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Create a Household Book

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Martha’s book was prepared into a history/cookbook in the 1970’s. Other recipes were adapted for both the Jane Austen Cookbook and Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends.

As most Austen fans know, Jane Austen’s dear friend, Martha Lloyd shared a home with Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen and, after Jane’s death, married her brother, Francis Austen. Martha must have been a special lady, and because of her time spent with the Austen ladies, we have an enduring record of many of their favorite meals. Martha, like many other women of the time, kept a “household” book, full of favorite recipes, both her own, and ‘borrowed’ from friends. This book, a simple blank notebook at first, has become a permanent record of the tasty trifles enjoyed by Jane and her family, along with fleshing out foods mentioned in her novels and letters.

Martha’s careful collection of everything from Pease Soup to Bootblacking provides the fan and cook alike with rare insights into the Austen family’s personal lives. The original book is held at Chawton House by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust.

A glimpse at Martha Lloyd's Household Book from the Jane Austen Memorial Trust.
A glimpse at Martha Lloyd’s Household Book from the Jane Austen Memorial Trust.

Why not consider adapting your own family’s favorite recipes into a keepsake book of your own? One Christmas I was fortunate enough to receive just such a book from my sister-in-law. It is not only the precious repose of “secret” family recipes but also the keeper of memories, as each page reminds us of Christmases, Birthdays and other celebrations from days gone by.

For my own daughters, I have started a cookbook apiece, customized with whatever recipes they would like to take with them to their own homes one day. The recipes vary by child and include everything from kid friendly Mac & Cheese to Rice Krispie Treats, Brownies and “Daddy’s BBQ Pork”. It has become a family joke that new recipes are rated on whether or not they would want them “served at their wedding”. Winners get lined up for inclusion in the book (along with the date added).

Susan Branch's "To My Daughter with Love" is a great way to start a collection for your own child.
Susan Branch’s To My Daughter with Love is a great way to start a collection for your own child.

A purpose built book is not necessary, however, as any blank book or even recipe card box will do, but while you are at it, why not make it something special with drawings, photographs or memories associated with each entry?

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)

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Make Your Own Jane Austen Soap

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A while back I posted about preparing for a Jane Austen themed Bridal shower. As it happened, my daughter needed a gift for said shower and was determined on making soap to go with the towels we had purchased from the bridal registry.  Inspiration struck after talking with a  friend and the result was adorable! We used Ivory Soap and water to create a mouldable soap base which we then formed in our Jane Austen Cookie Cutters.

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Soap made using the Jane Austen Cookie Cutter.

Materials:
1 bar Ivory Soap
Microwave safe plate and microwave
Mixer of some kind
Warm Water
Jane Austen Cookie Cutters (one per soap bar- they need to dry in place)
Oil or shortening for greasing cookie cutters

Continue reading Make Your Own Jane Austen Soap

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How To Make A Velum Window Envelope

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Did you know that the “envelope” as we know it, wasn’t invented until the 1840’s? Letters in Jane Austen’s day were sent folded and the letter was actually the envelope; you can read more about  actual letter writing in Jane Austen’s times here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with our Jane Austen correspondence today, does it?  So let’s get started!

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A hands on craft project by The Jane Austen Letter Writing Society’s Pam Foster.

Supply list:

  • 1 sheet of vintage script scrapbook paper 12 X 12 in.
  • 1 sheet of clear velum
  • Austen silhouette die cut
  • Austen silhouette  sticker
  • sequins
  • mail tag
  • scissors
  • tape
  • optional: envelope template

Step 1.  Select your scrapbook paper.  I used the vintage script that is similar to the Jane Austen font.

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Step 2.  I used an envelope template by the Kreate-a-lope.  However, you could also make your own template by unfolding an envelope that you enjoy, and tracing on a piece of cardboard.

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Step 3.  Place the envelope template on your paper.  It is important to know what is the top and bottom of your template, otherwise you may have an upside down script for your envelope.  This template that I am using is a bit large, so I had to adjust.  The script will be at an angle on the front of my envelope.  I just made it work.

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Step 4.  Cut your envelope…don’t forget to save the scraps for a future project.

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Step 5.  Score your envelope, but do not glue edges just yet.
As you can see, the front of my envelope  has the script at an angle, this was necessary with the size of my template.

