Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jane Austen Eye Quiz

"I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of 
fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." 
- Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6

I recently took the Fine Eyes in Period Drama Quiz from Gsbohn on YouTube and tremendously enjoyed guessing which period drama characters the 140 pairs of eyes belonged to. 

So this is my Jane Austen Fine Eyes Quiz, inspired by the other quiz. For this quiz I chosen pairs of eyes from Jane Austen films because I thought they would be more recognizable for all of you.

To Play: 
Watch the video below and try to guess which character, actor and film the 75 pairs of eyes belong to. 
Put your guesses in a comment.
Guess as many times as you wish. 
For bonus points, try to guess which Jane Austen films the five dance songs that play during the quiz come from.

1 point will be awarded for each correctly guessed character, actor and film (for a total of 3 points per pair of eyes). 
5 points will be awarded for each correctly guessed dance song (for a total of 25 bonus points if all five songs are guessed correctly). 
The highest possible score will be 250 points (if all eyes and dance songs are guessed correctly.) 

Have fun!

Edited 1/7/2012: Answers video posted here. See how well you scored!

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Christmas In Photos

Did all of you had a Merry Christmas with your families and friends?

I came down with a bit of a fever and stomach bug on Christmas Eve but was feeling a bit better on Christmas Day and had a fun and blessed time with my family. I've had this whole week off from work and have enjoyed the rest and relaxation.

Last year I shared photos of the Christmas gifts I received (from friends and from family). This year I've decided to do the same thing because I think many of my gifts will be of interest to my readers. 

So here are my gifts in my photos:  

From my mom's friend: Her gifts reflect the things I enjoy collecting: a LadyBug kitchen timer to add to my collection of LadyBugs; a lovely cameo broach (my first real cameo!); and two books that reflect my love of all things Jane Austen. I've really been wanting to read some of Amanda Grange's Austen Hero Diaries so I was very excited to receive my own copy of Captain Wentworth's Diary which I'm really enjoying and hope to review soon! I was less excited but still appreciative of A Woman of Influence by Rebecca Ann Collins, Book 9 in the Pemberley Chronicles Series. I may read some of it but from browsing the back cover, introduction and character appendix, I have the feeling that it will veer quite far from the original Pride and Prejudice story and annoy me no end. 

Click to see closeup of the cameo broach.

From my friend Sarah: Ten Victorian Christmas Cards in five lovely designs, I can't wait to use them! The Reading Woman 2012 Engagement Calendar; Sarah gave me one of these lovely day calendars last year and I'm so excited to receive one again this year. Each month features a lovely classic painting of a lady reading and an accompanying quote from a classic author or historic figure. Tea With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson - an in-depth look at the tradition of tea and dining in Jane Austen's time. In The Garden With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson - about the type of gardens that Jane Austen would have been familiar with, and a foreword by the head gardener at Jane Austen's house museum in Chawton. I'm hoping to review both of these books in future, they have so much history in them!

From my parents: A lovely porcelain travel mug with my first initial on it, the warmest pair of thermal long-johns (not pictured but they are from L.L. Bean) and four books from my wish list! After reading The Lighkeeper's Daughter I've been longing to read the next two books in the series. Mama and daddy gave me The Lightkeeper's Bride and The Lightkeeper's Ball by christian author Colleen Coble and I can't wait to start reading! Another book I've been longing to read since it was first released is The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan (aka Mags). I have followed Mags's for many years and greatly enjoy her knowledge of Jane Austen and her quick wit which fills her writings. This is a lovely book which I'm greatly enjoying! Also on my wish list was What Jane Austen Ate And Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, a wonderfully informative book about customs and facts of daily life in Regency and Victorian times. I love this book! Everything I've always wondered about the history behind my favorite novels. I've haven't been able to read straight through this book because a question will form in my mind I must turn to another chapter to have it answered before I continue. So far I've learned the details and history of: marriage licenses, rank, lawyers, calls and callings cards, dinner parties and much more!

From my sister Bea: The warmest pair of red gloves, a travel edition of Farkle (one of our favorite games), That's Life CD the debut album of Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (he sings all the old Frank Sinatra classics), and two lovely bags which she crocheted for me. And what a surprise the crochet was!

