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

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Croquet

So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.

Party time!

Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, in my last year of being a Jane Austen heroine (Anne Elliot) but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.

So far we have gone over invitations, decorations, prizes, and how to make your own piñata, etc. Now I ended up having four games, but I know not everyone is interested in being a part of games-and I had four little girls who needed something to occupy themselves with. So I started thinking what else could I offer my party guests?

So the first thing I had planned was paper fan making. I thought the young girls would have a lot of fun making those, plus if the adults got overheated they could make one too.

But that would only occupy them for a short while. So I started thinking of something else to have…

Hmm…?

So one thing I really, really wanted to have at my party was croquet. I love croquet, but I wanted it not only because I like the game but because I wanted to be like Austenland.

Ah, if only I had JJ Feild: Mr. Tilney or Mr. Nobley. I’d settle for any of them.

I’m all about him!

So I started looking and I couldn’t find any croquet sets that weren’t costing an arm and a leg. I searched everywhere, every site I could think of and just gave up. I thought I would just have to find something else to do.

Sigh

But then in April, about two weeks before my party was planned, I went antiquing with some friends. I found some teacups, mugs, and other things in this amazing multilevel store. As I went to go outside to the shed, I spotted something sad, forlorn, dirty, and ignored.

I’m not sure how old it is, but it is certainly vintage. I got the set (minus the arches) for $30

This set needed a lot of work, someone had not been kind and left them out in the elements: they were dirty, full of cobwebs, the paint was peeling, etc. And of course after I purchased this set every site then had full new croquet sets for sale.

Oh well…

So I set to work taking care of it. I had to clean everything, then sanitize it, paint it, and in the end varnish it. I had a lot of help, which was good, as this was tiring.

From The Iron Giant

And I think it came out pretty great.

The official rules of croquet were published in the mid 1800s, but people had been playing long before that.

For those who don’t know, the game of croquet is a race of hitting balls on the lawn. Similar to golf, one must hit their ball but through an arch or hoop to score points, then tap the pole at the end to win.

  1. The role of play is on the wickets and the peg, you must play in the order of the colors.
  2. The first player gets one strike and whacks their ball in an effort to get it through the hoop.
  3. Each player gets one shot and they are played in turn (unless extra shots get earned).
  4. Running a hoop‘ (passing through the correct hoop) gains one extra shot. Hitting one of the other three balls (a roquet) gets you two extra shots as well.
  5. You can hit another ball (make a roquet) and earn two extra shots. In this case the first of those (the croquet stroke) must get played by placing it in contact with the roquet ball. To do that, you move your ball and place it anywhere in contact with the ball that got hit. The roqueted ball must move or shake with the next strike.
  6. Balls can get struck off the lawn. How I’ve always played is like golf, you hit where it lands. But official UK rules say that if a ball is knocked out of bounds, you may move it one meter inside the lawn.
  7. Players must hit each ball clean and without moving any other balls, hoops, or pegs. The best croquet strategy is to strike the balls with the face of the mallet to make a clean shot. (Or as seen in the Austenland video, hold you ball with your foot, and smack it into another to move them out of the way.)
  8. The ball gets removed from play once it hits the peg at the end of the course.
  9. You score one point for getting the ball through each hoop. You get an extra point for hitting the peg. First person or team to do so, wins!

We played with it, the young girls did as well, and we all had a great time.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

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

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Invitations

So I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years, and I’m not letting the Coronavirus get in the way. I had always planed a garden party (social distancing check), trying to keep it small (small groups check), and our county is moving a tier down. But even if everything gets on lockdown again and it turns out to be just me, I’m having it!

Party time!

Those who follow me on Instagram have seen that I already started by collecting tea cups which I plan to use for people to drink out of and take home as their favor. I started early on that as I wanted plenty of time to get enough.

After that, I moved on to invitations. Emily Post recommends that invitations should be mailed out 4-6 weeks before the event. I had planned a weekend to work on them, but things didn’t go quite as planned.

My life motto right there…

So I was getting close to the 4 week mark and needed to get invitations out. I found a couple cute ones on Etsy. One by PaperColada was nice looking and a good price, but I struggled with editing it. So I ended up giving that one a pass.

Another one by AgentKat was gorgeous, but the price was a bit too high as I still needed to pay for printing them. I gave that one a pass as well.

