Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Other Regency Dress

Even though the post about my green Regency dress has somehow become the most popular one on this blog, until now I haven't gotten around to showing you all the one I made last March. What a sad girl I am.

It was made from the same pattern, except A instead of B. One must get the money's worth out of patterns, you know. Besides, I wanted a more fancy one. A ball gown. :D

I'll start out with a close-up of the fabric. This picture was actually taken before the dress was made.
As you can (hopefully) see, the fabric underneath has a little embroidery detail of its own. My mamma got it for a steal at Walmart. Heehee. It wasn't quite the color I had in mind to begin with--I believe I was thinking of something pastel--but I thought it was pretty and that the sheer we planned to get would make it look lighter. 

Then we got the sheer, and I was vastly pleased with the effect. Is not it nice? I do love the embroidered flowers. Back when I was making this dress I showed these pictures to a few friends, one of which was Miss Laurie,  who said that the little flowers scattered about reminded her of scarlet pimpernels. And since the dress was reddish, from that point on it was My Pimpernel Dress. Of course, it's not from the same era as The Scarlet Pimpernel, but what of that?

Anyway. Skip forward several months. This is Me from the back, dressed up for a English Country Dancing ball I went to earlier this month. With my parasol concealing my head. (Thank you for pointing that out, my dear.)

And I was trying to decide between doing a Headless Melody effect or just showing the front of the dress on a hanger... and decided to go with the latter. Here 'tis.

So there you have it. My other Regency dress. It's not perfect, but I like it. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keep Calm and Love Jane Austen: A Guest Post by Miss Dashwood

It is with great joy that I now present the first ever guest post on this blog, written by none other than our dear Miss Amy Dashwood!
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."  So said the first paragraph on the first page of my paperback copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

"Snicker-snort."  So said I.  Er, snicker-snorted I.  Highly unladylike, I know.  But you must remember that this exchange took place when I was but the tender age of fourteen, and not half as grown-up and sophisticated as I am now.  (snicker-snort)

In other words, I was hooked.  Hilariously hooked.  From the very first page--nay, the first sentence.  The hilarity of the narrative, the fascinating characters, the funny and suspenseful situations... I had to pace myself to make the book last and not gobble it all down too quickly.  I carried it around the house and read bits and pieces out loud to the family, cracking up over Mr. Collins and Mr. Bennet.  Who'd-a-thunk early-nineteenth-century literature could be so funny?

I'd picked up Pride and Prejudice at my mom's suggestion.  I think she was tired of hearing me complain about the lack of good books to read (having just finished eighth grade, I was feeling too old for the Juvenile Fiction section at the library but uninterested in the vampires and werewolves roaming the shelves in Young Adult), so at last she said, "Why don't you try Jane Austen?" and the very next day she took me and the gift card left over from my birthday to our nearest Borders.  Whereupon I purchased this volume and took it home to devour.

Mom and I watched the movie soon thereafter, at my begging, and I spoke P&P, breathed P&P and dreamed P&P for weeks.  (It was the 1995 version, of course.  Like that even needs to be said.)

Pride and Prejudice, I was convinced, was the best book in the whole world.  That is, until ninth grade rolled around and Mom assigned me to read Sense and Sensibility and write an essay on it.  So I struck into the first chapter with "The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex," and again I was even more hooked.  This time the slow-moving beginning of the story drew me in and fascinated me.  Call me a nerd, but I love books like that.  Elinor and Marianne touched me in a way that Elizabeth and Jane had not, and I wanted so badly for them to have a happy ending.  (This isn't going to turn into a post about why S&S is my favorite Jane Austen novel, I promise...)  When, of course, they did, I was on cloud nine.  And naturally I followed up S&S-the-book with S&S-the-1995-movie.

And that, I think, was when the obsession began.  I was no longer just a teenaged bookworm who enjoyed old-fashioned stories.  I was a rabid, diehard Janeite.  A family friend introduced me to the Republic of Pemberley, and it was like a light bulb had come on.  There were other fans of Jane Austen out there?  The books weren't simply English assignments that I had happened to love?  Talking about my fondness for Martin Chuzzlewit and The Scarlet Pimpernel had earned me blank looks from friends and acquaintances in the past, so the revelation that there were other people who loved the books I loved was a big deal.  

