8 posts categorized "Jane Austen"

Nothing Like a Man in an Ascot

Vintage paisley ascot cravat (3)

Four lovely vintage paisley ascots/cravats are on their way into my Etsy Shop.  From left to right:

For the Captain Wentworth in your life...

Captain Frederick Wentworth Persuasion Jane Austen white ascot cravat

xx ~ Michelle

Serendipity: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

18th Century Farmhouse, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard

So what do you do when the telephone rings 4 days before leaving for a vacation that's been planned for a year only to learn that the house you had rented was flooded and will not be available?  Generally, you call your travel agent/realtor and they find you a place to stay.  Generally.  When said house is located on Martha's Vineyard and the week you booked is not only "Fair Week" but "The 150th Anniversary Fair Week", there are 14 in your party and the President is coming, that simple feat becomes a bit like the Bermuda Triangle of vacation planning.   Packing (everything but the kitchen sink) came to a screeching halt, and that special bottle of cognac that was saved for "The Vineyard" was unpacked to keep us company as we sat anxiously by the phone and computer, our week of sun, sand & sea hanging in the balance.  Tick Tock.  Tick Tock.  Two days went by, two long, frustrating days.  But sometimes, when things go very, very wrong, as they did, they turn out very, very right. 

This is the lovely house we had the privilege of calling "home" for a week.  A restored 18th century farmhouse on 8 acres of lush island land.  Owned by a young, very talented family man who calls himself a carpenter, but I would call a craftsman.  I cannot begin to imagine the hours of painstaking work that went into restoring and creating this beautiful estate, but I am quite certain it was a labor of love.  I actually got goosebumps when my friend, who had arrived at the property first, escorted me through the door.  I still have them a week later.  As the days passed I kept pinching myself, half expecting to see Jane Austen walk through a doorway at any moment.

While days passed and we sat at the shore, survived the wild surf of South Beach with bruises to show for it, saw the fireworks at Oak Bluffs, spent an afternoon at The Fair, took in the spectacular views from Gay Head, played 18 holes at Farm Neck (in spite of getting bumped from the original tee time because Mr. President wanted to play), bumped into David Letterman at Morning Glory Farm, consumed insane amounts of seafood and libations and even jumped off "The Jaws Bridge" at sunset, the best part of this vacation was that we spent it in this beautiful home.


My daughter on the far left with friends jumping off "The Jaws Bridge" on Martha's Vineyard 

xx ~ Michelle

Let The Matchmaking Begin

It was two years ago this very month I wrote this brief post with the thrilling news that PBS was bringing Jane Austen to town.

Jane austen home
(Jane Austen Home)

So you can imagine my joy last week, while checking out a grand stack of books at our library, when my Jane~Austen~lovin' daughter gasped and pointed to a small basket on the counter full of bookmarks announcing this:

Click here to find out more!

"Library voice" hooting & hollering ensued, even the grumpy librarian gave us a little smile . . .


Yes, Jane Austen is coming to town!


All our favorite characters, in our favorite fashions . . .


Who's playing Mr. Knightley?  Oh, I don't know if he'll do . . .

The best Mr. Knightley 

I'm a bit partial to this fellow...Jeremy Northam.
(note to male readers, if you dressed like this, you're girl will fall in love all over again . . .)


Well, that's better, maybe he'll do after all . . .amazing what a great hat can do.


I"m not sure that Ms. Austen would approve of this "Twitter Party" . . .
but I admit this may be the final push I need to take the Twitter plunge . . .

Needless to say, I know exactly what will be airing in this household beginning Sunday, January 24th at 9:00 pm:


"More than seven years prior to the events in the novel, Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome young naval officer named Frederick Wentworth, who is intelligent and ambitious, but poor. Sir Walter, Anne's father and lord of the family estate of Kellynch, and her older sister Elizabeth are dissatisfied with her choice, maintaining that he is not distinguished enough for their family. Her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's deceased mother, persuades her to break off the match.