 I knew Bea was crocheting this handbag because we had tried the pattern together first but she messed up and had to try again. When she tried the pattern again she bought a new color yarn and didn't let me see it's progress. I love the red and gold yarn in this design and can't wait to use it!

For this project I knew Bea was using the purple/green variegated yarn and guessed that it was a bag of some sort but I was so surprised to open the wrapping paper and find this beautiful case with my crochet hooks inside! I absolutely love the colors, pattern, buttons, everything! How she was so clever as to make up the pattern and so sneaky as get my crochet hooks away from me I'll never know! :)

From my brother Andy: The prettiest pair of flannel pajamas (picked out with the help of mama), the movie Source Code on DVD (it's a pretty interesting action flick) and Michael Buble's Christmas CD! I especially excited about Michael Buble's new Christmas album and I was not disappointed, his voice is amazing and the songs are beautifully done!

I received a few more things from other friends, and it seems to me as if I'm missing something my family gave me but maybe I'll think of it later. It was an amazing Christmas all in all with some lovely gifts. I am so blessed with wonderful family and friends, God is so good! 

Did you get any Jane Austen related Christmas gifts?
Which of your Christmas gifts were your favorites?
Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Dear Friends!

I pray that all of you have a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends.

Remember that the reason for the season is the birth of Christ Jesus who was born into this world to take the punishment for our sins. If you've never asked Jesus to be your Savior from sin I'd love to show you from God's Word the Bible how you can know that your sins are forgive. 

Love and prayers from me and my family to yours!

I'll be back posting sometime the week after Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's A Jane Austen Christmas!

Ever wonder how Jane Austen and her characters celebrated Christmas? 
In Regency times Christmas was a less popular holiday than it is today or even in the Victorian times. There was time off from work and school where families and friends would gather together for evening parties, dinners or balls but no Christmas trees were to be found and few gifts were given. Attending church service on Christmas day was a must but few of the Christmas Carols we sing now would have been sung.
Yet, even though Christmas was used as more of a reference point by Jane Austen, she does mention Christmas in each of her six major novels and in Lady Susan and one of her surviving letters. 

Take a look at how the characters in each story 
celebrated Christmas:

"At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather. I was snowed up at a friend's house once for a week." 
- Mr. Elton, Emma, Chapter 13
Emma: Emma Woodhouse spends Christmas with her family and friends. Her sister and brother-in-law, John & Isabella Knightley, come to stay at Harfield over Christmas with their five little children. They have a family dinner which includes Mr. Knightley on the 23rd, on Christmas Eve they all go to Randalls for a Christmas dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Weston and the odious Mr. Elton. On Christmas Day it has snowed so bad that the roads are impossible to cross for the Christmas service at the church so Emma has a snug day visiting Mrs. Weston instead. (Emma, Chapters 9-16)

“...a ball you would have this very Christmas.” 
- Mrs. Norris, Mansfield Park, Chapter 26  
Mansfield Park: Very near to Christmas Fanny Price's brother William visits Mansfield Park and they are very honored when their uncle Sir Thomas Bertram holds a ball in their honor. But William leaves on the 23rd in order to spend Christmas with his parents and siblings in Portsmouth. Edmund Bertram leaves the same day to stay with his friends the Owens in Peterborough and is ordained in the course of the Christmas week. (MP, Chapters 26)

Northanger Abbey: While Catherine Morland was spending a snug Christmas at home with her family in Fullerton her eldest brother James was on break from his college and spent Christmas visiting the Thorpe family. James falls head-over-heels for Isabella who remembers looking lovely in her "yellow gown, with my hair done up in braids". (NA, Chapters 4 & 15)

"I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you." 
- Caroline Bingley, Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 21

Pride and Prejudice: Mrs. Bennet's brother Mr. Gardiner and his wife and children always spend Christmas visiting her at Longbourn. The Bennets enjoy an evening at their Aunt Phillip's house where Elizabeth has the happy task of introducing her Aunt Gardiner to Mr. Wickham. Meanwhile Caroline Bingley has written to Jane Bennet wishing her Christmas will abound in gaieties and completely happy to spend Christmas in London. But the next year's Christmas might be different, perhaps the Bennets will be spending Christmas at Pemberley!

"Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world that he can spare from me. You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas." 
- Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 60

Persuasion: Anne Elliot has an extended visit with Lady Russell at Kellynch Lodge over Christmas. On Christmas day they go over to Uppercross where they find the Musgrove family and the Harvilles making merry with noisy games and messy craft projects. Anne enjoys the noisy happy country life but Lady Russell prefers the noise of a town like Bath. (Persuasion, Chapter 14)

Sense and Sensibility: The Christmas before the Dashwood ladies settled at Barton Cottage Sir John Middleton held a Christmas ball at Barton Park where Mr. Willoughby reportedly danced with elegance and spirit from "eight o'clock till four, without once sitting down"! Sir John goes on to say "and he was up again at eight to ride to covert." Truly a young man with health and lively spirits who enjoys a ball as much as Marianne could do. (S&S, Chapter 9)

Lady Susan: It is shortly before Christmas that Lady Susan Vernon, tiring of her stay to the Manwarings, writes to her brother-in-law Charles Vernon informing him that she will be coming bag and baggage to stay for a long visit. Charles' wife Catherine is quite put out and writes to her parents that she and their children will be unable to make their usual Christmas visit. Although Churchill, the home of Charles & Catherine Vernon, would be such a lovely place to spend Christmas who really wants to celebrate the holiday with Lady Susan! (Letters 3 and 13)

Jane Austen's Letters: And Jane Austen herself hopes for warm weather for Christmas, she writes to her sister Cassandra in a letter dated December 2nd:
"I am sorry my mother has been suffering, and am afraid this exquisite weather is too good to agree with her. I enjoy it all over me, from top to toe, from right to left, longitudinally, perpendicularly, diagonally; and I cannot but selfishly hope we are to have it last till Christmas -- nice, unwholesome, unseasonable, relaxing, close, muggy weather.

Which of these Christmases sound the most interesting to you? Vote now!

Which Jane Austen Christmas would you choose? free polls 

Which Jane Austen Christmas did you vote for?

If you could invite any of Jane Austen's characters to Christmas dinner who would you invite?

Jane Austen Puzzles - Answers!

These are the answers to the Jane Austen Puzzles that I posted last Saturday. The answers are in bold below.

Unscramble Character Names
(two names each)
1. CHOTUCATE LSARL - Charlotte Lucas
2. ILORPELA TSABEH - Isabella Thorpe
3. HAEITHT SRIMR - Harriet Smith
4. CUSGRES HARLMOVE - Charles Musgrove
5. RAWFH COENRYRD - Henry Crawford
6. JKNI GHTLOHNEY - John Knightley

Complete The Quotes
(also guess the novel it comes from)
7. "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of." - Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park
8. "It darted through her with the speed of an arrow that Mr Knightley must marry no one but herself." - Emma
9. "Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure." - Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
10. "After all that romancers may say, there is no doing without money." - Isabella Thorpe, Northanger Abbey

Country Houses
(tell me which characters lives in these houses)
11. Kellynch - In Persuasion Kellynch is owned by Sir Walter Elliot who lives there with his daughters Elizabeth and Anne, later rented by Admiral and Mrs. Croft who have Captain Wentworth stay with them.
12. Delaford - In Sense and Sensibility Delaford is the country house owed by Colonel Brandon who later married Marianne Dashwood. Edward Ferrars and Elinor Dashwood live in the parsonage near Delaford after they are wed.
13. Southerton - In Mansfield Park Southerton is owned my Mr. James Rushworth who lives there with his mother. His new wife Maria never actually moves into the house because she runs away from her husband after a few short months of marriage.
14. Hunsford - In Pride and Prejudice Husford is occupied by Mr. William Collins who later brings his wife Charlotte Lucas there, and they are visited by Elizabeth Bennet, Sir William Lucas and Maria Lucas.
15. Woodston - In Northanger Abbey Woodston is the country parsonage home of Mr. Henry Tilney and is some 20 miles from Northanger Abbey. This is the house Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland will make their home after they are wed.