S&S was followed by Persuasion, then Emma, Mansfield Park and finally Northanger Abbey, the last major novel, in May 2011.  (I firmly believe that Northanger Abbey should be one of the later-read Jane Austen books-- you can truly appreciate her ironic humor therein once you've gotten accustomed to the lighter doses of it in the other novels.)  I watched the 2009 Emma adaptation with my mom and the 1983 version of Mansfield Park with my sister Anne-girl, and though MP 1983 wasn't exactly my cup of tea, Emma got added to the ever-growing list of Favoritest Movies Ever.  (Does anyone else think that someone should have made a Mansfield Park movie in 2003? Then we could abbreviate it as MP3.  Uh... never mind.  'Twasn't that funny.)

It was in April or May of 2010 that I discovered another facet of the Jane Austen-loving world, and that was... drumroll please... the blogging scene.  One day I was innocently searching Google Images for a still from Little Dorrit to use as a computer screensaver, and I came across Elise's blog, Ribbons of Light.  Why, what delight was this?  I knew what a blog was, of course-- a few of my friends had them and even I had a private one (open only to family and close friends) on which I wrote about day-to-day events.  But here was one that seemed mainly devoted to Jane Austen and other period dramas.  How delicious, how delightful!  I became a follower straightaway.

But it was not until October 3rd, 2011 that I acted on a whim and set up a period-drama-related blog for myself.  Jane Austen was the focus, of course--I even chose a pseudonym from my favorite of her books (and for several months, most people reading my blog knew me only as Miss Dashwood).  On that day in 2011, a girl whose blog I had just begun following decided to return the favor and become my very first follower (and leave the very first comment).  In the year that followed, we became the very best of friends, and today it is my honor and privilege to guest post on her blog.  Melody and I are what is commonly known among Anne of Green Gables fans as kindred spirits, and one of the strongest ties that binds us (besides our common bond of sisterhood in Jesus Christ) is our love for the best and most brilliant author ever to grace the English-speaking world.

Jane Austen, I owe you a lot.
You introduced a new world of literature to me.
You inspired me to start a blog of my own.
You inspired me to write a novel.
You brought me a wealth of new friends that I could never have imagined.  
You indirectly introduced me to the best and dearest Nonsensical Girl that ever was, and it's because of you that she and I are such good (nay, swellissimus) friends. 

Thank you, Jane Austen.  If you are a wild Beast, it is not your own fault, and I cannot say I blame you in the least.  If to be a wild Beast is to be delightful and romantical and practically perfect in every way, then I say, let us all be wild Beasts whenever possible.  

And that is the long and rambling story of How I Met Jane Austen.

The End.
Many thanks for the delightful post, dear Miss Dashwood! I enjoyed reading the full version of how you found Jane Austen. It's always a subject that interests me--if anybody else would like to share theirs in a comment, I'd absolutely love to hear it! (Or if you might like to do a guest post about it as well, do let me know!)

Amy's delightful blog is already linked to up there, but it can't hurt to stick in a blog button, can it? ;-) Thank you again, my dearest dear! 

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Infamous Tag

I don't usually "do" tags  but occasionally I find them fun... and besides, I need a post. I mean, I'm not exactly a prolific, bursting-with-ideas blogger, am I? (Well... none that you are aware of yet. Heh, heh, heh. >:D)

So. I was tagged by both Hayden from Story Girl and Amy Dashwood from Yet Another Period Drama Blog. (I love that title so much I never mind the long-ness of it. And I do not mean that at all facetiously.) Thank you, girls!

And now for the rules that everyone, including myself, simply uses to bend to one's own liking. 
1. You must post eleven facts about yourself. 
2. You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn. 
3. Tag eleven fellow bloggers 
4. Notify them that you've awarded them 
5. No tagging back 
6. And the eleven blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers.

For instance, I am about to bend rule number one to my own liking. Oh, yes, the very first. Because I do not like posting eleven facts about myself, and I am not good at it. Therefore I shall simply answer both Hayden's and Amy's questions, and you will still know 22 facts about me, so you can't complain. Right? 
Furthermore, I don't like rule number six, which several people have already violated... and I might be tempted to do the same.

So, here are Hayden's questions....

1. If you could choose any superpower, what would it be?
In point of actual factual fact, I do not think I would want a superpower even if I could have one. Maybe for a little while, just to see what it was like... but I'm not well enough acquainted with my options to choose one.

