Fun, Interviews

Member Mondays: Elizabeth Bennet . . . Brink!

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Brink.

Welcome to another installment of Member Mondays! Every so often, we will share a profile of a region member, featuring answers from our questionnaire. If you would like to participate, please email Jane at jasna.ewanidsm@gmail.com! We want to hear about everyone!

This week our featured region member is Elizabeth Bennet . . . we mean, Elizabeth Brink!!!

Name: Elizabeth Bennet . . . I mean Brink
Location: Spokane, Washington

  • How did you become a Jane Austen fan? How long have you been one? I went to see a play of Pride and Prejudice in high school (age 16) and loved it! That sealed my fate.
  • Favorite Jane Austen novel: Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice
  • Favorite Jane Austen character: Anne Elliot
  • Favorite Jane Austen couple: Mr. Darcy and Georgiana Darcy, such a good older brother!
  • Which Jane Austen location would you most want to visit? The Lake district, even though Lizzy didn’t make it all the way there
  • Favorite JA Adaptation: 1995 Pride and Prejudice AND the 2009 Emma is SO GOOD!
  • Special Jane Austen items in your in collection? A picture of me on the Cobb in Lyme Regis pretending to be Louisa Musgrove, though not actually falling! (Editor’s note: a screenshot of the photo with caption and location is featured above!)
  • Any little Jane Austen rituals you associate with the books or movies, etc.? Not really, but what a great idea!
  • Favorite Jane Austen quote? “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and to laugh at them in our turn?”
    -Mr. Bennet, P&P
  • Best part about being a Jane Austen fan? The connection with my dad, he quotes Pride and Prejudice and then I jump in and finish the line.
Elizabeth and her father at the JASNA EWANID 2018 Jane Austen Birthday Tea at the Roosevelt Inn, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
  • If you could invite Jane Austen or some of her characters to a meal/tea, what would you serve? Who would you invite? What question would you want to ask Jane or a character? Tea and homemade gingerbread. NOT Mr. Collins! What enneagram number are you?
  • Biggest villain in a JA novel? Henry Crawford
  • Favorite JASNA EWANID events so far? The very first tea was so fun and the food was delicious! My napkin kept slithering off my lap like Harriet Vane’s in Gaudy Night.
  • Favorite place to read? Drink? Snack? The back deck in summer. Assam loose leaf tea. Any homemade bread.
  • Are there any other authors you recommend? Anthony Trollope, Angela Thirkell, D.E. Stevenson, Dorothy Whipple, Elizabeth Gouge, Elizabeth Fair, Miss Read
  • Hardback, paperback, or e-reader? Any and all. 🙂
  • How do you mark your place in a book? A literary heroine bookmark from the Carrot Top Paper Shop on Etsy.
  • How do you organize your books? By genre, though my English books are split on a different shelf.
  • Any other thoughts/comments on Jane Austen or JASNA EWANID? Loving all of it!

Thank you so much for participating, Elizabeth! We loved reading your answers!

If you wish you participate (and we hope you will!), please email us at jasna.ewanidsm@gmail.com. Cheers!

Fun, Uncategorized

Beginner Regency Sewing: An Ode to Miss Steele

’Good gracious! I have had such a time of it! I never saw Lucy in such a rage in my life. She vowed at first she would never trim me up a new bonnet, nor do any thing else for me again, so long as she lived; but now she is quite come to, and we are as good friends as ever. Look, she made me this bow to my hat, and put in the feather last night. There now, you are going to laugh at me too. But why should not I wear pink ribbons? I do not care if it is the Doctor’s favourite colour. I am sure, for my part, I should never have known he did like it better than any other colour, if he had not happened to say so. My cousins have been so plaguing me!– I declare sometimes I do not know which way to look before them.’

