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!

Uncategorized

Spring Tea Thank Yous and Recipes

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Our Spring Tea on Sunday April 28, 2019 was wonderful.  Pamela Aidan spoke on “Creating the Regency World” and enthralled listeners with information about the Regency era, her writing process for creating the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series, and stories about the Prince Regent.  A highlight for many attendees was getting to talk with Pamela individually as she signed copies of her books.  If you have not had a chance to read the interviews with Pamela we did on the website before the tea, scroll down on the blog to find them.

Thanks to all our attendees, many of whom drove long distances to join us. They were patient with us when we were not quite ready on time. We appreciated their enthusiasm for Pamela and their love of all things Jane Austen.  Our members are the best!

There were three businesses that helped to make our day a success.  The setting of The Seasoned House was beautiful and appropriately historic. Goose House Bakery made the tasty scones and wonderful desserts. Since we had lots extra, happy attendees took home goodie bags!  Sam’s Apothecary in Pullman created tea blends with a Pride and Prejudice theme, including the Mr. Darcy (Rooibos Blue), Elizabeth Bennet (Madame Grey),  and Mrs. Bennet (Brain Off), and members were able to take home samples or buy larger jars.

Many people contributed to the success of the day.  Cassandra Dole Bates and Michele Larrow did most of the shopping and prep work of the food, and they attempted to organize the chaos of the day! Cassandra, our new treasurer, moved to our region from the JASNA Mississippi region. Although not originally from the South, she imbibed all the rules for hosting a proper tea and her contributions to the day were huge. Jane Provinsal, Amy Lyons, and Chuck Pierce did our set-up and clean-up.  Vickey Bolen, Sara Thompson, and Nancy Tschida were an amazing team who helped the day happen with tea sandwich making and cleaning the dishes!  Jane Provinsal created the beautiful menu party favors with the teapot charms and got people settled with their choices of tea.

Recipes

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Goat Cheese-Pecan Jane Austen Silhouette Tea Sandwiches

This is an adaptation based on a recipe from Southern Living.com.  That recipe used pepper jelly.  The fruit paste makes this recipe sing!  Cassandra made the filling, and Nancy, Sara, and Vickey constructed them and decorated them the day of the tea.

  • 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, with about 30-60 cleaned leaves for decoration
  • Rutherford and Meyer fruit paste (apricot and cherry were used)*
  • 15 bread slices (we used Franz Hawaiian-style sliced large loaves)

Using a JA silhouette cookie cutter**, cut two Janes from each slice of bread. Stir together goat cheese, cream cheese, pecans, and parsley. Spread on the bread Janes. Cut one fruit paste (cherry) for hair and a strip of  the other flavor (apricot) for the dress along the bottom.  Tuck 1-2 parsley leaves as ruffles behind the dress fruit paste. Makes 30 silhouettes.

* We found the fruit paste, which is from New Zealand, in the deli section of the Pullman Walmart!  It is on Amazon too or they have their own website.

**Thank you to Roseann Thompson, a long-distance member of our group, who sent me a JA silhouette cookie-cutter made on a 3-D printer!

Mock Clotted Cream

Several people asked for the recipe of the clotted cream that Cassandra made (you can see it in the black tea cup in the top picture or in the last picture).  The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman website by a food blogger named Erica:  https://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/how-to-make-mock-devonshire-clotted-cream/.    It uses three simple ingredients: butter, sour cream, and cream cheese.  No wonder it was so decadent!

kentbendtea

Kentucky Benedictine Tea Sandwiches (adapted from Southern Living.com)

  • 1 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peeled and seeded cucumber, grated on the large holes of a box grater and drained of some liquid (or more, use English cucumber if possible)
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions (or less to taste)
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh dill (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 16 bread slices (used Franz Hawaiian-style sliced large loaves)

Stir together first 7 ingredients. Spread mixture on 1 side of 8 bread slices; top with remaining 8 bread slices. Trim crusts from sandwiches; cut each sandwich into 4 rectangles with a serrated knife.  Makes 32 large quarters.

The tea was such a wonderful experience.  Pictures will be coming soon, but we wanted to get our thank yous out quickly.  Michele

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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]

Interviews

An Interview With Pamela Aidan-Part I

There are only about 10 tickets remaining for our upcoming Jane Austen Spring Tea on 28 April, featuring author Pamela Aidan speaking on “Creating The Regency World,” so please purchase yours today if you want to make sure you are in attendance! You can do so HERE. We are delighted Pamela agreed to do an interview with us and happy to share Part I with you today! Part II will be up next Monday, 22 April, the last day to purchase tickets (provided they don’t sell out before).

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!

-What’s your favorite Jane Austen novel? Who are our favorite characters? Favorite character you love to hate? Favorite location in JA’s novels?

Pride & Prejudice/ Darcy and Elizabeth/ Wickham / Pemberley

Which characters would you invite for dinner?

    Darcy – We’d talk over whether I got anything right in the Trilogy and then what his life with Elizabeth was like.

-If you could have a meal with Jane Austen, which one would it be? What would you have?

    After all the Austen movies I’ve seen, it looks like Regency era breakfasts are fantastic! Slices of those delicious looking hams and beef roasts and sweet rolls.

How did you become a Jane Austen fan? 

    Decided to read the “classics” in 10th grade. There was a series that published twenty or more of them and the first one was Austen. I’d loved Georgette Heyer and was astonished to discover where her novels came from.

-Do you have a favorite out of the novels you have written?

    The second and third are both contenders. The second because it is all my own ideas and the third because of some wonderful scenes that where so much fun to flesh out.

From TallFleur on Instagram: How do you balance what is lore of the times (modern beliefs of the Regency era) vs. what actually occurred? Where do you draw the line in appeasing readers who may mistakenly or rightfully call out one or the other in a review?

    As far as I remember, all the events in the Trilogy and Master Darcy were either ones that actually occurred or were plausible given the cultural currents during the time period. The possible exception might be the amount of “cant” or slang I employed in the speech of some characters.

How did your years as a librarian influence your writing? 

    The influence of years of librarianship was more in the publishing of my novels than the writing of them. Knowing the difficulty and time involved in bringing a book to publication, I looked for an alternative. It so happened that print-on-demand had burst on the scene several years before and here, also, my years of librarianship helped my husband and I to research and produce a product that stood well in comparison to those published by the big publishing houses.

Check back next Monday, 22 April, for the second half of the interview, including Pamela’s answer to whether she plans to write more novels!

[Read Part II]

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/