It is super easy to enter! Just leave a comment. You can view a slide show which features every page of the journal on my Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/dorothyjanetoo


I have always been fascinated by Medieval history. I began reading historic novels and non-fiction about the period when I was in 6th grade. My first fascination was Anne Boleyn and one of my favorite books was “Katherine” by Anya Seton. There have been several Medieval Renaissance themed television series made in recent years, The Tudors, The Borgia’s, Game of Thrones, and coming soon, The White Queen. Often times, the history is skewed, but they are fun to watch nonetheless.

Please be sure to leave me a comment. This will serve as your official entry in the giveaway. First prize is this journal. There will be two runners-up who will win a set of six tags. You can view the journal in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/152433457/medieval-art-journal-renaissance-lady?ref=shop_home_activeIMG_2820

paristravelbook7belleUpdate! The winner of the journal is Lyzz. The two runners up are Jakki and Mindi. Thanks everyone! The prizes will be sent in about one week.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!

Long ago, when I was in college, I took a modern dance class. The teacher was lovely. She had long legs and arms and rich, chestnut hair with a distinctive wave which fell perfectly over her left eye.  The first day of class, she arrived dressed in leotards and a pale pink KD unitard – she looked gorgeous in that thrown together, effortless kind of way. Being from the UK, her speaking voice was equally beautiful. This was so long ago. How long? Well, back in those most ancient of days, dance studios were equipped with a portable phonograph, a turntable in a brown, slightly battered box with a speaker on the side – kind of like this: http://www.nostalgiafactoryoutlet.com/nostalgia/products/CR49-TA.asp

Back to the teacher. She welcomed the class and swiftly announced we were going to learn some stretching exercises and to watch her and then follow along, at which point she turned to the phonograph, picked up the needle arm and placed it on a record. After the distinctive scritchy scratch of a much played LP, the most gorgeous, sultry, tone poem emerged from the dog-eared phonograph. This was my introduction to Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. I was …  transfixed. I was more interested in the music than I was in doing the stretches. After class, I ran out and searched for a similar recording (hers was quite old) which I did not find (pre-internet, I was relegated to the record stores in the town I lived in.)

Souvenir Tag

I never became a dancer of any sort. All I can remember from the class is watching the lovely teacher perform flat backs and swoops and swerves to Gymnopedie 1, 2 and 3. Eventually, I found a record and I played it until it began to skip. One of the first things I did when I discovered  iTunes was to download the music. It speaks to me of the Paris I have read about in books and biographies describing the late 19th and early 20th century. In fact, this music is rather at the forefront of that period in Paris. You can read about Erik Satie here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Satie. I hope you will. His sad love story alone is atmospheric.

Paris Rose Tag

When I designed my Paris Journal, the Gymnopedie 1,2,and 3 played over and over in my head. I hope you enjoy the little video I made showing the prizes in this giveaway. It only lasts 1:35 so it will be a pleasant interlude.

NOW! Onto the rules.

Well, the only rule is to comment so I know where to send the journal:

Also – I would love it if you decide to click over to the journal on Etsy and give it a like, if you are able. This helps the journal rise in the mystical Etsy rankings. Here is a link for that:


If you haven’t already, please click over to my Facebook page and like it. I would also appreciate any shares you could give on your own pages to spread the word!


But, most of all – don’t forget to comment in order to be officially entered in the drawing. I would love to know if you enjoyed hearing Gymnopedie #1 and also – if you have ever been to Paris. I have not, although, I hope to get there someday. I hope you will enjoy this giveaway and that you will find you have been pleasantly surprised along the way. The drawing for the journal and the two runner-up prizes (two different sets of tags) will take place on Sunday, April 28th at 7:00 PM. Be sure to check back – I will email the winners!

Thanks to French Kissed for some images.

The particular arrangement of this Gymnopedie #1 comes from :
Gymnopedie 1-  Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0









Literary mysteries abound.  I came across this article this morning about the disputed portrait of Jane Austen as a 13-year-old girl. The painting is supposed to have been painted by Ozais Humphry when Jane was visiting relatives in 1789. However,at some point in the 1940’s experts deemed this could not be Jane because the style of dress suggested it was painted after 1800. However, some new technology has revealed not only the name of the painter, Ozias Humphry and the date, 1789, but also the name of the subject … JANE AUSTEN! I am awash in literary mysteries these days and I am loving it!

So, how to explain the style of dress? In 1789, grown women were dressing like this:

But, how were children attired? Yes, children were usually dressed as mini adults, but I did a little research using Marie Antoinette’s,  daughter, Marie Therese, who was just a couple of years younger than Jane (born in 1778 to Jane’s 1775) and here is what I came up with:

I am beginning to wonder if maybe this IS Jane. What a lovely little face. I also think there is a resemblance between the face in the portrait and this face:

 Look at the eyebrows! The tip of the nose! Remember, the sketch was made by an amateur, Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister.

I am beginning to think this might be Jane after all! What a wonderful revelation.