She had wandered away to a subject on which Elinor had nothing to say, and therefore soon judged it expedient to find her way back again to the first.”  Sense and Sensibility, p. 272 Oxford U. 3rd Edition

Poor Miss Steele is vulgar, unmarried at 30, and left broke by Lucy.  She only wants someone to kid with her about the Doctor and to have the warmest seat by the fire.  She does not get much love in Sense and Sensibility, but it is through her good offices that the truth about Edward and Lucy comes out, so that Edward can be disinherited and Lucy can release him from her grasp.  I think we all have a little bit of Miss Steele in us.  I, for one, love pink ribbons.  This sewing project, which I created for our Spring Tea, was my homage to Miss Steele’s joy in pink ribbons.  I used a sewing machine for most of the sewing and I also used a shirt for the top of the over-dress, so this is beginner-level Regency sewing.

Note: the pictures of the sewing in progress were taken by me.  The pictures from the Spring tea were taken by Jane Provinsal.

The Over-Dress

To create the over-dress, I used a short-sleeve white cotton shirt I had with ruffles sewn onto the top in a diagonal pattern.  The bottom of the dress was made out of some white shirting fabric that I found at a second-hand store with a pink window-pane pattern with a pink medallion in some of the squares.  It was rather sheer, but had good body.  I cut the bottom using my trusty Simplicity #4055 (Sense and Sensibility) pattern, putting the front panel on the selvedges instead of the fold to create a front opening.  I cut the length a little shorter than full-length, but longer than the overlay pattern that comes with View A of the Simplicity pattern. 

For my under-dress, I have a sleeveless full-length lined silk petticoat with a drawstring neckline that I had already made for a previous outfit.  Both the top and the bottom of the over-dress had to be gathered some—the top just a little bit and the bottom quite a bit to create the gathered back.  I sewed the bottom sides together and pressed the seams open, then sewed a small hem along the front opening and the bottom (using the sewing machine).  I basted the back as instructed in the pattern to create gathers and then pinned the right side of the shirt to the right side of the bottom of the dress, gathering the shirt slightly below the bust.  I basted the shirt and bottom together before cutting off the lower part of the shirt to make sure that the fit was correct. 

The bottom of the blouse and the wrong side of the bottom of the over-dress

Once I was sure that the size was correct, I trimmed the lower part of the shirt and then used the sewing machine to sew the basted high waist.  To give the high waist seam some reinforcement, I covered over the raw edges with the seam allowance of the cotton shirt (which I left a little longer) and then sewed that down to the top through all layers about ¼” from the waist seam.  I made belt loops out of the pink ribbon I was using for the belt (hand sewn after folding in thirds) and then basted and sewed them on the seam of the bottom of the dress and straight up on the shirt.  The dress was a little large around the empire waist, but cinched nicely with the ribbon belt (1 ½” grosgrain ribbon).  I left the plastic buttons on the top because I was not able to find anything more authentic looking that was small enough for the button loops.

Me in the dress and cap with Pamela Aidan, our speaker at the Spring Tea

The Drawstring Mob Cap

I really liked the lace that was at the bottom of the shirt that I was cutting up, so I thought I might be able to preserve it by incorporating it into a mob cap with a pink ribbon behind it. When I cut the bottom half of the shirt off, I trimmed it close to the lace and sewed the front two sides of the shirt together, creating a circular band.  I pinned the right side of the band onto the right side of a round piece of cotton (leftover lining material from the petticoat), leaving about an inch and a quarter around so that I could create the space for the ribbon.  After sewing the ruffle and making sure that I was at the very edge of the lace, I flipped it out and then sewed around on the inside of the cap, creating about a 7/8” channel for the 5/8” ribbon.  I cut the seam in the center of the lace in the channel so that the ribbon would be at the center of the cap when threaded.  Once I made sure the ribbon worked (threading it with a safety pin), I tacked the ruffle into the inside of the cap, over the seam allowance, so that the ruffle was not too big and had a little puffiness.  The cap itself was not very large due to making it the size of the ruffle band, but for a first attempt, I think it came out well.