2. Bows and Arrows, Swords, or Guns?
Swords, I suppose... they'd be the best to display. Rather old-castle-ish, you know. Catherine Morland would be proud.

3. What’s your favorite black and white film?
Hmmm... probably It's a Wonderful Life. It's definitely the one I've seen the most, anyhow. Oh, but I also really like The Shop Around the Corner. Have you ever heard of You've Got Mail (which, for the record, I haven't seen)? Well, Shop Around the Corner came FIRST. :D (Similar plot, I've heard.)

4. What is something random that freaked you out as a child, even if it wasn’t supposed to be scary?
Oooh, that's a good question. The first one that occurs to me is the Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Don't ask me why, but it absolutely terrified me, even though it has a good ending, so to speak, and is supposed to be encouraging or whatever. But that is not how it affected my 3-or-4-year-old self. Haha, I hadn't thought about that for a while....

5. Did you read Dr. Seuss books as a kid? Which one is your favorite?
I did read them, but I'm afraid I don't remember my favorite. Isn't that sad?

6. What is your favorite musical?
Haha... well, if you know me, you'll know that I am not a fan of musicals in general. However, you will find me much more knowledgeable about them now than I was a year ago, and probably more appreciative, too. In comparison, you know.
But that does not answer the question. Well... at the moment, as far as musicals I actually watch, I'd probably say My Fair Lady, but this might just be because it's rather new to me. I didn't see it until earlier this year, and never even knew it was anything I might possibly want to watch until December of last year I believe, when someone explained the general plot, and I was like "Hey... that actually sounds interesting." I'm not sure what my misconception was, but when I'd hear the name before that point, what popped into my head was very different from what it really is.
As far as just listening goes, my present favorite is probably the Jane Eyre musical...

7. What is your least favorite book by your favorite author?
Good grief! Must I answer this, indeed? Well. Probably the novella Lady Susan by Jane Austen. (I'm not trying to steal your answer, Amy... really I'm not.) I'm glad JA has minor works, because trying to pick a least favorite of her main six would be horrid! Anyways, I've never actually finished Lady Susan... and you know, Jane Austen never attempted to have it published, so I think it's safe to assume that it wasn't her favorite, either. ;-)

8. If you could steal any movie/television character’s wardrobe, who would it be?
Nooooo. I cannot choose, I simply cannot! Maybe Emma Woodhouse in the 2009 version... or maybe one of the sisters in He Knew He Was Right, because I seem to recall there being lovely, modest dresses worn by them... or maybe Felicity King from Road to Avonlea (especially in the seventh season)...

9. What is your opinion on clowns?
I do not have one. An opinion, that is. Of course I don't have a clown. Unless you count one of my family members.

10. What is one obscure book, movie, or television show that you recommend?
Obscure... obscure... hmm. Perhaps Wind At My Back, which is a TV series by the makers of Road to Avonlea, and if you have not heard of that, by the same makers of Anne of Green Gables... and if you don't know THAT, I very sincerely pity you. Anyway, it's not as good as Avonlea, but I like most of it. And I mention it because I know of hardly anyone else who has ever seen it.

11. Oh no! You’re stuck in an elevator when the power goes out. It’s going to be several hours before help comes. Who would you rather be stuck in there with- Mr. Collins or Hyacinth Clare Gibson? 
Haaahaaaahaaaaaa. Wow. Well, Mrs. Gibson, I guess. She's a female so it wouldn't be as awkward. :P 

Now for Amy's questions.

1. Who's your least favorite literary heroine?
Scarlett O'Hara. Actually I'm not completely sure about that, but she was the first one to pop into my head. I could take that girl out back and strangle her, I could. *makes ferocious scowl*

2. Did you read the American Girl books when you were younger?  Which series was your favorite?  Which book?
I did indeed!! Favorite series is sort of a toss-up between Samantha and Kit... but I guess I'll go with Samantha, in which case my favorite is (errr... was?) Samantha Saves the Day. Sighhh. I loved that book ever so much.

3. You're having a friend over who has never seen a single period drama in her life.  Which one do you choose for her indoctrination?
A friend who has never seen a single period drama in her life... interesting. Well, let's see. It's quite horrid for someone to have never seen a Jane Austen adaptation, but if they've never seen any period drama, it may be easier to start them on Anne of Green Gables, which I think is very capable of determining someone's capabilities in appreciating old-fashioned movies. :) Our family has employed that technique before, actually.

