Sunday, January 31, 2016

Postcrossing and Jane Austen's writing

"Several of the letters on display in A Woman's Wit are "crossed" or "cross hatched," a common convention of the time if a writer ran out of writing space. Rather than use another piece of costly paper, Austen would turn the page sideways and continue writing at right angles. The resulting densely spaced writing is described in Emma as "checker-work". For example, Emma's aunt apologizes for Jane Fairfax's letter, which is "so short . . . only two pages you see, hardly two, and in general she fills the whole paper and crosses half." Fine paper was a highly prized commodity in Austen's day. It was used not only for writing, but also manufactured specifically for artists and the burgeoning popularity of watercolors, as well as for young ladies' handiwork, described in Mansfield Park as "making artificial flowers or wasting gold paper."

Austen's letters were composed on both laid and wove papers and are all cream colored, thin, strong, and most likely composed of recycled cotton and linen rags. Because they are almost exclusively writing papers, when manufactured they are tub sized after drying with gelatin and hot pressed to produce a smooth, non-absorbent surface, ideal for receiving ink. "

A very interesting article regarding Jane Austen, she wrote over 3,000 letters but only 160 survived.

Here's a paragraph about her writing style 
"Pens and Ink
Austen's letters and manuscripts were all written in her own hand, using a quill pen periodically recharged with ink from an inkwell. The quill pen, most often made from goose feathers, was in common use during Austen's life (1775–1817); the steel-nibbed pen was not mass produced until the 1830's. Contrary to later nineteenth-century depictions of quill pens as full-length, elegantly curved feathers, the barbs—the soft "feathery" part—were usually removed either partially or entirely as they served no function and interfered with the action of writing. The character of lines written with a quill pen differs from those produced using a metal-nibbed pen. Because the quill is more flexible and responsive to slight changes of pressure and is also less abrasive when dragged across the paper surface, lines written with a quill appear less confined, frequently tapering off into elegant and graceful filigree as the fine nib separates and is starved of ink.

As for ink, Austen used the most commonly available ink of the nineteenth century—iron gall ink. It is composed of tannin (gallic acid), iron sulfate (known as vitriol in the nineteenth century), gum arabic, and water. Because it is indelible, it was used for official documents from the Middle Ages onward. The ink is easy to make, inexpensive, and can be transported as a powder and mixed whenever needed. When first applied to paper, the ink appears pale gray; as it is exposed to air, the ink darkens to a rich blue-black tone. Eventually, most iron gall ink changes to a brown color, as is evident in Austen's letters and manuscripts. Depending upon their original formulation, these inks can become increasingly acidic and eventually damage the paper. Many of Austen's letters in the exhibition remain in excellent condition and do not suffer from iron gall ink damage. However, some are composed of acidic ink and others show signs of frequent handling (tears, creases, and breaks along the original folds). All of the Austen manuscripts and letters were carefully examined and, if necessary, stabilized in preparation for A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy."
Click on the link below to read more:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

February A Month of Letters/Cards/Envelopes

I saw this challenge last year but was too late to sign up so I bookmarked the page to do it this year. Boy has that year gone fast. That is when I joined postcrossing and nearly a year and many postcards/letters and lots of friendships made. I now have a wonderful collection of postcards/letters and many other things like bookmarks, chocolate, tea bags and a glorious set of decorated envelopes (which I hope to start again), etc.

The new friendships are the most precious, even those that don't write but visit my blog and at this point I need to mention one that to me is an unofficial 'friend' that has no idea that the envelope he sent was exactly what I needed when it arrived. Thank you Finnbadger, I want you to know that your generosity in sending me a 'spare' envelope even though I had not signed up for Decorated Envelopes was a lifesaver.

EDITED: to add the envelope now that I have found it

EDITED: two days later when I noticed the note inside had this on it, (insert tears of gratitude again!!). The note said "I guess you don't get snow in Geebung (insert loud guffaw laughter) so here are a few snowflakes".

I laughed because I live in a tropical climate where the temperatures in winter is comfortable at 10C, compared to where we moved from 2 years ago where it was -6C, not quite snowing but freezing anyway.

And for those who comment, it also brightens my day, no matter how small. My most prolific commentor is a cardmaking friend from across the pond- Maxine - you have been a faithful follower for many years and your comments that arrive in my mailbox for each post is so uplifting.

Sometimes you never know when your lifesaving gift are like little prayers in a package with a stamp on it, turns up to someone who really needs it. No matter how small it is, it means so much to the recipient and is the best thing that could heal someone out of the blue. (Ok getting a bit teary here lol)

So for the Month of Letters Challenge I challenge you to send a card/letter/envelope everyday to someone random or someone close, you never know who may be needing it.

So whose up for the challenge? I'll be posting what I send each day, so if you follow my blog and I have your address watch out for mail. You never know!!

How appropriate that this month happens to be Valentine's Day month.

