Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Kitty and Lydia letters

"When Lydia went away, she promised to write very often and very minutely to her mother and Kitty; but her letters were always long expected, and always very short.......her letters to Kitty, though rather longer, were much too full of lines under the words to be made public."

Jane Austen's sister Cassandra destroyed most of her sister's letters, but it is likely that she used some sort of code, like Lydia, to indicate which parts of her letters were private. In this case, Lydia underlines the confidential sections of her letters to Kitty, and later on, Kitty triumphs in having known more than the others. Their letters could have been like these ones, which I wrote for fun.

June the 24th, 17--.

My dear Kitty,
It was a horrid journey, but I am glad to have arrived at last, and it is really wonderful. I have been here a week.-- The weather is excellent, but even if it were not, it shouldn't signify, for we could go to the libraries or the theatre.
I bought an elegant pelisse yesterday. Aren't you envious of me? There are balls and parties every night, and I danced with twenty different officers yesterday. Mrs Forster and me are having a glorious time. Guess what? You never will, so I'll tell you. Next week I'm going to elope with Mr. Wickham.
--But don't you dare tell, or I'll never trim you up a new bonnet again. What a joke!! I can hardly wait until I can sign myself Mrs Wickham!
                                                                                                                    Yours, etc.
June 28th, 17--.

Dear Lydia,
What! That is most unfair. Why is it Jane gets to go to London, Lizzy gets to go to Derbyshire, and you get to go to Brighton! Mary is so dull, she doesn't care, but why must I stay at home??
If I don't tell will you trim me a new bonnet??
There have been no balls here for an age. I am not at all well, I have a dreadful cough. Nobody knows what I suffer. Jane attends mamma, Mary studies her music and moral extracts, and it is dull and poky here.
                                                                                                                     Yours, &c., &c.
Next time~~ Cooking/Recipe #2


Monday, 25 June 2012

Useful French Phrases

I am learning French. An accomplished young lady would, as Miss Bingley says in Pride and Prejudice,"have a thorough knowledge of music, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages."
However, if you are travelling, it's good to know some phrases.

Je m'appelle...~I am/my name is/I am called...
Je te presente...~ May I present..
Je desirerais/Je voudrais~I'd like to
Comment dit-on en francais?~ How do you say that in French?
Je ne comprends pas~ I don't understand
Je ne sais pas~ I don't know
Je suis desole(e)~ I'm very sorry
Je vous en prie~ You're welcome
Que veut dire ce mot?~ What does this word mean?
No doubt the French Miss Bingley learned would have been a bit different from modern French. Another interesting fact. Jane Austen lived during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, but apart from some of her characters being soldiers and sailors, she does not mention these conflicts.
Oh, and I changed the name of my blog as you can see.
Next time~ The Kitty and Lydia letters

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sewing & Costume #1- Fichu Tutorial

A fichu is a Regency style neck scarf used to fill in the neckline of a dress. To make your own you can use chiffon or fine cotton or netting, preferably white. You could use a sewing machine but I hand hemmed mine with backstistch.

Cut a large, long triangle from your fabric, about  40-50- depending on the width of your shoulders- in. on the bottom side. Press the edges over and stitch neatly, being careful not to pull the fabric. Unfortunately I have no photos of the work in progress but I do have some of the finished result.

Not too clear. Ah well. Drape it around your shoulders, tie the ends together or fasten with a brooch pin. It also looks really pretty tied with a ribbon bow.

You could sew lace onto the edges to save hemming, do ruffles or embroidery, whatever you like.
Another popular neckline filler was a chemisette.
On one of my favourite blogs,Tea in a Teacup, there is a chemisette tutorial.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post!
Next time~ Useful French Phrases

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Reading #1

 Although it hasn't been a week yet, I thought I'd do another post. Sewing and Costume #1 is on the way. I decided to do one on Reading. Today's book is Little Women. Things I like about it are:
It is a really good classic.
It is about real life.
You can learn a lot from it.
Plenty of drama and action.
      Favourite character(s)
          Jo and Amy.
      Favourite chapter
          Chapter 1~ Playing Pilgrims

      YAY! I just thought I'd try putting a picture on and it FINALLY WORKED!!!!!
This is Jo from the Winona Ryder movie version of Little Women. That's my favourite so far.
This one is of the four girls and Marmee.
By the way, here's one of the berry custard tarts.
           Au revoir!! Coming soon~ Sewing and Costume #1~ With Photos!!     

Friday, 8 June 2012

Midyear Resolution

I have been pretty slack lately!! My (late) New Year's resolution is to do at least one blog post a week. Starting today!
Cooking~ #1. (I will do a series of posts on different topics.)

Today's Recipe~ Berry Custard Tarts
Flaky Pastry
1 & 1/2 cups plain flour              Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Dip butter in flour
1 tsp baking powder                   to prevent it sticking to the grater and grate butter into flour.
125g cold butter                          Rub into flour. Mix vinegar and milk together and mix into flour
1 tsp white wine vinegar           mixture to form a stiff dough.                                                      
1/2 cup milk                                Roll out thinly and line greased tins with pastry rounds. Blind
Custard~egg-free                       bake using foil and rice for 10-12 mins. Remove foil and rice
1/4 cup cornflour                      and bake for a further 5 mins. Meanwhile, make custard. Whisk
1/4 cup brown sugar                 cornflour & sugar together, pour in milk and add butter. Heat,
2 tbsp butter                                   whisking, until butter is melted, bring to boil. Keep stirring
2 cups milk                                       until thick and smooth. Fill pastry cases, bake until custard is
Topping                                             set, leave to cool. Top each tart with 2-3 berries and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen defrosted     chocolate. Serve at room temperature for dessert. These also
mixed berries                                               make an elegant afternoon tea.
1/2 cup white or milk
chocolate buttons, roughly chopped
1 12-hole muffin pan
12 squares tinfoil or baking paper
approx. 1 cup uncooked rice. 
My sisters and I have a Jane Austen club, and I made these for our outdoor afternoon tea. We dressed up and sat under our gazebo.
I couldn't get a photo this time.
Next week, Sewing and Costume post #1~ My Favourite Costumes