• Beauty and Fashion

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 4 Regency Accessories and Festival Wrap-Up

    I’m on Instagram now, so I’ve been searching #JaneAustenFestival and finding lots of new costumers/historical fashion sewists to follow as well as some of the vendors. I will probably be featuring lots of articles here. I’ve been pinning tons of historical fashions lately too if you want to see my Pinterest board.

    Also, this blog post features a lovely selection of excellent photos of the stunning fashions at the festival.

    Here is the last of my shopping. A cotton print scarf and silk stockings from Burnley and Trowbridge. Two silk scarfs/shawls from 96 District Fabrics. A perfume vial from LBCC Historical (they carried several elegant styles), and a coral set (I’ve wanted one since I saw some in Williamsburg, again, harkening back to Felicity) from Design’s by Lady Anne.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 3, Regency Patterns and Planning for Next Year

    I’ve always loved historical fashion mainly pioneer (or prairie) girl with some Victorian and Colonial as a child; my knowledge stemmed from Little House and the American Girls, so the Regency period was an unknown time until I was introduced to Jane Austen. I sewed quite a bit for a child, but struggled to progress because of work-ethic and perfectionism problems.

    I’ve wanted to make a dress ever since the first time I attended the festival. I bought a beautiful silk antique sari, blue cotton velveteen, and various silk ribbons at the festivals. I still have these along with the silk ribbon flower kit my grandmother bought me the first year. But time, maturity, finances, knowledge, discipline, and will-power never came together. And now I’m not sure I really want to use the sari for a regency dress, but rather for something more timeless; however, I would like to incorporate the other items into my ensemble.

    I thought that I maybe could this year, and so I started researching and planning; I had to relinquish this idea out of practicality, but the planning has stood me in good stead. I had more purpose shopping and now planning for next year. I found three patterns that I had been looking at for quite a while plus a dress pattern that was featured in the style show. The rest of my patterns and materials as well as the actual construction, I can space out over the year.

    The stay pattern is Past Patterns #038 Transition Stay Pattern and is based on an American garment. The shift/chemise is Kannik’s Korner although I’m sure I technically could have drafted this myself, but the wonderful thing about all this patterns is all the historical background and techniques included in the instructions.

    The dress from Fig Leaf Patterns was new to me and is based on an American garment. While it is nice to try to find American garments, I’m not sure many people in my family would have worn them or worn them when they were at the height of fashion. I would like to do more research on what my ancestors would conceivably have worn, but I still want a fashionable regency dress as well.

    At the first Jane Austen festival, I first heard mentioned that very young unmarried ladies often wore white, so I’d been planning on a white dress as most accurate. I realized to my chagrin, that I wouldn’t really fall into the category of young (I’m Charlotte Lucas’s age, and she wore colors while the younger Lizzy and Jane wore whites, creams, and pastels), but I had trouble finding prints I wanted. A lot of the block prints are more Georgian and Colonial (I have my eye on one I want for a Poldark inspired gown; I love the gowns I see on Pinterest from that show, the slimmer silhouette). Anyhow, I don’t think I’m terribly too old although white is a bit boring. I definitely want plenty of trimming and color in my accessories. The fabric I bought from Regency Revisited.

    While I think I’d heard of Timely Tresses ages before, I first fixed on The Lucia pattern via this post because I’ve long loved Marianne and Lizzy’s hats of these styles the best of all the hats and bonnets in the movies.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 2, Regency Food and Regency Beauty

    Because of a goof on my part, I wasn’t able to sign up for the teas on the first day, and so they sold out, but I put our names on the waiting list as soon as I could and received a call about openings just a few days before, so I was thrilled.

    We had four types of teas from Bingley’s teas. I am by no means a tea connoisseur; I don’t often like it, period (I prefer cold, rather plain beverages of the milk, water, and fruit juice/lemonade variety). I have Emma’s Perfect Match and Marianne’s Wild Abandon which I bought at one of the earlier events, and I don’t care for them much (although I think perhaps the blending of the teas has improved since the early days?). I also tend to “need” a lot of sugar to enjoy them which is off-putting; I’d rather have a less-sugary sweet treat I like better.

