Sunday, May 25, 2014

Author Talk ~ Erica Hayes

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with the wonderful Erica Hayes.

Hi Erica and welcome to my blog.

  1.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm from country Victoria originally (waves at Bendigo) but we move around a lot – Newcastle Canberra, Sydney, here, there. I'm living in England at the moment. So yeah, I'm the absent member of Hunter Writers Group in Newcastle. I miss those guys!
I started out writing paranormal and urban fantasy romance, but lately I've branched out into fantasy/sf mystery with action/adventure. Still with romance, of course. Can't resist!

  1. You have a new release out, what is it about?
SCORCHED is a superhero thriller with a dark conspiracy edge and a darker romantic twist. It's an urban fantasy about Verity, a super-powered heroine who discovers a conspiracy within her own crime-fighting family. They're supposed to be the good guys, right? Or not…
So it's got lots of kick-ass action and excitement, with a mind-bending mystery plot. There's romance – Verity has a few interesting encounters! – but the romantic plot takes a back seat to the action.
If you're familiar with my books? The one it's most like is my sci-fi adventure DRAGONFLY.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
Well, that'd be giving it away :) but let's just say I've always wanted to write a book with this particular kind of mystery plot. I hope I've succeeded. It was a challenge. There's amnesia and mind games and twisted version of the truth. Verity is her own unreliable narrator.

  1. Do you plot your novels or fly by the seat of your pants type of girl?
I'm definitely a plotter. I work everything out before I start writing. Sometimes, I get a few surprises along the way, but mostly the manuscript turns out the way I expected. I don't have the courage to write without an outline. Or, as the general said in The Hunt For Red October – "Russkies don't take a dump without a plan, son."

  1. How long does it normally take you to write your first draft?
The actual writing? A couple of months. Plus some weeks at the beginning, where I faff about getting the outline exactly right. That part of the process can be frustrating and slow! The second-to-last book I wrote took nearly a whole year. The quickest one ever was four months. So yeah, I put some time in, even though I'm technically a full-time writer. I wish I could write six books a year the way some authors do! But I just don't have it in me to perfect the stories that quickly.

  1. Who are your favourite authors?
Dude, how is that a fair question?? I like so many books by so many different authors. I can't pick just one. But lately I've been enjoying some of the newer generation of fantasy authors: Joe Abercrombie, Douglas Hulick, Peter McClelland, Daniel Rozansky, Scott Lynch.
Also, a perennial favourite is Stephen King. I haven't read all his books, but I've enjoyed all the ones I have read. I just love the way he involves the reader with his characters. If you've ever wondered what the hell agents and editors mean when they say they want 'voice'? King has one of the most distinctive voices in fiction – yet all of his books are different. It's like when you walk into an art gallery, where there are dozens of painting of the same subject, and you can still go, yeah, that's the Leonardo.

  1. You have had an offer from Hollywood to turn your novel into a movie, who would you have play the lead roles? Why?
Ooh, a SCORCHED movie! Coolness. But casting is hard. This is what we pay Hollywood the big bucks for… But if I'm in charge? Hmmm…
My heroine, Verity, is thirty-something, tough and not totally gorgeous. Hollywood isn't exactly teeming with those… Maybe someone like Rachel Nichols the lead from the TV show Continuum. She's gorgeous, sure, but she has that ordinary-girl toughness that I like. Or a younger Jodie Foster.
The villain is cool, self-assured and utterly insane. Not smug, though. Just convinced he's better than everyone else. I'd claim Michael Fassbender, if he wasn't already Magneto :)

  1. Who would like to direct it?
No one, probably, once they heard what a prima donna the author is… :) I'll take Christopher Nolan, thanks, or Guillermo Del Toro. Or, y'know, Ridley Scott. He can make anything into an enormous hit :)

  1. Can you give us a small extract from your novel?
Nope, sorry, that's classified.
Ha! Just kidding. Course I can. This snippet is from a scene where Verity and her mysterious new sidekick – a guy called Glimmer, who has unknowable telepathic powers that scare her – are about to go on their first mission in their new identities as crime-fighters. She's nervous, because own her telekinetic powers are a bit unreliable right now.

