Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Needlework, Bonnets, Fans and Lace

Having spent the better part of the past few days immersed in embroidering on a handkerchief and trimming it with lace, decorating a fan and making up a bonnet, I have realized that I was perhaps born in the right era after all.  Actually, I never doubted that I belong to this era - I am rather attached to flush toilets, disposable hygiene products and Tupperware among other things.  

I actually found the embroidery relaxing, although the skin on my fingertips is terribly torn up from the needle, and I am feeling quite critical of my work - thinking of unpicking and redoing it, but I know that sometimes that just makes it worse.  I recognize that I don't sit for hours perfecting the craft - in fact I haven't embroidered in years - but I'm afraid it would take many more hours of practice before I would be truly accomplished again.  The handkerchief I embroidered and added lace to represents the handkerchief in my story, and has the "ED" motif that delighted Mr. Darcy when he discovered it.  I'm hoping we can find a way to work it into the cover art for the book.  The handkerchief really is lovely even though the stitching isn't perfect.

The poke bonnet was fun to make.  I had to literally dust off my sewing machine though.  It was sitting unused in the bottom of a closet for a couple of years now and the outer case was incredibly dusty.  I worried that it would give me problems after not being used for so long, but the old Vigorelli was up to the task although she does need a good oil job and probably a tune-up - that will have to wait for another day.

I used the instructions given on this video to make the bonnet and added some style elements of my own.  I'm not entirely pleased with it though - I learned some lessons along the way but hot glue, while fast and easy, is not always forgiving.  I can also relate to Lydia's fussing over the bonnets not being quite right and wanting to make them over again.  When we do the photo shoot for the book cover of One Thread Pulled,  I'll have some nice photos of my projects to share here, but till then, I will be leaving it up to your imagination.

I might just have to have another go at the bonnet - it only took a couple of hours, and didn't require a lot of materials, so it was pretty cheap to make compared to some other projects I've done.  But what will I do with two Regency-era bonnets?  I had my daughter try it on, and her fiance took one look at her and inquired as to whether or not she would be needing a pacifier.  Not exactly the compliments I was hoping for.   For the snarky comment he gets the bad Darcy award for the day as in "selfish disdain for the feelings of others."  He's forgiven though - I'm pretty sure he was joking.  

And now, for my one complaint to those of you who have stopped by to read.  I'm getting a good bit of traffic on the blog, but no comments - not even one.  It's pretty much crickets.  Now I am not the type to coerce anyone to  do anything, but I am beginning to get a complex.  For my mental health, I would be obliged if someone said something.  



PS - I am unpicking and re-embroidering after all.  Sometimes I'm a perfectionist and sometimes I'm not.  It's pretty random.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Power of Putting it Out There

One of the great things about Pride and Prejudice is the incredible insight Jane Austen has into human nature.  Her characters sparkle - they remind us just a bit of people we know, and maybe even a little bit of ourselves.  It is their motivations however, that I find myself reflecting on over and over again.  Especially when it comes down to the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy, of the declarations we make interacting with the universe to somehow to deliver us that which we most desire.  If you pay close attention early on in the story, you can have no doubt about what is to come, for almost every character clearly lays out what they want.  These people put their hopes and dreams out there in a big way, and for the most part, they came true.

Elizabeth wished to marry for love, but for him to be a man of means who would take her without concern for her lack of fortune.
Jane wished for a man who was amiable, and who would give her family some degree of financial insurance against the looming disaster of the entail.
Mrs. Bennet wised to marry off her daughters, and marry them off to rich men.
Mary - oh, she is a tragedy.  She wished for things of course, but she never really said them aloud, and so her fondest dreams were relegated to nothingness.  She didn't put them out there!
Lydia - wished more than anything to marry an officer.
Mr. Bingley - wished to establish himself in society, and find himself 'an angel' of a wife.
Mr. Darcy - wished to marry Elizabeth Bennet.
Mr. Bennet - wished for peace and quiet.
Mr. Wickham - wished to be Darcy's brother.
There are more, but you get the idea.

When you think about it, the universe really did deliver!  Consider Mr. Darcy's wish to marry Elizabeth Bennet.  It begins as a simple attraction, but somehow, through coincidental forces, she shows up again and again, as though she is being served up to him on a silver platter - to torment him at first, but eventually he falls in love with her.  In proposing to her, he puts it out there - clumsily, badly, puts it out there.  Even though he blows it in round 1 however, he gets a second chance when once again through a coincidence of proximity and timing Elizabeth is literally delivered by the Gardiners to his very doorstep - his home turf!  Score a point for the universe.

Now I know of course, that these are fictional characters in a fictional story and that Jane Austen contrived every single bit of it, but it is surprising to me how often I have experienced this phenomenon in my own life.  Our words - the ones we audibly speak - have a powerful boomerang effect and they can come back to us in surprising ways.  Give life to your dreams - utter them aloud - shout them, repeat them and then watch for the universe to deliver opportunities for you to act on.  Don't forget to use this to serve your fellow men - lots of blessings flow when the desires of our heart are pure.

It's a beautiful day when our dreams start to come true!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Peace in the Promise of a New Day

The daily rising of the sun is perhaps as close to magic as we get on this earth. I'm talking about those minutes when soft rays of light pierce through the darkness of night to cast a whisper of dawn on a misty, dewy world.  The birds herald the day, but we often miss these precious moments, head down in our pillow, our mind lost to a dream.

Today, I launch a little blog in anticipation of a joyful event that is soon to dawn, soon to make a debut in the world.  It's not likely to be noticed except by those same persons who hear the warbling of the morning songbirds, but it a magical moment for me - I will soon publish my first book, which is in the final stages of preparation before I spring it on the world.  

It all started as a lark, this writing thing.  One day when I wasn't feeling well, I discovered Pride and Prejudice fanfiction.  After reading two and a half works by other people, I decided on a whim to give it a whirl as a way to get back into writing - for my own pleasure.  I discovered that others took pleasure in what I was writing as well, and (hopefully) sometime in May 2012, my book "One Thread Pulled" will be available to the masses.  Well, it's actually available to the masses today if you know where to look - but not in book form yet.  

Sunrise at Pemberley (my blog) debuts today - there will be lots of obsessing about Mr. Darcy in the coming posts, but I will cover other topics too - never let it be said that I have a one-track mind!