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Jane Austen's Sewing Box - Jennifer Forest

Jane Austen’s Sewing Box – Jennifer Forest

I didn’t realise how long it was since my last post! This book, as you probably know, came out a while ago and I was strong and didn’t buy it. However, I like craft and I like Jane Austen, so it seemed the perfect book when I needed a bit of cheering up. It is a beautiful book with lovely pictures and illustrations. There is a brief introduction describing the regency era  (with quotes from Austen’s novels) and a description of ‘women’s work’. Then it is into the projects: Letter Case, Linen, Workbag, Paper Flowers, Purses, Huswif, Carpet Work, Muff and Tippet, Pin Cushion and Thread Case, etc. There is historical information about each project as well as more beautiful images.

In the Letter Case Section

In the Letter Case Section

Ms Forest has found images that suit the project. The above image is included in the section on making a Letter Case.

Cravats!

Cravats!

Although, I can’t imagine ever making a cravat I liked seeing all of the different styles – very helpful for anyone who reads Georgette Heyer novels! You can make your own work bag.

Workbag

Workbag

Or a carpet work cushion. Sewing_04.jpeg

And finally someone knitting – it looks like socks.

Sewing_05

I am not sure I will make any of the projects, but it is beautiful and inspiring and I am glad I gave in to temptation.

Mansfield Park 2007

Mansfield Park 2007 - the Billie Piper one

Mansfield Park 2007 – the Billie Piper one

This is my third Mansfield Park adaptation. This one is movie length (120 minutes) like the 1999 version. As it is movie length, some things have to be left out – the trip to Sotherton and the Portsmouth scenes (instead of going to Portsmouth Fanny is left at Mansfield Park when the family go to London).

Once again, Fanny is more active than depicted by Austen and things seem to happen out of doors – instead of a ball there is a picnic. This is not my favourite version, but it is lovely to watch and sticks to the spirit of the plot if not the plot itself.

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

We never see the Parsonage in this version – in fact we only ever see Mansfield Park.

Edmund and Fanny

Edmund and Fanny

Mr Rushworth and Maria

Mr Rushworth and Maria

The Crawfords

The Crawfords

The Play - Henry and Maria flirting

The Play – Henry and Maria flirting

The picnic instead of the ball

The picnic instead of the ball

Henry Loves Fanny

Henry Loves Fanny

Happy Ending!

Happy Ending!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austenland

Austenland

Austenland

I was really keen to see this movie based on Shannon Hale’s novel, but it wasn’t played in any cinemas near me. I bought it as soon as it was released on DVD. It has had some poor reviews, but I thought it was hilarious. An over-the-top romp through most of the conventions that make up Austen adaptations. The actors appeared to be having a ball over-playing their parts – I suspect the critics were expecting something more literary.

In case you don’t know the plot …

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Austenland_02

Jane’s Bedroom – A life Sized Mr Darcy

Austenland_03

Arriving at the Manor House

Jane could only afford the Copper package (rather than the Platinum package) and hence no seat inside the carriage for her. Doesn’t Jane sit in this spot in Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation?

Our first glimpse of the Mr Darcy character (played by JJ Feild)

Our first glimpse of the Mr Darcy character (played by JJ Feild)

Sneaking off and meeting the help.

Sneaking off and meeting the help.

Learning how to shoot a rifle (with the help again)

Learning how to shoot a rifle (with the help again)

Being rescued by Mr Nobley -after her horse wouldn't go.

Being rescued by Mr Nobley -after her horse wouldn’t go.

The aim was to immerse your self in regency life.

Accomplishments - singing, playing the piano and embroidery

Accomplishments – singing, playing the piano and embroidery

Reading

Reading

Having a picnic in the grounds

Having a picnic in the grounds

Jane would often sneak off and meet Martin (the stable boy).Austenland_09

Wandering the grounds.

Bit of a moment in the dark with Mr Nobley

Bit of a moment in the dark with Mr Nobley

Jane decides to be a true Austen heroine and take charge.

Here she is in charge - and with better clothes (she stole one of the other ladies clothes)

Here she is in charge – and with better clothes (she stole one of the other ladies clothes)

They put on a play to entertain themselves before the ball.

 

Rehearsing - perhaps Mr Nobley is not so bad?

Rehearsing – perhaps Mr Nobley is not so bad?

The play

The play

The night we have been waiting for the Ball!

The Ball

The Ball

Escaping to 'something real'

Escaping to ‘something real’

Returning to the real world – disillusionment.

Was Martin a cad after all?

Was Martin a cad after all?

Removing Austen from her house

Removing Austen from her house

Spoiler Alert!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Ending!

Austenland_20

Austenland_21

Mansfield Park 1999

Mansfield Park 1999

Mansfield Park 1999

I remember when this film came out. It was very controversial and much outrage. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it.

However, I have changed my mind and this is now my favourite Mansfield Park adaptation. There are significant changes to some of the characters. Fanny is energetic, witty and a writer (in fact she appears to have written Austen’s juvenilia), Henry Crawford is much more sympathetically portrayed (Fanny accepts him in Portsmouth and then changes her mind) and Tom Bertram is not a hard-living elder son who spends too much money but is a young man haunted by demons.

This film is beautiful – the sets and the costumes are stunning. Also, it was quite ingenious to have the same actress play the roles of Lady Bertram and Mrs Price (Lindsay Duncan) because you can see what hard living (or marrying for love as she says) does to Mrs Price.