Glimmer rolled the bike into deeper shadow, the ruby-red glint vanishing into the gloom, and re-emerged, wiping sweat back into his stripy hair. He'd glammed himself up, too, after I'd insisted—I'm not wearing this if you're just wearing jeans, I'd said, like some virgin schoolgirl who didn't want to be the only one on the beach in a bikini—though I suspected he'd intended to all along, and was only teasing me.
We were supposed to be making a spectacle of ourselves, after all, and Glimmer looked like a character from a futuristic MTV clip, in the most amazing glossy black number that buckled with silver across one shoulder, fit snugly at his waist and left his muscular arms bare. I'd noticed his butt in his worn jeans—oh yes, this girl may be ugly, but she's not blind—and it looked just as tasty in tight gleaming vinyl. He still wore his wrist buckle and ring, but soft half-gloves wrapped his palms, too, keeping his fingers free to work their magic.
Kinky. Just add handcuffs. I wanted to survey and appreciate. Instead, I snorted. "Is that product I see in your hair?"
He ruffled it defiantly, poking up the skunk stripe. Definitely wax-assisted. "Bite me," he suggested, clipping his pistol to his belt.
I didn't have a pistol, and he hadn't offered me one. Suited me. I didn't intend on giving these Dockside creeps enough warning to shoot at me. "Dude, the only person biting you tonight will be some skinny white-trash rent boy with a vinyl fetish."
"Now, you're just jealous."
Dignify that with a response? Think not. "Seriously, what's with the shiny? I figured you for a more casual brand. Y'know, Mr. Inconspicuous, or something."
He shrugged. "I tried that. This is better. If I want to hypnotize someone, they gotta look, just for a second. This makes 'em look."
"Uh-huh. Yeah. I can see where that would work." Watch me… His command to Arachne echoed like raindrops in my skull. He'd pulled the same trick a couple of times this week, always with the same result. Would you know about it? Probably not. I shivered, despite the summer heat.
He studied me, serious. "You sure you want to do this? We don't have to work tonight if you're not—"
"I'm fine." His solicitousness poked irritable thorns into my nerves, the more so because he'd already unsettled me. "There's nothing wrong with me. Stop babying me. Let's just get on with it."
I pushed past him, and stalked across the street. He didn't argue. He just followed, catching up to me with a few quick strides, and it only annoyed me more. Why did he let me insult him without getting his own back? Emotional denial wasn't supposed to be a one-person game. His silent acceptance just made me feel shitty that I'd snapped at him.
Not how it was meant to work.

  1. Now the most important question. Where can we get a copy of your novel?
Well, there's one in the toilet. And I think I saw a few lying in a pile of leaves out the back…
Guffaw. Thanks, I'm here all week :) okay, okay. Here are the ebook links!

Thank you for joining me today. All the best on your new release.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Stitches on Saturday ~ Tatting Part Six

From Mrs Beeton’s Book Of Needlework 1870

10.--Insertion worked in Tatting.

Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s tatting cotton No. 50; tatting-pin No. 3.

This strip of insertion is worked with two cottons. Work with the cotton in the left hand over that in the right hand. Both ends of cotton are fastened together at the beginning by a knot. First work one half of the insertion the long way in the following manner:--1 plain, 1 purl, 1 plain (the purl must be very short); turn the purl downwards, 6 double, 1 purl, * 6 double, 1 purl, 1 plain, which must all be turned upwards; then turn the work so that the upper edge is turned downwards; work 6 double, fastened on to the last purl turned downwards (the fastening of the stitches is made with the thread in the right hand); a loop turned upwards is thus formed; turn the work downwards, draw the cotton in right hand underneath that in left hand, and work 6 double, 1 purl, 6 double, all turned upwards; fasten these stitches on 1st purl turned downwards. In this pattern 1st of border pattern is thus completed; turn it downwards, 8 double, 1 purl, 8 double, 1 purl, 1 plain, turn work downwards, 6 double, fastened on last purl of last pattern, turned up. Repeat from *. When the insertion is of sufficient length, work the other half in same manner, and fasten it on the 1st half by means of purl stitches between the 8 double stitches twice repeated.

