Ok so I know that sometimes I am a bit behind everyone else when it comes to watching or reading things that come out, far from always, but sometimes. And The Lizzie Bennet Diaries might just be one such case. But for anyone else out there who hasn’t watched this it could possibly be something to interest you.
So The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, what is it? Well basically it is Pride and Prejudice in a modern setting told through 100 3-8 minute long youtube clips. Taking the form of a video blog done by Lizzie Bennet, with the assistance of her friend Charlotte, I am quite impressed at how cleverly it is done. It is such a simple setting, just a few people sitting there talking straight at the camera, telling us about things that have “happened”. I have only watched 20 something of these clips as I only started today but I’m really enjoying them!
I have heard of this before, and even watched one or two clips, but I just never got in to it. I have had it recommended to me by friends and thought it sounded cool, but no, it just never did it for me. My sister heard of it recently and told me about it and yesterday I was once again reminded of it by someone so I decided to actually give it more of a chance. And funny thing is this time I really like it!
As I said I am only a short way in, plenty left to watch, I might write a more comprehensive review of it once I’ve finished the whole thing but I just wanted to post it on here and if anyone else thinks it sounds interesting join me in watching it! Not to be compared to any of the great BBC series or anything like that, but cleverly done and amusing, and just perfect for a grey and slightly rainy Sunday afternoon!
You’ve seen it already in pictures, I wore it to the ball in Holland. This dress was one which caused me multiple headaches and unnecessary worry. I don’t know why I was so obsessed about it, wanting it to be perfect, and of course wanting something to be perfect puts the pressure on. I had grand ideas and plans, I was going to make an embroidered silk gown that would stunn everyone to silence when they saw it. I realised after a couple of attempts that I have no skills whatsoever when it comes to embroidery! Maybe it’s not a question of skill, just lack of practice, but point was that there was no way the dress was going to turn out as I had envisioned it in my head. So, change of plan. I needed to be a bit more realistic!
I will say straight away that this dress was far from perfect. But I am relatively pleased with it and quite like it, even if it wasn’t exactly what I had been dreaming of.
I decided a while back that I wanted to make a dress with details. Details has been something I’ve been rather sparse with on my previous dresses. One reason being that it takes a lot of time to do much detail, but the main reason I think is that once I get to the stage in an outfit when it is time to add details I often find it nicer without them. Maybe it is because I’m Swedish and we have a deep-rooted liking for clean and not too fussy designs. But I had decided I wanted a little more detail at least.
After numerous late nights tossing and turning in my bed, with ideas (or rather lack of them) spinning around my head I finally decided on what I wanted. A lot of time spent looking at dresses in books and online (I have never much used it before but can I just say for this; thank goodness for Pintrest!) helped me reach that point too.
So what had I decided on? Well my main sources of inspiration were these three beautiful portraits.
On the far left is Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Empress Joséphine Bonaparte) middel picture is Caroline Murat and far right is Baronesse Mathieu de Favier.
I love all of these dresses, I like the dark, rich looking velvet and the texture of it. Silks and velvets are such delicious materials!
So I bought a few meters of a dark navy blue velvet and made myself a dress. As usual I used my trusted Sense & Sensibility Pattern, making slight alterations such as making a V neckline and moving the opening from the back to the side under the arm. I made tiny little gathers at the back in order to reduce the bulk which can easily form with such a heave fabric (BTW, you don’t often see velvet dresses in many of the film adaptations of this era but they did exist and were even quite popular, especially in the winter months).
I then decorated it, after much debating with myself, with pearls. I have not seen many examples of Regency dresses decorated with pearls, but I’ve seen a few examples and that was enough to convince me that it would be alright for me to do that. So I bought a whole stack of packages with little wax covered plastic pearls (alas my funds did not allow me to use real ones! ) and tried a multitude of different arrangements before deciding on this way.
Quite a few of the dresses you see in portraits and fashion plates from this era have little (or sometimes not so little) ruffs of various kinds around the neckline and I wanted to try to add something like that. But I have a strong personal dislike of using synthetic fabrics and materials and I struggled finding something that would look good without being too modern or to plasticy. In the end I settled on using the two pieces I had left of the Nottingham lace I bought on a visit to Nottingham a few years back. I like that lace because it has such nice details and is so delicate without being synthetic, something which is not easy to find around here. So maybe I need to pay another visit to Nottingham now that I’ve run out…
The effect wasn’t quite like in the portraits but still I was relatively happy with the added detail the lace provided. And to my delight I found it would stand up without any aid whatsoever.
