. Although this basic idea was given different emphases by successive theorists, the remedies they advocated (and which the navy accepted) amounted to little more than the consumption of ‘fizzy drinks’ to activate the digestive system, the most extreme of which was the regular consumption of ‘elixir of vitriol’ – sulphuric acid taken with spirits and barley water and laced with spices. In 1764, a new variant appeared. Advocated by Dr David McBride and Sir John Pringle, Surgeon General of the Army and later President of the Royal Society, this idea was that scurvy was the result of a lack of ‘fixed air’ in the tissues which could be prevented by drinking infusions of malt and wort whose fermentation within the body would stimulate digestion and restore the missing gases. These ideas receiving wide and influential backing, when James Cook set off to circumnavigate the world (1768–1771) in HM Bark Endeavour, malt and wort were top of the list of the remedies he was ordered to investigate. The others were beer, sour crout and Lind’s ‘rob’. The list did not include lemons. Cook did not lose a single man to scurvy, and his report came down in favour of malt and wort, although it is now clear that the reason for the health of his crews on this and other voyages was Cook’s regime of shipboard cleanliness, enforced by strict discipline, as well as frequent replenishment of fresh food and green stuffs. Another rule implemented by Cook was his prohibition of the consumption of fat scrubbed from the ship’s copper pans, then a common practice in the Navy. In contact with air the copper formed compounds that catalytically oxidised the vitamin C, destroying its efficacy.

The first major long distance expedition that experienced virtually no scurvy was that of the Spanish naval officer Alessandro Malaspina, 1789–1794. Malaspina’s medical officer, Pedro González, was convinced that fresh oranges and lemons were essential for preventing scurvy. Only one outbreak occurred, during a 56-day trip across the open sea. Five sailors came down with symptoms, one seriously. After three days at Guam all five were healthy again. Spain’s large empire and many ports of call made it easier to acquire fresh fruit.

Although towards the end of the century McBride’s theories were being challenged, the medical establishment in Britain remained wedded to the notion that scurvy was a disease of internal ‘putrefaction’ and the Sick and Hurt Board, run by administrators, felt obliged to follow its advice Within the Royal Navy however opinion – strengthened by first-hand experience of the use of lemon juice at the siege of Gibraltar and during Admiral Rodney’s expedition to the Caribbean – had become increasingly convinced of its efficacy. This was reinforced by the writings of experts like Gilbert Blane and Thomas Trotter and by the reports of up and coming naval commanders.

Detailed taxonomic illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler, 1897.
Detailed taxonomic illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler, 1897.

With the coming of war in 1793, the need to eliminate scurvy acquired a new urgency. But the first initiative came not from the medical establishment but from the admirals. Ordered to lead an expedition against Mauritius, Rear Admiral Gardner was uninterested in the wort, malt and elixir of vitriol which were still being issued to ships of the Royal Navy, and demanded that he be supplied with lemons to counteract scurvy on the voyage. Members of the Sick and Hurt Board, recently augmented by two practical naval surgeons, supported the request and the Admiralty ordered that it be done. There was however a last minute change of plan. The expedition against Mauritius was cancelled. On 2 May 1794, only HMS Suffolk and two sloops under Commodore Peter Rainier sailed for the east with an outward bound convoy, but the warships were fully supplied with lemon juice and the sugar with which it had to be mixed. Then in March 1795, came astonishing news. Suffolk had arrived in India after a four-month voyage without a trace of scurvy and with a crew that was healthier than when it set out. The effect was immediate. Fleet commanders clamoured also to be supplied with lemon juice and by June the Admiralty acknowledged the groundswell of demand in the navy had agreed to a proposal from the Sick and Hurt Board that lemon juice and sugar should in future be issued as a daily ration to the crews of all warships.

It took a few years before the method of distribution to be all ships in the fleet had been perfected and the supply of the huge quantities of lemon juice required to be secured, but by 1800, the system was in place and functioning. This led to a remarkable health improvement among the sailors and consequently played a critical role in gaining the advantage in naval battles against enemies who had yet to introduce the measures

The surgeon-in-chief of Napoleon’s army at the Siege of Alexandria (1801), Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, wrote in his memoirs that the consumption of horse meat helped the French to curb an epidemic of scurvy. The meat was cooked but was freshly obtained from young horses bought from Arabs and was nevertheless effective. This helped to start the 19th-century tradition of horse meat consumption in France.