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Step 6.  Open your envelope and  place a 2 inch diameter circle template  in the center of the front of  your envelope. Trace around your circle with a light pencil.  Then cut out the circle.

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Step 7.  Place your velum sheet over the circle cut out window.  You will want to make a rectangular 2 sided pocket that is larger than your  cut out window.

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Step. 8 Cut your velum.

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Step 9.  Here is my velum “pocket”.  I used scotch tape to close the two sides.  Leave the top of your pocket open for now.

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Step 10.  I glued a Jane Austen silhouette die cut onto the back of my pocket, off center.  Next, find some sparkling tidbits that you have laying around.  I had some sequins, so that is what I used.  Pour a few sequins in your pocket, then close the top of the pocket with scotch tape.  I then placed a pink piece of scrap  paper on the back of my pocket, to add a bit of color.  Secure an address tag over the window and decorate with a silhouette sticker.

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This completes our Jane Austen “velum window” envelope.  I hope you will try this and please send me some pictures of your Austen Mail.
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Lady Pamela is the blogger behind the Jane Austen Letter Writing Society, the blog Lost Art Of Letter Writing Revived and Etsy store LostArtRevived which carries complete Jane Austen Letter Writing Kits for your convenience.

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Create a Custom Hatpin

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While there is some debate over the date of the original hatpin (vs straight pin),we do know that women have been using pins to secure veils, wimples, hats and bonnets for hundreds of years.  Until 1820 hatpin making in England was a cottage industry in which demand far exceeded supply. One solution was to import crafted pins from France. In order to support Britain’s crafters, in 1820 a law was passed allowing pins to be imported ONLY on January 1 and 2! Some suggest the phrase “pin money” was so called because it was spent by the lady of the house on her hatpins, dress pins and brooch pins!


2008’s The Duchess featured exquisite costumes (and hatpins) by Michael O’Connor. Photo by Nick Wall

All pins were still handmade at this point, and remained so until 1832 when a machine was invented in the United States, which could mass-produce the pins. After this prices dropped considerably as machines made pins were crafted England and France, soon after.

When styles began favoring the hat over the bonnet in the 1880’s, hatpins became both more fashionable and more elaborate. They remained as essential accessory until the age of flapper style bobs and cloche hats made them unnecessary. Still the Edwardian hatpin was regarded as a thing of fear among lawmakers of the day, who passed legislation in 1908 (in the United States) mandating that pins  not exceed 10 inches in length (lest Suffragettes use them as weapons) and later ordering that the ends be capped lest someone be injured by a sharp tip.

Pictures of Regency style pins are in short supply, but I do love this image from Atelier de Modistes Le Bon Genre 28, c.1807, showing a group of young ladies trying on hats and bonnets (Lydia Bennet, anyone?) A look at the woman on the far right shows what appears to be a beaded hatpin stuck safely in place waiting for the next hat or bonnet.

An image from Atelier de Modistes Le Bon Genre 28, c.1807
An image from Atelier de Modistes Le Bon Genre 28, c.1807

From the above illustrations, it appears that Georgian/Regency era pins were less elaborate than their Victorian cousins, featuring one or two beads, instead of the elaborate trimmings and jewels that were to come.

To create your own hatpins, you’ll need:

  • A long, straight pin or hatpin (20 cm is average.) These can be purchased from  Austentation on Etsy. Custom Pins are also available.
  • Metal glue (I like E6000)
  • An assortment of beads and bead caps.
"Blank" hatpins can be purchased from Austentation on Etsy.
“Blank” hatpins can be purchased from Austentation on Etsy.

To make your pin, first add a bead cap, then line up your beads in your chosen order and end with a small bead or cap. Once you have decided on your perfect combination, slide the beads down the pin and add some glue to the pin, where the beads will sit. Slide all but the last the bead back in place, being sure that each one is adhered. Add a small drop of glue to the bottom hole of the second to last bead, slide your final piece into place and allow the pin to dry.

A variety of hatpins can be purchased in our online shop
A variety of hatpins can be purchased in our online shop, while custom pieces can be ordered from Austentation.

Congratulations! A custom piece to complement your period ensemble!

