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

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Catherine Morland’s Regency Hairdo

So we are almost done with going over my Jane Austen 29th Birthday Party planning.

We have gone over invitations, decorations, the menu, games, my teapot piñata, prizes, and party favors. In this post I’ll be going over my hair choice, the next will feature my gown, and then last but not least my party playlist.

So my hair and I do not have a good relationship, it rarely ever does what I want it to.

So I was first going to try and do a hairstyle like Marianne Dashwood:

But it wouldn’t come out right. So then I tried for Mary Crawford.

But my hair was just not cooperating.

Its times like that that make me wish I had a maid to work on my hair.

I was feeling really stressed as I was running out of time when I decided to try and do what I do when I’m feeling down and stressed, look up my girl Catherine Morland.

Her hair didn’t look too difficult, so I googled to see if I could find a step-by-step guide and discovered this one for doll hair. I figured that if it worked well for the doll, it should theoretically work well on human hair, right?

The directions come from Never Grow Up Doll Guide Blog. She did it for some kind of Regency doll photo shoot. I really liked her step by step directions as they were easy to follow and she included lots of pictures. As I was doing mine on my own, I didn’t take any pictures, but here is step by step how to create Catherine’s hair.

  1. Choose a piece of ribbon (I used a leftover piece from my gown) and place it tie on your head like a headband. Leave two sections of hair loose in the front.
  2. Secure the ribbon by Bobby pining it in.
  3. Keep the two sections of hair separate by clipping them. I put the extra hair in claws so it would stay put:
  4. . Then put all your hair (except the front two sections) into a ponytail.
  5. Take your ponytail and twist it into a bun, Bobby pining it to stay in place.
  6. Take one of the front strands and twist it, placing the end on top of the bun and looping it around the bin. Pin in place.
  7. Repeat step 6

I didn’t take a really good picture of my hair, but it looked fantastic. I definitely recommend doing this to your hair.

We are almost done with my party plans. Can you believe it? Just a few more things to share.

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: What’s in Your Purse Game

I Won the Read the Write Act & Six0Six Design Giveaway + Can’t Fight This Feeling: Romance is in the Air, Part VII

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about free things.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

So I just cannot resist a giveaway-anytime I see one I have to enter it.

So in november I entered the ReadtheWriteAct giveaway that had partnered with Six0Six DesignThe winner would receive their choice of homemade pencils.

When I was contacted by Vanessa Scott-Hayward as to which set I wanted, I told her to surprise me with any of the Jane Austen ones. I was sure I would love any of them as you know how much I love Jane.

Plus I am horrible at making decisions:

Or what to pick…

The set came in right before Christmas and it turned out I was given the “Jane Austen on Love and Marriage Pencil Set“.

“Jane Austen on love and marriage. Austen’s wisdom on falling in love, all in one of my custom literary pencil sets.  The perfect gift to give this Valentines Day. AND it is also ideal to give as a Galentines present to your bookish bestie! Taking quotes from her letters and novels I have compiled five of my favorite romantic Jane Austen quotes.”

These pencils were absolutely beautiful and very well made. And when I saw them, I thought the same thing, they are the perfect Galentine’s gift. I ended up breaking the set up to give two to my friends, one to my niece, and one to SewMelissaWrites in the giveaway I did-keeping the last one for myself.

I was going to review this later, but as this is a perfect Galentine’s gift, I know I needed to review it before, and give you all a chance to order it for your best girlfriend or galfriend!

Last month I visited with two of my friends. One of them was talking about this:

“If a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him.”

So I knew it was the perfect pencil for her.

My other friend we were talking about getting back into a relationship after ending one that lasted a long time. I thought the pencil with this quote was perfect for her:

My niece is turning 13 this year, and all I can think is I hope that she doesn’t get involved with boys. 13 year old boys have a lot of growing up to do, so I sent her the pencil with this quote:

Last month I did a giveaway and I ended up mailing it later than I planned as life got in he way. So as a consolation prize to SewMelissaWrites I put one of these pencils in there, the one with this quote:

And kept the last for myself.

These are gorgeous, but they are made in Ireland. So when ordering just factor that into your shipping time! Absolutely gorgeous and a great gift to give.