11.--Tatted Insertion for Trimming Lingeries.

Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s tatting cotton No. 40, or crochet cotton No. 20; tatting-pin No. 3.

This insertion consists of 2 rows of three-branched patterns which lie opposite each other, and are joined by slanting rows of knots. A coloured silk ribbon is drawn through these rows which join the patterns. Each of the 3 branches of 1 pattern consists of 9 double, 1 purl, 9 double, and must be worked close to another. When the 3rd branch is completed, fasten another piece of cotton on to the middle branch. Work 12 double over this 2nd piece of cotton, and then work without the 2nd piece of cotton a 2nd three-branched pattern like the 1st.* Fasten the 2nd piece of cotton on to the middle branch of the just-finished pattern, work 12 double over it, then again a three-branched pattern; in this pattern as well as in the following ones, instead of working the purl of the 1st branch, fasten it on to the purl of the 3rd branch of the preceding three-branched pattern of the same row, as can be seen in illustration. Repeat till the strip of insertion is sufficiently long.

12.--Circle in Tatting.

Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s tatting cotton No. 80; tatting-pin No. 3.

Work first 8 ovals, each composed of 5 double stitches, 3 purl divided one from the other by 4 double stitches, 5 double stitches; these ovals are joined together by the purl at the sides, then the circle is tightened as much as possible, and the cotton with which you are working is twisted round the ends of cotton that have been cut: the cotton is then fastened off nearly underneath.

Begin a fresh small oval, composed of 12 double stitches, which should be fastened to the preceding oval after 3 double stitches (to the purl in the centre of the first oval), then fasten it again to the purl which joins together the first and the second oval; leave a space of about one-fourth of an inch, and work an oval composed of 4 double stitches, 5 purl, followed each by 2 double stitches, 4 double stitches. A very little farther off make a very small oval, composed of 8 double stitches, which after the four first double stitches is joined to the centre purl of the second oval, leaving the same space between as before, make another oval of 4 double stitches, 5 purl, each followed by 2 double stitches, 4 double stitches; but the first purl is missed, because at this place the oval is joined to the fifth purl of the corresponding oval; once more leave a space of one-fourth of an inch, and repeat. At the end of the round the two ends of cotton are tied tightly together.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

At Your Service ~ Outdoor Staff

Head Gardener
Like the head groom the head gardener was management and therefor upper staff, yet his position outside the house prohibited him from occupying a position in the house's upper servant's. Also like the stable master his position of authority had its compensations. Because a grand estate's grounds  were as important to impressing guests as the chef's skill, the head gardener could earn a very high wage, as much as 120 pounds ($12,800) per year.

Grounds Keepers
The general laborers under the head gardener. They'd do everything from planting trees to cutting grass. Eight to 16 pounds ($850- $1,700) per year depending on age and ability.

Game Keeper
Responsible for maintaining the bird population of the estate so that the Master and guests would have game birds, such as pheasant, to hunt.  Also responsible for firearms, ammunition, and supplies needed to lend to guests.  Not directly responsible for the family’s personal arsenal. Thirty to 50 pounds
($3,100- $5,400) per year.

Gate Keeper

This is another servant hard to categorize. His job was to guard the main entrance to the estate and often lived in a small house attached to the gate. Yet he would be classed as unskilled labor and as such would occupy a low position on the servant's hierarchy and receive a commensurately low salary, perhaps as little as 10 pounds ($1,100) per year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Words on Wednesday - Keats - Lines on the Mermaid Tavern


Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old-sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,

Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Celery Soup

From Margaret Brown's French Cookery Book
No. 5.


