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So Jane: Crafts and Recipes for an Austen-Inspired Life, A Review

So Jane

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.

So JaneHand 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, are broken into chapters with corresponding crafts and include breakfast, teatime, dinner, picnic, ball and cottage inspired meals.

The photographs by Susan Barnson Hayward are truly worth the proverbial thousand words, turning this fun little book into a work of art. Each page features several inspiring photographs not only of finished food and craft projects, but of individual steps along the way, making it both a beautiful display piece and practical how-to guide.

On the whole, you will find this to be a book you turn to again and again, if only for the sheer delight of flipping through its glossy, gorgeous pages. It will inspire you, as the title intimates, into a Jane Austen mindset, encouraging you to not only make your own works of art, but to see tools and supplies in everyday items, turning them into new pieces to beautify your home and share as gifts.

So Jane is now available from the Jane Austen Gift Shop here.

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.)

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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

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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

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An Easy Upcycled Floral Brooch Tutorial

A up cycled floral brooch

How to make your own Upcycled Floral Brooch

rose
Rose brooch made from upcycled Jane Austen pages.

To make this lovely rose pin, you will need:

  • 1 page from a book (Austen? I keep a copy of P&P just for projects) or choose pretty patterned paper.
  • 1 Floral Template
  • 1 brooch or bar pin
  • 1 pearl bead
  • Scissors, craft glue or glue gun
  • Green Paint and paintbrush (or green paper)

Continue reading An Easy Upcycled Floral Brooch Tutorial

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How To Make a Sailors Valentine

Sailor’s Valentine – “A Present/Think of Me”, shell, cedar, glass, metal, cotton, tintype, ca. 1895. Courtesy of Strong Museum.

Centuries ago, Sailors’ Valentines were handmade gifts by sailors to be given to their girlfriend or wife. I can only imagine just how difficult it must have been to be a sailor in the 19th century and to be away from his true love for months, possibly even years at a time. There certainly was no form of constant communication like phones or the internet, and there was no mail delivery at sea. A sailor could write a letter to his love and mail the letter when he was in port, but mail to him would be sporadic, if at all. It would require a great deal of devotion to remain bound to someone you couldn’t see or talk to with any regularity.

No doubt, the sailors chose their vocation to either provide or to prepare to provide for his loved ones. Hard economic times have always plagued our world and people have always done what was necessary to earn a living. I don’t deny there were some who loved the sea and longed for adventure, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t also desire to be with the one they loved.

Some believe that the sailors spent months collecting unique and beautiful seashells during their travels and personally make intricate, detailed seashell artwork. When they returned home they would present these labors of love to their betrothed or wife as a symbol of their constant devotion. It would say to the recipient ‘I was thinking of you always’ without a word having to be spoken.

My Sailor’s Valentine
Today making a sailor’s valentine is not as difficult as it would have been in generations past. We can purchase seashells by the pound and pick through the bags for the perfect shell. There are even kits available to purchase if you want to make a specific design without the hassle of searching for the right size, shape or color shell.
Continue reading How To Make a Sailors Valentine

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Cloved Orange: A Regency Pomander

pomanderThe word “pomander” originates from the French “pomme d’ambre.” A common interpretation of this phrase is “apple of ambergris,” referring to the wax substance used as a base in pomander recipes. Others take the phrase to mean “apple of amber” or “golden apple,” as in the fragrant citrus fruits exchanged during holidays for good luck.

The pomander became popular during the Middle Ages when the black death and other ailments ran rampant. Sanitation during the era was lamentably lacking. The streets and even some homes were strewn with filth, bodily fluids and the discarded remnants of past meals. People thought that the cause of their problems lay in the resulting stench lingering about the city. The belief went that the pleasant scent of a pomander could repel the disease in the air.

Several recipes for pomanders survive from the era. To the base of ambergris, musk, civet, rose water, and other perfumes and spices were added. The mix would then be inserted into the pomander’s container. A pomander could be worn around the neck or waist. Many women attached them to their girdle.

Queen Elizabeth I holding gilded pomander attached to her waist. (luminarium.org)

Both men and women wore pomanders, most of whom hailed from the elite classes of society. Queen Elizabeth I is frequently depicted wearing one, as are other nobles and notables of the day. People took great pride in their pomanders. Simple pomanders were made of wood, while the most stunning examples were worked in silver or gold, studded with precious stones, and etched with intricate designs. Some pomanders were divided into sections, similar to an orange, into which its wearer would place several different scents.

As time wore on, the pomander began to take on the “golden apple” interpretation. By the 18th century, a pomander was more often than not an orange studded with cloves and other spices. These made for popular gifts during Christmas and New Years. Many people make this type of pomander today in order to scent their homes and clothing.*

According to Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of the Seasons, “By the 17th and 18th century the decorated orange stuck with cloves was often mentioned as a Christmas or New Year’s custom. In his Christmas masque, Ben Jonson wrote, “He has an Orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in it.” A later description of New Year’s in England mentions children carrying pippins and oranges stuck with cloves in order to crave a blessing for their godfathers and godmothers. ”

Make A Clove Studded Orange

The following illustration was provided by Stephanie Locsei of http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/. To complete this project, you’ll need an orange, enough narrow ribbon to wrap twice around your orange and tie in a loop, and a jar of whole cloves.

 

 

easy to make christmas decorations clove orange instructions

 


Pomander history from : Pomanders History | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5378191_pomanders-history.html#ixzz2EiEHIjWh

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Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornament

 Colleen Babcock: Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornament

Colleen BabcockIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lone crafter in possession of a sewing machine, must be in want of a free tutorial. I’m Colleen Babcock, and I’m here as a guest contributor at the Jane Austen Centre’s online magazine to provide you with just that.

I am a cloth art doll and craft designer, as well as a Jane Austen fan, living in London. Originally from Canada, I teach and exhibit in the UK and across North America. With work featured in several books and magazines, I also write guest posts for popular craft blogs while keeping the creativity levels high with free tutorials on my own blog, The Magic Bean.

Colleen Babcock’s adorable Regency silhouette ornaments.

What you need Continue reading Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornament

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DIY Tea Wreath

DIY Tea Wreath:

“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”
Mansfield Park

DIY Tea Wreath
Kojo Designs’ DIY Tea Wreath

A few months ago my sister sent me the link for Kojo-Designs’ DIY Tea Wreath tutorial. I thought the idea was great, and looked easy enough to accomplish, so one afternoon when the kids were sick and we were all home, I pulled out my papers and craft supplies and made my own…with a Jane Austen twist! Following Kojo’s instructions, I used black and white patterned papers, but covered my clothespins with upcycled pages from one of Jane Austen’s novels and added a Jane Austen silhouette to the top. Jane Austen and tea. A match made in heaven! A lovely way to display tea during theses chilly months, they also make very pretty, affordable gifts for  the upcoming holidays.

DIY Tea Wreath
My take on the Tea Wreath, using Jane Austen’s novels for inspiration.

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.