The Shawl

The shawl was created using a purchased Ralph Lauren Home white viscose/cotton bed throw (found on clearance!) that had 8” fringe and measured about 70” by 50”.  I cut the throw about 21” from the long side so that it would sew to a 20” by 70” shawl (plus the fringe).  I took the fringe off of the cut side where I was going to turn it in (it had a double thickness) and sewed it on the long edge, as close to the edge as I could get it.  The hardest part about sewing the shawl was making the side even, since the inside of the fabric was slippery.  I was glad I had my shawl the day of the tea because the weather was cool.

None of these projects took great sewing skills.  I especially liked the ease of using a blouse for the top of the over-dress.  Other than using the Simplicity pattern for the bottom of the over-dress, I eye-balled the other measurements, such as when creating the mob cap.  Basting before cutting really helps.  It was fun to create a full outfit for the Spring Tea (although I did not have time to make a reticule).  Several other members came in outfits that they had sewn too.  You can see more pictures in https://jasnaewanid.org/photos-of-past-events/. Wishing you happy sewing! Michele

Back view of the cap, shawl, and dress. I was watching Pamela Aidan speak at the tea.
Fun, Interviews, Uncategorized

Member Mondays: Diana S., Our Giveaway Winner!

As our region membership expands, we want to learn more about you, our members, so we have come up with a new thing: Member Mondays! We kind of kicked it off with our interview with author Pamela Aidan (read it HERE). Every Monday (or every couple of Mondays), we will be sharing answers from our “Member Mondays” questionnaire with a different member of our region. If you would like to participate, please email Jane at jasna.ewanidsm@gmail.com! We want to hear about everyone!

We are so happy to share answers from our 2019 Spring Giveaway winner Diana S. today! She is a newer member and her first event with us was our Spokane Northanger Abbey discussion meeting in February.

2019 Spring Giveaway winner Diana S., pictured at our recent Spring Tea in Pullman, Washington, with her prize!

Name: Diana S.
Location: Spokane, Washington

  • How did you become a Jane Austen fan? How long have you been one? Decided to give P&P another chance, fell in love. Twenty years ago. (Hated it in high school)
  • Favorite Jane Austen novel: Persuasion
  • Favorite Jane Austen character: Henry Tilney
  • Favorite Jane Austen couple: Admiral & Mrs. Croft
  • Which Jane Austen location would you most want to visit? Chawton Cottage. I’ve been to Bath, but years before I was a Janeite, so I’d like to go back and see it anew.
  • Favorite JA Adaptation: 1995 Persuasion, starring Amanda Root & Ciaran Hinds
  • Special Jane Austen items in your in collection? 1st editions of her juvenalia 1922, 1933, 1951. 1885 Northanger Abbey & Persuasion. 1890 Life of Jane Austen by Goldwin Smith. 1898 Letters of Jane Austen.
  • Favorite Jane Austen quote? There are too many brilliant quips to be able to choose just one.
  • Best part about being a Jane Austen fan? The sense of peace & fulfillment upon finishing one of her books. The feeling that all is well with the world.
  • Biggest villain in a JA novel? John Thorpe.
  • Favorite JASNA EWANID events so far? Northanger Abbey discussion and the annual tea. I loved them both!
  • Favorite place to read? Outside, on a sunny day with a slight breeze, in the garden, with a glass of wine. (Editor’s note: that describes today’s weather perfectly! Happy reading, Diana!)
  • Are there any other authors you recommend? Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte . . . the usual suspects. 🙂
  • Hardback, paperback, or e-reader? Hardback, preferably antique.
  • How do you mark your place in a book? A ribbon.
  • How do you organize your books? I guess by genres—music, art, gardening, but antique books are separate from modern.

Thank you for sharing, Diana! We hope you enjoy your giveaway prize!! If you would like to participate in Member Mondays, send us an email at jasna.ewanidsm@gmail.com!