After splitting 6 heads of celery into pieces about 2 inches long, wash them well, lay them on a hair sieve to drain, and put them in 3 quarts of clear gravy soup in a gallon soup-pot; let it stew just enough to make the celery tender, say about 1 hour; take off the scum if any should rise, season with a little salt. Should you wish to make this soup at a season when you could not get celery, use the celery seed, say about ½ pint, put this in the soup ¼ hour before it is done, with a little sugar.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Manners on Monday ~ Evening Parties - Etiquette for the Hostess

From The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness A Complete Hand Book for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society



The most fashionable as well as pleasant way in the present day, to entertain guests, is to invite them to evening parties, which vary in size from the "company," "sociable," "soirée," to the party, par excellence, which is but one step from the ball.

The entertainment upon such occasions, may vary with the taste of the hostess, or the caprice of her guests. Some prefer dancing, some music, some conversation. Small parties called together for dramatic or poetical readings, are now fashionable, and very delightful.

In writing an invitation for a small party, it is kind, as well as polite, to specify the number of guests invited, that your friends may dress to suit the occasion. To be either too much, or too little dressed at such times is embarrassing.

For large parties, the usual formula is:

Miss S——'s compliments to Miss G——, and requests the pleasure of her company for Wednesday, March 8th, at 8 o'clock.

Such an invitation, addressed either to an intimate friend or mere acquaintance, will signify full dress.

If your party is a musical soirée, or your friends meet for reading or conversation alone, say so in your invitation, as—

Miss S—— requests the pleasure of Miss G——'s company, on Thursday evening next, at 8 o'clock, to meet the members of the musical club, to which Miss S—— belongs;


Miss S—— expects a few friends, on Monday evening next, at 8 o'clock, to take part in some dramatic readings, and would be happy to have Miss G—— join the party.

Always date your note of invitation, and put your address in one corner.

Having dispatched these notes, the next step is to prepare to receive your guests. If the number invited is large, and you hire waiters, give them notice several days beforehand, and engage them to come in the morning. Give them full directions for the supper, appoint one to open the door, another to show the guests to the dressing rooms, and a third to wait in the gentlemen's dressing-room, to attend to them, if their services are required.

If you use your own plate, glass, and china, show the waiters where to find them, as well as the table cloths, napkins, and other things they may require. If you hire the service from the confectioner's or restaurateur's where you order your supper, you have only to show your waiters where to spread supper, and tell them the hour.

You will have to place at least four rooms at the disposal of your guests—the supper room, and two dressing-rooms, beside the drawing-room.

In the morning, see that the fires in your rooms are in good order; and in the drawing-room, it is best to
have it so arranged that the heat can be lessened towards evening, as the crowd, and dancing, will make it excessively uncomfortable if the rooms are too warm. See that the lights are in good order, and if you propose to have music instead of dancing, or to use your piano for dancing music, have it put in good tune in the morning. If you intend to dance, and do not wish to take up the carpets, you will find it economical, as well as much pleasanter, to cover them with coarse white muslin or linen; be sure it is fastened down smoothly, firmly, and drawn tightly over the carpets.

Do not remove all the chairs from the parlor; or, if this is necessary, leave some in the hall, for those who wish to rest after dancing.

In the dining-room, unless it will accommodate all your guests at once, have a silk cord so fastened that, when the room is full, it can be drawn across the door-way; those following the guests already in the room, will then return to the parlor, and wait their turn. A still better way, is to set the supper table twice, inviting the married and elderly people to go into the first table, and then, after it is ready for the second time, let the young folks go up.

Two dressing-rooms must be ready; one for the ladies, and the other for the gentlemen. Have both these rooms comfortably heated, and well lighted. Nothing can be more disagreeable than cold, ill-lighted rooms to dress in, particularly if your guests come in half-frozen by the cold of a winter's night, or still worse, damp from a stormy one.

Be sure that there is plenty of water, soap and towels on the washstand, two or three brushes and combs on the bureau, two mirrors, one large and one small, and a pin cushion, well filled with large and small pins.

