Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daily Life 1770-1830 - Bathing and personal care products

I thought it would be fun to have a daily life post. Now, I'm sure some of you have noticed my posts have slacked from once a day to once in while. Sorry about that. I'm just not able to keep up with such a rigid blogging schedule with my little ones, moving, and writing. So I thought it would be nice to do a once or twice a week schedule.
Here's the plan. I'm going to post one painting or drawing a week about daily life in the late Georgian/Regency era's I write in, and speak on a topic it suggests. Any other posts are gravy. :-)

Bathing and personal care products

The Morning Toilet. Boudoir Scene

A lady's toilet was not a private affair. At the least she had a maid or other woman in the room to assist her into her clothing. The toilet could take hours. I found some fun recipes for beauty care products from a wonderfully humble book.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Yet Published.
 By Hannah Glasse 1784

An approved Method practiced by Mrs Duiely, the Queen's Tyre Woman, to preserve Hair and make it grow thick

TAKE one quart of white wine, put in one handful of rosemary flowers, half a pound of honey, distil them together; then add a quarter of a pint of oil of sweet almonds, shake it very well together, put a little of it into a cup, warm it blood warm, rub it well on your head, and comb it dry.
A number of these recipes I could make. (And I doubt they will kill me.) I may try making this one on my youtube channel. I love the term blood warm too. Very nice.

Liquid for the Hair

Two Shillings a Quarter of a Pint
TO three quarts of sweet oil, put a quarter of a pound of alkanet root, cut in small pieces let it be boiled sometime a steam, add thereto three ounces of oil of Jessamine, and one ounce of oil of lavender; strain it through a coarse cloth, but do not squeeze it.
 I love that she included 1784 pricing for some items. This appears to be a scented dye. Alkanet root is used to color hair dye, lip balm, etc, and jessamine is a climbing vine.

A Stick or Composition to take Hair out by the Roots

TAKE two ounces and a half of rosin, and one ounce of bees wax, melt them together and make them into sticks for use.
 Unfortunately no use instructions, so I assume they were used in a way similar to waxing your legs in 2012.

To make White Lip Salve and for chapped Hands and Face

Six Shillings and Three pence per Pot
MELT some spermaceti in sweet oil, add thereto a small bit of white wax; when it is melted, put in a small quantity of white sugar candy, and stir it well therein; then pour it into pots for use

To make Shaving Oil

One Shilling per Bottle
DISSOLVE a quantity of oil soap; cut into thin dices in spirits of wine, let it stand a week, then put in as much soft soap till the liquor becomes of a clammy substance, scent as you please, and bottle it for use. 

Wash for the Face

TAKE one quart of milk, a quarter of a pound of saltpetre beaten to a powder; put in two pennyworth of oil of anise-seed, one pennyworth of oil of cloves, about four thimble fulls of the best white wine vinegar, put it into a bottle; let it stand in sand half way up, in the sun, or in some place for a fortnight without the cork; afterwards cork and seal it up.
Saltpeter is a  skin irritant, but it won't kill you.

Hope you found these recipes interesting and helpful whether you read, write, or just love history/historical romance novels.

Next week, cosmetics.


Friday, August 3, 2012

What's in a Conference? RWA 2012

Trying to take my booty, eh?
I was a first timer at Nationals this year--a conference virgin, you might say. I really enjoyed all the crazy energy and interesting workshops. I would recommend anyone serious about a publishing career attend at least one conference. There's something for everyone.

New writers -

You can take craft workshops and learn everything you need to know from plotting to the final draft. Classes on setting, characters, and research run throughout the course of the conference. Research materials are available in the bookstore. Published author, unpublished writers, editors, and agents are everywhere, inspiring you to continue, answering your questions, and cheering you on. 

Catherine Rull, GH finalist for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.
Ready to be published writers -

Workshops are available on contracts, understanding rejection, and what to expect when you get the call. Spotlights on publishing houses give you an idea what the different houses are looking for, and what each editor hopes to see. Individual pitch sessions help you to meet, and hopefully share your work, with agents and editors you might not speak with under other circumstances.

Julia Quinn, Historical Romance

Published authors -

Librarian's/bookseller's days can help you meet the people who want to buy your books. Hosting workshops can get your name to readers, writers, and bloggers that might not know about your books. The goodie room and author signings can get your books and swag into their hands.Editor and agent appointments can help you when you are looking to find new representation or a new house. Conferences are also great chances to meet editors and agents you might not have met, both from your own house/agency, and from others you might one day work with.

All writers - 

Cherry Adair, Romantic Suspense
The conference is not just a chance to see published authors like Julia Quinn and Nora Roberts and get signed copies of their newest works, though those perks are nice. The after hour parties and meet and greets are great too. Moderating workshops and volunteering for other duties can be an excellent opportunity to meet people you might not otherwise meet. Plus, at RWA conferences, there are PAN and PRO retreats as well.

Conference is a chance to network with authors at your level and above. It's a way to learn about writing from some of the best and brightest in the industry. Where else can you ask Jane Ann Krentz and Susan Elisabeth Phillips whether they listen to music when they write or how they decipher the GMC for their characters? The chance to learn goes far beyond the workshops. Every person you talk to throughout the conference, from the writer beside you to the agent you pitch, to the editors hosting the spotlight, has something to pass along.

 A few random things to remember -

View from the GH table at the awards dinner
  1. Watch your conduct. This is a small business, and while you want to be yourself, you don't want to get really drunk and toss your cookies on an editors shoes. You will be remembered, but not for the reasons you want to be. 
  2. You will get more free books then you know what to do with. Plan accordingly.
  3. Bring dress and casual shoes. (Same with clothes.) You don't want to have aching feet on day one and be unable to walk by day two.
  4. Everyone will be tweeting, so don't say or do anything you don't want on the internet and respect it when people ask you not to tweet what they are saying.
  5. If you really want to go to two or three workshops at once, which will happen all the time, check to see if one is not being recorded and go to that one. You can buy the tapes for the others, but that unrecorded one is a one shot deal.

 I hope I've answered questions about conference and why you should attend. I enjoyed my conference experience, and I loved meeting the talented and helpful people I met. It was a blast, and I hope to see you all at the next one. 

Robin Delany