Edward de Vere - 17th Earl of Oxford

I feel a bit like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. I am a little rusty at this blogging thing. I am a little rusty at this writing thing as well. I get up every morning and say to myself, “I am going to do all of things I love today,” but while it may not  be necessarily true that there aren’t enough hours in the day, it is true I do not have the stamina to utilize all of them!

I have been thinking about names all month. Ever since I saw the movie “Anonymous.” If you do not know what this movie is about, in a nutshell it is about Shake-speare. Not the man from Stratford who is the accepted and enshrined Shakespeare of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. No. This movie is the bull horn for an alternate theory to the identity of the man who pondered “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” And it wasn’t Will Shakspur, it was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, at least that is what a growing number of dissenters say.

When the movie was first released last fall, I resisted it. I had heard the vague whisperings about the Bard not being the Bard for years. I had also heard the stock responses from Shakespearean scholars and believing blindly in ivy towers and scholarship, I was sure they knew what they were talking about. But, about seven years ago, I read Peter Ackroyd’s biography about Shakespeare. It was a great book about what was going on during the lifetime of the man from Stratford, but there wasn’t much there, there concerning old Will himself. It was a lot of “he was most likely here, he possibly did this and did that” and “we can assume he…” I remember thinking at the time – goodness, we certainly don’t know much about him.

So, last fall the movie premiered and I felt a faint rustling about this. But, I still thought it was most likely a bunch of hooey. You see, the movie Elizabeth was hooey, sort of like Braveheart was hooey and while I love the costumes in these historical films, I am tired of Hollywood messing with history, trying to fit the events of say,1560, into the politically correct sensibilities of the 21st century. I resisted going.

However, curiosity got the cat and I was longing for something besides Transformers or the usual Hollywood pap and I rented it (on my amazing Roku – best invention since sliced bread) and I watched it.

Perhaps it was the opening with Sir Derek Jacobi that made me want to find out more. He leant a certain credence to the whole idea that this Shakespeare authorship issue is indeed an issue. If a Shakespearean actor can appear in a movie, not as a character in the movie, but as a modern actor DOUBTING the accepted identity of Shakespeare, well, kind of like the movie Jerry Maquire, they had me at hello.

So, I have gone off on a book reading spree. Three at once! And a googling spree – There are many great places to learn about this without buying a single book. Here is a great place to start http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/, and I will give you one more so you won’t be overwhelmed: http://politicworm.com/blog/. I am now a believer. And you can’t talk me out of it and here is why: if de Vere wrote the plays, they make more sense and are far, far more fascinating. Kind of like Emily Dickinson’s poems are fascinating because when read against the events of her life, they take on dual meanings.

I find myself picking up the plays and actually reading them! I have always disliked Hamlet, but since discovering de Vere, I now find it wonderfully fascinating since it is basically an allegory for his early life. It even includes the character Polonius, who just happened to mimic his father in law, the great William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s chief advisor. Even the scholars agree on this point. So, how did a rube from Stratford who we can’t even prove went to school know these intimate things about the chief councilor to the Queen of England? And how on earth did he get away with writing it? Hmm?

All of the Italy plays seem more relevant since I now know that de Vere spent a great deal of time in Italy in the very towns which populate Shakespeare’s plays. This is what clinched it for me. It is like an amazing mystery, with piles of circumstantial evidence. Trials have been decided on much less.

So, what is in a name? I would say it is the difference between some nice plays and some really juicy gossip and the inner workings of a totalitarian government seen through the eyes of a whistle-blower, that’s what. And it is juicy. It makes the plays better and I think the scholars need to take the splinter out of their eyes and get crackin’ on some real scholarship and end all the “we can assume” nonsense.

If you want to read more: http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Another-Name-Edward-Oxford/dp/B001G8WETU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339242311&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+anderson+shakespeare

or http://www.amazon.com/The-Mysterious-William-Shakespeare-Reality/dp/0939009676/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339242364&sr=1-1&keywords=charlton+ogburn

Me Making Pie in 1959

The Zen of Pie Dough

(click above to read)

I wrote this about seven years ago. It came to me while I was making the Thanksgiving pies. I remember thinking the words while I rolled out my pie dough and worried I would forget it, so I wiped my hands on my apron, grabbed a legal pad and wrote it out in one fell swoop! The hard drive with the original piece crashed long ago, but I was fortunate enough to have it published – here is a PDF.

I call this blog Paraphernalia for a reason. It isn’t necessarily about one single topic. Anyone who scrolls through the whole blog knows that in addition to my reading and writing interests, I love Jane Austen and the Brontes and FASHION PLATES and anything 19th century! Sometimes I take a wide turn and enter the land of whimsy and share a fairy newsletter. I love visual things. Pretty pictures.

All of these things have percolated in my brain and while I try to finish my writing project, something I feel I just can’t post here quite yet, I am dipping my toes in the design world a bit. I have been taking some digital design classes and I think I am going to document some of my progress here because that is what I am doing right now.

I have a backlog of books to write about, but now, these visual adventures are what have me engaged and happy. Be prepared for a lot of pretty pictures. I will be posting my design concoctions here!









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