In the ladies' room, have one, or if your party is large, two women to wait upon your guests; to remove their cloaks, overshoes, and hoods, and assist them in smoothing their dresses or hair. After each guest removes her shawl and hood, let one of the maids roll all the things she lays aside into a bundle, and put it where she can easily find it. It is an admirable plan, and prevents much confusion, to pin to each bundle, a card, or strip of paper, (previously prepared,) with the name of the person to whom it belongs written clearly and distinctly upon it.

Upon the bureau in the ladies' room, have a supply of hair-pins, and a workbox furnished with everything requisite to repair any accident that may happen to the dress of a guest. It is well, also, to have Eau de Cologne, hartshorn, and salts, in case of sudden faintness.

In the gentlemen's room, place a clothes brush and boot-jack.

It is best to send out your invitations by your own servant, or one hired for that purpose especially. It is ill-bred to send invitations either by the dispatch, or through the post-office; and besides being discourteous, you risk offending your friends, as these modes of delivery are proverbially uncertain.

Be dressed and ready to receive your guests in good season, as some, in their desire to be punctual, may come before the time appointed. It is better to be ready too soon, than too late, as your guests will feel painfully embarrassed if you are not ready to receive them.

For the early part of the evening, take a position in your parlor, near or opposite to the door, that each guest may find you easily. It is not necessary to remain all the evening nailed to this one spot, but stay near it until your guests have all or nearly all assembled. Late comers will of course expect to find you entertaining your guests.

As each guest or party enter the room, advance a few steps to meet them, speaking first to the lady, or if there are several ladies, to the eldest, then to the younger ones, and finally to the gentlemen. If the new comers are acquainted with those already in the room, they will leave you, after a few words of greeting, to join their friends; but if they are strangers to the city, or making their first visit to your house, introduce them to a friend who is well acquainted in your circle, who will entertain them till you can again join them and introduce them to others.

Do not leave the room during the evening. To see a hostess fidgeting, constantly going in and out, argues ill for her tact in arranging the house for company. With well-trained waiters, you need give yourself no uneasiness about the arrangements outside of the parlors.

The perfection of good breeding in a hostess, is perfect ease of manner; for the time she should appear to have no thought or care beyond the pleasure of her guests.

Have a waiter in the hall to open the front door, and another at the head of the first flight of stairs, to point out to the ladies and gentlemen their respective dressing-rooms.

Never try to outshine your guests in dress. It is vulgar in the extreme. A hostess should be dressed as simply as is consistent with the occasion, wearing, if she will, the richest fabrics, exquisitely made, but avoiding any display of jewels or gay colors, such as will be, probably, more conspicuous than those worn by her guests.

Remember, from the moment your first guest enters the parlor, you must forget yourself entirely to make the evening pleasant for others. Your duties will call you from one group to another, and require constant watchfulness that no one guest is slighted. Be careful that none of the company are left to mope alone from being unacquainted with other guests. Introduce gentlemen to ladies, and gentlemen to gentlemen, ladies to ladies.

It requires much skill and tact to make a party for conversation only, go off pleasantly. You must invite only such guests as will mutually please, and you must be careful about introductions. If you have a literary lion upon your list, it is well to invite other lions to meet him or her, that the attention may not be constantly concentrated upon one person. Where you see a couple conversing slowly and wearily, stir them up with a few sprightly words, and introduce a new person, either to make a trio, or, as a substitute in the duet, carrying off the other one of the couple to find a more congenial companion elsewhere. Never interrupt an earnest or apparently interesting conversation. Neither party will thank you, even if you propose the most delightful substitute.

If your party meet for reading, have a table with the books in the centre of the apartment, that will divide the room, those reading being on one side, the listeners on the other. Be careful here not to endeavor to shine above your guests, leaving to them the most prominent places, and taking, cheerfully, a subordinate place. On the other hand, if you are urged to display any talent you may possess in this way, remember your only desire is to please your guests, and if they are really desirous to listen to you, comply, gracefully and promptly, with their wishes.

