Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Just a quick picture post and I'm off to join the family for some stories and games....and more food! 

Wanted to show you a few of my Christmasy nooks and crannies in the house--just a little peek here and there!  My favorite thing during the holidays is having all--or most--of the regular lights off, with just the little fairy lights placed on trees and mantles all over the house to light our way...that's how I wanted to show you my home...

My green tinsel tree in the bedroom how it sparkles and shines!

My pink tinsel tree...this one just makes me smile!

My small...but growing...waterglobe collection...

My white kitchen tree...

Our main Christmas tree--I LOVE this angle!

...and of course, the stockings...

Thanks for coming to visit!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Traditions...The Stockings Were Hung...and Happy Birthday, Chelsea Noel!

Good morning, all!  What a beautiful day here in California--it's pretty cool outside, but the sun is shining, and all is sparkly and bright!  Can you believe it's only 2 days until Christmas?!  Pretty amazing, yet here it is!  Hope we're all ready!

Yesterday was my oldest daughter Chelsea's 20th birthday--20!  I can hardly believe it!  Really...she was just a baby yesterday...

We were looking at our family scrapbook yesterday from 1996--my youngest, Annie, was just a few months old, and my family was complete...we were enjoying the photos of Chelsea's 7th birthday, so I thought I'd intersperse a couple of then and now shots...(hope you don't mind the family stuff...there's a card in a minute...stick with me!)

Chelsea getting a little present-opening help from her Auntie Becky, cousin Lyndsie on the right, and our red-headed Sarah...

...and now.  She'll be mad at me for posting make-up!  I think she's just  beautiful though!

And how about the cake?  Then...

...again with some help from cousin Lyndsie and how they're all gazing at the cake in different ways!  My Sarah's little face there makes me realize why I love Cupie dolls so much!  What a Cupie face!

...and last night...happily contemplating 20 blazing candles on her cake!

Here's a little card I made yesterday...Chelsea gave me a few of her birthday minutes so I could selfishly make a fingers were just itching to create something!

I had so much fun with this one!  Love this sweet little image from Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet!  It just reminded me of my three girls...then I thought of making some stockings to hang alongside the image, which I topped with a little Liquid Applique' for some fluff on top--love it!  A little gold Stickles on each one for my girls' initials...

...some lace, ribbon, tiny rick-rack trim...more beautiful paper from Graphic 45's "Christmas Past" collection...

...I made my own saying on the computer with one of my favorite fonts--"Craft Roman"...

...and we can't forget the glitter!  Love that Martha Stewart "White Gold"--just shimmers like crazy!

Been thinking alot about our family's Christmas Eve traditions.  Our dinner tradition is funny...I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  There was a large Polish influence in the area...probably still is!  One Christmas Eve, we had kielbasi, pierogis and sauerkraut for our dinner...not sure why.  We loved it so much, we had it again the next year, and the rest is history! 

To this day, each and every one of my siblings and myself have this as our Christmas Eve dinner...our spouses have graciously conceded to this tradition--thanks to you all!

The other thing we do each and every Christmas Eve is a little family "program"...something that must be done before children are sent scurrying off to bed before Santa comes.

My dad would always gather us in the living room and he'd choose one of us to read the account of Christ's birth from Luke chapter 2 in the Bible.  We'd always act out the Nativity if we had enough children around, or the little ones would act it out using the homemade Nativity set my Mom had made.  Here's a bit of  1996 to illustrate again...

Next, the silly part!  Sometime...about 30 plus years ago, we were introduced to a poem by Ogden Nash called "The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus".  Dad read it one Christmas Eve, and again--it stuck!  We got this most wonderful book one year, and now each one of us has a copy for our own families, pulled out lovingly each and every Christmas Eve...

Trust me, it's hilarious, and your family will love it!  The dad of the family needs to read the poem, but all the dad's do as my dad has always done...the family all knows the poem so well, that he'll leave off the end of every other line or so of the poem, and the family all shouts it out together--so much fun!

Here's my Dad reading "Jabez Dawes", as we've come to call the poem (the name of the boy in the poem)--love you, Dad!

Next comes someone reading Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas"--then it's off to bed for the little ones, and off to work for all the Santas!

Isn't it funny about traditions?  Sometimes we can't even remember the moment they start, but something magical happened once, and they become part of the fabric of your family forever...just wonderful!

Thanks for letting me share all of this with you today--hope you're still here!  My, I've been long-winded lately!  Here's hoping you fill every minute of the next two days before Christmas with wonderful family memories, traditions, good food...and maybe some new traditions will pop up unexpectedly, and oh, so magically!

Merry Christmas!

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!