4. Raspberries or strawberries?  Why?
STRAWBERRIEEEEEES. And why? Because they're amazing, of course. Raspberries are tolerable, but I usually only eat them in things and not by themselves, whereas strawberries are swellissimus either way. And I love them. And the seeds aren't mean to your teeth. They are just better all around. And strawberries make me feel happy inside, for... certain reasons which only one other person would understand. :D And to top off all THAT, they're mentioned in a Jane Austen novel. Heehee.
Oh, but that question reminded me of taking fiddle lessons when I was really young, learning a bowing sequence my teacher called "Raspberry Strawberry", because you go "long-short-short-long-short-short", like the syllables in "rasp-ber-ry, straw-ber-ry." There, an extra random fact about me. Can I skip the next question?

5. What's your favorite cartoon movie?
Define "cartoon". Does this mean actual cartoon-ish or does animated count? And... I really do not know.What a sad, boring creature I am. It's not that I don't like any, because I do. It's just hard to pin down a favorite.

6. Who is your favorite singer? 
Nemo. (That is, nobody.) Yes, you heard right... I do not have a favorite singer.

7. When do you start listening to Christmas music? 
Ha. Well, the rule in our house is not until the day after Thanksgiving or when it snows. (Because when it snows, we want to listen to Christmas music. :D) I usually feel the urge in August or September, though, and last month I let myself listen to one CD (with earphones, you know). One. Just to tide me over. Because last year I was a little too much into Christmas music in October, and then when it was finally Christmastime it wasn't as exciting anymore, and that's very sad.

8. Which was the best birthday of your life so far and why?
O_O I don't know! I've had too many good birthdays! Maybe my 6th? That was when I had a Winnie the Pooh party, heehee. Also my family (including cousins and grandparents and such) used to get together about once a season and celebrate everyone's birthday who fell into that category, so we did that too. I do have a lot of fond memories of that one... also 6 was just a nice age. But I liked my 10th birthday a lot, too... I had a costume party that year and I think I actually got to have the party on my real birth date which is fun, and I remember the rest of the day being nice, too. And my Jane Austen party a couple years ago was very delightful. (If you are observant you will notice I don't divulge how old I was turning then. Heh, heh.)
And then of course there are others. I CAN'T DECIDE.

9. Why did Mr. Gibson marry Hyacinth Horror Kirkpatrick?  Explain your answer in 200 words or less and don't forget footnotes.  If you haven't read/seen Wives and Daughters, write a two-paragraph essay on why lobsters don't wear socks.
Because... because... he's stupid. (I'm sorry, it just popt out!) Look before you leap, fellow. Ascertain your daughter's feelings before you decide it will be a wonderful thing for her. And for pity's sake, get to know the woman you marry! It's better to want what you don't have than to have what you don't want.
But in all actuality, I think Mr. Gibson married her because it sets most of the plot for W&D. Heh, heh, heh.

10. Who would you rather have tea with, Miss Bates or Mrs. Bennet? 
You know what's crazy is that either of those actually sounds desirable to me? Haha. But... probably Miss Bates. Just because she's actually nice, and wouldn't really be embarrassing like Mrs. Bennet can. Unless Mrs. Bennet brought Elizabeth along to tea, in which case I would want her.

11. What is the ugliest/most unflattering dress or outfit you've ever seen on a period drama? How would you have dressed the character who was so unfortunate as to wear it?
Ooh, that's a good question, but rather hard to answer. I remember disliking many of Fanny Dorrit's dresses... also Estella in the 2011 Great Expectations had some rather unflattering dresses, I thought. They looked as if they didn't fit right. Especially this one:
In my opinion, it looks like it's falling off. I don't think that would be a very flattering style (even if it wasn't immodest) for anyone, but... this especially. And how would I have dressed her? Well, for one thing I think she should pin a bit of her cumbersome skirt 'round her neck where it can be useful.

And the eleven people I'm tagging--
Miss Laurie
Miss Elizabeth Bennet
Charity U
Maria Elisabeth

...and for the last three, I appoint Hayden, Amy and Alexandra (unless she hasn't done this tag before in which case she's tagged, but I think she has) to answer my eleven questions in a comment just for fun. If they want to. I also decided to forego rule number six. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. :D

Now for my questions....

