Archive for January, 2011

I have so much going on in my head right this minute—good things and exciting plans—and I’ll share them with you soon enough, but right now I need to take a break and calm myself down. So I thought I’d take a moment and tell you about fun things happening ’round the internets that you may not have heard about. Or perhaps you did see it at one point, but it’s always good to have a little reminder, isn’t it?

Sew A-Long

If you read any sewing blogs you know that there are approximately 472 Sew A-Longs going on right now, but these are the two I am definitely participating in. Both patterns are from Sense & Sensibility which are easily purchased as either an e-pattern or you can have a physical pattern mailed to you. Casey is hosting the Swing Dress Sew A-Long which has just begun and Lisette is the lovely gal behind the Regency Wardrobe Sew A-Long. It may seem a bit silly to some to sew a dress that is essentially a costume, but some of us never quite grew out of playing dress up and find it fun to lounge around the house, drinking tea and reading whilst pretending to be a Jane Austen heroine. Besides, we’ll already have a head start on Halloween.

Jane Austen Short Story Contests

At this moment there is not one, but two—TWO!—Jane Austen related short story contests you can enter. The first, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is an amazing opportunity to possibly get your story published in a new collection of stories inspired by the beloved writer which is being edited by the amazing Laurel Ann of Austenprose. The contest runs through February 13th and there have only been a few entries thus far, so your prospects are looking mighty fine.

The second contest is put on by the Chawton House Library in England with a theme of heroes and villains in Jane Austen’s novels. There is a cash prize, but more exciting to me is that the three finalists will win a week’s writer retreat at Chawton House! The deadline is March 31st, so sharpen your pencils or fire up your laptop and start writing!

Downton Abbey

The last time I fell this hard for a mini-series was Bleak House in 2005. Downton Abbey is an original story (written by Julian Fellowes of Godsford Park) set in Edwardian England that basically takes every plot and element one could love about period dramas and mashes it all together into an engaging, dramatic, touching series. Even my dad has caught Downton fever and gets exasperated at the end of each installment (“It’s over already?!”). The last episode of the first series (a second series and Christmas special is already in the works, hurray!) is set to air in America this Sunday night, so I highly encourage my US readers to head over to Masterpiece, catch up with the episodes online and join us for the Twitter party Sunday night.

People Problems

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have a younger brother, Daniel, who is in a band (like everyone else in Austin, haha). The past few months have been very exciting as their second album, People Problems, was released. I’m not going to tell you to go and buy it or anything, but if you want a listen, it’s up on iTunes and of course available in a local independent record store near you (well, it SHOULD be, no guarantees). They are currently touring Europe for two months, so if you live in England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and basically anywhere in Europe, you should go see them; tell them I sent you; give them a hug and tell them I miss them so.

Making Do

I stumbled upon this post a few months ago and completely forgot to link to it, though now I find it more apropos to share it with you in The Year of Making Do. The post, entitled “You Do Not Need Neil Gaiman’s Gazebo“, is aimed at writers, but the idea and advice given can be applied to everyone. Your gazebo could be a sewing/craft studio or a kitchen with an island and a large stove or maybe a new MacBook pro. The point is we all procrastinate and dream of our ideal “space”, when really we should just hunker down make do with what we have. It was a good reminder to me this morning.


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I fell in love with the Penguin Couture Classics that were released back in 2009, but somehow I missed the memo that three more books were added to the collection around Christmas last year. I’ve wanted to replace my cheap copy of Jane Eyre for quite some time so I will definitely be picking up a copy of the above couture edition. Lovely lovely!

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Book and Heart Garland





Hello, dear readers! I got a bit sidetracked the past week or so and—-oh my gosh, I just realized I haven’t changed my banner from the Christmas one yet. *sigh* I’ll get on that.

One thing I have been working on this past week is recycling some old and well worn copies of Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice into Valentine’s Day themed garland. I know, it’s a bit sacrilegious to tear up a book—much less a classic!—for a craft project, but these darlings were at the end of their life span & I think they will enjoy being seen decorating walls rather than sitting on a shelf. I put four different garlands up in my etsy store and I have plans to sew up some non V-Day themed book garlands this week. Be sure to keep an eye on my twitter for more listings & perhaps a secret sale, hehe.


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~ As All Murray ~

~ Egbert Enjoyed Watering the Tulips ~

~ Coming Through the Rye ~

~ One Million Short Stories ~

~ The Log Lady ~

I think I’m going to need more walls.

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My Wall of Art

What the what?! Are we really already ten days into 2011? How did this happen and where was I? Oh my, the time flies by. Are you Dear Readers tired of resolution and goal posts? Well too bad, because you’re going to have to read mine now (I suppose you could just skip it—I would never know—but is that really how you want to start the new year? Skipping posts and making me sad? I didn’t think so)!

Nerd Girl

After much thought and careful consideration—I couldn’t come up with a single word for what I wanted my 2011 to be. I couldn’t even come up with a paragraph! I thought of small goals I wanted to accomplish (read 50 books and not wait until December 31st to finish the last two), new things to try (this is the year I learn French—for reals) and things I love that I want more of in my life (more writing, more book discussions with friends over cups of coffee and more epic games of Munchkin), but I couldn’t put my finger on how my 2011 should look. So I took some advice from Don Draper (“Just think about it. Deeply. Then forget it. And an idea will jump up in your face.”) and set about welcoming the New Year and cleaning up the remains of 2010. And sure enough it happened just like Don said. I was packing away some Christmas lights when it just hit me in the brain: The Year of Making Do.

Mary Blair Elephants


Perhaps a better phrase would be “Making the Most With What I Have“, but I’m a big fan of the “Make Do and Mend” movement from the 40’s, so I’m sticking with my original idea. 2011 is the Year of Making Do—and I’m not just talking about possessions and what’s in the food pantry (though that is part of it). I want to get out of the cycle of wishing I was somewhere else, with someone else, had better ideas, different or more talents and comparing myself to others. Nope, I can’t draw to save my life, but I can draft patterns and sew. Yes, half my friends live hundreds or even thousands of miles away—but the other half are right here in Austin. No, I don’t have my own house, but I have my own room to cover the walls with art and nerdy posters.

My Wall of Art

I suppose it all comes down to learning to be content, but “The Year of Being Content” sounded a bit passive to me. I want to go out and do something about it all. So here is to 2011, The Year of Making Do—I plan on making it a good year.

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