If you have dancing, and have not engaged a band, it is best to hire a pianist for the evening to play dancing music. You will find it exceedingly wearisome to play yourself all the evening, and it is ill-bred to ask any guest to play for others to dance. This victimizing of some obliging guest is only too common, but no true lady will ever be guilty of such rudeness. If there are several members of the family able and willing to play, let them divide this duty amongst them, or, if you wish to play yourself, do so. If any guest, in this case, offers to relieve you, accept their kindness for one dance only. Young people, who enjoy dancing, but who also play well, will often stay on the piano-stool all the evening, because their own good-nature will not allow them to complain, and their hostess wilfully, or through negligence, permits the tax.

See that your guests are well provided with partners, introducing every gentleman and lady who dances, to one who will dance well with them. Be careful that none sit still through your negligence in providing partners.

Do not dance yourself, when, by so doing, you are preventing a guest from enjoying that pleasure. If a lady is wanted to make up a set, then dance, or if, late in the evening, you have but few lady dancers left, but do not interfere with the pleasure in others. If invited, say that you do not wish to take the place of a guest upon the floor, and introduce the gentleman who invites you to some lady friend who dances.

It is very pleasant in a dancing party to have ices alone, handed round at about ten o'clock, having supper set two or three hours later. They are very refreshing, when it would be too early to have the more substantial supper announced.

It is very customary now, even in large parties, to have no refreshments but ice-cream, lemonade, and cake, or, in summer, fruit, cake, and ices. It is less troublesome, as well as less expensive, than a hot supper, and the custom will be a good one to adopt permanently.

One word of warning to all hostesses. You can never know, when you place wine or brandy before your guests, whom you may be tempting to utter ruin. Better, far better, to have a reputation as strict, or mean, than by your example, or the temptation you offer, to have the sin upon your soul of having put poison before those who partook of your hospitality. It is not necessary; hospitality and generosity do not require it, and you will have the approval of all who truly love you for your good qualities, if you resolutely refuse to have either wine or any other intoxicating liquor upon your supper-table.

If the evening of your party is stormy, let a waiter stand in the vestibule with a large umbrella, to meet the ladies at the carriage door, and protect them whilst crossing the pavement and steps.

When your guests take leave of you, it will be in the drawing-room, and let that farewell be final. Do not accompany them to the dressing-room, and never stop them in the hall for a last word. Many ladies do not like to display their "sortie du soirée" before a crowded room, and you will be keeping their escort waiting. Say farewell in the parlor, and do not repeat it.

If your party is mixed, that is, conversation, dancing, and music are all mingled, remember it is your place to invite a guest to sing or play, and be careful not to offend any amateur performers by forgetting to invite them to favor the company. If they decline, never urge the matter. If the refusal proceeds from unwillingness or inability on that occasion, it is rude to insist; and if they refuse for the sake of being urged, they will be justly punished by a disappointment. If you have guests who, performing badly, will expect an invitation to play, sacrifice their desire to the good of the others, pass them by. It is torture to listen to bad music.

Do not ask a guest to sing or play more than once. This is her fair share, and you have no right to tax her too severely to entertain your other guests. If, however, the performance is so pleasing that others ask for a repetition, then you too may request it, thanking the performer for the pleasure given.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Supper ~ May Dinner For Twelve Persons

From Mrs Beeton’s Household Management

   White Soup.
   Asparagus Soup.
   Salmon Cutlets. 
   Boiled Turbot and Lobster Sauce.

   Chicken Vol-au-Vent.
   Lamb Cutlets and Cucumbers.
   Fricandeau of Veal.
   Stewed Mushrooms.

   Roast Lamb. Haunch of Mutton.
   Boiled and Roast Fowls.

   Charlotte Russe.
   Vanilla Cream.
   Gooseberry Tart. Custards.
   Cabinet Pudding and Iced Pudding.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stitches on Saturday ~ Tatting Part Five

From Mrs Beeton’s Book Of Needlework 1870

7.--Tatted Insertion.
Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s Boar's Head crochet cotton No. 18; tatting-pin No. 3.

