Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Farewell to Jane

 “...and yet, though desirous to be gone, she could not quit the mansion-house, or look an adieu to the cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless veranda, or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of the village, without a saddened heart. Scenes had passed in Uppercross which made it precious. It stood the record of many sensations of pain, once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of relenting feeling, some breathings of friendship and reconciliation, which could never be looked for again, and which could never cease to be dear. She left it all behind her, all but the recollection that such things had been.”
-Jane Austen, Persuasion
I love Jane Austen because when I read a paragraph like that, it takes my breath away with it's beauty. We would have a Jane Austen year if we could, but we are excited about what is coming next. We have been honored to meet some fellow Janeites. For example, today we had the absolute honor of being featured at French Garden House. If you haven't been there before, GO! Forthwith! (Threw that one in for Jane.) It is the most lovely shop and blog you have ever seen, and the owner is absolutely charming. And we're not just saying that because she did such a nice feature on our blog. 

Here's one last Jane printable (Well, that's until we feel like talking about Jane again, which will probably be in roughly a day. I promise, this blog is not done with Ms. Austen yet!)

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Lastly, we cannot wait to share our plans for the next couple of months with you! It's Spring Fling time at BeBookBound. We hope that even if you are a Jane Austen fanatic, you will find some happiness in the prospect of Irish fun, A couple of Beatrix Potter weeks, A wonderful Easter, and an Anne of Green Gables April. We can't wait to share with you. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jane Austen Month, Day 30: A Cameo Appearance by the Author

Well, this is it---the final day of our "30-Day Austen Experiment."  For the past month, Miriam and I have paid hommages---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.)

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 gus 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.

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.

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. 

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 . . .

Linking Up:
Trendy Treehouse -It's Overflowing - The 36th Avenue - Shabby Creek Cottage - House of Hepworths -Common Ground - -Stuff and Nonsense - At the Picket Fence - French Country Cottage - Whipperberry - Shabby Nest - One Artsy Mama - tipjunkie - Sugarbee - Today's Creative Blog - Not Just a Housewife - Blue Cricket Design - Thirty Handmade Days

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jane Austen Month, Day 29: Needlework

History lesson: Jane Austen was accomplished in needlework. The museum at her home in Chawton has preserved a quilt she made with her Mother and her sister, Cassandra:

 Isn't it absolutely charming!?

I made a cross-stitch when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. I don't remember much about it, except that it involved bunnies, sheep, and a wheelbarrow? Anyhow, I made it about 85% through the project when I realized that the right side of the project was one stitch off from the left side. Totally ruined. I gave up the hobby then and there. I wonder if someday the museum to me will have my lopsided bunnies preserved for tourists to enjoy. Perhaps they will place it next to the 'spring-necked' Teddy Bear sculpture I made for my mother that she refused to display. "Miriam, even a mother couldn't love that bear. Besides, I kept that bird up that you made in Kindergarten." Thanks, Mom. You make me feel like a star. 

(She was right, by the way. It was one UGLY bear.)

Anyhow,  I have needlework craft to share today that's more suited to the "I don't want to count anything, and I would like to have a project completed by the end of watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, not so much the 1995 Pride and Prejudice" kind of crowd.

"Vintage Embroidery" or "Handstitching"

 So my amazing (Like somehow keeps afloat with 4 small children, and crafts constantly, and always has a clean house, and cooks like Martha Stewart kind of amazing) Sister-in-Law taught me how to do this, and it is awesome. For the technical side of it, I am going to refer you to a site that does a great job explaining the different kinds of stitches: Craftnomicon

Now let me show you a couple of my SIL's projects:

Sorry, Blurry pic. But the colors on this are so cute. Here are some close-ups of some fun stitches:

 These are not complicated. I promise because she taught me.

Now, I can guarantee this one took longer than Pride and Prejudice. My advice: start smaller.

This hobby is nearly free. You just need muslin (Like 2 bucks a yard), embroidery thread (Insanely cheap- like 15 cents per color), and an embroidery hoop (Maybe a dollar.) And then you are set to make as many as you'd like. Best of all: You can use a pattern, or just make your own. I will show you something I am starting (A Jane Austen quote), and I will show you when it's done, but feel free to use this template yourself in the meantime:

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jane Austen Month, Day 28: Every Savage Can Dance

"I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing around by yourself in this stupid manner.” 
 -Mr. Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

Every savage can dance. But not every savage can perform every kind of dance.

I spent the better part of my childhood and adolescence in a dance studio. I was a ballerina. But only a ballerina. The problem with being so specialized is that you inevitably join a dance company, who inevitably wants their dancers to perform varied work. Let's just say that this six foot tall, pale, blonde ballerina leaves something to be desired in the world of Flamenco dancing. Trust me. I have video.

But I dearly love the dance. So when Erika showed me this charming little gem from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, I thought it should be shared with you too.

And yes, when Matthew MacFadyen says he likes the custom of standing when a lady enters the room, I fell a little bit in love with him too. "Oh, you ARE Mr. Darcy!" :)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jane Austen Month, Day 27: Home Interiors

As a follow-up to Miriam's post yesterday on Austen exteriors, I thought it would be fun to take you on a tour of some Austen interiors---those that have been used in film, and those that I think Jane herself might like if she were setting up house today.