There were other paper ones that could be made and fit the style and price I wanted, but they wouldn’t be ready in time.

So I tried making my own cards. After visiting CVS, Staples, Walgreens, Zazzle, and VistaPrint-I ended up settling on Walmart. The cards weren’t exactly what I had envisioned, but they still came out cute. I made three different ones with free Regency pictures I found online. This one photographed the best.

The invitation says:

You are cordially invited to a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party

In honor of Miss L—- Twenty Ninth Birthday (I wanted to do Nine and Twenty, but I wasn’t sure everyone would get it.)

“It sometimes happens that a women is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before.” -Jane Austen

Please RSVP with haste at —

Costumes are not required but encouraged

I can’t wait to share some of my other plans with you all.

For more Jane Austen parties, go to Jane Austen Bridal Shower

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Secrets of the Heart

What is Catherine Morland’s Reading List? The idea came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen I devoured books, (and I still do), that I know, if Catherine Morland was real and alive, she would be reading or interested in reading.

It started with one review, and then before I knew it I had a list of thirty I was planning on reviewing. What can I say, other than:

Secrets of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #1) by Jillian Kent

This book is also a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers.

Madeline Whittington is the daughter of the deceased Earl of Richfield. She has been deeply depressed and heartbroken since her father’s passing, along with her siblings’ passing, and has just ended a year-long period of mourning. Her best friend, Hallie, Lady Gilling, a widow, is trying to get her out and about but Madeline is still suffering.

Life is grey…

Devlin Greyson, is also suffering, but not deaths but from people bullying him and not wanting to befriend him because of his new title, Earl of Ravensmore. As the second son, Devlin had never planned to be the Earl, but instead wanted to pursue his dream of being a doctor. After his brother passed, he received the title, and to the chagrin of the ton he has decided to forgo what is expected and continue his doctoral studies.

Madeline is feeling lost and spends her days meandering the property by walking or on horseback. She is deeply troubled when she discovers a a mute girl on her property that looks as if she has been suffering from terrible things, she decides to help her-hiding and feeding “Brown Eyes”. This gives her something new to devote her attention to as home is not so pleasant with her mother’s new beau, Lord Vale. Lord Vale claims to be her late father’s friend, but Madeline doesn’t know him or trust him and she has a bad feeling about him. He is just too slimy and creepy.

Madeline continues in this despondent way, not going to any parties or events as she doesn’t want to be involved with what the ton likes. The grief she encountered from the loss of her family coupled with seeing the heartbreak her mother faced, she never wants to be married, but then what is left for her? What should she do with her life?

Hallie doesn’t mind her friend wanting to do something else, but is worried over her despondency and hoping to spark some light in her, she has invites her to join the latest hunt. Although Madeline is not into hunting, she agrees to go as she enjoys horseback riding. During the hunt Madeline gets injured and Devlin is introduced and looks in on her as she has injured her arm, but Madeline is not having it. She wants zero to do with Devlin as he killed her father.

Relax, Devlin is not a murderer, but he was the physician-in-training who was unable to help as her father arrived too far gone.  Devlin instantly falls for Madeleine, but is unable to start any relationship with her as she hates the very sight of him. She’d rather be concussed and lying on a field with a broken arm than receive any help from him. In fact she only gets treatment because of the insistence of her friends.

Wow!

So this wouldn’t be a gothic novel if it didn’t have a creepy building and the creepy building in this one is Ashcroft Asylum. The Asylum is located behind Madeline’s home and guess which creepy dude is in on board and in charge of a lot of asylum decisions? Lord Vale.

One day when Lord Vale is visiting the Countess, Madeline’s mother, he talks about a missing mute murderess, a child. Madeleine figures out it is “Brown Eyes”, but doesn’t believe him as the girl is so nice. Madeleine does all she can, but unfortunately the little girl is discovered and sent back to the creepy Asylum.

Creepy…

Ashcroft Asylum continues its creepy grasp as it holds dread for Devlin as well. His mother went insane and his father sent her away to the asylum where she passed away. Devlin does all he can to stay far away from it, and the fear of mental illness has a strong grip on him.