1. What's your favorite hair-and-eye color combination?
2. Who is an unpopular character you rather like but would find difficult to defend?
3. What is your second-favorite version of Pride and Prejudice? (It might be assumed that those who like P&P95 would have P&P05 as their second-favorite and vice versa, but this is not always the case.) And if you haven't seen at least two versions of P&P... why haven't you? :D
4. What is the book you're most embarrassed to tell people you haven't read when they ask? (Not that I want to embarrass you or anything. Haha.)
5. What is your favorite game? (As in, card and board games.)
6. Do you typically write in cursive or printing?
7. What is something you promised yourself when you were younger that you would never do, but ended up doing later on?
8. How do you say "era"--"air-uh" or "ear-uh"?
9. Do you keep a journal/diary, and if so, do you write in it often?
10. If you could suddenly have the ability to play an instrument that you've never even tried before, which would you choose?
11. Which fellow blogger are you the most curious to know the looks of? (I mean, admit it. We're all curious, are we not?)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Jane Austen Party

Before you get too excited, I do not mean a blogging party. ;) For some time I've been meaning to post about this party I had for my birthday a couple years ago, and now I finally am. I thought you, my dear readers, might enjoy it, and perhaps it might be a source of inspiration for random people trying to find ideas for a Jane Austen party.

I'm trying to decide whether to just ramble about it or try to do this in an organized manner... eh, well I'll try the organized manner first, but I've a sneaking suspicion some rambling might wheedle its way in.

My goal for the invitations was to give the effect of having come from the Regency era. Because my own handwriting is not that of an accomplished Regency lady, I used "Edwardian Script" on the computer and printed them out. (I happen to like that font much better than the one called "Regency". "Elegance" is also nice, which I use for the "&"s because the Edwardian Script one is a bit too fancy for my taste. However it would not copy into Blogger.) The invitation said something like this:

Miss Emerson is cordially invited to a party
in honor of Miss Melody Rose’s seventeenth birthday,
celebrating the world of Jane Austen
and the fictional lives of Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot,
Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse,
Catherine Morland, Elinor & Marianne Dashwood,
and all her other marvellous characters.
March the twenty-third, three o’clock in the
afternoon. Those who would like to are also invited
to stay for dinner and watch a Jane Austen movie.
Please dress in your favourite Regency attire.

R.S.V.P. by March sixteenth.

The party was not really in March; I just used that for an example. I also do not really know anyone with the last name Emerson. And obviously my real last name was on the invitation, and I was not actually turning seventeen. I just think seventeen is such a JA-ish age. Now, I was following what I call "The Miss Rules" of the Regency era (also Victorian, I believe) where if a young lady is the eldest unmarried girl in her family, she is called "Miss {Last name}", but if she has an older unmarried sister, she's "Miss {Last name, First name}". Formally--when you talk to them face-to-face, "Miss {First name}" will do. ;) Now, the content was too modern to be historically accurate, of course, but you know, it's just for effect. And for those who didn't have a Regency dress (although several of them did) I was just going to suggest they wear their most old-fashioned clothing, or perhaps try for a shirt with an empire waist and a skirt; one girl borrowed a dress from me.

Then I folded it in the old-fashioned way (which I learned from The Jane Austen Handbook... or did a friend show me first?), making sure to fold it large enough so that the post office would accept it, and didn't use an envelope. Unfortunately I can't find instructions for folding it this way online, but if you want more information I'll be happy to help you out--just leave a comment. :) Since I had no sealing wax (I do now, though) I did the thing I used to do, which is use regular glue (you know, the wet kind) to make a round thing on the back, and then painted it burgundy when it dried. Sealing wax is definitely preferable (you can find this on eBay), but one does what one can. Address, stamp, and send. Of course, if you put it in an envelope or give it to people personally, you won't have to worry about the postal standards, which is nice, and it can be as small as you want.

Decorations, &c.
My favorite decorative bit of this party was what a cousin of mine later dubbed "A shrine of JA." HA. I acquired as many Jane Austen items as I could, from the library and with a LOT of help from a Janeite friend of mine... at the time I had very few items of my own (I have more now) as well as some generally old-fashioned things, and displayed them with candles and... well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Behold.
(Don't forget you can click on it to make it larger.)
Sigh of delight, anyone? Now, at the time The Friend From Whom I Borrowed Many Items did not have Emma 2009 on DVD, and I had not yet gotten it from the library (my copy was the one taped off of TV when it played on PBS), which is why you do not see it there. Some of those were options for what we would watch later on, but I'll get to that.