So that is my newest Regency dress. A few months old now granted but only used once so far. I rather liked the fact that it is so much heavier than my other dresses for this era. Maybe won’t be so nice in summertime but for a ball in February it certainly felt more appropriate.
I just want to include this picture taken at the ball. At the event there was a very talented photographer from Paris who, for a fee, took photos of the guests who wanted and turned them into these beautiful portraits! It is such a lovely memory to have from the event and I am only looking for a suitable frame for my picture now and somewhere to put it.
All our snow is finally melted and everything is turning a lovely shade of green, maybe I can get my sister to do another photo shoot with me in the next coming week or so, I have another garment I want to show you.
I just realised such a title could be seen as an announcement of something which it is not to someone who has not heard of this series, but no, it is not. It is merely the title of a series that I have fallen completely in love with during the winter.
For anyone not familiar with it this is a new BBC series, season 1 was first aired last year and season two is has just been released, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. It is set in East London, in the poorer areas, by the docks, in the 1950′s and is, as you can tell by the title, about midwives.
I saw someone write about it somewhere and thought it sounded interesting, so watched the first episode and was instantly charmed. I told my mum about it and she is not only also a fan of period dramas but has also an interest in the subject of midwifery and has on more than one occasion assisted and helped other women when they’ve give birth. So I thought it was a series that might interest her, and I was right. She fell in love with it just like I had and we have watched, with great enjoyment, the two seasons together.
The main character, nurse Jenny Lee, arrives in the first episode to Nonnatus House, a house/nunnery in the east London area called Poplar, here a group of nuns and two other young nurses all work as midwives, tending to all the hundreds of women in the area who are having babies. It is, like I said, a poor where the people live in bad conditions alot of the time, with large families and plenty of children. So the nurses have their job well cut out for them. For Jenny Lee it is a bit of a shock to come to this place which is so different from the area where she grew up, and assisting mothers in their little crowded homes with children running around her feet is certainly not what she is used to or what she was expecting to encounter.
Through the series there is, of course, many babies and many birth stories, but there is also so much else. There is a multitude of different characters you encounter, and many different stories. There are stories that make you laugh and there are stories where I struggled to not cry, there is joy and sadness, death and romances. Its not all birth and babies even though of course that is very big topic and an important one.
I just love this series. I love the mix of stories and people that fill it, it’s one of those stories that I get so in to it I feel like I almost know the characters. I love the time it is set in, I have romantic image of the 50′s and have been in a “50′s mood” quite often recently, listening to music from back then, trying out vintage-looking hairdos, wearing bright red lipstick and drooling over pictures and dresses from the time.
It does in a way though amaze me, when watching this series, how much has happened since then. The 50′s is not that long ago. My mum was born in the same year the second season is portraying, and she is not in any way old! But still there is so much that has changed since then, and within the medical world things definitely have evolved (not necessarily always for the better but in most cases, it has certainly evolved)! It just fascinates me, it wasn’t long ago at all, yet in some ways it feels like it was.
I would do a lot to get my hands on this outfit! Some of the dresses worn are just amazing!
I shall stop my ramblings and just say that I most heartily recommend this series to anyone who has not seen it but who love a good long period drama (the seasons are both 8 episodes each I think, and with a lovely Christmas special in between them) with plenty of good stories in it. It is funny, enjoyable, well made and touching and just in every way really good. If you ask me. And yes, there are plenty of cute little babies!
Oh and I just recieved a book I orederd from Amazon. Now I have something to quench my thirst for more of this series until season three comes out!
That quote is from Emma, and I think we can all relate to it now and then. There are times filled with fun, dancing and laughter, and there are times which are less merry and enjoyable. I have not been having the greatest last few weeks, nothing major or dreadful has happened, just things have been a bit stressful and up and down emotionally. This has effected my blog and I haven’t gotten around to writing the posts I have planned. But I think things are starting to look up, and soon I will be able to make plans and decisions for the coming months (I have been waiting with frustration for a decision to be made regarding one idea and I will finally know for sure within the next few days how things will be with that, which will be a relief). So that is good.