This custom combination was created by Laura Boyle for Austentation: Regency Accessories.
This custom combination was created by Laura Boyle for Austentation: Regency Accessories.

Laura Boyle creates the hatpins available in the Jane Austen Centre shop as well as providing her customers with custom hatpins and supplies along with various other hats, bonnets, reticules and accessories from her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories.

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Create a “Marianne” Style Bonnet

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As many will attest, one of the delights of watching a Jane Austen film is the glory of the costuming. Jenny Beavan’s designs for the 1995 Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility were no exception. Beavan, always noted for her impeccable historical designs, was rightfully nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar on this film.

Marianne wears a delightfully poufed bonnet.
Marianne wears a delightfully poufed bonnet.

Here you will find the instructions for my version of Marianne’s famous bonnet.

This bonnet was designed for www.austentation.com.
This bonnet was designed for www.austentation.com.

Materials:
Needle, Thread, Scissors, pins
1 Round Brimmed straw hat (preferably with a downturned brim)
14×14” or 18×18” square of fabric (your choice for size of pouf)
18×2” strip of fabric
4×4” square of fabric
1 yard ribbon of your choice (I use ½” sheer with satin stripes)
Instructions

  • Fold the fabric in quarters and round off the edges. You will now have a circle of fabric. Run a gathering stitch around the edge of the circle and pull it as tight around the top of the crown (just below the line of holes) Tack or pin in place.
  • Find the center of the piece of ribbon. Pin it in place over halfway over the raw edge of the gathered “pouf” in the center, front. Bring the ribbon around the bonnet on both sides, crossing it in the back. Now bring the ribbon to the front again. This time, cross them in the center, front, about an inch and a half away from the edge of the brim (as pictured). Pin in place.
    Ribbon lies under the band as well as being wrapped in front.
    Ribbon is wrapped around the brim as well as being overlapped in front.
  • Make a “pinwheel” rosette out of the 4” square by rounding off the corners as in Step 1. Now fold the edge under and run a gathering stitch along the edge and pull it tight. Flatten the circle so that the gathered edge is tight in the middle and the rest flares out around it. Tack this in place on top of the crossed ribbons. Trim ribbon edges to desired length.
    The ribbons are tacked down with a fabric "pinwheel".
    The ribbons are tacked down with a fabric “pinwheel”.
  • Fold your remaining fabric strip in thirds and place over the overlapped edge of the gathered fabric and ribbon. Make sure that the raw edges are tucked to the back and stitch this down, around the crown over the overlapped edge, using a hidden stitch. Start at the center back. When you get around to the back again, measure ½” past the first end and cut the fabric. Fold the raw edge under and tack this “finished” end over the raw edge.

 

Created by Laura Boyle for Austentation: Regency Accessories- www.austentation.com
Feel free to contact her with any questions or comments about this pattern.

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Make your own Punch and Judy Puppets

"Islington Punch and Judy". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Islington_Punch_and_Judy.JPG#/media/File:Islington_Punch_and_Judy.JPG

According to Punchandjudy.com, “The English Mr.Punch is truly an international character as well as being the British National Puppet. His origins are in Naples, whilst his family is worldwide.” Though tracing it’s roots to the 16th C. Punch remains a very recognizable figure of English culture.

"Islington Punch and Judy". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Islington_Punch_and_Judy.JPG#/media/File:Islington_Punch_and_Judy.JPG
“Islington Punch and Judy”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia

The storyline of the classic Punch and Judy show has not changed much in the following centuries and it would not be difficult to create your own Punch and Judy show which, if following the traditional story, would not be much different than that no doubt enjoyed by Jane Austen herself while in London or Bath. A history of Punch and Judy and a classic script can be found in this 1861 volume, entitled Punch and Judy.

Although quite violent in nature, “the various episodes of the show are performed in the spirit of outrageous comedy — often provoking shocked laughter — and are dominated by the anarchic clowning of Mr. Punch. While censorious political correctness threatened Punch and Judy performances in the UK and other English speaking countries for a time,[10] the show is having one of its cyclical recurrences and can now be seen not only in England, Wales, and Ireland, but also in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”*

In my opinion the street Punch is one of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive. I regard it as quite harmless in its influence, and as an outrageous joke which no one in existence would think of regarding as an incentive to any kind of action or as a model for any kind of conduct. It is possible, I think, that one secret source of pleasure very generally derived from this performance… is the satisfaction the spectator feels in the circumstance that likenesses of men and women can be so knocked about, without any pain or suffering.