For more giveaways, go to I Won the Two Sisters Tea Giveaway

Well with tomorrow being the first of February, you know what that means:

Yes, the time has come for me to choose 14 romantic moments from film and TV:

So whether you are single:

Or in a relationship:

Whether you love Valentine’s day:

Or hate Valentine’s Day:

There is sure to be something you will love on this list. So don’t fight your feelings any longer…

and join me! And of course I have to end on:

To start Romance is in the Air from the beginning, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

To start Romance is in the Air: Part II, go to Language of Love: Love Actually (2003)

To start Romance is in the Air: Part III, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

To start Romance is in the Air: Part IV, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

To start Romance is in Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

To start Romance is in the Air: Part VI, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper by Manuela Santoni

So we added this at the library and I was jazzed for it-Jane Austen biography? In graphic novel?

It seems like a win win to me!

But it wasn’t-I did not like it.

I’ve read several Jane Austen biographies, books and online, and I really enjoyed read Just Jane last year. I do not know everything about Jane, but I feel enough to know that this had quite a bit of historical inaccuracies it.

Hmmm

It also felt like they wanted to make her “ahead of her times” but it just feels like something we have seen before and not as if the author really was trying to show Jane, who this book is supposed to be about. Like how Nostalgia Critic words it in the Alice in Wonderland review.

It starts off with Jane sick at the end of her life writing a letter and thinking back on her life.

Hmm…

We go back to them as girls and Jane hates the piano playing:

But in reality, she enjoyed piano playing. From The Jane Austen Centre:

“Jane, studied with the respected composer and organist, William Chard well into her twenties, long after most girls would have given up their lessons. After that point, it was up to the student to progress if she wished, on her own. Jane owned a small piano at various times during her life and, when this was not an option, rented one. She played for her own enjoyment and would rise an hour before the rest of the family in order to get her practicing done.”

And Santoni has her hate doing embroidery:

But she was extremely talented at it, most likely loved it. From Jane Austen’s House Museum:

“Like all women of her time and class, Jane Austen learnt to sew in childhood and gained a life-long skill. Sewing was something she was particularly good at. In 1796 Austen wrote in a letter that she was “the neatest worker” of a group making shirts for one of her brothers. Edward Austen-Knight remembered of his aunt that “Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and might almost have put a sewing machine to shame. She was considered especially great in satin stitch.”

And I am currently reading Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge and she shares this in Day 5:

“From this description, we see that while Jane sat and worked (needlework) quietly, lines, descriptions, and plot ideas for her novels came to her in delightful bursts.”

“She [Jane Austen] could have declared needlework a boring, repetitive task and herself too intelligent for such menial jobs. Instead she appears to have spent the time in happy reflection.”

I am so sick and tired of authors being like, oh I want my historical character to be modern and powerful so she will hate embroidery. Why? Why is music revered, painting treated as a superpower, sewing something to be proud of-but embroidery is treated like dirt. Embroidery is a lot of hard work, amazing art, and takes blood, sweat, and sometimes tears to create.

Santoni gives Jane unruly curled hair that just seems to show again that she is “modern” eschewing society’s idea of how women should be.

So the story has Jane proposed to twice and she turns them both down, but in real life she only officially ever received one formal proposal, when she was 27, from Harris Bigg-Wither-but the next day refuses him.

Santoni also has Jane fall in love with Tom Lefoy, he propose, she accepts, and then turn him down as she can’t be a wife and mother but has decided to be a writer. Now there is a bit of leeway here as Cassandra Austen destroyed a lot of Jane’s letters, but she seems to ignore what history we do know.

Thats not right!

It even says at the end of the book “many suitors asked for my hand…” I found this hard to believe as there is no historical proof to confirm this, along with the fact that she had no dowry and very little to entice someone to marriage. I felt like did Santoni do any research? She says she is a Jane Austen fan, but it seems she was making up her own story and characters.

Yeah, not as good as Just Jane

For more Jane Austen biographies, go to Just Jane

For more Jane Austen inspired books, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Jane Austen inspired work, go to Northanger Soapworks Review

Northanger Soapworks Review

So I’m sure many of you Austen fans are like me, you see something Austen related and you’ve just gotta have it.

I’m not quite sure how I came across Northanger Soapworks. It might have showed up on my feed based on other things I follow, someone might have reposted something, or (most likely) I started following it when I entered to win a copy of Rational CreaturesAll I know is I started following it, was hooked by the name (I adore Northanger Abbey), and loved the cute names/themes for each item! Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

Or book lovers

She has items that reference each Jane Austen book, just to name a few: Norland Autumn Soap and Music and Reading: A Sense and Sensibility Candle from Sense and Sensibility; Brighton on the Sea and Mr. Darcy Soap from Pride and Prejudice; A Fondness for Reading Candle and a Proper Wedding Soap from Mansfield ParkBlack Sheep and Donwell Abby Soap from Emma; The Black Veil Lip Balm and The Waters of Bath Soap from Northanger AbbeyAnne Elliot and Rational Creatures Soap from Persuasion; and more!