Henry and Mary Crawford

Henry and Mary Crawford

Edmund Bertram

Edmund Bertram

Mary and Edmund rehearsing

Mary and Edmund rehearsing

Frank and Maria flirting during the rehearsals for the play

Frank and Maria flirting during the rehearsals for the play

Mr Crawford beginning to be interested in Fanny

Mr Crawford beginning to be interested in Fanny

Portsmouth - the drudgery

Portsmouth – the drudgery

Portsmouth the Doves!

Portsmouth the Doves!

Mr Crawford comforting Fanny when they think Mary and Edmund are engaged

Mr Crawford comforting Fanny when they think Mary and Edmund are engaged

Fanny and Mr Crawford share a moment

Fanny and Mr Crawford share a moment

Maria and Mr Crawford are back on!

Maria and Mr Crawford are back on!

Happy Ending

Happy Ending

This film is more political than other Austen adaptations. Gender inequality, slavery, and family are all examined. If you are looking for a pretty period drama that focuses on romance, then this is probably not for you. I think this adaptation is true to the spirit of Austen’s novel, but takes it much further than Austen did.

More … (I think both of the links below a by the same author, but does such a great job of writing about Austen and in particular the adaptation that I couldn’t resist linking to both).

http://www.jimandellen.org/austen/MPfilms.html

http://reveriesunderthesignofausten.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/four-mansfield-park-movies-the-humiliation-of-the-heroine-begins-to-disappear/

Mansfield Park BBC 1983

I have continued watching Mansfield Park and I have to say it grew on me – let’s face it it is not very pretty (although I read somewhere that it won a costume award), but it is closest to the novel.

As Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield write in Jane Austen in Hollywood about this adaptation

...Moreover, while we may know that Edmund Bertram is not particularly physically striking, do we really want his earnestly bad hair style thrust constantly on our vision?

The hair styles in this version are particularly bad – wait until you see Mr Yates!

Visit to Sotherton

Visit to Sotherton

Here they are on the visit to Sotherton. Mr Rushworth has forgotten the key and Maria and Mr Crawford sneak around the gate.

Practising the Play

Practising the Play

Rehearsals for Lover’s Vows – Mr Crawford and Maria are quite enthusiastic.

Now Frank Loves Fanny

Now Henry Loves Fanny

The Maria and Mr Rushworth are married and have left for their honeymoon taking Julia with them. Henry is bored and decides to pierce a small hole in Fanny’s heart.

Fanny is in Portsmouth

Fanny is in Portsmouth

Fanny is sent back to Portsmouth where it is hoped she will rethink her rejection of Frank’s proposal. This is Frank as his best – showing real concern for Fanny and treating her (awful) parents with courtesy and respect.PDVD_017MP83_FrankMaria

A chance encounter in London and Frank runs off with Maria – oops!

The Wedding

The Wedding

And finally Edmund realises he loves Fanny after all.

I think this is a very true adaptation and worth watching if you like Mansfield Park.

Next up the Patricia Rozema’s version

 

Mansfield Park BBC 1983

1983 BBC Mansfield Park

1983 BBC Mansfield Park

As part of my year of Mansfield Park, I have been watching the 1983 BBC version. I’ve only watched one episode (the Crawfords have just arrived).

I don’t have a favourite Mansfield Park adaptation – this one is closest to the novel, but the production values are poor by which I mean it is not very pretty to look at!

I have only watched one episode, but I have to say it is growing on me – particularly the two leads they do seem well-suited to each other and to their parts. I suspect fashions in acting have changed in the past 30 years because to me there seems to be a lot of over acting, but I imagine that was how the actors were directed.

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

So a brief respite from Mansfield Park I have been watching Death Comes to PemberleyFirst, I read the book and wasn’t that impressed. However, this adaptation is beautiful to watch and if I forget about it having anything to do with Pride and Prejudice it is quite enjoyable. If you get the chance to watch it, I think it is worth the effort.

I do wonder about Elizabeth’s green frocks – she only seems to wear green.

Mansfield Park

MP_Book_1

I have started re-reading Mansfield Park and even though it is my least favourite Austen I am loving it.

Quotes like this …

But there are certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as pretty women to deserve them

and

The division of gratifying sensations ought not, in strict justice, to have been equal; for Sir Thomas was fully resolved to be the real and consistent patron of the selected child, and Mrs Norris had not the least intention of being at any expense whatever in her maintenance. As far as walking, talking and contriving reached, she was thoroughly benevolent, and nobody knew better how to dictate liberality to others; but her love of money was equal to her love of directing, and she knew quite as well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends.

and

Though perhaps she might so little know herself as to walk home from the Parsonage, after this conversation, in the happy belief of being the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world.

and

He was just entering into life, full of spirits, and with all the liberal dispositions of an eldest son, who feels born only for expense and enjoyment.

So fabulous and I am only in the early pages.

By the way, I have a great  ebook version from here.

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

It is the two hundredth anniversary of the publishing of Mansfield Park this year (in May). It is not my favourite Austen, but as I have grown older, I do appreciate it more. I can now see that Fanny (although a bit dull) is stoic and courageous.

I do intent to do some Mansfield Park activities this year – like re-read the novel. I also have three adaptations to watch; Mansfield Park (BBC 1983), Mansfield Park (1999) and Mansfield Park (2007)  – Mansfield Park is obviously very tricky to adapt because none of these is brilliant. The first, the BBC one, is closet to the novel, but it is very dated and the last two are more free adaptations.

I also have some critical studies I shall try to read.

Regency World

Image from candicehern.com/regencyworld

Image from candicehern.com/regencyworld

I came across this site (candicehern.com/regencyworld) while meandering around the web. There are lots of fashion images (like the one above) and more information on the regency period including things like a timeline and famous regency people.

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