—Charles Dickens, Letter to Mary Tyler, 6 November 1849, from The Letters of Charles Dickens Vol V, 1847–1849

In order to make your own puppets, punchandjudy.com has offered the following pattern from Peggy Terale’s PUNCH AND JUDY PUPPETS pamphlet.

Dryad Press, taken over by Specialist Crafts Ltd. (formerly Dryad Education), no longer publish this leaflet. They have kindly agreed to its publication here. They offer an internet source for a great number of craft products and their catalogue site can be viewed at http://www.homecrafts.co.uk from where you can order their magnificent catalogue of over 12,000 Art, Craft, Modelling, Textiles and Design products which are available by mail order.
Dryad Press, taken over by Specialist Crafts Ltd. (formerly Dryad Education), no longer publish this leaflet. They do offer an internet source for a great number of craft products and their catalogue site can be viewed at http://www.homecrafts.co.uk.

These patterns include instructions for Punch, Judy, Baby, Policeman and several other characters. As the site claims, “These glove puppets are extremely simple to make and require no special apparatus-sewing materials, felt and buckram being all the equipment necessary. Velour, however, makes good firm cylinders, and should an old hat be available it can be used instead of felt. Adhesive tape is useful for strengthening joins.”

Visit Punch and Judy.com for the full pattern and instructions for making these puppets.
Visit Punch and Judy.com for the full pattern and instructions for making these puppets.

*Punch and Judy history from Wikipedia.com.
Pattern and instructions from Dryad Education. Provided by Punch and Judy.com

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The Regency Spa: Create Your Own Bath Salts

Home made bath salts can be a lovely gift. Image by Misty Kelly, with permission from Photobucket.

Throughout history, physicians have touted the health claims of various “Waters” and have advised their patients to immerse or ingest from numerous wells around the globe. While no one has yet discovered the proverbial “Fount of Youth”, it is true that the ancient healers were on to something. Cities, such as Bath and Tunbridge Wells often sprang up around “curative” springs, each boasting it’s own brand of health and happiness.

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A painting of the well building in 1795

One such spring was discovered in Epsom and was so restorative that enterprising businessmen began selling the mineral deposits found there for use at home. The result? Epsom salts. Though not a salt in the sense of table salt, they are called so for their salt like appearance and are actually composed of Magnesium sulfate (or magnesium sulphate) an inorganic salt (chemical compound) containing magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, with the formula MgSO4. The salt was produced from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts. Epsom salt can also be used as a beauty product. Athletes use it to soothe sore muscles, while gardeners use it to improve crops. It has a variety of other uses. Epsom salt is also effective in the removal of splinters.

It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.

Home made bath salts can be a lovely gift. Image by Misty Kelly, with permission from Photobucket.
Home made bath salts can be a lovely gift. Image by Misty Kelly, with permission from Photobucket.

To make your own bath salts and enjoy a relaxing soak (preferably with a good novel) you will need equal parts coarse grained salt and Epsom salts (found for pennies at your pharmacy.)

If using 1 cup of each, you might also want to add 1 tsp of your favorite essential oil or finely ground herbs like lavender or rose petals.

Mix thoroughly (a few drops of food coloring make it pretty when packaged) and store in an air tight container.

Use 1/4 cup in a warm or hot bath to imitate a soak in the hot springs. The benefits, from shinier hair, to relaxed muscles are to numerous to list.

 

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Create A Regency Style Turban

The Bingley sisters epitomized London style and elegance in 1995's Pride and Prejudice by A&E/BBC.

Turbans were popular forms of head decoration during Austen’s era, adding both drama and height to the wearer.

The Bingley sisters epitomized London style and elegance in 1995's Pride and Prejudice by A&E/BBC.
The Bingley sisters epitomized London style and elegance in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice by A&E/BBC.

Fashion magazines of the time displayed an amazing variety of style and form, all under the heading “turban”.

 La Belle Assemblee, April 1818
La Belle Assemblee, April 1818

Continue reading Create A Regency Style Turban