Wow!

And she has even branched out to do a Sherlock Holmes themed soap and has A Christmas Carol themed box that is only available through pre-order (so if you want it order today!) 

So of course it being Jane Austen, I wanted to review it-but that’s where I found myself stuck. Most of the time when I have ordered Austen-themed things, I review them and keep them or gift them-like the Babylit Austen series or Little Literary Classics.

But I couldn’t purchase a bar of soap, review it and then give it away.

But then if I bought a bar of soap for someone else, I’d have to make sure I was there to see it. And all the people who’s birthdays were all coming up, lived in other cities or states.

It’s a puzzle

I know you are thinking, “why not just buy it for yourself?” Well the problem is my skin.

Ugh!

If you have been following me, you know I have very sensitive skin. It is so sensitive I don’t even know half the things I am allergic to. Sometimes I am just going about my life and my skin gets irritated, hives break out, and next thing you know I’m scratching and breaking the skin.

Ugh!

Everything I use is hypoallergenic and scent-free-as it not only bothers my skin but I’m sensitive to scents (I have to keep antihistamines on me as some scents I have no issues with and others I can’t breathe). I cannot enter Bath and Beauty and nearly pass out if I have to cut through Macy’s perfume counter. When it comes to bath products I often feel like the Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

So I was resolved to wait until Christmas and gift it to someone who I can witness opening it and then have them tell me what they think.

But then I saw that Northanger Soapworks  was doing a rep search! You know me and free-I can’t resist, but I wasn’t sure if I should apply. What if something was sent to me and caused an allergic reaction?

Hmm…

After some hemming and hawing, I decided to enter the search, but make sure that they knew I was allergic. In the end, I didn’t end up being chosen. But I figured I would just go back to my original plan and order at Christmas for a friend (or two!).

Oh, well.

But then I was given a huge surprise when I was asked if I would be interested in getting a free something in exchange for an honest review.

I enthusiastically said yes. When asked what I was interested in, I told her send me whatever she wanted to, I didn’t want to make any extra trouble.

The package arrived quickly, too quickly, as I was in the middle of my Rational Creatures review and knew I couldn’t get to this post for a while. The package was in an adorable little box with a beautiful rose stamp on it.

I took a video of me opening it, but when I went to post it, it turned out that when I filmed it I had moved the phone and ended up filming nothing!

So the box came with a personalized note and card that were just beautiful!

Inside the box the item was wrapped in brown paper and muslin. And then when I opened it, I saw it was:

Yes, Mr. Darcy Bath Soap. I will let you all make your own jokes about Mr. Darcy in the bath with you:

So first of all I thought the soap was absolutely beautiful in green and cream with bronze running through it. It had the most beautiful little label that went around it and had a quote from Pride and Prejudice; along with a little information on Mr. Darcy:

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report…of his having ten thousand a year.” ~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

“Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, wealthy and proud, is a catch beyond the the grasp of the average lady. Though he ultimately wins the heart of Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, countless readers fell in love with him as well and wish that he were still available.”

As to why it was designed that particular way:

“Mr. Darcy is rich to be sure, and many will never see anything more. The shimmering bronze and green top of this soap is meant to convey his grandeur and wealth. But beneath the glitz lies the white heart of our beloved hero, the heart that Elizabeth found and loved.”

I loved the way it looked and the label as I felt that made it perfect for any Austen-fan (who will adore it) along with non-Austen fans (who will get a clear picture of what and why it was made the way it was.)

So when I opened the package the smell, cinnamon and patchouli, was wonderful and strong-but not too strong. Cinnamon and patchouli are both things I have to be careful around as too much can create an allergic reaction, but this was just the perfect amount. It filled my bathroom and apartment (it is very small), but was not in a cloying or overpowering way, but the perfect added scent.

So it was absolutely beautiful, smelled wonderful-how did it react with my skin?

It was fantastic!!!! We had had a bit of change in the weather and my skin was drier than normal, but I  used this soap ad I felt great. NO itchiness, dry skin, hives, welts, nothing.

So I would say that this soap is something you should purchase for yourself or others. For an extremely reasonable price (I looked the whole site over), you get to support a small business, get a beautiful product (that works just as well as it is beautiful), and get an adorable Austen (or book-themed) item.

I already plan to purchase a minimum of two items for people on my Christmas list!

Don’t miss out, check the site out today!