Posted on

Staying Sharp with Jane Austen

 Jane Austen Pencils!

Papa has given me half-a-dozen new pencils, which are very good ones indeed; I draw every other day.
Elizabeth Austen-Knight to Cassandra Austen
October 18, 1813

With school back in session, and the smell of apples, chalk dust and pencil shavings in the air, what could be more fun than taking a bit of Austen with you into class? We promise that a few of these Jane Austen pencils in your desk will make even calculus more appealing! Pair them with notecards or a journal to create a fun gift for any Austen lover or teacher.

jane austen pencils
Visit Austentation.com for a wide range of Austen themed items including gift baskets, holiday items, craft projects, and custom bonnets, reticules and accessories.

To begin, you’ll need:

  • pencils (any type, #2, preferably with white erasers)
  • sandpaper (optional)
  • Modgepodge or white glue
  • a few pages of Austen text (taken from a discarded copy of the book, or printed on a printer. I keep an old copy of P&P simply to upcycle pages for various projects)
  • Scissors
  • foam paintbrush
  1. Take your page and cut it so that it can be rolled around the pencil and lightly overlapped. The top edge should begin at the base of the metal “Cuff” which holds the eraser in place and the bottom should extend slightly beyond the end of the pencil (this is uusually about 7″ x 1″.)
  2. Lightly sand your pencil so that the glue will adhere more closely.
  3. Use the paintbrush to apply a thin coat of Modgepodge or white school glue to the backside of the paper.
  4. Roll the paper around the pencil and overlap. The paper should be snug and not slide. Flatten any air bubbles so that it sticks at all points to the pencil. If necessary, add more glue to the seam in order for it to lay flat and tight.
  5. Allow pencil to dry. Be sure that it won’t stick to anything while drying, by laying it on a baking rack or standing it up in a glass (you can use this time to complete more pencils)
  6. Once pencil has dried, add an additional coat of modgepodge or glue to the outside of the pencil. Let dry again.
  7. Trim the paper so that the end lies flush with the end of the pencil. Embellish with Austen stickers, if desired, sharpen and enjoy!

Pencils such as this can be purchased in gift baskets from Austentation, or individually from Creative Carmelina, on Etsy.


Laura Boyle is an avid Regency enthusiast. Find more fashion information and one of a kind Regency inspired accessories at her shop, Austentation: Regency Accessories

Posted on

A Cameo Appearance by Jane Austen

 

When you write again to Catherine, thank her on my part for her very kind and welcome mark of friendship; I shall value such a brooch very much.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
October 7, 1808

For the past month, Miriam and I have paid homages—big and small—to that loveliest of authors.  We have tried to incorporate the sensibilities, tastes, styles, and customs of Jane Austen’s era and her works into our lives and into this blog.  We wish we could say that we now speak with British accents, and that our children are pictures of propriety, and that our husbands have taken to wearing long cloaks and cravats, but we can’t.  What we can say is that we have felt a little prettier, a little girlier, and a little more refined this month.  (And by refined, I mean that I plugged in an iron and used the word “wretched” recently.)

As I pondered what to do for our final day of Jane Austen month, I decided it would only be fitting if we had an appearance by the author herself—a silhouette appearance.  And what better way to keep “all-things-Austen” close to our hearts than putting her silhouette on a necklace?  (A small disclaimer here:  I haven’t made a necklace since I was five-years-old and enthralled with the multimedia potential of Fruit Loops and macaroni.)

Jane Austen Cameo:

jane austen cameo

To begin my Jane Austen cameo, I started by printing out Miss Austen’s silhouette on regular computer paper.  I then selected the most clear and uniform flat glass marbles I could find in my collection of craft odds-and-ends.  (If you don’t have these lying about, you can find them in the wedding and/or floral section of your local craft store.  The marbles I used were about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter).

After centering the marble on her image, I traced around the outside of the marble and cut the circle out with scissors.

I then put a thin layer of modge podge glue on the back of the marble and placed the paper silhouette on top with the image face down.  (And don’t worry.  You don’t see the glue after it dries.)

I then cut out a piece of black felt the size of the marble.  I held the marble against the felt as my template and cut around it.

Then, to gussy the pendant up, I glued some black lace around the edge of the felt using a glue gun.  When I flipped the felt over, this is what the backside looked like.

On the lace side of the felt, I glued on a pendant back with a chain hook at the top.  I then glued down my silhouette marble on top of that.  After letting the necklace dry for a few hours, I strung my favorite black ribbon through the clasp.

jane austen cameo

I had so much fun making this one, that I decided to do another, except with a little more bling and a little less lace.  Before I glued down the glass marble silhouette, I strung a teardrop pendant on some fishing line and laid the fishing line across the felt backing.  When I glued the marble down, it set the fishing line in the glue and the necklace was good to go.

jane austen cameo

Just a note: the final products are being modeled by my friend’s beautiful neck.  Had I done the modeling myself, I would have had to do it hanging upside-down so you didn’t see my second (and third) chin.

jane austen cameo

It is nice to know that with this necklace on, I can take a little bit of Jane with me wherever I go, even when our experiment is through.  May we all save a place for “everything Austen” in our days ahead (or on our necks).  Here’s to you, Jane . . .

Miriam and I are sisters who live 700 miles apart from each other in the southwestern United States.  Despite the distance that separates us, we share a love for good food, good fun, good decorating, and especially good books.  We began a blog to share all of the ways that literature inspires us in our daily lives, beginning with our favorite female author, Miss Jane Austen.  For 30 days, we tried to incorporate one “Austenesque” thing into our day, from picnics and paper quilling, to scones and silhouettes.  Our “30-Day Austen Experiment” was so enjoyable that we’ve continued the trend with other authors like Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and William Shakespeare.  As “bookbound” sisters, we’ve never been closer, and as women, we’ve never been happier.