Who better than to inspire a bookworm week feature than Jane Austen? Bella and I like to consider ourselves “Janeites” and with a bit of help from our wonderful mother, we came up with the idea to make Austen inspired calling cards. Our fellow book-lover, Nicki, couldn’t wait to help us out; she’s a fan of Elizabeth and Darcy too :)
Not sure what calling cards are? Here’s a brief history to help you out! (Unfortunately, a few of my online sources had contradicting information, so I’ve compiled the facts that I think make the most sense and are the most interesting!)
- A calling card was used in Jane Austen’s time so that household members could be alerted when a neighbor or friend came visiting or calling.
- A traditional calling card would have the name of the owner, as well as their title, if they have one, and occasionally their address.
- A lady would travel to an acquaintance’s house, where she would have a servant bring a calling card into the house, so the family of the house would know she was interested in visiting.
- A calling card may be sent in response, requesting a visit. If the family didn’t wish to meet with the lady, no calling card would be sent. A calling card in a sealed envelope was another sign that the lady should keep a social distance.
- Folding different corners of a calling card mean different things: a folded top left corner meant that the card was delivered by the caller themselves (instead of a servant), a folded top right corner meant “congrats,” a folded bottom left corner means “goodbye,” and a folded bottom right corner showed condolences.
We made our calling cards using lace-style cards (available at your local craft store!), pens, and paint. Be sure to use a small paintbrush and practice your lettering a few times to make sure your cards turn out splendidly. Although the calling cards in Austen’s times were not as fancy as Nicki’s own, we couldn’t resist the decorative flair.
Have you read any Jane Austen novels? Discuss in the comments!
Lulu, Bella, and Nicki