Fun, Interviews, Uncategorized

An Interview with Pamela Aidan-Part II


Last week we shared Part I of our interview with Pamela Aidan, author of the “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” series. She will be speaking on “Creating The Regency World” at our upcoming tea on 28 April. Tickets are on sale through today, 22 April, so buy yours while you can on our Event Page.

We gathered questions from people on our social media channels and added them to a list of our own. Our questions are in italics and Pamela’s responses are in bold for easy reading. Thank you, Pamela!

-How much research do you do before you write compared to during the writing? What kind of outline do you do? 

Most of the research is done before so that I am immersed in the time and place. During the writing, the research pertains to fact checking or to getting more information on an idea that pops in unexpectedly.

-Were any of the characters you created based on people in your life?

    I used names from my family at various times, but the only character was one that was mentioned in passing, a Belgian boxer named Eugene Bleret who was modeled after a great-uncle.

-How do you make sure you stay true to the characters created by Jane Austen? 

Decades of reading and re-reading Pride & Prejudice and keeping the novel open on my desk as I wrote. I felt I knew Darcy inside out.

-From Michele: How did you learn so much about how a servant like a valet would function in the Regency world? (For example, in particular, Mr. Fletcher, Darcy’s valet, who Michele loves.)

    Lots of Masterpiece Theater viewing, probably. But Mr Fletcher is outside of the common way when it comes to valets. I reasoned that a person in that position would know most of the intimate details of his master’s life and thoughts just to be able to serve him well. Then, you have the kind of person Darcy is—what kind of valet would he require? Fletcher was a lot of fun to write and he almost ran away with the show!

-From Jane: Do you have any “rituals” when you are preparing to write? Such as, do you use paper/notebooks and pencils/pens? Computer? Do you write in a certain place? At a certain time of day?

I start on the computer and while writing the Trilogy worked first in a cold basement, then a warm little office at home, usually in the early morning.

Favorite tea or beverage to drink while writing? Snacks?

 Tea, of course! Earl Grey with milk and sugar.

-Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

    I love listening to Enya while writing.

-Have you made any “literary pilgrimages” to see Jane Austen sites? Or other authors?

Unfortunately, no.

If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would it be?

I’d want to talk over Mansfield Park.

-What is one of your favorite experiences as a writer?

I’ve gotten many letters over the years thanking me for the Trilogy. Several testified that they read the books during a particularly difficult time in their lives and that the books helped them get through them. To be of assistance in that way is highly gratifying.

-The Spokane Public Library contributed a few questions:

      What are your best resources for research and getting into the mindset of the time/place?

    The best preparation for getting into the mindset was decades of enjoyment of Austen and Georgette Heyer novels. Heavily used resources were:

1.Our Tempestuous Day: a History of Regency England by Carolly Erickson

2.An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray

3.The Friendly Jane Austen by Natalie Tyler

4.Ruling Britannia : A Political History of Britain, 1688 – 1955 by Glyn Williams & John Ramsden   

5.English History in the Making by William L. Sachs

6.Prince of Pleasure:  The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency by Saul David.

7.Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History by Mark Girouard

8.A practical View of Christianity by William Wilberforce   

9.Miniatures & Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen by Peter J. Leithart

-Why did you choose to write in this voice? (Mr. Darcy, obviously) 😀 (Paraphrasing this one from SPL) Why does he do the things he does?

    My initial impetus was a desire to understand why and how Darcy changed. I don’t think Austen ever went into Darcy’s interior life beyond the considered statements he makes at Netherfield during Jane’s illness and his short analysis of his growing years during the walk to Oakham Mount.  He is absent for at least half of the book, during the time when his sea-change in beliefs about himself and his situation via Elizabeth would have occurred

-If someone can only buy 1 book on the time period, which book would you recommend?

    An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England. Venetia Muray. Viking, 1998. (Ed. Note: Oh, yes, I adore this one!!! -Jane)

-How much research do you do before you write compared to during the writing? What kind of outline do you do? 

