This Christmas I was given a copy of Hollie Keith’s book, So Jane: Crafts and Recipes for an Austen-Inspired Life. This little book is filled with projects, recipes and gift item ideas to fill every aspect of your home and life. While most of the projects are not Austen-era reproductions, they are modern interpretations which keep an eye on the past. Whimsical and romantic in nature, there are crafts and recipes for every age and skill level, along with a myriad of mediums to choose from.
Hand stitched, novel themed placemats share pages with dainty, appliqued egg cosies. I ♥ Darcy pillows and rose scented soaps share space with lacy aprons, wreaths and book marks. Vintage treasures, rejuventated “in a style entirely new” and new-on-the-market finds are combined with traditional craft supplies so that each project can be tailored to your personal whims and comfort level. Patterns and templates provided in the back of the book take the guesswork out of each set of instructions, while step by step photographs guide you through any difficulty.
The recipes in this book were curated by Jennifer Adams, no Austen newcomer herself. Jennifer is the author of Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen as well as the Little Miss Austen Baby Lit board books, published by the same company (Gibbs-Smith). Here, her 32 recipes, inspired by Jane Austen’s novels and time period, (more…)
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 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.
1 bar Ivory Soap
Microwave safe plate and microwave
Mixer of some kind
Jane Austen Cookie Cutters (one per soap bar- they need to dry in place)
Oil or shortening for greasing cookie cutters
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!
1 sheet of vintage script scrapbook paper 12 X 12 in.
1 sheet of clear velum
Austen silhouette die cut
Austen silhouette sticker
optional: envelope template
Step 1. Select your scrapbook paper. I used the vintage script that is similar to the Jane Austen font.
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.
Step 3. Place the envelope template on your paper. It is important to know what is the top and bottom of your (more…)
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!
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 (more…)
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.
Here you will find the instructions for my version of Marianne’s famous bonnet.
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.
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.
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, the show is having one of its cyclical recurrences and can now be seen not only in England, Wales, (more…)
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.
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.