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
Let’s start this look at Sailor’s Valentines with a poem;
The distant climes may us divide
to think on you shall be my pride
The Winds and Waves may prove unkind
In me no change you’ll ever find.
A magic spell will bind us fast
And make me love you to the last
Let Cupid then your heart incline
to take me for your Valentine!
Jane Austen’s brothers, Francis and Charles, often sailed in the East Indies. Is it possible that one of them might have brought back a ‘Sailor’s Valentine’ for his sweetheart or wife? It is thought that by 1820, the craze for these treasures had reached a peak that would last through the Victorian era.
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.
To begin, you’ll need:
pencils (any type, #2, preferably with white erasers)
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)
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″.)
Lightly sand your pencil so that the glue will adhere more closely.
Use the paintbrush to apply a thin coat of Modgepodge or white school glue to the backside of the paper.
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.
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)
Once pencil has dried, add an additional coat of modgepodge or glue to the outside of the pencil. Let dry again.
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
From Mamma– A Mariner’s compass
From Aunt– A silver Vinagrette
From Augusta– A gold twisted ring
From Miss Ramsey– A leather purse
Emma Austen Leigh, 1815
During the Regency, friends would exchange small gifts at Christmas or Twelfth Night. These tended to be useful items or homemade tokens of remembrance. They might be accompanied by a riddle or short poem, like the needle bag Jane gave to a friend in 1792:
This little bag, I hope, will prove
To be not vainly made;
For should you thread and needles want,
It will afford you aid.
And, as we are about to part, ‘Twill serve another end: For, when you look upon this bag, You’ll recollect your friend.
Jane’s neice, Emma Austen Leigh, kept a diary list of all the gifts she was given over a period of years. It included jewelry, purses, knitting boxes and workbags along with a selection of fashionable accessories and mending tools.
The chatelaine is a device which clips to the waist band or belt of a dress for holding such items as the mistress of the house would need with her throughout the day. It might include her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette, and a key holder.
Chatelaines were worn by men and women and might be made of silver or steel. They could be as plain or as decorated as the owner wished. The term originally meant the mistress of a large estate or Castle and literally means “the keeper of the keys.”
A vinaigrette is a little tightly sealing box with a second pierced lid inside to contain a bit of gauze soaked in vinegar, lavender water, or other scent. Sniffing the contents were meant to revive someone feeling faint or give relief from unpleasant odors. It might be kept inside a reticule or be equipped with a loop and hung about the wearer’s wrist or from a chatelaine. Vinaigrettes were made by silversmiths specializing in boxes so they usually also made snuffboxes. There were smiths in London who did this type of work, but most boxes were made in Birmingham.