You all know I’m a nerdy fan of Jane Austen and similar authors and their books. Sometimes it feels to me like the characters in some of these books are not just fictional imaginations, but that they are actual real people. And on more than one occasion have I found myself looking to these fictional people for comfort and advice. And even though I know that they are not real, and neither are their storiesl it does make me feel better to think of how all these characters that I love so well all go through times of trouble, times that were less fun and times when they felt frustrated with everything around them. But they all make it through. Things get better again and are good and fun again. And that comforts and inspires me, and I know that if they can do it, then so can I.
I am not going to write anything more now, I just wanted to quickly check in with you all and also share a lovely little music video of Jane Austen movie clips. I have lots of posts planned about series and movies as well as about a couple of new sewing projects. So bear with me and stay tuned for those, and keep yourself warm in this long, dragged out cold spring!
I know that a long time ago, probably a couple of years ago now, I posted a trailer for a movie called Scents and Sensibility. This is a modern “adaptation” of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and I heard about it for the first time before it was even out yet. But then I sort of forgot all about it, it slipped my mind and I never watched it. Until very recently when a friend of mine saw a copy of it in a shop and mentioned it to me, knowing how much I love anything Jane Austen. That reminded me and I went ahead and watched it.
I always struggle a little seeing these modern “adaptations” of Jane Austen novels, because the Janeite snob in me doesn’t like people changing her stories. But at the same time I do enjoy watching anything that is even remotely connected to Jane Austen.
This movie, Scents and Sensibility, is a movie about two sisters called, yes you guessed it, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Instead of being the daughters of a wealthy landowner with a great estate who dies, these two sisters are the daughter of a sucessful business man in Los Angeles. And instead of dying their father is sent to jail for swindling lots of money. So Elinor and Marianne are forced to give up the lifestyle they have known and been used to and go out and find jobs, only to discover that they have been tainted by association and practically no one wants to hire them.
Eventually they both find work however, Elinor as a janitor at a spa where the receptionist is called Lucy and the owner just happens to have a brother by the name Edward Ferras… Marianne works in an office, where one of her colleagues just by chance has the name Brandon… Not difficult to guess how this is going to end is it?
Marianne has a passion for flowers, and a hobby for making nicely scented lotions of them. After noticing how many people like this lotion and want it this is something the sisters decide to work more on, hence the name of the movie, Scents and Sensibility.
This is not a very great movie, it feels like quite a weak attempt at an adaptation of Jane’s book. But even so I did enjoy it. I will say this about all the modern adaptations I have seen, this one, From Prada to Nada, Bride and Prejudice and Clueless, that even though none of them are good as adaptations of the books they are inspired by in my eyes (though I do rather like Bride and Prejudice) I enjoy them as movies where I can try to find all these references to the originals. Where characters are introduced and you hear their name and instantly know how it’s going to end. I get frustrated at alot of changes they make, or twists they put to the story, but at the same time I like seeing how they incorporate the characters and events into a modern setting. I think this proves so well what I am constantly telling people who ask me about Jane Austen, what is so great about her books and how she can still be as popular as she is. One of the reasons I think that is because you can relate to the characters and their trials and tribulations. Jane Austen wrote about people, and people don’t change. Even if society has changed, fashion and technology has altered and and evolved people’s feelings and characters remain the same. And that is why you can take the characters from a Jane Austen novel, pull them out of the early 19th century and move them to the 21st and it still works. I think this is one of the big reasons (one of many many reasons) Jane Austen is still so well loved today. And it proves also that a good story never dies. No matter how many times you tell it and how many times you remake it, people always want to do it again and again and again.
Oh dear, I was going to write a short little post about the movie, not a sermon on the virtues of Jane Austen’s writings. Again… But it never ceases to amaze me, and I can’t seem to praise Jane enough!
Seeing how 2011 brought no less then two modern adaptations of Sense and Sensibility I was expecting 2013 to bring no less when it comes to Pride and Prejudice! I guess we shall see, the year is still young