I'll also share what I receive as well. (now to hunt down Finnbadgers envelope that I put in a safe place so I can scan and share).

I found this interesting link on how to Address Mail,
very interesting and useful so your mail doesn't go astray

If you'd like to surprise me feel free to do so and I'll reciprocate, just write on your mail
A MONTH OF LETTERS so I know where it has come from

Bridget Larsen
P O Box 81
Geebung QLD 4034

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Postcard A Day - Meeting card from Heidelberg - CAWE

I love meeting cards. Members in Postcrossing organise meetings which are well attended, I usually try and swap a card from a meeting. I attended my first meeting in another state in November 2015 and met the Australian Postcrosser who has sent the most postcards in the whole of postcrossing since its inception.

The postcard is signed by all attendees. This one came from CAWE whom I swap regularly postcards If you'd like to play along with this meme, post your Postcard A Day and link up below so we can all visit your blog. Please add the direct link to your post and not just your blog so the post is easy to find. Link back to this meme so everyone can play too. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


My clean desk last week produced these goodies. Of course I had company from Geetha and Corinne. My card is on the left still half done, these are Corinne's cards, isn't it gorgeous.
So the working desk from last week. Geetha's red phone in the foreground, spray bottle of water. The foil covered wooden board for heat gun. Some munchies. Here is another POST of what I've been crafting as well
oh a bottle of homemade yoghurt I gave to each lady. I love homemade yoghurt which is so easy to make. Didn't realise how blurry the photo is, sorry ladies and gentlemen.
Last week many of you mentioned the box under the cutting station so I thought I'd share pictures of it. This glory box has been handed down to my sister who lives in New Zealand so I am only babysitting it for her-although I do have my quilts stored in it LOL.
How intricate are the designs, what craftsmanship

Joining Julia and her Stamping Ground to see more desks

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

T for Tuesday - Yoghurt and Tea Holder

 Today is a public holiday to celebrate Australia Day commemorating the founding on 26 January 1788 of the colony of New South Wales. Celebrations all over the Australia on this special day

EDITED: As per Sue's request here are the links to the recipes I used

I started to make yoghurt again, love homemade yoghurt. I usually put it in my fruit smoothies
I made these tea holders from a tutorial from Pootles

Joining Elisabeth and Bluebeard for T for Tuesdays

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WOYWW 346 Been missing in action

Did you miss me? Probably not, I didn't miss me either LOL but thats ok. Whew how time flies, the last WOYWW I played in was Nov 11. To tell you the truth my desk has been a huge mess since then and I had nothing to show, so I stayed away.  I took these photos on Saturday and did a humungous clean up over 2 days and many hours of sore legs and back from standing up so long.
Before and after photos of the dining table/craft desk. 
Now look at it, had a new sheet of paper and is spick and span and the tell tale signs that I am having people over to craft. 
My cutting station and the desk by the door has been another dumping ground. Hubby was disgusted by it hahaha. What is his problem, it's not like he has to work in here. He only walks past all the tables and goes to the toilet and probably checks on me to see if I am alive hahahaha.
 Voila!!! I can cut again and have space to lay stuff down if I need but that desk below will soon become a dumping ground as it always does.

Under the desks got a facelift too lol. I could not walk inside the door at one stage, forgot to take a photo of that. Now to tackle the rest of the tables.

Joining Julia's Stamping Ground for more desks around the world

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

T for Tuesday

 Wow I cant believe how long its been since I last played, Nov 10th. I've had tea and eaten out but nothing interesting until my daughter sent me this tea set for Christmas, funny but it arrived around Christmas and was sitting outside the front door for 3 weeks without our knowledge, we come into the house via the backdoor.
 As you can see it's a gorgeous set of teas and tins, Emma said she bought if for me for the tins as she knows I love tins.
Now to enjoy my teas and report back which ones are my favourites, such a shame to drink it all hey

Joining Elizabeth and Bluebeard for Tea for Tuesdays

Friday, January 01, 2016

Going green - dishcloth

I've always loved doing stuff from scratch ever since my friend Nola served me one of her delicious homemade cakes. The smell (I call it the country smell) in her kitchen was so homely. Sometimes I just want to bake a cake just to make the house smell nice.

I've made my own soap and would like to try again.

I want to make my own soy candles as the ones I buy are so expensive and i burn a lot of nice smelling candles a lot.

So over on the Down to Earth  forum we have a challenge to make a dishcloth a week so at the end of the year we have enough to give as presents.

Ok back up here, in October my aunt came from Seattle USA to visit and brought her dish cloth pattern to share, I got hooked on it and have made a few for Chrissy presents but ran out of time. My family are using them as face washers because the cotton is so soft on the skin.

Here is my first dishcloth, which is actually a scrubbie, the wool came from Lincraft and is quite hard to use, I won't be touching that thread for awhile LOL.

I found 52 free dishcloth patterns for download.
Here is the HIVE pattern


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