Lauchlin Rose patented a method used to preserve citrus juice without alcohol in 1867, creating a concentrated drink known as Rose’s lime juice. The Merchant Shipping Act established in the year 1867 required all ships of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy to provide a daily lime ration to sailors to prevent scurvy. The product became nearly ubiquitous, hence the term “limey”, first for British sailors, then for English immigrants within the former British colonies (particularly America, New Zealand and South Africa), and finally, in old American slang, all British people.

Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen, 1897.
Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, 1897.

The plant Cochlearia officinalis, also known as “Common Scurvygrass”, acquired its common name from the observation that it cured scurvy, and it was taken on board ships in dried bundles or distilled extracts. Its very bitter taste was usually disguised with herbs and spices; however, this did not prevent scurvygrass drinks and sandwiches becoming a popular fad in the UK until the middle of the nineteenth century, when citrus fruits became more readily available.

West Indian limes replaced lemons because they were more easily obtained from Britain’s Caribbean colonies and were believed to be more effective because they were more acidic, and it was the acid, not the (then-unknown) Vitamin C that was believed to cure scurvy. In fact, the West Indian limes were significantly lower in Vitamin C than the previous lemons and further were not served fresh but rather as lime juice, which had been exposed to light and air and piped through copper tubing, all of which significantly reduced the Vitamin C. Indeed, a 1918 animal experiment using representative samples of the Navy and Merchant Marine’s lime juice showed that it had virtually no antiscorbutic power at all.

The belief that scurvy was fundamentally a nutritional deficiency, best treated by consumption of fresh food, particularly fresh citrus or fresh meat, was not universal in Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and thus British sailors and explorers continued to suffer from scurvy into the 20th century.

In the Royal Navy’s Arctic expeditions in the 19th century it was widely believed that scurvy was prevented by good hygiene on board ship, regular exercise, and maintaining the morale of the crew, rather than by a diet of fresh food. Navy expeditions continued to be plagued by scurvy even while fresh (not jerked or tinned) meat was well known as a practical antiscorbutic among civilian whalers and explorers in the Arctic. Even cooking fresh meat did not entirely destroy its antiscorbutic properties, especially as many cooking methods failed to bring all the meat to high temperature.

Ernest Shackleton, Scott, and Edward Wilson before their march to the South Pole during the Discovery Expedition, 2 Nov 1902.
Ernest Shackleton, Scott, and Edward Wilson before their march to the South Pole during the Discovery Expedition, 2 Nov 1902.

At the time that Robert Falcon Scott made his first expedition (1901-1904) to the Antarctic in the early 20th century, the prevailing theory was that scurvy was caused by “ptomaine poisoning”, particularly in tinned meat. Fortunately, Scott immediately discovered that a diet of fresh meat from Antarctic seals cured scurvy before any fatalities occurred.

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Canadian explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 17 September 1915.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an arctic explorer who lived among the Inuit, proved that the all meat diet they consumed did not lead to vitamin deficiencies. He participated in a study in New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1935, where he and a companion ate only meat for a year while under close medical observation, yet remained in good health. Some Antarctic expeditions, such as Scott’s two expeditions and Shackleton’s Ross Sea party, suffered from scurvy, mainly during inland sledge journeys when the men had access to a very limited range of food, virtually none of it fresh. Scurvy was rare or absent when they had access to a wider range of stored food or relied on seal meat.

In 1907, the needed biological-assay model to isolate and identify the antiscorbutic factor was discovered. Axel Holst and Theodor Frølich, two Norwegian physicians studying shipboard beriberi contracted aboard ship’s crews in the Norwegian Fishing Fleet, wanted a small test mammal to substitute for the pigeons then used in beriberi research. They fed guinea pigs their test diet of grains and flour, which had earlier produced beriberi in their pigeons, and were surprised when classic scurvy resulted instead. This was a serendipitous choice of model. Until that time, scurvy had not been observed in any organism apart from humans and had been considered an exclusively human disease. (Some birds are susceptible to scurvy, but pigeons, as seed-eating birds, were later found to be unaffected by scurvy, as they produce vitamin C.) Holst and Frølich found they could cure scurvy in guinea pigs with the addition of various fresh foods and extracts. This discovery of a “clean” (reliable) animal experimental model for scurvy, which was made even before the essential idea of “vitamins” in foods had been put forward, has been called the single most important piece of vitamin C research.

 

Images and information from Wikipedia.com

 

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Jane Austen’s China and the Steventon Archaeological Dig

This view of the Steventon Rectory seems to be the correct one.
This view of the Steventon Rectory seems to be the correct one.
This view of the Steventon Rectory seems to be the correct one.

