Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Victorian Santa, "A Christmas Carol"...and Grammie's English Toffee


"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!"--Ebenezer Scrooge

Good evening!  How is everyone tonight?  Hope you all have been enjoying a restful Sunday with your families! 

I have quite a few things to share with you tonight...was very busy today!  Started off this afternoon by making a Victorian-style Santa card, courtesy of Crafty Secrets...from their "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet...



The mistletoe print paper is from the beautiful Graphic 45 "Christmas Past" collection--I really love this set!   I bought a bunch of paper doilies a while back, and decided to cut off two corners from a large square doily, and use them in the corners...I really like the way this looks!  First, I sprayed them with Gold Glimmer Mist--hard to see it here, but it's really pretty!



Every Christmas, for the last few years, I have loved re-reading Dicken's "A Christmas Carol"--either entirely or parts here and there...I have fallen absolutely in love with it! 



Here's my favorite edition right now--beautiful illustrations by P. J. Lynch--just lovely!  Every time I read it, I'm reminded to not be so stingy...to be a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more gentle in the things I do and say...I should probably read this more than once a year!

I know we all know the story--either in book, play or movie form...but there's something about reading the written word that is just delicious to me.  Dickens has such a way with words...I found myself laughing at times, and crying a little at others, and would just start reading sections out loud....even when I was all by myself! 



I love this excerpt from Scrooge, after he "sees the light"...

"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath..."I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy.  I am as giddy as a drunken man.  A merry Christmas to everybody!  A happy New Year to all the world!  Hallo here!  Whoop!  Hallo!"

Isn't that just wonderful?!

Here's a little tag I also made today...just perfect for my Dickens mood...!



This image is from the same Graphic 45 "Christmas Past" collection...says it all right there!



I didn't add much to this lovely image...just a little of the beautiful Martha Stewart "White Gold" glitter, and some Xmas Red Stickles on the holly berries...that's it!

I had been planning to make my Grandmother's English Toffee today, and boy, does that fit in well tonight!  I have loved this delicious stuff for as long as I can remember!  My grandmother--Grammie--Velda Stapley Ostlund, would make this for friends and family each and every year.  I don't ever remember a year without it until she passed away in 2001.



Just look at that lovely, buttery toffee!  This is really so easy to make--here's all you do:

VELDA'S ENGLISH TOFFEE

2 cups butter--NO margarine!
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. water

That's it!  Put in heavy saucepan over medium heat...stir constantly.  Mixture will come to a boil...keep stirring until it thickens and turns a golden color--not too dark!  Test either by using a candy thermometer--Hard ball stage, or, as I do and my grandmother did, test by dropping a small bit into a glass of ice water.  When it's ready, it will turn hard fairly quickly in the water.  My daughter Annie loves this stage--she gets to nibble on all the test pieces!

Pour out immediately into pie tins--then quickly sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the toffee.  I used three types of chocolate tonight--semi-sweet, milk, and white--never did that before!  If you'd like to add pecans, crush them up first and add them immediately after the chocolate chips...then just let sit and harden.  Enjoy!!!



I found a couple of  wonderful old photos of my grandmother Velda, grandfather Dow and the kids having a fabulous '50's Christmas morning...



I love how perfect everyone looks on Christmas morning...not quite the same in my family!



My Mom, Karen, must have taken the photos...here are her Mom and Dad along with brother Glenn and little sister, Judy...

Here's Mom about the same time in her bedroom--what a great dress, Mom!  Look at that fabulous Christmas tree--and my favorite old dolls on the shelf next to it! 



That's it for tonight--a long one!  Hope you're still with me!  So much to love and remember at this wonderful time of the year--thanks for sharing some of it with me tonight...

"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!"



Sweet Dreams!