As well as displaying all of Jane Austen's works (well, not all of the minor works, but some of them) and The Jane Austen Handbook (which is fun to poke through), I had Shakespeare's sonnets and The Romance of the Forest as well. The latter, as you should know, was mentioned in Emma. Heehee.

Above the JA table I had two poster things I made with the JA heroes and heroines... although, I will confess that at the time I made four very sad mistakes. The first two were that I did not use Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller for Emma and Mr. Knightley. Shocking, I know. But I'd only seen it once or twice and for some reason I was still not totally convinced that they were my very complete favorite portrayals... as far as looks went, because I already favored their acting jobs. The other mistakes were *cough* misspellings of two of the heroes' last names. Did I really just admit that? It's horrid to know that I once did something I am now so picky about people not doing. (What am I doing now that I might be mortified about in a year or two, I wonder?) My excuse is that I hadn't read either of the books in question yet. (And I'm not volunteering the information of how many I had read. Er, not read. Or that I may have continued in one of the misconceptions even after I read the book. Ahem.) Nor had I been blogging yet.

Anyway, just for fun, they looked something like this, only here, my mistakes are corrected. ;) Oh, well, if I made it now I probably would use Kate Winslet's Marianne... but I just thought Charity Wakefield's looked a little more like the book's description. Again, it wasn't because of the acting. And the way they are arranged don't have to do with favorites, just however the collages seemed to work best. Oh, and I left Edmund out of the heroes collage, hahaha, but that was only because I couldn't find a good picture for him at the time.

For another old-fashioned touch, I had flower garlands on the stair rails. Flowers used to be a popular way of decorating for parties... I'm not so sure about in the Regency era, but we won't quibble about details.

Now, a main point of this party was the Tea, so the tea table was also decorated. Silly Me did not take any pictures of it, however... I didn't think about putting pictures on my blog at the time, of course, since it was not yet in existence, and I probably thought that since I recorded it with our camcorder that would be good enough. Heh. Or perhaps I was going to wait until all the food was on the table and then forgot... because I DID take a picture of a couple place settings.

As you can see, I made little place cards with everyone's names and a Jane Austen silhouette. (Unfortunately our selection of cloth napkins is not the widest, but I thought that using paper napkins would not be the thing.)

So I shall explain what I did with the table--first I put on our nicest tablecloth, and in the center I had a vase with flowers (you don't need to know that they were artificial) and two tall candles. Oh, and by the way, when it started growing dark outside I lit all the candles (including the ones on the JA table) and didn't turn on any lamps until necessary. It created a delightfully old-fashioned atmosphere, especially during dinner.

Now for the fun part. Sorry this is so long, everyone... I TOLD you it would rain I would ramble.
  • Quiz.
As everybody arrived, I had them take an Jane Austen quiz, and I had a prize (a small cream pitcher) for the person who got the most answers correct. These were the questions... I tried not to make the quiz too hard, although most of my friends declared it to be difficult. It may not be for most of you, though... anybody care to try? (Spelling mistakes corrected, again. Heh. *blushes* I was a shamefully ignorant girl back then. I doubt I thought so at the time, though....) Sorry it's so small... I wanted to save room.

Jane Austen Quiz
1. What was Jane Austen’s first published novel?
2. What was Jane Austen’s last completed novel?
3. Was Jane Austen ever married?
4. How many of Jane Austen’s main characters were proposed to by someone they did not marry?
5. List the ages of the following heroines:
Emma Woodhouse:             Elizabeth Bennet:           Anne Elliot:            Elinor Dashwood:     
6. Match the gentleman’s last name (and title) with their first name:
Charles                                   Mr. Bingley
Fitzwilliam                            Capt. Wentworth
Frederick                               Mr. Darcy
George                                   Mr. Knightley

7. Match these character’s first names with the last names they have (or will have) by the end of the book:
Anne                                       Bertram
Catherine                               Brandon
Elinor                                     Darcy
Elizabeth                               Ferrars
Emma                                    Knightley
Fanny                                     Tilney
Marianne                               Wentworth

