(I’ll leave the Academy Award Blog to Amanda, but just gotta say–Is there anything Hugh Jackman can’t do????)

Last week my friends Mary Blayney, Julie Halperson, Lavinia Kent, and I finally got together for our Christmas dinner–(we were all very busy)

This was my gift to each of them. It is The Jane Austen Centre’s eco-friendly shopping bag. You can order one of your own, or any number of lovely things here.

This is what Lavinia gave me:

Gaming Counters from the 19th Century! What our Regency heroes and heroines gambled with, like we would gamble with poker chips.

It was the fashion in the mid-1700s -1800s to use these small (that’s a US quarter to give you an idea of size) mother-of-pearl chips for gambling, or even friendly games of cards. The chips came from China, through the East India Company. Each is carved and each have a Chinese scene on them. Here is a nice little history of the Chinese gaming counters.

And here is a good image of two counters and the kind of detail that are on them.

The gaming counters came in a variety of shapes, some like fish.

These are what Lydia Bennett meant in Pride & Prejudice, when she talked “incessantly of lottery tickets, of the fish she had lost and the fish she had won…”

You can win this set of counters on ebay.

Some of you know Lavinia. She was a 2008 Golden Heart Finalist and has been a GH finalist a bunch of times. Her GH entry, A Talent for Sin, sold to Avon and will be released in May!! She’ll be our Risky Regency guest author when the book is released.

Do you like to play cards? What is your favorite card or board or computer game?
Do you like eco-friendly bags? Do you use them at the grocery store?
Have you found something Hugh Jackman can’t do?

Visit Diane’s website to learn about her April Undone, The Unlacing of Miss Leigh, and her April Novella, Justine and the Noble Viscount, in The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor.
Diane is also blogging today at Wet Noodle Posse about “Writing Love Scenes from Real Life”