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. 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. I recently received a wedding invitation with just such a seal attached. Considering the tediousness of this exercise (more…)
‘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. 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 (more…)
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. 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.) (more…)
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. 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 (more…)
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. 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. 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 backed the paper cup with some writing from a letter of Jane’s and then just added a little ribbon. 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. My (more…)
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.
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
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! 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. 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 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. Step 4. Cut your envelope…don’t forget to save the scraps for a future project. Step 5. Score your envelope, but (more…)