    However, I did enjoy my syrups teas more this time. We tasted Captain Wentworth (least fav, too strong for me), The Dance of the Musgrove Sisters (second fav, I think), The Patience of Miss Price (my favorite and one I want to buy), and one other (a rose, cherry, and green tea blend, I believe). I don’t know if only two of the teas were Bingley’s and the other two were one of the other company’s (Hellinger Kurtz Kaffeehaus or The Blessed Bee Herbals) or if Bingley’s had new blends that aren’t on their site yet. While perusing their site just now, I realized, I found several more I want to try! Although, sacrilege of sacrilege, I’d probably prefer them iced.

    On our early wanderings we discovered the Half-Crown Bakehouse (Mom went back later and bought some bread for Sunday) which featured foods with names that were a blast from my childhood past such as Sally Lunn bread and Queen’s Cakes (Felicity cookbook anyone?!). I’m in the mood to research about historical foods after discovering The Townsends, a historical food YouTube channel, via Brijee Pattern’s post.

    I really appreciate the delving into historical aspects beyond fashion. My mother mentioned that this time it reminded her of Colonial Williamsburg (I adore that place, I’m wanting to go again, but I’d like to go for an event in historical dress now). The Living History feeling.

    Another aspect to that was the beauty/apothecary place: LBCC Historical. Historical beauty recipes . . . sans heavy metals, lol.

    Since I’m decidedly Marianne, I bought the Marianne set although I’d love the Jane one (rose!) as well; I hope they make the sets again, they were a special thing for the festival, I think.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 1, My Festival Background

    Because I apparently don’t document anything, I had to rely on a comment I left on another blog to determine my festival attendance. I attended 2010-2013 festivals.

    Some aspects of the earliest festivals

    • Contained to the back yard (I think the porch is the back side of the house)
    • Only two days
    • Smaller (and it was more local/regional while now it is THE national JA event, I think; according to this year’s handout, the first year had 660 and last year over 2400, and I’m assuming this year was even larger?)
    • Fewer venders
    • Less serious costuming (I know some people dressed in regency at the earlier ones, but my grandmother says not the majority while in 2018 it was the opposite; and the quality of the “regency” outfits tended to be far lower earlier while now it seems to be far more accurate and detailed)
    • The majority of the activities were the teas and the talks in the big tent

    I feel that around 2013 the size and attention started to explode, and I got overwhelmed plus rather done with the event (too often plus waning interest in the era and author).

    Here are some posts from bloggers who attended some of the earlier festivals: 2012 (one and two) and 2013 (one, two, and three).

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Link Love: Historical Fashion

    I think that a post on historical fashion goes well with the month of Halloween. This is often the route for those of us not interested in ghoulish costumes. Last year my sisters and I dressed in the fashion of a decade of the last century for Halloween.

    My love of historical fashion began with an obsession with pioneers as a child. All thanks to The Little House Books and the computer game Oregon Trail, of course. I had sunbonnets, aprons, “calico” dresses, etc.. My sister and I had a few American Girl dolls, and we loved pouring over the American Girl catalog every time it came.

    Then came the Jane Austen period. I’d never known about the historical fashion period between the huge dresses of the Colonial and the Civil War eras. I was fascinated by all the costumes in the JA movies, and later, all the reproductions from bloggers and Jane Austen festival attendees.*

    While I don’t make historical clothing myself, I do still appreciate the work of others.
    Someone pinned Angela Clayton’s work on Pinterest, and I’ve been following her blog ever since. Her historical fashion work is stunning.

    Lily at Mode de Lis posts quite a bit of retro inspired clothing as well as a few Colonial and Regency dresses.

    I found this interesting video via another blogger’s link post. The re-enactors show all the layers and pieces an upper-class 18th-century woman wore. So many layers and tools for the correct form. And people pinned their clothes on!
    If you love pouring over and analyzing the historical costumes of period films, check out this archived blog.