From the Desk of Jane Odiwe
I was very excited to read about some of the discoveries made during the dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home in the village of Steventon, Hampshire, which took place in November 2011. The rectory was pulled down in the 1820s and what is known of its appearance is only recorded on old maps and drawings or writings made from the memories of Austen descendants. It seems that the actual foundations of the rectory have now been located as a result of the dig – formerly, the only clue to its situation was the presence of an iron pump.

Jane was born in Steventon Rectory and lived happily for the first twenty five years of her life until her father decided to retire and move the family to Bath. It was here that she drafted her first three novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, all between the ages of 19 and 23.

Anna Lefroy, niece of Jane, wrote about her memories of the house:
“The dining room or common sitting-room looked to the front and was lighted by two casement windows. On the same side the front door opened into a smaller parlour, and visitors, who were few and rare, were not a bit less welcome to my grandmother because they found her sitting there busily engaged with her needle, making and mending.

A vintage map showing the area surrounding the farm.
A  map showing the area surrounding the farm.

Continue reading Jane Austen’s China and the Steventon Archaeological Dig

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Let’s Give Jane a Hand: The Austen Silhouette Manicure

Grandma was game to give the silhouette a try.

This Easter I added a set of Nail Art Pens to my seven-year-old’s Easter basket. We had seen them demonstrated at our local warehouse club and she was eager to try the fun for herself. The idea is that each “pen” comes with a brush and pen attachment for creating detailed works of art on your finger nails.

Nail art sets like this one can be purchased from Amazon.com.
Nail art sets like this one can be purchased from Amazon.com.

After church that morning, we headed off to spend the day with family. Bella with polish eagerly clutched in hand, was sure that her artist Auntie Diana could work some magic for all the little girls in attendance. Being the good sport that she is, Diana had a steady stream of customers for watermelons, ladybugs and even snowmen, but when I saw the white and black pens, I was sure that an Austen silhouette could be had.

Grandma was game to give the silhouette a try.
Grandma was game to give the silhouette a try.

To create your own works of Austen art, you will need a bottle of white nail polish (available for French Manicures) and one black nail pen (or fine tipped permanent marker. Used on the polish, it should wipe off with nail polish remover and not leave a mark on the actual nail)

File your nails and paint a coat of white polish, as you would begin any manicure.

Using this silhouette as a guide, gently draw an outline of Jane Austen’s silhouette– your basic design will include the head with bun and aquiline nose, narrow neck and rounded neckline.

Austen Silhouette

Coat the finished nail with a clear coat for added durability. If you make a mistake, no worries– it comes off with nail polish remover!

I think the experiment was quite satisfactory, not to mention a lot of fun!

Laura Boyle is the author of Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends. Through her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories, she offers a large range of custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and Jane Austen related items

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Tea with Jane Austen: Ideas for using the Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

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The Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

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The other day I was having some fun experimenting with the new Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter . We tried sugar cookies (naturally) and toast (delicious) and tea sandwiches. However, I think my favorite trick was the silhouette sandwich, seen here.

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To create this sandwich, you’ll need two types of bread, ideally, of light and dark colors (white and wheat, wheat and pumpernickel, etc.)

Take two slices of your “base” layer, in this case Pumpernickel, and use the cutter to cut a silhouette from the center of one slice.

Continue reading Tea with Jane Austen: Ideas for using the Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

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The Well Dressed Clergyman

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As the daughter and sister of Anglican clergymen, Jane Austen was intimately familiar with the rites, rules and habits of church ministers. Clergy members and their families were among her closest friends and feature strongly in all her novels. What, however would a clergyman of her time have worn?

Portraits of the era give a good idea of what they would have had in their closet:

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Clockwise srom top left: James Austen (Jane’s brother), George Austen (Jane’s Father, circa 1764), Henry Austen (Jane’s Brother), John Wesley, Parson Woodforde.

The well dressed Clergyman, then, would have dressed somberly, in a black suit, with with stock or cravat. Over this, while preaching, he would have worn the black Cassock, mandatory to his office. Many clergy chose to augment this sober attire with white bands, also known as Geneva bands (named for the birthplace of the reformation). Additionally, while performing some sacraments, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals he might add a white surplice (hence the fee paid for such services was called a “surplice fee”.) Continue reading The Well Dressed Clergyman

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A Cameo Appearance by Jane Austen

Jane Austen Cameo

 

When you write again to Catherine, thank her on my part for her very kind and welcome mark of friendship; I shall value such a brooch very much.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
October 7, 1808

For the past month, Miriam and I have paid homages—big and small—to that loveliest of authors.  We have tried to incorporate the sensibilities, tastes, styles, and customs of Jane Austen’s era and her works into our lives and into this blog.  We wish we could say that we now speak with British accents, and that our children are pictures of propriety, and that our husbands have taken to wearing long cloaks and cravats, but we can’t.  What we can say is that we have felt a little prettier, a little girlier, and a little more refined this month.  (And by refined, I mean that I plugged in an iron and used the word “wretched” recently.)

