My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

So I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been wanting a Regency inspired gown for quite a while now.

I had planned to have one made for Modesto Jane Con but time ran away with me and we didn’t get a chance.

But this time I was ready. I put an order in early with Madsen Creations and was determined to have my Regency gown for my birthday party.

Now I don’t know about you all but I’m one of those people who I need to see something on me and struggle at looking at fabric and seeing the end result. Oftentimes I don’t know what I want and kind of hem and haw about it all. This time I had seen lots of Regency gowns in different films and had a better idea of what I really wanted. Of course I really wanted a coat like Catherine:

But that is too, too hot for CA spring.

Instead I really wanted a blue gown, as blue always looks good on me, and after searching through many gowns the biggest influence was the cut of Lydia’s gown in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and the style of Daphne’s gown in Bridgerton.

I haven’t actually seen this show, but I loved the pearls on the dress.

After the gown was selected we went on a trip to the fabric store. Originally we were going to find a lace to add on top of the gown, but there was no fabric that I really liked and time was limited. Instead we purchased blue linen, blue thread, pearl buttons-and swapped out the plans for an overlay for an applique (being inspired by Emma (2020).

I also needed a new fan, as my pride and joy is a red fan from Spain that my brother and sister-in-law gave me, and would clash with this gown. I needed a few supplies from the dollar tree and found a blue fan that matched the fabric for $1.

From there my work was done and Madsen Creations took over. She made this dress in a week, yes one week! Isn’t that amazing?

She ended up using a lace overlay with pearl buttons she had leftover from a previous costume she made. She also said that if it wasn’t for the trickiness of the pearls in the overlay, the dress would have been completed in two days.

My dress was absolutely beautiful, a perfect dream and I looked great in it.

If you are looking for any custom work, definitely check her out.

We are almost done with my party plans. Can you believe it? Just a one more thing to share and then I’ll be back to our usual book reviews and such.

For more on Madsen Creations, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Collaboration with Madsen Creations!

For more Madsen Creations products, go to I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

For more Jane Austen products, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Emma Manga

Emma: Manga Classics adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Tse

So my niece’s birthday was the second of February and this is the year she turns 16, I decided to do my annual gift of Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I turned 16, so now I gift as a 16th birthday gift.

So I decided to get a copy for my niece…but only one problem-my niece isn’t a big fan of reading. She doesn’t hate it, but is more into Netflix, K-Dramas, Anime, tiktok, etc. You know how I feel about that…

So I am planning something else to celebrate her birthday, but I figured I would get her the book too. But then I was looking online at Barnes and Nobles to decide what I wanted to spend my christmas gift card on, and I spotted Emma and Pride and Prejudice manga.

Wow!

My niece loves Webtoons so I figured that a Manga would be the route to go! I looked at the two and was going to buy Pride and Prejudice when I looked at the Emma manga. Emma would be perfect as a manga as it has great comedic moments and the style would fit perfect for some of these characters. I mean think how fun some of the more extreme characters would be in this-Mrs. Elton for example.

My niece also LOVES Clueless so I figured it would be the perfect in to Jane Austen, and espechially Emma. 

While it differs from tradition, I think she will love it, so I ordered the book.

We then went to the bookstore last weekend and my niece was looking at the manga wanting to buy one, but couldn’t settle on one. I was so pleased as I have one ready.

But then, of course like last year’s P.S. I Like You, I needed to read it first so I could review it.

So I read this book and I just absolutely LOVED it! I started reading and couldn’t put it down at all. They did such a good job with selecting which parts of the novel and text to use and pairing them with the illustrations. It was incredibly enjoyable, and I highly recommend it for any Austen fan.

These illustrations were also 100% perfect.

I loved Mr. Knightley’s reaction to Emma:

I laughed so hard at this one of Mrs. Elton and everyone who dislikes her:

Look how gorgeous they drew Emma’s dress for the ball:

Ugh, Frank’s temper tantrum. They did him perfectly. Like, wah little baby!

It was fantastic and I loved in the back how they detailed their process in adapating the novel to manga. I absolutely loved it and again, I recommend it to any Jane Austen or Manga fans.