    *Speaking of Jane Austen, I think I’d seen someone mention this game, but thought it was the board game I played years ago. After another blogger posted the link to this hilarious video of the LBD cast members playing the game, I realized it was a different and far more clever game.

  • Reading

    Would You Rather, Jane Austen 2nd Edition Plus Mr. Darcy’s Inner Struggles

    I’m borrowing these questions from Cordie. My sister kept mentioning and sending me Mr. Darcy’s Inner Struggles on Pinterest, and I only recently realized how many of them exist, so I set about trying to find them all. Here is the original source. The link is to the beginning, scroll down to see the earliest, and then go to the next page and repeat. Enjoy, they are hysterical (note, some language).

    1. Would you rather summer at Abbey Mill Farm with the Martins or spend the winter in London with your aunt and uncle?

    2. Would you rather be carried away in the moment and insult someone in company or be overcome by horrid imaginings and have to confess your thoughts to someone you admire?
    Oh, I’d far likely do the former, and I would probably prefer it too.

    3. Would you rather marry Mr. Bingley or Robert Martin?
    Mr. Bingley. We can see in the book that he’s intelligent, kind, sweet, etc. while I only know that Mr. Knightley thinks Robert Martin could.

    4. Would you rather tour the lake country or visit the seaside?
    Tour the lake country. I’m rather tired of the Southern default to Florida. Do we have to do the same thing a trillion times? Although, the British beach would be new to me, but I’m trying to translate my experience here. I’d go to Colorado lakes or mountains before another beach trip if I had my choice.

    5. Would you rather entertain Miss Bates or Mr. Collins in conversations?
    I think Miss Bates would be easier and less embarrassing. I’d rather listen to Mr. Collins safely from afar though for amusement.

    6. Would you rather sing a musical piece at a gathering while hiccuping every other line or take a great tumble while dancing?
    Fall. Definitely.

    7. Would you rather be deceived by Willoughby or Wickham?
    I would rather be deceived by someone more clearly wrong and far less interesting, like Wickham, but I’m sure I’d more likely be deceived by Willoughby’s good (superficial) qualities.

    8. Would you rather fall head over heels in love with a man who turns out to be engaged or fall for a man too busy loving someone else to notice you?
    If the engaged man loved me, then the engaged man.

    9. Would you rather ride in a carriage or upon a horse to an evening party?
    A carriage; I’d want to still look nice when I got to the party.

    10. Would you rather accept advice from Mrs. Weston or Elinor Dashwood?
    Mrs. Weston? I don’t know. I prefer advice from people who have both more of a claim to experience and more mildness and humility of manner. But I wouldn’t call Elinor a know-it-all.

    11. Would you rather have as a companion Jane Fairfax or Charlotte Lucas?
    Probably Charlotte as she talks. I talk a lot, but I don’t like talking to silence; I want a response.

  • Reading

    Hamlette’s I Love Austen Week Tag

    Here is the link to the tag.

    1.  Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?
    The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Mom then borrowed the book from the library. I think I watched most of the classic versions (the Mark Strong and Kate Beckinsale Emma is the classic one to me) before reading the novels.

    2.  What is your favorite Austen book?

    Well, I’m in the middle of re-reading all of them. I have a hard time picking one favorite. I think that Persuasion, Mansfield Park (I know lots of people don’t like this one, but I just started re-reading it and I just like something about the style and situation and I just like Edmund), and Pride and Prejudice are my favorites (?).

    3.  Favorite heroine?  Why do you like her best?

    Apparently all the ones that aren’t remotely like me. Fanny, Anne, and Elinor, oh and Jane. They are sweet and good without being self-righteous. My least favorite is Emma because she is so conceited and dishonest and insincere.

    4.  Favorite hero?  Why do you like him best?

    Wow, this is HARD. Right now, Edmund Bertram. I don’t know, I just like Edmund. The way he always looks out for Fanny. In real life I would probably like Henry Tilney best because he is so funny. Or maybe Mr. Knightley. I feel like the film versions have really affected my opinion or understanding of Mr. Knightley unduly. But none of the characters are super developed.