One day he can no longer avoid it as his school gets a call that the asylum is in need of medical assistance and his instructor volunteers Devlin. When Devlin looks at the wounded inmates, he feels very suspicious of the “self-inflected” wounds, they have but without any concrete proof nothing can be done. Fearing that there is something not right going on in the facility, he decides to tell his instructor and have him check up on it.

Hmm…

Hallie and Madeline run into Devlin and his fellow trainee Melton repeatedly, with Hallie and Melton being very interested in each other, but Madeline doing all she can to get rid of Devlin. Devlin honors her requests as a suitor, but as a doctor he feels he must check up on her health after the horseback riding incident, and then a later carriage accident. On one such visit to see that her arm is healing properly, the two go horseback riding (Madeline’s insistence) and when they return they discover Madeleine’s mother is gone!

She has eloped with Lord Vale to Gretna Greene.

They run after them, but are too late. They have been married and Madeline has a wicked stepfather. Madeline becomes so angry at it all, that when Devlin goes to check on her mental and physical state he discovers she has a gun, one she had wanted to use to keep Vale from marrying her mother. Devlin comforts her and helps her return home, but his visits stop as he will be busy with the upcoming tests to complete his training, leaving her alone in her thoughts.

Vale and her mother return and Vale slimily slips into every part of their lives, taking over. He even volunteers Madeline to help at the asylum, teaching two young boys who are awaiting transport. In doing so Madeline starts to see what really goes on in the asylum: uncleanliness, lack of food being given to the inmates, etc. Vale “listens” and agrees to consider her requests of going through the head of the Asylum’s practices and having  doctor check the inmates, but his compliance seems very out of character and as benefactor, does he really not know what is going on?

Hmm…

Madeleine finds herself attracted to Devlin, and turning to her with her problems, but she still doesn’t want to be with him if he is a doctor. She insists Devlin tell her what happened with her father, and when he reveals the truth, he wasn’t too far gone it turned out that her father didn’t like how tight the tourniquet was and when the doctors were busy with other patients, he loosened it and bleed to death.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Madeleine is furious at this statement and refuses to believe him. She tells Devlin she never wants to see him again and refuses letters, calls,  etc. all contact from him.

Of him

Madeline continues to fall into depression and melancholia.

Life is grey…from Anna Karenina (1948)

Then Madeleine’s mother grows very sick wasting away. Madeleine immediately grows suspicious of Vale and tries to get her away and send for Devlin. When Vale uncovers this, he sends her packing to the asylum.

In the asylum she encounters the horrors of the asylum:

The Wolfman (2010)

She also finds out the deep secrets that lie in the asylum and has to fall victim to the horrors of the asylum, Will she get out, or be stuck in the dreaded place forever?

Hmm…

Will her mother be saved, or will she die by the plotting of the dastardly Vale?

Hmmm…

And what terrible secrets does the asylum hold?

Hmm…

So this was a really interesting book as it talked a lot about grief and depression, and showed realistic reactions to it. I used to work with grieving people and we see parents and children hating doctors after their loved ones died, depression, isolation, wanting to not be involved romantically because of fear, pushing away from new people, starting a new relationship (the mother), etc. It’s actually nice to read about her being lost and confused but trying to journey through.

The conditions of the asylum were truly terrifying. And the way that people could so easily be thrown in one, made me think of The Woman in White. (An amazing book, you should definitely check out!).

This is of course a romance, so the end was a bit quickly resolved in a happy way but I still enjoyed it. I thought it was cute and mysterious.

This is also a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers as the character of Madeliene reminds me of Marianne Dashwood. Like Madeleine, Marianne has just encountered the death of her father and her whole world changed. With the estate entailed she and her sister lose their house, some of the furnishings, friendships, position in society, and have to move to a place rented to them out of the kindness of their hearts. Like Madeleine she is a whirlwind of passion and emotion, and also like Madeliene rejects a suitor adamantly. Madeline rejects Devlin believing him to have killed her father ad hating all doctors in general, while Marianne thinks Colonel Brandon is too old and not passionate-yet they both end up with those guys who patiently love them from afar.

As I said a good book to read.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Cat Burglar Black

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Homespun Bride

For more Gothic Fiction, go to The Poison Diaries

For more stories with asylums, go to Trapped in a Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere with a Psycho: The Cat and the Canary (1939)