Now, aged 27 and still unmarried, Anne re-encounters her former fiancé when his sister and brother-in-law, the Crofts, take out a lease on Kellynch. Wentworth, now a captain, is wealthy from wartime victories in the Royal Navy and from prize-money for capturing enemy ships. However, he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection of him. . . "

(synopsis courtesy of Wikipedia )



xx ~ Michelle

A Family Heirloom

I am a true "Mail" aficionada~~I watch eagerly for the mailman every day and thoroughly enjoy the tradition of going through the mail. 

Of course since the invention of e~mail the fine art of letter writing has taken a sad turn for the worse.  Still, every now and then I open our mail box and find something special.

Today was one such day:

100_2110 100_2112

My Aunt Diane was doing some closet cleaning and came across this Vintage Beauty!  She wore it to a formal in 1964/65. . .

It is so beautiful I, of course, cried! 

Not only for it's beauty & the place it holds in our family's history (especially for my Aunt!) but also because I would venture to guess that this is the beautiful work of my grandmother & when I opened it I had that sudden deep pain of longing for her and the past. . .that pang of homesickness that is like no other feeling~~it rises up from a place so deep, so private, so personal  that when it surfaces one is forced to submit and let it ride it's slow, gnawing course through your soul.  Sometimes it visits for just a moment, at other times it chooses to stay awake and linger and force us to think back and to remember~~to smile, to weep, to long for, to wish, to dream. . .I think today it will be here for quite awhile.100_2114  *

It is so important, in this "throw away" society (which, by the way is mainly an American motto) that we save some of our past.  That we have something beautiful to pass on to our children & grandchildren.  If you have something from your grandmother, or great grandmother, resist the pressure to "modernize", to "update" & that biggest farce of all:  that newer is better.  The craftsmanship, the quality, the antiquity of such heirlooms can NEVER be replaced.  They are all we have when those we loved have gone. . .

Thank you, Auntie Di, for your gift. .  .

This is a picture of my grandparents, Naomia & Axel. . .I believe they were at a wedding when this photograph was taken.  It hangs on the side of my kitchen cupboard at the sink so I can see her everyday. . .

*My weepy, sensitive, emotional frame of mind may be due to the fact that I watched "PERSUASION" twice last night~~yes, I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. . .imagine lovers waiting all that time and ending up with each other?  Does such patient devotion still exist in this immediate~gratification~crazed world we live in??  Did you see it?  What did you think? 


xx ~ Michelle

A Perfect Day to Picnic

Today was one of those "Spring Tease" days here in the North East. . .I do believe it actually hit 60 degrees around here, if not warmer!

So my daughter and I decided it was a perfect day to picnic. . .100_2086

100_2090 I brought along my copy of "Emma" and a picnic basket full of goodies.  It was a beautiful afternoon and when the next blizzard hits we will remember this gem of a day fondly!

I love to picnic~~especially with a real picnic basket & not a big bright red & white cooler!  I do appreciate modern technology & the cooler has it's definite benefits.  But somehow it is not quite as romantic as a picnic basket.  I can't seem to imagine Emma taking tea with Mr. Knightley from a "cooler"~~it just doesn't seem the same!

Packing a picnic is a wonderful family tradition to continue or begin if you have not yet  made time for this nostalgic, relaxing, simple pleasure.  It is also a wonderful way to spend time with friends & family. 

And yes, you can picnic in the winter, in the snow!   Remember that scene at the very beginning of Out of Africa in Denmark?  There are so many beautiful ways to enjoy the seasons. . .I hope you are!

xx ~ Michelle

Jane Austen, anyone?

Could there be any better news for the cold month of January???  You may have already heard but in case you have not:


Jane Austen is coming to town!!

Masterpiece Theatre is hosting a month of wonderful, romantic, dreamy movies based on the beloved works of Jane Austen!  So hide that remote from the rest of the family and get ready for the absolute best part of winter so far, in my opinion!!

xx ~ Michelle