    5.  Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen’s work?

    Pride and Prejudice is the most accurate. But the 2009 version of Emma is just so funny (although the one I call “my” version is Mark Strong and Kate Beckinsale, its waay too short though). And we enjoy the 2008 Sense and Sensibility . . . well Dan Stevens as Edward. And my sisters and I love to swoon over Rupert Penry-Jones in the 2008 Persuasion but that version overall has some extremely awkward moments and film techniques (although I love how they blended the two endings).

    6.  Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?  (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better?  Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind?  Etc.)

    I don’t adore them like I used too. I prefer greater depth of story and character. Also, characters irritate me more on second and third readings (i.e. Emma and Lizzie and Marianne).

    7.  Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)?  (Feel free to share photos if you want.)
    I have the really pretty Barnes and Noble hard back collection of the novels. I would love to buy jewelry with Captain Wentworth’s proposal.


    8.  If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?

    What is the rest of the story of Sandition!!!!!!!! And please finish it. Why do I get the feeling that it would have been one of her best novels with an especially charming hero?

    9.  Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?


    I was just watching Little Dorrit. I love Matthew McFadyen in that and in MI-5, but I HATE him in ’05 Pride and Prejudice, and I guess it is because he is so WRONG for the role (nothing fits with anything in that movies although it is good for laughs). I was trying to fit him to a JA role and realized how perfect he would be as Colonel Brandon. And I do mean perfect. The sweetness and patience of his face and manner (oh, how I love him as Arthur Clennam).

     I hate all the Colonel Brandon’s. One of my sisters pointed out that Mr. Knightly is often younger or pleasant and he is a year or two older than Colonel Brandon. The films always make Colonel Brandon ancient and creepy. Why? I think that is part of why I cannot warm to him in the books although I adore Arthur Clennam who I think is similar of temperament and situation (everyone abuses him and he is sweet and patience and good).

    I don’t know enough actors of any one set or generation to do a very good job at casting a movie, certainly not quickly. 


    10.  Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!

    Too hard and involved.

    Mr. Knightley’s arguments and rebukes of Emma offer some excellent moments.

    Captain Wentworth is definitely the most romantic. Nothing can outdo that letter.

    Mr. Bennet and Mr. Tilney’s sarcasm is humorous.

  • Reading

    Romeo or Benedick? Knightley or Tilney?

    Romeo or Benedick?
    Knightley or Tilney?
    Jack or Algernon?
    John Brooke or Laurie?
    Gilbert or Barney?

    Do you prefer the more traditional romantic leading men? Or the ones with personality. You can probably tell from that whom I prefer :/

    How about the more popular or the overlook/rejected?
    Will or Norrington?
    Darcy or Bingley?
    Rochester or St. John Rivers?
    Pip or Herbert?

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Northanger Abbey Movie

    I watched this film for the first time recently. Part (most?) of the reason it took me forever to watch was the fact that some parts needed to be skipped actually we just skipped one scene but most of the movie was filled with suggestiveness and innuendo and you cannot do much about that besides not watching any of the film.

    When I read all the Jane Austen books years ago, Northanger Abbey was my least favorite because Catherine was so embarrassingly stupid, and Henry Tilney so out of her league. I also think I was in my tall-dark-melancholy-eyed-serious-humorless hero stage then too, so I did not appreciate him as he deserves.

    The film. The film Catherine just seemed flighty and young; I thought the book Catherine that plus stupid, but I am due for a reread. J.J. Feild is of course awesome (but I was doing a Tom Hiddleston comparison . . . and I prefer him and his voice). Henry Tilney is of course out of Catherine’s league (and I do not mean merely because of birth). Their story was fine, but I could not watch while Catherine embarrassed herself and everyone a couple times.

    Plus all the other awkwardness. Awkwardness in books is so much easier to handle than in movies, and I felt the filmmakers made awkward sections from the book even more awkward.