As I pondered what to do for our final day of Jane Austen month, I decided it would only be fitting if we had an appearance by the author herself—a silhouette appearance.  And what better way to keep “all-things-Austen” close to our hearts than putting her silhouette on a necklace?  (A small disclaimer here:  I haven’t made a necklace since I was five-years-old and enthralled with the multimedia potential of Fruit Loops and macaroni.)

Jane Austen Cameo:

jane austen cameo

To begin my Jane Austen cameo, I started by printing out Miss Austen’s silhouette on regular computer paper.  I then selected the most clear and uniform flat glass marbles I could find in my collection of craft odds-and-ends.  (If you don’t have these lying about, you can find them in the wedding and/or floral section of your local craft store.  The marbles I used were about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter).

After centering the marble on her image, I traced around the outside of the marble and cut the circle out with scissors.

I then put a thin layer of modge podge glue on the back of the marble and placed the paper silhouette on top with the image face down.  (And don’t worry.  You don’t see the glue after it dries.)

I then cut out a piece of black felt the size of the marble.  I held the marble against the felt as my template and cut around it.

Then, to gussy the pendant up, I glued some black lace around the edge of the felt using a glue gun.  When I flipped the felt over, this is what the backside looked like.

On the lace side of the felt, I glued on a pendant back with a chain hook at the top.  I then glued down my silhouette marble on top of that.  After letting the necklace dry for a few hours, I strung my favorite black ribbon through the clasp.

jane austen cameo

I had so much fun making this one, that I decided to do another, except with a little more bling and a little less lace.  Before I glued down the glass marble silhouette, I strung a teardrop pendant on some fishing line and laid the fishing line across the felt backing.  When I glued the marble down, it set the fishing line in the glue and the necklace was good to go.

jane austen cameo

Just a note: the final products are being modeled by my friend’s beautiful neck.  Had I done the modeling myself, I would have had to do it hanging upside-down so you didn’t see my second (and third) chin.

jane austen cameo

It is nice to know that with this necklace on, I can take a little bit of Jane with me wherever I go, even when our experiment is through.  May we all save a place for “everything Austen” in our days ahead (or on our necks).  Here’s to you, Jane . . .

Miriam and I are sisters who live 700 miles apart from each other in the southwestern United States.  Despite the distance that separates us, we share a love for good food, good fun, good decorating, and especially good books.  We began a blog to share all of the ways that literature inspires us in our daily lives, beginning with our favorite female author, Miss Jane Austen.  For 30 days, we tried to incorporate one “Austenesque” thing into our day, from picnics and paper quilling, to scones and silhouettes.  Our “30-Day Austen Experiment” was so enjoyable that we’ve continued the trend with other authors like Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and William Shakespeare.  As “bookbound” sisters, we’ve never been closer, and as women, we’ve never been happier.

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The Choker Necklace

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This supposed drawing of the Austen family shows Mrs. Austen wearing a fashionable black ribbon choker.

Chokers (necklaces that sit tight to the throat) have been popular throughout history– from Anne Boleyn’s famous “B”, to Empress Sisi’s simple black ribbon. Today they can be found made of anything from hemp to diamonds.

choker necklace
Georgian Aquamarine & Diamond Garland Choker

During Jane Austen’s lifetime, chokers were worn in many forms, from this vintage Georgian aquamarine and diamond creation, tied on with ribbon, to strands of pearls, to a simple ribbon tied about the neck. During the French Revolution, female French expatriots used to wear a thin red ribbon choker as a silent testament to their own narrow escape and in memory of their many friends and family members who were not as lucky. Soon all of London wanted to wear the red ribbon, beginning one of the first times in history when a ribbon has been used as a gesture of solidarity and sympathy with a class of victims.

Ribbon chokers might also be accented by a jeweled slide or cameo pin.

choker necklace
Georgian society women had a penchant for black ribbon chokers. Left: Young Georgiana with her Mother, Georgiana, Countess Spencer (1761) Right: Actress Sarah Siddons, 1785.

Here are a few images of chokers throughout history, from Anne Boleyn (1507-1536), to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744–1818) to Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and Mary of Teck (1867–1953) who preferred the style with ropes of pearls.

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Chokers have been a popular choice for Britain’s queens.

 

Laura Boyle is an avid Regency enthusiast. Find more fashion information or purchase your own choker necklace from her shop, Austentation: Regency Accessories