8. Which of these titles go with which opening sentence?
a. Northanger Abbey
b. Pride and Prejudice
c. Sense and Sensibility
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.”
“The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex.”
9. Which two were not written by Jane Austen?
a. Jane Eyre
b. Sanditon
c. Lady Susan
d. Wives & Daughters
e. The Watsons

  • Tea.
(Since I forgot to take pictures of my own tea table, I took the opportunity
of snagging this lovely picture off Google Images. Heehee.)
As I have said, this was one of the main activities of the afternoon. If you think that tea parties are only for little girls, you mustn't have had the pleasure of experiencing an elegant tea for ladies. They really are most delightful. Now, I considered trying to make treats that were authentic to Jane Austen's time period, but dismissed the idea as too difficult, so I just went for treats and foods of an old-fashioned air instead. My journal reminds me that we had cookies, raspberry chocolates, chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches cut into fourths (definitely not early 1800s, but I couldn't think of anything else non-dessert-ish to have), biscuits (baking powder biscuits, not the English cookie, haha) with butter and jam, grapes, these bite-sized pies that I made by baking pie crust in a mini muffin pan, filling the shells with berry pie filling with whipped cream on top, and then of course we can't forget the tea itself. I had two pots with a different flavor in each to accommodate the different tastes of the guests. ;) Oh, and an old-fashioned looking lemon cake, in which I blew out my candles. (It was a birthday party, after all.)

Sitting down to tea encourages polite and elegant conversation, but also makes one feel just a tad restrained and quiet. So it's nice to have some conversation starters in mind--something at which a good friend of mine is quite adept--such as asking everyone what books they are reading or have just finished (which is always very interesting to me, anyway), if they are going or have gone on any vacations, if they're working on any projects, etc. Some parlor-type games will also work, which brings me to one of the games we had...

  • The Assume a Jane Austen Character game
Couldn't think of a clever title for that, haha. Anyway, this was quite fun, I thought. What I did was cut up slips of paper with names of female Jane Austen characters on them (all the heroines and just some other well-known ones, especially those I thought it would be fun to pretend to be), folded them up, and put them in a basket. (Using a basket for such things is just a nice, old-fashioned touch.) During tea I passed the basket around, and whatever name was written on the slip of paper you get, you are now that character, and everyone else has to try to guess who you are, and vice versa. You are allowed to ask other people questions, except, of course, questions where the answer would be a proper name are not allowed. That is, you can't ask their name or what book they're from or where they live--that sort of thing. Much too obvious. You can quote your heart out, however, and the object is not to conceal who you are from the other players, but just to have fun. And if you see someone really quiet, be sure to ask them a few questions, because if they're Fanny Price or Jane Bennet or Jane Fairfax they probably won't be randomly joining into the conversation. There were a couple instances where some of my friends weren't familiar with the character they drew, so I just let them pick another one.

We liked the game so much that we played it later on in the living room parlor and over dinner. And as I happened to write it down in my journal, I shall tell you that during the course of the afternoon and evening I got to be Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Bennet, Mrs Jennings (very fun one, that), and Marianne Dashwood.

  • This game that I don't know what to call which involves acting and Jane Austen quotes.
Where I first learned a version of this game was when I took a drama class at a homeschool co-op... it was so much fun that one of my friends (who was also in that class with me) and I like to play it at our parties when possible. How we play it is you divide everyone in your party into groups of 2-4 people, depending on how many you have and how many groups you want. Everyone receives two slips of paper, and thinks up some random phrase to write on it. Quotes are very popular, and for my JA party I changed the rules a bit and instead of any random phrase or quote it had to be a Jane Austen quote. (All of JA's novels were nearby in case people couldn't think of anything.) Now, once you have your two quotes written, you go around and trade your papers with everyone else. You can do this multiple times, but you have to be careful not to end up with the quote you wrote. That's just not fun. ;) Anyway, then you split up with your groups and all go in separate rooms, or else talk super quietly in different corners. You decide on some little skit to perform--something you randomly come up with or even a scene from a movie--and then everyone meets back together and takes turns performing their skits.