    And as I mentioned before there was so much, SO MUCH innuendo/suggestiveness (2007 Mansfield Park is similar and this aspect impedes my enjoyment of that film). Yeah, the suggestiveness was RIDICULOUS in its amount and historical accuracy. I do not remember Isabella Thorpe being anything more than a silly flirt, but maybe I missed something. Anyway, yeah. I did not enjoy the movie and do not know if I can unless I skip a lot of it.

  • Reading

    Jane Austen’s Juvenilia

    Over a year ago I read a collection of Jane Austen’s “Juvenilia” (I believe I read the Penguin book entitled The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronteand in a separate book I read another of her  juvenile works: her facetious “History of England.” Unfortunately, the book did not contain the complete collection, but it did contain some (more selective) examples of Charlotte Brontë‘s juvenile writing which I found to be more interesting (although, a warning, much less morally sound).

    I thought volume I and II of the Austen collection ridiculous. I suppose that in this Austen poked fun at works of the Camilla type. She handled and administered her humor heavily. I do not care overmuch for that sort of ludicrous humor. I could already see for myself the extremes present in Camilla without reading of the extremes in the way Jane Austen mocked themparticularly in Love and Freindship in which the romantic persons were rebellious and thieving and wild.

    I liked volume III much better. The humor was more mild and the story more reasonable. This section reminded me of the drafts/unfinished works The Watson and Sandition although not as promising as either. The writer of the introduction to this collection of Austen’s “Juvenilia” likened this work to the early draft of Pride and Prejudice, “First Impressions.”

    I was not familiar enough with the real kings and queens of England (pure laziness as we have a decent history of the kings and queens of England which I should have perused yet again while reading this work) to appreciate her humor (although since I think her style in this work probably resembled volume I and II in the other collection, I might not have liked it in any case).

    Everyone points out the so-called misspelling of Austen here. I am not sure that the word actually was misspelled. I do not believe  the English language had standardized spelling, punctuation and capitalization until near/during the 19th century, and I doubt standardization took immediate effect. Even if people did consider it actually misspelled in Austen’s time period, do not you think it likely she did it as a joke?!

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Mansfield Park 2007 Movie Commentary

    This is a running commentary as I rewatched Mansfield Park. I hadn’t re-watched it in years. I tend to have difficulties watching things straight through when I watch on my computer and phone and this film was begging for instant criticisms! And I have a term paper to avoid writing.

    Ugh, I forgot how horrid a lot of this was!


    Fanny’s hair is sloppy, short, and childish. The other girls have very modern updos with weird sloppy “tendrils” which look like some sort of bug spirals. Miss Crawford is immodest in a way not period correct, she is more like a nightwalker, not flirting but trying to seduce. Edmund though blind would never fall to someone so bold. I think she is more like a worse version of Cynthia rather than the strumpet she is in this movie. She knows better. Henry looks like a clown. Tom’s hair is sloppy too but not near as bad. I don’t think the dresses are period correct either the waistlines aren’t high enough (too early, I suppose to make them look backwards next to Miss Crawford?) .

    Maria is so obvious in the beginning!

    The girls are bold not flirtatious. The whole tone of the movie is entirely too modern. The attitude the way the scenes are done the sort of sarcastic feeling. Modern people masquerading in period clothes. I know the other Mansfield Park is much, much worse.

    Does anyone else find it fascinating that Henry did really love Fanny in his selfish-Willoughby like manner? I think he was the worse villain, but still Fanny attracts him.

    Tom is so roguishly handsome.

    The music is so silly and than makes it all ridiculous. And the kiss? People, married couples didn’t kiss in public. Maria was engaged, Just wow all wrong.

    And the quoting of those scandalous lines. I think that even the book Tom would have been more offended at his sisters expense. And I don’t think the book Rushworth would’ve done that anyway. They don’t understand other time periods very well.

    I assume that putting on plays was considered inappropriate because of the roles in plays and because of the lives of actresses. It tarnished a lady’s name to be associated with it.

    They overplay the distinction between Julia and Maria.

    And I KNOW that Edmund would never kiss Miss Crawford in such a situation.