I can’t wait to check out their Pride and Prejudice version. Maybe for Christmas?

For more Emma, go to Why Don’t More People Talk about Mrs. Goddard?

For more Emma adaptions, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

For more Emma Woodhouse, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

Why Don’t More People Talk about Mrs. Goddard?

So to be honest, I never really thought about Mrs. Goddard, from Emma, other than she was the woman who ran the home/school that Harriet lives and attends.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

In fact, I never gave her a second thought until a while back I read the book A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma.

But when you think of it, Mrs. Goddard is a pretty amazing woman. She is a widow who has managed to not struggle in poverty but become a mistress of a school-not a college or upper education, but a really pleasant place for kids to learn some skills and live and grow.

“Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a School-not a seminary, or an establishment…where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity-but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price.”

She has a house and garden, feeds the children good food (that in itself is an amazing kindness-think of Jane Eyre and the slop they eat), let them have freedom to play in  the summer, etc. All I could think when reading this was all the horrible girls schools you read in fiction-Jane Eyre’s terrifying experiences, the way everyone bullies and looks down on Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, the mean Miss Minchin in A Little Princess, etc. I would much rather go to Mrs. Goddard’s than any of those other ones.

I mean Becky is treated horribly for having a mother who was a dancer/actress (often a codeword for prostitute), but her parents were known and married. With Harriet, she doesn’t know who her father is-but she isn’t treated badly or excluded like Becky, at Mrs. Goddard’s Harriet and any girl there can have a happy and pleasant time.

I also think that for Mrs. Goddard this school isn’t just financial security, but for someone who never had children of her own, she can enjoy mothering all these girls.

I just love how in all of Austen’s stories creates all these wonderful characters and makes them so alive. She’s not in the book a lot, but in it enough to appreciate her.

For more Emma, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Mrs. Goddard, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more character studies, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Mini Apple Pies

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). The first week we had Cederberg Tea Company Rooibos + Ginger Tea, Cranberry-Spice Scones with Maple Cream, Cucumber-Four Peppercorn Goat Cheese Canapés, Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Fotina & Pork Puffed Pastry, and Mini Apple Pies.

I have been posting the recipes from the first meeting, but am ending on the last thing we had during that session: Mini Apple Pies

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve shared before, but made mini. It an easy recipe and a delicious one. After all, who can resist pie?

Ingredients:

Pie Crust

  • Pre-made Pie Dough

Filling:

  • 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 6-7 Granny Smith Apples peeled, and cut into slices
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter

Directions:

  1. Peel and slice the apples. When cutting up the apples, make sure to remove the hard pieces where the seed grows along with any spots or blemishes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°
  3. Combine the apples, with the brown and white sugar.
  4. Add the flour and cinnamon, mixing them all together.
  5. Roll out the dough and using a cookie cutter or small bowl, cut round circles out-large enough to fill a cupcake/muffin pan.
  6. Lay the apples down on the dough in the pan.
  7. Chop the two tablespoons of butter and put a little in each mini pie.
  8. Place the second ball of dough down and roll it out into a large circle, cutting it to create a lattice top.
  9. Add a dash of cinnamon and sugar on top.
  10. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

These were delicious and a great final piece to our tea time. After all, as Mr. Woodhouse says:

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Fotina & Pork Puffed Pastry

For more recipes, go to Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches

For more apple pie, go to Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits?

For more desserts, go to The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

For more tea posts, Cucumber-Four Peppercorn Goat Cheese Canapés

Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Mystery, you say?

So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.

What??

At first I was what? Emma?

If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?

The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.

Let’s spill the tea.

It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them. 

So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery. 

But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

Hmmm…

Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery. 

It,

So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?

Hmm…

Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?

Time to get on the case!

So the definition of mystery is:

Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.

In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey. 

The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?

Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie. 

Hmm…

Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?

Hmm…?

Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?

And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?

Hmm…

And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?

I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.

What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?

Mystery, you say?

For more Emma, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

For more mysteries, go to The Conclusion to the Griggs Mystery…Or Is It?