Much thanks to everyone who played!
Melody - 14 1/2 Correct
Julia - 14 Correct
Stephanie - 13 Correct
Jemimah - 12 Correct
In His Wings - 11 Correct
Livia - 10 Correct
Miss Dashwood - 9 Correct
Emily Ruth - 9 Correct
Anne-girl - 7 Correct

There will be no game this week because of Christmas but be on the look-out for an extra special game next week.

Very Truly Your's,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sussex Carol

Carol History: The Sussex Carol is a Christmas carol popular in Britain, sometimes referred to by its first line On Christmas night all Christians sing. Its words were first published by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs (1684). It is unclear whether Wadding wrote the song or was recording an earlier composition.
Both the text and the tune to which it is now sung were discovered and written down by Cecil Sharp in Buckland, Gloucestershire and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who heard it being sung by a Harriet Verrall of Monk's Gate, near Horsham, Sussex (hence "Sussex Carol"). The tune to which it is generally sung today is the one Vaughan Williams took down from Mrs Verrall and published in 1919. - Wikipedia entry

On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring;
On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring:
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

Then why should men on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
Then why should we on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
When from our sin He set us free,
All for to gain our liberty.

When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the newborn King.

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night;
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
“Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and forevermore. Amen.”

-Words: Tra­di­tio­nal Eng­lish car­ol.
Music: Sus­sex Car­ol, tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish car­ol, ar­ranged by Ralph Vaugh­an Will­iams, 1919

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"On the first day of Christmas the period drama fan watched..."

Everyone has their own favorite Christmas movies to watch with family and friends. This year I encourage you to check out some of these favorite Period Films that feature delightful Christmas scenes.

Twelve Period Dramas for Christmas:

Starting off at Christmas time this film is so full of family fun, sweet characters and stories! I watch this Little Women with my mom and sister almost every year. There's actually several Christmas and snowy scenes throughout. I highly recommend this film for the whole family!

I've read Charles Dickens' classic tale a few times and wished that there was a close adaptation. Melody at Regency Delight suggested this as one of her family's favorite Christmas films and I watched it with my family for the first time just last week. We greatly enjoyed watching this version - it's faithful to the book, quite well cast, has beautiful music and charming scenes and costumes! For more information check out Melody's lovely film review. Another family favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol which I also high recommend (read my review). 

I adore Cranford! My sister and I re-watched both of these miniseries last week and laughed and cried and generally had a very lovely time! Both films have Christmas scenes in them but Return to Cranford has more of a Christmas theme. At Christmastime the ladies of Cranford celebrate with their friends in sweet scenes filled with games, songs, snow and heart-warming stories. Great for any time of the year but especially fun at Christmas! These miniseries are good for almost all ages but there are a couple slightly scary scenes that younger children might not like.

(Season 2, Episode 1)
As my current theme suggests I quite enjoy the Lark Rise to Candleford series, particularly the Christmas special episode. My sister and I watched all four series not too long ago (while crocheting Christmas gifts). We especially enjoyed the Christmas carols sung during the episode, so festive! There is a mysterious young lady who shows up during the course of the episode and her story is a bit ghostly but overall this is a very fun period set Christmas story!

This film is from Featured Films For Families (they sell great family films) and has been a family favorite for many years. The story centers around Jed and Martha Richards who agree to raise young a young boy after his parents tragically die from cholera. Martha is still grieving for her two sweet daughters, who died on their trek across the American Plains, and has a hard time getting used to young Daniel's awkward and boyish ways. Jed and Daniel bond fairly quickly but it will take a while for Martha to see the young boy's need for love and healing in her own heart. But spring sometimes comes unexpectedly, and for Martha it comes on a snowy Christmas Eve when Danny’s innocent heart is finally able to rescue hers.
This is a very sweet film which I recommend for all families.

 This adaptation of the classic Thomas Hardy novel is much lighter and brighter than his other stories (read my review here). Most viewers might not remember that the films starts out at Christmastime when the country choir goes caroling. There are a few carols sung during the film including It Came Upon A Midnight Clear and a new favorite of mine Remember O Thou Man. Though the story continues mostly in the later part of the year (up to harvest time of the next year) it always has a Christmasy feel about it to me. 
This is a sweet film that most everyone will enjoy, but younger viewers might get a bit bored.