    Did Fanny really bring up slavery. Aren’t the heroines such “forward minded people”

    What is with Maria’s wedding day outfit and hair?!

    And I don’t think that Miss Crawford was so bold about her intentions in her speech to Edmund?

    The movie is too fast. All these people look bolder for their acquaintance is shorter. There are ways to make time past with seasons, hello!

    Oh, William, so handsome and so sweet. Again, though Fanny isn’t a child. And she was quiet and meek and I think easily fatigued.

    Haha, the film in which I first learn the British pronounce lieutenant as “left-tenant.”

    Oh, yeah, and People didn’t run around house in front of the family and boy cousins don’t go in girl cousins bedrooms . . . they married cousins then so super no no.

    Okay the game. I am sure childrens played games like this, but this just another sensual thing for this overtly sensual movie. Sheesh.

    “Well I should have known you Miss Price.” Yeah, is a rake and is being one, but Edmund totally deserved the criticism . . . which he probably didn’t feel.

    Hah, Henry’s disappointed face when she didn’t grab him after he totally put himself to be grabbed.

    Henry is in his shirt sleeves. I do believe that state was considered undressed and probably so even later than the regency or at least very casual as it is pointed out in books.

    I saw this movie before the Emma (which was made later), and I really think the actor for Edmund/Mr. Elton plays a much more natural Edmund than Mr. E even though it could seem to be based on first seen bias. He seemed to try a bit too hard as Mr. E although he was funny.

    Henry Crawford flirted with the other girls, but proposed to Fanny. Good girls win.

    I don’t think Fanny would let him near nor would he have touched her so, bad as he was, he had honorable intentions toward her.

    Henry proposed to Fanny twice (of course the second time was when she was left alone at the house in the movie, erm). I am sorry, but guys have got to grow some guts these days. If that rake can try so hard to tie himself to matrimony.  . . I think to that he was going to continue on with trying for Fanny but the Maria affair proved too great a temptation, at least that is the impression I received from the book long ago.

    I don’t think she would have permitted the constant hand holding, kissing, massaging. The fact that Mr. Knightly seemed about to kiss Emma’s hand (and they had know each other all her life) was made much of in  the book since he had never done it before (and didn’t actually end up kissing her hand). So it was a big deal.

    And she wouldn’t have let him get near her enough to try to kiss. I don’t think the movie showed that he did care for her. It made it seem that it was all about his ego, but it wasn’t.

    Okay, and the illness, another gratuitous sensual scene along with gratuitous ick!

    Here my computer crashed, so I took up finishing it on my phone yesterday. So I will scramble a few more thoughts (most of these written are ones I have thought before about the film).

    Edmund’s repulse of Miss Crawford doesn’t really make total sense because the movie in so sensual it doesn’t portray the period morals clearly, so it just looks weird that he suddenly has a conscience despite the fact that he fell in love with someone who dressed as she did and pulled up her skirt. He just seems wishy-washy.

    Seriously the bedroom stuff. She is in her nightgown. Dude really. Again, you cannot portray period morals believable when everyone is acting like this.

    Oh, and was their new dance the waltz? During the regency in England is wasn’t danced while it was in the more scandalous France. (Another mistake in one of the Emma movies; I read that they danced country dances to waltz music, and this is what the waltz in the book referred to).

    I do enjoy this story. It is easy to pretend they aren’t cousins (not so easy in Rose in Bloom). And I do love the end of this movie (although what is it with running scenes and terribly unrealistic timing? Fanny hadn’t been gone long enough for her to have gone very far even if Edmund had gotten the scissors which I am pretty sure he didn’t). I know Mrs. Bertram wasn’t as aware of the world in the book, but I am glad they made her a bit smarter if only for the adorable scene between the two at the end and the way she connives at ridiculous besotted Edmund. I am glad Fanny teased him. I don’t think she was quite the Fanny of the book though, especially not in that.

    I am off to rewatch the end on my computer this time. I have had papers to write, and I have my longest yet plus another small one and then a final next week. After that I can be better, and more grammatical, with my posts.