Most of the research is done before so that I am immersed in the time and place. During the writing, the research pertains to fact checking or to getting more information on an idea that pops in unexpectedly.

And the question everyone wants to know the answer to! -From Charles: Do you have plans to pen a post Pride & Prejudice as you contemplated for an interview at the end of the third installment of your Darcy Trilogy?

I always hope. Now that I’ve retired, there’s more possibility for it to happen. I have some ideas but not enough to get started yet.

We hope you enjoyed this interview! Thank you, Pamela!!

[Read Part I]

Fun, Giveaway

2019 Jane Austen Spring Giveaway

Happy Spring! 🌼🌷🌸 We have decided to do another spring giveaway!!

This year we have decided to take a page from “Northanger Abbey” and make the prize a little mystery, but don’t worry: you don’t have to listen to John or Isabella Thorpe!

Visit the link below and have a look at all the ways to enter! The winner will be announced April 9th or 10th!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0036c5682/

Fun, Quotes

Vote! Jane Austen Madness 2019-Favorite Quotes!

It’s another year of “Jane Austen Madness!” This year’s theme is “Favorite Quotes” and we are voting in rounds, rather than the whole bracket at once! The first round is open from 21 March-28 March and has 64 marvelous quotes taken from Jane’s novels, as well as a few from film adaptations.

To participate, please visit our Facebook event, where we are updating frequently and plan to add some fun things like giveaways, questions, and more! You can vote every five minutes, so if you have to choose between beloved quotes, vote for one and then vote for the other!

If you would rather vote straightaway, you will find the bracket here:
https://brackify.com/bracket/29113/Jane-Austen-Madness-2019

Fun, Uncategorized

Holiday Cooking

Our new treasurer, Cassandra Bates, enjoys Regency cooking.  Here is her blog post about black butter:

Shortly after Christmas, Jane Austen wrote her sister, Cassandra, about an evening party at her brother’s house in Southampton:

“The last hour, spent in yawning and shivering in a wide circle round the fire, was dull enough, but the tray had admirable success. The widgeon and the preserved ginger were as delicious as one could wish. But as to our black butter, do not decoy anybody to Southampton by such a lure, for it is all gone. The first pot was opened when Frank and Mary were here and proved not at all what it ought to be; it was neither solid nor entirely sweet, and on seeing it Eliza remembered that Miss Austen had said she did not think it had been boiled enough. It was made, you know, when we were absent. Such being the event of the first pot, I would not save the second, and we therefore ate it in unpretending privacy; and though not what it ought to be, part of it was very good.“ Jane Austen to Cassandra, December 27, 1808

The Black butter that Jane Austen referenced in her letter to Cassandra is not what one might think (a sauce of blackened butter), but rather a thick, dark conserve of fruit, often apples (much like American Apple Butter). The other is a French style “beurre noir” and is a sauce of brown butter (if it goes black it is ruined, why the name, who knows, French Culinary).

Below is a rather traditional Black Butter similar to the one in Jane Austen’s letter:

Take 4 pounds of full ripe apples, and peel and core them. Meanwhile put into a pan 2 pints of sweet cider, and boil until it reduces by half. Put the apples, chopped small, to the cider. Cook slowly stirring frequently, until the fruit is tender, as you can crush beneath the back of a spoon. Then work the apple through a sieve and return to the pan adding 1lb beaten (granulated) sugar and spices as following, 1 teaspoon clove well ground, 2 teaspoons cinnamon well ground, 1 saltspoon (about ¼ tsp) allspice well ground. Cook over low fire for about ¾ hour, stirring until mixture thickens and turns a rich brown. Pour the butter into small clean jars, and cover with clarified butter when cold. Seal and keep for three months before using. By this time the butter will have turned almost black and have a most delicious flavour. –  Maria Hubert von Staufer March 1995