This strip of insertion is worked with crochet cotton, and  consists of a row of circles, two of which are always joined together, and edged on either side with chain stitches. Work first * 2 double, 4 purl divided by 1 double, 1 double, 1 long purl about one-fifth of an inch long, 10 double divided by 1 purl, 1 long purl, 4 times alternately 1 double, 1 purl, then 2 double; join the stitches into a circle; work close to this a second circle, and knot the end of the cotton together with the cotton with which the first circle has been begun; repeat from *, but henceforward in the first of the two circles fasten the cotton on to the middle purl of the preceding circle, instead of working the middle purl. When the strip of insertion is sufficiently long, edge it on either side with a row of chain stitches, by working 1 double in 1 long purl and 5 chain between.

8.--Rosette in Tatting.
Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s tatting cotton No. 40; tatting-pin No. 3.

This rosette is worked with two cottons, viz., 1 plain, 1 purl, 1 plain, 5 double, 1 purl, 10 double, 1 purl, 1 plain; turn the work downwards, 10 double, fastened on the last purl turned downwards; this forms one loop turned upwards; turn work downwards, 10 double, 1 purl, 5 double, fastened on first purl turned downwards; turn figure thus formed downwards; 4 double, 1 single, repeat 4 times more from *, joining the figures by means of the purl stitch; the ends of the cotton are knotted together.

9.--Star in Tatting.
Materials: Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s tatting cotton No. 50; tatting-pin No. 3.

Fill the shuttle, and commencing a loop, work 1 double, then 1 purl and 1 double 12 times, draw into a round; join the cotton to the 1st purl loop. 1st oval.--Commence a loop close to the joining, work 7 double, join to 1st purl of round, work 7 double and draw close; reverse the work. Join the thread from reel, and holding it out for a straight thread, commence the scallop:--

5 double, 1 purl, 5 double, reverse the work. The 2nd oval same as first. Repeat oval and scallop alternately, until the star is completed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

At Your Service ~ The Governess


 Typically they were unmarried daughters of gentlemen who for one reason or another had to go into service to support themselves. As a governess they were able to make use of their education and in theory retain a little of their dignity. In reality their lives were miserable. They were looked down on by the house's family as being from a failed family. Equally, the staff looked down on them because they represented hypocrisy: they worked for wages like any servant yet were supposed to be genteel. Their job was to care for the family's teenage girls. (Teenage males were sent off to boarding school.) Their salaries were 25 pounds ($2,700) per year. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Words on Wednesday - Keats - Ode to Meloncholy


No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,

And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tasty Tuesday – Mock Turtle Soup

From Margaret Brown's French Cookery Book

No. 2.


Get a calf's head with skin on, take out the brains, wash the head several times in cold water, let it soak one hour in spring water, then lay in a stewpan, and cover with cold water, and half a gallon over. Take off the scum that rises as it warms. Let it boil for one hour, take it up and, when almost cold, cut the head into pieces one and a half inches, and the tongue into mouthfuls, or make a side dish of tongue and brains. When the head is taken out put in the stock meat, about 3 pounds of knuckle of veal, and as much beef, add all the trimmings and bones of the head, skim it well, cover close, let it boil 5 hours (save 2 quarts of this for gravy sauce), strain it off and let stand until morning; then take off the fat; set a large stewpan on the fire, with half a pound of fresh butter, 12 ounces of sliced onions, 4 ounces of green sage; chop it a little; let these fry 1 hour, then rub in one pound of flour, then add the broth by degrees until it is as thick as cream. Season with ¼ ounce of ground allspice, ½ ounce of black pepper ground fine, salt to your taste the rind of a lemon peeled thin.

Let it simmer gently for 1½ hours, strain through a hair sieve. If it does not go through easily press a wooden spoon against the sides of the sieve. Put it in a clean stewpan with the head, and season it by putting to each gallon of soup ½ pint of wine, 2 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice. Let it simmer until the meat is tender (from ½ hour to 1 hour). Take care it is not overdone. Stir often to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. When the meat is quite tender the soup is ready. A head of 20 pounds and 10 pounds of stock-meat will make 10 quarts of soup, besides the 2 quarts of stock-meat set aside for side dishes. If there is more meat on the head than you wish to use make a ragout pie of some of it.