This version of Frances Hodgeson Burnett has been a family favorite for a long time. It's a very sweet film and actually closer to the book than any newer adaptations I've seen (even though Sara Crewe is a bit older than in the book). Much of the film is set around Christmastime and several lovely carols are sung including God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman. It shows a lovely picture of Christmas for Victorian children both rich and poor. I highly recommend this film for all ages!  

Although many love The Young Victoria (and I do too!) the first film to introduce me to my favorite historical royal figure was Victoria & Albert. This miniseries is quite delightful because it spans Queen Victoria's life showing scenes from her accented to the throne of England, her courtship with Albert and marriage, the births up to young adult years of their nine children and ends with the death and mourning for Prince Albert. One of the lovely things they mention is Prince Albert introducing the Christmas tree to the palace and singing Silent Night in German with their children. 
Although I first watched this film when I was 13 or 14, there are a few short scenes that might not be quite appropriate for younger children or young teens (on the royal couple's wedding night). But for those wanting to know more about Queen Victoria and get a good picture of a Victorian Christmas this sweet film is a must see!    

Hercule Poirot's ChristmasThe Theft of The Royal Ruby
A Christmas mystery? Yes, of course! Agatha Christie's Belgium detective Hercule Poirot is the hero of the day as he solves crimes at Christmas. These are two favorites of mine.
In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Mr. Poirot's simple Christmas repast is disturbed by an invitation to visit the home of Simeon Lee, a repellent curmudgeon who thinks his life is in danger. Events snowball as Simeon is indeed killed, and a fortune in uncut diamonds stolen. As Poirot observes, a case can be made against any of the family members Simeon gleefully tormented, and it will take his "little grey cells" to unravel the web of mystery.
And in The Theft of the Royal Ruby, Mr. Poirot is in hopes of spending a quiet Christmas with a box of chocolates and his warm central heating and is quite upset when the government demands he find the stolen ruby of a foolish young Egyptian prince. Poirot begrudgingly spends Christmas with Colonel Lacey and family, one of the few people who knew about the ruby. When the royal ruby turns up in the Christmas pudding Mr. Poirot will have to set a trap to catch the thief.

Samantha - An American Girl Holiday & Felicity - An American Girl Adventure
My sister and I grew up reading the American Girl Books so we were both excited when the films came out. Even though they don't always stick close to the original stories these films are still quite delightful and a must see at Christmastime!
Samantha is a caring girl growing up in 1904 New York while Felicity is a spunky red-head growing up in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Both have fun adventures and will find that  family and friends are what truly matters. Both films start at different times of the year and end at Christmas.
Good fun and period goodness for the whole family but especially for mothers and daughters!

Jane Austen's Emma
Did Jane Austen mention Christmas in her novels? She certainly did but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Christmas wasn't as important a holiday in Regency England as it is now. Although Christmas is mentioned briefly in most of Miss Austen's novels it is Emma that is the most Christmasy! Emma Woodhouse spends Christmas Eve at the Weston's dinner party and visits Harriet Smith on Christmas day. The adaptation with the most holiday cheer is Emma (2009), but Emma (1997) and Emma (1996) also have lovely scenes centered around Christmas. I very highly recommend all three adaptations for all ages! 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005) or (BBC 198)
C.S. Lewis' classic book features four children that enter Narnia at a time when it is always Winter but never Christmas. One sign that Aslan is coming is that the children meet Father Christmas and are given gifts which are useful later on in the story. While the newest film version has the prettiest winter wonderland, the older BBC version is closer to the book and features a nicer Father Christmas. Either way this is a fun family story with spiritual truths hidden at every turn. Do read the book too! 

Also I recently reviewed An Old-Fashioned Christmas (2010) which I recommend for period drama fans. This doesn't include my favorite silver screen Christmas films which I hope to post about fairly soon.

Which of these films have you seen? Do you have a favorite?

Do you have any other period films you'd suggest for Christmas viewing?

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