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 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:


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 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!


  1. Wonderful card and tag... love A Christmas Carol... the quote is the best one from the story. TFS the 50's family Christmas! I need to dig up a picture or two of Christmas past before the week is out.

  2. That book is beautiful with the most awesome illustrations. Your cards are always so lovely. A friend gave me homemade toffee the other day and it was heavenly. My kids loved it and wanted to know why I don't make it. I found the recipe on another blog and now here it is on your's, so I guess I am gonna have to give it a try. I hope the hard ball test works for me as I've never done that before. Always enjoy seeing treasured black and white photos from the past. Hope you have a fantastic day. Holiday blessings :) Tammy

  3. So much wonderful here today Julie. I just adore your Santa Card and gift tag! You really are so talented. You have a wonderful creative eye! I love the book as well, another of my favourite Christmas stories. Just wouldn't be Christmas without reading it at least once! There was a Cranford Chronicles Christmas special here last night (part one) and I thought of you. I know you would enjoy it so much. I love that English toffee recipe too! So simple and I am betting really tasty!! Love the old pictures as well. You are so blessed to have them! Sending lots of Christmas Love to the Campbell household this morning! Thanks so much for the beautiful spirit I feel here every time I visit and all that you do for us and share with us!! XXOO

  4. Good Monring Julie

    A wonderful interesting post as always. Adorable vintage images.

    My hubby just looked over my shoulder and saw your toffee and now thinks it would be a very good idea if I made up your recipe.

    So you know what I will be doing later.

    B x

  5. Julie, what a wonderful sharing, I too adore "The Christmas Carole" and have watched it I know 12 times already on TV, when I lived in Orange County CA we used to go to a marvelous reading of it every Christmas, that toffee sounds wonderful, my mom had to have her plum pudding for every Christmas. Hugs to you. Sandi

  6. Beautiful Love your art and photos! The toffee looks good!
    Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs Hanne

  7. Your Christmas card and tag are just beautiful!

  8. What lovely stories you always share. The card and tag are just beautiful!

  9. Oh I am so making your Grandma's Toffee!!! It looks divine! I love the photos!!!! So very special!! Your mom is gorgeous in her fancy dress!
    Love it! Have a great day!

  10. You made lovely cards and tags for the holidays and your toffee recipe is so simple. I just might have to try that.

    Happy holidays to you,


  11. LOVE your card & Tag! The tag is my favorite! Just beautiful! And that toffee looks wonderful. My hubby loves toffee. He & I MUST loose weight this coming year!!! And it is so hard to do. We are not going to worry about it until after the first. In the meantime we will enjoy!!!!! Thanks for sharing photos of favorite memeories for you. I need to dig some old photos out. And yes, it is funny everyone looked good for opening gifts... now we all still have out jammy's on. And the hair is frightful. I am sure I will be by again before Christmas my friend so for now... enjoy each day of this special season. Hugs! Charlene

  12. Love the Christmas card and tag. So beautiful. Paper doilies are great for everything! Your Grandmother's recipe sounds great, and you made a lovely batch. Thanks for showing us your vintage photos, I always adore looking at them. A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite books. I enjoy watching all the video versions as well, my favorite being the one with Albert Finney. Love the music in that one. A couple of weeks ago, we took the children to see the latest digital version at the movie theatre. It was pretty good, but a bit dark and moody for the kids. Have a great Monday.

  13. Wonderful post Julie. Have a very Happy Christmas!
    Love Anne x x x

  14. Hi Julie, wow, you really HAVE had a busy day. Love your art work, just so beautiful. That Dickens book is AMAZING, what a find with all the illustrations! AND that recipe for toffee, looks so delish, I just love this stuff! Have a wonderful, Merry Christmas,

  15. What lovely pictures of your mom. I do remember those fashions.I was lucky my mother made all my dresses and I wore them with a crinoline of course; wish those styles would come back; not for me but for the young one. It was a great time.

  16. Great...all of it, just great! Want to try the toffee, my favorite of the season! Have you been to Moxie Fab today? The paper and goodies reminded me of you!

  17. I can just FEEL the spirit of Christmas when I read your posts - what a gift! Even if I don't get to that toffee recipe 'til the new year, I am SO trying it :)!

  18. Don't you just love the Graphic45 Christmas Past Collection? I think I will be playing with that looooong after Christmas has passed!

    It is our tradition to watch A Christmas Carol before going to sleep every Christmas Eve. My husband's favorite version is the 1951 Alister Sim B&W...very haunting indeed!

  19. Yummy toffee! I made mine last week.

    Love your Santas!!

  20. Christmas catching up tonight, so many stops to make! This was such a wonderful post. The photographs are so wonderful - twin beds and your mother's dress - vintage heaven! Velda - don't you just love names from the past. Might you know the hard ball stage number on the thermometer? I would love to make the toffee! Thank you for the shout out, I am so glad you like your calendar. It was fun to make. Lastly, so many beautiful tags and paper art. You have a such an eye for the Victorian style. Sigh! I think we are in a Victorian phase ourselves these days with all our paper snipping! Merry Christmas to you! Looking forward to you wonderful posts in the New Year! Elizabeth

  21. What wonderful family photos. That recipe sounds and looks wonderful! Your card and tag are both beautiful. We love Graphics 45. We are looking forward to the next line coming out. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Merry Christmas! Twyla

  22. I love your art work - gorgeous! The old photos are great - you know, it really wasn't all that long ago....makes me realize how time passes so quickly. The English toffee recipe sounds delish! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Well I must say "you have inspired me once again!" Your creations are beautiful, your toffee looks scrumptious and your vintage family photos are FANTASTIC!!

    I so love how you share your life with us! I always feel like I'm right there with you!! Happy Holidays my friend ... keep up the good work ... but the looks of your Friends List ... I'm not the only one who adores what you are doing here!!! HUGS

  24. What a delightful post Julie! We make my husband's grandmother's recipe for toffee bars every Christmas and just love them (although my middle section isn't loving them so much)!

    All of your Christmas crafting is soooooo wonderful...I'm going to be a little sad when the Christmas craft season is over as I have truly enjoyed it this year for myself and in seeing it on other's blogs!

    Blessings and a Merry Christmas from me to you!

    :) T

  25. Julie! This is just a perfectly lovely post of Christmas past and present! Loved all the photos, especially your mom in her new holiday dress, and the candy recipe is just too sweet and delicious! Love all of your Christmas gifts to us! Have a marvelous Christmas, friend! Hugs, Coralie

  26. Mama Julie!!! Good Morning! I am posting you up today!!! Mama Velda will be famous for sure!!! Her toffee is a hit! Happy Happy!!! love, mama holli