The funny part comes when, during the skit, everyone has to open their slips of paper at random and read (out loud) what it says. Sometimes it's so spontaneous it doesn't end up being that funny, but other times it is quite humorous, especially if it actually does make sense, or if someone else in the skit thinks of a witty response to what you just said. It's the challenge of trying to fit the quote into the context of what you're saying or doing--but no peeking first. That's against the rules. The first time you read it has to be when you're reading it aloud during the skit.

The skit two other young ladies and I made up was about three sisters complaining about how poor they are, and trying to think of ways to make money, in which we inserted possible occupations for ladies which we were just looking at in The Jane Austen Handbook (which we'd sneaked down to the family room with us to try to get ideas from).

It's interesting to see someone one minute lamenting over the price of sugar and then suddenly popping out with "If Jane dies, my dear, it will be comfort to know it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley." It's also amusing to watch Anne and Diana walking through the haunted wood, when Anne pipes in with "Oh, shocking! How shall we punish him for such a reply?" (Actually, the latter skit, which the other group did, was simply hysterical. Insert applause here.)

(Next time I play that game I'm going to write "If I am a wild Beast I cannot help it. It is not my own fault." Remind me. :D)

  • The Emma Word Game
Ah, the first game with true Austenese roots. In case you haven't already figured it out, this is the little activity that the characters in Emma played at, mainly Emma, Frank Churchill, Harriet Smith, and Jane Fairfax who was kind of forced into it. In the book I think what they used were some sort of alphabet tiles that Emma's nephews were supposed to have left at Hartfield, and I recommend using Scrabble game pieces. Unfortunately, my family does not have that game (shocking, I know, but we are fans of word games in general) so I used the letters from the game Upwords (pictured above) which is said to be very similar. You simply pick out a word, mix up the letters, and hand it to someone to figure out. (Yeah, like an unscramble game. Except more fun. And it's nice to be able to rearrange the letters.) Of course, we went with words connected with Jane Austen. Can you sort out the three words in the picture (besides Dixon, of course)? Oh, and you may decide for yourself whether proper names are allowed. I would say they should be. That may or may not be a hint. :)

Another game idea might be to learn whist with everyone, because that was such a common card game in Jane Austen's time. What little I know of it I don't care for, but anyways, just an idea. I'm sure you can find the instructions online, and they are also in The Jane Austen Handbook. (There is a reason I've mentioned that book five times now. It just has everything, and is so very fun.)

  • Jane Austen Movie
As you already saw if you read the invitation, I gave everyone the option of staying for dinner and the evening as well. One of my friends actually couldn't come in the afternoon, so it worked out quite nicely. I also mentioned to everyone that they might like to bring a change of clothes in case they didn't feel like dressing up the whole time. Now, what I did was lay out the movies that would be short enough, which were both the Persuasions, the 1996 Emmas, and Sense and Sensibility 1995. I don't condone either of the newer Mansfield Parks. (Huh? What are you talking about--some version of Pride and Prejudice made after 1995? Nope. No such thing. Ahem.) Anyway, I put little sticky notes an all of them and had everyone write their initials on the two they wanted to watch the most, then the one with the most votes was chosen, and the winner was... duhn-duh-duhhhhn... the brown-haired Emma. AKA the 1996 A&E version or what some people call Emma 1997. Most everybody hadn't seen that version yet. It was fun. :)

(For those of you who many not know, "&c." is the old-fashioned way of writing "etc." I find it quite delightful to use myself. Jane Austen used it frequently, after all.)

Anyways. A few other things I wanted to mention.

During the party I had three JA soundtracks playing. It was P&P95, S&S95 and fakeP&P P&P05, the latter only because I didn't have another one to play at the time. (Now it would have been Emma09.)

For party favors, I had a delightful time making Jane Austen bookmarks. I printed out Jane Austen silhouettes, a little lacy-looking thing to go around them, cut those out, and put them on the main bookmark part. On the front I had a Jane Austen quote (each bookmark had one, and there were eight, so I had two from Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice, then one each for the other novels) and on the back a list of her main works. Look here:
Then at the top I punched holes and tied on ribbons. Oh, and I used packaging tape as my own version of laminating. Haha. You can sort of see the finished effect in this picture...

There are all sorts of things online that one can get as party favors and such for a Jane Austen party (a friend showed me this once, which I practically swooned over) but I tend to go the homemade route. (Less expensive, you see. And that always appeals to me. :P)

So there you have it! It really was great fun, and I wish that I could have another one with some of you Janeite blogging friends out there! :)

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