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Host a Regency Tea Party

Regency Tea

Hosting a Regency Tea Party

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating the ritual of afternoon tea sometime in the early to mid 1800’s as a remedy against the “sinking feeling” she felt between luncheon and the late hour of Court dinners. The practice soon caught on among her friends in the upper class circles and the rest is history.

teapot

Taking tea during Jane Austen’s day was nothing like what the term implied a few decades later with the advent of Afternoon Tea. During the Regency, Tea was produced about an hour after dinner, signaling the end of the port and cigars in the dining room and gossip and embroidery in the drawing room. The lady of the house, or her daughters, if she wished to show them off to advantage, would make and pour the tea and coffee, seeing to it that all guests were served. After tea, the family and any guests might remain in the drawing room to read aloud, sew or play games together until supper (if served) or bedtime.

Sir John never came to the Dashwood’s without either inviting them to dine at the Park the next day, or to drink tea with them that evening.
Sense and Sensibility

If dinner had been late, supper might be replaced by light refreshments served with the tea, such as toast, muffins, or cake. Tea or wine and refreshment of some sort or other would be offered to visitors who stopped by throughout the day. During the Regency, tea was also served at Breakfast and could be found throughout the day at any of the popular Tea Gardens or Tea Shops, which served tea and light refreshments for a small fee.

A formal invitation to tea always implied an after dinner gathering with some sort of entertainment whether games or music or conversation. An evening such as this might end in an informal dance if there were enough partners and a willing accompanist.

teaparty

When having friends to Tea, the most important part is, of course, the tea. Brew fresh tea of the highest quality and serve it with coffee or cocoa if you prefer. Provide an assortment of breads, rolls, cakes, cookies and sweet treats. Use your best china and entertain with a variety of period games and music. Read aloud from the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries or have each guest read her own favorite passage.

As Anne Elliot says, “My idea of good company… is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”

 

If you liked this article about Regency tea parties, and would like to have your own Regency afternoon tea, you might like to have a look at our Netherfield Collection of exclusive teaware.

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Create a “Marianne” Style Bonnet

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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Let’s Give Jane a Hand: The Austen Silhouette Manicure

The Austen Silhouette Manicure

This Easter I added a set of Nail Art Pens to my seven-year-old’s Easter basket. We had seen them demonstrated at our local warehouse club and she was eager to try the fun for herself. The idea is that each “pen” comes with a brush and pen attachment for creating detailed works of art on your finger nails.

Nail art sets like this one can be purchased from Amazon.com.
Nail art sets like this one can be purchased from Amazon.com.

After church that morning, we headed off to spend the day with family. Bella with polish eagerly clutched in hand, was sure that her artist Auntie Diana could work some magic for all the little girls in attendance. Being the good sport that she is, Diana had a steady stream of customers for watermelons, ladybugs and even snowmen, but when I saw the white and black pens, I was sure that an Austen silhouette could be had.

Grandma was game to give the silhouette a try.
Grandma was game to give the silhouette a try.

To create your own works of Austen art, you will need a bottle of white nail polish (available for French Manicures) and one black nail pen (or fine tipped permanent marker. Used on the polish, it should wipe off with nail polish remover and not leave a mark on the actual nail)

File your nails and paint a coat of white polish, as you would begin any manicure.

Using this silhouette as a guide, gently draw an outline of Jane Austen’s silhouette– your basic design will include the head with bun and aquiline nose, narrow neck and rounded neckline.

Austen Silhouette

Coat the finished nail with a clear coat for added durability. If you make a mistake, no worries– it comes off with nail polish remover!

I think the experiment was quite satisfactory, not to mention a lot of fun!

Laura Boyle is the author of Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends. Through her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories, she offers a large range of custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and Jane Austen related items

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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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Create Regency Style Acrostic Jewelry

During the Regency, acrostic jewelry came into vogue. These brooches, rings and other ornaments used gemstones beginning with each letter of the alphabet to spell out sentimental sayings such as LOVE, DEAREST, of REGARD.

Georgian "Regard" brooch, circa 1810.
Georgian “Acrostic” brooch, circa 1810. Jewelers often used the French spelling of the gemstone name when creating their words and phrases, even when the phrases were in English.

First created by the Mellerio Jewelry company (they claim to be the oldest family company in Europe) in Paris in 1809, the idea was mentioned by Étienne de Jouy in an article in an 1811 edition of Gazette de France, which in turn led to the style being adopted in England.

Continue reading Create Regency Style Acrostic Jewelry

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Create A Regency Style Turban

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

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Rendering Lard, the Regency Crisco

While researching Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends, I found many recipes that called for lard or suet (the beef alternative). It was often not immediately clear whether or not the authors were talking about straight, diced lard (like the kind used for adding fat and flavor to drier cuts of meat, as in “larding your roast”) or rendered lard, however a trip the local living history museum helped put my questions to rest. A basic rule of thumb when looking at period recipes, if it goes into the food (larding your meat, dicing it for mincemeat, etc.) you are talking about lard straight off the meat, often with tiny bits of meat still attached. If you are using it for frying or in pie crust, basically anywhere you might substitute modern Crisco or solid shortening, use rendered lard.

800px-HomelardAccording to Wikipedia, “Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. Lard was commonly used in many cuisines as a cooking fat or shortening, or as a spread similar to butter. Its use in contemporary cuisine has diminished; however, many contemporary cooks and bakers favor it over other fats for select uses. The culinary qualities of lard vary somewhat depending on the part of the pig from which the fat was taken and how the lard was processed.

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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.