Posted on

Sealing Your Letters Like a Georgian

Everyone knows the feeling of importance that comes from receiving a hand written letter– especially when decoratively sealed with a specially chosen seal and wax. In Jane Austen’s time, the wax was even sometimes used to hide a coin to pay the postman (thereby costing the recipient nothing; postage was originally paid by the receiver). Traditionally, sealing wax was used to not only seal the letter against tampering, but also to identify the sender, as people maintained personal and family seals for the purpose. The idea of using a personal seal for identification dates from the earliest civilizations and survives today in the form of rubber stamps and embossers. Still, there is nothing quite like a wax seal for adding a bit of Regency elegance to your notes and letters.

Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts (1665)
A pile of sealed letters. Painting Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts (1665).

The Jane Austen Centre giftshop sells personalized sets of seals and sealing wax in the traditional style, a stick of red wax with a wick. When lit, the flame melts the wax, which is then dripped onto the portion of the letter to receive the seal, before stamping in the pattern with a small metal seal. The whole process is, to a novice, a bit tricky and the results are not always quite as perfect as one would hope.

The Jane Austen Centre's seal and wax set is available in the giftshop.
The Jane Austen Centre’s seal and wax set is available in the giftshop.

I recently received a wedding invitation with just such a seal attached. Considering the tediousness of this exercise when addressing scores of envelopes, I questioned the bride as to how she was able to get each seal so beautifully attached and straightly placed. Her answer surprised me! Thanks to the wonders of the modern age, sealing wax is now available in sticks for your glue gun! Glue guns are a fast and easy way to adhere craft projects, using electric heat to melt fast drying glue for precise application. Some genius, however, discovered how to form sealing wax into a shape usable by the glue gun, allowing for quick, accurate placement of wax on envelope. Naturally, this would be best used for large batches of letters, as the gun takes a few minutes to heat up, but what a wonderful way to streamline even the daintiest bits of old fashioned letter writing. The wax is inexpensively available in a variety of colours.

For more information on Jane Austen’s letter, her use of “Franking” (free postage), wax seals, and crossed writing, visit the Jane Austen’s World blog.

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.)

Posted on

Jane Austen Silhouette Easter Eggs

‘Tis the season, so they say, for coloured eggs. The children have spent a glorious day trying their hands at spotted, striped and marbled eggs—I had to boil an extra dozen just to give them enough to try all of their ideas! ‘Tis the season for egg salad and deviled eggs, too, I guess. Still, I had an inspiration for these Jane Austen silhouettes and just had to give them a try. To be sure, I think they looked delightfully sophisticated in their black and white state (perfect for popping under a Jane Austen egg cosy, perhaps?) but my daughters were more thrilled with the coloured results.

egg-basket

You will recall, of course, how we have in years past looked at the origins of coloured Easter eggs, as well as last month’s recipe for soft boiled eggs, but I always like to begin with hard cooked eggs. They can be enjoyed later in salads or as is with pepper and salt. My favorite recipe is quite easy—add your desired number of eggs to a sauce pan (white eggs work best for clear colors, but brown and green eggs have a delightful, earthy look to them once dyed as well.) Cover the eggs with water and bring them to a boil. Once the water is boiling, take the eggs off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes. At that point, sink the eggs into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. If you wish to dye them at this point, dry them off and you are ready to begin.

You may use any dye method you prefer. There are numerous resources online for various combinations of water, vinegar and food dye (or vegetable dyes, if you prefer) I chose the simplest route today, with a premade PAAS kit, following the provided instructions.

Now for the hardest part! I used the 1” size of my Jane Austen silhouette stickers (these can be found in my etsy shop, regencyaustentation.)  Alternately, you can cut a silhouette of Jane from any self sticking source—tape, vinyl adhesive or contact paper. Use the following template as your guide—simply save and print the picture in a 1″ size.

Untitled-1 copy

Stick the adhesive to your boiled egg, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles. Bubbles in the tape will allow dye under and you won’t get clean lines. Once the sticker is adhered, dip the egg in your chosen colour for as long as it takes to get your desired hue. Once the egg has dried, you can remove the sticker for a white silhouette, or leave it on for a dramatic colour contrast.

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austentation: 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.)

Posted on

Make a Jane Austen Egg Cosy

Hollie Keith’s book, So Jane has many ideas for adding a little Jane to your life. Her Jane Austen inspired Egg Cosy was sweet, but appliqued with flowers. It inspired me to create a truly Jane cosy to bring a little Austen to your breakfast table.

Austen Egg Cosy

To create this little cosy, you will need both colored and black felt along with scissors (pinking shears make a cute edge), embroidery floss, a needle, fabric glue and a few inches of coordinating ribbon.

Print the Egg Cosy PDF pattern.

Cut two half round pieces and one silhouetter per cosy.

Lay the two pieces on top of each other with the ribbon looped and fitted between them, as shown.

Using the embroidery floss, stitch around the cosy using a running stitch with a 1/8″ seam allowance. A blanket stitch also makes a nice edge.

Glue silhouette to center front of cosy.

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.)

Easter-Eggs-25

Posted on

Create a Household Book

2875651
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.)

Posted on

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

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.

janesteacup2inchish
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!
teacupback
I backed the paper cup with some writing from a letter of Jane’s and then just added a little ribbon.
ausletpm
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!

janesgifts2

 

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.

 

janesgift3
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.

Posted on

Make Jane Austen Christmas Decorations with Terri Heinz

I recently discovered Terri Heinz’s lovely blog, Artful Affirmations. Here she presents and discusses her lovely collection of china and teacups, all gorgeously photographed. Terri is a talented artisan as well as photographer, and the chronicle of her journey towards creating a stunning Jane Austen themed Christmas tree was as visually delightful as it was creatively inspiring. She has graciously agreed to share her story here, along with her photographs and crafting hints for creating your own Austen inspired trimmings. I will allow her to continue in her own words.

treewithterri (1)For many years I have enjoyed the writings of the incredible Jane Austen. Several years ago I was lucky enough to travel around England and visit some of the places of her life. I was delighted and inspired by the displays at the Jane Austen Center and the Chawton Cottage house, and profoundly moved standing next to her writing desk and her resting place in Winchester Cathedral. Her writings speak to me of humanity. Her novels so aptly named! Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion! Her books are always nearby. Continue reading Make Jane Austen Christmas Decorations with Terri Heinz

Posted on

Make Your Own Jane Austen Soap

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.

soap2
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

Posted on

How To Make A Velum Window Envelope

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!

AM 13
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.

AM 1
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.

AM2

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.

Am3

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

AM4

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.

AM5

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.

AM7
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.

AM8

Step. 8 Cut your velum.

8

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.

AM 10
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.

AM 12

This completes our Jane Austen “velum window” envelope.  I hope you will try this and please send me some pictures of your Austen Mail.
AM 13

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.