Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Jane Austen Stitching Society

Today was very exciting for it is the unofficial launch day of The Jane Austen Stitching Society.

The official launch day will be on January 1, 2013 when Jane Austen will officially arrive on Queendom Website, just about 10:00 a.m.

Today I sent out a newsletter to about 220 people who had expressed interest at my E-Week Sale last October. Here's a copy of that newsletter and it will give you some idea about the society.

If you would like to join us, write to me: GARRogers@earthlink.net, or to Kate: KateGaunt@aol.com.
Shining Needle Society, the online needlework school, will be our meeting place throughout the next year.

Here then is my newsletter in full:

Dear Stitching Janeite,

It has been almost two months since I began compiling a list of people interested in The Jane Austen Stitching Society and asked you whether you would prefer our fledgling group to be The Jane Austen Stitching Society or The Jane Austen Stitching Academy. Almost 3 to 1 you preferred 'The Jane Austen Stitching Society' so today I officially declare our group 'The Jane Austen Stitching Society'.

What we will do:
Many of you asked what we will do for the year? In a nutshell: read, listen and stitch! 

What I am hoping to do is start some discussions about Jane Austen, and also about the artifacts to do with needlework around her. If you have any ideas for discussions and/or are willing to lead a discussion group, all the better! Please write to me with your suggestions: www.GayAnnRogers.com. Will you use the subject heading: ideas for Jane Austen.

We'll let our group evolve.

Where will our group live?
Our group will live at Shining Needle Society, a very nice place to live. Shining Needle Society is an online needlework school and its director is Kate Gaunt (KateGaunt@aol.com)

Nice for us, Kate has volunteered to house us there and shortly she will start opening the room. To belong to the Jane Austen Stitching Society, you will need to join Shining Needle Society. Happily this is both easy and free. 
You just need to send your name and email to Kate: KateGaunt@aol.com and she will add you to our classroom.

We will communicate through our room at Shining Needle Society, in the same way we hold classes there.

In addition I will keep for the next year a series of pages on my website devoted to Jane Austen, and as I post photos and descriptions they will appear there. I will post the URL for my Jane Austen pages in all my communications, so travel will be very simple. Just click on the URL.

Our theme for the year
Our theme will be 'Jane Austen Then and Now'. While I love historical references, I do not believe in being wedded strictly to the past. I think what we do stays alive if we love the past and pay homage to it, but we live in our own times. Therefore my stitching themes for the year will be about things from then and things from now. I would like to blend the two. This is not a new goal for me: it is alive, I hope, in all my work.

I think one of the reasons that Jane Austen continues to live today is that her books touch some universal themes still relevant to us today. The legacy of Jane and her world and how it impacts us today will be a continuing theme in The Jane Austen Stitching Society.

More about that as we go along.

So what will we be stitching?
I hope lots of projects related to Jane Austen, small and large. 

The first task for the Jane Austen Stitching Society will be for each of us to find a basket. I will post guidelines right after the first of the year. You may now see  two examples of baskets I've bought for Jane Austen on Queendom Website. Many more baskets will work, in fact Kate reports that she just found a beautiful example at World Market for about $5.00. My two baskets cost about $7.00 and $3.00 respectively.

To see my baskets: www.GayAnnRogers.com and click on 'Jane Austen' on the yellow navigation bar.
Kate has promised me a photo of her basket too and I will post it as soon as she sends it.

Our first task will be to gather goodies reminiscent of Jane and fill our baskets.

Jane's Arrival on Queendom Website
Jane will arrive on Queendom Website on January 1, 2013. Yes, probably about 10:00 on New Year's Day, to kick off our year.

With our theme of Jane Austen Then and Now, and with my continuing idea that we use the past as jumping off points for imagination, I have constructed a most unusual way for Jane to arrive on Queendom Website. In the days between Christmas and New Year's I will write a bit about Jane's Arrival and then she will arrive, as I said, on New Year's Day.

Jane and the Holidays
In the meantime, I have Jane Austen dressed for Christmas on my website. Now please note that this is a good example our theme of Jane Austen Then and Now.
Jane Austen would not have celebrated Christmas in the fashion that we do: most of our traditions arrive at a later date, many influenced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort.

Still, who can resist the temptation to blend the two (and why should we resist?) It made me smile when Jane was decked out for Christmas, and I hope it will make you smile too.

If you would like a copy of Jane in Christmas Finery, travel to my website, click on the photo of Jane and you will be able to download the card and print it.
It is both my welcome to The Jane Austen Stitching Society and Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Life after Mail Jail and Why it is all about Stitching

Yesterday at 3:00 in the afternoon I sealed the last package from E-Week and declared Mail Jail officially closed. E-Week 2012 is now officially over and it is time to move on. There is indeed a life after Mail Jail and today is the first day of that life.

So what am I going to do now that I am sprung from Mail Jail?

Stitch for 2 days! Yes, stitch all the way through the weekend. If I can get past guilt feelings that I still have a lot to do, I may stitch even beyond the weekend. We'll see.

I still have too much to do. All the mess that E-Week created isn't going away without my help and I can't very well decorate for the holidays until some of 'Packing Central' (which is what our living room becomes) is Packed Away.

All year I've been on a program where I watch 20 minutes of Hoarders and then I start sorting and organizing. I've never actually watched Hoarders on the television, but MacSoph streams past episodes for me. Originally I assigned myself the whole hour of Hoarders once a week; but I can't take an hour and I found that 20 minutes dose works almost as well. It does motivate me to part with belongings I would otherwise keep.

So yes,  packing away the residuals of E-Week 2012.

Midway through E-Week I ran out of Echoes of Elizabeth kits, so I began a wait list. The wait list grew too much to be feasible, so I made a new plan: to do more Echoes of Elizabeths by Feb. 1. When I started that wait list Feb. 1 seemed a long time off. Now it doesn't look so far off.  Hmmm... I'd best start work on Echoes of Elizabeth very soon.

I also have Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick miniatures. I have a list for them too and those kits are due May 1. I need to start work on those lists also, although May 1 still looks a considerable distance away.

And then there's my joy for the coming year: The Jane Austen Stitching Society. A year of Jane Austen! O joy indeed!

I have a list of people who would like to be members of The Jane Austen Stitching Society and I promised them a newsletter as soon as I finished E-Week's Mail Jail, so I'd better start work on that newsletter soon too.

And this brings me full circle: The Jane Austen Stitching Society will be about Stitching Jane Austen. I'd better get busy stitching something for The Jane Austen Stitching Society to stitch, don't you think?
So guess what: I guess I can stitch all weekend long and into the next week with a clear conscience that indeed I am working.

What about the mess? The lists? The newsletter? Well, what is the most important? Stitching of course.
I think I'll put off everything else for a while longer while I enjoy the company of my needle.