We begin our tour with some of our favorite Austen interiors in film . . .


Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy bow to each other in the damasked ballroom at Mr. Bingley's Netherfield Hall 


Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle tour Pemberley where the housekeeper shows them sketches of Wickham and Darcy.  My heart skips a beat every time I look at that sunny yellow against the white moldings.


The Great Hall of Pemberley where Elizabeth sees Mr. Darcy's portrait hanging on the wall, lucky girl.


The drawing room at Pemberley where Elizabeth rescues Georgiana from an uncomfortable moment and she gets this "look" in return . . .


Sigh.  Just had to slip this one in.


The sun-bleached blues of the Bennet's parlor get me every time.  Elegant, earthy and homey, all in one.

Elizabeth sits on edge in Netherfield on a scrumptious settee in the golden glow of the drawing room.


I love that Mr. Bennet's library is as unique and perfectly quirky as he is.


I've always found it ironic that the Dashwood's Barton "Cottage" is twice the size of my home.  Does that mean I live in a shed?

This hallway shot of Norland stops me in its tracks with its four beautiful rooms in one.

But as much as I delight in the Regency decor of Jane Austen films, I have found several "prospects" that I believe Jane would be very glad to visit.  I know I would.

For example, I am quite confident that Jane would find the elegant, feminine, and timeless qualities of these living rooms much to her taste.


I can only imagine that she would be just as fond of these "dreamy" bed chambers as I am.



Should Jane like to indulge her domestic side and "take a turn about" the kitchen, she might find these rooms refreshing.


And should Jane be a movie buff herself, perhaps she would be enamored with these TV and film interiors---

The cozy charm of the Dragonfly Inn on "Gilmore Girls" . . .


The comfort and restraint of the living room in "Father of the Bride" . . .


The simple elegance of the sitting room in "Life As We Know It" . . .


The traditional warmth of the stairway in "Home Alone" . . .

The eclectic femininity of Kathleen Kelly's apartment in "You've Got Mail" . . .


Or the bookish charm of this reading nook in "Something's Gotta Give" . . .

Regardless of the space, if it is inspired by Jane, or if it simply inspires her memory, it is always a beautiful one.  May your surroundings be very "Jane" this week . . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jane Austen Month, Day 26: Home Exteriors

We receive multiple HOA notices each month.

Please clear the fallen tree branches from your property.
Please remove your spiderweb covered car that is obviously not running.
Please throw out the 13 newspapers in your driveway.
Please remove your trash bin from the street so the feral cats will leave.
Please ask the hobo who is squatting in your immobile car to find a new home.

HOA's are pretty demanding. I might re-think moving into another neighborhood with one in the future.  This may give you an idea of the kind of home maintenance professionals we are around here. I pretty much figure that if the weeds are low enough to keep the HOA off my back, we are looking pretty classy. So it may shock you to know that I am OBSESSED with beautiful English homes. Or maybe it explains exactly why: they are everything I will never have in a home. But a girl can dream... So I would like to share this bit of dreaminess with you: Jane Austen Homes

Let's start with Jane's home for the last 8 years of her life, and where she did most of her writing: Chawton House.
Okay, not technically a house, but this is the church at Steventon where her Father was the Rector.


And this is Jane's childhood home, the rectory at Steventon. Isn't it sweet? It even had a barn for private theatricals. I was going to say that I wish I had one too, but to save the world from some truly awful performances, perhaps it is better this way...

Now let's enter Sense and Sensibility land...

Maybe a walk around Norland would do us all some good. 

Or a visit to the Palmer's summer home
And here's Combe Magna: the home that  Willoughby chose over Marianne. Or Weenieby, as I like to call him. I am very mature.

I have had enough of thinking of Willoughby. So let's go to Mr. Darcy land  Pride and Prejudice land

Uncredited Pinterest
Uncredited Pinterest

Here we have our Pemberleys. Can you see Mr. Darcy getting out of that pond? Oh, it's just me? Oh, okay. Sorry.

Let's hop on over to Netherfield. Perhaps there will be a ball tonight.

Now it is back to Longbourn for some rest and relaxation.

Now off to Mansfield Park Land...

Here we are visiting Mansfield park. Did you know you can actually stay in the cottage on these grounds? That's assuming your vacation budget is a tad larger than mine, but still! 

Okay, moving on to Emma's world:
It's a lovely day at Hartfield.

Maybe we should visit Mr. Knightley at Donwell Abbey?

And last but not least, let's take a look at Persuasion land...
 I can just see Anne Elliot walking along here... without the cars, of course :)

And as a bonus to our little tour, a couple of sweet homes that I feel are Austen worthy:
 I could see this as one of our heroine's cottages. Although it may be too cheery for the Dashwood sisters' home.
And this is the famous fake home from "The Holiday." I thought the movie was a little silly, and I think it's silly that they made a fake house instead of a real one, but it is adorable regardless.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the tour!
And yes, I know Northanger Abbey wasn't on the home tour. Maybe another post.
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